by Ray Fleming

If David Cameron had been prime minister twenty-five or fifty years ago he might by now be thinking of calling a general election to clear the political air. Nothing is going right for him and yesterday was yet another chapter of accidents in addition to the Parliamentary manoeuvering on Europe. The coalition is held together by the thinnest of threads with ministers in the same department openly contradicting each other on policy.

The worst blow yesterday, of course, was the release of Lord Heseltine's report, No Stone Unturned in the Pursuit of Growth in which he responded to the prime minister's invitation to make recommendations on stimulating economic growth. His two main proposals run quite contrary to existing government policy -- the need to make a prompt decision on new airport runways instead of waiting until after the next general election, and the creation of a network of powerful local enterprise partnerships instead of leaving initiatives to Whitehall (something similar to such partnerships existed under Labour but were disbanded in the quango culling).

Lord Heseltine knows the political difficulties that would face Mr Cameron and Chancellor Osborne if they were to act on his advice but he is telling them that if they do not Britain's recovery will be put at risk. An early general election? Very unlikely for a number of reasons but Mr Cameron really needs to do better.

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