Oh dear

Kenneth Clarke is about to launch a campaign for the Conservative leadership. A more backward looking move is difficult to imagine. After 12 years of opposition can a party really offer a leading figure from the from the defeated administration as its candidate for Prime Minister? Especially when the defeat was of such monumental proportions? Similar criticisms can be made of Malcolm Rifkind, though with less strength, as he is younger and was less central to the Major government. Nobody thinks the Conservatives lost power because of foreign policy. Also Rifkind has been out of Parliament for 8 years. If he can show - as Michael Portillo did after a much shorter break - that he has grown and changed in the interim, he could be a credible candidate.

If the Telegraph is to be believed, David Cameron wants to abandon a commitment to education vouchers and instead promote more centralisation of power in education to address standards. Choice is the means to achieve higher standards, and a clear majority of parents would choose private education if they had the means. Choice is not the only means to higher standards. Left to itself, it would take years and possibly decades to transform education for the better. But it is necessary, if not sufficient.

If Cameron is really backing away from choice in public services, then David Davis is starting to look like a much better candidate. Perhaps the right result, as Tim Hames has suggested in The Times, would be a final ballot between Davis and David "two brains" Willetts.

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