Thursday, September 29, 2005

Also Launched "The Tory Blair"

As well as DD, David Cameron also launched his formal leadership bid today. Mrs T watched it on the telly, and not for the first time, said "he's very good- makes all the rest of them look like amateurs".

And yes, he is very good- confident, articulate, and a good sense of humour. And in a similar vein, there's a very supportive profile of him in today's Grauniad:

'To his supporters - especially fellow members of the "Notting Hill Set" of modernising, young London Conservatives - Cameron represents the holy grail. He's telegenic, approachable, sanely eurosceptic, socially liberal, unburdened by baggage: a Blair for the Tories, though you'd never catch them putting it like that.

Above all, he stands a chance of addressing the party's central image problem, which is that for years now, in many circles, admitting to being a Tory has meant admitting not just to certain socioeconomic beliefs, but to being, somehow, a bit weird.'

All of which- according to Mrs T- came across powerfully at his launch. But as I keep trying to explain to her, he does have two or three drawbacks.

First, there's toffdom. Yes, I know, in 2005 Britain it doesn't matter. Except that...well, the next Labour leader doesn't agree, as we heard when he reviewed our candidates:

"David Cameron - the only new face - is an old Etonian. Their answer to their problems: not new 21st century conservatives, today's Tory party simply the same old rerun of the same old boys' network."

And I'm afraid he'd have much more fun like that with DC as leader. Even though the Blessed Tone is pretty well out of that same drawer.

Then there's the matter of DC's "managerialist" leanings. We've blogged about this before, and I remain concerned. On the other hand, Mrs T says nobody out in the real world gives a stuff whether he's managerialist or surrealist or even dematerialist. Our priority is to get re-elected. So strictly in terms of getting re-elected, maybe we should ignore that (although I'm not going to).

But what nobody can ignore is his extraordinary inexperience. He's only been an MP for some four years. And Education is his first major shadow post. In contrast, by the time he became leader, Tone had been an MP for eleven years, and had held a slew of frontbench posts. He had proved himself in the fire.

Interestingly, DC this morning arguing the need for change, said:

"The choice for the party has got to be who do you think really believes it?

Who will really stick to it when the going gets tough and the press attack you after a couple of years and say this is not distinctive enough, it isn't attacking enough?"

We agree. We also think such toughness is going to be a vital requirement for our next leader, which we think is one of DD's key attractions. Of course, it may well be that Cameron also possesses it. But unlike DD, he's never demonstrated it to us. In reality we know very little about him, and we haven't seen him tested by that fire.

As has been said over and over again during the Phoney Campaign, DC- and indeed several others among our newer MPs- look terrific hopes for the future. But right now- 2005- it's just too soon.

And reluctantly, after an appropriately "robust" debate, even Mrs T agrees.
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