Thursday, November 17, 2005

London reflections 5: David or David?

Another thing that was impossible to avoid when reading newspapers and discussing politics in London is the “David or David” race for the leadership of the Conservative (Tory) party in Britain. David Davis and David Cameron are the two candidates left in the race and the winner will be decided by a vote among all the members of the Tory party (those who are still actually members of the Tories have until December 5th to vote for David or David, and right now 11 events/debates with the two contenders are held in England, Scotland and Wales. Not that the Tories have any support in Scotland or Wales, but they are going there anyway).

Right now Cameron is clearly the frontrunner, and he will win unless something spectacular happens. BBC News has an excellent page with loads of information about the candidates (here), and my reflections are the following.:
1. David Cameron is younger (39), a better “communicator” (i.e. he is telegenic), and would give the Tories a necessary, younger touch in the election against Gordon Brown (!?) in say 2010. In short: a Notting Hill Tory modernizer.
2. David Davis is a more traditional, Eurosceptic Tory with a lot more experience (Cameron has only been an MP for four years, Blair had been an MP for more than ten years when he became party leader). Davis had a tough, council-house upbringing, and is regarded to be more solid on policy (Tory policy, that is).
3. As someone said during the weekend in London, the members voting for a new Tory leader would ideally want a David with Cameron’s public relations skills, and Davis’ experience and policy. When having to choose, they will go for the guy who looks good on TV. Is that necessarily bad for Labour, who might soon be challenged by a young, hungry opposition leader?

I would say no, the future of the Labour party will be decided by decisions within the party (and government). The Tories are still too irrelevant to do any harm, so Labour’s worst enemy would be a leader that does not understand to govern with his new, smaller majority, or a party that does not understand that it has a leader of incredible potential. Keep on going Blair, focus on reform instead of the Davids, but make sure to govern together with your MPs and your party.


Post a Comment

<< Home