The Mid-Atlantic Blog

January 30, 2006

Different Perceptions

To me, and many like me, Norman Tebbit is a great man. He was part of the generation of Conservatives that stemmed the decline of the UK. He sold the message of Conservatism in the right way for his time. He has demonstrated, since the Brighton bombing, one of the most impressive examples of personal dedication and devotion without expectation of reward that I can think of in recent public life.

Unfortunately, this was not a universal view even at the best of times. There was always a group of core Tory voters who were immune to the charms of the polecat, and they began to drift away from us over the 1990s, helped by the general incompetence and lack of direction from the Major regime. In fact, to a large swathe of precisely the voters that we need to reattract, Norman Tebbit is the epitome of what they left the party over.

This is one of the most unfair perceptions I can think of, but political perception isn't about fairness.

So when he speaks to the Bow Group comparing Cameron to Pol Pot there is a double benefit for us. First, it keeps balance within the Party conversation, pinning down the right wing, and helping to make it clear where the boundary of tolerance for change is within the Party. But the second effect is more important, in that it signals to disaffected centrist tories that Tory Party is a safe home for their vote.

I'll look forward to reading the speech.

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