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I would have thought it was easy as we can just say that Reid and Brown on the issue was to the right of Bush. That will I'm sure get under their skin certainly in their bids to become the new leader of the Labour party. We need to always protect the freedom of individuals rather than becoming more and more like Cuba and North Korea in how they treat their citzens?

This is precisely the issue that Simon Newham raised for debate yesterday but was ignored in a flurry of squabbling over who went to what school. The electorate is moving to the right as we move left. In the current flip-flopping political environment are we moving in the right diretion strategy wise or are we merely gearing up to fight the last election? Despite their own attempts at self destruction Labour still retain the uncanny knack of sniffing the way the political wind blows.

The question remains will the current liberal conservative approach work to attract those key C1 and C2 voters? I am concerned that it does not and we may find ourselves in a bit of a bind.

To deal with Labour outflanking us from the right on these issues we could attack them for being 'incompetent authoritarians', taking powers easily and using them poorly. By contrast, if we are competent libertarians we can defend society from terror (as far as possible) without trampling on all of our freedoms. Whether that appeals to all voters is one question, but I suspect it's the right approach.

I'm with Robert. The powers NuLab have taken or are proposing are frightening and, in their incompetent hands, dangerous. We need to adopt a more rational and measured approach.

To resist 90-day detention without trial was absolutely the right thing to do. (Especially, as Iain Dale has pointed out, in light of Commissioner Blair's reported remarks about the future possibility of internment.) I never used to consider myself much of a civil libertarian, but this oppressive regime has made me realise just how much we've previously taken for granted.

There must be plenty of scope for being genuinely 'hard line' on a whole range of criminal justice issues, whilst protecting the liberty of our citizens. Indeed, a properly balanced (and working!) Criminal Justice System should be the prime guarantor of those liberties.

This is an area where the 'And Theory, as espoused by this site, really comes into its own. I'm glad to see that David Davis is promoting this view, with his emphasis on the rehabilitative role of a rigorously run prison system.

The incompetent authoritarians approach is probably the best route to pursue but as Robert says it does not play well with the voters. Perhaps more importantly we still have not lost our own "incompetent" tag that we obtained from Black Wednesday, so are perceived rightly or wrongly in many voters eyes as being equally incompetent ourselves.

We need to build on our record of competence that has been demonstrated at local level to nullify this charge that is thrown at us 14 years after the event.

Tony Blair outlined Labour's next election strategy in an interview with Andrew Marr at the time of their conference.

Step 1. Scare people to death about somthing. TB was vague about which issue they would hype up, maybe terrorism, the environment, the economy, housing, that is not so important.

Step 2. Tell the public that Labour are the better party to protect the public against this particular threat, in a kindly/paternal/authoritarian way.

Simple! Here's how it works in practice.

1. Jack Straw sets the ball rolling nicely with comments on veils. Stoke up a bit of racial tension and mistrust, with overtones of fear of terrorism.

2. Brown then steps into fray and says (quite reasonably) "If they didn't wear veils, things would be better for all of us" (kindly, paternal) and then cheerfully segues into terrorism, which he inteds to combat by giving the State even more power to poke around in people's private bank details, ooh yes, while he's on the topic, how about having another look at 90 day detention without trial? (authoritarian).

Brown had me going for a minute, he really gave the impression that he cared! Does he heck! The IRA threat to life and limb was just as bad as Al Quaeda, and we managed perfectly well without a Big Brother state then and I am sure we will manage now.

DC should put David Davis firmly in the frame where national security is concerned but I would like to hear DC's own immediate reactions whenever a crisis arises so as to gauge what steel, if any, is behind his bland persona.

I agree with most of the comments above, Labour is pandering to sun readers. While that may play well with C2s etc at the moment, fundamentally we are right that Labour has a record and will continue to have a record of ineffective authoritarianism. So I am sure Sun readers will be singing a very different tune when one of Blair's databases has leaked children's details to a paedophile in a few years time.
Where I think however Labour are getting it right is that they are beginning to look at other ways of tackling homegrown islamists so Reid's speech about psychopaths grooming young moslems to become suicide bombers is right. Brown using financial methods to attack terrorist cells is right. These appraoches combined with more resources being put into the security services would be a much more subtle and effective way of dealing with homegrown bombers than ID cards or 90 day detention.

In case nobody noticed, authoritarianism was tried in the 1970's and failed.

