THE British Tories are in a state of finger-gnawing nerves. With Gordon Brown's Labour government in terminal meltdown, the Conservatives should be on course for a landslide victory at this year's general election.
In fact, their poll ratings have dropped dangerously into hung parliament territory.
While some believe the quirks of Britain's electoral systemmay deliver the Tories victory in the end, there is no doubt that they are losing support overall.
The lesson they surely need to learn is staring them in the face in Australia. This is the remarkable rise of Tony Abbott, on the apparently improbable platform of opposing man-made global warming theory and the policies this entails.
Indeed, that Abbott is snapping at Kevin Rudd's heels demonstrates a crucial lesson for conservatives everywhere.
This is the truly astounding fact that a conservative will most likely win power by remaining unambiguously true to conservative principles.