James Forsyth

Moore: Cameron is the best Tory opposition leader since Disraeli

Moore: Cameron is the best Tory opposition leader since Disraeli
Text settings
Comments

Charles Moore pays David Cameron quite a compliment in his Telegraph column today, calling him the most skilful Tory leader of the opposition since Disraeli. This is high praise indeed, especially as it comes from Margaret Thatcher’s official biographer. But, as Charles goes on to say, there are still significant gaps on policy:

“In 1978/9, [voters] would have known that the Tories promised something different on taxes, inflation, trade unions, and the Cold War. What do they know now? Nothing terrible, but also, nothing much.

The vagueness of these impressions might not matter politically if in fact the Tories did know what they wanted to do. But where are they on terror, "human rights", our constitutional decay, health service reform, local government, energy, our relations with America, the undeclared war in Afghanistan?” Looking through Charles’s list is instructive. I would say that on energy and political reform, the Tories are well prepared for government. (I’d wager that Greg Clark will be one of the most effective Tory Cabinet ministers). On the foreign policy questions things remain vague. Those close to Hague argue that this is out of necessity. But even if circumstances are going to change between now and the election, that’s no reason for the Tories not to spell out more clearly how they see the world and Britain’s place in it. The Tory agenda for NHS reform seems depressingly limited; too many of those close to the leadership are prepared to accept that this is not a first term issue. 

Cameron has proved himself politically, to say otherwise would be unreasonable given that the Tories are on course for a comfortable election win. But there remains much work to be done if the Tories are to enter government ready to be as radical as they will need to be. 

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

Comments
Topics in this articleSociety