Sunday 28 June 2009

Mystic Mogg and the curtains of complacency

Former Times editor Lord William Rees-Mogg has been an influential High Tory insider for decades. Indeed he is credited with a direct and decisive influence in persuading Alec Douglas-Home to step down as Tory leader with his Sunday Times column 'The Right Time for a Change' in July 1965, something today's Guardian leader writers and columnists have been unable to emulate.

Today, Rees-Mogg promotes the next election as a Tory equivalent of 1945 because of the scale of the bright new intake. I see no reason to doubt the Sir William's sincerity in believing in his party's glittering future.

Even so, it might still be rather good form to acknowledge that these acclaimed Tory prospective candidates include no fewer than two of Sir William's own children, Jacob and Annunziata. (An observation Next Left made after a previous Rees-Mogg column boosting the current Tories as the best for fifty years, but if he persists then so might we).

It would at least help to explain to readers one way in which the octogenerian scribe keeps his finger on the pulse of what the party's yoof are thinking.

The rest of us might not yet be quite sure whether they have the equivalent of the Beveridge plan or the national mood of solidarity and hope, and if David Cameron is surrounded by lieutenants of the quality of Bevin, Morrison, Cripps, Dalton and Bevan then they are clearly remain very well disguised under deep cover.

But perhaps this may also strike some fear into the heart of camp Cameron, given Rees-Mogg's famoulsy unerring record for mistaken predictions which earned him the Private Eye sobriquet 'Mystic Mogg'. (As David McKie noted, he had championed IDS as a new Attlee too while other misfires including his column hailing Margaret Thatcher's first round vote in the Tory leadership contest of 1990 as a decisive victory, the day before she resigned).

As Fraser Nelson and Tim Montgomerie today report David Cameron and George Osborne planning new Downing Street office arrangements, is the curtain-measuring in anticipation of power going a little too far?

Are the Conservatives getting complacent? I imagine they will spend next week insisting that they are not. But many in the do seem to be spending rather more time fantasising about measuring the size of its majority than considering how difficult it could even yet be to acquire one.

1 comment:

Exit pursued by a bear said...

Why is the syllable Ogg (Mogg, Hogg) so common among Tories?