Looking Forward to 2006

This is the time of year when brave souls make predictions for the year ahead. They usually come back to haunt the unfortunate would-be prophet, but hey…One things for sure, we’re going to be talking a lot more about Cameron. He’s either very naive or brilliantly clever. Within days of being elected, he seeks to convince the world that both he and his party have changed forever. Never forget that nice, caring, green Mr Cameron was the author of the 2005 Howard manifesto (are you thinking what we’re thinking?). He has taken adverts in major newspapers setting out his new vision of conservatism which is vastly at odds with the Tory Party which fought the general election a few short months ago. Daily Mail readers must have choked on their cornflakes at the idea of their party changing so much that beardy liberals might take up David’s offer to join. If Cameron really wants to drag his party kicking and screaming into a socially responsible and green future – he should be applauded. But surely the internal divisions in his party will be worse than those on Europe?

Speaking of Europe, how does this new ‘Mr Nice Guy’ conservatism sit with his decision to pull Tory MEPs out of the main centre-right grouping and instead place them, as Chris Huhne puts it, ‘between Ms Mussolini and Mr Robert Kilroy-Silk’? Unless Cameron’s words are backed with appropriate actions, it won’t take long for people to see through them. And if he does start to change the Tory Party to match his rhetoric – the right-wing swivel-eyed brigade won’t stand for it.

All this should be manna from heaven for the Lib Dems – and it can be if we are seen to stand firm and united – since we really do espouse socially responsible, green and liberal thinking. What threatens us most right now is this silly rumbling about our leader (the one we recently re-elected unopposed having successfully led us to our highest number of MPs yet). The last thing we need to be doing is appearing to fight among ourselves. I believe Saint Cameron will hang himself if we keep the spotlight on him. If we focus in on ourselves we take our eyes off the ball to our own cost.