Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Cameron should not be replaced as Tory leader but it's high time he demonstrated more solidarity with Britain's quiet conservative majority

In the life of most ruling parties comes an outbreak of MTT - the mid-term tension that emerges when poll ratings plummet, by-elections bring bitter disappointment and backbenchers, impatient for progress, agitate for a change of direction.

It is the moment when many start to give voice to their frustrations, while the ambitious begin planning ahead for the possibility of vacancies at the top.
This is the plight David Cameron faces today, as MTT sweeps both Coalition parties, undermining discipline and assailing his position from every side.

On his right, former Defence Secretary Liam Fox unveils a radical wish-list of policies to slim down the State, as Home Secretary Theresa May sets her stall for a possible leadership challenge after 2015.

On his left, maverick Business Secretary Vince Cable openly attacks the Chancellor's economic policy (while not ruling out cutting the NHS). Meanwhile, a flailing Nick Clegg seeks to distance himself from the Tories, as his MPs' thoughts turn increasingly to rebellion.

Ever present and brooding in the wings, the hugely ambitious Boris Johnson weighs up his chances of a triumphant re-entrance to the Westminster stage.

The Mail has three words of advice for them all: calm down, dears.

The truth is, barring the unforeseeable, there is no realistic chance of a change of tenant at number 10 before the election. For, embattled though Mr Cameron is, no potential candidate for his job commands enough respect to replace him.

Nor has anything significant changed (more's the pity) about the national crisis that brought the Coalition parties together. Indeed, Britain's debt is still growing. And whether they like it or not, both ruling parties will be judged in 2015 on their success or failure in tackling it.

The Lib Dems must decide if there is any advantage for them in sabotaging the Coalition. This paper strongly doubts it.

For the Tories, however, the message is clear: they should stop the plotting and rally behind the only leader they've got.

But the Prime Minister should also do something in return.

For years, he's been too preoccupied with trying to rebrand the Tory Party, pursuing obsessions such as gay marriage and overseas aid, which frankly bewilder many of his core voters.

The result, as Eastleigh showed, is that constituency workers have been giving up in their droves, enfeebling what was once the country's most efficient election-winning machine, while many voters have turned in despair to UKIP.

Indeed, one of Mr Cameron's greatest mistakes was to insult UKIP supporters as 'fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists', instead of trying to lure them back into the Tory family to which most of them naturally belong.

If he is to win back the loyalty of the quiet majority in Britain who regard themselves as conservative, it's high time he started proving he's on their side.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2291827/DAILY-MAIL-COMMENT-How-relieve-mid-term-tensions.html#ixzz2NKp6WS4f
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