Eton School‘s reputation is for the best education money can buy. Indeed, they have supplied more British Prime Ministers than any other institution. But what happened to “Cameron Minor” when everyone else was being told not to speak ill of people?
My mother (grammar school, northern town) always instructs me that if one can’t say something nice about somebody, say nothing at all. And life has taught me that bad-mouthing people actually reflects worse on the speaker than the target. It is the ultimate in futile, self-harming spite.
And yet, David Cameron, with all those thousands of pounds of education, and numerous examples of how interfering ex-PM’s do not look good – see Edward Heath for how not to do it, Mrs Thatcher for a good example – has chosen to come out making sharp comments about his ex-schoolmate Boris Johnson, and his ex-friend Michael Gove.
Two days later, I can’t even remember what he wrote about his two ex-colleagues, but I do recall the fact that David Cameron lessened himself by hitting out. And what a contrast when Boris was knifed in the back by Michael Gove: Boris, also Eton-educated, never said a word in public, though one has to wonder what he said in private! So who has shown more statesmanship?
There is just one more thing though. David Cameron has a book to sell. And the timing is great – the party conference is coming, and Brexit remains somewhat topical. Could it be that this is not the real David Cameron, but manufactured bitchiness designed to sell autobiographies? In some ways, that is even worse!
Last week, we speculated how Brexit could be extended by 12 months to 31 October 2020 in our “The End of May BY The End of May” article. Prolonging the agony? More like extending the fun for us.
Whilst always hesitant to make forecasts – particularly about the future (Ed. What other kinds of forecasts are there?) – it still feels like change is in the air-conditioning.
Mrs May is due to meet the 1922 Committee Executive (aka The Men In Grey Suits) later this morning. According to the Daily Telegraph, they will tell her that the game is up and she must leave before the summer recess.
You know what this means???? Instead of a quiet summer forgetting about politics, we will have a Tory Leadership / PM election contest.
As you know, the system is that the MPs elect a shortlist of two, with the grassroots Conservative members making the final choice. Last time, Andrea Leadsom made it on to the ticket, but them withdrew, resulting in no contest. The activists will not stand for that this time.
In normal times, the MPs would choose two characters broadly acceptable to a majority of themselves: truly a case of who has the fewest enemies. This is how we had such bland leaders as John Major and David Cameron. Nobody would call either of them dynamic inspiring leaders, but they were widely tolerated.
However, this is not a normal time. This is a national emergency akin to when Margaret Thatcher was elected as Tory Leader in 1975. Ted Heath had thoroughly blown it for the blues, and a radical change was required. It’s not quite the same as Winston Churchill riding to the rescue in 1940 – though the analogy may have occurred to Mr Churchill’s biographer, one Boris Johnson.
Thus this time, it won’t be a healing, centre-ist, least-objectionable leader. The last thing the grass-roots Tories want is “Continuation May”. The May approach hasn’t worked out well so far has it?
Priority number one for the MP’s and activists is winning the next election. Right now, they have no chance. An election tomorrow would result in a hung parliament – with Labour ahead but Brexit Party not far behind, and the Tories third. So the Tories can see that they need to return more to their free-trading, right-wing, libertarian roots. Oh, and they need to resolve Brexit in a manner that makes it seem like a) it has really happened, and b) it doesn’t look like the EU got one over on us!
There will be a cast of candidates – and it really is a Grand National where anyone could win. However, of the runners and riders, we believe Boris will make the conquest. He is not tainted by the current Government incompetence, he is generally thought to have done a half-decent job winning the London Mayoral election and then actually running it. What the Conservatives need more than anything is a break from Mrs May, and a proven election-winner. As an alternative, Liz Truss has caught our eye because she believes in traditional Conservative small-government and free markets – values which make the conservatives seem more than “Labour-lite”.
The MPs are aware that their Constituency Chairs and members have had enough. Pressure will be applied to select a winner.