Friday, May 20, 2005

His to Lose

I’m not sure whether it’s a vote of confidence or the kiss of death, but The Economist (subscription required) describes the contest as our man’s to lose.

On Michael Howard’s actions:
But many suspect that was not quite all Mr Howard intended—that he was also hoping to deny the top job to the bookies' favourite, David Davis, the shadow home secretary.
But Mr Howard is up against it, because Davis has strong backers.
Mr Davis, much-admired by party activists for his battered good looks, humble origins and robustly right-wing views. It is those views that set him apart.
His competitors are loath to discuss anything that might smack of an opinion.
Potential candidates declare their modernising credentials by turning up tieless in television studios where they spout wearingly familiar slogans about change and the need to reconnect with the voters
Like identikit stereotypes, they have no personality to woo the floating voters, or the credibility to talk tough without sounding uncaring.
Meanwhile, Mr Davis increasingly has the look of a man who believes the prize is his to lose. After three election defeats, the Tories may finally have learned at least one thing: it is sensible to pick the leader who has the greatest appeal to the widest number of voters. And Mr Davis, the son of a single mother who grew up on a council estate, is serenely confident that he fits that bill.
We just have to convince Conservative MPs that this is the case. Simple isn’t it.

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