Cameron knows how to balance compassion with Conservatism

Over the past few months I have lost count of the number of people who have asked me – satirically – why I am not standing in the current Tory leadership contest; and after I have bumbled out some reply, they have always said, oh well, who are you backing? “David Cameron,” I have said, quick as a flash, and for the most part this answer has so far drawn a look of anxious blankness, the look you see when people are sure that they ought to have read some classic work, and are in two minds whether to bluff it out or admit ignorance. “Oh yes,” they say, mentally noting that they ought to get to grips with the subject of David Cameron, along with Stephen Hawking’s Brief History of Time and Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie.

Well, I hope that if there was anybody out there still ignorant of the merits of Cameron, that ignorance was dispelled this week. You may not want to go quite as far as Bruce Anderson, whose essay on Cameron in this week’s Spectator is a kind of tear-sodden nunc dimittis. Like old Simeon in the temple, Brucie has seen our salvation, and though you may not be prepared to agree with him that Cameron is our saviour and a light to lighten the gentiles, and the glory of the Tory party, most dispassionate commentators would surely have to concede that it has been the 38-year-old’s week. Cameron is the one who has made up the most ground.

Cameron is the contender on whom the odds have shortened most dramatically. Before they get any shorter, I urge you all to go out and have a tremendous punt, and as for my colleagues in Parliament who are still toying with other options, I say this. David Davis and Ken Clarke are both great men, in many ways; but be good to yourselves, my friends, and think it possible that now is the moment to hitch yourselves to the Cameron bandwagon for the entirely cynical and self-serving reason that he is not only the best candidate, but that he is going to win.

Cameron has come closest to finding the language we need if we are to make the meaning of Conservatism clear to a new generation. I like this stuff about there being a “we as well as a me” in politics. I like his constant repetition of “we’re all in this together”; indeed, I am vain enough to have a feeling that he nicked it from me. It is a simple idea, but it bears explication. It means that Toryism is not about one section of society grinding the faces of another section of society, with Tory politicians getting off on the sheer ideological purity and savagery of it all.

It means recognising that there will always be winners and losers, and if we want to encourage people to win – as we do – then we must also be prepared to look after the losers. We’re all in this together because if people at the bottom feel shut out and lost, then they are more likely to turn to crime and despair, and make life worse for everyone, including themselves.

I like Cameron’s pitch, because he understands the vital importance of optimism in politics, and stressing that the Tories are the party of energy and opportunity, whereas Gordon Brown’s Labour Party, whichever way you cut it, will always be rooted in the politics of chippiness and envy and spite. In fact, I found nothing to dislike at all in what he had to say, and much to admire, so I will end with only a couple of notes of caution to my fellow “modernisers”. The first is that I am not at all sure what the hell we mean by “modernising”.

If I were a punter I would be heartily sick of hearing the Tories whiffle on about whether they are nice or nasty, gay or straight, does my bum look big in this and all the rest of it. And what is all this stuff about “change”? Unless my ears were deceiving me, someone up there on the platform said that we Tories had to change the way we walked, the way we talked, our sexual composition. Well, I don’t think we should aggravate the woes of the NHS with thousands of Tory thrusters queueing up for speech therapy and gender reassignment. From the point of view of the electors this obsession with changing our appearance is also dull, narcissistic, and completely irrelevant to their problems. No one gives a monkey’s whether we wear ties or not, or whether we have baseball caps or breakdance down Blackpool promenade.

What they do care about – and this is the second point – is how they are governed; and while we Tories must articulate a new compassionate Conservatism, we should never forget that in asking people to vote for us we are essentially asking to take charge of taxation and spending, and that our prime duty is to bring a new and more sensible – and more Conservative – style of economic management. We are likely to face Gordon Brown at a time when his record looks increasingly vulnerable. Inflation is on the rise, retailing is in difficulties, and he has not cut a single one of the 84,000 jobs he promised to lose in the public sector. That means the public sector is continuing to expand, and Brown is taking ever more money from the private sector to fund this expansion, and therefore preventing its use in wealth creation or the generation of new jobs, and all without the reform that would deliver real improvements in those public services.

It would of course be wrong to go into the next election promising a huge purge of public sector jobs, and it would be electorally foolish, since the 800,000 new officials Gordon has created not only have jobs and families; they have votes. But the Tories must never forget that millions of people are looking to them to save them from the depredations of the taxman – and those millions are by no means the richest in society, but the very poorest who pay grotesque proportions of their income in tax.

Of course the Tories must rediscover compassionate Conservatism; but the trick of the next few years will be to show that you can have compassionate policies that are for the benefit of business and enterprise, and that you can gradually bear down on spending and taxation in a way that is good for everyone. That is the connection we must demonstrate. That is the job for Cameron, and Cameron is the man for the job.

130 thoughts on “Cameron”

  1. Too late! The odds on (are we allowed to use the names of commercial services, or are you like the BBC?) for Cameron becoming the leader are already 6/4, which is too short for me to play, to be honest. You could’ve slipped us the wink a couple of weeks ago Boris, we’d have kept it quiet 😉

  2. ‘Cameron has come closest to finding the language we need if we are to make the meaning of Conservatism clear to a new generation…’


    I mean, I’m not an expert on Conservative language or anything, but I did listen to young Mr Cameron’s speech. He sounded for all the world exactly like Tony Blair (right down to the carefully coached hand gestures).

    Oh. Maybe that’s the point. I dunno.

  3. When I’ve said “Why isn’t Boris standing?” it hasn’t been satirical or sarcastic.
    I would rather have you — a person who says what he thinks, whether or not I agree with you — as PM than any other options at the moment.
    Heck, you might even persuade me to join the Conservative party (I did vote Conservative in the last election, but with David Lidington as the incumbent MP that was almost a no-brainer, and made no difference to the outcome).

  4. Magnificent, typically BJ article.
    BUT, back to the important issue, why the #@&*$+@! are you not standing?
    Face the reality man! YOU are the ONLY real hope the Conservatives have against Messrs. B&B and their cohorts. Read your own article on Cameron again, you have all those qualities and much much more! Surely you and the Conservatives know the British public today, at an election with you at the helm (and maybe Se

  5. Boris, I, too would like to see you stand, but your vanity misleads you. I suspect that David Cameron lifted “we’re all in this together” from Tom Stoppard and Terry Gilliam.

  6. I thought D.Cameron was a collection of stories from people fleeing the Black Death. Not a very auspicious omen, I would have thought.
    You would be much better off with Rifkind, which is a Tamil word meaning “virile vanquisher of the ungodly”.

  7. Tory Party conference redux

    Impressions from Blackpool:

    21st century Britain?

    A sure vote-winner with the ladies

    But which one is he?

    Bold words

    The media's new darling (…and Boris …

  8. Next to you, Boris (please note – no sarcasm or satire intended), Cameron is the man for me. He is inspirational, energetic, just what the party needs. And the key difference between he and Blair is that Cameron is genuine. With that man at the helm, we stand the best chance we ever could of winning the next election (present company excepted), infact, I would go so far as to say that with Cameron as leader, we will win. In saying that I am willing to bet that there will be no eating of hats, garnished with bacon or otherwise. If Cameron gets through to the last two, I shall be voting for him.

  9. Dear Boris,
    Can’t believe you are so forthright behind Cameron. He put the toff in turnoff.
    I find it a bit arrogant that he’s standing for leadership at such a tender age. His speech – as usual- something and nothing. Unfathomable superrhetoic. Am I the only the person who thinks of a new car salesman or estate agent (Park Lane admittedly).
    Know this is a bit negative but not much of a CV either. Special advisor to Norman Lamont during Black Wednesday, and director of Corporate affairs at Carlton Communications at the age of 29. I worked at Central TV in Birmingham, a great tv powerhouse when they were consumed by Carlton in 1993(a publishing company??!), asset stripped and subsequently went on to make programmes no one wanted to watch!
    Why are we going for a Blair clone when Labour a chucking one out?
    Though, naturally Boris would be the obvious choice, I think Liam Fox is the only person who can reach out to the wider public.

    Kind regards,
    David Howe

  10. Compassion AND Conservatism? What planet/drug you on? Unless Tories can come up with alternative to THAT woman’s philosophy of I’m all Right Jack, as a party you will never,ever be in power again. It comes down to intelligence v education (I don’t mean schooling). One either is a decent human being – or not. Having said that, u are very sexy and have a very good TV image – just ditch the right wing crap, OK?

  11. Dear Boris,

    I once made some perhaps unwise and intemperate contributions to ‘Slaughter Forum’, and wondered whether I had been ostracised by the entire internet community. However, my leftwing friends assure me that the nature of the subject is unimportant- so just making one single offering to the search engine media is the end of your soul, whether to Tony Benn, Charles Kennedy or Star Fleet Command. They have been uncritical of my recent efforts, though they did send me a ‘Go to bed with Boris, wake up with Ken’ black-and-red jumpogram instead. Your fulsome praise for another of your leadership candidates still worries me slightly, however, because of the pig poster problem.

    You may need to be reminded of the issue. There was another dispute before the election about the use of the faces of party leaders in an offensive manner, this time using the faces of Howard and Letwin on a ‘winged pigs’ tax poster. Though these weren’t diseased pigs, of the sort reared by north-east criminals to spread plague and armed police officers around Britain, one of your parliamentary candidates took offence. The tax issue is vital to the national assessment of one J.G. Brown’s tenure of the chancellorship, and he has produced a video campaign called ‘A Fish Called Cameron’ to extol the virtues of some Olympian creation of his referred to as a ‘family tax credits’ plan. The candidate in question avoided this association as well, preferring to blame Labour for using animals as dirty as pigs to represent politicians. Since Alan Milburn had already announced that Labour would fight ‘dirty’, this would seem merely to have advertised their cause.

    Another senior Labour figure, G***** R********, has claimed legal rights over the entire internet, to go with their billboard proprietorship of your leader’s face, so this “post” has had to be more cautious than my ‘Slaughter’ efforts. Were you prepared to contemplate offering free copies of your latest novel to those prepared to risk the open discussion of British politics with Conservatives?

