Friday, July 20, 2007

The gamble that failed

Following the account of the by-election disasters for the Tories at Sedgefield and Ealing on the Tory Diary blog is almost like intruding on private grief. Rarely have we seen such a downbeat note from this site.

But then it would be wrong to attribute failure to the Conservative Party. With the hubris that has become a hallmark of the Boy, voters were asked to mark their ballot papers alongside "David Cameron's Conservatives". And it was David Cameron's Conservatives which the voters rejected so decisively, with his party being squeezed to third place in Sedgefield, only just ahead of the BNP which was fighting for the first time in Sedgefield.

With the Boy now about to fritter his time away in Rwanda, in another of his ghastly, ill-considered PR stunts, he will have plenty of time to think hard and long about how he spins victory from utter, humiliating defeat. He then has the rest of the summer to dream up "the line" for the party faithful at the conference in September, telling them how David Cameron's Conservatives are on their way to government.

But, those of us who have been watching this slow-motion train wreck, this is bad, bad news. As the Tories are the only main Party which is supporting the push for an EU referendum, this further blow to their fading credibility weakens the campaign and makes it less likely that the people will ever be able to vote against this naked attempt to re-introduce the failed EU constitution.

Gordon Brown can afford a wry smile as he prepares to go off on his hols. A weak, discredited opposition leader is more than he could have hoped for, but it will make for a happy summer for him. For the rest of us, the nightmare continues.

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