The IRA was a very minor issue until internment was introduced in Northerrn Ireland. It boosted the IRA into a major player. 90-day detention will do the same thing:
1) Almost all the people arrested will turn out to be moderate fellow-travellers of the real targets. They will respond: "Oh well, if we're going to gaol anyway, we might as well do something for it."
2) It will encourage intolerance and divide communities even more. (It created ghettos in NI that persist to this day.)
3) It will harm our relations with other countries. (Most of the IRA's funds came from the US.)
4) It will damage the economy. (RyanAir is suing for damages following the recent security clampdown.)
5) It will harm the quality of life of everyone except the terrorists themselves, and the hang-em-n-flogem brigade.

I find it hard to believe that most voters really want all this.

Let Nu-Lab be ever-more authoritarian. The whole approach to the 'war on terror' has been wrong-headed from the start.

The whole notion that the struggle against Islamic extremism is a war against a single foe is a huge strategic mistake. It allows the lunatic fringe to claim every Muslim grievance anywhere in the world as part of a single glorious struggle against the 'imperialist west'. It also allows a dictator like Putin to justify the barbaric destruction of Chechnya as part of this 'war on terror'.

There are many disputes and conflicts in the Muslim world. Some, like Palestine and Kashmir could be said to have their roots in Western imperialism and the arbitary way colonial powers drew up borders and created nations. Wherever there is strife we should look to seperate these issues and deal with them politically where possible. There will still be a hardcore group of extremists, but without the litany of, in some cases legitimate, grievances used to justify terrorism they can be shown for what they truly are.

When it comes to ever more sweeping and arbitary security measures at home, we have to stop and ask ourselves what it is we are fighting to defend. Why are our soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq?

Ultimately I thought it would be in defence of our principles of free speech, trial by jury, innocent until proven guilty, the foundations of our liberal democracy. If we are prepared to sacrifice them so easily at home, how can we claim them as a justification to deploy troops overseas? If we claim that we are fighting for the future of our civillisation (which may well be the case) how do we help our cause by seeming to be so ready to jetisson the principles we claim to espouse?

What more constitutes being 'soft on terror'? Defending our principles and refusing to sacrifice our liberty in reponse to threats? Or caving in at the first attack and rushing to authoritarian measures?

This doesn't mean we shouldn't take meaningful steps to tighten security, but they should be measured, thoughtful and in keeping with the principles of our democracy.

Border police and better funding for the intelligence services will do more good than ID cards, encouraging peaceful Muslims to speak out against violence will do more than arresting peace protesters at the Cenotaph.

At the very time we should be standing firmly behind our principles of justice and liberty, New Labour are trying to undermine them.

This doesn't mean being soft, far from it. It is the courageous stand.

There is a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin of which I am very fond.

"Those that would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

The answer to how David Cameron can square this circle is in the (in)famous theory of AND. He could stand up and say he will defend the ancient liberties which make Britain such a respected nation around the world AND he will spare no expense, leave no stoned unturned nor shirk any battle whether idealogical or military with any enemies of our democracy, foreign or domestic.

I can almost hear it now...

"We will not defend our liberal democracy by dismantling it as though it were a hinderance, we will defend it by upholding its principles regardless of the threat and by confronting our enemies with the force of our conviction, and where necessary the force of our security services and armed forces."

"The Conservative Party used to be seen as reliably hard-headed in its approach to terrorists and criminals by putting security before liberty"
And what did it achieve? Did we increase or lessen the power of the IRA? I think we simple ended up with more people supporting their cause.
I think the headline on this thread is misleading and disengenuous "Brown challenges soft-toned Tories with a hard issue" We are not being soft-toned because we have chosen to go against the easy opportunistic headline grabbing "lets bang anyone up" Is it tough to just pass more laws which on this governments past record have been shown to be ill thought out, badly implemented rather than use current laws effectively?
Is it tough to take away the freedom and liberty of ordinary people so we have 80year old men being arrested for saying "nonsense" or someone being stopped from reading out the names of the war dead?
Will it stop terrorism if we have ID cards, 90 day detention or interment? No, we just take away the freedom of the many rather than target those guilty of terrorism, helping them as we did in NI by using laws which acted as a recruiting ground for their cause.
We could play politics and keep heading towards a police state or we can stand firm against the very aims of the terrorists who seek to change our way of life and the freedoms we fought for through history.

I hope this isn't tempting fate, but it's a real relief to have a thread that's debating a serious policy issue in a measured way and which hasn't (yet) descended into pro/anti-Cameron sniping!

OK, Richard 11.01, you asked for it.

