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"If Cameron can reinvigorate political discussion in the country"

I wonder how that is done by agreeing with everything your opponent says?

I think that comment is a bit unworthy of you Selsdon.Iain is one of the good guys who has been a credit to our party for many years.

Selsdon Man, I don't know who you are, but I might have more respect for your views if you actually told us. I'm not in the habit of sucking up to anyone. I just speak as I find. And as for your last point, I haven't even decided if I want to stand at the next election.

Iain Dale is a good man and it's not fair to question his motives like that, Selsdon Man. Play the ball, please, not the man.

Tim

I have to confess that despite being a Davis supporter, I cannot imagine him creating the shift in public and media opinion that Cameron has managed in the last month and a half.

The big question in my mind is whether having gone this far this quickly we can maintain momentum. There is still a long way to go before the next General Election and will must ensure that we don’t appear old hat by then.

It is a pleasure going into elections ahead in the polls, a novel experience for many of us. Although I don’t agree with every policy announcement that Cameron has made, being in opposition is next to useless and he seems to be creating the circumstances for a Conservative victory. I don’t think that we should underestimate the importance of that.

Thinking back over the rather fast moving month and a half of Camerons leadership, Im not happy with him. Hes had his first shots on education, health, crime, the economy, foreign policy and business. He has certainly changed the policies. I can accept that things have to change under new management. However the things I disagree with outnumber vastly the things I agree with.

He has cut off the limbs that the Policy Groups were supposed to have. They were supposed to be looking into every possibility to work out the best policies. Cameron has cut that down by pre-empting it. If he wants to pre-empt it, then fair enough, but for heavens sake, dont have the Policy groups then. Otherwise it looks like he is telling the Policy Groups what to report back.

I assumed I was a liberal conservative slightly right of Cameron. After his announcements, Im guessing Im further to the right. His policies are too radical and I fear they will alienate those on the right, who will look elsewhere.

Great, lets all follow DCs good example and change our electricity supply to come from a renewable source. Ooops there isn’t enough renewable energy. Infact there isn’t enough energy full stop and our CO2 emissions are still rising.

It’s an ill wind that blows for Cameron. Has he not heard the raging ‘wind’ debate in considering his renewables policy.
There’s more to renewables than wind.
Yet what do we find on the conservative website? A picture of wind turbines! What sort of industry would destroy Lewis? Further horror, we find details of RWE npower! What sort of a company would destroy Romney Marsh?

With the current fury of thousands of people across this country at the futile erection of wind turbines at the cost of this countrys most treasured assets and at the cost of securing our energy supply and at the cost of reducing our CO2 emissions, I am at a loss for words to witness this fatal alliance.
And for what?
One 2MW, 100m high turbine will save about the same amount of CO2 per hour as two heavy duty vehicles travelling at 100kph. The cost per year of this tiny saving, i.e. the subsidy paid to the wind developers, is around £200,000.
You’d need about 2,000 2MW turbines to get the same yearly energy output of that of a modern conventional power station.
AND then you’d still need the power station for firm backup, to meet demand when the wind blows too much, too little or not at all.
At this moment DC just looks like another politician.

Watching newsnight now.

Kirsty Wark has said "Oliver Wet-LetWin" at least twice!

David Cameron is a anagram for

A CANDID MOVER


I think Selsdon Man is well out of order. I think Iain Dale's honesty and humility both in Norfolk and as a member of the Davis campaign team have been notable and commendable, and he has never shirked from saying what he thinks.

I think I remember SM stating that he had previously fought a Parliamentary election himself - perhaps his criticism would hold more weight if his own record was on the table.

Good to see that the BBC and Newsnight are being completely unbiased so far... not.

And the Letwin loser mentality resurfaces: he pledges to outspend Labour.

The BBC is clearly trying to portray what DC has said in its most extreme interpretation. For example claiming that we are now “against business” when DC said that we would stand up to “stand up to big business when it's in the interests of Britain and the world”. They are trying to drive a big wedge between DC, Letwin et al and the party as a whole. I think we should be careful not to let them.

Excellent. David Green cited Cameron's approval of Keith Jospeh's "common ground" maxim, and his apparent betryal of it - a point I raised on the Civitas blog last week.

