Monday, June 25, 2007

 

Is Cameron Wobble Beginning of the End?


Michael Portillo always has an interesting angle, especially on his own party, and his article yesterday was no exception. He suggests that we may be witnessing the beginning of yet another collapse of the Tories; Cameron's strategy was that Brown would be uncharismatic, would veer to the left and would be perceived as both personally resistible and, fatally, too left-wing for Middle England. Against this Portillo points out that:

i)Brown will not veer to the left- as joint architect of New Labour this was never likely anyway.

ii)Brown is profoundly uncharismatic, as I suggested in my post yesterday, but maybe 'dour but competent' fits the current mood. It could just be that the Conservatives would have been better off with someone who does not spend all his life trying to emulate Tony Blair- maybe David Davis would have been the better bet after all?

In addition to these points one might add the poll results reported in The Observer yesterday, which registered a 3 point Labour lead and showed Brown beating Cameron 40-22 as 'the most capable prime minister'.

Portillo thinks these results are possibly evidence of 'Plan A' failing, with not much sign of a 'Plan B' ready in the wings. He points out that, thanks to the 1992 withdrawal from ERM debacle, Blair enjoyed the luxury of a steep poll lead while he repositioned his party: this kept Old Labour quiet. By contrast Old Conservativism has had no such reassurance and is chafing against a switch of direction by Cameron which they feel is analogous to The Church of England converting to Satanism.

All his predecessors- Hague, IDS, Howard- tried to persuade their recalcitrant party that 'Compassionate Conservatism' was the way to go but scurried back into their Thatcherite comfort zones once the Tebbitt faithful refused to digest something so indigestible. Portillo comments:

If Cameron really has surrendered, the party is doomed. I had concluded, when I left politics, that the Tories were ungovernable and had a death wish. But Cameron is clever and charismatic; I believed he could succeed where I had failed, especially since even the Conservatives might learn something after three landslide defeats. Now I am not so sure. Cameron has wobbled. Unless he regains control of his party at once, the project will be lost.

Maybe Brown's accession to power will be the catalyst to Cameron being toppled from leading the Opposition? We have an interesting few months ahead of us.

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