Yesterday morning, cheers were echoing round Downing Street as David Cameron’s team celebrated the re-election of Barack Obama. For once, Mr Cameron had backed a winner – and would certainly have looked exceptionally stupid had Mitt Romney won.
There are, nevertheless, vital lessons that the Prime Minister and his party urgently need to learn from the Romney defeat. The first of these concerns policy. For the past two years, Conservative Right-wingers have been urging Mr Cameron to fight the next general election from a platform they like to call “true Toryism”. They have advocated a heavily ideological programme involving a tough immigration policy, opposition to the European Union, a robust stance on law and order and a sharp shrinking of the state. Had the Republicans won, these Right-wingers would have claimed vindication. For them, Mr Obama’s victory is a disaster – because if Mr Romney’s ideas are election-losers in the US, they are likely to prove even more unpopular in Britain.