Friday, 1 February 2008
The cracks are showing in Cameron's modernisation makeover
This week has been a salutary one for those in the commentariat who believe that ex-PR man David Cameron has modernised the Tory party, and brought it to the moderate centre. First, we had had the extraordinary story of Derek Conway and has family job-creation scheme, a classic example of the arrogance that so characterised the Tories in power and which led to their 1997 defeat; and taking £25,000 a year from the taxpayer to pay one's student son for not working is of an entirely different order to the late declaration of donations. Now, we have the MEP Daniel Hannan taking to the extreme the Europhobic tendencies that were limited to the 'bastards' under John Major, but which are now part of the party's mainstream, by comparing the German President's powers to those of Hitler in 1933. There are, to be fair, some serious modernisers in Cameron's shadow cabinet, but his makeover has not reached the wider party (as any conversation with local councillors or members aptly shows), and Hannan has simply given voice to their obsessive paranoia. Perhaps Cameron's failure to achieve decisive polling leads shows that voters already recognise that reality.