Conservative Comeback


Since Tony Blair took office as prime minister of Britain in 1997, the opposition Tory Party in that country has lacked cohesion to the point of being seen as a spent force. Enter Michael Howard.

After defeating incumbent Ian Smith in an unusual show of Tory unity, Britain’s new opposition leader wasted no time in making his mark as leader of the conservatives. The eloquent Howard’s inaugural speech as Tory leader was hailed as a round defeat for Blair—who himself is not a bad debater in the House of Commons.

As Tory leader, Howard is assembling an all‑star political team to support him. The importance of a media front‑man is one thing he has learned from Blair—whose spin doctors enabled him to come up smiling following countless fiascos that embroiled his government. Howard has appointed well‑known PR czar Maurice Saatchi as his representative with the media. In another bold stroke, Howard has appointed Stephen Sherbourne, Margaret Thatcher’s former political secretary, as chief of staff.

With a streamlined and politically aggressive team in place, Howard is intent not just on beating his opponent in debate in the Commons—he is bent on seizing the prime ministership in 2004. It’s clear that the winds of change are about to sweep through London.

Given Mr. Howard’s Euroskeptic views, this conservative uprising in British politics is sure to drive Britain further away from the EU.