The onward march of David Davis…..
If I was in David Cameron’s position i’d seriously consider sticking pins in a David Davis shaped doll. Mr Davis is playing a near-perfect hand of political poker as things stand. He isn’t directly attacking Mr Cameron but instead spelling out an alternative agenda and acting as a conduit for backbench discontent. Others, like Tim Yeo, are being left to mount the more personal attacks while Mr Davis maintains a air of assumed semi-loyal dignity. As anybody deeply involved with politics knows he who wields the dagger never wears the crown.
Mr Cameron’s leadership is tottering and on the point of falling. One of the most telling passages in the interview Davis gave to the Sunday Telegraph is his description of the mood on the backbenches:
Mr Davis said many Conservative MPs are “nervous” and “uncomfortable” about the compromises made while in Coalition. “Their greatest worry is the economy – they realise it will decide the next election,” he added.
You can imagine the effect a defeat, especially a very heavy one, in the Corby by-election will have on such an already agitated atmosphere. Of course, the prescription for an ‘alternative’ economic strategy outlined by Mr Davis is absolutely bonkers. Demand collapses in the economy so Mr Davis says lets have more austerity, tax revenues are collapsing (a major contributory factor to ballooning debt) so Davis says ‘lets cut taxes’. However, it deserves serious scrutiny from Labour strategists because it will, in time, become the strategy of the government. As things stand, we don’t have a coherent answer and the vision articulated by Mr Davis is potentially a potent force when put-up against one from the government that is totally non-existant and one from the Opposition that is timid, weak and incoherent. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is usually king.
Facing its own restive and rebellious backbenches, a Opposition that is polling strongly, the odds are tilted heavily against Mr Cameron’s survival in office for too much longer and when the axe falls, you cant help but feel Mr Davis will suddenly appear on the scene once again.