Published on 28 Aug 2012

Tim Yeo gets personal

Tim Yeo’s very personal attack on the prime minister is a bit of moment. Not because Mr Yeo has a huge following. He’s antagonised a lot of fellow Tory MPs over the years who don’t like all his pro-green policy positions. 

Some of the language about Mr Yeo I received in text messages from Tory MPs today was pretty strong and anatomically impossible. Some related to his fondness for flying to far flung golf courses. Tory MPs have even speculated that this all has something to do with Mr Yeo wanting to curry favour with Labour MPs to keep his committee chairmanship. So why does it matter?

It matters because an awful lot of Tory MPs would sign up to the most personal bit of Tim Yeo’s article when he paints a picture of David Cameron as an effete Etonian type with no political passion:

“The prime minister must ask himself whether he is a man or a mouse … does he want to be another Harold Macmillan, presiding over a dignified slide towards insignificance? Or is there somewhere inside his heart – an organ that still remains impenetrable to most Britons – a trace of Thatcher, determined to reverse the direction of our ship?” 

One Tory MP said: “That strikes a chord with an awful lot of people… There’s a sense amongst a majority of the Tory MPs not in the government that he (the PM) is a little too comfortable in office and it’s all he really wants.”

When Parliament is in session, your ear is constantly bent by Tories in and out of government saying the PM lacks passion, has no centre, no fire in the belly and any number of variations on that theme. A right-wing MP with no sympathy for Tim Yeo said the PM was in for a “very rocky time” on Europe and gay marriage and lacked a feel for the party’s centre of gravity.

As for the Heathrow promise, David Cameron had long ago decided he could not extricate himself from the “no third runway” manifesto pledge. In Jakarta in April I asked him if he had tied his hands with that manifesto line and he said: “we tied our hands by saying we’re not going to build a third runway at Heathrow … and that’s a promise we made and a promise we’re going to keep.”

Opinions on whether it was the right thing to do have shifted in the Cabinet and amongst close advisers, but as with the pre-election promises to the elderly on winter fuel allowances etc., the judgement’s been made that the soundbites from Cameron’s own lips are too blunt and explicit to reverse – they would be played back at him for the rest of his political career and, he thinks, might actually shorten it.

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8 reader comments

  1. B. Moxon says:

    How dare Mr. Yeo use that language about Mr. Cameron.

    And what kind of man is this Yeo fellow? With all the problems Mr. Cameron has he should be able to expect the loyalty and support of his Members, and not give Labour ammunition. Anyway what a pity he cannot express his views in a more gentlemanly manner. Thousands of people do not want a third runway. Preserve our children’s financial future? What about the air they breathe?

  2. Animal Whisperer Rosi Caswell says:

    I’m with you Tim Yeo. Bravo!

  3. OneLiner says:

    Why aren’t you commenting on WHY Tim Yeo is suddenly making this attack on the PM? It’s because he’s on the board of a company that’s just signed some contracts with China so it’s in his interest. It’s all there on http://order-order.com/2012/08/28/tim-yeos-heathrow-to-china-bonanza/

    It’s not like you need to do much digging, it’s all been done for you. Tim Yeo is only doing this to line his own pockets. Nothing more.

    I find the current PM largely ineffectual and would be happy to see him go if anyone better can be found (yeah, I know, it’s unlikely with the current shower in Parliament), but at least make him go for the right reasons.

  4. Philip says:

    Mr Yeo must surely be a former yeoman. He needs to “man up” too! As for “eek eek” Cameron, he has to share his mouse-hole with Nick “the Vole” Clegg so he can hardly change course when it’s one of the clearer parts of the “Coalition agreement”, especially after dishing reform of the House of Lords. You have to laugh….otherwise you’d be going off to shoot yourself!

  5. Robert Taggart says:

    Yeo ? Yo – Gibbo – you back from your hols. ?
    Cameo = the heir to Bliar = why the surprise ? !
    The Tory Party elected a ‘mouse’ to lead them because a ‘man’ would scare off potential voters. The electoral arithmetic does no one (Cameo, Tories, LieDums, voters) any favours. The next general election will mefears do no favours again !… another coalition, or, worse still, a Liebore Government !!
    This Northern Provincial be more than happy to see Lundun Heathrow expand – you can have the congestion / pollution – with our blessing !!!

  6. Peter Stewert says:

    It couldn’t be that Mr Yeo has a large stake in a company that can greatly profit form increased flights from the UK is it? There isn’t some bio-fuel company that Mr Yeo is on the board of and operating as a supplier to airports in China?

  7. Philip Edwards says:

    Gary,

    The Tory “centre of gravity” is where it has always been……..a sort of poujadist rentier mentality in permanent search of a fuhrer. Which is why even Churchill said in 1938 that Britain “in trouble” would need a leader with the “strength” of Adolf Hitler.

    The Tory house mags, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph, tell you everything you need to know about them: small minded, full of hate for working class citizens, racist, homophobic, greedy, corrupt, cold, priggish, with no conception of society….which is why they picked Thatcher and her gang, and why they now want someone similar.

    Nye Bevan had them bang to rights. They’ll never change.

  8. Mudplugger says:

    As Peter Stewart observes above, whenever Tim Yeo MP troubles himself to raise any topic, we would be well advised to recall the recommendation of Deep Throat from the Watergate era and “Follow The Money”.

    Strangely, there always seems to be a cash-flow, always flowing Mr Yeo’s way.

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