Friday, May 06, 2005

Former FA Chief To Lead Tories

Or so Richard thinks. My money's on David Davis.

I'm delighted Howard is stepping down. Tory results are really very unimpressive; not really doing much more than what they should have won back last time round and failed to do. With Blair's unpopularity, that's pretty inexcusable. Worse still, in many potentially winnable seats, there was actually a Tory-BNP swing. I'll look at the numbers in more detail later, but the Tory immigration policy may have backfired badly.

Who should replace Howard? Well, I'd love a Clarke or a Patten comeback. But I'm a realist and know this won't happen. Howard will want to groom David Cameron as his successor; this would be a disaster for the Tories. No-one knows who Cameron is, and Cameron is much better at looking somewhat like Tony Blair than actually putting forward policy. Let's not forget he was in charge of the manifesto. If any young gun is a good idea, it's George Osborne, who impresses me far more. But it would be too early for him anyway.

There doesn't seem to be another option other than David Davis. Especially not now Letwin has been so unequivocal in denying interest. Liam Fox may give it a run, but Davis is the only figure with a remotely sufficient profile. This is a big shame for centrists like me who want a moderate Tory party as an electoral force. Davis seems to be the sort of guy I'd love to have a pint with, but we'd probably have our fair share of heated discussions. And he wouldn't take the Tories to a more socially liberal or small-state orientated polity. Yet I just can't see who else will beat him. The biggest hope that can come out of May 5th for the Tories is that the new intake will prove to have its fair share of top performers.