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In other words, modern Conservative politics is entirely pointless, existing simply to supply Westminster top jobs for a few lucky winners.

Nothing here to help the millions of people let down by a failing NHS, poor schools, weak policing and generally inefficient resource-swallowing government. The message is just, 'Conservatives these days are much the same so it's now safe to vote for us'.

I accept it might work to get him to number 10. Utterly pointless, though, for the people of Britain.

And by the way, to Mr Willetts, who says in the Spectator that policy detail is much overrated: policies matter to people currently suffering from the failures of policy. Can't you 'get it'? There are people out there, lots and lots of them, who are struggling to mnake something of their lives and are being handicapped in part by bad government. If you can't rise to this challenge, then what are you for? Don't you realise that your empty pap doesn't help them one iota?

I don't think any of the Shadow Cabinet Team would claim that we don't need well thought out policies on our public services, I’d be interested in the context of the comments. You're right to point out that the public are exasperated by the lack of progress in public service improvement. I'd suggest that this is in part due to New Labour increasing the public's expectations of politicians and government when in reality "we don't have all the answers".

As ever, I think Cameron is to be applauded and has said much here that is good sense and shows a party increasingly ready for government. I'm particularly interested in his promise not to repeal parts of Labour's reform programme since they came to office; this is very much in keeping with New Labours' pledge (circa. 1996) to keep to pre-existing Tory spending plans. It's a wise move and will blunt very many labour attacks.

This mood-music is funny but ultimately pointless.The Tories have no chance of improving on this Blair-Brown era but just think it is their turn to get the spoils of office.

The Human Rights Act 1998 contains the entire 1951 Convention which exists independently of the Act, and is integrated into EU Treaties. The EU Court of Justice in Brussels will merely interpret matters in the light of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and try to supplant the European Court For Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Funny how other countries don't have all these problems, but then again they don't have Common Law systems.

As for a Bill of Rights - let's go back to 1689 and ask how this section came to be removed:


That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law;

That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void


Parliamentary supremacy has permitted statutory law to be developed that extinguishes the historical common law right to have arms for self defence

The rights of English subjects, and, after 1707, British subjects, to possess arms was recognized under English Common Law. Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, were highly influential and were used as a reference and text book for English Common Law. In his Commentaries, Blackstone described the right to arms.

"The fifth and last auxiliary right of the subject, that I shall at present mention, is that of having arms for their defense, suitable to their condition and degree, and such as are allowed by law. Which is also declared by the same statute I W. & M. st.2. c.2. and is indeed a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression."*--William Blackstone,'1 Commentaries on the Laws of England" 136 .........................The prohibition on possession of firearms for self-defence in the UK dates from a decision made by the Home Secretary in 1946, which has subsequently been enforced as Home Office policy without being ratified by Parliament; it is, strictly speaking not part of UK law.

Modern restrictions on gun ownership began in 1903, with the Pistols Act. This required a person to obtain a gun license before they could buy a firearm with a barrel shorter than 9 inches. The "gun license" had been introduced as a revenue measure in 1870; the law required a person to obtain a license if he wanted to carry a gun outside his home, whether for hunting, self-defense, or other reasons, but not to buy one. The licenses cost 10 shillings, which is about £31 pounds in 2005 money, lasted one year, and could be bought over the counter at post-offices.

A registration system gun law - the Firearms Act - was first introduced to Great Britain in 1920, spurred on partly due to fears of a surge in crime that might have resulted from the large number of guns available following World War I and in part due to fears of working class unrest in this period. The law initially did not affect smoothbore weapons of vitually any sort. These were available for purchase without any form of paperwork.

Fully automatic weapons were almost completely banned from private ownership by the 1937 Firearms Act, which took its inspiration from the US 1934 National Firearms Act. Such weapons are nowadays only available to certain special collectors, museums and prop companies. The 1937 Act also consolidated changes to the 1920 Act that controlled shotguns with barrels shorter than 20". This length was later raised by the 1965 Firearms act to 24".

The first control of long-barreled shotguns began in 1967 with the Criminal Justice Act. This required a person to obtain a "Shotgun Certificate" to own any shotgun. The Act did not require the registration of shotguns, only licensing.

