Confident assertion from Eoghan Harris in yesterday’s Indo.
“Howard can beat Blair at the next British general election. Most of the British media don’t know this yet. Conservative papers hailed him as a safe pair of hands, an improvement on Iain Duncan Smith, a careful caretaker until someone more more charismatic comes along. But none of them had the bottle to say he could beat Blair at the next general election… But he can. Because anything that Blair can do, Howard can do better. Blair convinced the middle class they could trust him to be as conservative as John Major. But Howard can do this even better - and as a bonus he can secure the support of the upwardly mobile working class because, unlike the posh Blair, he came up the hard way. “
I think that a lot of the pundits miss the point about how to “modernise” the Tory party. With the linear left-right model in mind their assumption is that the Tories need to become more like New Labour to win. This may have been true of the route back to power for Labour, they did need to become more like the Tories but the same is not the case in reverse. Much as political pundits might wish it so, the British have not fallen out of love with the Tories because they became, pace Michael Foot’s Labour party, too ideological. The irony is that the “ideology” decried by liberal pundits was often closer to public opinion on Immigration, Europe or the Euro. Indeed it could be argued that the Conservatives were insufficiently ideological, jumping on whichever bandwagon, tacking towards Tony, wearing baseball caps on backwards in pursuit of power but with no purpose or consistent philosophy.