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Well, read this blather and drivel produced by Mr. Cameron on the Respect agenda in addition to his "podcast" (only old men get excited by the normal use of what is now everyday techology):


Again, the pathetic attempt to "triangulate":

Blair has had nearly nine years in power. He could have mounted a systematic challenge to one-dimensional, knee-jerk populism. He could have put in its place a more thoughtful approach: one that improves policing and strengthens the criminal justice system while addressing the complex social, economic and emotional causes of crime and antisocial behaviour.

but again there is an enormous EMPTINESS inside. Such big words from Mr. Cameron but NO SUBSTANCE. There is not a SINGLE INKLING OF AN IDEA in the whole piece that points towards Mr. Cameron's preferred ways to deal with crime. Nothing. Just empty slogans and meaningless phrases.

Mr. Cameron doesn't realize that the following sentence about Blair describes Mr. Cameron, that Blair Clone, much better than the original:

he has put short-term tactics before long-term thinking. His approach to this issue has been driven by a desire, in his words, to come up with "eye-catching initiatives with which [he] can be personally associated".

Oh, do I pray for a resounding defeat in May! That's the only way to stop this god-aweful process of the Conservative party turning into Newest Labour. Yuck!

PS: Little commented upon but in today's Populus poll, it's Labour 39, Conservatives 36%, i.e. given the electoral lay of the land, a comfortable majority for Prime Minister Brown.

The Tories should be ten points ahead by now if they want to stand a chance of beating Labour.

I've always thought the party shoudl embrace new forms of technology much quicker than it has in the past. My (personal) experience has been that Associations have been wary of any candidate that talks about emails - let alone websites, podcasting and so on.

I think we are several years behind the US in the importance of this technology - but it is important.

The internet has revolitionised how people shop - and it is (in my view) acting as a force for good in how people get their information. I am sure the traditional media outlets are more than a little concerned.

The Tories should seize the real 'respect' agenda and embrace the 'respect camps' that are already running in the US. A fusion of boot camp with support and education, it offers a new approach and real substance to crime prevention by operating zero tolerance to crime in a measured and progressive way.

Respect Camps can offer punishment without a criminal record, and could easily tackle those small crimes to which New Labour is turning a blind eye like possession of small quantities of drugs.

If a law is not enforced, should it be a law at all? If there is a reason for the law to be in place, then it should be upheld, and not ignored.

So instead of seeking to convict the middle classes of minor drug possession and potentially ruin their careers and lives, for example, as the other Blair, Sir Ian, seems intent, I am sure a weekend at a Respect Camp will cause them enough pain (physical and mental - with detailed info on the real cost of crime) to make them think twice.

This progressive zero tolerance of respect camps could offer real substance to the respect agenda.

Come on Cameron, let's show Blair how Conservatives would tackle crime with a real respect agenda.

Perhaps Kate Moss could be the first Respect Camper? :-)

I've always be very attracted to the idea of residential centres for misbehaving young people (can we move away from the term "camps" it makes us sound horrifically right wing). I think, properly thought out, they could be very effective.

I do worry though about using such a policy pre-election, it seems to me a very difficult policy to sell effectively. I wonder whether it is a policy more suited to a post-election phase when we might want to prove our effectiveness in government.

There's a woeful lack of substance in Cameron's podcast. For all his talk of recycled gimmicks, it amounts to little more than recycled catchphrases.

I have to say that Oliver Letwin was no better on the same subject on the Today programme. He managed to make it unclear whether we supported the government's proposals but wanted them to do more, or opposed them and wanted something else to be done.

That something more/else was, of course, terribly opaque. And all the time he failed to object to the continued reversal of the burden of proof.

I understand your point Frank, but I tend to look at it the other way, and using a word like 'centre' etc is unlikely to frame the location as a punishment in the mind of the public to reasure them that real action is taking place to combat crime.

However, semantics aside, I really hope that Cameron moves away from plans to make all children attend some kind of community, or 'national service', and instead focus on the law-breakers alone.

Most parents are more than capable of teaching their children about respect, understanding and community, and do not need the government to interfere. This is an area that government should not routinely interfere in,imho, as we should seek to step away from the nanny-state approach of New Labour.

However, for those who break the law, Respect Camps could offer a real chance to apply zero tolerance in a progressive way.

Just read Mark Steyn's column in Telegraph- very perceptive and with sentiments that Cameron should take on board.

Goldie, just because a phrase is meaningless to you doesn't mean it is a meaningless phrase.

My concern with all of Blair's 'respect' initiative is that they're all about imposing respect, which is a contradiction and can't be done.

The way to tackle anti-social behaviour is to help young people develop self-respect. Scratch the surface and you find these kids suffer low self-esteem, have little self worth and are basically giving up on themselves. The end product is that they turn their anger and frustration on their local community...vandalism, alcohol/drug abuse, petty crime and so on.

Balir's gimmicks aren't the answer - it is about long term solutions which are community led.

Just downloaded the podcast and putting it on my mp3 player (why is it that the prevailing wisdom is that only iPods take podcasts...my Thomson Lyra (aka "the Brick") can play it fine) and expecting fluffy language with no real proposals to deal with the problem.

One thing I would like the Conservatives to do is to make all their speeches podcasts and place them on the websites. Im a busy man but when traveling have time to do something...staring at the back of someones head isnt really working well. Id much prefer listening to a speech.

