The Sketch: Not a dry eye in the house as Dracula sees the light

It's odd the things that work on us. Michael Howard proclaims his love for his party and country: nothing; Michael Howard thanks "my wonderful wife, Sandra" and it produces a catch in the throat. He's so well-fortified, perhaps, that one glimpse into the life inside his barricades produces a greater effect than unrestricted access to his "vision".

Another point of interest: his passage on immigration made it clear why he lost the election.

In Mr Cameron's fringe speech, there was a moment of Blair (obviously, that is meant as a compliment). "Good race relations," Mr Cameron said, "depend on controlled immigration". That is the first time I've heard the Tories putting it this way. The correct way. Lead into a tough, negative proposal with a soft and positive proposition. The listener is left with a sense of high moral purpose (good race relations).

Michael Howard's bit on the same subject: "We are the fourth richest country in the world. So our Government has the means to control our borders, it just lacks the competence." What are we left with there? A melange of wealth, power, exclusion and incompetence, all fighting like cats in a bag.

This isn't just presentation, by the way, this is an expression of values (dread word).

So, as it turned out, Sketch writers for Ken lost one of its members.

The most important fact about the current Tory party is the big, fat, metastasising tumour that lives in its vital organ: Sixty per cent of people like the Tory policies until they find out they are Tory policies and then the approval rate halves to 30 per cent.

This is a carcinogen that infects everything the party stands for.

The process of reinvention requires a certain magic. Everyone agrees, they need some vast, symbolic gesture to show how much they've changed, as when Tony Blair got Labour to ditch Clause Four. But the Tories don't know what their Clause Four is. Section 28, they used to say. All-women shortlists, some suggest. Piffling things. Cameron is Clause Four. Choosing Cameron is such a risk it shows they're serious about ditching the old brand. And I suspect he's less of a risk than we'd thought (there is a hidden hereditary principle working in his favour).

He's a very nice fellow, in a sort of unfakeable way. He's kept his ideological powder dry (no one thinks of him as a Treasury veteran). And he is untainted by the past. He's not infected. He is a Tory mutation. He is the mutant that might save his species.

simon carr75@hotmail.com

Comments