I guess that when I said that Cameron won’t be Tory leader in 2009, some readers felt that was anti-Conservative wishful thinking. But after this weekend, I’m emboldened.
Cameron’s declaring himself Blair’s true heir was very silly and was bound to backfire. Why would anybody who gave money to a campaign even Tories acknowledge was racist want to support the next Blair? The answer is they don’t. And now Cameron’s Conservatives are down £250k. The Spectator, effectively the Conservative Party house magazine, carries news that other ‘major donors, on whom the party is uniquely dependent,’ are ready to follow suit.
There’s more from the Spectator. Traditional Tories are upset at having to drop cherished polices (tax cuts, grammar schools) without offering any alternative; Cameron’s promise to support a bold Blair isn’t enough. Rival Conservative factions are preparing to launch policies of their own into the vacuum Cameron’s created by concentrating on style over content. The Conservative Party has lost the ability to campaign on the ground (given the average Conservative was 65 years ago, it’s no surprise they can’t get the troops out). Worst of all Cameron’s Conservatives have sunk back in the opinion polls and aren’t very optimistic when it comes to May’s local elections.
All this comes just two months on from Cameron’s leadership victory. The 2009 general election seems such a long way off. Who’d bet on Cameron lasting the distance?
Update 22 Feb: Another major donor’s sniping at Cameron. He certainly looks the part, an old man pictured with a portrait of Thatcher to remind us where the power still lies. Understandably, others are calling for Cameron to stand up to the major donors. That won’t happen because the Tories can’t afford such a principled stance.