David Davis has announced himself as climate change (is caused by man) denier. Do the Conservatives have their own version of Sammy Wilson?
I wish that were true. At the very least, we could poke a bit of fun. What you can say in favour of Sammy Wilson is that he is not inherently disloyal to his party leader. The person I am likening David Davis to is Edward Heath.
From the moment that Margaret Thatcher became leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, she had an enemy within her party – her predecessor, Edward Heath. Until his dying day, he never forgave her and persisted with criticisms of her under the guise of misguided ideology. One of his most famous backstabbing moments was at the Conservative Party conference in 1981, two years into Mrs. Thatcher’s first term and just as unemployment was really beginning to bite.
Although I am still trying not to believe it, I think history may be repeating itself. Until the dramatics over the 42 day bill, I was actually quite a fan of David Davis. I would still like to be if I could be convinced that his recent actions were not motivated by a disturbing pathological streak in his personality which drove him to vengeance.
After the Government won the vote on the 42 – day detention bill last year, Davis he resigned his seat. This was despite the fact that the Conservatives were largely on the side of Davis. It looked totally irrational. It was. However, if this was an act of vengeance the timing certainly was not. This was the time when David Cameron’s lead in the opinion polls had started to harden and take root. It will almost certainly have crossed Cameron’s mind that this was an act of vengeance. The Daily Telegraph wrote this
“The Telegraph revealed this morning that the Conservative’s failure to defeat the Government hit Mr Davis hard and had led to friction between the him and the leadership.”
Most of the Newspapers described Davis’s actions in terms of egocentricity. One Newspaper (the Sun) went further, using the word ‘Treachery’ to describe David Davis’s actions. Under a headline “Crazy Davis,” the Sun wrote:
“This was no noble cause. It was a shabby act of treachery. Mr Davis, a second-rate but ferociously ambitious politician, has not forgiven his political rival of thrashing him in the Tory leadership race two years ago.”
If David Cameron had got his response wrong, internal fighting within the Conservative Party could have broke out. After consulting with his colleagues, Cameron responded by not rising to any bait and quietly treating David Davis with “respect.” David Davis faded from the national picture, until a few days ago when he struck again. This time, the theme was climate change.
The extent of how damaging this can be will not be known for some time but a Conservative split on climate change has now been reported and already, Labour is taking advantage. And the timing? Yes, just before the Copenhagen Summit and at a time when Cameron’s lead in the opinion polls had recently taken a knock.
Davis can justify his comments as much as he likes. He certainly was raising a valid issue but it is much too difficult not to impute an ulterior motive. Davis is a seasoned politician. He would understand very well the impact of his action. When your party is only months away from fighting a General Election, you do not require one of your senior politicians undermining one of big features of your next election manifesto.
The Sun did get it right. Davis is Ted Heath Mark II. He will have to be watched for as long as David Cameron is leader.
Filed under: Climate change, Conservative Party, David Davis, Energy, Environment, General Election, Margaret Thatcher | Tagged: Climate change, Conservative Party, David Cameron, David Davis, Edward Heath, Energy, Environment, General Election, Green Issues, Green policy, Labour Party, Margaret Thatcher | 10 Comments »