I am not happy with the fact that the Tories are letting Nulab get away with this nonsense so easily.

For example, John Reid's much vaunted crack unit that was supposed to track down the released foreign criminals failed to catch more than a handful and has now been disbanded. Now that's what you call "incompetent authoritarianism"!

Presentational spin, so that Gordo looks good to the party. All part of his leadership campaign to show that he can be as organised as Tony, as hard as Reid and as caring as all the soft wimpy lefties.
Time for "Dave" to get real and start shafting these mandacious tossers and show the country what they are, lying, cheating thieving scum.

There is no point in defending democracy by destroying it. But does Cameron have the courage to come off the fence for once and say so?

Andy, internment was unsuccessful initially in Northern Ireland, due to out of date information. But it would be quite wrong to imagine that it somehow revived the IRA. The IRA had already killed scores of people, and planted hundreds of bombs, before internment was brought in in 1971.

Over time, as intelligence improved, internment worked much more successfully, particularly against loyalist terrorists.

WRT "ghettos", Northern Ireland was already radically segregated before 1971, and increased segregation since then has had much more to do with people being intimidated out of their homes, or moving to areas where they'll feel safer.

Brown is desperately trying to redefine his image and his beliefs. The war on terror is an easy starting point but he is simply unconvincing with his comments. We shouldn't try and outscore him at this stage as he is desperatley trying to become next leader of Labour. We need to bide our time on these issues and make sure we get them right because a sensible stance will always do better with the electorate than populist short term measures.

That said, I don't think we're anywhere near to the stage that Northern Ireland reached in 1971/72, where internment might be considered a good idea.

A far better way to deal with fellow travellers of terrorists is for the police to regularly pull them in for questioning.

It is possible to be tough on crime while strongly defending civil liberties. I am all for the death penalty but strongly opposed to ID cards and 90 day detention. We must emphasise our determination to punish and deter wrongdoers without using dangerously authoritarian procedures in catching them.

The reason the public are sympathetic to more authoritarian measures is a)they don't think they have anything to lose from it and b)they don't believe the government is going to turn into a dictatorship and c)they confuse irritating lefties bleating on about the rights of convicted criminals with civil libertarians who wish to see our ancient liberties defended.

"There is no point in defending democracy by destroying it. But does Cameron have the courage to come off the fence for once and say so?"

I think you are confusing democracy with liberty. The former can often be a great threat to the latter, especially if a majority of people favour authoritarian measures.

Gordan Brown's belief that he cn prevent and defeat terroism by freezing suspected assets and greater emphasis on forensic accounting as outlined in his speach yesterday is unlikely to have any real impact. The july 7th bombings were reputed to have cost less than £7,000 to enact.
Although I am sure such initiatives add usefull intelligence, they are in the main a beuracratic response to a problem, ( typical brown I guess)

NU-Labour are going to give the Camerooons a very big problem by outflanking them to the right,they will have nowhere to go, or suffer cries of another flip flop.

The public mood is shifting and just when the public would have been looking to a normal Conservative party for solutions, all they see are proposals to hug the problem.....hence the polls show no serious lead.

"all they see are proposals to hug the problem"

Hands up anyone who thinks a £20bn beauraucratic nightmare of an ID card scheme will make the slightest bit of difference to the terrorist risk?

There is a world of difference between tough posturing and effective action.

New Labour are forever dreaming up new laws and eye-catching initiatives. Yet when faced with a real challenge like the protests at the Danish embassy it backs away from enforcingg long-standing laws.

New Labour's response to terrorism has been the same pathetic response that they make to every challenge.

Rush in some poorly planned, but headline-grabbing legislation or scheme, usually centralising power in Whitehall, then sit back as if that in itself solved the problem. Then as the scheme proves flawed and unworkable, let it quietly slip into the 'graveyard of initiatives'.

Bloggers to date seem to be divided on whether it's better to talk tough - and GET tough? - or to sit back and hope that the Moslems will notice anbd become reasonable.

Neither seems a valid option to me. Reid has done no better than Clarke in the Home Office so far. It's a monstrous shambles (eg the prison ship with 450 capacity is in good nick in Portland but has been SOLD!) with deportations going at a snail pace and dangerous criminals at large.

Now he wants to use this as an excuse for ID cards. If these were only for new and recent arrivals well aznd good. But to extend them to the whole population is dangerous for liberty and monstrously expensive. There's a sensible way down the middle here (no space here?) and Cameron should take it - but he won't.

