As Labour circles increasingly engage in talk about the demise of Gordon Brown - and some are suggesting before rather than after the next election - attention is turning towards the likely make-up and intentions of a new Cameron-led Tory government. And for those who thought we might be able to look forward to a new era of cuddly conservatism, the results of extensive research done by the distinctly right-wing Conservative Home website seem to show otherwise.
While Cameron and his leadership team appear to be committed to a programme of progressive, socially aware conservatism (within whatever strictures provided by the budget crisis), the new Tory MPs that will accompany them into power, and populate their lobby fodder on the backbenches, appear to be committed to a return to more full-blooded Thatcherism. These are men and women who are the disciples of Thatcher, who see Cameron's Green agenda as a red herring, are overwhelmingly eurosceptic, want more restrictive abortion laws and certainly favour a continued hard line towards the "war on terror". However, they are also more inclined to civil libertarianism than their predecessors of the Thatcher years, although they appear to favour support for marriage (of the type favoured by Miss California) through the tax system.
Tony Blair secured his Labour vision by controlling the actions of new MPs and the selection of candidates. Cameron's attempts to do likewise with selection of Tory candidates have not been noticeably successful, and he could yet face a resurgence of right-wing confidence - and even obstructionism - once his term of government gets into its stride. As Gordon Brown's experience is currently showing, a prime minister's own MPs have the potential for serious mischief making. And once the Tory Right get going, so will the electorate - none of the Blessed Margaret's Thatcherite successors succeeded in persuading the British voters that a good dose of unadulterated conservatism was the medicine they really needed.