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Jerry Hayes

Cameron’s first political bomb

May 27th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

While Downing Street officials repair the broken door panels and no longer feel nervous when standing next to their new boss under a full moon, Cameron must be wondering when the first political bomb will explode. Well, it won’t be the election of Graham Brady and his chums to the Chairmanship and executive of the 1922 Committee.

The press will portray this as a blow to his authority from the right. But if anything, it could strengthen the coalition. The Conservative leadership is always at its best when it doesn’t pretend to have unfettered power. Brady is not a head banging loon with the ego of Bill Cash. His views may be out of kilter with the Cameroons, but he is not of the swivel-eyed, Lederhosen tendency, which kept the Conservatives out of government for thirteen years. Many of his thoughts will be as welcome as a cup of cold sick, but they will represent the views some rather confused backbenchers and activists who have had their political compasses removed. The new 22 executive should not be regarded as the enemy, but a useful valve to ease some of the pressure. David Cameron ignores them at his peril.

The first whiff of serious discontent will be over a capital gains tax hike. It’s starting to have traction already. Soon the Daily Mail will be tearing at our heart strings with tales of elderly grannies who have saved all their lives only to be thrown to the wolves by the Cleggeroon Commies. One word of advice. Don’t face people like Redwood and David Davis down. The midwife of this coalition has been and must remain, commonsense pragmatism. Openly consult and debate. If there is wiggle room, shake your political hips like Jordan, as long as people know there has to be a price; the money will have to be found somewhere. This is not a time for the political machismo that destroyed Gordon Brown. If a sensible and costed compromise can be found, let it be done.

Watching the Labour leadership campaign is like a cross between Scrapheap Challenge and Miss World. The Miliblands have sailed through the swimwear round, but are still at that embarrassing stage of drivelling  banality. And as for Ed Balls? It is unfortunate that he always looks like he’s just come back from a seal clubbing holiday in Nova Scotia. As one Labour sage once told me, “Ed is a really nice guy, until you get to know him”. And who’s left? Diane Abbott?For God’s sake, the woman’s got more Me Me Mes than Pavarotti and her head is so far up her backside she needs a team of sniffer dogs to remove it. The only thoroughly  decent man in the contest is John Cruddas, who has had the honesty and humility to say that he doesn’t have that Papal certainty that is a necessary in a leader. And here lies the problem for Labour. They are floating in an eerie vacuum. They have just seen two parties mutate into a socially aware progressive coalition, that actually seems to tap into a primal chord. If Labour go left they are doomed. But if they stay as they are, they will be in political purgatory for eternity. I don’t know the answer. Neither I suspect do the leadership contenders.

And finally. Did anyone read the rather eccentric piece in the Guardian yesterday by David Marquand? He was suggesting that the realignment of British politics should be along the lines of  Caroline Lucas and the Greens. Now I don’t wish to be unkind, but the smile of La Belle Lucas makes Gordon Brown’s look warm and winning.

But was this the David Marquand who was a Labour MP and then fled to Brussels with Roy Jenkins when he became President of the Commission? I fear so. When Woy left he made a parting speech to friends. In full lisp he said,” I leave this house with sadness, but without wrancour”.  To which a wag commented, “But I thought you were taking David Marquand with you”. I think that says it all.

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