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Pact Hunch
November 2012

It's often remarked of the Prime Minister that he is good at getting out of a crisis, but too prone to stumbling into them. Certainly, David Cameron has never shown any tendency to panic, even if those close to him remark on his occasionally short temper.

But as this parliament reaches its halfway point, one wonders if simply holding his nerve will be enough for Cameron to rescue his government from what increasingly looks like an endless series of accidents and gaffes. 

More crucially, the much trumpeted centrepiece of his policy programme — closing the budget deficit — is starting to veer off course and has no prospect of being completed by the time of the next election. The initial target date of 2015 has already been put back by two years and a further drift seems probable.  

In electoral terms, there is nothing particularly surprising about the governing party finding itself ten points or more behind in the opinion polls 30 months after coming to office. Many governments have recovered from worse. 
 
But the portents for Cameron's Conservatives are bleak. The likelihood of a substantial economic recovery before the 2015 election has receded dramatically. Indeed, if the situation in the eurozone deteriorates further, we might even face the prospect of a shrinking economy over the next three years.
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