You may recall the late 1990s as a time when the new Labour government could not be touched and the Tories were a rabble. Not Iain. He remembers it as something close to a Golden Age when Eric Forth and John Bercow "tormented the Labour benches".
How to bring those days back? Easy:
The Tories need to find modern day equivalents of David Evans, the former MP for Welwyn & Hatfield who died this week.In case you have forgotten what Evans was like, here is an extract from his Independent obituary:
It was precisely because of people like Evans and Adrian Rogers, the Tory candidate who fought a campaign to "Stop the Pink Flag flying over Exeter" and described homosexuality as: “sterile, disease-ridden and God-forsaken”, that so many people were delighted to see the Conservatives lose in 1997.
He routinely abused socialists, homosexuals and the work-shy, and he could be boorishly, almost grotesquely insensitive. Eight weeks before polling day in his unsuccessful campaign to retain Welwyn and Hatfield for the Conservative Party in 1997, he not only attacked his Labour opponent, Melanie Johnson, as a single woman with three bastard children who had never had a proper job, but chose to do so to an audience of sixth-formers during a current affairs lessons at his local Stanborough School.
The story made the early evening news on ITV and dominated the headlines the next morning. It overshadowed the Tories' pre-election offensive.
That fact that even such an amiable Conservative as Iain Dale wants to go back to those days suggests that, though David Cameron has done wonders for the party's image so far, he will find it hard to keep his members in line much longer.