The government’s recent announcement that they will be continuing with the HS2 project along with planned increases in overall spending has surprised and disappointed the majority of the conservative commentariat. But it really shouldn’t.
No.10 ran on a platform to secure support from disillusioned Labour supporters across the country, up against the most left-wing opposition in recent times.
While many of these new Conservative voters clearly decided against supporting Corbyn’s Labour, it is incredibly disingenuous to claim that in doing so, they completely abandoned their appreciation for increased government spending.
And let’s not forget that many of these voters, if not the majority, recently switched to the Conservatives primarily due to wanting to ‘get Brexit done’.
And as the Leave side successfully campaigned on a non-partisan platform, it is impossible for any side to credibly claim Brexit as being a right-wing or conservative ambition.
Sure, Boris still has to honour the views of his fiscally-conservative supporters, and to a large extent the Conservatives have not yet announced any *new* plans for massive increases in public spending.
And given the lack of any other credible centre-right party in the UK, the Conservative party are content with the realisation that now their main aim is to consolidate their newfound support - a point that Boris is eager to remind his colleagues is a 'loan'.
While this is not ideal for ideologues, it is clearly a pragmatic approach.
Overall this approach won’t exactly satisfy the Blairite statism that many former Labour supporters were clearly fond of, it is enough to perhaps hold onto the significant gains made in the 2019 election.
So are the government betraying fiscal conservatism? Not really. Boris is simply solidifying support from former Labour voters.
Strong and stable government is a marathon, not a sprint - and forcing hardcore conservative ideals onto our new voters will likely push them away.