The Editor has asked me to write (or should that be trumpet?) a last
post. Since the result won’t be announced until later today, it would
be inappropriate for me to declare who it’s being blown for. So here –
instead of a fanfare, riff, blast, trill or raspberry – is a brief
improvisation entitled “Seven Observations”:
(1) This long-drawn-out leadership contest was widely expected to lower
morale and sap expectations. Instead, it’s allowed a sense of
reinvigoration and renewal to blossom. Party conference was expected
to showcase division; instead, it provided a platform for debate and
discussion. And in the new Parliamentary session, rampant Ministers
were expected to taunt a hamstrung opposition; instead, that session
has seen the resignation of David Blunkett and the first defeat of the
Government in the Commons since 1997.
(2) As I’ve written before, DD must take much of the credit for this
turnaround. He went into the members’ ballot as the underdog. He
leaves that ballot as the underdog. It would have been easy for him to
fold his bid after the Parliamentary stage. Instead, he took the long
and winding road of the membership stage, with all that it entails:
nationwide hustings, television debates (in which he excelled), hectic
travel, ceaseless media scrutiny – all carried out despite the
expectation by others of defeat.
(3) If David Cameron wins, expect attention to be focused quickly on,
inter alia, the question of the relationship between the party and the
European Peoples’ Party.
(4) If DD wins, don’t expect attention to be focused quickly on
anything, because nearly everyone will be too surprised to react and
(in some cases) to think, though not (in all cases) to comment.
(5) Whoever wins, expect the party to end its quarter of a century as
the anti-establishment party of British politics. Remember: you read
it here first.
(6) Whoever wins, expect also to see the long dominance of the
conservative media over the Conservative Party (which began in the
Major era) to come to an end. David Cameron has already been greeted
as a diamond geezer by the Sun, yoked the Daily Telegraph to his
chariot wheels, and survived some passing unhelpfulness from the Daily
Mail. DC is clearly prepared to tell conservative commentators
politely but firmly when he disagrees with them. Expect no less of DD.
(7) I’ve enjoyed blogging on this site very much. I’ve enjoyed no less
reading the threads which have followed from others, have intended from
time to time to post a thread myself commenting on some of the
comments, and am sorry that my lack of technical prowess has prevented
me from so doing.