Sunday, May 15, 2005

d'Ancona on DD

Writing in the Sunday Torygraph about the leadership contest, Matthew d'Ancona says:

'Stony-faced at the centre of it all stands David Davis, who has no wish to be seen prematurely as the dauphin (remember Michael Portillo in 2001), but is nonetheless the runaway favourite to succeed Mr Howard. Though caricatured by his enemies as a sectarian Right-winger, Mr Davis has attracted early support from close allies of Kenneth Clarke, notably the former minister Ian Taylor. Damian Green, the most impressive inheritor of the Tory Left tradition, is on friendly terms with the shadow home secretary. I am told that Mr Davis spent an hour on the phone to Mr Clarke himself last week.

This leaves the party's younger "modernisers", some of whom, unaccountably, consider the shadow home secretary to be the spawn of Hades. Yet, as Melissa Kite reveals in today's Review section, Mr Davis is in many ways the image of what a "modern" Tory should be: a self-made man born into an underprivileged background and raised on a council estate. His knowledge of what stops huge sections of the urban population from voting Tory flows from personal experience rather than private polling.'

Quite right Matt.

'In the coming contest it will be important to distinguish between those Tory "modernisers" who genuinely believe that the party has a duty to those whom it has not reached in recent years - the less affluent whose need for a lower tax burden, reduced crime and world-class public services is most acute - and those senior Conservatives who simply mouth fashionable platitudes about "change" because they think their generational clique is owed its turn at the helm. Remember: to be young is not the same as to be modern.'

Great stuff. Far too much of the so-called moderniser rhetoric is at the level of 'we need to know, more modern, sort of thing- gays and the environment, and that more people will vote for us.'

He ends by advising us to watch out for 'the Davis dash':

'The really interesting question is which of the so-called "Notting Hill Tories" breaks ranks and backs Davis first. As Michael Corleone would say: "It's the smart move." At this stage of what is set to be a painfully protracted contest, I make only one prediction: whichever of the Young Turks makes the Davis dash - thus resisting the temptation to stand himself - is the really ambitious one. By his deeds shall you know him: the patient young Tory who wants to be prime minister tomorrow more than he wants to be leader of his party today.'

Sounds about right.


Blogger Dave J said...

"Far too much of the so-called moderniser rhetoric is at the level of 'we need to know, more modern, sort of thing- gays and the environment, and that more people will vote for us.'"

Someone else said it before, but successful candidates and political parties do not move to the center; they move the center to them. That, of course, also requires having real convictions in the first place, rather than simply throwing darts at a board labeled "what image do I hope might get me into power?" It requires someone who, even more importantly than being liked by their folowers, inspires grudging respect and/or fear in their political opponents, because that signifies a recognition of someone who will be successful at their expense. Most of the other candidates have some of those qualities but only DD looks like he has all of them, which is the Tories would be stupid to pick anyone else.

12:11 AM  
Blogger Blithering Bunny said...

Mark Steyn said it recently (quoted by me here).

8:26 AM  
Blogger Serf said...


I wanted to send you something but I can't find you email address.

Dave. You are spot on about moving the centre to you. But first you have to believe in something.

8:50 AM  

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