Michael Portillo sees this as a doomed strategy which will allow Gordon Brown to hold the centre ground and marginalise the Tories for a number of years. The whole article can be found HERE, but the end of the article says it all:
"We have been here before. Hague started as leader understanding that the party had to change but soon capitulated. Michael Howard briefly adopted modernisation talk but the walk was unmistakably reactionary. Does Cameron need reminding that when Blair had occupied the middle ground it was Hague who moved the Tory party sharply to the right? That is how he won only 30% of the poll. Hague’s one apparent enthusiasm in foreign policy (on which he is the party spokesman) is Europe-bashing. Depressingly, the signs are that he is to be unleashed again as the Tories cry tallyho against the new treaty.
If Cameron really has surrendered, the party is doomed. I had concluded, when I left politics, that the Tories were ungovernable and had a death wish. But Cameron is clever and charismatic; I believed he could succeed where I had failed, especially since even the Conservatives might learn something after three landslide defeats.
Now I am not so sure. Cameron has wobbled. Unless he regains control of his party at once, the project will be lost. It would be much better for him to press on even at the risk of being deposed than to settle into the leadership agony of Hague and Howard.
I have always doubted that the Conservatives could win the next election. Now the question in my mind is different: can the Tories ever win again? "