Anorak News | Back To Basics

Back To Basics

by | 6th, October 2004

‘WHEN the words “Back To Basics” appear above a picture of the Tory party leader, we fear the worst.

And it’s good night from him

Our mind inevitably travels back 11 years to John Major’s now infamous rallying cry, “Go back to you constituencies and prepare to jump on your secretary.”

But we see no sign of Edwina Currie in the picture that dominates the front page of the Independent, just Michael Howard with a lot of the night about him.

The reason for this unaccustomed exposure is that Mr Howard made his first speech as leader to the Tory party conference yesterday.

And the Indy is quick to seize on what it sees as a lurch to the right, with party moderates accusing him of preaching to the choir in Bournemouth and not the congregation in the country at large.

It says he hardened his rhetoric on Europe in a bid to stop the haemorrhage of support to the UK Independence Party as well as putting immigration, crime and tax at the centre of his speech.

“It’s not a strategy for winning the election,” complained one Tory left winger. “We have got to reach out beyond the core vote to win.”

At least, Howard’s speech makes the lead story in the Indy – the Guardian relegates it to a sidebar and the (tabloid) Times leaves it off the front page altogether.

Only the Telegraph seems to believe that the Tory leader is a realistic candidate for Downing Street – although it thought the same of William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith.

But the polls suggest otherwise, with the news that for the first time since World War II more men than women intend to vote Conservative.

That wouldn’t necessarily be a problem if it was due to a growing number of men turning to the Tories, but the converse is true – women are deserting the party in droves.

So, when one Tory activist describes Howard’s speech as like a “pre-nuptial agreement” with the electorate, we foresee a problem.

The bride has run off with another man…’

Posted: 6th, October 2004 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink