I wasn’t expecting to post today but I’ve just noticed The Mail has joined the chorus of concern about David Cameron’s early steps as leader. Today’s Dail Mail editorial says:
"In a breathtaking few weeks [Mr Cameron] has issued announcements on everything from immigration to the environment, education and tax. It has been a bravura if somewhat glib performance. His policy is clear. He believes he can afford to risk offending traditional Tories with liberal policies that reach out to people who wouldn’t normally dream of voting Conservative. This is a high risk strategy."
The Mail goes on to highlight a number of concerns:
- Oliver Letwin’s remarks on redistribution;
- Backtracking on allowing schools a free hand on pupil selection;
- Silence about "the scandal of a nation that has lost control of its own borders";
- "The gimmick of appointing Bob Geldof, who says he will give a total of three hours’ advice to the Tories in 2006";
- "As a new broom, Mr Cameron could have chosen to distance himself from [the Iraq] debacle. Instead, all the signs are that he wants to cosy up to the discredited Bush administration."
The Mail intervention follows The Times’ suggestion that Mr Cameron was in danger of being a "political tart", The Business (which, every Sunday, offers my favourite editorial pages) warning about a lack of boldness, The Telegraph’s concerns over redistribution and the delayed exit from the EPP; and yesterday’s interventions by The Sun and The Spectator.
None of this means that Mr Cameron’s leadership is in any kind of danger. The same newspapers recognise Mr Cameron’s political starpower and his impact on the Tories’ poll rating. Mr Cameron should not be tempted to ignore these warning shots, however. He may have been elected Tory leader without much help from the ‘Tory press’ but he shouldn’t unnecessarily offend them and their readers.
ConservativeHome welcomes the new leader’s emphasis on environmental and justice issues but as argued on Thursday – the new issues should be locked to the more familar conservative beliefs through the discipline of the ‘And Theory‘.