With our overstretched army bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan, violent crime on the streets out of control, a run on a high street bank, teachers assaulted in their classrooms, bullying by pupils over the internet, illiteracy growing, the NHS shambles in which young British doctors are left jobless while thousands of foreigners are imported to take their jobs, house prices soaring way beyond the reach of ordinary families, even the Commission for Racial Equality admitting that uncontrolled immigration and multiculturalism — those totems of New Labour — are threatening the stability of society, there should be a spring in David Cameron’s feet as he pedals north to Blackpool.
Surely he must deserve to be 20 points ahead of that dull, uninspiring Brown — a man with no charisma and a record of imprudent borrowing and spending to put Northern Rock’s mild profligacy in the shade — a man tainted by his association with the Blair regime.
The one-day wonders of a few MPs drifting across the middle ground to shelter in Brown’s big tent apart, there has been a remarkable loyalty among senior Tories, in public at least. As for Lady Thatcher’s photo call at No. 10, that must have brought great satisfaction to the Cameroon inner circle who have been trashing Thatcherism, distancing Cameron from her, and selling their leader as the heir to Blair. They must be pleased to see Brown risking the unpopularity of being seen as heir to Thatcher — not Blair.
So things, Cameron might have thought, could hardly be better for the Tories. Yet somehow it is Labour that seems to be in the lead. Something, somewhere, has gone wrong and the Tories can only hope that they will be given time to get it right. First of all they have to realise it is not all David Cameron’s fault.