David Herdson’s slant on the Tory leadership
(This is a comment that David posted a few days ago which I thought was worthy of greater prominence – MS)
The next Tory leader is one market I wouldnâ€™t be going near at the moment. For one thing, Tory leaders are rarely the obvious candidates. For another, goodness knows when the next election will be.
If Cameron loses the next general election, he may stand down straight away in which case we could be only a year away, give or take a few months. If he wins, we might be as many as ten years off. Thatâ€™s a huge amount of uncertainty.
I would say that Boris offers little value. Heâ€™s out of parliament and likely to stay that way for quite some time. Osborne and Hague both have the advantage that they should still be around as contenders whenever the election is but oneâ€™s been tried already and the other doesnâ€™t have Cameronâ€™s natural touch.
For fun, I once sketched odds for what each Conservative leader would have been as â€˜Next Tory leaderâ€™ at the time of their predecessorâ€™s election. Most I guessed as pretty unlikely. I think theyâ€™d have been something like:
Eden in 1940 – 7/1 (Unlikely to take over if wartime vacancy; probable natural successor otherwise)
Macmillan in 1955 – 5/1 (A leading contender but only if there was a vacancy relatively soon)
Douglas-Home in 1957 – 200/1 (Capable and likable but membership of the Lords pre-disclaimer would have been a huge barrier)
Heath in 1963 – 16/1 (Solid but unspectacular; capable in a technocratic way)
Thatcher in 1965 – 250/1 (A woman leader? Outside the cabinet? Dream on)
Major in 1975 – 5000/1 (Not even an MP at the time and should have been too young)
Hague in 1990 – 33/1 (Also should have been too young unless Major won two elections)
Duncan Smith in 1997 – 200/1 (Duncan who?)
Howard in 2001 – 8/1 (One of the few heavyweights around who might take over if DS floundered – as always looked possible)
Cameron in 2003 – 66/1 (Again, should have been too young and inexperienced unless the Tories won in 2005)
David’s original comment can be found here.