"As ever, I think Cameron is to be applauded and has said much here that is good sense and shows a party increasingly ready for government."

What does 'ready for government' mean? Ready to smile and look a bit like Blair? My definition of readiness would be: 'understanding the problems people face in meeting their needs and aspirations, and having the analysis and courage to help them do that'.

The Conservative Party supposedly has commissions to do that. Very well. It buys them another year of sparring with Labour in the vacuity stakes, but after that they really will have to show some understanding and some courage.

Interesting. I saw a BBC article commenting on this. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/5114102.stm) Completely failed to mention establishing explicit protection of jury trials (and other ancient justice rights?), which is quite a radical suggestion. Perhaps it didn't accord with their prefferred narrative?

And I'm sure they will come up with well thought through proposals. What they won't do is come up with some "magic wand" policy that will make everything alright with the NHS, schools and crime. Improving our public services is about doing exactly that - improving. The language of "reform" suggesting that a government can produce miracles is unhelpful.

We are increasingly "ready for government" because we can be pragmatic about what needs to be done and what, successfully, has already been done. Too often in the past we have given the impression that a Conservative government would mean "year zero" fort our public policy process. It won't anymore instead we'll keep the best of Labour's reform and improve upon the worst. It's the sensible way to run a government.

We ought to have our own second amendment, but I suppose that's too much to push, politically, right now. However, a guarantee of the unchallenged right to effective self defense (with weapons unspecified) could be a politically saleable part of the line-up.

I dont think DC had much choice about appearing on Jonathan Ross. He came over as very wary of his opponent, and fended off the elephant traps. He looked as stunned as I felt, when faced with that outrageous question. I shall not repeat it.
What is even MORE outrageous, is that the BBC no less,CHOSE to include both it, and the bad language. I am now UTTERLY convinced that they are in Nulabs thrall, and may even be taking backhanders from it.

The Andrew Marr interview by contrast, was at least civilised, and allowed DC to make his points.

Cameron's point about funding for Scotland is as electorally risky as it is economically dubious. If he wants Scotland to become economically more successful he'll have to shrink the size of the public sector. The north of England and Scotland aren't heavily subsidised because they are poorer; they are poorer because they are heavily subsidised.

I do, however, like the idea of our own Bill of Rights. It ought to be based on the American version so that it will a)place limits on government power rather than suggest that the government gives us our rights and b)it is less easy to misinterpret. Freedom of "expression" can be easily twisted to mean freedom to flout school uniform rules. Freedom of "speech" cannot.

"What is even MORE outrageous, is that the BBC no less,CHOSE to include both it, and the bad language. I am now UTTERLY convinced that they are in Nulabs thrall, and may even be taking backhanders from it."


I almost always agree with you, but not today. Jonathan Ross always uses bad language and sex and pushes the boundaries - to expect him to suddenly become a prudish vicar because he talking to a politician instead of an actor is totally unrealistic and would just make the whole thing fake and humourless compared to his other guests.
Cameron knew what he was getting into.

What annoyed me was that it was after the watershed and yet they still beeped out the swearing!

In spite of all the interesting comments made by David Cameron in his interview with Marr the BBC are leading on his suggestion (if that's what it was) that we might make adjustments to the Human Rights Act.

There was a very sane article in one of the Sunday newspapers some weeks ago about how the "human rights problem" is one of over zealous application and not legislation. What we need is for decision makers to take a more robust view on human rights and not to be afraid of (non existent) consequences.

It's right that we should live in a country where our rights are protected and enshrined. We should celebrate that.

On a lighter note, I work in a school and am always being told by the pupils "I have rights" I just respond by saying until they recognise their responsibilities I don't recognise their rights. So far nobody has prosecuted me!!

"what annoyed me most was that it was after the watershed and they still bleeped out the swearing"
Presumeably jon Gale is used to language like this in his living room after 9.00pm I for one am not and I'm sure I am not alone in this,
We will never get back to a decent society until the likes of the BBC, Johnathon Ross, Jon Gale et al realise that just to keep on repeating the F to get a laugh is not funny but is pathetic, even more pathetic are those that do the laughing. Is this what we've come to as a nation?, I hope not.
If you think foul language is witty then I feel very sorry for you.

