1 Oct 2014 at 08:39
Why anybody wants to be leader of a party, let alone Prime Minister is beyond my comprehension. Your private life is subjected to an unhealthy scrutiny by a carnivorous and mischievous media. You have to react immediately to a crisis with an instant and popular plan. You are obliged come up with vote winning policies which will please all the wings of your party. And whatever you say, do, or even think, you will either be accused of dithering, being too weak or too strident. You are out of touch, in touch, man of the people and devoid of reality all at once. There are those who hate you because you haven’t promoted them. Those who despise you because to sacked them and those who harbour grudges because of some perceived slight years ago.
But the worst part of the job must be having a quiet chat with a Cabinet colleague whom you know is whispering vitriol into the ears of the press and would dance on your political grave. So you realise that you can’t trust most of your Cabinet and surround yourself with a few close friends who would lay down their lives for you. This is denounced as a Chumocracy and those who wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire resent the fact that they are not included in your inner circle. And when you hold your nose and wine, dine and listen attentively to the cranks, greasers and chancers who infect your party, rather than be thanked and given a little credit for having to put up with their ghastliness you are accused of being patronising.
So today David Cameron will try and unite the warring tribes that make up the Conservative Party. Whatever, he says he will either be accused of lurching to the right, pandering to the Kippers or not being robust enough on the EU. But nothing he says or does will satisfy the Rampton Wing of the Tory party. John Major once said that it was like feeding crocodiles. You throw them a bun and they still slither in the swamps demanding more. These people are a lost cause. They don’t represent the majority of decent people who swell the ranks of the party. Today Cameron must talk to the nation not to his party. He must not make the mistake of Miliband whipping up cheap applause from the converted. He should speak to those having their tea who are worried about jobs, security, their children’s education and whether their parents will be treated with dignity and compassion in their final years. That should be his audience.
I wouldn’t have David Cameron’s job if you paid me a kings ransom. As he looks round his audience this afternoon I wish he could say to those Cabinet Ministers who brief against him, those backbenchers who despise him and those fickle donors desperate for gongs, influence and prestige, ‘and as for you lot why don’t you just fuck off and join UKIP. Be gone and good bloody riddance’. There would be an outcry. Owen Patterson, Chris Grayling and Iain Duncan Smith would go into meltdown. But the Tory Party would return to being the decent, caring, competent Party that used to win elections.
David Cameron is a great Prime Minister who wants to do ‘the right thing’. His instincts are right. He could win the next election if only his party would let him. Whether they have the collective good sense to unite against the real enemy is something that delights Ed Miliband and terrifies me.