    Best wishes on your wonderful return from Blackpool,



  12. This debate is getting very heated…

    What I would say to MPs is: vote Clarke for strong batting power and vote Cameron for up to date analysis power. Keep Clarke in I think

  13. I’m honestly not sure what Cameron did wrong – he didn’t only talk about rich people, he talked about inner cities, and the disenfranchised middle classes, and so on and so on. He talked about supporting the institution of marriage through the tax system. He talked about simplifying tax and social security to benefit those who have the least. Apart from his lack of experience, I can’t see that much counts against him, except maybe his posh accent – but then Blair’s English is hardly common-as-muck. Ken Clarke would’ve been the man 5 years ago – he should’ve won when IDS did – but if he was elected now you’d see the same old jibes from the opposition and the press – a party of old people, led by an old man. I watched Cameron’s speech, and for once, I saw a politician talking about acheivable things, without outlandish promises, and not only that I agreed with everything he said, and believed that he meant it. This almost never happens – if he can generate that kind of credibility with other people my age who can’t be bothered to vote at the moment, then the Tories wouldn’t need to worry much about election results.

  14. I’m with Macarnie on this one. I always react badly to political figures (in any party) who come across as privileged toffs. The ones who carry the most clout are always the ones who seem to have some experience of life outside politics. Even an appearance on Have I Got News For You.

    The trouble with Cameron is that he doesn’t appear to have any experience of ANYTHING. It’s all Eton this and Oxford that, with a smattering of Head of Corporate Affairs at Carlton Communications – which any fool knows isn’t really a proper job, just an opportunity to wear a suit and butter people up. With the exception of his family, his life appears to be entirely built around politics.

    That’s a little scary.

    Alright, Clarke was only ever a lawyer, which isn’t quite a proper job either, but there’s the jazz, and the birdwatching, and Nottingham Forest, and his father was an electrician or whatever. Even the smoking makes him more human.

    As Tory leader, Clarke just might test the loyalties of people outside the Conservative party. Cameron’s only ever going to appeal to people who are already toffs – and they all vote Tory anyway.

  15. I get rather cheesed off with all this criticism based on a person’s education and accent. The comical ribbing of toffs is a great British tradition and long may it continue but everyone needs taking down a peg or two, including feminists, Rastafarian poets, mullahs mad and moderate, as well as people who contribute to blogs etc. etc.. But the whole thing seems to turn just plain nasty in the hands of the likes of BBC comedy, ‘liberal’ newspapers and so on. A good target for Radio 4 ‘comedians’ is their colleagues on the Radio 3, who are mostly well spoken in whatever accent is their own as they talk to us about (mostly) beautiful music.

    Why should going to Eton and Oxford be seen to debar a person from being elected as a Prime Minister? Why should being able to speak well in what is called a posh accent say anything about that person’s democratic credentials? Apart from the art department, I understand that Eton gives a pretty good education. Ruskin started Ruskin college so that working people could have a pretty good education. On the whole a pretty good education can improve your life and the lives of those around you. With a bit of luck there will be a government along soon that feels it’s not just those at Eton deserve a pretty good education and do something about the state of our comprehensive schools.

    I know its blokey to like jazz but I don’t buy my groceries on the basis of whether Shirley Porter or Lord Sainsbury like jazz and I’m not going to vote for Clarke as a prime minister just because he likes jazz. His tobacco links don’t concern me.

    If Gordon Brown takes over from Tony Blair then the chances of my voting Conservative increase. If Ken Clarke gets to be Tory leader then the Independent Working Class Association gets my vote.

  16. Absolutely. Besides, I really do not think that the ‘general electorate’ look for the common touch in their politicians. It seems to me that many people derive quite some enjoyment from viewing most politicians as removed from the wider public. I don’t think that Cameron’s accent or background would present half so much of a problem would the media in general only desist from rattling on about it constantly. The important thing, surely, is that Cameron really does appear to care, is passionate about his cause and can engage people all across the spectrum.

  17. “Why are we going for a Blair clone?”

    That says it all for me. Worst possible choice. Mark my Celtic/mystic intuition. 😉

  18. Dear Mr. Johnson: since you are not a candidate for the Tory leadership, maybe you could contemplate running for the 2007 presidential election here in France. Political relevance is in very short supply on this side of the Channel, and we could certainly use some of your talents.

  19. Liz says:
    …..One either is a decent human being – or not. …

    I suppose you regard the current bunch of crooks who have stolen so much from our Pensions that even Robert Maxwell would blush, a decent bunch of human beings.

    We Conservatives care about people, enough in fact to want tham to be able to make their own choices in life. Socialists on the other hand care so much they want to control everything we do.

  20. I am your average rock and a hard place voter and would probably rank amongst those who might actually approve of some Conservative policies if they didn’t know they were Tory. But I do, so I don’t.

    However, as much as I rarely refer to Tories (in the company of my cleverer and artier-than-thou guardian reading colleagues) without the prefix ‘bloody’, I love Ken Clarke- love him love him love him, always have (since the age of 10), always will. And if, at the next election, we’re picking presidents not parties and it’s between Gordon Brown and Ken Clarke (assuming the LibDems haven’t got their act together) I might just find myself voting Tory. Of course then I would have to chew off my own arm as up until now I’ve always maintained that that would be preferable, and I’d hate to be a hypocrite.

    This may sound very stupid to all of you, but I really feel that Blair is a very bad man and I would like to see something more human/e in the face of the next Prime Minister. Don’t go for Cameron- you need someone to remind us of a time when Conservatives had some clout. Otherwise you’re no more of a threat to Labour in the eyes of many like me, just a rabble of posh twits squabbling and jeering while Labour smugly get on with doing what the hell they like. I don’t actually beleive that, it just seems that way to people like me who spend more time reading Heat than news. Memo to self: Read Stephen Hawking’s Brief History of Time, Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie AND Boccaccio’s The Decameron.


    PS-Like Liz Gear, I also like Boris quite a lot- yummy. Maybe toffs aren’t offensive as long as they’re scruffy?

  21. I agree with jaq, and I think the leadership race for Davis was blown by his speech at the party conference. Any comments?

  22. This is the BBC webpage entitled “Who’s backing who?”

    I can’t see Boris on the Cameron section.

    Keeping secrets Boris?

  23. Yes, Davis was the big loser. Poor delivery and no ideas.

    But Cameron? Old Etonian, member of White’s,etc etc. Labour would have a field day. Also in terms of personal charisma he comes across to me as rather wet.

    Fortunately I’m not a Tory and don;t have to make this choice between several less-than-lovelies.

    The average Tory must feel (depsite Boris’s attempts jollying back-slapping for Cameron) like some traveller who, attracted by the neon sign on the desert road, goes inside a bordello only to find a line-up that fails to ignite the loins.

  24. Thanks for support Rose ( I think you were supporting me :). )

    If someone talks rubbish then it doesn’t matter what accent or tone of voice they use, it’s rubbish. Similarly if they talk sense. The expression ‘inverted snobbery’ doesn’t seem to get about much these days but it should. Because if anyone objects to Cameron because of his upbringing, education or accent rather to what he wishes to achieve for the people of the UK then that is just what they are. (I’m a rather elderly grammar school boy myself for the record). If the Tories take any note of these sort of objections then are they not just ‘spinners’ the same as many on this blog think Labour is? Political correctness is insidious. Trevor Phillips is beginning to say some half, though not totally, sensible things about multiculturism. I think the Tories should be prepared to follow his example and focus on what Cameron could do for the people of this country rather than worry why he amy not be next editor of the Guardian or Independent.

    I’m still inclined to vote Labour to stop the ‘Liberal Democrats’ getting in in my constituency but I’m moving closer to floater voter.

  25. I enjoyed Cameron’s speech, but he seemed a bit stiff. He doesn’t have the relaxed air of a Blair or Ken Clarke. I suspect that Cameron might have a chance to project himself as PM in the election after next, but that for the next election Clarke would be the best bet.

    As for projecting a youthful image, this was Blair’s trick in 1997, the Tories need a strategy to counter Blair’s next trick, not his last one.

  26. There sems to be too much banging on about choice. I watched part of the health service discussion from Conference 2005 and it was going on about bringing choice into the health service and letting patients choose. Haven’t these ever so bright people realised that it isn’t choice that people want, it is control, or if not control at least influence.

    Creating a market economy in health will be a disaster. It will be expensive, artificial, and a waste of time and money. There are many consumers and can only realistically be one or at most two providers in any geographical area.

    It isn’t that people don’t like the hospitals, its that they don’t like the way they are run. So create a market in health management instead. There are any number of people wanting the top job in running your local health authority. At the moment they are beholden to Whitehall (or Millbank) with yet more crazy targets. Patients are an irrelevance and should be seen but not heard.
    Instead, bring in Direct Democracy. Make the top job directly accountable to the people they serve. If they do not meet the needs of the people, then out with them. There will be plenty of others to take their place I’m sure.
    It isn’t about choice, its about control. It is about giving the country back to the people to be run by the people. It is about trusting local councils to spend local money appropriately. It is about trusting the people. Yes mistakes will be meade, but they are accountable and they are the peoples mistakes. Unlike the mistakes of government which end up costing more with minimal accountability.

    I’ve looked at the leadership contenders and am finding it a difficult decision. Cameron will be great in a few years time. Ken won’t be. He is too fond of picking up his ball and going home if you don’t play his game. Davis can’t cut it in spoken debate. Rifkind is an enigma. Will he be able to control the party? Liam Fox? bit to right wing for me, but otherwise very credible.
    What is needed though is a powerful front bench. Hague is one of the few who can act like an opposition but he is not standing. Bozza would be popular as a character to th eelectorate but can he hold together a party?

