Michael Portillo, speaking on Weekend Breakfast (click on to 2.06) this morning on Five Live gave an interesting analysis from one who has been in thick of his own party’s civil war, when he pointed out that (despite all the dodgy doings emanating from the Iraq War), and the poor poll ratings, there is one glaring lesson to be learned from the Tories’ killing off of the ‘unpopular’ Thatcher. The manner in which they did it, put a drag on the Major’s Premiership. And as most labourites are only too aware, David Cameron (luxuriating in the stable base created by Michael Howard) is no Neil Kinnock.The strangest thing about all of this (and it has created space for vast amounts of,possibly groundless, press speculation) is that, as Portillo pointed out at the time, Blair clearly had a smooth transition in mind when he engineered his last (fairly bloody) Cabinet reshuffle.
According to the Guardian, the public is now favouring an open race for the leadership/premiership. Back on Radio Five, Portillo reckons Clarke’s abrasive attack on Brown’s lack of courage and ill-collegiality is ill-judged on two counts: he’s attacking his own party’s next PM; and, most damagingly, that both charges are basically true.
So, with such a bizarre episode of public self emoliation (indeed Mr Aaronovitch), we ask an old familiar Slugger question: Cui Bono?