Just as the Tony/Gordon tussle for the top seems to have slid onto the back burner for the time being and the Tory leadership contest is hotting up dfjgkdfj gfgjk fdjfd [sorry - fell asleep on my keyboard there]. Hotting up? Who am I kidding. Only in the sense that there now seem to be more candidates than voters as the MPs decide that they want to pick their next loser leader. You can see their point. They are well aware that if it was left to the wider party, they'd end up with another Ian Duncan Smith or anyone that reminds the membership of Anthony Eden. However, the MPs don't exactly have a glowing record - Major was theirs, as was Hague and they effectively picked Howard.
I heard an interesting fact the other day - in the last century, only two Tory leaders failed to become PM. There have been three so far this century. I'm still of the view that their party is in a Liberal-style decline into a wilderness phase, leaving the throbbing Liberal Democrats to fight it out with the Labour party over the coming years. It seems I'm not alone - one of the Tories' biggest backers is of the same view. Not so much 'smell the coffee' as 'drink the embalming fluid.' Lord Saatchi apparently blames himself for failing to come up with an iconic, election-winning policy and blamed the party for thinking that the electorate was stupid and only energised by Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise. Well, who would want policies from by an ill-informed, self-centred, preening media figure when you could have Brad or Tom instead?
So, what of the LDs? Well, Chatshow Charlie can see the figures slipping around him in the shadows, their flickknives glinting occasionally. He knows that the assassins are watching his every step, ready to brief against him at every opportunity. And they will. His reported broadside against his critics in the parliamentary party may keep them quiet ahead of the Cheadle by-election (which I'd expect the Liberal Democrats to hold, given their traditionally strong by-election performance), but won't silence them indefinitely.