    So who is it to be? Davis has no front bench ability but would be good as party chairman. Hague as home sec would run rings round Reid, Ken as shadow chancellor in the immediate term with Osborne as understudy. Rifkind doesn’t have the impact he should. Possibly best as foreign sec or banished to the back bench. need someone who can take on the mongoose that is Jack Straw. Fox has authority on health. Boris for Education Sec? Or relive the tarzan years in Defence.. a vital role as Iraq dominates opinions.


  27. The previously stated criticism of Cameron has merely to do with the lack of experience in the things which really matter , now. His accent is not the issue here, neither are his connections.

    The fact that he was in some way well connected in the city does not cut the mustard with the OAP who would rather go to gaol than pay the excessive council tax increases imposed and encouraged by a party whose one time chancellor once said what amounted to,” We will squeeze them so dry that the pips will squeak”. We need someone to tackle this, by now insidious, tax, to make it fairer on people on fixed incomes which rise to equal inflation; local government spending ignores national inflation, and continues to spiral out of control.

    The Conservative Party must come across, as if it at least understands what makes the average voter tick. I believe that Cameron could, with the passing of a little time, have something with which to woo the floating voters, the ditherers, back to where they feel they should rightly be. We must not offer like for like in an attempt to beat Labour, we must outbid them in all areas of endeavour, and that is the main reason, (not because of accent or schooling), why Cameron, AT THIS TIME, is not the man for the job. Offering a Blair clone is no solution to the conundrum, which is the lack of Conservative electoral success.

    Like a good Stilton, which is basically a good cheese at the start of the period of maturing, he needs time to improve, whilst Clarke is at the right state of ripeness, which, if left any longer, will be past its sell by date: and we can’t afford to throw away the best cheese we have in the store whilst it is in its prime.

  28. Tango – agree with you about Davis’ speech, but the fat lady hasn’t sung yet. I hear Mac endorsing Ken but the issue of Europe hasn’t gone away for me.

    Field – well said: “must feel (depsite Boris’s attempts jollying back-slapping for Cameron) like some traveller who, attracted by the neon sign on the desert road, goes inside a bordello only to find a line-up that fails to ignite the loins” LOL

    I can’t help agreeing with Simon Schama I think it was on Question Time, that this is a beauty contest. I saw Lord Boothby interviewed on TV, what a contrast, and it occured to me that this trend of TV and tabloid politics today possibly takes more away from the political process that it adds.

    BTW Jack Ramsey – I’m a floating voter and, incidentally, have a great respect for elderly grammar school boys.

  29. Dear Boris,

    All the polls show that Ken Clarke is the one to beat Gordon Brown . Clarke can see off the Lib Dems as he appeals to swing voters . This race is wide open – 79 MP’s have yet to show their hands . People may desert David Davis without saying so in public . If Cameron is the favourite then that is unlucky as favourites seldom win . Just look at messars Heseltine , Portillo and of course Rab Butler . Clarke’s speech was brilliant in Blackpool. We need the swing voters & Ken can win them over . Cameron has not got the experience – he would learn a great deal as deputy leader to Mr Clarke . Please Boris do not rat on Cameron in public just look at Clarke’s website & vote as commonsense demands…….
    Best wishes
    Matthew Reynolds
    Third time supporter of Ken Clarke

  30. The more I think about it, the more I think Cameron is all wrong. Fine as a Minister perhaps but not as Prime Minister. The Prime Minister does have to be someone people can identify with – either as some ideal of what they want to be themselves or as someone who they are happy to have lead them.

    Cameron, like a lot of public schoolboys, seems to think it is enough to be “nice” – that people will like him if he is nice. But they won’t. He underestimates the depths of class resentment in the UK. And besides, the age of deference is over. We live in an age where the left-liberal elite have command of the media. If he ever gets to be Tory leader they will exploit his “old” elitist background mercilessly. He’ll be ripped to shreds.

    You may ask well why is it all right for Tony Blair, ex Fettes, to be PM. There are two crucial differences I would say: firstly, TB is leader of the Labour Party and therefore gets a relatively free ride from the left-liberal media. Secondly, he is much better at acting the classless man. Also, no one had ever heard of Fettes before TB came on the scene, whereas Eton is a symbol of old elitism.

    David Davis is still much the best candidate for the Tory Party. The fact that Alistair Campbell is trying to double bluff the Tories by saying he supports DD, suggests to me that he recognises that.

  31. Field – I can’t disagree with what you say but am saddened by it. Why on Earth does Eton count against Cameron? You may be correct in saying it will but for the life of me I can’t understand why. You say “the age of deference is over” but I can’t understand why that is relevant. Just by the law of averages, everyone who went to Eton isn’t useless and everyone who went to a comprehensive isn’t a brilliant statesman and champion of ‘the people’.

    If we’re talking posh – Bill Deedes went to Harrow and I would sit at his feet and learn any day.

  32. Aside: I was walking with some girlfriends one sunny day and the converstation drifted around to what one thing we would wish for to make us feel better about our physical allurements. The usual suspects were trotted out and identified and it came to my turn. I wished for Bill Deedes to meet me and think I was beautiful (this is fantasy remember). Well that was a conversation stopper and in an effort to stop my friends telling me gently that everything was going to be alright, I explained: part of being beautiful is feeling beautiful and to be persuaded you are requires the endorsement of opinion of someone socially powerful. You need an expert. When it comes to beauty in life, Bill Deedes is a connoisseur.

    Just thought I’d share that with you though if I read it through I may agree that I need medication. I’ve found the first chapter of ‘The Abolition of Britain’ online and it seems it doesn’t matter who wins the leadership race – we’re all doomed anyway! Ho hum.

  33. If the polls showed that people would be less likely to vote for a black person or a woman then would we cease to judge that persons fitness to lead a party on merit? OK discrimination against black people or women is probably more damaging than Etonphobia but (a) does that make Etonphobia right and (b) don’t democrats have some sort of duty to argue that a person should be judged fit or not by her or his perceived individual strengths and weaknesses. Incidentally haven’t the Tories shown their right on street cred by choosing a state school woman and a state school man three times in the last 5 leadership polls. I think I’m right there. IDS was a public school man wasn’t he?

  34. I really think that David Cameron would make a great leader…WILL make a great leader. Just, not yet. There is no substitute for experience, and Ken Clarke HAS that experience.
    Ok, so he may not be pretty. He swills beer, smokes the odd fag or two and is perhaps ever so slightly overweight. Doesn’t that sound like someone the vast majority of the voting public could identify with? And he is a straight talker.
    We may not agree with everything he says, but as a nation we like our leaders to be strong, to speak their mind. True Grit Brits. That’s what we have always been and, I hope, always will be.
    The public voted Labour in, in the first place because they wanted to teach you a lesson. The second time round, because there was no other option. And this last time,because they could see you hadn’t quite got it together.
    The message, however was loud and clear…’Hurry up and get your act together. Britain needs you’.
    Getting back to the matter in hand. Michael Howard made no bones about who HE would like to see become leader, when he spoke of the ipod and mobile phone generation.
    By my reckoning, THAT generation will just about be ready to make a credible vote around the same time David Cameron is ripe for leadership.
    You have got the perfect opportunity to get it right. You are not just voting for who you want for yourselves. You are voting for the person who will be the right choice for the country as a whole.
    The public don’t want young, they don’t want trendy, smarmy, wishy washy and they certainly don’t want someone they’ve never heard of before.
    Think strategically, vote for longevity.
    Look at it as though you are making a long term investment. Invest wisely and you will reap the benefits for years to come.
    K.C, now. D.C, later. Now THAT really would be P.C.

  35. Experience is all very well, but there’s no substitute for passion, conviction etc etc. Clarke is great but one can’t quite shrug off the nagging suspicion that he is not as bothered as he could be.

    Cameron will succeed because he wants to, he is bothered, he does care.

    Jack Ramsey, you are absolutely right, I was supporting you, and I tell you what, there is ten times as much inverted snobbery around as the ‘normal’ sort.

    I think that it is a great thing that Cameron goes to White’s, it’s a character thing, I think.

    And as for him being ‘inexperienced’, ‘young’, all this is relative of course. Forty is not that young, twenty-odd years in politics is not that inexperienced.

  36. Jaq/Jack Ramsey –

    I’m not saying I suffer from Etonphobia myself per se. Boris is a good example of how one can rise above a public school education…

    But an old Etonian, member of White’s etc. who is trying to present himself as a symbol of modern Conservatism, does have an uphill battle. His background simply reminds people too strongly of what the Tory not so long ago was, the bastion of the established elite, the propertied classes.

    The fact that we have moved beyond the age of deference is important because the old elitist background is no longer likely to inspire any deferential vote.

    The New Elite, whose political machine is New Labour, is very good at disguising its elitism.
    For one thing the new elitists are forever battling against “elitism” in the arts, in universities, in schools, in sport, in government, in the law, in dentistry and flower arranging – wherever. People in their simplicity think this means they are against elitism. For another, they sound and look much more like ordinary people – Tony with his coffee mug, playing football in the park. Cameron has got the coffee mugs out but somehow you still feel that fine china is more his cup of tea.

  37. To continue the debate, I feel the drift of this conversation is that Ken has the old world traditional values at heart and represents the majority Mr Smith. As Karen M says:

    >he is a straight talker

    Also I feel he has the Robert the Bruce spirit of “If at first you don’t succeed try, try and try again” – that overwhelms me still and Ken embodies that. And I also liked Karen M’s:

    >as a nation we like our leaders to be strong, to speak their mind. True Grit Brits.

  38. Karen m: There appears to be the merest hint of a budding partnership in supporting KC here, with the later, possibly wholehearted, support for DC. The requirements for any current movement towards the leadership will alternate towards DC in due course, but it cannot ever be AC.This would be, in my opinion , the true meaning of political correctness. A direct choice must be made, and the network supported, by the switching on line of the more reliable generator ( KC). When the grid is secure, by all means, switch generators to DC, but first, guarantee a reliable supply. Conserve resources! The only way ahead.