Ethnic communities should have positive and negative incentives to integrate - eg ALL schools teach ONLY in English / Welsh - NO leaflets in foreign languages - only basic benefits except for English / Welsh speakers - only British imams to be licensed - police restrictions on stop and question to be relaxed especially on the need to write up each occasion - police definition of "race hate" to be narrowed AND ENFORCED.

It's easy to ask " Is it tough to take away the freedom and liberty of ordinary people so we have 80year old men being arrested for saying "nonsense" or someone being stopped from reading out the names of the war dead?" Of course it's plain silly and bad drafting on the lawyers' part and no discretion exercised by the police.
And Victor - The answer to your question is NO! and that's the party's problem

Mike Christie at 1047 writes a Cameron speech for him in saying ""We will not defend our liberal democracy by dismantling it as though it were a hinderance, we will defend it by upholding its principles regardless of the threat and by confronting our enemies with the force of our conviction, and where necessary the force of our security services and armed forces."

Yes Mike, you've got the flavour. Soft centred no content - Cameron all over.

Is the editorial board of CH in favour of identity cards and 90day detention without trial? I think we should be told. Just wondering, because the headline seems to suggest we should get into some ghastly "I will give more power to Ian Blair than the other party" bidding war. How will we keep track? By a scorecard of the number of innocents held down and shot dead on the tube?

Part of my love for the party has been its reconnection with its role as guarantor of our liberty before the law. Just because Brown is flailing around for something to wrap his grim electoral carcass up in doesn't mean we should pile in after him. And to get the pro/anti Cameron juices going ... actually when I've heard DC live, it is his passages about the importance of not unravelling our freedoms, chasing after ineffective authoritarianism, that I have found the most effective.

Unless we are in favour of compulsory ID cards and, say, 120 day detention, what can the Tory Party do to be "harder" than Labour? Though we could make much more of our 'border police' policy idea.

Its a Brown leadership ploy anyway - the flip side(or "And theory" maybe) is the "PM almost sacked Brown over Iraq" headline in the Mail today, designed to send the "Brown is anti-war really" dog whistle.

I wish the blog would get down to hard principles and concrete suggestions. I put up a few.

Graeme may find Cameron's sppeches on "the importance of not unravelling our freedoms, chasing after ineffective authoritarianism" and it's all comforting stuff but - as usual - it's DEVOID OF CONTENT. He can't go on waffling like this for ever can he?

"what can the Tory Party do to be "harder" than Labour?"

The answer to that, Jon, is "almost anything" because NuLab talks tough but doesn't actually DO anything effective (other than bear down increasingly on the law-abiding citizen). Graeme's phrase "ineffective authoritarianism" sums it up nicely.

Hard principles, Christina?

Simple, the "War On Terror" in Iraq and more recently Afghanistan has been a complete counter-productive shambles.

The domestic "War On Terror" has been largely run by the police, who have slipped up once so far on 7/7 (we got lucky on 21/7) but apart from that are doing a pretty good job, I would say IMHO a better job than vis a vis the IRA, that was much more politicised.

These Islamists are common criminals, give the police the manpower and so on (e.g. allow phonetap evidence) that they need, that's all we can do.

90 day detention and ID cards and so on is a red herring.

"Yes Mike, you've got the flavour. Soft centred no content - Cameron all over."

Personally, I don't happen to think standing up to the Islamofascist bullies and refusing to sacrifice one single inch of our liberal democracy in the face of their threats is being soft.

Neither do I think taking firm action to police our borders is soft.

Is it the soft and easy option to hunt down those who preach hatred and murder and charge them for relevant, long-standing crimes?

I happen to think it is easier to introduce new laws and schemes that won't make a damn bit of difference to the threats we face.

It is easier to introduce detention without trial than to produce the resources necessary to investigate and convict.

It is easier to write off blatant incitement to murder as a cultural foible than to confront the violent nature of radical Islamists.

It is easier to force millions of law-abiding citizens to carry an ID card than it is to hunt down those planning terror.

It is easier to lump many complex geo-political conflicts into a single 'war on terror' than to try and find solutions to long-standing problems.

It is easier to follow, poodle-like, the US lead than it is to stand up and challenge our closest ally when they are wrong.

It is easier to invade a country on its knees after a decade of sanctions than it is to face up to more pressing and genuine threats.

I think you get my drift...

"is the "PM almost sacked Brown over Iraq" headline in the Mail today, designed to send the "Brown is anti-war really" dog whistle."

Well, to me it sent the 'Brown is an unprincipled lickspittle prepared to sacrifice any principle to hang on to his job' dog whistle.

