There is something of a debate raging on Conservative Home (a truly excellent website), as you might expect, over the tactics and strategy of a certain Mr Cameron. I can assure you this debate rages all over place!
You will know that I have supported both Cameron and his outlook on politics from the earliest moment, so it will come as no surprise to you that I might contribute to such debates. Normally, I make just short notes but this time it was a bit longer and it hit upon a thought that I might expand upon later, so for posterity's sake, here it is now, along with a link to the actual debate:
Stop berating DC over his manifesto involvement. We have all done stuff under instruction for our boss that we did'nt agree with. Its called learning.
The best politics is played out amongst the majority of voters, where-ever that happens to be at the time. And yes, good politicians should be able to anticipate where the majority can be moved to and carry it through.
Thatcher was just such a politician. Her real legacy of course was the creation of politically placid times, and thus for the last decade or so the majority of voters have occupied the political centre ground. She swam in troubled waters and made them calm. Through her kitchen table economics, defeat of the unions and house ownership policies she successfully encouraged millions of people out of the extreme edges of politics into the comfortable and aspirant middle class. She knew that the majority were ready to move and which direction they wanted to go.
So as Portillo rightly observed this weekend, "there is no sense of crisis in Britain today...and the majority of people do not believe that revolutionary change is the answer...they may be wrong but there is no future for any politician who stuffs radical ideas down unwilling throats in such placid times."
I am always amused that the Right wing fringe, so fixed on the memory of their heroine Thatcher, have forgotten who this election winning majority are and are so idealogically opposed to any policies that attract them. These people are the exact same people that Thatcher pulled from the mud. It is not their essential outlook on life that has changed, just their social and economic aspirations. They still want to be looked after and get as much as they can get for free.
The Tories mistake was to believe that all those people who bought their council houses in the eighties also converted to selfish, hard nosed, survival of the fittest, capitalism. They didn't and that's why we lost power.
So as all good and bad squash players know, it is all about dominating the T in the centre of the Court and forcing your opponent to run around behind you. If that is what politics has TEMPORARILY boiled down to, then Portillo will be wrong about one thing - Cameron will only need one leap to power and we can all raise a glass to that.