Recovering From Conservative Narcissism

Danny Finkelstein reflects on the morning after the 1997 Labour victory and on what Republicans can learn from it:

There was a feeling of euphoria in Britain that morning, a feeling of freshness and change. Even people who hadn't voted for Blair were caught up in it. Many of them wished that they had, and his poll rating soared. Much of the good feeling about new Labour was generated in the months after their landslide, oddly, rather than in the months before it.

And here's the lesson for Tories. The hardest thing to absorb was this - we didn't matter.

For the first time in years the story wasn't about us, and our squabbles and intrigues seemed oddly silly and pointless. And we, especially those of us who had worked on the losing campaign, felt excluded from a great national party. It was a little bit like sitting in the gloomy train Woody Allen films in Stardust Memories, while in the happy train everyone is popping champagne corks.

The first step towards recovery for the Conservative party was to stop thinking that we were the centre of the universe and that what we thought mattered more than what others thought.

The Republicans are about to go through a period of self absorption and will think it is all that matters. They will only recover when they start to understand that no one is watching and that no one, except them, cares.

That realisation will be more painful than the battles themselves.