Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Conservative Home is still the Continuity IDS

Sayeeda Warsi will be replaced says top source. Cameron needs a Pty Chrmn to bat for him in difficult times. Warsi too lightweight to do so.
So tweeted Tim Montgomerie late last night.

The idea that the Conservatives' current troubles are down to Baroness Warsi is a novel one. In fact, all Conservative cabinet ministers have been conspicuous by their absence over the past few days. It seems unfair to pick on her.

But then Tim has long had it in for Sayeeda Warsi. As I blogged back in January of this year, an unremarkable lecture the Baroness gave at Leicester University was the subject of an operation by right-wing Tory journalists that was intended to make her seem extreme and disloyal.

And Tim was happy to join in with this, tweeting:
BREAKING at @Spectator_CH The accident prone Sayeeda Warsi did NOT clear her speech on Islam.
There is plenty about Warsi for the Tory right to dislike: woman, Muslim, black, working class... And attacking her allows its members to have a go at the more touchy-feely aspects of Cameronism without appearing disloyal to their leader.

It happens that Tim Montgomerie recently wrote an article that gave a clear idea of the Tory right's agenda beyond ditching Warsi. In the Daily Telegraph he reported the results of a Conservative Home poll in which the site's readers were asked to name Cameron's three biggest mistakes.

The results were entirely predictable:
  1. Not holding a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty;
  2. Supporting climate change policies;
  3. U-turn on NHS reforms;
... and so on.

As Liberal Burblings asked at the time: "Has the news that they didn’t win the last general election not yet reached the Tory faithful?"

Conservative Home speaks  for the Tory rank and file. And never forget that it was the Tory rank and file that brought us William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith. David Cameron came close to winning the last election precisely because he did not give his activists what they wanted from him.

The average Conservative activist is now like his or her Labour counterpart of a generation ago: enthused by ideology and wholly unaware of how the party appears to the wider electorate.

It is these activists for whom Conservative Home speaks. Those who call in the "Continuity IDS" are not far wrong.


Mark said...

And the Liberal Democrats are sharing power with these people...

paul mckeown said...

Pretty insightful analysis of why many traditional Tories dislike Warsi. She's hardly likely to be seen slinging down Gin Slings at the local golf club regaling polite company with racially tinted anecdotes about how the rest of the world knew its place in the days of Empire. Not that such people represent more than a minority of Tory voters, but they do represent a vocal element amongst the "faithful"

As for Tim Montgomerie, well he has no time for the idea that political parties must have broad appeal to be successful, or, rather, he mistakenly believes that his narrow range of beliefs will have great resonance amongst many people who haven't voted Tory since 1992, if they ever did. Of course, the idea is absurd and has been tested to destruction by various Tory leaders from 1997 onwards.

Not that anyone should discourage him, if they wish to see Liberal Democrat success, as the LDs must win over moderate, liberal-minded voters from the left and the right of the political spectrum to be successful, and the more repellent the Conservatives are on the right and the more repellent Labour is on the left, the more successful the Lib Dems are likely to be.