  39. Field – do you not think elitism has gone flip flop? You can’t get into Oxford if your father is a commander in the navy but if he’s just been made redundant from Rover you’re quids in. Nowadays you’re just as likely to get bigoted views from every possible backgound as from a privileged one. Middle or working class people are just as likely, for example, to blame single mothers for the ills of society or people on benefits for the drug culture, without any reference to the truth. Lazy intellection is common to all classes.

    Whilst we may have our preferences for the next tory leader here, I didn’t think we could actually excercise a choice. Cameron would be mine given Boz is not standing. The choice between Ken and Davis seems to be between a man who could win an election with lousy policies and one who couldn’t with good ones.

  40. Unlike most people here I seem to be completely undecided… I’ve been reading this thread constantly, but have been unable to think of anything to say really. I can see both points very clearly (for K.C and D.C that is). I agree that Cameron would be a very formidable character given some time as Clarke’s understudy, however ideally I don’t want to see another leadership election for another ten years or so, and that may be too long a timescale for that idea.

    Clarke would certainly be the best short-term choice I think, and Cameron the best long-term one, but unfortunately I can’t really see the combination approach working unless Clarke only remains leader until the next election.

    My natural inclination is to go with the long-term investment knowing that it will pay off far more in the future. If we give Cameron a good chance (by which I mean 2 general elections), then I think we’d find the party in a very strong position. However, watching Blair tear up our country lends a certain air of urgency to it all, and that makes me inclined towards Clarke, even if the party would be less stable in the long run, it would have the best chance of holding Blair back in this end-period where he tries to “make his mark”.

    As such I think I lean slightly towards Clarke, in the hope of an immediate solution, and still hoping that they might pull off the Clarke -> Cameron switch to get the best of both worlds, as unlikely as I think it is to be a success.

  41. Macarnie, you really are well and truly switched on. And Jack Target, by george you’ve got it. You have seen the light.
    With regards to rose’s comment about passion over experience. Well, I’m all for passion, but you have to look at the bigger picture.
    We live in dark times…The war in Iraq. Terrorist attacks. These sort of problems require an experienced hand. This is not the right time for an inexperienced leader(however passionate)to be cutting his political teeth.
    David Camerons day WILL come. Believe me. It will. And if you think he’s good now, then imagine what he will be like in a few years time.
    You are not simply choosing a new leader for the party, you are picking the next prime minister.
    And in Ken Clarke and David Cameron you have the next Two prime ministers.
    Set your sights high. Don’t go and resign yourselves to forever being the opposition party.
    A week in politics may be a long time…But Eight years in the wilderness is an eternity.

  42. Jack R – Ok let us be daring enough to think that CLARKE IT IS! let a miracle happen

    Jaq – I am no authoritative pundit, but your comments make good sense and hold resonance.


    ps and whatever you may think, I’m solidly behind the blues whatever transmogrifications may be happening at the moment.

    Long live the Blues

  43. The very fact that we have moved beyond the age of deference supports my case I think. People are going to be more critical of DCs policies and abilities because he can pretend to nothing else. This is a good thing and will make policy and ability matter. I fear that much of the support for KC hasn’t yet seen through the clouds of cigar smoke, moody jazz and general blokiness.

  44. We were ,I think, discussing the relative virtues of the two most talked about candidates. Someone , Karen m , I think, mentioned passion, but in life , passion dies if there is no fuel to keep the fires burning, no stamina reserves to call on. The one who has proved he has stamina , is K.C., the other must yet win his spurs.

    A honeymoon in passion spent,
    Is generally short
    You’ll wonder where the passion went
    If a damp squib’s all he’s brought.

    As the BBC’s boxing pundit, W. Barrington Dalby ,often used to say when commentating on a catchweight bout, ” A good big ‘un will always beat a good little ‘un” , and I think D.C has to grow a bit yet.

  45. Karen M – “passion over experience”? I can’t remember that far back. But would you agree that given that you have sufficient, passion does not make up for technique?

    I see Hitchens (little bro) had a go at DC. Tuh, why doesn’t he stand?

    Melissa – thankyou, I value your opinion and am with you on supporting the blues whichever they choose. But it was a dodgy moment at the conference when T.May spoke. Perhaps it is good to remember that the party is not just one person.

  46. Hey – did anyone see Roland White’s diary piece in the Sunday Times. A (slightly ironic but not entirely) favourable write up for the contributors to this website. Whoever thought up the D. Cameron joke, take a bow. Weird though. A few years ago one jsut read teh papers, now in a very small, but not entirely illusory manner one can take part in the political culture of the country if you can string a sentence together – beyond the vague hope of getting a letter published. I call that progress!


    Yes, the elite business has partly gone flip flop, but the Camerons of this world still have their land, their shares, their inheritance. It’s just the New Elite have got their hands on the (new) levers of power – the public sector, the media, and the universities. To some extent this is just the old story of elite wealth accumulation. The extensive network has replaced the extensive lands. With an extensive network of like minded talented people one can accumulate millions of pounds through salaries, consultancy fees, directorships, and patronage. But the New Elite is at its heart more genuinely meritocratic than the Old Elite which was still tied to the ancient concept of inherited honour – the blood line. You can still see that difference between the two elites in all sorts of ways I would suggest.

  47. Dear Boris,

    My left-wing friends are becoming even more smug about the televised Conservative leadership election. They have begun to make telling criticsms of the cost of involvement with Conservatives. I am, it seems, infected by an obsession with taxes- twenty-two of them- and so have as yet failed to mention the enormous damage done to Britain’s exports by J.G. Brown’s overvalued pound, or to analyse why the city are allowing him to avoid the consequences ( ‘How hard is it to buy booze at an off-licence?’ etc. ). They also claim that your election rules were drawn up by the worst Conservative leader of all time, taking two months to complete under the glare of the BBC, when the party needs to rally from another defeat, and that you couldn’t stand the consequences last Parliament and had to resort to a more familiar method.

    Boris, the Alliance were careful not to have their leaders disagree on camera, yet Hague & Co seem to have institutionalised this as part of your election process. However, you could always claim that it is experience on camera, much needed for the emulation of Blair and his cronies. Is cloning Blair wise?

    You may need to be reminded of the issue. Blair got about 13.5m votes in 1997, less than the most successful leader in modern electoral history- Major with 14.1m votes- but as many as Thatcher, who got over 13m votes in her three victories. However, Blair got only 10.7m votes in the foot-and-mouth emergency election, and only 9.6m in the al-Qaeda election, only as many votes as Major in 1997. Also, Blair has driven half the Labour membership from the party and has tied himself closely to Bush, so dividing what remains. Bush must wonder what he has to do to support the Conservatives. Both Kinnock and Callaghan got more votes than Blair did at the last election- should the Conservatives copy them? The Conservatives have a tactical problem with the damage Aitken did by becoming the first Privy Councillor in jail. However, Cherie Blair has been pregnant while at No.10- twice- and has also continued to practice as a lawyer, which is certainly improper. Allowing Labour to defeat you using the legal battle over your leader’s face and being vastly outnumbered in the Commons, the Conservatives have failed to make an impact since 1997. However, to emulate Bambi’s ‘We are a mother’ strategy requires more than an Old Etonian ex-TV executive.

    Lastly, there is the wreckage of the election itself. The postal vote system has failed to improve the numbers voting and has created a new problem of fraud. Also, Blair’s namesake police chief interfered in the last election. The media claimed that several elections were going to be rerun because of irregularities in the ballot- yet nothing has happened. If an opposition to Labour again fails to emerge Britain will become a country without an unwritten constitution directed by Catholic lawyers.

    I am informed that you have the head office of a brewery named after the only English Pope in your constituency.

    Best wishes in your struggle against snobbery,



  48. Progress indeed field. I think I found the piece (online): “For the most erudite discussion of the Tory leadership, turn to the website of Tory MP and classics scholar Boris Johnson, where one contributor not only refers to the new boy wonder of the Conservative party as Boccaccio’s D Cameron but claims Rifkind is a Tamil word that means “virile vanquisher of the ungodly”. ”

    Spookily enough, our curate this morning was urging the congregation to write to their MP’s and we discussed political blogs and email. Boris is everywhere!

  49. Dear Boris,

    The polls are all over the place – Adam Boulton is right to say that it is Clarke vs Cameron . Davis is losing support as Trevor Kavanagh said while Rifkind is right to point out that David cannot beat Brown . Liam Fox is stuck on the hard right & after he is knocked out the Tombstone group who have helped keep the Tories unelectable will rally to Davis . If being on the same side as Bill Cash does not drive messars Ottarway , Taylor , Green , Willetts , Norris etc into Ken Clarke’s forgiving embrace then I do not know what will . Davis is IDS mark II – on the right , poor public speaker , falling support and the voters do not know much about him . His backers who want a moderate but tough leader ought to go for the only candidate to beat Brown & the Lib Dems . Please Boris back Clarke as we cannot change Britain if we are out of power .
    Best wishes
    Matthew Reynolds

  50. Field and Jaq

    Well spotted and thank you for pointing out the piece in the Sunday Times.

    The author was none other than Vicus who has featured in the national press before via this site. He is above:

    >Vicus Scurra said:
    October 6, 2005 03:17 PM | permalink

    I thought D.Cameron was a collection of stories from people fleeing the Black Death. Not a very auspicious omen, I would have thought.
    You would be much better off with Rifkind, which is a Tamil word meaning “virile vanquisher of the ungodly”.

    Well done to our Vicus! hero status again

  51. I want to like Cameron but I have to agree with the Blair comparisons. He talks persuasively without actually saying very much, just like Tony does and he seems to be going for the Third Way approach in his “Conservatism with compassion” talk. Will this appeal to the electorate like it did in 1997? I don’t know. In ’97, the Third Way seemed fresh and appealing, 8 years later everyone knows it’s all talk. Trouble is, the other leadership candidates are doing more or less the same thing. They’re all for being Conservative but compassionate or compassionate but Conservative.

