Here we go again. First, we had Andrew Rawnsley back in March talking about a clique that surrounds Cameron. Today, we get the a similar piece from Rachael Sylvester. My eyes just roll over when I read this stuff:
Policymaking and strategy are driven by the gang. According to Tim Montgomerie, of Conservative Home, “the biggest decisions are drafted in very small groups”. One senior Tory claims that Mr Cameron has never had a group meeting with any of the frontbench departmental teams.
There are, of course, benefits to this approach. The Conservative high command is united and can react quickly to events. But there is growing resentment in the wider party about the exclusivity of the inner circle.
Now this jaw dropping stuff:
Tory backbenchers are remarkably grumpy given the state of the polls and last week’s by-election win. Shadow Cabinet ministers complain about the lack of teamwork, the absence of political discussion and the failure to consult before decisions are made. It is said that Mr Cameron is so used to having his friends around him that he will not listen to those who tell him something he does not want to hear. “The cliquiness is awful,” says one frontbencher. “Everyone should be very excited about the prospect of power but they’re not. People are very demoralised, there’s not much enthusiasm because the Cameron lot are so disdainful of everybody else.”
While he is an opposition leader ahead in the polls, Mr Cameron can afford to rely on a small clique, but if he becomes prime minister in such difficult circumstances, he will need a far bigger circle of friends. “Cameron has the potential to be a really significant prime minister,” says one frontbencher, “but he risks destroying himself because he won’t widen his circle.”
Cameron will become a really significant prime minister if he doesn't widen his circle. These ‘leading’ commentators and their sources on the Tory backbenchers need to take some basic management training. Cameron is successful because he has surrounded himself with people he can trust and depend on. These are the tried and tested methods that any successful leader will use. Both Thatcher and Blair had small teams they depended on as did Harold Wilson before them. All were successful leaders.
If a copy of Sylvester’s article reaches Cameron while he is on holiday, here is my advice. Take note of what the article says, call a few of these ‘grumpy’ backbenchers in for a chat after the summer, listen to what they have to say, smile and move on.
One more point. The reason there wasn't a successful coup against Brown in June is because there was no leader of a ‘small clique’ to organise one.
Either Tory MPs want Cameron to succeed or they don't. It is about time they made their mind up.