Saturday Ramble: Beastly Eastleigh
In a fight to the finish it’s no use writing a polite note to your opponent requesting a date for the clash some time in the future.
David Cameron’s European policy lacks definition and is causing resentment and confusion in Continental Chancellories and his own party.
Cameron specialises in the promissory-note style of politics, in which a big speech resonates for a week or two then fades from the memory, signifying nothing.
By contrast, faced with a battle, Napoleon would march his men through the night and attack at dawn when the enemy least expected it. Audacity and controlled violence were his trademarks. He conquered most of continental Europe by these means.
As Goethe put it: “Boldness has genius. Magic and power are never far behind.” He would not approve of Dilatory Dave or Ossified Osborne.
What to do about a Conservative leadership whose main characteristic can be reduced to a single word: lacklustre? This is not going to change. It’s built into their characters.
Our one-percent per annum fiscal consolidation is winning muted plaudits from the international secretariat: Olli Rehn at the EU and others at the IMF. Caution seeps out of their bones.
The Prime Minister has stitched up this Parliament with a statutory 5-year term, throwing away every element of surprise. Neither Napoleon nor the Duke of Wellington would meet their Waterloo under such terms. The worst tactic in a game of poker is to put all your cards on the table.
That woeful third place in yesterday’s byelection at Eastleigh summed up the total of Tory ambition with just two years to go until the fixed General Election date. Excitement? You couldn’t fry an ant in it.
Meanwhile, in the real world, swashbuckling UKIP zoomed into second position behind the chaotic Liberal Democrats, bowed down — but not out — by sex scandals, dodgy law-breaking MPs and Euro fanaticism. At least they were interesting.
Watching David Davis on Wednesday’s Daily Politics reminded us how Prime Ministerial he can be, when insisting to a scornful EU Commissioner that a British exit was more than possible. He was too polite to mention that the only obstacle to that blessed state is his own leader and chummy clique of mainly ineffectual cronies.
Anyone who reads John Redwood’s daily email newsletter must also ruefully reflect that he would be an effective Chancellor of the Exchequer in these dangerous times.
David Cameron is now reduced to hoping that the public will never take to Ed Miliband and will carry memories of a broken Labour-led economy into the next election. After three years, perhaps, but he’s stuck with five, and the electorate may be more inclined to blame him and Osborne for a succession of dead-cat bounces.
Two years still to go? If only it were enough.
… who is the author of The Eternal Quest for Immortality: Is it staring you in the face? Available from Amazon and all good booksellers.
Coming up: Mystology: A different way of looking at the world. Also a website, mystology.com.