Saturday, October 08, 2005

 

More Thoughts on the Tory Leadership

Since my last post on the Tory conference things have certainly shifted forward a little. The quote below shows how one seasoned commentator sees a sea change in Consrvative self perception.

‘This year’s third election defeat has had an effect among thinking Tories that the first two failed to trigger. The big thing about the Tories this week is that a lot of them have got it.-got it about the fact that the party fails to connect with the voters, got it that they are too far to the right, got it that they appear out of touch with the real world and most of all, got it that Labour dominated the last decade not through political black arts but through changing.’ Martin Kettle on the Tory conference, Guardian, 8th October, 2005

All this is as maybe but all three last leaders started off trying to shift the party to the centre left to advance on that lost centre ground, but failed in the end and took fatal resort in the safe haven of protecting the core vote. So we'll see what happens after the new leader is elected on 6th December. And who might that be? Since my last post the conference has made a huge difference to the chances of the main contenders. Clarke spoke well, but, as a poling expert pointed out on the BBC this morning, it was all about himself in a rather vain fashion. Cameron chose to speak about the future and the role of the party in making it. This pollster's focus group all seemed to prefer the Blairlike 'Dave' to the more old fashioned cigar smoking ex Chancellor. David Davis is the biggest loser from the conference. I didn't think his speech was so bad actually- more or less what I expected and perhaps a bit better. But the thing is, the other speeches were so good Davis's affort was overshadowed. Part of the reason for this is that Blair has raised the bar so high for set piece speeches. He is just so bloody good, everyone now has to aspire to equal his standard, one which Gordon, I fear, has still to achieve.

So DD seems on the wane, Ken is old school and too fat, Dave is the flavour Tories most like and have faith in for the future. What about Liam? He is still the dark horse and may yet have a few strokes to play. It's some time till the show is over and Fox has shown he has the spirit and the talent to win the prize. Remember women always adore doctors and Dave's old Etonian background doesn't play well with voters. That jibe of being a 'toff' did for Douglas Hurd in 1990 and it might yet do for the precocious Cameron too. Whether the opportunity arises for the soon to be wed Liam is the matter we have to contemplate while the party's unusual selection wheels grind through their passage. It was so much easier when a 'magic circle' selected new leaders don't you think?

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