Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Heir To Blair

Peter Oborne reckons: 'David Cameron, has come to base his candidacy on the sublime proposition that he is the natural successor to Tony Blair. Cameron’s supporters openly claim that just as Blair, not John Major, was the inheritor of Thatcher, so Cameron rather than Gordon Brown will take on the gleaming Blair legacy.'

This of course is exactly what our "modernisers" intend (see for example DC supporter Michael Gove posting on Conservative Leadership Blog).

But really. What is the point?

Gove may argue that 'we are lucky that a broad policy consensus unites most of the leadership candidates', but that isn't what's coming across out here. Indeed, the longer this contest lasts, the more we can see the ideological gap between Davis and Fox on one side, and Cameron and Clarke on the other. As Howard suggested, we need to make a real choice about direction.

From the other side, John Kampfner writes:

'The ideological...debate in Britain has rarely been so empty. The Tories have alternated between headbanging and empty centrism for its own sake. Both in their harrumphing and their self- hating, they have vacated the political space that they should be occupying.

It is only when the Conservatives adopt clear and distinct positions on tax, the funding and delivery of public services, on the relationship between the state and individual, between social provincialism and metropolitanism and, crucially, on our role as a nation state and our relations with the US and Europe that Britain's political culture will revive. And for that, many in the Labour party who see politics as more than the exercise of power will be grateful.'

And not just those in the Labour Party, John.

PS Compare and contrast- New Statesman Editor Kampfner: 'Davis...may have what it takes to confront a Labour leader across the dispatch box. So did William Hague, and where did that get him?' So from across the floor DD is obviously seen as pretty good in the bearpit.

"Solid Tory" Bruce Anderson: '...at the Despatch Box, [DD] sounded like a freshly captured slave who had just been chosen to become a castrato...self-obsessed...rambling...jealous...no signs of activity...unsatisfactory...unpopular...over-promising...etc etc'


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