Friday, May 13, 2005

Dwarfish modernity

Mary Ann Seighart reports from the smoke-filled room where those self-styled modernisers are trying to stitch up the leadership election. Well, being modernisers, I presume the only actual smoke is from Mary Ann's hand-rolled Cuban, but the Faustian smoke is choking.

Of course she's a fully paid-up member of this pinko group, so we need to take it all with a shovel full of low sodium salt.

Still, she says:

'Francis Maude, Stephen Dorrell and Andrew Tyrie discussed which of the men (for they are all men) they should support. At that time, they assumed that the two young pretenders, David Cameron and George Osborne, were not going to stand.

They finally agreed that Andrew Lansley, the Shadow Health Secretary, was their man, though with no great enthusiasm. Mr Dorrell was then dispatched to talk to Alan Duncan and Damian Green, both possible candidates, to give them the black spot.'

Naturally, the latter didn't like it very much.

She helpfully runs through how the plotters see the weaknesses of the leading pink candidates, whom she refers to as 'the Seven Dwarfs':

'Mr Lansley is bright and competent, a reasonable performer on television, though not so hot in the Commons... Critics say he is a little colourless: “The E. J. Thribb candidate” says one.

Tim Yeo...looks like a blast from the past, a caricature Tory in a chalk-stripe suit... it is hard to see 21st-century Britain warming to him.

The trouble for Alan Duncan is that the parliamentary party does not warm to him. The former oil trader, clever and dapper, has never managed to impress his colleagues. He does not have a chance against these rivals.

Nor does Damian Green...he lacks charisma. It is hard to imagine him giving a leader’s speech at party conference or besting Mr Blair at the dispatch box.

Both David Cameron and George Osborne are more promising — and more untested — than these four...Will they be candidates, though? Neither man knows yet. They are both very young...and neither, until now, has shadowed a proper department.'

Because of all this, she concludes that the plotters may end up agreeing on Rifkind as another caretaker.

She thinks that would be a mistake. Instead she proposes D Willetts:

'...he is surprisingly normal for a man of such big brain. He has been thinking and writing cogently about the future of Conservatism for rather longer than most of his rivals. He is extremely nice and, as a grammar-school boy whose mother was a teacher and father an engineer, does not suffer from a Tory toff label.'

Which of course is absolutely right.

But to jump from there to an electoral comparison with cuddly Charlie Kennedy- as she does- is a desperate leap of wishful thinking.

So if MAS is right, it looks like we're down to Rifkind vs DD.


Blogger Bishop Hill said...

The comments thread to this post at Guido's is interesting.


11:20 AM  

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