A senior Conservative MP came canvassing at my front door the other day. (Here's a clue: he/she had very snazzy shoes.) What a thankless task. We had an interesting conversation. But, really, what was the point? I've lost count of the wheels that have come off the Tory Party wagon lately. It must be about sixteen so far, which means that the loss of disaffected MP Robert Jackson may not cause all that much long-term damage. That's a sign of how irrelevant the Opposition seems.

The Independent's Bruce Anderson (subscriber-only) sticks a knife into the Thatcher-era education minister:
There is no vainer or more self-centred man in Parliament... It was said of him that the aspect of his job which he most enjoyed was proving to vice-chancellors that he was cleverer than them.
But Anderson goes on to outline the depth of the Conservatives' dilemma. New Labour has out-played and out-spun them. Meanwhile, the economy looks decent enough to most voters:

Most Tories I talk to have had the same experience on the doorstep. They explain their policies on a range of issues, and the voter agrees with every one. "So you're a Tory, then?" "No," comes the reply: "I used to vote Tory, but these days, I'm not sure what they stand for and I'm not sure I trust them." Asked whether they do trust Mr Blair, voters frequently reply in the negative. But that does not produce the pendulum swing which it would have done in previous decades.

This is Tony Blair's achievement.... In the early days, he often talked as if he were the Lord's anointed. Now, he is happy to seek re-election on the basis of "better the devil you know".

|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/01/worlds-longest-running-car-crash.html|||1/17/2005 10:40:00 am|||||||||