I want commission!

And was that this blog's Mr Oxley on the videophone?

Why can’t Kirsty speak properly tonight?

Oxley on the video phone? A good night for Conservativehome, indeed

Three cheers to Tim for making a good point especially on the 'standing up to big business' issue.

Apologies to those of you hoping to have comments featured on the show, you know what tv can be like! It seems they decided to promote their own comments board which is fair enough.

I think a gentle round of applause for the editor would be appropriate.

Why can’t Kirsty speak properly tonight?
Honestly.
She was very sloppy.
I think she even said "Tim Mumry" at one point.
and there was a bit where somebody's head or finger randomly went in front of the camera.

Pah!

"And the Letwin loser mentality resurfaces: he pledges to outspend Labour."

That's funny, on the version I watched he said that Conservatives would increase spending on the NHS in the same way that Labour did. James, are you sure that you're not indulging yourself?

He's just moaning as usual Mark. Ignore the silly comments.

"Apologies to those of you hoping to have comments featured on the show, you know what tv can be like!"

Skewed to the left?

It's been at least four months since James said anything vaguely positive on this blog, I wouldn't worry about it too much. :)

Either way Letwin was an embarressment, not only does he abandon Conservative principles but he looks so unconvincing doing it, that he fails to achieve appearing concerned for anyone but the Conservative Party. And dont get me started on Portillo!

"That's funny, on the version I watched he said that Conservatives would increase spending on the NHS in the same way that Labour did. James, are you sure that you're not indulging yourself?"

No, he said they planned to increase spending as Labour had done. And they massively increased it.

Indeed, his entire point was that lots more money was needed (alongside whatever structural reforms he thinks will be possible).

And Chris:

"He's just moaning as usual Mark. Ignore the silly comments."

Consider yourself ignored.

That last link, the reference to DC’s chances being as distant as Pluto, was pretty dire. You would expect better from a sixth form media course production.

I watched he said that Conservatives would increase spending on the NHS in the same way that Labour did.
Mark, i think you meant WOULD NOT. That's what I heard. He talked about restructuring.

I thought it was all a bit anti-climactic. That'll teach me to get excited about Newsnight.

I thought the debate a bit superficial.I know there were time constraints but why waste precious moments with that David v Goliath crap? Anyone else find Kirsty annoying in that she did not let any member of the panel go into any detail and all questions had to be answered hurriedly.
I thought you were very fair Tim, but the most interesting comment for me came from Portillo about Camerons need to pick a fight with certain elements of the Tory party to show much the party has changed.I think he's going to have to fight pretty hard in the coming months.

Hi,
I'm getting a new mobile phone camera I think, but yes it was me.

Well done to Tim for getting some good points in there, particulary the one in reference to Portillo demanding a fight.

What on earth would Portillo advise Cameron to pick a fight on?

James Hellyer, first you say that Letwin had said "pledges to outspend Labour" and then you say "he said they planned to increase spending as Labour had done. And they massively increased it." These are two different things. Don't try escaping from your original incorrect remarks.

If you can't get simple facts correct concerning the above (something which you just recently watched I might add,) then how can we take anything else you say seriously - not that it seems many readers do anyway.

Does he expect the "Grammar School Purge" to be our equivalent of the expulsion of Militant?

Who knows with the rubbish Portillo thinks up. I wonder if he is regretting leaving politics? He probably would have made the shadow cabinet, if not given a policy committe.

Anyone notice the comment sent in by the angry policeman?

MF: "he said that Conservatives would increase spending on the NHS in the same way that Labour did."

JH: "No, he said they planned to increase spending as Labour had done."

James, you're splitting the difference between 'did' and 'had done'. Isn't that a bit persnickety, even for you?

I thought it was a surprisingly good program. We actually got some criticism from the right of David Cameron, something that is rather rare on the BBC.

(That said, I didn't understand what all those allusions to David and Goliath were supposed to be about.)

