As Matt suggested, I’m getting some stick from Tories here in the Commons – mainly ones who have just seen today’s Spectator cover (Peter Brooke’s brilliant cartoon of Cameron about to be run over a bus) and asking if I’ve gone all Brutus. Quite the reverse. I merely sought to dangle regicidal Tories over the precipice and ask them to look down. Yes, things are grim. The Thames is still rising, the Daily Telegraph has a horrible poll tomorrow and the markets are crashing. But there are a few reasons for Tories to be cheerful:-
1. The Daily Mail is getting bored being so supportive of Brown, and its leader today has put him on notice. "It's almost as if Gordon Brown keeps a checklist of concerns raised by this paper during the Blair years - and, one by one, he's ticking them off" it says. The thought did cross my mind.
2. The public is increasingly furious about the European Union “reform treaty” especially as foreign leaders are admitting it’s the constitution by another name. Here’s a huge opportunity for Cameron to run a campaign leading up to Brown’s signing of this wretched thing in October. He’s firmly on the right side of public opinion.
3. The “broken society” agenda has now got a life of its own. Today the IPPR backed up what Cameron has been saying – Labour has failed to translate prosperity into social cohesion. Cameron seems to have shelved this for a while. A mistake. It should be part of the daily narrative for the Tories.
4. House prices are stalling, interests are rising and two major slugs of mortgage renewals are due October and February. As John Major found out, such pain quickly finds a political translation.
5. For all their whinging, the Tories do actually realise it’s Cameron or bust. In the grand scale of Tory rebellions, this wobble scarcely registers. Either he wins, or it’s another term (or two) of opposition to go. And Labour may well be around to implement these 2020 deadlines Brown keeps going on about.