Sunday, 14 December 2008

Desperate times call for desperate measures?

This is precisely the question that David Cameron must be pondering as his poll lead has significantly evaporated. It has not disintegrated by chance. The strategic decision taken to adopt economic orthodoxy rather than pursue a more aggressive economic approach would be exceedingly damaging economically. People realise this so support for the Conservatives is eroding slowly but very surely.

There is a lot of hardship ahead so the political outlook may change and change quickly. For now, Labour is winning the economic argument and so people are taking a look at the party again.

Luckily, David Cameron has no shortage of advice. Take Michael Portillo in the Sunday Times this morning who alerts Cameron to his secret weapon: Kenneth Clarke. It is indicative of the wretched state of the modern Conservative party that this is not an option that he is likely to pursue. Why? Two reasons: Kenneth Clarke is pro-European and false loyalty for his friend, George Osborne.

The most revealing line in the piece is: "Nobody has changed the Conservative party as much and as fast as he [Cameron] has, yet he will seek office on much the same economic ground as William Hague and Michael Howard." The quote kind of contradicts itself. Nonetheless, the conclusion is devastating. David Cameron has followed the trajectory of all recent Conservative leaders. He will fight the next election on a Thatcherite platform.

Maybe the same trick will work eventually but it is most definitely not the direction that David Cameron wanted to take his party in. He has lost a grip on his political strategy and is now prey to, admittedly highly unpredictable, events.

Post script: Sunder Katwala has also written on this today though he discusses Chris Patten alongside Kenneth Clarke.

1 comment:

  1. Not entirely disintegrated if you look at yesterday's You Tube poll which has the Conservatives still above 40%. But I agree that the penny hasn't yet dropped with most people. Wait till after the Christmas 'feelgood' period is over, and the economy is continuing into freefall, the Brown bubble will burst pretty quickly then.

    Which famous US President said : 'You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time' ? Not even the Dishonorable M'Lord Mandelson can do that.

    Incidentally, I've changed my mind on the issue of an elected Upper Chamber - putting the unelected Mandelson there has finally persuaded me of the need to reform that Chamber - it was an excellent judgement, if that was the intention. It's worth losing 800 years of history, abolishing the hereditary peerage and fundamentally altering the Constitution, if it gets rid of Mandelson don't you think ?