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Mick Temple's Blog

CAMERON'S STATE OF EMERGENCY

11-08-2007

Gordon Brown's had a free ride since becoming Prime Minister as the Tories turn on themselves instead of their Labour rival. Mick Temple has some vote-winning advice for David Cameron.

What on earth is wrong with the Tory party? David Cameron recently spoke of the party being ‘hungry for power', but I can see little evidence of this. Every pronouncement from ‘Dave' and his increasingly unimpressive team must leave Conservative activists clutching their heads in embarrassment.

His ill considered attack on grammar schools, swanning off to Rwanda when his own constituency was under flood and the recent debacle in the Southall by-election are just the most public indications of a party that is clearly nowhere near ready for government.

Normally, the silly season is the time for party leaders to relax but recent terrorist alerts, floods, setbacks for British troops in Iraq and, of course, the foot and mouth crisis, have offered the opportunity for Cameron to display his leadership potential. He has failed to do this.

Gordon Brown ought to be reeling from the shortest honeymoon period in British political history. Instead, he's appeared positively statesmanlike, largely because of the lack of a credible opposition.

As Neil Kinnock was to Margaret Thatcher, Iain Duncan Smith to Tony Blair and Port Vale to Stoke City, Dismal Dave is to Gurning Gordon - none of them are in the same league.

The idea that Boris Johnson is a credible candidate to challenge Ken Livingstone - are they mad? I think they must be - is another sign that the Conservatives have a long way to go before government becomes a realistic proposition.

So, what do they do?

‘I know', said some berk in Conservative Central Office, ‘let's change our logo from a green tree to a blue tree. That will make us look dynamic …' No, you morons, it merely makes you look like a party without any serious ideas.

Does anyone know what the Conservatives now stand for?

There is a belief that in this new age of consensus politics no party which aspires to office can depart from the middle ground. That's rubbish.

The years of New Labour have seen a creeping and malign attack on our civil liberties. Since 9/11, the Tories have been afraid to confront this because of a fear of seeming soft on terrorism.

But the area of individual liberty and personal choice is the one battleground in which the Conservative party could launch a successful attack on Labour, if they had the nerve to do so.

Not too long ago (remember Michael Portillo in the wilderness?), it seemed as if the party would engage with rolling back the state on social as well as economic issues, but fear again - of being labelled ‘soft on drugs', for example, or of being attacked by the Daily Mail - led them to draw back from libertarian ideas.

As the state - in defence of our safety they tell us - draws ever tighter around us, will the Conservatives stand up for freedom and choice? If they did, they might even get my vote.

How could David Cameron win your vote? Leave a comment on our Message Board.

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