by Atul Hatwal
If the Conservatives win the next election, David Cameron has turned himself into a bystander in his next government.
By pre-announcing his resignation he’s dissolved his future authority with backbenchers, who will be more interested in winning the favour of the next leader, and shifted the media lens onto his potential successors. The question of when he will resign – because he surely won’t last a full term – will dog him each day and ultimately he will struggle for relevance. He’s condemned himself to a living political death.
In the wake of such an extraordinary unforced error, Labour’s chosen line of attack is that Cameron is taking the electorate for granted by assuming he will win the next election. It fits with Labour’s broader critique of him and in that sense is logical, but it’s also wrong.
Two of David Cameron’s greatest political assets are his double digit lead over Ed Miliband as the public’s preference for PM and the extent to which he personally outpolls his party.
David Cameron’s telegraphed resignation is the very antithesis of leadership; it’s the epitome of weakness and raises the likelihood that any one of a gaggle of unappealing Tories could be prime minister in the next Parliament. Suddenly, there might be some hope for Labour.
Instead of talking about arrogance, Labour should be recasting the leadership choice at this election as one between Ed Miliband and the dangerous unknown.
There are two aspects to this.
First, the message should be hammered home that David Cameron is about to quit on the British people in the next Parliament.