The Sketch: Hound Blair out of office? This lot can't even carry off a coup

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The Independent Online
This is the party offering a competent alternative government? They can't even run a competent coup.</p>They want to hound one of Britain's most successful political figures out of office? They can't even despatch their invisible, inaudible, insignificant leader. How can they cut £20bn of fat out of the public administration with knife work of that quality?</p>But they insist that they will form the next government of Great Britain. They keep saying so. In a speech of transcendental vacuity ("there is no future in the past" was one of its more convincing moments), Theresa May told the hall that the Conservatives were the only party that could put Labour "out of business". However, truth to tell, it's much more likely to go the other way.</p>The very existence of the Tory party is at stake. Why? The marginals have been so gerrymandered that if Labour goes into the next election just two points in the lead, Tony Blair will achieve a third landslide. The Tories will then be faced with the impossibility of winning the election after next.</p>That's another 10 years of travelling by Tube and paying for their own taxis. Tory flesh and blood can only take so much. The once-great party may reduce itself to a rural rump, and Mr Blair will have achieved Baroness Thatcher's ambition of destroying the opposition, at least for a generation.</p>What is vital for this strategy to come about is the continued presence of the Tory leader up there on the aptly named poop deck.</p>And fortunately for Mr Blair, Mr Thing's position has been secured by that ominous scandal looming in the background. Something about Mrs Thing.</p>Mutterings of sleaze. Very undermining.</p>So naturally the party will rush towards him (nature abhors a vacuum) and members will put on a display of solidarity for his speech at the conference's end. But the floor is thrilling with plots and counterplots. Clots and sots are provided for as well, so I feel very much at home.</p>It must grieve Mr Thing because the party has finally arrived at first base.</p>They have a set of interlocking policies which are (barring top-up fees) coherent. AtThe Indepedent's</i> fringe meeting, David Davis pitched them very concisely - and better than I thought he was capable of. Indeed, it was the first time I'd heard a Tory saying in public the answer to the maddening question Mr Blair has never managed to dig out of Mr Thing: How do you promise lower taxes and higher public spending? Mr Davis told us one answer: lower taxes mean higher growth and a larger economy means greater tax revenues. It's not a difficult proposition, but one that has been beyond the Tory leader's power to articulate.</p>But let's return to Mrs May. "Let's not think the hard work is over," she declared. God almighty, imagine having to say that.</p>And again: "Labour has done enough to lose the next election: have we done enough to win it?" Not yet, not yet. Not much more needs to be done. Just one short, sharp stroke of the pen. Or stylus, as in Caesar's case.</p><a href=""></a></i> </p>