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You may not get excited about Cameron's attitude to Maggie's
South African policy but, in a nutshell, he is condoning urban terrorism!

The Tory party 'anthem' will now be Cher's 'If I could turn back time'

The country is tired of Blair's apologies for historical events for God's sake, Cameron, have you got a mind of your own?

I'm unsure on whether full economic sanctions would have been as effective as the mix of engagement & increasing isolation as corporates withdrew investments under investor pressure. The laager mentality would have been re-inforced and political trend would have been to extremes.

Instead we had a visionary in President de Klerk who recognised that with the Cold War over the protection offered to South Africa by the West's geo-political interests was gone. He was also fortunate in that Nelson Mandela, by his isolation in prison, still retained the non-racist ideals of the 50's rather than the more extreme politics many of the later generation had adopted. Mandela wasn't one of those who saw necklacing of opponents as an acceptable response.

It was also a domestic settlement rather than a foreign imposition; so the men of goodwill sought a compromise.

In Darfur though we have a clash between a Government and separatists, between Arab & Black African, involving greed/ownership of land, resources & oil wealth. Civilians are again the victims and rightly their suffering has to be addressed but there needs also to be a working towards a settlement of the underlying political & racial issues.

Putting in a peace keeping force, as in Lebanon, is no solution unless the issues that started the conflict are resolved, otherwise we have the UN or AU in place for decades (look at Cyprus, Korea, Lebanon or even Bosnia & Kosovo). Progress in South Sudan was through negotiation assisted by outsiders but in the end involved compomises between the parties. In Darfur there seems to be little political will to drive this same resolution.

Again there are geo-political issues as the Sudanese Arab government gets support from the more fundamentalist islamic states, China looks to gaining oil resources, Sudan's neighbours play for their advantages, some supporting the rebels. We need more than fine words from Cameron but also hard policy on how to achieve the basis for a resolution.

As HM Leader of Opposition he can do little but pressure the Government. The British Government is not viewed as neutral by the Sudan Government so its something where we need to work with EU states and get a strong united EU engagement (and I say that as a Euro-sceptic).

Maggie's policy of constructive engagement with South Africa was very much the right one at the time and it received enthusiastic support among the Tory rank-and-file

I am sure there are others here who recall patiently queueing at Blackpool to enjoy the hospitality of the apartheid-era SA ambassador, then one of the highlights of the Tory conference.

This, of course, was at a time when the far-right Federation of Conservative Students was urging "Hang Nelson Mandela" so let's not try to rewrite history. One of the leading FCS figures is now writing DC's speeches!

Realities have changed and I'd like to hear David talking seriously about the very real Darfur problem, not about past history.

What next? Are we going to spend time condemning the pre-war Tory policy of appeasing the Nazis?

Tory Hq's new address.

Conservative and Unionist Party
C/O The Minstry of Truth
Winston Smith Building
1984 Orwell Square
Airstrip One.

If anyone would like to apply for the position of.
Re-writer of History of the above party, who is also an expert in airbrushing techniques, please apply to the above address. Cameron sycophants especially welcome.

I can't believe we are questioning the wisdom of Mrs T's policy on SA. It was the right thing to do.

He'll be saying we should re-open the mines next.

True David. We are running the risk of being accused of blatant hypocrisy.

Margaret Thatcher was only reflecting the views of the Tories of her day, many of whom thought Apartheid was rather a "good thing". Very few Tories opposed it, although Robert Adley MP for Christchurch was one of them.

After one of those SA Ambassadorial parties I travelled in a cab with a well-known Tory MP and his wife. Their views were no doubt well-oiled by excellent SA wine but let' say they would have put Alf Garnett to shame. Actually there was nothing surprising about that at the time.

We live in a different world now and need to adopt a different style.

Speaking of which I have been informed that one of the former leaders of the FCS is now working as an apologist for the Sudan government. If true this is appalling.

The South African government at the time were shooting and murdering black people everyday to keep them supressed. They were a terrorist state as such, and any dialogue with them should of been first and foremost about the end of their disgusting attitudes towards the native people of that land. Cameron is right in retrospect to look back with some regret.

Apartheid was a repugnant law. I was a YC who spent my weekends standing outside South Africa House holding an anti apartheid banner in a peaceful demonstartion.

Some facist nutters attacked us one day and we were helpless and our own police joind in against us.

I respect Maggie for so much but on SA she was wrong. Helping the SA regime was every bit as sick as those who helped the Nazis. I have since been to SA and seen for myself the true horrors of apartheid. And no I am not exagerating.

As for whether Mandela was a terrorist! Of course he wasn't. If my government passes a law saying I am a second class citizen, says where I can sit, decides where I can go and who I can marry and then uses the police I pay for to enforce the law with terror and violence then I too would take up arms.

Well bloody said Steven.

Well bloody said Simon.

Here Here Simon.

Simon is a Tory with common sense.

Well said. I bet he attracts criticism from readers who just do not understand the horrors of apartheid.

Apartheid was a repugnant law. I was a YC who spent my weekends standing outside South Africa House holding an anti apartheid banner in a peaceful demonstartion.

Very commendable Simon.

But what were you doing about the many other YCs who were regularly enjoying hospitality inside SA house.

During the 1980s there was a virtual open house there for YCs and FCS. I recall attending one of those junkets at the invitation of a senior YC. There were several hundred guests there with superb wines and canapes in one of Herbert Baker's magnificent reception rooms.

Were you not aware of this?

