This is, as Peter Hoskin says, an extremely interesting letter. It has been noticeable with both the Conservatives and the Labour Party that senior ministers have been able to brush aside their expenses problems, while more junior colleagues have been swiftly defenestrated – poor old Sir Peter Viggers didn’t even get his duck island after all. And there has been something slightly disconcerting in the way that the Conservative leader has coalesced power around him and a small number of friends. All things considered it is perhaps not surprising that there should be a number of backbench malcontents.
And yet, and yet. Something about the language of this letter, anonymous and circulated on House of Commons stationery, doesn’t ring true. This for instance:
Labour in meltdown is led by a deeply flawed PM; the Lib Dems are led by a pathetic non-entity; but we are being led by two people of no experience who seem to be more interested in short-term media management than in telling people what they stand for.
I may be reading too much into this, but the terms of debate used there are identical – identical – to those currently used by the Labour party. Note how there is little criticism of the Labour party, that Brown is ‘flawed’ rather than any of the descriptions more usually heard from Tory MPs, and that the true venom is reserved for the Liberal Democrats, with whom the Tories have been co-operating rather well recently.
We look forward to hearing colleagues’ views in the Tea Room.
Not a place known for Conservative plots that. Labour plots, yes; Tories not so much. The rest of the letter, with its references to ‘summary justice’, ‘kangaroo courts’ and ‘Stalinism’ just feels wrong – as if it were being written by someone who knows what he thinks Conservatives ought to say, but hasn’t actually met many. Did someone mention that Damian McBride might still be working for the Labour Party? Just a thought…