As Iain Duncan Smith contemplates his future this morning, the spotlight searches desperately for his successor; a man or woman who must kick start the ailing Conservative Party and more importantly, reset the democratic balance in the House of Commons by acting as an effective and persistent member of The Opposition.
In my mind, the democratic process has never been at such an all time low in this country; the Prime Minister's leadership methodology borders on presidential (some might say dictatorial), which is not the system of government we support here; it is therefore vitally important that The Opposition be led by someone capable of generating the debate, asking the questions and ultimately seeking the answers, that Iain Duncan Smith so singularly failed to do.
It is in all honesty, unrealistic to expect the Conservatives to rally sufficiently to win the next General Election, such is their inherent malaise at this time; instead, it is time for the party that has in fairly recent history become an out of touch political laughing stock to turn it's fortunes around by behaving in a manner consistent with an organisation seeking the ultimate political authority in this country.
Personally, I feel Iain Duncan Smith was rather hard done by; a man who, granted, wasn't the most charasmatic and emotionally charged individual - until his back was against the wall, by which time it was too late - but who nevertheless believed passionately in his cause and who was inevitably brought down by his own party; a party that collectively has something of a penchant for backstabbing.
Much as I hate to admit it, the Conservatives now need another Thatcherite figure, for regardless of your feelings towards her, Margaret Thatcher was one of the most powerful and influential figures of her time; whipping both the Conservatives and indeed the country into (some sort of) shape whilst increasing the UK's world standing a thousandfold. Is this person Michael Howard? I'm not entirely convinced.
As the moment there are three contenders, if the press are to be believed; David Davis (not a chance, too inexperienced and just doesn't have the 'ooomph' factor so desperately needed), Oliver Letwin (even less of a chance, given that this man's political compass is slightly to the right of Hitler) and Michael Howard; the bookies' favourite, and a man with serious political capital.
To wrap up, I'm interested in seeing the Conservatives sort themselves out for one reason only; we need a decent, strong, visible and viable alternative to New Labour - a party which will hold onto power by something approaching default if things are allowed to continue...