The Spectator

Time for Cameron to reflect

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Perhaps the best outcome of these torrid last few weeks is that the Cameron project has been brought down to earth. After winning the party leadership against all the odds, some of the Cameroons had the idea they could walk on water, and rewrite the normal laws of politics. They thought if they said the mantra “social responsibility” long enough, the phrase would mean something. That they could change society by exhortation, not legislation. That companies could be dragooned into implementing government priorities. All of this new-age nonsense has proved as useful as a chocolate fireguard in the heat of Brown’s first few days.

Try to finish the sentence “I really want the Conservatives to win the next election because…” I certainly can’t – and to me, this encapsulates Cameron’s problem. Today’s voters want parties to do something for them, and the party without a practical purpose has no future. The good news is that, as Cameron stares at his evaporated opinion poll lead, he’ll by now realise his mistake.

Cameron is off on overseas adventures this week and to Brittany (by train, of course) afterwards. He’ll have much time to think about what’s gone wrong. And when he comes back, I suspect we’ll see a much-sharpened Tory battle machine.

PS – if any Coffee House readers can finish that sentence, please let me know.