Tuesday, July 10, 2012

David Cameron is the new John Major

John Major was a decent man who wanted to govern as a one-nation Conservative prime minister, but was not allowed to do so by his ungovernable party.

David Cameron is an arrogant man who has grasped that he needs to govern as a one-nation Conservative prime minister if he is to win a second term, but is not being allowed to do so by his party.

Back in December 2006 I commented on a warning that Cameron, then leader of the opposition, gave to his party. He told it that it must back his drive to modernise or face a fourth consecutive general election defeat.
I said:
Obviously, Cameron feels obliged to play down the difficulty of the task he faces in bringing the Conservatives back to power. If he is to become prime minister, it is overwhelmingly likely that it will take him two elections to get there. 
The really hard thing for him will be to avoid being knifed by his party after he loses the first of those elections.
Cameron exceeded my expectations by becoming prime minister at the first attempt, but I was right to the extent that he had to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats as a result.

And I was right about the knifing.

Large sections of the Conservative Party, following Calder's Fourth Law of Politics, are convinced that there own eccentric views are shared by the majority of the British people and blame Cameron and his modernising for its failure to win the 2010 election.

Having tasted blood delaying Lords reform - and in the process tearing up not just the Coalition agreement but the 2010 Conservative manifesto as well - that wing of the party will be all the keener to defeat Cameron again.

In their own minds they will imagine that they are being helpful to the party and even to its leader, but I doubt the wider electorate will see it that way. And I am sure it will not feel like that to Cameron either. John Major even resigned as Conservative leader to challenge his critics to a contest, but even beating Ol' Pointy-Ears did nothing to end the agony.

Indeed, in two ways David Cameron is in a weaker position than John Major was after 1992.

Major had won an overall majority in a general election. And he did not have to contend with a Conservative blogosphere that exists to broadcast the opinions of every critic of the leadership and has close connections with the media.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tory right wingers?

Bunch of Captain Bizarros who proclaim a pot pourri of ridiculous ideas with religious ecstasy. As far from the formula that made the Tories such a powerful force in the mid 20th century as can be imagined, but strikingly similar to the lunatics that infested Labour during the dog years of the seventies and eighties.

Paul McKeown