One of the very best books ever published about the decline and fall of the Tories between 1992 and 1997 was Guilty Men, written by Hywel Williams who was John Redwood's special adviser at the Welsh Office between 1993 and his resignation to challlenge for the Tory leadership in 1995.
Despite that previous working relationship, or perhaps even because of it, the book is not written from an especially pro- or anti-Redwood perspective. But what it does demonstrate is that most of the political enterprises with which the Wokingham MP has been associated have ended in failure.
I have met Redwood a few times, notably when I was doing the Lobby job for the South Wales Echo in the mid-90s, and while he is clearly an intensely intellectual person who finds it hard to descend to the level of ordinary mortals, the overall impression one comes away with is of a fairly decent human being.
But for all his decency and for all the genuineness of his convictions, Redwood has throughout his political career demonstrated the Reverse Midas Touch, ie everything he touches turns to shit.
Redwood's public reputation has never really recovered from that period in the early 1990s when he became the Tony Benn figure to John Major's Harold Wilson - an ideological maverick who behaved as if collective Cabinet responsibility did not apply to him, used left-leaning Wales as a test-bed for loony-right policies, and finally launched an opportunistic challenge for the leadership.
Call it being wise after the event, but I knew instinctively that Ken Clarke's 1997 leadership bid was doomed the minute he teamed up with Redwood in an attempt to block William Hague. Most Tory MPs thought it was more important to stop Redwood becoming Shadow Chancellor than to stop an untried and untested 36-year-old being handed the poisoned chalice of the Tory leadership at a time when Tony Blair was carrying all before him.
Hague, to his credit, realised that Redwood reminded the voters of the worst aspects of the Major years and sacked him from the Shadow Cabinet after a year, although his decision to replace him as Shadow Trade and Industry Secretary with the business guru turned failed politician Archie Norman was scarcely one of his most inspired appointments.
So, at a time when David Cameron as leader is trying to undo all the damage of that baleful period and reposition the Conservatives on the political centre ground, his decision to hand Redwoood the task of presiding over a policy review on business taxation and regulation policy has to go down as yet another strategic blunder.
There may be merit in some of his proposals. Much health and safety legislation, for instance, is as burdensome and annoying to the customer as it undoubtedly is for the businesses themselves.
On the other hand, making it easier for firms to make people redundant is absolutely the last thing we need in a country riven by job insecurity - the biggest single reason, in my view, why in spite of our increased prosperity, we are generally much less happy than we were 30 years ago when the British economy was regarded as a basket-case.
But that is not really the point. The point is that someone who is seen by the electorate as emblematic of Toryism's darkest hour and who was presumed politically dead and buried, has popped up wraith-like to remind them of exactly why they rejected the party in the first place.
The Tories will not like the comparison - but it is as if Neil Kinnock, at the start of his crusade to modernise the Labour Party in the mid-80s and wrest control from the loony left, had asked Benn to chair a review of party policy. The idea is as laughable as it is preposterous.
But the controversy over Redwood's tax cutting plans is symptomatic of a wider problem for Mr Cameron, in that, in contrast to New Labour during the 1994-97 period, the policy review process he has initiated is not under the control of the leadership.
This is the second one in succession, following Iain Duncan Smith's report on social policy which recommended restoring marriage to the heart of the tax system, which has presented the Tories as retreating into a right-wing comfort zone at a time when Gordon Brown is determined to drive them off the centre-ground.
Bizarrely, Cameron seems to view the job of chairing policy reviews as some sort of long-service reward for party grandees and figures from the past such as Redwood, IDS and Clarke rather than acting as central drivers of the party's modernisation programme.
He now needs to do two things. Firstly, ensure that all future such reviews come under the direct control of his office, and secondly, ensure that John Redwood and all other vestiges of the failed Major era are finally put out to grass.