If he was really vehemently anti-war he should have followed Robin Cook on to the back benches.

Mike, your list of things the police are doing and should be doing more of is very impressive, the questions are

a) Are Nulab doing any of this (obviously not)

b) Is DC prepared to implement your list(hopefully), and if so

c) Are he and DD and WH telling voters how rubbish Nulab are and what Tory policy will be and why it will work better (I don't think so)?

Tonight's Evening Standard has a nice article about Abu Hamza owning a £250k house rented out to Polish workers while his wife lives on £680/week benefit in a £600k house paid for by the taxpayer and he has spent £250k of my money on legal aid.

No word from Gordon how a man we are supposed to have been wanting to arrest for 8 years lives so well. Had the Americans not asked him to visit the US for a courtroom drama I doubt he would be in Belmarsh anyway.

But why do we get so steamed up about terrorism - it is all a game. I lay odds that Abu Hamza works for MI5 and they let him run his money schemes unmolested.

The whole thing is a charade........we have few policemen who know localities, we have a very low ratio of convicts to crimes and tolerate far more crime than any proper country should yet pay a fortune out for policing.

We are run by incompetents, they are management theorists without any practical exposure and work to prevent ordinary people having any influence. This is a Bureaucratic Machine manufacturing crises to enhance its own power and clumsily endangering us all by not throttling the true terrorists by letting them run circles

It is the humiliation of the public by men like Abu Hamza that is creating real anger because the Govt makes the country look like a pushover for dimwit loudmouth Muslim thugs

Mark, I'm confident that Cameron and the rest of the shadow cabinet are on my wavelength.

David Davis has both lambasted the government and the Met over the lack of prosecutions following the Danish Embassy protests and promised to scrap ID cards.

Hague and Cameron have spoken out in support of our troops being in Afghanistan but distanced themselves from a blind obedience to Bush.

"I know that if we win the next election, the moment I walk through the front door of Downing Street I will have the huge responsibility of protecting the British people from terrorism.

There are some who still believe that the threat we face today is no different from ones that we have faced before, such as the IRA.

They are profoundly mistaken.

We are dealing with people who are prepared to do anything, kill any number, and use suicide attacks to further their aims.

Defeating them will be a battle of hearts and minds, as well as force.

But this threat cannot be negotiated away or appeased - it has to be confronted and overcome."

That was Cameron in his main speech to conference. Doesn't sound like an appeaser to me!

Nor does the next passage...

"When it comes to our national security, I will always listen to the police and security services, and take their advice with the utmost seriousness.

I will never play politics with this issue.

What I will do, is my duty.

Which is to support the Government when they do the right thing.

And hold them to account when they're getting it wrong.

So let me say plainly, I believe that this Government is getting some things wrong.

They're pressing ahead with ID cards that won't stop dangerous people coming in to our country.

But they're not giving us the border controls that just might.

They're bringing in new offences that aren't being used.

But they haven't changed the law so that wire tap evidence can be used to prosecute terror suspects in court.

People who threaten our security should be arrested, charged, put in front of a court, tried and imprisoned.

That is the British way."

Soft-centred and lacking content? Hardly! To me, it sounds more like a robust defence of British values and a commitment to defend them.

tomtom - quite often, I lie in my bath unable to comprehend the fact that, somehow, I have not found my way around the NuLabour financial arrangement; why, for heaven's sake, do I not own a half-million pound property funded by welfare? Why does my wife not pull in 600 quid a week for a list of reasons that would make her, or we, eligible under this grotesque lottery of public funding of idleness, fecklessness and fraud?

There must be a means of getting my daughters' school fees subbed by the state - I've been a good boy, paid my taxes, lived a blameless life.......

Where did it all go wrong?

Mike 16.17, thanks for reassurance on my point (b), but I am still unhappy on point (c).

I am actually INTERESTED in politics, and apart from DD, who is pretty reliable, I am not seeing much Tory effort to educate the public as to the right and wrong ways to tackle terrorists. So heaven knows whether they have made any impression whatsoever on most voters who aren't that interested.

Mark, I see your point, the trick I suppose is getting the media to actually report what is said. The only answer I suppose is to keep saying it, again and again, until the message starts to get through.

I think we should be emphasising "liberty and security" - no to 90-day detentions, yes to sensible measures like profiling of likely terrorists at airports (no more body searches of 90 year old Korean women).

