Tag Archives: next conservative leader

The race to replace Cameron might come down to recognition rates

The race to replace Cameron is well and truly on.

Cameron’s lack of popularity within his own party is well documented. The pertinent questions are now ‘who’ and ‘when’ – not ‘if’ he will be replaced.

So to start with the ‘who’ question. Ladbrokes offers us a reasonable overview (erring as always on low risk predictions):

Four names May, Hague, Boris and Hammond- only two credible though: Boris and May.

Let me explain why by starting with Boris.

Well, people respect Boris in a way they simply don’t the other serious contenders (May, Hague and Hammond). They also know who he is – recent polling by Lord Ashcroft showed 94% of people recognised Boris’ picture, and significantly 91% got his name right.

In contrast, Hammond was recognised by 23% of people and only 10% of people got his name right. Ouch.

I still maintain that Boris would be as much a disaster for his party as he would the country – but if the Tories want to run this experiment I am more than happy to pick up the popcorn and watch their implosion.

A straight Boris win then? Not quite. It boils down to the crucial ‘when’ question.

If Boris is to take over from Cameron before the next general election he needs to overcome three quite big challenges:

  • To become an MP
  • Not to piss off Londoners by appearing to abandon them
  • Keep the rabid backbenchers happy

Tim Montgomerie (for whose opinion I have a certain amount of respect) insists this is all possible – I though, remain dubious.

If Boris is to become leader Cameron has to stay leader until after the next general election. This is in itself highly unlikely with everyone assuming Labour will win a (small) victory at the next elections.

So, if a leadership election is called before the next general election the Conservatives are left with three choices:

  • May – by far the most likely to win. Has being a woman on her side, is at least recognised by half of the public and certainly will keep the rabid right happy. Whether she can win the party an election or not is another question.
  • Hague – although popular, it would be hard for Hague to go back to his old job without it being seen as a step backwards. It is also worth remembering how atrociously unpopular he was last time he was in the job.
  • Hammond – as already suggested, it is hard to make a case for leading a country if no one knows who you are and is often mistaking you for Jeremy Hunt.

May is the only credible choice.

In short:

Predication A: If Cameron goes before the next election then May will take over and last only a few years as Conservative leader before she loses the next election and then the party slumps even further in the polls. This might then open the way up for Boris.

Prediction B: If Cameron hangs on in there, then Boris may well come through as the next leader and will last until just after the 2020 elections and leave behind him the chaos of a divided party, in-fighting and a catastrophic electoral defeat that makes the 2015 results look not too bad.

Either way – things are not looking good for the Conservatives. Their only hope? Labour continuing to flounder.

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Boris 4 Leader

BORIS-620_1561166aAccording to our friends over at the Mail, “Boris yearns with a mad hunger to become prime minister”. It is time for the left to embrace BoJo’s appetite and feed his hunger. It is time for a new campaign, Boris 4 Leader.

Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader. It has quite a ring to it don’t you think?

Well it does for me at least. For me, it is hard to imagine any leader who has the potential to so spectacularly divide his party, alienate the electorate and leave himself internationally isolated?

But, it is not just me though who this  idea appeals to. The right genuinely believe that he “builds bridges across sociological chasms”. They think that he can appeal to “the youth” that have so consistently rejected the Tories.

His supporters have been spurred on by a YouGov poll which suggested that the Tories would get a six point jump in polls if Boris was leader. They look on at Ladbrokes who currently have Boris as favourite to become the next leader. They read reports of Boris meeting with Rupert Murdoch and think maybe, just maybe.

With a safe seat waiting for him and an inevitable poor showing in May’s European Parliament elections awaiting for the Tories, it is time to make the final push for BoJo’s leadership bid.

This is where you come in. I need you to ‘like’, ‘share’ and ‘tweet’ this facebook campaign – Boris 4 Leader. Spread it like wild fire. Make those at Conservative HQ believe that Boris is the popular choice!

A dangerous game your thinking….what happens if this backfires and he finds himself at number 10?

Let me explain, 3 good reasons why he won’t make it to downing street. In short…gay marriage, the EU and the man himself all make this plan fail proof. 

Boris is a vocal supporter of the Gay Marriage campaign. He offers no solution to the rift at the heart of the Conservative Party that resulted in 136 MPs rebelling against the government.  A vote that equalled the largest post-war rebellion.

This alienates the principled in the Conservative Party who are opposed to gay marriage as well as the pragmatic who see their core Middle-England vote slipping away.

On the EU – Boris seems as equally capable of flip-flopping between the populist referendum argument whilst at the same time admitting:

Suppose Britain voted tomorrow to come out. What would actually happen? In real terms, what would happen is that the Foreign Office would immediately build a huge – well, the entire delegation would remain in Brussels…We’d still have huge numbers of staff trying to monitor what was going on in the community, only we wouldn’t be able to sit in the Council of Ministers. We wouldn’t have any vote at all”.

Boris knows that a referendum is popular (and right) but that it scares all his pales in the city. Who to chose, the backbenchers or the bankers?

In addition to his inability to unite a divided party there is what Max Hastings in the Mail describes as his, “chaotic personal persona” or the fact that he is, “bereft of judgment… and discretion”.

His personality and on-going gaffes provide great headlines but have serious long term implications.

Will the good people of Portsmouth feel represented by a man who is quoted as saying, “Here we are in one of the most depressed downs in southern England, a place that is arguably too full of drugs, obesity, underachievement and Labour MPs

Will any Brit associate with a leader who describes their £250,000 salary as “chicken feed”.

In the US he has already been dubbed as “more gaffe-prone than Romney”. Ouch.

It won’t be long until he is seen by colleagues as a liability within his party, with the electorate and internationally. The challenge is to ensure that he is leader of the Conservative Party before this happens.

Once this is achieved, we just need to watch Boris do his ‘ting’ and put our feet up and watch the Conservatives implode.


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