Martin Bright

Let the Alan Duncan Incident Be a Warning to You, Mr Cameron

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The last time I was invited to Alan Duncan's office in the House of Commons I took a film camera with me. I didn't hide it and took a film crew along with me. Duncan was charming, if a little cheesy, and talked eloquently about why Ken Livingstone's oil deal with Hugo Chavez was bad news for London and Venezuela.

But during the interview there was something that gave me a glimpse into Alan Duncan's soul. Not an off-the-cuff comment about MPs having to live on rations. But a framed photograph proudly displayed on a bookshelf. It was a screenshot from Prime Minister's questions of Alan Duncan alongside George Osborne and they were -- there is no other word for it -- braying. It was posh Tories in their full pomp and it sent a shiver up the spine. This, I thought, is what we have to look forward to.

There is a scenario that David Cameron and his inner circle should consider. In fact, they must be considering it already if they are half the politicians I think they are. The Conservatives could win the next election and at present it looks a near certainty.

But then someone will let it slip. Remember this is still the party of privilege. Most candidates (even the younger ones) are wealthy, privately educated and completely out of touch with the majority of people in the country. It is astonishing in the 21st century that they have been given even a sniff of power. Someone will bray or guffaw or sneer or in some way demonstrate how completely they fail to understand how people live. In the middle of an economic downturn, with unemployment over three million this will be political death for them.

It is quite conceivable that with months of a Conservative victory, the British people would despise a Tory government every bit as much as they did the present Labour one. That is why Cameron is lucky that Duncan's outburst came when it did. He now needs to inflict  a discipline on his party every bit as strict as the early years of New Labour. But where Tony Blair expunged traditional class hatred from his party, Cameron must stop his from justifying it.