Anorak News | Dead Heat

Dead Heat

by | 12th, October 2005

‘HE may have scored highest on the Tory conference clapometer, but Sir Malcolm Rifkind is the first donkey in the Conservative leadership race to pull up lame.

The Telegraph says that Rifkind, the former Secretary of State for Scotland, was pretty much dead meat anyhow, with only six declared backers. Better to go now with his head held high than be embarrassed.

And, of course, in going early, Rifkind knows that his parting words will be listened to. And what he has to say is that Kenneth Clarke is “head and shoulders” above his rivals.

“He is a potential prime minister and we are not just choosing a leader of the Opposition,” says Rifkind. “If we try to choose a leader of the Opposition, that is what we will end up with, someone like Neil Kinnock in 1992.”

Or William Hague in 1997. Or Iain Duncan Smith in 2001. Or Michael Howard in 2003.

But point taken; no-one wants a loser like Kinnock in charge of turning on and off a light bulb, let alone running the Government.

As the Times says, the timing of Rifkind’s decision is “clearly designed” to give a boost to the Clarke leadership campaign. We’re hardly surprised to learn that Clarke’s supporters say their man is “delighted” at Rifkind’s move.

And Clarke needs all the support he can muster. The affable former chancellor is, as the Times says, no dead cert to even make it into the final round of the leadership contest.

With Rifkind out, there are now just four competitors left in the contest, meaning that the first round of voting by all 300,000 Conservative Party members spells curtains for one of the big beasts – David Davis, Liam Fox, David Cameron and Kenneth Clarke. To the Times, it is the “round of death”.

Someone’s political ambitions are going to die. Surely Liam Fox will be the first to perish – unless the ageing Tory members die first…’

Posted: 12th, October 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink