Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Ken "Only Electable Element"

With characteristic modesty, Ken tells the Times:

“I personally believe we are the only electable element of the Conservative Party”.

We? Yes he's including the Portillistas in his "One-Nation" tent, but specifically excluding...well, us.

And Europe?

"If the only reason I am defeated is because of Europe and because MPs and the voluntary party are fixated on Europe as a defining issue, I fear the Conservative Party will be in opposition for a very long time to come — and that fixation is a reason we have performed so badly at recent general elections."

Interestingly, elsewhere in the Times Danny Finkelstein points out that Europe has definitely not gone away as an issue: Gordon Brown can hardly wait to drive it into the heart of a Clarke led Tory party. Finkelstein- no stranger to party splits from his SDP days- concludes:

'All this is a tragedy because the attractions of Ken Clarke are obvious. The Conservative Party desperately needs a big beast, bluff, self-confident, a world statesman, as its leader. But it also desperately needs to avoid a split. It was splitting that finally did for the Liberal Party and it could do for the Tory party too.'


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