Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.
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As the Conservative leadership content heats up to an almost tepid finale, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the next General Election will be fought between Gordon Brown and David. But which David? Well, Cameron, most probably. Let’s be realistic here. The chances of David Davis winning are – well – low. This represents an interesting moment in modern politics – the heavyweight, overbearing Labourite vs the touchy-feely everyman Conservative. Reverse the party allegiances, and that could’ve been written ten years ago. Well, maybe not. John Major was never exactly heavyweight or overbearing, but he was clearly very ‘establishment’, which Brown also has a flavour of. Or summert.
My point (if I have one) is that the electorate appear to be looking for a change in leadership style, and bizarrely it’s Labour who are likely to supply this, while the Conservatives are desperately trying to emulate Blair. Which is somewhat unusual, and seemingly unwise.
But perhaps the Conservatives aren’t going for the Blairite approach at all. Perhaps they’re actually trying on the ‘chat-show Charlie’ Lib Dem approach, given that Charlie Kennedy is seemingly the most liked of the party leaders. If Cameron can manage to turn the Conservatives into something resembling a modern party, where a wide range of views are held, openly discussed, and considered, instead of the Labour approach of everybody being whipped into Tone-clones, then maybe he’ll be very successful. But then, when the Conservative party get talking, they seem to suddenly discover that they really don’t like each other, and re-enter the wilderness years where a number of factions roughly equal to the number of Conservative MPs appear, and no-one quite knows what’s going on, or what the party stand for, but are united in their dislike for the current leader. And the next leader. And possibly the one after that, too.
It seems rather cruel to criticise Cameron before he’s even taken office. But heck, since when has that stopped me? At the end of the day, in all likelihood he’ll do a reasonably good job. But without the united support of the party, that’ll mean nothing.