The Diary

By Silvester, Christopher | The Independent on Sunday (London, England), February 5, 2006 | Go to article overview
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The Diary


Silvester, Christopher, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)


Leading away from the middle, towards the centre tony marsh/ reuters

David Cameron wants the Tory Party to seek the "centre ground". This should not be confused with the "middle ground", which seems to be different. Last year, in his Keith Joseph Lecture, he warned that by "seeking the middle ground, you define your position according to your opponents, and as a result you lose any connection between your values and your policies... In its most extreme form, such a positioning strategy decides what you do and don't do, what you say and don't say and what you think and don't think. It poisons your politics." Clear enough. But this week he told Demos something different. "Embracing a 'new politics' and accepting in many areas New Labour was closer to the Conservative Party was difficult. But it was the right thing to do. Not least because it's true. Make no mistake, I will stick to this path. The alternative to fighting for the centre ground is irrelevance. defeat and failure." All clear, or a case of saying one thing to a right-wing audience and another to a left one?

Stil with David Cameron's great pronouncements. His new inclusive Conservatism has stretched its ever-expanding embrace around left- wing playwright Harold Pinter. "In 2005 alone, Harold Pinter won the Nobel Prize for literature, and screens around the world were dominated by fantastic worlds that sprung from the fertile imaginations of CS Lewis and JK Rowling," Cameron said in his speech on Britishness at the Bow Group. An unlikely hero for the Conservatives. Of course, Pinter, who devoted his acceptance speech for the Nobel to suggesting Tony Blair should be arrested as a war criminal, is yet to be congratulated by Downing Street.

A photographic analysis last weekend showed that while Cherie Blair refuses to bow her head for our own Queen she will do so for the Queen of Norway and other visiting monarchs. "It's a whingeing idea, that there's nothing any good in this country, it's always done better abroad," says Charles Mosley, editor in chief of Debrett's. "One would respect her more if she was consistent in her republicanism. It's all right to kick our own Queen but we might need Norway's vote in the UN or something. It's particularly shabby." However, indefatigable genealogist that he is, Mosley has found a recondite explanation for her disrespectful behaviour to the Queen. "You can hardly expect Cherie to show respect for her head of state when she [Cherie] is the great-great-great-great niece of John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln.

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