    Personally I wonder if the average voter actually wants a compassionate government as a priority. If that’s true, why does Blair instruct his ministers to release ever more draconian soundbites. What was today’s? We’re going to lock up problem families who terrorise their neighbours on secure, patrolled estates? Yeah, right Tony, like that’ll get past the human rights legislation, but hey, it makes you sound tough just like when you were going to summarily deport all the Al Qaeda-supporting clerics.

    The reason I like Davis is he comes out with less of this meaningless compassionate Conservative tripe and despite his lack of oratory skills, I feel he’ll connect with the average British voter better than his rivals. In polls, he’s believed to be the least charismatic man but the most competent politician and since we’re electing a prime minister, not a TV presenter, what’s more important?

    Clarke I like a lot and I desperately wish he’d consider returning as chancellor. However, whatever he’d personally do about the Euro, he cannot effectively oppose it should Blair decide that taking us into it should be his last great act as PM. And there’s a very good chance Blair would do just that if Clarke won. The only thing that’s stopped him thus far is the Tories’ steadfast opposition. Had Blair given the green light, he would have gifted the Conservatives an election-winning issue. Remove that and what’s to stop him?

    One other little thing. The moaning about the liberal left media has to end. It’s not that I don’t agree about the BBC but you’re going to accomplish nothing complaining about it and the implication in such attacks that the general public are too stupid to spot political bias is both insulting and wrong. The BBC has very little influence over public opinion. Look at the radio poll they organised which invited their listeners to vote for a new law. The listeners voted overwhelmingly for the right to kill burglars – hardly the liberal response the BBC would have liked. (And what ever happened to that law incidentally?) They’ve been pulled up for their pro-Europeanism and yet the public’s as hostile to Brussels as it’s ever been. The Guardian and the Independent simply preach to the converted. Leave the media-bashing to the left, who can’t open their mouths without whinging about Murdoch or the Daily Mail. Where has it got them?

  52. One further point if I haven’t already bored you witless. There was a radio phone-in about the future of the Tory party last night on Talksport. Little enthusiasm among the listeners for any of the current candidates, however a surprising amount of callers sang the praises of William Hague. He seems to be quite popular with the public. OK, he lost in 2001 but could any Tory leader realistically have won that election? I wonder if he’s as popular in the party as he seemed to be with last night’s callers?

  53. William Hague will come back to the forefront we think and hope

    On behalf of Boris Johnson’s Office

  54. Will you all allow me a mini rant? I don’t expect you to reply but I feel the need as it beats counting sheep and there’s no big words.

    The problem is, you see, that basically I’m a nice person. And I guess Peter Hitchens is too which is why I make excuses instead of having a go.

    I’ve just been reading the paper again after dinner and Hitchens considers the tory leadership candidates. Davis, he says, “delivered a competent performance. No more. No worse.” No more, no worse? Cameron’s performance “had all the force and verve (and content) of low cloud on a northern hillside.” When were you last on a northern hillside Peter? Low cloud is quiet, irrepressible and dangerous.

    He says he doesn’t care who leads the Useless Tory Party, “You might as well ask a muslim to choose between pork chops or a bacon sandwich.” which is strange because he’s reported to support the conservatives or has he changed his mind again? I wonder how long it takes him to get dressed to go out.

    All right, maybe that’s a cheap shot but I’ve worked so hard to get a copy of his book. It’s my birthday next week and I’ve been so looking forward to buying it and now I find he objects to the fact I exist.

    Last week his column annoyed me by blaming the liberation of women for the rise in breast cancer; “Late motherhood, the abandonment of breast-feeding, mass abortion and perhaps the contraceptive pill, seem to be the obvious suspects.” Obvious to you Peter because you are a man. A normal, red-blooded (I saw you blush when talking to Fonda), bigoted bloke. You don’t need tattoos and a pint in your fist Peter, you’ve got the chromosomes.

    Women have always had babies into their forties. There are sometimes reasons other than choice as to why women can’t breast-feed and as for late motherhood, what’s a woman supposed to do when she reaches your designated birthday and hasn’t met Mr Right? Pop down the bus-stop with a sandwich board for Mr Right Now? I don’t think so.

    The contraceptive pill does seem a contender but it has released women from the burden of serial pregnancy and given them choice. I concede that maybe that choice could be more specific. Have you had a vasectomy Peter? You’ve been married for what? 20 years? What have you been willing to do to allow your wife that choice? To lift the pressure of putting chemicals into your wife’s body every day, what are you willing to do? Are you willing to always wear a condom because even then accidents happen? The rythm method isn’t reliable so would you be willing to abstain? The only truly safe way to not get pregnant is to not have sex. I can assure you that most men would not be so considerate and most women wouldn’t want that either. I’ve heard women talk of falling in love with thier husband all over again when the chaotic treadmill of the school run is over and they can rediscover the delicious man they married. But they are still able to get pregnant.

    Womens lib is so much more than ‘the pill’, do you need to be told? Your target was the “Press pack” when you wrote about the leadership race in todays paper Peter. You should include yourself in that criticism. How long does it take you to write your column in the MoS? Less than a morning? When most people I’m guessing don’t earn as much for a 40 hour week? The last couple of weeks make me believe you can do better.

    In my humble opinion, Peter Hitchens, when he chooses to, can really crack on the mark. But when he rightly attacks lazy, superordinate journalists, those who filter truth in our society, he might just want to invest in some steel toe-capped DM’s…..with kevlar.

  55. As a potential Tory voter in the next election I don’t give a toss who is leader, provided it isn’t that clown Clarke. But what I do need to know, and what nobody from the Tory Party has yet explained, is what do they intend to do about turning back the Gramsci inspired new cultural hegemony engineering that has been going on for the past 40 or so years; what are they going to do about extracting us from the resultant drift towards a Federal Europe; what are they going to do about returning ultimate law decisions back to Westminster and finally what are they going to do about making sure the Police and CPS enforce the laws that already exist instead of making more laws that will never be enforced? If someone can come up with those answers they have my vote. So far Cameron seems to be a Gramscian Trojan Horse. More of the Blair/Mandy doctrine? DMAFF!!

  56. Jaq

    I mentioned before that PH is temperamentally a reactionary. This isn’t used as a term of abuse but, despite some concessions for the need for change, he really would like things to go back how they were. However usually he recognises that we are where we are. I suppose that his big thing is to point out how the law of unintended consequences keeps rearing its ugly head even with the best of intentions. Read what he says not with a view to being converted or vindicated but to give your own ideas and opinions some good healthy exercise As fine as they are, they will benefit further :). It might seem like self flagellation at times but I make of point of reading Polly Toynbee at least once a month. (Robert Fisk has become incomprehensible though)

  57. [TONY BLAIR ON]Wifey, I think the question isn’t which biscuit I prefer. There’s a much wider issue here relating to biscuits. Home office figures show the average working family is eating 23% more biscuits under Labour than they were when the party opposite was in power. Yes! And not just digestives and rich tea biscuits, not that there’s anything wrong with those, but bourbon creams and jammy dodgers. I believe our record on biscuits is impeccable. On national obesity it’s not so great but moving on…[/TONY BLAIR OFF]

    Getting serious, Frank maybe has a point that Conservative policies are going to be more important than who’s leader. One thing I do like a lot about Cameron, the reason I wouldn’t particularly object to him winning, is his stance on flat tax, something Boris has chamioned before and something I agree with strongly. I’d like to see the party pushing this no matter who’s leader and also pushing its stand on thinning out speed cameras, on opposing ID cards, on abolishing or reducing inheritance tax, all very popular policies that Labour can’t copy 2 weeks later. Start showing the public how their lives will be better under the Tories.

    Remember, the Conservative party can win the next election. The Boundary Commission will be looking at the ways the constituencies are set out before then – and I hope Boris and his colleagues will do their utmost to put the media spotlight on this, not just for their party’s sake but for the LibDems’ and democracy in general. Unless they get away with another travesty, there’s no excuses for losing the next one.

  58. Jack Ramsey – I wasn’t expecting comment but thanks it was interesting. You seem to agree with his brothers assesment of his character: “He is a staunch Christian and an abstainer from alcohol and tobacco. He lacks also, I sometimes think, my strange, hypnotic power over women. Moreover, he is a man for whom the word “reactionary” might have been invented”

    Hmm, ‘reactionary’ – opposing political or social progress or reform. You must be right Jack. Peter seems to enjoy always being on the holier-than-thou fighting side and is indeed adept at alerting us all to the kings nakedness. However, to make statements like: “I would much prefer a world governed by conscience than a world governed by idealists who think they know best about how we should run our lives.” is a bit pot calling the kettle black when he also makes sweeping statements as to the guilty in society’s downfall without any reference to the truth of the matter.

    I’ve read that he’s accused sections of society based on thier social circumstance without any attempt to even acknowledge the detail of thier lives let alone research or understand it. This is lazy reporting. I’m not saying that Peters life has followed the Peter Principle, far from it, I read other journalists and thier work doesn’t merit comment.

    Oh Jack, I get it. Oh dear. Rectionary – he winds people up and sets them going. So if he’s Eeyore he’s got me jumping around like Tigger in a tin box? And that would be good for me would it? Ohhhhhh but I am not easily affected by any man – I am immune! And when I read Peter Hitchens disagrees with my existence because I’m one of the guilty, I just think he could do better.

    When he criticises superordinate journalists he just might be shooting himself in the foot.

  59. I have just watched Cameron’s conference speech. Excellent presentation/communication skills but I was surprised it was so evangelistic, “I want you to come with me. It will be a wonderful journey . . .”. But as with all evangelism, the substance was largely missing.

    Does Cameron really have the background (knowledge and experience) to be the leader of a major party? One big difference between Clarke and Cameron. Clarke has a better CV than I have.

    Cameron relies heavily – typically for an Old Etonian – on charm. He reminds me a little of Reagan. The Conservatives would be taking a big risk if they choose him.

