Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Davies defection

So what’s the significance of this? Nobody outside the anorakariat knows who he is, but the mere fact of a Tory-to-Labour convert – just when some of the Tories might have been hoping for disgruntled Blairites to come their way – creates a sense of momentum.

Davies has a record as a Europhile, so this will refresh the Tories’ 1990s image as a bunch of phobes just as they’ve been wondering how hard they dare push against the new EU treaty. This makes it tougher for them to make a big issue of it.

Of course, it’s a media boost for Brown as he takes over. Is Davies part of ‘all the talents’ that Brown wants in his government…?

Davies also said in his letter to Cameron:

"Although you have many positive qualities you have three, superficiality, unreliability and an apparent lack of any clear convictions, which in my view ought to exclude you from the position of national leadership to which you aspire and which it is the presumed purpose of the Conservative Party to achieve.
"Believing that as I do, I clearly cannot honestly remain in the party. I do not intend to leave public life."
Mr Davies said he had "found increasingly I am naturally in agreement" with the Labour Party and praised Mr Brown as "a leader I have always greatly admired, who I believe is entirely straightforward, and who has a towering record, and a clear vision for the future of our country which I fully share".

Update: Davies goes on (and on):

You are the first leader of the Conservative Party who (for different reasons) will not be received either by the President of the United States, or by the Chancellor of Germany (up to, and very much including, Iain Duncan Smith every one of your predecessors was most welcome both in the White House and in all the chancelleries of Europe).

It is fair to say that you have so far made a shambles of your foreign policy, and that would be a great handicap to you - and, more seriously, to the country - if you ever came to power.

One day in January, I think a Wednesday or Thursday, you and George Osborne discovered that Gordon Brown was to make a speech on the environment the following Monday.
You wished to pre-empt him. So without any consultation with anyone - experts, think tanks, the industry, even the Shadow Cabinet - you announced an airline or flight tax…
The PR pressures had overridden any considerations of economic rationality or national interest, or even what would have been to others normal businesslike prudence.

You regularly (I think on a pre-arranged PR grid or timetable) make apparent policy statements which are then revealed to have no intended content at all. They appear to be made merely to strike a pose, to contribute to an image.


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