David Cameron: the rabbit in headlights…
You are crossing the road. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a 10-tonne truck swings round the corner and, rather than run, you do something rather silly, you just stand there and wait as you inevitably speed towards being flattened to the size of a grease spot. This is what David Cameron is doing now. He is standing, rooted to the spot, as the inevitable doom of his premiership rumbles inexorably towards him. Every day brings a new indignity and fresh humiliation, today, it was the indignity of being summoned to appear before Parliament by Labour in a manner that Cameron himself is definitely more used to dishing out rather than being on the receiving end of.
Thursday and the crucial round of local and mayoral elections must be looming large in Cameron’s mind at this point. On a local election level he will feel the pain of many Conservative MP’s if the projected rout of their Councillor activist base goes ahead. He may well be hoping for some cold comfort in the form of a Boris Johnson win in London. Either way, however, I think Cameron ultimately loses this contest too. If Boris loses then obviously the blood pressure of his MP’s will spike even higher and Bo Jo will be truly freelance again, a loose cannon that is likely to fire many bitter volleys in the direction of Number 10. However, even if Boris wins, rather than embolden and empower Cameron this will give a huge boost to his rivals. They will say, not without justification, that Bo Jo won despite, not because of Cameron, and he did so by pushing an agenda that is clearly distinctive to that of the government, witness his championing of a tax cutting agenda. Furthermore, while many Londoners see Johnson as a Mayor for the rich, if he wins, it will show to Conservatives that you can overcome that stigma and still win an election, and highlight Cameron’s severe difficulty in ridding himself of this Achilles Heel.
Don’t be under illusions, the Conservative Party will act swiftly and decisively once the best part of it is convinced it needs too. Generally speaking, as far as most members are privately concerned, they were born to govern and rule the country and will deal swiftly and decisively with any obstacle to that (the reason they didn’t with Major was because of the trauma caused by Thatcher’s departure). By contrast, privately, a goodly amount of Labour members feel they were born to storm the gates of heaven and change the world. An unpopular leader for us therefore, is something of a challenge worth undertaking and a secretly delightful two-fingered salute to the status quo.
Literally no way exists for Mr Cameron to come out of Thursday a winner, ultimately, all he can do now is watch and wait…..