Adam Afriyie's Early Hubris

Adam Afriyie's leadership bid is still only in embryonic form - there is noticeably no vacancy at the moment, nor much of a call for one - but even so it looks as if it's crashing fast.  Mr. Afriyie has not discouraged people from referring to him as a "Tory Obama" but doesn't seem to share the US President's political acumen.  He doesn't actually seem to share anyone's political acumen to be honest.  I never thought a Eurosceptic proposal could be greeted with contempt and hilarity within the Tory party, but such is Mr. Afriyie's standing amongst his parliamentary colleagues that that is exactly what has happened with his like-to-be-stillborn amendment to the euro referendum Bill.  Most of the 2010 Tory intake have signed a letter urging him to drop his amendment, which demands a referendum next year, according to a report from James Forsyth in the Spectator.  Forsyth also tantalisingly claims that if Afriyie doesn't drop his amendment then another letter may be released.  By implication, this one could be rather less polite.

Mr. Afriyie's self-delusion was clear for all to hear in his Today programme interview earlier this week.  He declared that promoting a eurosceptic amendment was never going to make him popular in the Tory party (er, he has met members of this party, right? And he seriously thinks it's not eurosceptic inclined?).  Even more hilariously, the man who has set up a putative leadership team claimed that he really didn't like stirring things up.  Quite.  A really reluctant controversialist, Mr. Afriyie.

Adam Afriyie may not have won quite the levels of acclaim he was hoping for.  After all, the Telegraph's Damian Thompson has rather cuttingly referred to the would-be leader as a "wally" in what one suspects is a level of carefully chosen wording that many Tory MPs would be happy to echo.  But he has achieved the near impossible feat of bringing the eurosceptics firmly in line behind the Prime Minister.  I'm beginning to wonder whether he hasn't been a secret No. 10 plant all along.

Oh, and a slightly more objective view of Mr. Afriyie is here in the Economist.  They're such fair minded people.


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