I also think that Oliver Letwin rather stumbled around. On the "reducing inequality" point, in particular, he re-inforced the idea that -- contrary to what Tim Montgomery was saying about it merely meaning a progressive tax system -- Oliver Letwin really *is* talking about reducing the gap between the rich and the poor. But then he also talked about an "ever-expanding cake" (which suggests that he must know that the rich gaining wealth doesn't make the poor poorer). It seemed he was deliberately trying to obfuscate and make his meaning unclear (and he succeeded).

On the NHS he said he strongly disagreed with Melanie Phillips and David Green about a social insurance system, but gave absolutely no reason why he rejected that system. On that point, Green and Phillips seemed alot more reasonable and open-minded.

Overall, if Letwin really does believe that Cameron's positioning of the party is based on principles and is not about articifically closing down the distance between the Tories and Labour (to give the appearance of "change"), then he gave a very poor defence of those principles.

"Either way Letwin was an embarressment, not only does he abandon Conservative principles"

No, we're moving away from your version of Conservative 'principles' and towards mine. Letwin did sound a bit rambling, as did Melanie Philips, but he wasn’t an embarrassment. Tim on the other hand was a clear credit.

I'm back at the Mac.

Thanks for those who've made kind comments about my performance. Much appreciated. I felt quite nervous and hope it didn't show.

What was great about the programme was the fact that a Tory politician was being critiqued from the right. I can't remember the last time the BBC did that and, like John Hustings said, I think it worked.

I'm sorry Newsnight didn't use much/ anything from this thread... but at least we all know what Matthew Oxley looks like now!

I found Portillo to be rather unpleasant. He also fails to realise that a lot of policies favoured by the "nostalgics" (such as law and order and immigration) are popular. The trick is to put more emphasis on other policies such as health and education. I accept the party has to compromise but I fear the compromise may be going too far.

Mark, I agree with you on Tim, he was the most articulate and rational of the lot. However Letwin was an embarressment. He just simply cant hack it in those situations. He comes across as completely foolish, rambling and incompetent. I doubt anyone watching him, thought they were looking at a government minister in waiting.

Well done Editor. A good performance I though and I'm sure everyone else would agree. However, I think the only reason that the BBC critised from the Right, was because it was critisism. They didn't mind whether it was from the left or right, as long as they put David Cameron down.

It was a pity that none of our comments were used - as many good points were raised above. However the fact that Matthew Oxley was shown proves that not everything that comes from the BBC is fabricated.

"James Hellyer, first you say that Letwin had said "pledges to outspend Labour" and then you say "he said they planned to increase spending as Labour had done. And they massively increased it." These are two different things. Don't try escaping from your original incorrect remarks."

Thet weren't incorrect. Letwin pledged a "huge expansion of spending" when Wark accused him of planning cuts, and he went to to say it was as "at the last election" - where we matched and then raised Labour's NHS spening commitments.

"f you can't get simple facts correct concerning the above (something which you just recently watched I might add,) then how can we take anything else you say seriously - not that it seems many readers do anyway."

It would seem that accurate recollection is something you have problems with.

Perhaps you left it with your common courtesy?

"However, I think the only reason that the BBC critised from the Right, was because it was critisism. They didn't mind whether it was from the left or right, as long as they put David Cameron down."

Well, I thought it was thoughtful and perceptive criticism, and moreover, it gave a voice to what many of us have been feeling!

"On the NHS he said he strongly disagreed with Melanie Phillips and David Green about a social insurance system, but gave absolutely no reason why he rejected that system. On that point, Green and Phillips seemed alot more reasonable and open-minded"

Letwin genuinely seemed to stumble around from faced with those points. All he was left with was his repeated claim that the new direction was aimed at Britain's long term intersts, which carries the implication that the old policies were short term and opportunist at best.

He also let himself get rapidly bounced into the "cuts" issue, when Wark claimed that the Conservative plans involved spending less (an odd claim, as it flowed from neither what Letwin or his right wing critics were saying).

Of Green and Phillips, I thought Phillips came out of the programme rather better - probably because she's used to forming her arguments in a more concise form.

And as Tim and John noted, it was unusual to hear a Conservative politician - indeed any politician - get critiqued from the right.

Well done Tim. A polished performance.

All in all it should be regarded as another success for the Party. I wonder what "friends" in the Labour party are making of this. Huge coverage of the Conservative party - and whats more all pretty positive. Long may it continue.