  60. Simon

    These days a lot goes on presentation and first impressions; and Cameron scores highly on these points as a handsome, smart and telegenic character. I am more of a country mouse variety so not sure if I can get swept up with the Cameroons.

    Let’s see how opinions evolve around the country

  61. Jack Ramsey, Rose…

    Ooops. Sorry. I wasn’t deliberately making fun of toffs. Well, I was – but that wasn’t the point. It’s all very well hoping for the electorate to suddenly start loving people who speak in cutglass accents and think an Eton upbringing is a well-rounded education, but that’s not going to get you elected.

    Trust me, the one who scares Labour and Liberal voters is Clarke. Because he tends to give straight answers, and has some sort of common touch (the jazz is, of course, irrelevant). All of which might test the loyalty of wavering left-leaning voters.

    Fortunately, this bit of advice appears irrelevant. You’ll probably choose Cameron, because he looks a bit young, and sounds a bit Blairy (which means using words without really considering their meaning), and looks a bit Blairy with all those hand signals.

    Looking in from the outside, it’s all a bit like watching Hollywood release Blair Witch Project 2, because Blair Witch Project 1 was such a great success.

  62. “Cameron knows how to balance compassion with Conservatism”

    Jeez, so they’re *opposites*, then! So now we know.

    I hadn’t realized. That’s good to know. (I’ve never been struck by this while reading Burke, Hume, (Samuel) Johnson, et al … but, evidently, that’s my error.)

    “Conservatism” (whatever Mr Johnson (Boris not the “real” one 🙂 understands it to be) is, in its heart, ***against*** compassion (whatever Mr Johnson understands that to be). I hadn’t realized. That’s good to know. That’s not how I read _Rasselas_, for example … but there we are. Now I know.

    But, if so, why Mr. Cameron doesn’t move to another party which *doesn’t* require him to “balance” anything against his “compassion” has me foxed. That’s a puzzle. Let me know if you work that one out. 🙂

    And why should “balance” be of importance here? (And surely we shouldn’t forget that “balance” here is a metaphor – but, enough of a puse for thought already and I shan’t pursue that one”.)

    Why is it desirable? Should I balance good against evil? Should I balance sense and nonsense? Should I “balance” reason against unreason?

    I’m not clear why. Doubtless this is my failing.

  63. Wifey: If my memory does not fail me , it was a famous countryman of yours whose catch phrase tells you which biscuit we all vote for , ” It’s a cracker”.

  64. Discovered a super-columnist earns £350K to £1m per annum for writing down what we can read for free on Boris Johnsons Blog.

    Long live Boris!

  65. Peter Hitchens is very much a hit and miss man.

    Occasionally he hits a six as he did in pointing out that while Davis’s speech was pants, Cameron’s was hardly the stuff to send voters speeding to the polling stations ready to put a cross against the local Tory. Comparisons with Blair in this case are particularly odious. Blair does at least manage to inject some cod emotive power into his speeches.

    Once the dust settles after the conference and Davis gets some emergency voice training – as I’m sure he will! – we may see the balance swinging back to the Davis camp.

    The drugs issue is another problem for Cameron. If he smoked some dope at University surely the modern compassionate thing to do is to admit to the fact. That he doesn’t will only encourage people to imagine far worse misdemeanours.

  66. Field – I agree. I’m becomming persuaded against Cameron but feel disinclined to back Davis, my original favourite, out of sheer bloodymindedness.

  67. @ – If I remember the film correctly, it’s not clear what happens at the end. Everything goes black and white and blurry, and there’s a lot of screaming in a woodland cottage…

    Still scares me, thinking about it.

    Mind you, I missed this thing about David Cameron ‘experimenting’ with marijuana. If he confesses, he’d certainly seem a little more interesting. So long as there’s none of this ‘didn’t inhale’ nonsense…

  68. “Everything goes black and white and blurry, and there’s a lot of screaming in a woodland cottage”

    sounds like little red riding hood!

  69. Off topic

    Anyone see James Blunts vid for ‘Beautiful’?
    I’m so uncomfortable with it I really think it should be banned it’s in such poor taste.

    Oh God, I’m turning into Peter Hitchens. I’m going to put my head into a bucket of very cold water immediately then try to find Beyonce on MTV.

  70. jaq

    Little Red Riding Hood? Didn’t she get eaten by the big bad wolf or something? Not a good prognosis for the Tory party…

    I try and avoid James Blunt if I can. Now I’ll HAVE to search out the video. Good luck with the Beyonce…

  71. I should have listened to Boris and placed that bet. It’s looking more and more like Cameron may win this. I know which site I’m going to come to for Grand National tips next year.

    Re: dope smoking. I wouldn’t judge Cameron if he has smoked it. He’s my generation, a thirtysomething, and let’s be honest, people of my generation who haven’t smoked it at least once are the exceptions.

    However, the problem with him admitting to it is that this will become the ONE THING about him that everyone talks about. You can imagine the editorials and cartoons and TV sketches now. He’ll be the dope-smoking Tory leader. And this will put off the older voters, the 50 pluses. That nice Mr Brown would never smoke dope. He’ll just smoke your taxes. 🙂

  72. My withdrawal from supporting Cameron is based on his handling of this drug issue. It’s not that big a deal and he’s allowing it to become one. If he flounders with the little things, how can we trust him to handle the big things?

    I had a friend for lunch (yum) and we were discussing the problems in Israel, as you do (me becomming PH in a dress is going to be a recurring nightmare, I can tell) We agreed that whatever the pro’s and cons of a situation the fact is, one is dealing with a collection of ego’s and personalities. If you can’t handle people then you really shouldn’t be in the job. I think Mac has a point (took me a while Mac)

    Sadly didn’t find Beyonce – thought I should do something bizarre, shocking and watch MTV so settled for the sexiest guy in music right now – lead singer of the Foo Fighters. Mm mmmmmmmn (yes, OK, I admit it, I’m decent but not dead) PH thinks MTV should be banned apparently – most men I know quite like looking at Beyonce wearing very little, licking her fingers and shaking her booty but apparently not PH!

    Mark Gamon – this particular friend (50+) was reminiscing a while back about how good Glastonbury used to be. From the first and a good while since it was much smaller and safe. Everyone took thier children who could wander ’round unsupervised without fear. Maybe yesterday does have it’s good points. Just can’t imagine PH ever going to Glastonbury. Physically I can’t find fault with him but when it comes to character and temperament I must reserve judgement till I see him on a dancefloor – it’s impossible to dance and remain clenched.

  73. Now I can’t wait for the phase beyond the party leadership – so many weeks more to go!

    Whoever the leader is…I’m weakening already… let’s welcome him with open arms and make the most.

  74. Dear Boris,

    Amazing day, which began with an invitation from friends to an ‘Alien vs Predator’ video evening. I was forced to Liam Fox out of it ‘I’m feeling a touch right-wing at the moment, perhaps another time.’ It’s just so taxing to have to endure another night of them sliding about the room mechanically intoning ‘nunc dimittis, nunc dimittis’ and spinning around screeching ‘Obey!’ Many of them support John Hurt for Conservative leader, ‘a blotch under Clarke’s centre-left hat’, though there are a few Ian Holm stalwarts among the old guard. Exactly. I am starting to become curious, however, about the level of awareness about the political use of television among members of the Cameron campaign.

    You may need to be reminded of the issue. Michael Howard was intended to rescue the Conservatives from the outcome of the last leadership battle and so be able to groom the next leader to replace him. Instead, he used his acceptance speech at Folkestone to say the Blair government was what the country deserved and could Labour do something about dirty hospitals. He then resigned two years early, leaving the Conservative election procedures unchanged. The current election procedures are far too long at over two months. However, their worst flaw is the televised leadership debate at the end, an inheritance from ‘Look into my eyes.’ The American experience is that a televised debate between candidates narrows the margin between them, despite claims of victory by either of the sides. ‘Share your platform with him, and you share your lead.’ When Johnson was leading Goldwater he refused to continue the series of televised debates started by Nixon-Kennedy, as did Nixon in 1968, when he was ahead. This becomes even more of an issue when a party is attempting to find a single outstanding figure from among its own politicians, and may have contributed to the problems the Democrats have had in finding presidential candidates for recent elections.

    Boris, I have also been contemplating your party’s need for ‘Cool Conservative’ adverts to attract Blair’s i-pod generation voters. I am of the opinion that the legal struggle can be made to work against them. Instead of text posters that lend themselves to rewording and may be too much like school, a more visual approach should be adopted. I experimented with using your good self as an icon, buried under a heap of identity cards with lookalikes on them for people to guess at (‘Gotta get Wayne Rooney’), or menaced by the guns of Turkish and Belgian armed police (‘Evenin’ all’). My most exciting idea, however, was for a series of candid photographs on red velvet inspired by ‘I had the radio on’. They could have the caption ‘Playmate’, and run against pictures of Newcastle’s Centre For Life homosexual nightclub/genetic laboratory entitled ‘Spoilsport’.

    I’m sure that this could help to recover the vital female votes that Cameron and Davis may fail to appeal to.

    Best wishes for your future career,



  75. Cameron seems to be the only candidate who is willing to actually think about the issues and make a judgement based on the results. The others all seem to be so steeped in dogma that they can’t entertain a thought unless it matches what they consider to be “the principles of conservatism”. That goes for dear old Ken too – it’s just that his dogma’s a bit different from Liam Fox’s.

    Cameron is the only one who seems able to lead the Conservative party out of the “nasty selfish party” box that it has landed itself in. Someone needs to make the case that it is not enough for Tony Blair to feel people’s pain, and mean well, and spend more money – it’s the actual results that count. Blair has tangled the public into thinking that new money and new initiatives are the same as results – someone needs to untangle him.

  76. David the ‘Cam is On’ has grown up in a Blairite culture, there is no substance to David ‘Cam is On’. He is all spin and bovine excreta. We need a leader of substance, integrity, and courage of conviction. Not a budding Tim Henman.

