The Mole reports from inside Westmister on Conservative attitudes towards the building of a third runway at Heathrow (in reality on the other side of the A4 and Harmondsworth village, slap-bang through the middle of Sipson village).
Scepticism of the nature of Tory opposition runs high as only 30 Conservatives signed Reading West MP, Martin Salter's Early Day Motion (Salter is a regular user of this tactic, it is pure gesture politics) stating opposition to the scheme.
Michael Portillo's suggestion on the BBC's This Week the Cameron is trying to use the issue of Heathrow as symbolic of the change he has undertaken in his party resonates with stories I hear on the ground of friction between the membership and the heirarchy.
Which means it is a test case for the truth of the matter: Cameron hopes that in Runway 3 (and Terminal 6) he has finally found his 'Clause 4 moment' to fundamentally change ingrained perceptions of his party after multiple false dawns (Liberator memorably described the 'Clause 4 moment' as "nothing more than a stage managed row where the leader takes on and humiliates the membership of their own party" - or in the Conservative's case, the grandees of their party, nevertheless commentators have long considered it a vital objective along the path to power).
Boris Johnson's promise to use the Mayor of London's office to support a legal challenge also panders to the reactionary NIMBY lobby, but any environmental credibility he maintains is undermined by his open desire to build a £30bn new air hub in the Thames estuary (completely neglecting any technological restrictions on aircraft pollution identified by both Portillo and Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon).
So it would appear that the Conservative party is split down the middle on this issue and Cameron is picking a fight with his major financial backers in order to appeal to a wider environmental consciousness. The question facing us is whether Cameron will emerge with an enhanced leadership ready to stroll into Downing Street, or does his recent slide in the polls (from a high of 52% in September to a low of 39% just before Christmas) indicate the damage being done to the core of the party coalition?
Alternatively, Mike Smithson reports on the claim that Cameron is frantically acting to counter charges of inaction and dithering in a time of crisis.
Cameron must be careful to judge this issue carefully, as any failure to keep the competing camps within his party unified will signal the end of his tenure and consign his party to opposition for a further generation: 'Vote Blue, Go Green' may yet show it's true colours.
Update: Liberal Bureaucrat Mark Valladares reports on Cameron's confidence in his ability to outspend Labour.
So is Cameron being hopelessly naive or he is lying?
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