Simon Heffer believes that the Tories should now be 16% ahead given "Labour’s meltdown" and the weakness of the Liberal Democrats under the "utterly inept" Ming Campbell. He thinks that Labour will recover somewhat under Gordon Brown and that the LibDems will ruthlessly ditch Ming. Where will this leave the Tories, he asks?
Mr Heffer argues that the Tories need to do more to positively address Britain’s failures under Labour. He highlights illegal immigration, the pensions disaster, Labour’s economic mismanagement and the ‘Sovietisation’ of parts of Britain in terms of dependence on the state:
"Perhaps Mr Cameron’s most harmful assumption is this: that, in the end, the Tory public, and the supposedly Tory press, will have nowhere else to go, so he can muddle along in the middle and end up in Downing Street. If the Conservative Party were any longer Tory, he might have a point – but it isn’t. I am alarmed by the number of readers who write to me to say they have voted, or will vote, BNP. The entirely respectable UKIP now stands at four per cent in the polls, and almost all its support is precious votes taken from the Conservatives. Above all, the abstention party goes from strength to strength. Mr Cameron wilfully does nothing to counter these forces, except occasionally to insult them. However unlikely it may now seem, he and his party will live to regret that."
Mr Heffer’s style of attack is probably what Max Hastings was thinking about when, in yesterday’s Guardian, he wrote:
"Every time a neanderthal columnist attacks the Tory leader in a rightwing newspaper, I find myself wondering how much the Cameron camp paid for the privilege."
Mr Hastings appears to think that Mr Cameron’s greatest strength is that he is prepared to ignore people like Mr Heffer:
"His greatest strength stems from a recognition that the British people have changed immeasurably, that the past has no message for them. If the Tories are to hold power again, the endorsement of bankers and retired colonels will never suffice. Just as Blair triumphed in 1997 because he knew old Labour was finished, that the unions had become an embarrassment, so if Cameron gets to Downing Street it will be because he takes no heed of Conservative geriatrics, and woos new Britain. It is the big tent all over again: "We’re a party for everyone – young and old, sick and healthy, rich and poor. Margaret Thatcher’s great achievement was to convince the British people that this country’s best days were not in the past. We’ve got to do the same – to give the message that our best days are still ahead.""