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Defeat is the defining experience of Cameron's political career

By Tim Montgomerie
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In an article for the Mail on Sunday I argue that people wanting to understand David Cameron need to understand that the defining feature of his defining years in politics has been defeat:

"Norman Lamont walked in front of the nation’s cameras to announce that Britain was leaving the Exchange Rate Mechanism after hiking interest rates to an eye-watering 15 per cent.  It was the day a generation  of voters stopped trusting the Tories with the economy. Standing alongside Mr Lamont that day, just out of picture, was his young adviser, David Cameron. It was the first of many chastening experiences for the man who is now Prime Minister. A few years later, in 1997, David Cameron stood for the Tory-held seat of Stafford. He, like many other Conservatives, was buried in the Blair landslide. He then watched William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard become the first Tory leaders of modern times never to become Prime Minister. His growing belief that there was something fundamentally wrong with Conservatism was confirmed at the 2010 General Election when, against a discredited, disunited and appallingly led Labour Government, the Tories under his leadership still couldn’t win a majority. It is against this backdrop of defeat after defeat that you have to understand Cameron."

It is the fact that the Conservatives haven't won a general election outright since 1992 that should worry people who say that Cameron was wrong to modernise the Conservative Party. The Conservative Party does need to change. The question is what kind of change. In the Mail on Sunday piece I say the basic problem with the party is not that it's too right-wing but that it's seen as the party of privileged people who don't understand those without money. Read it here.

Starting tomorrow I'll be setting out a series of big changes the party needs to make if it is to win the next election and once again become the natural party of government.


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