Monday, September 26, 2005

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.


Anonymous said...

How, on any scale, is Theresa May better qualified than Clarke or Rifkind?

Marcus Wood said...

There is no way that Mrs May is 'better qualified' as you put it than two long serving big hitters like Rifkind or Clarke. But we elected Howard on the basis that he was a 'big hitter' and the public quickly sussed out that that really meant "a return to John Major and all that".

Imagine if the Labour Party in the 1994 leadership contest had chosen someone like Roy Hattersley or even Robin Cook. Would ordinary (non old labour) people have believed that they had changed?

We simply have to reach out beyond the past, and that means leaving behind some of the characters who, frankly but probably unfairly, most people associate with Black wednesday, falling house prices and sleaze poltics.

Anonymous said...

If Ken Clark get it learn to live with just being opposition - even thats fadding.

I think Liam Fox would be a good choice

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately Howard was not a big hitter. Clarke is the only decent candidate for a leader the Conservatives have. He is the only one who would be a great statesman. This election is critical for the Conservative Party. Elect Clarke and they have a chance - it will show they are prepared to listen to the electorate who want Ken. Elect anyone else and it will be the death for the Party. It is your last hope.

Anonymous said...

I watched Liam Fox on telly this morning and was reminded of how lacklustre he can be on TV. He also didn't seem to have a clear plan. David Davis was just plain dull. Rifkind -no way, too scottish, too pompous. Clarke I like but worry about his european views, not just because I dont agree but because I can imagine the likes of Eric Forth and other Euro-sceptics just not settling for him as their leader; which leaves Cameron (who I don't really know) or, ? who else??

Serf said...

Clarke is totally unsuitable, his views on the EU, his lack of commitment to the party and his arrogance being just his three most obvious flaws.

Anonymous said...

As a Labour activist I'm a bit worried at the amount of common sense you are talking here regarding the leadership.I was delighted Howard got the job last time as it signalled a step back to the Tory party of the early/mid 90's. David Cameron would worry me most as he is a total departure from the EU obsessed ranters who we find so easy to defeat.

Although I still have faith in the Tory membership to make the wrong decsion.

Marcus Wood said...

You make a good point about the activists possibly yet making the wrong decision, actually I am confidant that Cameron will win the members ballot provided he is on it. I'm much more worried about the MP's keeping him off the final ballot (a la Portillo).

Barrie Wood said...

The media want Cameron as they imagine him as a Tory Blair. We've already got a Tory Blair in Tony ! Moreover, of course, Tories will vote for Old Etonian over 'Council House' David !!

Cameron is in the last two but appears to have no discernible political philosophy.

Davis is a poor orator and too right-wing. As a non-Tory I want Davis to win. I might not like NuLabs authoritarianism and centrist politics, but I remember the nightmare that was Thatcher. Lets see more of her to remind everyone how awful those times were for the less priviledged majority.

Tories will love Davis, the rest of the human race not !

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