Nearly five months ago I wrote:
"My vote, if I have one, is up for grabs. The problem is neither Davis nor Cameron seems to enunciate that we don't have to choose between being proud of Tory values and communicating to the public that we're in touch with Britain. With the right leader we ought to be able to do both. Believing in a small state which trusts individuals and families to take responsibility for society is not and need not be incompatible with showing we're not crooked second-hand car dealers. My leadership dilemma is deciding which candidate is best-placed to do both. My big concern, from what I've seen so far, is that neither will come close."
Well, if a week's a long time in politics five months is an age. Since then we saw Ken Clarke toss his well-fingered hat into the ring, and we saw it get fairly promptly chucked back out at him. I seriously flirted with Mr Clarke as a Tory white knight, and was seduced by his barn-storming conference speech. Sadly, his personal flaws (though I should probably say characteristics!) which we all know far too well lead to an arrogant failure to court those he really needed to flatter for support undid him. Fox valiantly failed, so we're back to the same question we had then.
While I had great concerns with the media-weighted almost coronation of David Cameron during the Party conference I was impressed that his camp had managed to have it engineered. I was depressed with the way Davis had all but not appeared. Since Clarke's ejection I have been unable to see how we can hope that Davis will fulfill the second part of the requirement I wrote of in July "to communicate that we are in touch with modern Britain". Although I should, perhaps, instinctively fall in behind Mr Davis I have great concerns over the message his election would send to the country and the way he has fallen back on "core vote tactics" when the going got rough in this primary - for that's what it is. Cameron has realised this, and played a cannier, longer game rather than a shorter-term Deanesque pitch for grass root votes. Having used his higher profile, Mr Cameron has come closer to convincing me he can achieve what I wanted in my "golden paragraph" whilst Mr Davis has made his chances of satisfying it much slimmer. For all the wrong reasons - I detest a politics of spin, but cannot deny its existence, I prefer a politics of policies and substance, but don't want them stolen again by Labour, age is irrelevant to me, but sadly not to many voters - I find myself a Cameroon.