In the aftermath of a general election, the political parties who have won the favour of voters are flushed with energy, ideas and a determination to do ‘the right thing’.
Of course, five years ago, any chance which the Conservatives might have had of implementing the lion’s share of their pre-poll manifesto was severely hobbled by the need to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats merely to govern.
This time around, David Cameron has wasted no time either in establishing his cabinet or setting out the direction in which he expects his second term administration to head.
“At the heart” of his plans, according to those close to the Prime Minister, is employment. It seems that he doesn’t only want to create new jobs. He wants to prevent those already with positions and trades union membership from disrupting life for the rest of us.
The Tories’ hand was quickly shown with the publication of plans to stop industrial action voted for by less than 40 per cent of balloted union members. Under the new proposals, ballots which don’t involve at least 60 per cent of a company’s union membership will also be invalid.
Although such a step has already been interpreted as putting Mr Cameron on a collision course with the TUC, I detect a less severe and subtly strategic tone to what has been put forward.
Neither the Prime Minister nor his colleagues are likely to readily forget the debt that they owe to Middle England for returning him to 10 Downing Street.
They know that the strike vote announced by union members working for Network Rail within days of the Election being won, has the potential to disrupt personal and professional life for many of the electorate.
Whilst I don’t think most people don’t seem to be in favour of completely removing the right to strike, they do want the kind of balance and fairness not represented by a minority of card-carrying union members “holding the country to ransom”, as bosses of Network Rail have suggested.
By their actions, Mr Cameron and his ministers have effectively established something of a fairness threshold. Even the complaints of unions that the limit is higher than the proportion of voters who supported the Conservatives on May the seventh doesn’t seem to dilute the point.
More than satisfying the appetites of the electorate, the Prime Minister’s move has done something else of importance for the Parliamentary Labour Party.
If it objects to the initiative, it risks being seen as too left-wing by the Middle England it needs to reclaim to stand any chance of election success in five years’ time.
However, if it agrees with the scheme, it could infuriate the union movement which has provided its traditional backing.
By striking first, if you pardon the pun, the Tories have taken a step closer to justifying their win on polling day, put their opponents on the back foot and put a benchmark in place to defuse the potential economic damage of poor workplace relations.