IMO, Labour have very few achievements to their credit over the past 9 years. I would have very few qualms about running a blue pencil through their legislation.

Frankly DC's interview with Jonathan Ross left me wide eyed not least by 'that' question that Mr Ross decided to put to him!, but firstly as far as the Human Rights Act is concerned it's not necessary for Mr Cameron to go all out to dump the legalisation but more of it being redefined better and its precisely this lack of that has caused the over zealous use of it we see today to the point of where it's being openly abused wholesale, secondly what I thought of Mr C snuggling up to Tony Blairs' successes in Jonathans interview left me feeling even more uncomfortable and uneasy as I am a voter on the look out for a real change from the Blair era and seeing the leader of the official opposition glamming up Blair to Ross has in my eyes done nothing but left my voting options fully open!, Mr C wants some advice he best dump that business as soon as!, because quite simply I don't want to see or even think of another Blair 'Mark two' version in Number 10 thank you Mr Cameron!, the conservatives has got to convince me it is hugely different from that if it intends to secure the likes of my vote!, but finally as for 'that' question Ross put to Mr C was simply unecessary and unintelligent end of!

I thought David Cameron was great on Andrew Marr this morning (not literally! I did have a dream about David Beckham last night - completely innocent - but world cup fever has infected even me). Think about what he said:

- we will replace Trident.
- we will replace the "Human Rights Act' with a UK Bill of Rights and Responsibilities - he used that phrase more than once - so to deal with the rubbish "I've got rights" culture beloved of our left wing opponents without making ourselves look hard-faced and horrid
- he expanded again on the interdependency of things. I can understand why linear thinkers find that emphasis depressing but please just pause to reflect on what it means. I think it's a very shrewd as well as true Tory position to take on modern culture - it's a gentle way to educate the listener that new laws are not the answer to every problem
- ConsHome gives a bit of a one-sided view of what he said about carbon emissions (would the editorial team like Cameron to proclaim that taxes on flights are a good thing, will be his no.1 priority, and that's the end of the discussion on green issues?). He pointed out that aircraft emissions are dwarfed by those from the old, inefficient central generators we currently rely on & that we need a much more decentralised, varied source of energy transmission. If that's a pointer to what's going to come from the Goldsmith/Gummer review group, it looks like we're going to be the party with the most exciting, localised and realistic energy policy at the next election.

Of course he was also charming, laid back, likeable, human and he didn't talk about things he really hates once. So no doubt it went down badly in the cornerstone side of things.

Joe Cole off! Carragher on!

Atomic Energy has to play an important part in the UK's Energy policy for decades to come as an interim replacement for non-renewable fossil fuels while the proportion of renewables used and capacity is being increased.

One thing that isn't being done is making use of collected water compulsory with it being added to new housing, water metering should be made compulsory - there could be a discount for locally collected rainwater and OFWAT perhaps could be abolished, Supermarkets could then compete for sale of Cooking and Drinking Water.

Prices of water, electricity and gas have to be pushed up to ration usuage with profits reinvested; aircraft fuel has to be taxed on an equal footing with other fuel, the state should withdraw from being involved in commercial airline matters and focus solely on matters of Health & Safety and National Security with regard to airlines.

So far as Human Rights go, I see no reason to have any legislation specifically including "rights", such things can be dealt with as and when specific laws are made, there needs to be greater emphasis on responsibilities and police powers and restrictions of rights of convicted criminals and far tougher penalties - all convicts should be held in solitary confinement and the size of prison cells should be reduced to fit more in, in addition Execution & Torture should be reintroduced as mandatory punishments for the more heinous crimes based on a points system with certain numbers of points for certain crimes, nobody should be released until it has been decided that they are repentant, or have been found innocent and they are no longer considered a danger to the public; in the case of serious crimes Health including Mental Health pleas should not be recognised and anyone failing to turn up should be tried in absentia.

The Tory leader said that there was a strong case for an early election because Blair had gone back on his promise to serve a full-term.
A premature statement as Tony Blair has not yet said when he is going as Leader of the Labour Party or Prime Minister, given that normally the interval between elections is just over 4 years or so if he goes as Prime Minister at the turn of 2009 that would only leave about 6 months probably before the General Election.

