Regular readers of this blog will be shocked at what I have to say or wonder if it is some sort of bizarre joke. As it's not Friday, I can assure you it isn't. I take no pleasure in writing this, but sometimes you have to face reality and speak the truth. The UK is faced with a massive economic crisis. It is 100% clear that David Cameron and George Osborne have not got a clue how to address it. That would be bad enough, but they seem to be hell bent on a set of policies which will drive the UK into a steeper decline.
Every Conservative I've spoken to recently has acknowledged three facts
1) Cameron isn't up to the job
2) Osborne hasn't got a clue what he's doing
3) The undynamic duo haven't got a clue what to do next
Cameron and Osborne have a mantra that there is "no plan b". Well there damn well should be, because plan A clearly isn't working. What is even more bizarre is the fact that there are a whole raft of highly unpopular policies which run counter to Tory mainstream thinking and are alienating huge swathes of Tories in their heartlands. To name but a few
* HS2 Rail link
* Heathrow Expansion
* Police cuts
They cannot blame these policy disasters on the Lib Dems. In fact, there are no policy disasters that they can realistically blame on the Lib Dems at the moment. Many Tories mumble that if there wasn't a coalition things would be better, but they can't name a single economic policy of the government that they can blame th Lib Dems for. They hate the Lib Dems for the fact that they are pro European, but even the most die hard Tories doubt that the policies towards the EU would be any different if Cameron had a majority.
Even more worrying is the fact that Cameron and his cronies seem to have no connection with ordinary families. This first became apparent when he failed to win a majority in 2010. Gordon Brown was as popular as the Pox, but Cameron couldn't even get a majority, despite Brown and Bust. The reason was clear, he was Tony Blair without the brains. Whatever one may think of Blair, he instinctively read the electorate correctly, that is why he won three terms. Labourites hated Blair for his lack of ideology and Tories hated him for spanking them three times. The electorate loved him. That was why he won. These days it is hard to find anyone with a good word for Blair, but when he was Prime Minister, we knew who was in charge and we knew that he had credibility. Blair made monumental cock ups, the greatest of which was his support (a la dodgy dossier) for the Iraq war, but he was a proper prime minister who won elections. I was not a Blairite, but like millions of others, I voted for him three times, because he was clever enough to ensure that he seemed like the least worst option.
Which brings us back to Cameron. The Tories have to ask themselves "Is Cameron likely to be the people's choice as least worst option?" Well he wasn't when Labour were lead by Gordon Brown in the middle of a massive economic crisis. Given that Cameron and Osborne have created an economic crisis of their own, they convince no one. Labour have a rather unconvincing leader of their own in Ed Milliband, but even he seems to have the measure of Cameron. Given the likely devastation of the cuts still to bite, there is likely to be an even more gloomy outlook when the 2015 election kicks off.
Which brings us to what any sane Tory would be doing. Cameron had an open goal in 2010 and he blew it. Who is a credible alternative? As far as any Tory I've spoken to is concerned, there is only one. Boris Johnson has been running London for 4 years. Much to the surprise of left wing commentators (like me) he hasn't made a complete cock up of the job. He managed to oversee a triumphant Olympics and despite the woes of the Tories nationally, got re elected comfortably.
He knows that the policies of HS2, Heathrow and Police cuts are plain bonkers and he believes in economic stimulus via large infrastructure projects. During his time as Mayor, he has come to see the value of a bit of joined up thinking, which is why he is lobbying for control of commuter rail routes. He has seen the dangers of overzealous outsourcing at the Olympics with G4S and has even done his bit to boost the UK's manufacturing sector with the Boris bus. Many people have derided the Boris bus as a vanity project, but it has created jobs and is far more environmentally friendly than any other similar vehicle on the road. Had it been a Labour devised project, the Tories would have lambasted it from start to finish, but Boris gets away with such largess.Any visit to the Conservative Home blog will confirm this.
The man question for us is whether Boris would make a better Prime Minister than Cameron. He has two main qualities which would help him enormously. Firstly, he's clever than Cameron. Whilst Cameron seems perpetually mired in dithering, Boris seems able to see a path and then follow it. Whilst many of us don't agree with his decisions, he sees them through. The second quality is that he's far lazier than Cameron. This may seem like a perverse attribute to label a quality, but as a Prime Minister it surely is. Workaholics end up like Gordon Brown, mired in detail and unable to delegate. Boris doesn't do detail, he gives people a job to do and lets them get on with it. He is quite prepared to use whatever tools he has at his disposal to reach an end, whilst making sure he isn't associated with unpopular decisions. A classic example of this was his appointment of Brian Coleman at the LFEPA. Boris didn't want to be associated with clobbering the fire service, so he stuck a loudmouth Tory bogeyman in charge. Colemans obnoxious personality was so overbearing that Boris took no flack at all for the massive attacks on this highly popular service. For a while, I couldn't understand how Boris tolerated Coleman, until I realised just how useful he really was.
Of course Boris isn't an MP and any process to replace Cameron would be extremely high risk, for all concerned. Realistically, even if a bunch of Tory plotters hatched a plot tomorrow, it would probably be 18 months before they could install their man. Just in time for the 2015 election. I suspect that there are moves afoot and they want to get the worst of the cuts out of the way and let Boris come in when there is a perceived upturn around Spring 2014. I think this plan is a bad one. Cameron and Osborne are clearly inept and I suspect that by 2014 things will be even worse. Another suggestion is that if Boris took over, the Lib Dems may pull the plug on the coalition. I personally doubt this. If they did they would alienate right leaning Lib Dems. Having permanently scared off left leaning Lib Dems, they would be well and truly finished. It is clear that Lib Dems have only one place to go and that is onwards on the current path.
I suspect that Boris would have most of them for breakfast. I suspect he would actually work with Vince Cable quite well. Cable is clever and useful to him. Cable knows that Boris gives him an opportunity, because if Cameron goesm Clegg won't be far behind. A Johnson and Cable team would draw up a list of infrastructure projects that both would back and put the differences on the back burner for a year until after the election.
Now you may wonder why I am backing such an unholy alliance? I am not. I think it would be a complete disaster for the UK. Unfortunately with Cameron, Osborne and Clegg, we don't have a disaster, we have a complete catastrophe. Labour has spent two years refusing to face up to a horrible truth. If they could dislodge the Lib Dems from the Tories and form a government, they could conceivably prevent both disaster and catastrophe. Could they prevent a Boris led Tory party? I am convinced that only a nasty accident could stop that. I just think that it would be far easier to stop the Boris bandwagon from a position of having rescued the economy than with him installed as incumbent PM on a rising economy. This blog, written in the week of the Labour Conference, isn't aimed at Tories (though I suspect more than a few will agree). It is aimed at the Labour party. If they don't wake up to the horrible reality which is about to unravel, Boris will do to them what he did to Ken Livingstone in May this year.
If you are in a car accelerating towards the edge of a cliff, you can do one of two things. You can change direction or you can cover your eyes and pretend it isn't going to happen. Both Tory and Labour parties are currently in this position. Sadly, whilst they are driving the car, we are all the passengers.