Insulting your own side is a dangerous thing to do in politics and in the current circumstances for any prominent Tory to do it is positively incendiary. But one ‘senior figure, who has strong social connections to the Prime Minister and close links to the party machine’ is quoted on the front of The Telegraph and The Times describing Tory activists as ‘mad swivel-eyed loons.’
Given the row the Tories have had over Europe and are about to have over gay marriage, the timing could hardly be worse. James Kirkup, Sam Coates and James Lyons — the three journalists who broke the story — have started a major row which, if Number 10 is not careful, could come to define the relationship between Cameron and his party.
If the identity of the person who said this becomes clear today, and I suspect it might, then Cameron will come under immense pressure to sack him. A failure to do so, would risk being seen as an implicit endorsement of the remarks and would come dangerously close to destroying the remaining bonds of trust between the leadership and the grassroots.