If you judge a man by his enemies, then David Cameron is doing pretty well as a centrist, consensus minded One Nation Tory. Barely a day goes by without the sirens of the right launching yet another whinge in his direction. Tim Montgomerie, the editor of online site Conservative Home, now regularly breaks cover from the safety of his internet operation to take the battle into the frontline of the papers that bloggers enjoy deriding as the 'dead tree press'. In the Mail last week, and the New Statesman this week, he is busy sounding his by now familiar message of "Woe to Cameron who won't listen to his right-wing backbenchers'. Time was when Montgomerie used to have something interesting to say, but his record got stuck some time ago.
He's joined by the usual variety of right-wing nay-sayers in the predictable corners of the press. James Kirkup, holding forth in that long-term battalion of Thatcherism the Daily Telegraph, provides a detailed analysis of Cameron's governing style which concludes that, er, he's not very good at it. The sort of conclusion, from that source, that's right up there with the shock announcement that Christmas Day will fall on December 25th. this year.
However, amidst the sound and fury of a right-wing that feels ignored, and yearns for the glory days of Thatcherism when we didn't have to put up with the whiney Liberals in government and could watch the Tory vote gradually disappear from the urban areas and that bit of England we know as the North, there are some warnings for Cameron. Not least, his need to sharpen his defence of his government's agenda, and step in early to pre-empt regular attempts to undermine him from his parliamentary opponents. Perhaps his new Communications appointment will help him in this. Meanwhile, there are still several publications that haven't yet printed Mr. Montgomerie's Variation on a Theme so keep a good look out for more of the same.