Max Hastings thinks so and, on the face of it, the skewed voting system makes a revival look almost impossible, even for a party in good health. For an ageing party in electoral disarray, about to embark on yet another messy leadership contest and without a coherent policy platform, a real Commons majority must look scarily out of reach.
Michael Heseltine, on Today, says The Tories have ‘a mountain to climb’, needing 140 seats to get back to power. It’s remarkable to think that, in four or five years time, after twelve years of Labour power, Gordon Brown will have to do much worse – and be even more unpopular – than Tony Blair this time round to give the Tories even a sniff of power. The New Labour dream of a permanent Tory eclipse looks like it might come true but the culprit won’t be New Labour’s epic reengineering of British politics but the slow and unarguable forces of demography and social change.