Organisation: Conservative Party
Issue: Iain Duncan Smith wins leadership election
Was it the beginning of the end for the Conservative Party or the dawn
of a new unified era as the Tory members chose the inexperienced Iain
Duncan Smith (aka IDS) as its new leader after 'one of the most bitterly
fought leadership contests in recent history'? (The Daily Telegraph,
Divided opinion from a divided party and the nation's voters filled
fewer column inches than usual in a media overwhelmed by the atrocities
of the terrorist attacks in the US.
Commentators united in their view, however, that the new leader of the
'shattered Tory Party' (BBC Online, 17/9) faced a huge challenge and
'one of the most daunting uphill struggles in modern Tory history' (The
The Daily Telegraph (14/9) proposed that the leadership contest proved
the Conservatives were 'alive and well'.
The Guardian suggested that there was now a question over the 'long-term
significance in British political life of the once great Tory
BBC Online (17/9) queried whether the Tories had 'consigned themselves
to political wilderness'.
With the announcement of the Shadow Cabinet, BBC Online (17/9) was not
alone in its conviction the Party was now set on a 'right-wing,
The Guardian (17/9) highlighted a 'sense of crisis in Tory ranks',
despite IDS's assertion he would be able to unite the party and would
concentrate on voters' concerns about public services.
The new leader - 'a man of solid principles who will provide superb
leadership' (BBC Online 17/9) - was not without supporters but many
doubted his ability to bring the party back to the centre ground.
The Daily Telegraph (14/9) commented about the 'impossibility' of his
leadership. 'A social neanderthal' was the damning indictment of The
Guardian's (17/9) Polly Toynbee.
The three-month leadership campaign had 're-opened Tory divisions over
Europe' (FT.com, 16/9).
Whether IDS could heal those rifts remains a matter of conjecture.
The Financial Times (14/9) thought there was 'not much cause for
optimism' but even The Guardian (14/9) urged 'never, ever judge a leader
until he has had time to do some leading'.
Analysis and commentary by Echo Research. More information can be found