Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Greasy Pole

The Sunday Telegraph reports frenetic activity around DC's greasy pole. Naturally much of it is self-promotion. But plenty of energy is also being directed at doing down DD. According to anonymous well-wishers:

'David Cameron...plans to "humiliate" his rival, David Davis, by demoting him. Mr Cameron is planning to strip Mr Davis of his job as shadow home secretary and award the post to Liam Fox... Mr Davis will be offered the lesser post of shadow defence secretary and told it is "a job he cannot refuse".

A Cameron ally said yesterday: "Davis's reputation has fallen dramatically. There is no question in our minds that the leader of the Right is now Liam Fox."

In a cooing profile of DC, the S Times expands:

'Davis...has seen his status slip from “SAS hero to middle-management zero” in the space of a few months, joked one of the left of the party last week.

Shadow defence secretary...may not be a top job, as one Cameron adviser said, but it is “bloody hard to turn down”.“Davis needs to be kept in check by being offered a decent, relatively senior job,” explained another.'

So far, so predictable- none of us really expects too much in terms of magnanimity from our ever-lovin' MPs.

But much more concerning is how DC's supporters would apparently interpret the broader significance of victory:

'For the “Cameroons” it is not so much the beating of the man (DD) that is important but the fact they have beaten his politics. If this is the case, some radicals ask, why not banish him to the back benches? What better way of signalling that the Conservative party is on the road to reform?'

Now just a cotton pickin' minute there. If you DC supporters really think you've won the policy battle, you're in for some serious disappointment. As the ST points out:

'The Davis question is made all the more significant by the fact that Cameron has not necessarily won the hearts of party members but has successfully appealed to their heads by demonstrating his strength among the electorate.

Smart, metropolitan and at ease with modern Britain, the Cameroons have effectively been saying to the blue-rinsed Tory grass roots: “You may not fully understand or even agree with everything we say, but we can win.”

Having had my own blue rinse touched up only this week, I'm well placed to underline that comment. Cameron's proffered usp is that his charm, his noteless speeches, his charisma can get us elected. Not that he will rewrite all our policy beliefs.

And what better way of indicating good faith than to offer Davis a senior post. Just as Davis would for him.


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