THE BLOG

Miliband and Farage: The Fearsome Twins of Tory Destruction

27/09/2013 13:45 BST | Updated 27/11/2013 10:12 GMT

The Conservative Party, or rather the 'Dave's Chums; wing of it, are standing with the ball at their feet. What exactly do they do next? They're faced on their right and their left with the Castor and Pollux of their destruction.

If you read Conservative and right-of-centre media, you'll have known that the 'chumocracy' are pretty stunned by Ed Miliband's performance at the Labour Party conference in Brighton. They've realised that they've under-rated the man, and now have to re-think their strategy.

This will not be easy.

Miliband's refusal to blank-cheque Cameron's attempt to hang with the Big Boys over Syria flipped the script. His criticism of Murdoch caught the public mood. The FTSE reacted to his warning to the power companies: shares dropped. Hard-headed and cold-blooded, the City doesn't afford that negative accolade to a guy they think will never be given the keys to Number 10.

At the Labour Conference I watched Ed Mliband deliver his keynote address, a man at ease with himself in every way. Most importantly, I saw a man who put down a marker: if you're leftwing, centre left, socialist etc, vote Labour. New Labour is dead. And it is only Labour that has a real shot at forming a majority government. No other parties on the Left can do it.

He spoke real word stuff and the hall loved it.

I couldn't wait to see the spin, which ranged from the juvenile - Daily Mail "Yuck!" - to more subtle responses from Sky News, the BBC etc. They're trying to contain him.

Of course, if you only rely on the mainstream media, (the reality for most people) to know Miliband, you'll never know what I'm talking about when I say that, unfortunately, he's neither telegenic nor slick, a mortal affliction in our looks-obsessed/trivia -saturated 21st Century. When I suggested he get media training, I was told that he wanted to be "himself". Probably a wise move because he couldn't do something like that without it leaking out. But somebody ought to tell him that there is no such thing on TV as 'yourself'. 'Self' is an illusion. And yes, the camera does lie.

Nevertheless, be in no doubt: Ed Miliband is formidable, focussed, and bar a national emergency, will be setting the pace from now on.

On the right : Nigel Farage, the dark at the top of the Tory stair.

UKIP are taking votes away from both right and left, but it is the Conservative Party taking the biggest hit. The party chairman just the other day entreated Ukippers to "come home". Tory MP Nadine Dorries has suggested a Conservative Party/Ukip ticket. Things are that desperate.

In the meantime, David Cameron, a man I truly believe really meant it when he said way back in 2005 that he wanted a more compassionate conservatism, has brought into his fold one Lynton Crosby. This Australian election mastermind helped Boris win London twice, largely through scaring the hell out of the middle class.

'The Lizard Of Oz', as he's known among his friends, has a preferred method: go personal. Attack a person's looks; clothes; distort their words, anything to create fear and loathing in the electorate. Works a treat Down Under.

In the case of Farage, the job is to paint Ukip as a bunch of sexist, racist, xenophobic elderly buffoons and sad sacks with a leader who's good for a laugh and a pint but not much else.

That a political party, one that has the serious potential to threaten the status quo, can be those things and survive and grow in the UK, is not something the 'Lizard' wants us, the electorate, to bother our fluffy, pretty heads about.

Just about more than anything, 'Tory Majority 2015' do not want Farage included in the debates. They know that Farage on the same podium as Cameron will finish the Tories off.

Meanwhile they and their mainstream media apparatchiks are telling us that the economy is recovering. But it's Miliband who's asking voters the strategic question: "Does it feel like a recovery to you?"

The Tories are promising an in/out referendum on Europe in 2017, but it is Farage who nails it: "We've heard it before."

Meanwhile, the 'hug-a-hoodie', caring and sharing Cameron has become a kind of 'Prisoner Of Zenda' to the churning forces of his right flank. His solution: get out front and go personal.

But he has chosen a dangerous path.

Next year or sometime before the 2015 General Election, Rebekah Brooks former head of Murdoch's newspaper empire, must stand trial and Andy Coulson, too, Cameron's right hand man. Their trials will shine an unwelcome light at the worst possible time on the prime minister.

This will make the General Election less about David Cameron's accomplishments, or his record, goals or hopes. These will be a sideshow. The election will be all about the man and his personal judgement.

His mates in the press will not be able to outpace websites and social media in unearthing the uncomfortable questions and digging up the dirt. 2015 will be more upfront and personal than any election this nation has ever seen.

Their 'play the man not the ball' approach could sink the Tories in 2015. They themselves could become victims of 'the law of unintended consequences. Or to put it simply: "What goes around... "