  77. Sam – absolutely, spot on! Cameron is not – as some have, I believe, suggested – ‘another Blair’. He is not Blair, is nothing like Blair, the difference being that he actually does care, I reckon. I cannot discern anything tricksy in his demeanour, I really do believe that he is sincere. Blair, on the other hand… (Is it just me or have the pauses…between…his…words…got…..longer?)
    Not wanting to harp on but I feel very strongly that the Tory party would be making a big mistake to reject him. Besides, if he’s good enough for Boris, he’s good enough for me.

  78. Sam and Rose: Your optimism about Cameron may be justified. The problem is that we don’t know.

    Political power is corrupting. Cameron is well-intentioned now, but then so was Blair. The former might well slide down the same paths of self-justification and self-delusion as the latter, especially as Cameron seems to have fewer real convictions (synthetic phonics and what else?) than Blair initially possessed.

    A man like Clarke, who has held power without being unduly corrupted by it, is a much safer choice, both as a leader and as a possible PM.

  79. You may be right Simon but I still think, as pointed out in the Mail today, that Boris is the best thing the Conservative party has. He’s so popular I think he frightens them to death. Perhaps they want to elect, what would be to them, the acceptable face of conservatism.

  80. A man who will not admit directly to some youithful peccadillo, whilst giving broad hints in an interview with Andrew Marr has no moral right to lead. is it perhaps a repeat of the ” I did not inhale”, or even, ” I did not have sex with that woman”, syndrome of which we heard so much , not too many years ago?
    Theresa May , has now decided that she no longer might, and will now support Cameron,much the same as Sir Malcolm Rifkind , now backing Clarke.
    Incidentally riff is, in jazz,( how apt ), an ostinato phrase , supporting a solo improvisation. The old wives tale of ” Ne’er cast a clout till May be out” rings a bell too

  81. Jack Ramsey

    Well. Apart from a few Beats. But there weren’t that many of them. And I can’t speak for what they’ve been doing in Asia these past couple of millenia…

  82. RETRACTION: (Jack Ramsey, gloat now)

    I, the aforementioned, do solemly confess that PH is not the misogynist bigot I thought he appeared to be. I am not telling you how this was revealed to me but I am wearing a big grin and a warm glow.

  83. So now Cameron’s officially the favourite. Boris was right and should be offered a place on William Hill’s board of directors forthwith.

  84. Simon:

    Ken Clarke could, possibly, win an election. I find it hard to square his desire to cut public spending with his love for that behemoth of waste, tax-and-spend socialism and statist authoritarianism based in Brussels, but he does appear to be reasonably popular with the public.

    What happens next? A Ken Clarke government would have to introduce stringent spending cuts to rescue the economy from the balls-up that Gordon Brown has made. Ken may be able to swing enough voters on the strength of “it’s the economy, stupid”, but I don’t think he can keep them in the face of the inevitable Labour rhetoric about spending cuts. The Conservative party will still be seen as the party of the rich, screwing the poor who can’t afford private education and healthcare in exchange for tax breaks. After one term, Labour will return to power for another 8 years or so.

    To produce a long-term Conservative revival, you have to produce a party which not only genuinely is a party for the whole country, but is also seen to be in favour of the ordinary man in the street. To achieve that, you need someone who is able to make the case that statism and big government is not the best solution for the disadvantaged, but that a flexible, bottom-up approach is both cheaper for the taxpayer and better for the recipient of assistance. Ken Clarke isn’t the man to make that case, but David Cameron could well be.

    It might actually be better for the long-term if Labour wins the next election. A Brown government with a small majority would be a complete disaster, and should set the stage for a major shift in the political scene. So maybe I should support David Davis as a placeholder candidate who won’t lurch off into far-right rhetoric, won’t win the next election, but will hold things together for a David Cameron coronation in 2009, and subsequent electoral victory in 2012 etc. etc.

  85. Sam: “you need someone who is able to make the case that statism and big government is not the best solution for the disadvantaged . . . Ken Clarke isn’t the man to make that case, but David Cameron could well be.”

    Surely all the candidates will make this point, are making this point? Not that the electorate haven’t heard it all before.

    Note that Clarke is committed to leading a broadly based shadow cabinet in which Cameron would be able to prove himself.

    “maybe I should support David Davis as a placeholder candidate who won’t lurch off into far-right rhetoric, won’t win the next election, but will hold things together for a David Cameron coronation in 2009 . . .”

    Davis would be another weak leader (like IDS) who would promote his own men (from among his declared right-wing backers). In my view, he would be intent on cutting down any potential rivals. I believe that is part of the reason that his star is waning now. He is 56, so he would want to be leader for 10 years or so.

  86. Jaq

    I’m not sure what to gloat about – guilt and gloat both have the same number of letters and share three, and I’ve had bypass operations for both.

    errm? I’m intrigued though!

    Anyway, however it comes about, a big grin and a warm glow are jolly good things! Could we sneak it into a mainifesto?

    Best wishes all and Friday is impending!

  87. Can’t the Conservatives be more imaginative. Why do they always have to gravitate to a toff from a wildly over privaleged background. What on Earth has Cameron in common with the sink housing estates across this country and the meaning of “hard up”? The “Cameron” tag also makes me shudder, not another closet Scot???

  88. Jack – let me just say that when it comes to this particular woman, CH just hasn’t got the skills!

  89. Christine

    Are you saying that only those who are hard up from sink housing estates should be Tory party leader/prime minister? It may be unfashionable to say so but materially all people are better off than were their parents/ancestors 10, 20, 100 years ago. What is different is that there is a culture, supported by the more exciting members of the metropolitan elite, that the state has to do everything for you.

    There are education, health, and a pile of other things supported by the state, paid for by the working classes – i.e. those who go out to work for a living, teachers, cleaners, company directors, coffee bar staff, bus drivers………. or stay in to work, mothers (indirectly wrt GB), authors, mediums, interior designers etc.

    No.I do not suggest the stocks/concentration camps/forcible appearances on Big Brother for those not in work but it might be handy to point out that genuine prosperity for all (not just financial) can only improve when we are ready to tackle the high level of crime, ranging from benefit fraud, burglary to gang murder of ordinary citizens (nauseating case reported today). Too often the ME suggests that it is the government’s fault for lack of ‘investment’ in this that or the other. How about saying it is the government’s failing to provide the rule of law? Whether a government that provides that comes from a Tory/Labour Old Etonian/bog standard Peckam comprehensive type is so immaterial as to make discussion of angels on the end of pins look grippingly interesting. There is more misery caused by evil a*******s roaming around estates, running drug gangs and so on, plus their advocates in the media who find them ‘vibrant’, than is due to evil or even non-evil capitalists.

  90. And please note The Economist’s endorsement of Cameron. He’s clearly the candidate of choice of responsible adults.

    And to indulge in a bit of negative campaigning already…. On a minor point, I appreciate that the Cameroons wouldn’t even imagine wearing the equivalent of DD t-shirts. (‘Dweedledum and Dweedledee for the Dweeb’ would have been more appropriate for that camp anyway.)

    As for KC, flogging cigarettes to the third world simply isn’t an appropriate hobby for a potential leader. Does he really think it doesn’t matter?

  91. We’re told the camera lies but is it also the case that “D. Cameron never lies”?

    After his performance on Question Time I’m even more convinced he isn’t a serious candidate for the highest office in the Tory Party and I don’t believe he will win against David Davis.

  92. I may have missed it, but can anyone tell me why the question that David Cameron was facing about drug use suddenly shifted from whether or not he had smoked cannabis to whether or not he had used hard drugs (i.e. cocaine) – or to put it another way, has the leadership contest turned less friendly?

  93. Simon: does it matter what the original question was?
    All the other candidates have given an answer, the clue is in the word ” drugs”. Quantitive and qualitative criteria, I suggest, do not apply. A straight forward answer to a straightforward question,

    ” Have you ever experienced , first hand , the effects of taking narcotics?” or alternatively,
    “Have you ever taken drugs?”

    His continued stubborn refusal to answer the question , however it has been severally put, cannot but cast doubt on his integrity.

    If he has not partaken of the forbidden substance, a clear NO would have been sufficient.

    If , on the other hand , he HAD tried the odd toke, I am sure that no-one would have thought too much about it , and it would by now have been , if not forgotten, at least forgiven, as being a minor youthful failing. He has now painted himself into a corner from which extrication will be most difficult.

  94. Macarnie: This is a difficult area. We hope politicians are honest about themselves, however if they are interrogated about every aspect of their past lives – sexual behaviour, drugs, religious activity, social and family connections etc. – then few normal, honest individuals would want to be politicians. Parliament would be full of liars and bigots.

    On the other hand, the public has the right to know, in my view, if any candidate for office has committed a serious crime – one worthy of a jail sentence. Should a politician be questioned about a serious crime that did not lead to a conviction? In certain circumstances, questions should obviously be asked (e.g. Stephen Byers and Railtrack).

    All this begs the question of where the Class A drug user fits in. Is taking cocaine or heroin a private matter, or is it of concern to society as a whole in the way that a murder, financial embezzlement, gun running or tax fraud might be? I don’t see an easy answer to this.

  95. David Cameron if elected would be a total liability .

    Drugs background , Eton etc , ? Scottish

    – why even think about electing another Blair .

    It should be David Davis – an altogether steadier and safer pair of hands .

  96. This is the problem we end up with when laws are passed about purely private behavior – they just don’t work. Note how similar activities are treated. Drink driving is a crime, but drinking is legal – although we’ve all seen the damage done to and by alcoholics. Gambling is legal, but compulsive gamblers damage themselves, their families and society. Smoking tobacco is legal, but causes health problems everyone pays for. Where we draw the line is what (should) separate Conservatives from Labour. Unless and until an action affects others directly, the government should stay out of criminalising it for adults. Some things are our own responsibility – that’s the point of being an adult. If someone wants to spend the major portion of their adult life smoking, drinking, gambling and taking drugs – that’s their choice, idiotic though it may seem to the rest of us. The worst that can happen is they get elected US President.

