The End of the Affair….
Boris Johnson’s narrow victory in London last night topped off a terrible set of results for David Cameron and his increasingly embattled cabal. Surely, a Conservative victory would be good news you would think? This would be true if it was the victory of a candidate who won while flying the Cameroon colours but it most definitely was not that; Johnson has defined himself as a distinct voice within the Conservative firmament. Partly, this is political posturing to off-set the effect of a dramatic poll slide by the government however, partly as well it reflects a genuine difference of the opinion. What is more, Johnson’s victory is grist to the mill of the Conservative right, they see it as a vindication, not a vilification, of their political position. Peter Bone MP told the BBC solemnly that Boris won because rather than being a Cameroon he ran as a true Conservative. Bone may be something of an outlying voice but he is reflecting an increasing groundswell of feeling within the Party which now has added to the noxious mix resentment of Cameron’s off-hand dismissal of his electoral loses. The increasingly vitriolic, anti-Cameron tone of Conservative Home is a fine testament to that smouldering resentment. Meanwhile, the Conservative supporting press is united, calling with one voice for the Conservative Party to be errrr well, more Conservative. Witness the coverage of the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph particularly, as well as the increasingly quarrelsome Murdoch press, which is at best passive-aggressive in its attitude to the Conservative leadership; these are not just media whistles in the wind either, a growing number of backbench Conservative MP’s are clearly restive.
Maybe Cameron will pose more to the right but he cannot ever what be what the right want him to be, one of them, a bootstraps and braces Thatcherite. Asking him to be a convincing voice for the nations ‘grafters’ is a bit like asking Tony Blair to be the unbroken thread that passes through Marx and Lenin, its to ask somebody to go against the very grain of their political DNA. Boris may well be from the same background but he is instinctively more adaptable and his roguish charms make him more accessible to those sitting on lower branches of the money tree. He has shown this in his current role, consistently polling showed that Londoners recognise he is a ‘mayor for the rich’ but they didn’t care enough to eject him from office, true, Ken Livingstone lost the race as much as Boris won it but still, had the Conservative candidate been a Cameroon, we may well have had a different result.
Cameron’s problem is cited by many as being the Coalition with the Liberal Democrats. However, the Coalition is a visible symptom of a deeper political closeness with the Orange Book Lib Dems which makes them alien to the true blue Conservative Party. Orange Book Liberal Democrats, Labour’s Blairites and the Cameroons could conceivably all belong to the same Party because they all have similar values, socially liberal and economically neo-liberal, they all swim in the same centrist sea but now are mired in the same swamp; their power is in terminal decline following the financial crash. The Blairites power within the Labour Party is much diminished and on the government benches the Cameroons and Orange Bookers have just been given an electoral hiding. Nick Clegg is facing the same problem as Mr Cameron, his broken and lost Party is seeking to expel him and the politics he represents but they will fail because Orange Bookism is now hard-wired into the Lib Dems DNA by the desertion of more left-of-centre voters and activists back home to Labour. When the Conservative right strikes, and it is only a matter of time before this happens, the Liberal Democrats will be first against the wall and the only way for the Conservatives to finally rid themselves of the yellow peril is to throw them to the waiting wolves; go for broke and call a General Election. This would be easy to justify if the Conservatives have a new leader, they could declare the Coalition deal nul and void and therefore, correctly, say they need a fresh mandate from the country.
The Liberal Democrats will not end the Coalition, they know what awaits them at the polls, a desperate struggle to avoid plunging even deeper into the political abyss but the Conservative right may well end it and set in motion the actualisation of the real conflict in this country which is between it, the true Conservative Party and us, the only credible opposition. It is only a matter of time before Cameron falls and as soon as he does then the brief and torrid affair that has been the Coalition government will come to an end and frankly, as things stand, that end cannot come soon enough, especially for the long-suffering country.