Thursday, June 16, 2005

Political Happenings: Rebate snooze, Tory leadership rule change

Not a lot happening this week that is of much interest, unless you are enthralled by the British rebate and other assorted European shenanigans.

I just can't get excited i'm afraid. But here are some links:
Rebate Malarkey, what's it all about? - BBC

"Compromise is neither a dirty word nor a dereliction of the national interest" - Guardian

The Tories have finally decided it a good idea to let Mp's elect a leader, and to leave out the blue rinse brigade. About time, being as they always elect the unelectable. Maybe MP's having the final say will result in someone the electorate will be more inclined to vote for, and even like.
Speaking of which, youngster David Cameron has hinted he will run in a leadership election; Cameron makes Tory leadership ambition clear - Guardian:

"The youngest of the potential Conservative leadership challengers, David Cameron, today dropped the broadest hint so far he would be standing for the job."
Well at least he hasn't "thrown his hat into the ring" Tempest avoiding the cliché this time. Though he slips in this metaphor, whatever it means; "So far up to eight candidates have expressed an interest in replacing Michael Howard, but all are keeping their powder dry until the formal process for selecting a leader is chosen"

Keeping their powder dry?

Back to Cameron. At 38 he may be too young and inexperienced this time round, but the Tories need a Blair figure to reinvigorate the party, rather than one of the usual crusty suspects. No time for tepidness, the Tories need to break with their past.

Ok, how about going to the past to bridge to the future? Ken Clarke has decided not to throw any old hat into the ring, but one of his trademark Fedoras (that's enough of hats and rings, i promise) as he announced on Dimbleby his intention to stand as a candidate. I think that he would be a good interim leader. He has a presence that the other contenders lack, name recognition, one of the few popular MP's from Majors government, Successful Chancellor, he’s a heavyweight (not just his weight), could match Blair/Brown in the Commons and is a Pro Europe, moderate, one Nation Tory.

He could re- shape the party’s direction, groom the youngsters, and then make way for Cameron, if they lose the next election. Wishful and sensible thinking, but it's not going to happen. His problem in these contests has been that in the past the grassroots haven't liked his pro European stance, "He'll give Johnny Foreigner too much power, so we won't give him any". The leadership rule changes wont help, as the Tory MP's, like the party members, would rather be out of office than embrace a pro Europe leader. Much like labour in the 80's, when it was almost seen as virtuous to stay out of office as long as the party stuck to its ideals.
So it will be probably be David Davis leading the Tories to a fourth successive defeat. Then will things finally change?

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