  97. Simon:
    It appears to me that politics is about the art of saying little, whilst the one to whom little is promised is left with the belief that the little promised , is, in fact, a lot.

    It appears obvious to me,that Mr Normal has neither the ego nor the wish to become an Aunt Sally , at whom all and sundry are entitled to throw their posies or brickbats. If one opts to become a political Aunt Sally, one must expect to receive a clout or two, but , like the fairground Aunt Sally , one must always come out smiling.

    There is howen]ver, a difference , quite a large one, between a politician and an Aunt Sally: an Aunt Sally is incapable of telling a lie.

    With this attitude , apparently rife in political circles, we begin to expect what are,in effect, lies, as the norm. We are hardly used to being told the unadorned truth. Whether someone , be he / she; politician or no, shies away from a specific area of life , is it not human nature to believe that there is indeed something being hidden? If that something is as innocent as Tom implies; in that it will cause no harm to the general public if someone were to partake of the weed or drink , why is it not on the table?
    Roll on tomorrow , let us see the first true result.

  98. The last opportunity to vent my spleen on what has taken on the appearance of the annual lemming rush to the clifftop.
    The question is, will sufficient lemmings survive to repopulate their traditional stamping grounds?

    Cameron reminds me, either of a puppy, trying all its wiles to draw the attention of its owner , or of a particularly eager and persistent door to door salesman; haranguing the hapless prospective cutomer.

    He is at the same time bullying and wheedling , but will , when cornered , reiterate the anodyne phrases he picked up on the intensive salesman’s course, he so recently attended: anything to make the sale.

    As the hapless prospective customer, are you big enough to make up your own mind, refusing to buy what you did not, and still do not, want?

    With Cameron, it seems to me, a Rizla cigarette paper,( aptly enough ), could not be pushed between the strangely recognizable similarities of the professed future policies of the two major parties. ( despite Lib-Dem objections)

    This becomes increasingly obvious when even the exaggerated hand gestures of the waning red leader in the one corner , is copied by the prospective leader opposite, who so wishes to be a waxing star in a newly tinted , all blue firmament.

    It becomes more obvious that the options the two Parties present to the electorate, offer the unenviable choice between a raging toothache, a migraine, and a virulent attack of the Farmer’s.

    Germany has just demoted a Cameron clone, in favour of Angela Merckel, a lady who has an enormous store of real life experience, but who , at least up to now , does not have an unlined idol’s face. Is a mistake inevitable?

  99. Dear Boris

    I thought your article excellent but why is it necessarily satirical for people to suggest you stand? I know it’s too late this time round but I can think of many people, not just traditional Conservative voters, who would rather you were leader than any of the other contenders.

    The way I see it this: I favour Ken Clarke but I am worried that he will be c.70 by the next election – I know Churchill was PM at that age, as were various Victorian ‘First Lords of the Treasury’, but has Ken the same stamina? David Davies seems a decent person but he is AWFULLY dull to listen to and seems ‘chippy’ about his background, which would worry me vis. someone in power. David Cameron is the only real contender by default, but it remains to be seen whether even he is the ideal choice, or whether the real PM-in-waiting is still in the wings.

    I’d like to know where the two Davids stand on such topical issues as the VAST amount of public money the current administration wastes each year, and their take on the future of the monarchy, an institution that is sacrosanct to many Conservatives and others, myself included.

  100. Well there you have it! The Party in Parliament has shown a remarkable lack of understanding for what the Party supporters in general would have wished to have happen. . Instead of venerable, lively landscape, with properly proportioned landscapes, the future face of the party looks a little like the moon; almost featureless from a distance, and devoid of life close up.

    I sincerely hope that the survival of the Party as an effective opposition proves Ken Clarke’s supporters wrong, but I doubt it, very much.

  101. John Vaughan, I strongly agree with you that it’s time the candidates set out exactly where they would take the party in terms of specific policies, not vague waffle about being more traditional or more compassionate.

    However I do hope one thing we can count on any Conservative candidate to do is cut down on Labour’s overspending. If that isn’t a given then it’s goodbye from me!

  102. Look, here’s an election-winning policy: adopt the Estonian policy of not taxing company profits that are reinvested in the company.

    There you are, you can have that for free. And once the Tories are in power, then they can dismantle the massive network of bribes – whoops! sorry – benefits that this government is using wealth-creators money to pay for.

    Oh, yes, another thing. Let’s leave the economically and socially moribund EU, and start investing heavily in the Developing World; that way we shall benefit ourselves and the poor of the world too. Trade creates not only wealth but peace too, as any fule kno.

    As for Cameron, if he mentions the phrase “compassionate Conservatism” again, I’m going to hunt him down and punch him on the nose.

    Although, I don’t wish to punch him as much as I wish to punch those who criticise him for going to Eton: only in Britain would people express the idea that being bright and well-educated was an undesirable trait in a leader. Slightly depressing, isn’t it?


  103. David Cameron comes over as another Blair .
    He says bland , nice , innofensive things – all generalities and nothing specific – just the sort of cotton wool which issies from Blair – whom he is uncomfortably similar to .

    If you think that having been to Eton is not a liability you are living on a different planet .

  104. Does anyone know what David Cameron’s opinions are on (1) Iraq (2) Europe (3) Nuclear energy?

    Cameron has said that climate change is being neglected. Fair enough, but according to the BBC he is suggesting that the issue should be taken out of party politics with a “committee to monitor progress on the environment . . . similar to the one that decides interest rates”.

    Bizarre. Why just the environment? The Health Service could also be removed from party politics – and education – and pensions – and transport. In fact everything could be run by special committees . . . leaving the Tory Party to concentrate on leadership contests, I suppose.

  105. Climate change is hardly being neglected,, rather the opposite is the case, with the US refusing to curb its monstrous outgushings of both toxic and greenhouse gasses.I would suggest that that is nurturing global warming rather than neglecting it.

    As to what he otherwise stands for: I am sure we will wait for some time before we are enlightened in that area. There have been several generalised statements made, but I have heard nothing definitive. I hope he is able to make at least some attempt to lay out his itinerary on the road to the leadership. A start would be, for example:-
    1) to lay out a feasible plan to curb the excessive governmental spending, currently plaguing the taxpayer.
    2) Address the immigration chaos, at present totally out of the control of this Administration.
    3) Take steps to minimise our involvement in the Juggernaut which is PC Europe, whilst still retaining the free trade element.
    3) Ensure the judiciary are not in a position to interfere in matters National Security. The judiciary must remain free from governmental influences, but the set up at present does not seem to be in the nation’s best interest.

    Parliament makes the laws which the judiciary guard so tenaciously and therefore; if certain extraordinary powers are needed; bring in laws which allow drastic measures to be taken to deal with extraordinary circumstances.

    Surely he cannot be serious as to the farming out of such a serious subject as the future of the environment? A hard line must be followed in order to avoid the catastrophe staring us in the face.

    Already the number of Quangos , as previously discussed here , is too high. Why, if what has been suggested should go through, should we still need a Government? Everything would be like old Labour , nothing decided without the good old committees, and in this case , an unelected one at that.

    Would things be different under a Peter Mandelson lookalike ? Or would a proper Government be allowed to govern in accordance with the manifest upon which it was elected.

    Is the Government , acting as the solicitors, refusing to take advice from the Quangos, acting as the barristers? If not , what is the point of awarding the brief out of its own hands in the first place?

    We already have a surfeit of unelected and overpaid Government advisors, and it is now time for the Government to act on this expensive advice: the GOVERNMENT must lead, as it has been elected to do.

  106. I see that the Katzenjammer twins, DavidI,and David II, got into the act last night, at the television awards. Is there no way of holding a private wake?

  107. Simon: I have thought about giving up my interest in politics altogether.
    I have to say that Ann Widdicombes warning to the Party faithful, not to count chickens etc, seems to have fallen on deaf blue rinsed ears. This now seems to be a shoe-in for Cameron, and I fear further years in the wilderness as a result.

    If one has anything worthwhile to sell. it is sometimes necessary to attract customer interest by having mannequins in shop windows; however, it is generally the selling expertise of the slightly less glamorous sales assistants, inside the store, which makes the profit and thus keeps the store afloat.

    The Beast of Bolsover , yesterday, in a radio interview , said that there seems to be a whiff of the Mandelsons about Cameron: I agree, and I would not want Mandelson, or indeed a Mandelson clone, in any future Government, no matter what the colour might be. I am indeed slightly dejected as to his apparent shallowness: he , like M.appears oleaginous, and oil, as everyone knows, when spilt in a pool of water will iridesce, ( neologism?) as long as light shines on it. The trouble is, like all rainbows, there is no depth to the shimmer, and when the light is removed, all pretence at glitter is gone.

    By the way , Katzenjammer is German for that peculiarly cacophonous noise made by felines on heat. It also means , in a slightly twisted logical way, a hangover, ( sometimes referred to , in short, as a ” Kater”) The kids were so called, I should imagine, because of the headaches which they, with their antics, gave their parents

  108. Macarnie: “a whiff of the Mandelsons about Cameron”:

    Skinner may well be right. Cameron seems to be more about media presentation than issues.

    “I have thought about giving up my interest in politics altogether.”

    Political life is now at its lowest ebb since the Second World War. The country is run by power-corrupted philistines, with no effective opposition from either the left or the right. I see no vitality, no inventiveness, no progress in the economy, the arts, environmental consciousness, or social reform.

    Modernization will fail. People here have really little understanding of how rapidly the rest of the world is changing. The UK is more and more marginalized, unable to influence the USA, unable to contribute to Europe, sending half-equipped soldiers round the world to get into trouble: a poseur on the international scene.

    Scotland may be able to break out out of this chronic pattern of failure and like Ireland, Norway etc. be reinvigorated after independence to become a ‘normal’ small northern European country with high standards of public services and education and a modest international presence. That is my hope.

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