There I am thinking that, finally, the Labour party have actually managed to find someone to represent them on Question Time who doesn’t have me squirming in my seat for 60 minutes, when it dawns on me that the bright young thing lighting up the BBC studio is not Ben Bradshaw MP, but one David Cameron, favourite for the Tory leadership and the only candidate for that position, Ken Clarke included, who gives Tony Blair sleepless nights.
After tonight’s performance, I can see why.
Cameron is unashamedly Tory whilst cognizant of the depth of change required within the party. Reassuringly (to prospective Tory voters, at least) privileged yet seemingly approachable and amiable, and refreshingly unembarrassed by his old Etonian status, meaning a welcome absence of ‘man of the people’ contrivances, Cameron cuts an admittedly impressive figure. There’s something there for those who like their politicians humble, but plenty left for instinctive Tories bewitched by public school-Oxbridge alumni who were ‘born to rule’.
Telegenic, articulate, witty…………I’ve had my share of compliments, but for the first time since, er, well, in a long time at any rate, the same can be said of the next (probably) Tory leader.
I don’t believe the Labour leadership are quaking in their boots, and it’s still very early days, but for the first time since Black Wednesday – and assuming Cameron wins the leadership as expected – I have reason to doubt the inevitability of a Labour victory at the next General Election. Which is not to say that I think a Cameron-led Tory party can or will win, rather that I don’t regard its loss as the foregone conclusion it would be were David Davis to inherit Michael Howard’s cape……er, crown.
I was somewhat distressed to discover that Cameron, if not the parliamentary party more generally, has learned some fundamental lessons from three consecutive election losses. When asked about Labour’s dominance of the political middle-ground, Cameron quite rightly argued that you do not combat this by moving further to the right.
Someone should tell the Liberal Democrats.
For those who missed it, Mark Oaten, ostensibly the “Liberal Democrat” Shadow Home Secretary, came clean that in a straight fight between Blair and Thatcher, it was the birthday girl who got his vote. The transformation from left-of-centre progressives to ersatz Tories is complete.
Malcolm, if you’re looking for a party to lead…
Meanwhile, a message to all Tory MPs and Party members:
I said vote Davis, damn you!