Surely one couldn’t forget John Major’s “bastards”? —
John Major’s rage and frustration with rightwing Tories boiled over this weekend when, in an outburst, he called three of his own cabinet members “bastards”. The onslaught against the Eurosceptic ministers not named, but almost certainly Michael Howard, Peter Lilley and Michael Portillo came within minutes of the vote of confidence on Friday which kept him in office.
His obvious anger, and contempt for Tory opponents, is certain to keep open the party’s wounds after the Maastricht furore. It will help convince rightwingers that Mr Major is even more embittered against them than he has admitted.
Montgomerie is trailing a piece by Rachel Sylvester for tomorrow’s Times:
For the Tory modernisers, the Lib Dems are the ideal weapon to ward off the enemy within. The news that some of the so-called “Tatler Tories” have been dumped from the list of prospective parliamentary candidates is evidence that the leadership does not think that the modernisation of the party is yet complete. The Prime Minister is pleased to have political cover for keeping the 50p top rate of tax, abandoning the “prison works” approach to crime, avoiding a return to grammar schools and retaining the ring-fence on aid — all policies that infuriate the rightwingers. “The traditionalists are just not on planet Earth,” says one Cameroon.
There are many ways of reading that.
Up straight it says no more than the LibDems being the Tory protection squad.
Beyond that, the “Tory modernisers” are under threat, that the Tory rabid Right are on the march, and it’s all to play for.
The rest, you can work out for yourselves.
Since we’ve already got a government that is split from top-to-bottom, further splits in the main ConDem wing are serious stuff. It’s not far off the “unfit for purpose” condition. Why does nobody notice?
We now have a unique tripartite (perhaps even more factions could be counted) government, forming alliances as and when each contentious issue floats to the top of the witches’ cauldron:
- LibDems + Cameroons = NHS non-privatisation;
- Right wing Foxites + Cameroons = defence;
- and so on.
What if … what when .. the whole European issue turns s(c)eptic again?
Which is another scab which Montgomerie and co. constantly scratch.
The good news, for reasonable folk, is that — were the roof to fall in — William Hague (the nearest thing to a sane, intelligent, if right-of-centre, Tory in sight), is currently not hors-de-combat, having survived that grubby little shared-bedroom thing.
Were this anything other than a Tory government (with natty little LibDem knobs on) the great British press would be screaming about splits, all the way to a demand for an immediate General Election.
One thing is guaranteed: Montgomerie is not going away. Peace is not likely to break out soon.