THE BLOG
23/02/2016 07:43 GMT | Updated 23/02/2017 05:12 GMT

Is the 'Heir to Blair' Well on the Road to the Same Fate?

I have a confession to make. I like David Cameron. I know I'm not supposed to, I'm a Labour member and councillor, I've never voted Tory and can't see myself doing. But nevertheless I like the man...

I have a confession to make. I like David Cameron.

I know I'm not supposed to, I'm a Labour member and councillor, I've never voted Tory and can't see myself doing. But nevertheless I like the man.

I know Mr Cameron has a tendency at times to come across as a bit of a bully at Prime Ministers Questions and I know all about him, in the immortal words of Nadine Dorries, being a 'posh boy' but we all have our faults and it seems to me at least there isn't a lot he could do about his.

We have our strengths too.

There is no doubt in my mind that David Cameron is one of the finest politicians of our age. He is a leader that can hold his own on the world stage. And most importantly for me, no matter what his most vehement opponents say about him, he seems to care.

Is it possible to imagine any previous Tory Prime Minister ever talking about prison reform in a liberal way? Who would ever have thought that a Conservative Leader would ever have introduced and, just as importantly kept, universal infant free school meals? Thirty years ago who would ever have believed it would be a Tory who introduced equal marriage?

The answer is simple. No one.

Now not for one second am I saying that I could vote for him or join his party, frankly there are far too many obnoxious individuals on the fringes for me to ever do that, but it seems to me at least David Cameron is personally not too far away from being in the right place.

It's one of those now clichéd phrases like 'most gifted politician of his generation' but in consistently seeking a centrist, moderate approach that appeals to the country in many ways David Cameron is indeed the true 'Heir to Tony Blair'.

The problem for Mr Cameron is we know what happened to Mr Blair. It wasn't the opposition that got him but his own side that in the end politically did him in.

There is a very real possibility that David Cameron is at the start of the end of his premiership, he could well face the same fate.

When you are a leader trying to ensure that not only you remain in power but just as importantly take the country with you it is true that you are always going to have radicals, let's call them ideological purists, calling for you to go.

It was Iraq, PFI and Academies that did it for Blair. It could well be the European Union which marks Mr Cameron's downfall.

For Conservatives the European Union is a totemic issue. Many, many Tories will never forgive their leader for advocating a Yes vote. Members will leave, Conservative Association meetings up and down the country will reverberate with calls that Cameron isn't a true Tory, that he has no real beliefs.

I should know because I, just like many moderates, have lived through it on the other side. And although such allegations are nonsense, Messrs Blair and Cameron are in their own ways just as principled as any ideologue, they will stick.

The question is if, no when, it happens what is going to happen to the Conservative party?

Will it depart to some ideologically pure but practically unelectable fringe? Or, will that essentially Tory instinct of self-preservation mean the party sees sense and reverts to a moderate Boris-shaped election winning machine?

I don't know the answer but it's certainly going to be fun finding out.