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Home > Politics

Earth to Iain Duncan Smith... hello?

Has Iain Duncan Smith gone completely bats, wonders Charlie Skelton

23 October 2003

"This party will win the next election under my leadership. There is no question about my leadership. The question is, who is going to lead the country after the next election? And I can tell you now it is going to be me."

- Iain Duncan Smith, speaking yesterday.

Is that right, Iain? You're going to lead the country as the leader of the Conservative Party after the next election? You are going to be sworn in as Prime Minister, and proudly take up residence in No.10 Downing Street.

A bold and impressive claim, to be sure. A warrior's words. But might we be so bold as to suggest that - just possibly - you might be ever so slightly mistaken in your belief?

A teeny tiny bit wrong. Hmmm?

Just a little bit.

A little bit wrong.











He can't possibly believe it, can he? He can't possibly, possibly, possibly believe that he is electable. That the Conservative Party is electable under his leadership?

Is he absolutely fucking insane?

Obviously - *obviously* - he isn't going to be Prime Minister. It was shriekingly, giddyingly obvious, from the first moment Iain was elected leader of the Tories, that he was the wrong choice. Breathtakingly, buggeringly, bafflingly wrong. People are suggesting that the Tories are "pressing the self-destruct button" in pushing for a leadership challenge - but that's nonsense: the self-destruction of the Tory Party occurred the moment they chose Iain Duncan Smith over Ken Clarke. And *everybody knows this* - this isn't some big secret, some mysterious hidden fact of politics. It is the most honkingly obvious fact since Portillo came out and said he might have kissed a boy once.

It is a disaster which may yet prove terminal for the Conservatives, and has proved disastrous for democracy. New Labour has danced its merry way through a ridiculous war, with one hand on wrapped lovingly round George Bush's cock and the other flipping a V sign at the public - and they have done so with no discernable political opposition whatsoever. Sure, the Lib Dems shouted a bit, but they just weren't a powerful enough lobby at the time. And there was a lovely big march with balloons and placards and stuff, but from the opposition benches.....? A soft mumble of collusion.

And Iain Duncan Smith? He brayed his pointless support for George Blair Jnr, and nodded happily to himself and popped an apple and can of fizzy pop in his pocket and went fishing.

Iain loves fishing.

"I remember standing on part of a weir, on the Avon I think, just looking at the river. I heard a noise, just a little patter, and I looked round and saw what looked to be a vole bouncing along. It was clearly heading across the river. I could see it hopping backwards and forwards, and I realised then that I was blocking the way and I didn't quite know what to do. Do I move out of the way for a vole? Silly, really.

But it plucked up its courage and went as fast as it could over my feet, having jumped about for the best part of five minutes."

This is a man who's rendered confused and baffled by a vole, and he thinks we're going to vote him into office.


So, off scuttles the vole, and Iain has a sip of fizzy pop and casts his line into the river. He fishes for a bit, humming old Charles Aznavour tracks to himself, head titled, a strange faraway look in his eyes, his fists clenching and unclenching on the handle of the rod without him even realising it, a bottled fury bubbling somewhere beneath the dullness, finding vent only when he finally scoops a trout from the river and thwocks its head to a bloody pulp with the heel of his shoe.

The fish stops quivering and there is silence on the riverbank. From the cover of a nearby stump, the vole looks on - scared now. Too scared almost to breath, lest Iain turn his way and spot him, and come at him with the shoe.

A second more of silence, then the soft hum of 'She' by Charles Aznavour pipes up, and Iain strolls back to his Ford Scorpio, pops his rod into the boot, polishes his shoe-tips on the back of his trouser legs, and trundles back to Westminster.

Iain Duncan Smith. Christ Almighty - look at him. If he was your uncle, you wouldn't even want to spend the afternoon with him: it would be awkward, boring, and you'd be slightly scared. You're hardly going to elect him leader of the country...

They're going to have to dump him. However clumsily they do it, they owe it to all of us to put someone up there who can at least contribute *something* to the political debate in our country.

That's right:

Michael Howard.


Bye bye, Tories.

Bye bye.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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