It has been a good week for Gordon Brown. The Party is united behind him, he’s taken Labour to an 11% lead in the polls, and he’s unveiled a raft of forward-looking new policies on tackling child poverty and crime as well as new actions aimed at further improving education, housing, healthcare and the environment. I must say that I was more than a little surprised when the chorus of praise was joined by Lord Tebbit (Con), the former Minister and Conservative Party Chairman. Lord Tebbit told The Times that he thought Mr Brown “is a clever man and I have a very considerable regard for him.” He went on to take a broadside at David Cameron adding that he thought that large numbers of British voters would think Mr. Cameron didn’t know "how the other half lives".
Lord Tebbit has highlighted a fundamental political truism, which is people want their politicians to understand them and the issues they face, expecting positive plans to improve their quality of life. Gordon is widely recognised to be focusing on doing precisely that.
In contrast, Mr. Cameron seems to have authorised his lieutenants to rubbish Baroness Thatcher’s judgement following her taking afternoon tea with the Prime Minister. What should have been a relatively minor event is still causing Conservative Party political in-fighting two weeks later. Rob Wilson MP (Con) the Shadow Minister for Higher Education said “Baroness Thatcher is 81, she is elderly, she is lonely, she is frail and she has difficulty with her memory… Those closest to her say that her grasp on daily life is ‘some days better than others”. With Gerald Howarth MP (Con) adding “Everyone knows that she is not in the same rude health she was a few years ago” Comments like those not only show a complete lack of courtesy towards their former leader but cast doubt on the political nous of the Tory high command. With friends like that - as they say - who needs enemies? The public certainly won’t be impressed.