Portsmouth, Hampshire, May 2005
“Are you thinking what we’re thinking?”
This was the Tories’ brilliant slogan for the 2005 election. As it turned out, we weren’t thinking what they were thinking, unless they too were thinking, why have we picked Michael Howard as our leader?
Indeed, half the time we didn’t know what the Tories were thinking. Why had they replaced the unelectable William Hague with the even more unelectable Iain Duncan Smith in 2001? Surely the worst opposition leader of all time, they chose him over the comparatively brilliant Ken Clarke and Michael Portillo. In another eccentric decision, Michael Howard was chosen – unopposed – as Tory leader in 2003. Howard had been an unmitigated disaster as Home Secretary under Major and had actually come last in the Tory leadership contest in 1997 even behind the likes of Peter Lilley and John Redwood.
The Tories managed to be wrong on…
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