Leading Article: The Conservatives have no alternative to Mr Norris
Wednesday 15 December 1999
The back-to-basics, traditional values wing of the Tory party seems to have lost sight of what this whole process is about. The voters of London are not going to be asked to marry Mr Norris; merely to consider taking him on as their mayor. And, whatever he was like as a husband or lover, he is a perfectly good candidate for the mayoralty. He has a grasp of transport policy, the biggest problem facing Londoners, as sound as any of the other names in the field; he has ministerial experience; and he would be a personable, even charming advocate for the city. The voters are much more likely to be concerned about these qualities and his policies on the future of the Tube and London's intractable social problems of crime and homelessness than they are about his all-too-well-chronicled amorous adventurings.
The electorate is becoming far more mature and tolerant about the private lives and sexuality of those in public life than many politicians - and especially those on the authoritarian wing of the Tory party - have given them credit for. The recent history of Michael Portillo demonstrates how much attitudes have changed over the last decade or so.
No doubt Mr Norris's private life and his liberal stand on Clause 28 offends the likes of Norman Tebbit, John Redwood and, not to be omitted, Tim Collins, the spin doctor of the back-to-basics campaign and the son of Diane Collins, an instigator of the plan to nobble Norris. But Mr Norris's liberal views are much closer to those of the average Londoner. He remains the Tories' best chance of winning the contest.
Mr Norris's position as the Conservative candidate is not yet secure, thanks to the party's absurdly convoluted selection procedure. He must face a hustings meeting and a ballot of the party's London membership. The Tories thus still have the chance to reject Mr Norris and turn a farce into a tragedy. But London and the Tory party deserves better. They must vote Norris.
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 I was a Woman Against Feminism too
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 4 The Tory donor whose firm is one of Britain’s biggest tax avoiders - with HMRC's blessing
- 5 John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss
Comic-Con 2014: Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch and Game of Thrones' George RR Martin set to attend
Hercules, review: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson takes centre stage in preposterous movie
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?
George R. R. Martin responds to 13-year-old fan's 'heartfelt' letter asking for a grisly death in Game of Thrones
Star Wars 7: Plot details 'leak', with sequel's opening sequence and premise revealed
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains