The cracks are showing for the Cameroons
Will there be an outright Cameron ousting before the next election? Perhaps not. But expect the number of disgruntled, disappointed Conservatives to increase
The proposition was simple: to “detoxify” the Tory brand. David Cameron would sum up the realignment of his party by replacing the old torch of Britain logo with a tree. The brief was to hug hoodies, bang on about the environment instead of the EU and tone down old small-c conservative principles. The likes of grammar school expansion and proper downsizing of government were out of the window.
This would all have been fine, dandy and credible if Cameron had delivered a Conservative majority, just as Tony Blair did after initiating his own ideological purge of the Labour Party. But the fact is that Blair won and Blair won big. Cameron’s Big Society limped across the finishing line and now sits in bed with the Liberal Democrats. The people rejected the Cameroon manifesto when it stood up against an incredibly weak Prime Minister in Gordon Brown. A Conservative victory should have been assured.
In Nick Clegg’s own words, the more he sat and spoke to David Cameron, the more the pair found they had in common. It is hardly radical to suggest that the right-of-centre Orange Book LibDems comprising of the likes of Clegg and David Laws practically are as Cameroon as Cameron and George Osborne themselves.
Frequently we hear of stress among the Coalition, but only from the backbenches or prominent Cabinet figures that are on the Right or Left of the Coalition such as Vince Cable or Iain Duncan Smith. The main players seem far more relaxed in one another’s company than Blair and Brown were.
This merged orthodoxy is delivering a highly unpopular government and though the LibDems have taken the biggest body shots in terms of poll ratings due to several dismal political calculations, it is David Cameron himself who is now clearly being directly targeted.
The realignment of the Conservative Party has delivered a government that has utterly capitulated on its supposed agenda for EU reform, that is dithering badly on economic policy and which has simply failed on its migration pledge, constrained by the open borders that EU membership inevitably brings.
Whilst those outside of the party have long been able to understand why Cameron’s lack of ideological backbone would naturally lead to a government lacking in vision and a clear sense of coherent direction, now many inside the party are seemingly beginning to draw the same conclusion.
Later this month the Windsor Conservative Association is teaming up with The Taxpayers’ Alliance and The Freedom Association to hold a ‘Conservative Renewal’ conference featuring the fiercely anti-Cameron firebrand James Delingpole alongside ConservativeHome’s Tim Montgomerie, with the only anti-EU Tory MEP Daniel Hannan also amongst the speakers.
Interestingly, huge Tory donor and big beast Lord Ashcroft was also reported by Guido Fawkes to be attending and he did appear in an early version of the conference program. The Cameroons are clearly paying attention – Ashcroft’s face has now been removed and presumably he’s been told he can’t attend.
There have been other murmurings recently from inside the party that suggest that all is not well. MP Colonel Bob Stewart was asked by two Tory MPs to mount a challenge against Cameron, but rejected it out of hand. Meanwhile Zac Goldsmith is said to be keen to resign his seat if Boris Johnson is willing to step into the Westminster battle against not just a third runway, but a Cameron-led government that seems to be shaky on all of the details, ripping up and u-turning on policy as it goes along. Nowadays it seems that any Tory activist you speak to would bite your hand off to have Boris Johnson as PM over Cameron and it isn’t hard to see why.
These are the sown seeds bearing fruit for Cameroonism. It blagged its way into the heart of the Tory Party by promising power and a government based on proper conservative principles. Instead, it has disappointed many that voted for it and increasingly many of those who must stand on its ticket in the next General Election.
Will there be an outright Cameron ousting before the next election? Perhaps not. But expect the number of disgruntled, disappointed Conservatives to increase. The Cameroons can’t deliver and they won’t deliver.
Michael Heaver is a writer, blogger and right-wing activist. He tweets at @Michael_Heaver
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