Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Is David Cameron losing the plot?

The funny thing about the Grammargate fiasco amongst British Conservatives is that it shows David Cameron in a consistently bad light.

He must know how resented his Old Etonian background is amongst many opinion formers- not least John Humphries- so stirring the pot on education will always leave some echo of the dreaded class war. The other thing that this is showing up is that Cameron is growing more isolated in his party- it is not just the right wing malcontents this time- even centrist MPs have been showing irritation.

Although this is obviously not the beginning of the end, it probably is the end of the beginning for Cameron. After a breezy first year or two, he must now engage in a war of attrition with quite a few of the Tory die-hards. Cameron has hitherto been a extremely lucky politician- this maladroit blunder is the end of his lucky streak.

In the end OE charm is not enough, and with the plodding policy review process now beginning to show its first fruits, I suspect that there will be sustained trench war on several fronts for the Tory leader over the next year.

Meanwhile, it is Gordon Brown who may inherit a little luck- there is some curiosity as to how or if he can make a big break from Blairism, and for a while at least the pressure could be off Labour while people size up whether a Brown premiership marks a real break or simply a continuation.

The next six months will decide the likely outcome of the next general election. After the slightly farcial Blair farewell gig, British politics might just be getting interesting again.

1 comment:

chris said...

the really weird thing about this whole episode is that in saying that he was not going to build new Grammar schools all he was doing was reiterating a policy of long standing. No new ones where built, and many existing ones turned into comprehensives, by Thatcher and Major. The substance of his speech, which was completely ignored by the media, was actually rather good being mainly about the parents and teachers knowing best and how to help them by letting them set up their own schools without state interference. It is almost as if the media being unable to understand a policy which did not have state at the heart of it simply decided to make something up to sell papers.