Im not sure the problem is a lack of self-respect though. Walking down to my town centre I was given a hard time because I had in the past refused to sell Red Bull to some kids who didnt look 16 (I know its not age restricted but its a rule we have) and didnt have ID. These kids have plenty of self-respect since they have the audacity to give me a hard time in public. They have the guts to treat other people like dirt. They have no respect for anyone else, thats the problem. And that starts at home.

James, I don't equate self-respect with confidence.

Hanging round the streets drinking and trying to buy red bull illustrates the lack of self worth a lot of kids have - they don't feel a sense of self worth or personal dignity to do anything more than waste their time and abuse their health.

We need to get kids to raise their expectations - to get them to say to themselves, 'my life can be better than this' - to value themselves and in so doing value their community.

I'm not sure I agree with Mark Steyn's comparison of David Cameron to Australia's Mark Latham.

Here are my comparisons of the two men:

Latham: Barking from the word go, particularly as Opposition Leader.
Cameron: Perhaps a bit too self-consciously Gen-X for some on this website, but seems well grounded nonetheless by his family and sunny outlook on life.

Latham: Won the Labor leadership with a majority of one in Caucus.
Cameron: Won an almost 70-30 landslide endorsement by the Party as a whole.

Latham: Ran away from domestic economic management as a core electoral issue (interest rates, interest rates, interest rates). Resorted in the last instance to a bit of class warfare during the election campaign.
Cameron: Has acknowledged that domestic economic performance and management, and righting the Conservative perception in these areas, are central to the future electoral performance of the Party.

Steyn also wishes Cameron would pay attention to John Howard and George Bush a lot more. I think David Cameron has correctly identified the John Howard he should consider as a guide, but it's not the John Howard of 2006, it's the John Howard of 1995-1996, when he regained the Liberal leadership the second time around and sought to calm things down in order to gain office and THEN make policy changes. Thus:

1. Howard sought peace with the factions across the Party ("if you can't govern the party, you can't govern the country").

2. Howard then sought to blunt the negative imagery of the Party on some sensitive policy areas with swing voters, tacking the Party in some areas towards the Centre if/where necessary.

3. Howard sought to avoid too many specific policies between regaining the Liberal leadership and winning the 1996 election. This limited the ability of Labor to tie him down to unpopular policies during the campaign - they became the issue, not us.

4. Howard even occasionally tacked to the left of Labor - he did on the question of opposing French nuclear testing in the Pacific, which completely stumped Labor (although limiting French testing is perfectly sound policy for any Anglosphere conservative!)

If you reverse some of the positions in the above scenario, I would say Blair tried a similar effort to swing rightwards to appeal to the Centre in Britain, 1994-1997.

Looks like Cameron, for all the wailing and moaning, etc etc, is on track and doing what he needs to do in order to be in a position where he has a shot to make a real difference, a la John Howard 2006 (i.e. be in government).

Cameron is right in pointing out Blair's Respect initiatives are just gimmicks, however the only serious way of ever tackling these many social problems is to re-introduce a selective style school system, a measure just ruled out by Cameron. The rest is merely treating the symptoms.

I am very worried about Cameron.
Is he a Socialist?
He should be asked, we should be told.

I am very worried about Cameron.
Is he a Socialist?
He should be asked, we should be told.

alex - he has already declared himself a liberal Conservative.

He might start calling himself a socialist conservative soon -- if he thinks it will sell, that is.

From recent pronouncements he appears to be a Tory Wet in the great tradition of Heath and Major and will no doubt reap the same electoral reward.

A surprise election victory? Great.

michael - thanks for reminding me of that great day in 1970.... I still remember the shock and how Harold wasn't ready to move out...bliss

"michael - thanks for reminding me of that great day in 1970.... I still remember the shock and how Harold wasn't ready to move out...bliss"

And Heath turned out to be such a successful prime minister, didn't he?

Heath won the 1970 election on a proto-Thatcherite manifesto and then ditched the policies as soon as things started getting a little difficult. Major won the 1992 election on a post-Thatcherite manifesto and then... well, you know the rest.

The last time a wet manifesto won an election was, hmmm, 1959...

Well overdue for another then by the sounds of it. ;)

so next time we win on a damp manifesto, ditch the policies for neo Thatcherite ones (a la Howard in Australia) and are in office until 2022+

anyway Ted H gave the opportunity for Margaret Hilda to become leader, left Harold & Sunny Jim a truly poisoned chalice that destoyed socialism in the UK so 1970 can be seen as the foundation of the victory of conservative thought (including acceptance by TB of post Thatcher settlement)... a prophet misunderstood in his own country

Heath only won in 1970 because Wilson had made such a hash of running the country in the 1960s. The economy was in poor shape and I expect much of the "permissive" legislation of that decade helped fuel a pro-Tory backlash.

Major won despite a floundering economy because Kinnock was perceived as a clown after his Sheffield performance and because people still didn't trust Labour to run the economy properly.

I am getting really excited. Could it be possible we will have a real socialist PM. Up the Cameron Communists, ahem sorry Cosnervatives

I am getting really excited. Could it be possible we will have a real socialist PM. Up the Cameron Communists, ahem sorry Cosnervatives

Lets lift the red flat once again comrade cameron

and long may the flaG fly. Fear not those right wingers press on press on.

The march will be long comrade

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