TORY LEADERSHIP 3: Who Am I Backing?
First rule of politics: never publicly back anyone for leaderhip in case they don't win; unless they are offering you something in return.
Since when did I ever obey the political rulebook?
So for anyone who is interested here is my current ranking (i.e. my preferred choices) of the party runners and riders:
1) David Cameron, because I think he is a breath fo fresh air and also precisely because he hasn't been in Parliament for yonks I think he would make afresh choice and a clear break with the past.
2) David Davis, because he has an almost unbroken track record of success in politics, firstly as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee in the 97-01 parliament, he was an excellent Party Chairman in 01-03 and since then ahs excelled himself as shadown foreign sec.
3) Liam Fox, because he has a brilliant 'bedside manner' because he was a first class chairman of the party, because he has premier league brainpower, and lastly because he is good on TV.
4) Er, I'm struggling a bit now. Theresa May would be good - she is moderate, articulate, female, intellegent and wily, but I think she would be outclassed by Blair/Brown.
5) Ken Clark, well I'd learn to live with him as leader, I expect. I agree that he would give us an immediate fillip in the polls and would stand up well to Brown, and I back most of his politics except on Europe where I am directly opposed to his kind of 'muddle along for the time-being' view of the EU.
6) Andrew Lansley. Nice bloke, and down to earth. I'd have a spring in my step if he won but I really don't have a clue what he'd be like as a leader.
7) Tim Yeo. See 6.
8) Rifkind. I put him last because he is bettered in almost every way by one or more of the other candidates.
Noticeably I am, in common with nearly every Tory member I know, not basing the decision on their political beliefs as we have been prone to do in the last few leadership elections, because I think the (vast majority) Party has come to a kind of Euro-sceptic, but socially inclusive 'one-nation' consensus on the best way forward. I think the 'drift to the right' during the last fortnight of the general Election campaign that coincided with a drift downwards of three points in our poll ratings was the final proof that it's good, new, centre policies we need if we are to win.
As I have already said, all the leaderhip contenders are saying so, in one form or another, so I am not going to be too fussed whatever the outcome as long as they all stick to their guns.