Who are Cameron's Friends....?
Increasingly, people whose number can be counted on the fingers of one hand, it would appear. Cameron may not be losing much sleep over the latest broadside from vampire look-a-like Norman Tebbit, on day release from his coffin. But he might be a bit more concerned about the seeming distance being placed by right-hand man and shadow chancellor George Osborne in a 'Spectator' interview due out tomorrow.
Tebbit has used the light of the full moon to enter the fray by commending Gordon Brown for inviting Margaret Thatcher round for tea, and generally praising the Labour prime minister for having pretty well all those qualities so sadly lacking in David Cameron. You know. Gravitas, courtesy (to old right-wingers), power, humourlessness, lack of an Eton education and being generally kind to former female Tory prime ministers. Tebbit condemned Cameron for not knowing what the world outside politics is like, in a devastating comment that might rebound with many disillusioned Tories, to say nothing of others tiring of the Cameron glamour:
"He has spent much of his time in the Conservative Party and as a public relations guy. Well it's not the experience of most people in the streets."
Meanwhile, in the 'Spectator' tomorrow, meanwhile, George Osborne appears to be trying to distance himself from Tory modernisers (leader: D. Cameron), with such easily non-misunderstood comments as:
"I don’t take the kind of über-modernising view that some have had, that you can’t talk about crime or immigration or lower taxes."
Hmmm. You might dismiss Tebbit as a cantankerous old rightist made ever more grumpy by being left out in the cold, but Osborne's meant to be at the heart of the Tory modernising project. Of all the party leaders, it is certainly Cameron who appears to have most at stake during his party conference. Will Blair Mk. 2 recover his poise to be a real challenger for Brown?
UPDATE: The Spectator's political editor, Fraser Nelson, who interviewed Osborne, claims on the Spectator blog that this is not a story about a possible rift.