Mr. Cameron has gone on the BBC to tackle the criticism that has been welling up in the wake of his ill-judged decision to go to Rwanda whilst the worst floods in living memory were affecting his and many other Tory constituencies in the south-west of England.

Firstly and easiest to deal with was a man called Ali Miraj who, until yesterday had not been heard of by 99% of the population.

This gentleman has apparently stood twice in the conservative interest. In 2001 he picked up 7.6% of the vote at Aberavon and came in fourth. Aberavon is as safe a Labour seat as you could wish for and there was no disgrace as such in that but one might hope he could do a little better than fourth.

In 2005 he stood at Watford. Watford was held by the Conservatives throughout the Thatcher and major eras, often with substantial Conservative majorities before falling to Vanity Blair’s Red Tide in 1997. In 2001 the Conservatives were still in second place, 5555 votes adrift of Labour with 33.3% of the vote. The LibDems were in distant third with 17.4% of the vote. In 2005 Mr. Miraj was such a successful candidate that he turned 33.3% of the vote into 29.63% pushing the Conservatives into third place behind the LibDems who now have 31.23%.

Traditionally, before the days of ‘A’ Lists and Golden Parachutes, you fought a no-hoper first time out to show your mettle before being given a safe seat to fight or at least a thoroughly winnable marginal or former Conservative seat that might well be on the cusp of returning to the fold. Mr. Miraj spectacularly failed in Watford, producing what on any view is a disastrous result in a seat where the Conservatives must have aspirations to win if they are to form a government.

You do not normally get given safe seats after that sort of débâcle. Yet he remained on the list of candidates and continued to apply for such, applying to the seat of Witham, a new seat with a notional safe Conservative majority. Mr Miraj claimed that when he applied for the seat, Bernard Jenkin and two other Tory MPs, John Whittingdale and Brooks Newmark, had told him: “Good luck Ali, but I would be shocked if they didn’t pick a white middle-class male.” No other evidence was forthcoming to support this assertion and Mr. Jenkin denied it. Mr. Miraj expressed some complaint at the time that amounted to a veiled accusation of ingrained racism on the part of Tory Associations.

Now he turns up at Mr. Cameron’s office and, if you please, requests a peerage at the earliest opportunity, something which, alas, is no longer readily in the gift of the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. But the mere fact that he felt that he could go and ask for such a thing and must have fully expected to receive it suggests a man of considerable arrogance with an enormously high view of his self-worth. When told the reality, that no such offer could be made, he goes off in a huff and engages in a bitter attack on the man he has just asked to give him a peerage.

This was a petulant man who cannot understand why his talents are not automatically recognized and immediately reward. The truth is he is a two times loser who has realized he is past his sell-by date throwing his toys out of his pram. Little real attention ought to be afforded him. If David Davis had said, the earth would have moved. Interestingly his website is offline right now: skulking in the undergrowth no doubt.

As it is, well, for him oblivion beckons.

Lord Kalms is a David Davis and erstwhile donor. He perhaps should have spoken to his protégé first and then adopted the same supportive position that David Davis did over the weekend. Lord Kalms does not stand at the heart of the party and does not sit on its inner councils and one wonders why he felt unable to speak privately of his misgivings as opposed to rushing into print.

With these two what grates is that they allowed themselves to be used by the enemy’s AgitProp arm, the BBC, to attack the Conservative party. It is to be hoped that the men in suits will have been round to seem Mr. Miraj and told him that he need not bother applying for the post of Town Rat Catcher in future as a refusal will only offend him yet again. David Davis can doubtless be persuaded to speak to Lord Kalms and point out the error of his ways.

Graham Brady is in a different position. I reckon he was treated very poorly at the time of his resignation and the manner in which he was trashed to the press was redolent of the very worst forms of Alistair Campbell’s Red Terror. He could and should have been much more sensitively dealt with and few in the party now think that the Grammar Schools issue was anything other than a serious misjudgement by Mr. Cameron and his team in terms of how it was handled. He is Northern MP and is plainly irritated by what has happened. He ought to be told soon that he has not completely blotted his copybook and a way will be found to get him back into a shadow post as soon as maybe. Time to kiss and make up.

I for one feel that we must now exercise self-discipline. I have been forthright in my criticisms in the past few weeks but we must assume that Mr. Cameron now understands he has to trim his sails somewhat. We need to see the whole picture as far as detailed policy is concerned. Hopefully this will have something for everyone in every corner of the party (I hesitate to use old labels such as centre right, right, hard right, centre left and so on since I myself have views that range across the whole spectrum and doubt that such labels are very meaningful today except to BBC producers who like to label anything they do not like as ‘far right’) so that there is enough to entice back voters who have disappeared off to the left, whether to Blair or to the Nut Cutlet & Sandals Brigade or to the right where they have abstained or voted UKIP.

For my own part I intend to try and abjure criticism for now on and urge all who want to get Labour out to do the same. Mr. Cameron has to do his part though, showing that he is responsive to our concerns and does not arrogantly dismiss them out of hand and that, having heard the rumble of unhappiness, he is going to produce a manifesto upon which everyone in the party feels comfortable to fight. We can and must get over this rocky period and get on with the business of opposing Macavity and his Nincompoops.

In the broad picture of things, I am reminded of the great French soldier (yes, they did have them once, before they became cheese-eating surrender monkeys!) Ferdinand Foch, who became in 1918 Allied Surpreme Commander, at a critical moment of the First Battle of the Marne in September 1914:

Mon centre cède, ma droite recule, situation excellente, j’attaque.*


Perhaps Mr. Cameron might like to think and act in the same way.

* “My centre is giving way, my right is retreating, situation excellent, I shall attack.”

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