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Is the Tory clear-out Dave’s “Clause 4”?

May 29th, 2009

Will the focus on his miscreants be good for the party?

Over the past few days there’s been a lot of concern in Conservative circles over the way the media has put the focus on problems of Tory MPs in the expenses saga with scant attention, apparently, being given to the problems of Brown and his ministers.

We’ve seen it in abundance on the site. It’s all media bias, the “Beeb having it in for us” or that the Telegraph owners has an agenda to undermine the party.

Well the judgement of this old news hack (me) is that the reason the Tories have been making more of the headlines is that theirs are the better stories.

The Bracknell meeting, the hounding of the attractive Julie Kirkbride who was one of them (a journalist) remember, and now the affairs of the great patrician of William Cash and his photogenic daughter have been far more interesting from a news perspective than what we’ve seen from Labour.

But here’s a controversial view. I think that all of this is good for Cameron whose mission since taking up the job in December 2005 has been to rid the party of its “nasty old fashioned image” and replace it with something that’s more acceptable in today’s less deferential society.

And the fact that most of the outcomes have been major figures announcing that they are stepping down is surely good news for the leadership. In a highly visible way, you could argue, the old Tory party is being given its marching orders creating the opportunity for news faces to be brought in.

The changes also reinforce Cameron’s central control over the party machine. The old guard, who could have created problems for PM Dave, if that indeed what happens, are on their way and are being seen to be on their way.

As I posed in the headline – this could all be seen as a “clause 4 moment”.

Mike Smithson

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