Friday, July 15, 2005

One Man's Hero...

Just after recording how I'd finally met my hero, I was brought up sharp by yesterday's open letter to DD, posted on Conservative Home.

The letter is from a Lauren Booth (not, I'm assured, Cherie Blair's sister) who met DD at one of his several recent speaking gigs. And just like me, she got to shake his hand.

But there our experiences diverged dramatically. Whereas he chatted with me, looked me in the eye, and generally bowled me over with his warmth (all before he found out I do this blog), Lauren was left feeling seriously slighted:

'I am the ordinary woman whose eyes you failed to meet as you moved quickly on to speak to someone more useful and more influential. I am the ordinary woman who walked away from you feeling disappointed.'

Which is a great shame. And nothing like the feeling he left among those he met last night.

So what's going on? One possibility of course was that when he met Lauren he was just having an off-day. But she points to something else. Something deeper than an over-hurried handshake in a crowded room.

'There is much talk amongst Conservatives that they have lost touch with the ordinary person in the street. As someone who lives very much in that street let me tell you what I need. I need a leader who will take risks on my behalf. I need a leader who will fight for me. I need a leader who will have the courage to move away from the well-rehearsed soundbite and speak with words that are ignited by a passion for what he believes in. Your policies are sound enough, but until they are lit by this internal fire of conviction, to the electorate they are merely words they have heard before. I suppose, Mr Davis I want a hero.'

Now, I look at that and say 'but DD will take risks- he's already taking them in what he says. Fighter? He's not just a fighter, he's a street bruiser. And as for conviction...he'll be the first conviction leader we've had had since you know who.' And from the sound of it, Lauren liked his actual policies.

But it's that hero thing, isn't it Lauren. You're holding out for a hero.

And who are we to say you're wrong?

Sure, we can remind you that heroes like that are pretty rare outside Hollywood, or rose-tinted memory. And that we have to deal with the actual choices that are available to us here in the real world. And we can point out that politicians who pull on that mythological hero mantle (JFK, TB...) can so quickly turn out to have feet of clay.

But we can see none of that really answers the need.

It's just that for me, Davis is a hero. He's battled his way up from pretty close to the bottom, and he has not forgotten those he left behind. I think he really does believe we can use those 'timeless insights of Conservatism' to tackle the problems in our public services. And that we candeliver much better opportunities for all- particularly those at the bottom.

Maybe his conviction doesn't burn as brightly as you would like, and that's your call. But to me it comes through loud and clear; and I believe it's genuine and heartfelt.

DD will never be Tony- who I bet always makes eye contact, and who emotes better than anyone else on the contemporary political stage. But give me DD's steady dependable practicality any day.


Anonymous Tory Reaction said...

Davis isn't a 'hero', he's a machine politician with the charisma of out of date cardboard. I had to laugh at the lack of response here at the fan site to my innocent enough query about what exactly he had achieved as chairman. Seems like, er, nothing. The thing is people, Davis *is* being judged on his record, and the only way he can become leader is if it's him and someone as weak as Cameron go through to the final round. Assuming it's Fox, Davis will lose by at least 55%/45%.

But then I don't think DD's support is going to last to September. If he had the MPs he pretends, Forth would have got his no confidence motion moved twice over by now.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Wat Tyler said...

Tory Reaction- I did actually respond to your earlier comment on Davis' performance as Chairman- see comments on( ).

But since you raise it again, I'll do a full post.

As an ordinary party member and a relative newcomer to these leadership struggles, I am stunned by how much heat is still generated by the in-fighting that obviously took place during his tenure as Chairman.

Whoever takes over as leader is going to have a tough job knocking heads together.

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Denis said...

Dear Mr Tyler - Any idea what Davis will do about the EU?

11:32 PM  

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