Dave - out of touch with his candidates, and the country.
The former Prime Minister was the overwhelming choice when Conservative parliamentary candidates were asked to name their political heroes.
The Tory leader’s relationship with Lady Thatcher is complicated. Mr Cameron has said that he was “terrified” of her when he worked in the Conservative Research Department. But since becoming leader, he has tried to distance himself from Thatcherism. He has insisted that “there is such a thing as society”. Lady Thatcher famously declared that there was not.
Lady Thatcher’s world view is most evident when likely new MPs are asked about the European Union. A separate survey of 101 candidates by the New Statesman suggests 72 per cent want an urgent and “fundamental renegotiation” of Britain’s relationship with the EU. Mr Cameron’s policy is much vaguer but, with the rump of Europhile Tory MPs being reduced further by retirements at the election, he will find limited room for manoeuvre on the benches behind him.
The survey also indicates a strongly Thatcherite taste for reducing the deficit through spending cuts rather than tax increases.
Nor do the next generation of Conservative MPs share Mr Cameron’s commitment to tackling climate change. A similar exercise conducted by Populus for The Times among a relatively small sample — 36 Conservative MPs and 34 Conservative candidates in winnable seats — confirms the newcomers to be notably more sceptical. While 27 per cent of the MPs think it an established fact that climate change is man-made, only 9 per cent of the candidates share this view.
This research does show the class of 2010 to be more socially liberal than existing MPs — and certainly more so than Lady Thatcher. Two thirds of the candidates believe gay couples should have “exactly the same rights as heterosexual couples”. MPs take the opposite view.
...the surprising conjuncture of attitudes in the party...
"Surprising" maybe to the Westminster village, but refreshingly familiarly libertarian to those of us out here in voter land. We don't care what people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms, as long as they don't frighten the horses, but that doesn't make us soppy left wingers on tax and scams.
Maybe there is hope for the Tories when Dave is recognised for being the young dinosaur he is.