The only thing that has changed is that a Leadership Election for Labour is now a certainty, I rather think Claire Short is a more likely challenger to Gordon Brown than Michael Meacher but with maybe Frank Field seeking to register party hostility with Means Testing and the Tax Credits system, I'm sure Claire Short probably has hopes of becoming Deputy Leader which probably is something that has Gordon Brown waking up in Cold Sweats at night, I still think Patricia Hewitt is the most likely winner of the Deputy Leadership, everyone knows that as leader Michael Meacher, Claire Short or John Reid wouldn't really be serious candidates as they are variously too extreme or abrasive (or both in Claire Short's case - as leader she would no doubt be a female version of Michael Foot).

What are these post 1997 Labour achievements?

I liked the bit where David Cameron said the Conservatives would write a British law on the rights and “responsibilities” of the people in this country.

For too long people have been told about their 'rights' and nothing of their responsibilities to society. Perhaps a Conservative Government may be able to redress the balance.

However, I am not so sure on the European stance. The whole point of having our own act would be to stop people running off to Europe (as they do) when they get a decision they don't like, circumnavigating our laws and getting away with whatever sentence they have, all based on phoney human rights which don't exist.

BUT, DC also said (quite categorically in order to ensure some right wing support in the leadership election) that he would pull our MEPs OUT of the EPP. To quote the popular Diana Ross song, "I'm still waiting".

Why should we believe this categorical assurance, when he has failed to deliver on the last one?

I agree with Richard that "Freedom of speech" is better than "Freedom of expression" for the reasons he gave.

DC’s proposal to replace the HRA with a Bill of Rights is very welcome! But we would need to be careful not to replace one defective law with another. The result must be to guarantee the freedom of those who do what is right, the law-abiding, rather than the ‘rights’ of the convicted criminal.

I suggest a Bill of Rights would need to be in the context of the rule of law built on our nation's Christian heritage. This might be particularly relevant to religion, for example. Freedom of religious practice (including religious speech, persuasion and criticism) is something that should be safeguarded as a historic freedom we have always valued in this country. But we would need to avoid some claiming a right, for example, to engage in harassment and even violence and murder as religious practice!

Believing as I do in the supremacy of the nation state, I think we should pull out of the European Convention and withdraw rights of appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. This also would solve any problem of having 2 systems of law: ours', and European, the latter always being supreme.

I would hope that DC's Bill of Rights would indeed include the rights to a jury trial, as well as protecting freedom of association, freedom of religion as well as freedom of speech, that it will guarantee all the freedoms that have been eroded in recent years, and those the Government has attempted to restrict (e.g. by the original Religious Hatred Bill.)

Also how about a right to live, conduct activity, and freedom of movement without the fear of crime, and without encountering violence, intimidating and threatening behaviour, with a duty on the state to enact law and order to ensure these rights?

How about the right for law-abiding individuals to be free from curtailments to liberty, state intrusion and from the state holding unnecessary personal details – i.e. no ID cards!

Also how about the right to life (for those who do not shed innocent blood) – the most basic “right” of all? It seems that many view life begins at conception, and if this is the case, any Bill of Rights could protect the right to life of the unborn child… (whatever EU law or the UN might say!)

Phil, you'll find no takers for banning abortion outright. That argument is utterly dead in Britain, and probably forever will be. Personally I think that if you want to end abortion, you'll never get rid of it until there's an alternative that doesn't enslave the mother. How about baby-plus-placenta transplantation? If it could be made to work, that's surely the 21st century solution, and a win-win for both sides.

The rights of the unborn should be protected in Law. As ,of course , should the elderly who have had a narrow reprieve what with the defeat of Joffe's Bill, though no doubt he will try again....

Of course it would be desirable to have our own Bill of Rights based on commonsense. But has this idea been looked at in detail to see whether it is a practical proposition? Nulab says it is not.

Yes, thanks, Dave Banks, I couldn't agree more that we need to protect the right to life of the elderly too! I confess I forgot about the pressure for euthanasia, i.e. the killing off the elderly and infirm because they become too inconvenient or costly! Maybe a right to life from conception to natural death could be written in.

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