I wanna sell you a Tory

Duncan O’Leary over at Demos Greenhouse looks on the bright side for the Tory party. The news stories may have been division, division and more division (oh, and dumping Europe) over the last six months, but at least, he says, the Tories have had a proper debate about the future.

But has it done them any good? The public side had been bad: Party members bickering with each other in public, visions of ideological purity, tight elections, rule changes – it’s like Labour in the 1980s, except it’s also like the Tories in the 1950s (another period where Labour had stolen all their clothes).

And as for the policy debate, there have been a few volleys fired into the air (War in Iraq – bad, apparently. School vouchers – good. No, wait! bad), but frankly, who cares? The Tories won’t be writing their manifesto for another three years, that’s plenty of time to have gone through at least 720° by then. Look at the 1992 Labour manifesto, then look at the 1997 Labour manifesto. Really, the Tories policies will be settled by the winner in the light of the party and the nation, not in the light of any internal debate at the moment.

There is one winner here – and he’s in China.