Dead Men Left

Friday, December 16, 2005

Bang on cue

Well, lo and behold:

The new Conservative leader, David Cameron, today ratcheted up the pressure on under-fire Charles Kennedy with a direct appeal to Liberal Democrat MPs, councillors and voters to defect to his new-look Tory party.

In a lunchtime lecture Mr Cameron said that Lib Dems with an interest in the environment and social justice will find a "natural home" under his "modern, compassionate" leadership - and announced a new website, libdems4cameron, to evangalise for Lib Dem defections.

'pon said website, we find Cameron thus:

Issues that once divided Conservatives from Liberal Democrats are now issues where we both agree. Our attitude to devolution and the localisation of power. Iraq. The environment. I’m a liberal Conservative. I’m determined to tackle the challenges faced by our country and our world in a moderate, forward-looking, progressive way. And I hope, over the next weeks, months and years, that many Liberal Democrats will want to join us: to build a modern, compassionate Conservative Party; to help address the big challenges our society faces, and to be a growing voice for change, optimism and hope.

Notice the presence of Iraq. If Kennedy goes, the only serious divide that remains between the two parties will go with him: even a notorious - ahem - leftwinger like Simon Hughes would not symbolise opposition to the war in quite the same identifiable way. Party conference this autumn was pretty much the death of Kennedy, in any case; he may be popular amongst his membership, but it's the latter-day Thatcherites in the party leadership that are making the running. (I don't, incidentally, view the opposition of the Lib Dem membership as a "serious divide" to a Tory-Lib Dem love-in. They will be disciplined, just as Labour members were.)

It's notable that it's the Tory Party that have made the first move, too. You wonder if they'll bag themselves a sprightly young Woodward. More likely, a period of mutually admiring glances and flirtatious remarks, sickening to behold, will commence before an amicable pre-election pact is agreed upon.