by RAY FLEMING
DAVID Cameron is certainly making political life in Britain more interesting. One never knows what he will come up with next. He has clearly got under Lord Tebbit's skin; yesterday the veteran former party chairman employed his most withering style to ask about Mr Coleman: ”Is he the party's Chairman Mao or Pol Pot, intent on purging even the memory and name of Thatcherism before building a new modern compassionate green globally aware party somewhere on the left side of the middle?” Lord Tebbit was presumably referring to Mr Coleman's speech earlier this week in which he said: “We face irrelevance, defeat and failure unless we reclaim the centre ground from Labour.” Interestingly, given Lord Tebbit's attachment to Margaret Thatcher, Mr Coleman also praised Tony Blair for “profoundly understanding the way she transformed the country” and in doing so having annexed traditional Tory ground. The new Conservative leader now seems intent on reclaiming that centre ground (a “morass” says Lord Tebbit) perhaps because he believes that when Mr Blair quits as prime minister Gordon Brown will not be interested in occupying it. Essentially, therefore, Mr Coleman is seeking to present himself as the logical successor to the Thatcher-Blair inheritance and the best person to safeguard it in the future. If this is indeed the case, it will again be New Labour, as in 1997 but this time under Gordon Brown, which will present an agenda for change. David Coleman continues to speak in very general terms. Curiously enough, however, the one clear cut decision he has taken is already in some difficulty. William Hague is presently in Brussels to try to persuade Conservative MEPs to accept Mr Coleman's ruling that they should no longer be members of the European People's Party (EPP) which gathers together Conservatives from across the EU. Mr Coleman thinks the EPP is too enthusiastic about Europe and he would rather have his MEPs sitting alone. Most of them disagree with him and think that belonging to the EPP gives them clout; trench warfare is in prospect and some Conservatives are amused that the only specific decision yet made by their new leader is already giving the party problems.