Saturday, January 07, 2006
Cameron to Attract First LibDem Defectors?
About two years ago, a senior Conservative friend of mine was travelling on a train with a senior Liberal Democrat. They fell into conversation about the political landscape in five to ten years time. The LibDem made it quite clear he could envisage a scenario whereby there could be mass defections to the Conservative from the LibDems. The scenario he painted was where the Conservatives had elected a youngish, liberal-minded leader and the Liberals were in disarray following the election of one of the sandal-wearing brigade, by which one assumes he meant Simon Hughes. This senior LibDem reckoned that the so-called 'Orange-Bookers' would seriously consider defecting as they were all young and desperately wanted power. They wouldn't be happy to spend their 40s, 50s and 60s on the backbenches with no whiff of power. Now many reading this will no doubt accuse me of manufacturing gossip, but I swear this is a true report of a conversation which took place.
The fact of the matter is that most of the 'Orange-Bookers' have far more in common with centrist Tories than they have with the Sandal wearers. The long term effects of the current implosion of the LibDems is hard to tell at the moment, but I am sure I am not alone in wondering if these events might well herald the return of two party politics.
So can David Cameron look forward to defections from the likes of Mark Oaten, Jeremy Browne, Ed Davey, David Laws or some of their lesser known colleagues? I for one would welcome them.
PS If Jenny Tonge has any thoughts of defecting could someone please chain her to the LibDems? I'd rather have George Galloway...