On this morning's Today programme David Cameron confirmed that he wasn't "interested in tickets and deals." He specifically ruled out an alliance with Ken Clarke. He cited Europe saying that he did not share Mr Clarke's vision of "ever closer union". But his support for the war in Iraq - expressed, today, in a big speech on homeland security and "the threat from extremist Islamist terrorism" - also puts him at odds with the former Chancellor.
On 7th July Britain joined "the long list of nations to be directly targeted by extremist Islamist terror," he said:
"Indonesia, India, Tunisia, Algeria, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar, Russia, Kenya, Tanzania and the United States of America."
He then provided a considered analysis of the fundamentalist Islamicism behind today's terrorist threat and how it has grown. He compared it to Nazi-ism and Communism in its offer of "redemption through violence":
"The parallels with the rise of Nazi-ism go further. Just as there were figures in the nineteen-thirties who misunderstood the totalitarian wickedness of Nazi-ism and argued that Hitler had a rational set of limited political demands, so there are people today who try to explain Jihadist violence with reference to a limited set of political goals. If only, some argue, we withdrew from Iraq, or Israel made massive concessions, then we would assuage Jihadist anger. That argument, while often advanced by well-meaning people, is as limited as the belief in the Thirties that, by allowing Germany to remilitarise the Rhineland or take over the Sudetenland, we would satisfy Nazi ambitions."
He was emphatic in his support for the coalition in Iraq: "The mission to establish a representative Government in Iraq is a cause worth fighting for." Weakness now would be disastrous, he predicted. Weaknesses over recent years had, in fact, invited the events of 9/11 and 7/7:
"In the 1990s the inaction of the West fed the belief among Osama bin Laden and his allies that we lacked the strength to defend ourselves. The ignominious US withdrawal from Somalia. The weakness of the response to the bombings of embassies in Africa - and to the attack on the USS Cole. All these factors signalled weakness, especially in the face of a determined and fanatical foe. The lesson from all of this with respect to our presence in Iraq is clear. Premature withdrawal - and failure to support the Iraqi authority - would be seen as a surrender to militant Jihadism. Nothing would embolden the terrorists more."
American conservatives are currently critical of George W Bush's inadequate defence of the Iraq war (see David Frum's 'Another Lost Opportunity' entry of yesterday by clicking here and scrolling down) but British supporters of the war in Iraq will be impressed by Mr Cameron's resolution and his analysis of the Islamic roots of the current terror threat. Mr Cameron's essay may be the work of Michael Gove or George Osborne - both strong supporters of the Iraq war aims. The only obvious weakness in the analysis - from a hawk's perspective - was his failure to finger Saudi Arabia for its connections with ideological Jihadism.
The speech (to Stephen Twigg's Foreign Policy Centre) also trampled over David Davis' turf but Mr Cameron assured listeners to Radio 4 that the Shadow Home Secretary's office had seen an advance copy. The Shadow Education Secretary called for the deportation of people who threaten national security which should mean leaving the ECHR if necessary; 24 hour security at major ports; embarkation controls; and better funded intelligence services.