Ever since party conference it’s been clear that David Cameron will lead the Tories. All the same, I’ve been hooked by the contest in which David Davis just beat off Dr Fox (not the famous one) to make it through to the blue rinse ballot. It’s the first time I’ve followed a news story primarily via a blog: the excellent Conservative Home, where the rump of a once great political party plots. (It’s also where I found the archbishop’s nonsense.)
So, unlike these true-blue Telegraph readers, I felt no surprise when Ken Clarke was knocked out so early and so easily. And unlike some others I’m not about to mistake Cameron for the Tories’ Messiah.
But I am surprised to see Davis get through. After all, the guy who came third in round one last time, won round two and he’s proved himself incredibly inept. Davis offered the party just one reason to vote for him: that he came from a single parent household on a council estate. ‘So what,’ more-or-less said Fox. ‘I’ve got working class roots too.’ Davis grinned inanely as his support melted away.
Then he got nasty. The police should target affluent drug users. Cameron refuses to deny being a recovering cokehead and recently quit the board of a late night bar chain. Cocaine was more than a university thing, Davis desperately hinted. Then Davis backed Cameron’s decision to ignore the allegations. And yet, despite that mess of nonsense and contradiction, Tory MPs reckon he could lead them to victory. Doh!
Destined to elect IDS/Camerons forever!
My opinion’s evolved since the IDS moment that fixed Cameron in my mind as the next leader. I still don’t doubt that he’ll turn out to be another quiet man who doesn’t know how to turn up the volume and that his being a ‘nice young man’ is a major appeal to blue rinses.
IDS was and remains truly representative of the mainstream of the Tory Party. Socially conservative, they’ve seen their values caricatured as racist, misogynistic and homophobic. Their response has been to accuse their opponents of being ‘politically correct thought police’: a response many of us read as ‘guilty’.
Eurosceptic, their sense of isolation is exasperated by the idea that the UK is really run by foreigners. So they’re frightened. Frightened people lack confidence and tend to be a more than a little geeky. Fear breeds such mistrust that they find it hard to connect with people, especially those who – inexplicably – fail to share their fears (i.e. everyone else).
Such a group cannot fail to go on electing IDS/Cameron after IDS/Cameron. It’s highly unlikely this one will make to the 2009 general election.