I can honestly say John I was not aware of free for all invitations. In fact I only attended one conference.

If YC's and FCS people were accepting free hospitality then as an optimist I only hope they like Mr Cameron have seen the error of the parties ways.

Well done DC.

Cameron does the easy things - a press release about history.

He's incapable of doing anything difficult - like addressing Darfur.

I can honestly say John I was not aware of free for all invitations. In fact I only attended one conference.

Then you were somewhat outside the YC/FCS "culture" of the time which was aggressively pro the Maggie line on SA.

Although officially supporting the gradual dismantling of apartheid through constructive engagement there was little to distinguish between the outward approach of the "libbos" with their pro-Savimbi badges and the Monday Club white supremacists.

Those who opposed them were - well - not so gently put to rights on the matter.

That's the truth about the way we thought then. We can't rewrite history.

Yes I was on the pro-SA right then. It's only the rediscovery of my Christian faith that truly taught me to see the black man as a brother in Christ.


I clearly was not in the 'culture' you describe. Had I been invited you would have seen me leave pretty quickly.

What I can say is how fantastic it is that the disgusting aprtheid regime has collapsed. SA will have many problems for many years as a result of that regime.

I do not think Cameron is trying to rewrite history. Far from it. But it is perfectly correct to admits errors and learn from history.

Yes I wish eh would say something on Darfur but hey I wish Blair would do something for Darfur. More people die every day in the Congolese Civil War than in the middle east and our politicians and newscaters ignore this terribly bloody conflict.

DC has made a start but for people to turn on him because he too condemns a regime as disgusting as apartheid-SA and the way the West propped it up is as opprtunistic as they accuse him of being.

If anyone still thinks Mandela a terrorist or the National Party as right or slightly misguided may I suggest a trip to Jo'Burg and a visit to the apartheid museum.

Apartheid was indeed wrong and misguided, but it is important to put it into perspective.

The crimes of the former SA regime pale into insignificence beside those still being committed in the Congo and elsewhere throughout the continent.

Your view is doubtless distorted because as (I assume) a white man you feel that you are in some way associated with Apartheid in a way that you are not associated with the crimes of the Congolese. It's a false perspective.

And you have already admitted your fundamental - and deeply unconservative - problem.

You are an optimist.

No John you have me wrong and I may add you are more than a tad insulting.

I do not associate myself with apartheid regime because I am white. I do not associate myself with it at all.

I would say that the Congolesian crimes are as bad as the apartheid crimes because murder is murder to me.

I am also a Conservative who marched against the Iraqi war and for fox hunting. I do not believe all Conservatives have to think the same - it is a common set of values that bind us together.

I thought Clinton and the French refusing to intervene in Rwanda was wrong and that poor nation is still suffering to this day. I was in Rwanda last year and to see how the genocide touches every aspect of life is still deeply disturbing.

I remember Clintons aide being asked in 1994 why the UN would not inetrvene in Rwanda when the law says they MUST if genocide was being committed. The White House response was that it was not genocide but 'acts of gencide'. The reporter replied 'How many acts of genocide constitute genocide."

The truth is in the world we live in today a black murder is not as shocking as a white or arabic one. I believe in equality and that to me is the same in life as it is in death

On what basis does David Cameron purport to apologise on my behalf for views I may or may not have held 20 years ago?


"He's incapable of doing anything difficult - like addressing Darfur"

Totally agree Cameron should be making statements about how he will try to resolve present day problems rather then making headline grabbing soundbites regading the past. When did he join the party anyway ?

Cameron is repositioning the Conservative Party and tries to get rid of the roadblocks which hinder him reconecting with ethnic minorities and other groups the Party lost hold of. Although people see the benefits of the Thatcher era, they also see the misjudgements. That's why they voted New Labour in. It is arrogant to think the past election defeats were a misjudgement of the electorate. They lost trust in the Conservatives, and Cameron is gaining it back by showing he is different. Society has changed and so should the Conservative Party. By saying that Maggie had it wrong on apartheid he sends a clear signal: we conservatives care about the black community. About Africa. We have changed.

I do not associate myself with apartheid regime because I am white. I do not associate myself with it at all

Perhaps I expressed myself badly. I meant that because you are white you feel some quasi-personal responsibility for Apartheid.

Agree with you 100% on Iraq. Most Tories I know were totally opposed to the war.

Like you I want to see action on Darfur but I'm just wondering whether this irrelevant diversion is a smokescreen to hide inaction.

I don't blame David. I blame those who are advising him.

"Although people see the benefits of the Thatcher era, they also see the misjudgements. That's why they voted New Labour in."

No, they voted Labour in because Major ballsed up the economy and because our backbenchers were perceived to be on the make and unable to keep their trousers buttoned.

Labour are still in becuase the economy still hasn't gone south in any meaningful way.

The Cameronite "Big Lie" that we're not in power because people think we are too right wing must be challenged.

because our backbenchers were perceived to be on the make and unable to keep their trousers buttoned.

Too true Solon.

As far as blatant immorality is concerned little has changed, and simply pushing forward a few female and black millionaires to join the white millionaires in parliament changes nothing.

While the poor old grassroots have been kicked in the teeth Alan B'stard MP is alive and well and living on the Tory benches.

"Repositioning "the Party by coming up with current issue solutions would have more credibility than rubbishing the past which can not be altered. I fear he will lose more votes than he will gain.

As the Tory Party puts its past into the shredder, when can we expect for DC to throw off the belief in the Monarchy.

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