Monday, July 25, 2005

Sir Max Opines On Davis

Wreathed in cigar smoke, Sir Max Hastings stretched back on the overstuffed club chair and took another pull on his Normandin-Mercier Très Vieille Grande Champagne. 'Davis is favourite chiefly because of what he is not - Etonian - rather than what he is. Some Tories like the fact that he looks, indeed is, something of a thug.'

Lord Bufton stared blankly. 'Old Carthusian like you, eh Max?'

Hastings ignored him. 'He is filled with the violent hunger for power that is indispensable to success.' Half an inch of grey cigar ash fluttered onto his magnificently tweeded thigh. 'The forces that propelled Major to office in 1990 - exaggerated respect for his humble origins and allegedly classless style - are at work again.'

Bufton sadly shook his head, dabbing a rheumy eye with his crisp monogrammed kerchief. 'But surely...'

Hastings was not to be interrupted. He was speaking for England. 'For those who believe that the revival of a credible opposition is a vital interest of British democracy, it is a sorry picture. MPs find the choice bewildering and depressing. Whatever individuals thought of Clarke, Major, Hurd and Heseltine, all commanded passionate support as leadership candidates. The remedy proposed by Saatchi - finding "a vision"...' He snorted contemptuously. ' Seems as helpful as inviting Conservatives to form a focus group to invent Buddhism, Christianity or, for that matter, Satanism.'

He paused for Churchillian effect, and drained the remainder of his brandy. 'They are flummoxed. They must hope that events turn dramatically in their favour, because there seems little hope of any of the available leaders winning an election.'

Lord Bufton's monocle fell from his eye as he mopped the flecks of spittle from his moist slack lips. 'How true. How very true. If only the party would listen to you Max.'


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