"My message is you'll not catch me saying anything to say what David is doing is wrong. There may be things you agree with, disagree with, but I'm going for the broad canvas, not individual brushstrokes," Mr Duncan Smith told the Financial Times. "I say to everybody: if you want to have dissent, keep it among
consenting adults in private. Consider it a thing you might do but only with
your closest friends - and don't consider the media your closest friends, as was
too often the case in the past."
But he warned that the Tories' ability to capitalise on Labour's weakness
could be fatally damaged if the party undermined its newly minted "decent" image
through internal warfare. "The public will look at us and ask 'is it time for a
change?' When they do, they need to be able to say: 'these are decent people who
will be good for me and good for my neighbour'," Mr Duncan Smith said. "We're on
the edge of getting [the Conservatives' image] to move. What would destroy that
is if everybody [in the party] started up saying 'oh no, no, no'."
He argued that Mr Cameron needed to strike a "difficult balance between
changing the party enough so the public recognise that it is a decent party and
being at the same time conscious that you need as well to keep your roots". Mr
Cameron was a "Conservative whose instincts are in the right place - he's just
got to seek that balance," the former leader said.
Read the full interview HERE. IDS knows better than most the damage that can be done by anonymous media briefings and internal party warfare. He fell victim to it in the most horrible way.
His message is undoubtedly right, but it does present a problem for a site like ConservativeHome, and to a lesser extent this one. ConservativeHome sees itself as the voice of the Tory grassroots. It provides party members with a platform to air their views, both positive and negative, about what the Party is doing. If ConservativeHome was ever seen to be a Party mouthpiece it would lose a lot of its appeal, but if it's just seen as a site where people whinge about David Cameron or the national Party that would also put people off. So Tim Montgomerie and Sam Coates always have a difficult line to tread. IDS is urging everyone - including them and me - to watch what we say. He's right to do so. Perhaps it's time to resurrect the wartime slogan...
Careless Talk Costs Votes!