Strange, I though that you said you would ignore me, James. How quickly you have changed your mind...

"I think the only reason that the BBC critised from the Right, was because it was critisism."

Their choice of critic belies that. While in the Cameron corner they chose obvious "media darling" Michael Portillo, it was refreshing that the critics came from a different source - especially Green - which made their points seem far more considered. If they'd just wanted criticism, they could have turned to talking heads like Simon Heffer and Peter Hitchens, who would have given a very different tone.

Strange, I though that you said you would ignore me, James. How quickly you have changed your mind...

"Well, I thought it was thoughtful and perceptive criticism, and moreover, it gave a voice to what many of us have been feeling!" - John Husting

I'm not denying that James. However, I don't think the BBC will be making a habit of it.

"Strange, I though that you said you would ignore me, James. How quickly you have changed your mind."

I'm ignoring silly comments, but not the ones that put the "nasty" into the "nasty party".

See the Question Time homepage to nominate a guest if you happen to think anyone in particular would be good to see on QT...

Oops, mistake - I meant, "I'm not denying that JOHN. However, I don't think the BBC will be making a habit of it."

Time for bed I think!

... if you happen to think anyone in particular would be good to see on QT...

You'll have to be a lot less subtle to get mass nominations roling out for you and Tim ;)

"I don't think the BBC will be making a habit of it."

Sadly, you're right.

"I'm ignoring silly comments, but not the ones that put the "nasty" into the "nasty party" - James Hellyer

If you think my comments were nasty, then well... However, on another note - I am sorry if you were offended, but I dislike people making hurried off-hand accusational comments (which admittedly yours was.) Goodnight.

Yes, I think they'll be back to the more usual "you want to underfund skools 'n hospitals" before long.

"However, on another note - I am sorry if you were offended"

I've had worse than that around here! ;-)

"but I dislike people making hurried off-hand accusational comments (which admittedly yours was.)"

That's liveblogging for you. It was also a fair response, as a quick check on Real Player confirmed.

... if you happen to think anyone in particular would be good to see on QT...

You'll have to be a lot less subtle to get mass nominations roling out for you and Tim ;)

I certainly don't want to be nominated for QT thank you very much! Anticipating that final silly question would worry me for the whole programme!!

"I certainly don't want to be nominated for QT thank you very much!"

Too late.

Next time tell Sam to be less subtle.

Anticipating that final silly question would worry me for the whole programme!!

Would it? Well theres only one way to find out :D

Glad to see Chris and James kissed and made up, kind of.

"I certainly don't want to be nominated for QT thank you very much!"

Oh dear, already gone and done it.

"Would it? Well theres only one way to find out :D"

You'll get your Deputy Badge confiscated if you aren't careful.

"Glad to see Chris and James kissed and made up, kind of."

What kind of moderator are you anyway? A delete the bloodshed afterwards type?

And I'll do it nevertheless.

I thought it was a Solid performance Tim, you didnt try to be too bold/charismatic and instead appeared calm and collected. Since you now represent probably more *active* conservatives than some MP's I feel there's every reason to have you on QT.

Thank you Matthew, James. But please don't anyone else nominate me for QT. I'm serious.

"But please don't anyone else nominate me for QT."

You can be the QT equivalent of the people who turn down knighthoods.

Tim, you're telegenic, a superb politician and last night you didn't show a hint of fear. Conquer your nerves and get on QT!

"My concern is that we are hearing from nobody but Cameron. After all the good work of the leadership contest in showing the public that there is a whole team of talented people, I think this is a backward step."

That's a bloody good point. Take, for example, the way the proposed police reforms were instantly dressed up as Cameron's police reforms in spite of the fact that Nick Herbert did all the leg-work and that it falls within David Davis's remit.

The current campaigning is very David Cameron focussed - I'm pleased to see less of 'Cameron's Conservatives', thought that might be our new party name at one point:-), but its tightly focused on the message that DC is the change.
I hope that after the 100 days branding campaign we do see more of the front bench (properly trained in media appearances) and get less of Our Dear Leader type activity.

Cameron has a great chance of becoming Prime Minister. Sadly, he won't be a conservative one.

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