Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Bloggers For Davis 18

One of the most thoughtful bloggers on the leadership contest is Watlington at the Social Affairs Unit. He says:

'There is a real battle going on...which could define the very nature of the Conservative Party over the next few years. It is a battle between privilege and patronage versus aspiration and merit. In one corner are the Notting Hill set, all from highly privileged backgrounds, Eton, Oxbridge and recipients of vast inherited wealth. They also have the patronage of Michael Howard. They are the new Tory patricians, the people who believe that they have a divine right to rule the Tory Party and that only they understand and can reverse Conservative Party decline.

In the other corner are David Davis and Liam Fox, candidates who represent aspiration and merit.'

Of the two, Watlington clearly favours Our Man, and has made a number of useful suggestions to strengthen the campaign. These include getting David Willetts on board as prospective Deputy Leader and Shadow Chancellor.

But he is concerned that the message is not yet coming over as clearly as it should:

'Aspiration and Merit versus Privilege and Patronage. This must be the modern Tory story. We know who is standing for privilege and patronage but do we know who will stand up for aspiration and merit? Come on Mr Davis, it is time to give the Notting Hill set a run for their money.'

He talks of potential supporters 'wanting to be swept off their feet', which is strongly reminiscent of another post on Conservative Home.

We've posted before on the hero factor, and concluded that one man's hero simply may not be another's. DD should certainly not pretend to be sombody else.

But the message is different. Watlington's thoughts on how this can be developed and focussed seem 'right on the money'. There is an extremely powerful message here that will resonate far beyond the heated in-fighting of the leadership contest.
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