Internment only works if you're prepared to keep the internees interned until the war is over. It was brutal but highly effective in the Boer War. In NI it worked as long as the internees were kept interned, but once they were released they put their acquired skills to use & the level of violence exploded. It's not a tactic to try half-heartedly, which I'm sure is what would happen.

Mike C: - " The only answer I suppose is to keep saying it, again and again, until the message starts to get through."

BUT there's the obverse of that coin too. STOP saying luvvy-dovey things at the same time. No only does it weaken the effort but the media will lap it up (THAT's their agenda, after all) and the tougher words get missed and th wrong message gets through.

We've loived in a mediia / spinners world for long enough now for that simple tactic to have percolated. Not to CCHQ though?.

Labour's 2-stage election strategy (see my post 10.11) is being implemented as we speak. What happened today ...

Step 1, Trevor Phillips says veils and maybe even headscarves should be banned

Step 2, Ruth Kelly says govt will withhold money from Muslim groups that don't combat extremism. (I didn't know we funded them in teh first place, but you live and learn).

Christina, that's exactly what we did in the last election campaign, we banged on about immigration and crime at the expense of everything else. To the extent that many of our own members couldn't tell you what our policies on health and education were.

We NEED to say the 'luvvy-dovey things' because we've allowed ourselves to be painted as heartless B'stards who'd privatise our grannies for the last 20 years.

Its that theory of AND again, we can protect the environment AND defend civil liberties AND police our borders better AND improve schools AND cut tax AND...

To concentrate on any one message at the expense of others is to show a poverty of ambition and risk a return to a 'core-vote' strategy that has worked so well at the last three elections.

Mike C: - You miss the point! The press have already decided in that strange collective process they have, that Cameron is a Hug a Hoodie, Ride a Bikey, Pat a Husky guy and if he wants to be taken seriously he should send his speech writers AND himself on a course of "spinning".

IF he lards his speech with luvvy-dovey things that's all that will get reported. So he's now got to overcome the barrier that he built for himself if he has something less cringe-making to say. I think the press know the real Cameron.

Mike C: - You miss the point! The press have already decided in that strange collective process they have, that Cameron is a Hug a Hoodie, Ride a Bikey, Pat a Husky guy and if he wants to be taken seriously he should send his speech writers AND himself on a course of "spinning".

IF he lards his speech with luvvy-dovey things that's all that will get reported. So he's now got to overcome the barrier that he built for himself if he has something less cringe-making to say. I think the press know the real Cameron.

Christina, I see your point, but I think at this moment it is good to have a Tory leader being portrayed as a nice guy.

Cameron will have plenty of time to show his teeth, and I'm quite happy for him to effectively say 'Look, I'm the nice guy, but if you don't listen to me I'll set David Davis on you.'

Whilst we do want effective use of the media, I would say the last thing we want is a course on spinning. We want more straight-talk, less pulled-punches.

You seem incapable of giving Cameron a fair shot. You criticise him for being 'devoid of content', then when I quote the robust and unambiguous things he said in his main speech to conference you switch to criticise him for saying other things at the same time.

Surely the British people want a Prime Minister who can look at the big picture, look at all the criticism of Blair for being seemingly more concerned with international affairs than domestic. The everyday problems don't disappear because of the latest international crisis or invitation to address the UN.

Cameron seems to have hit a good balance in his speech, robust on national security and international relations, understanding but firm on crime.

"I think the press know the real Cameron" Hardly! You were more right when you referred to 'the strange collective process'. The press don't give a fig about the real Cameron, or the real Brown or anyone else, they paint politicians as 2-d soap opera characters and try to fit the stories to match.

The answer isn't to try and play their games, it is to be yourself. British politics desperately needs some integrity and character after a decade of endless media manipulation.

Mike C: - You and I differ in that I think the Media have Cameron right. He chucks in a sentence or two as a bone to keep the dogs quiet but in all his policy statements - as distinct from vague and good sounding aspirations - he gets it all wrong.

He's WRONG about the NHS . His remedy is a recipe for making a bad situation worse. He (and the government) have not yet grasped the enormity of the crisis ahead caused by mismanagement of doctor training and the EU's lunatic Working Hours directive which will mean that any doctors still there will be incompetent because of inexperience.

He's WRONG about the Bill of Rights / ECHR issue in that he is NOT ALLOWED to change anything fundamental in the provisions of the ECHR without leaving the EU. And with his stance he's not going to do that.

He's followed lamely behind the government over forces equipment. This cannot go on and nobody has any suggestions for improving it.

On security and ID cards he is INCOHERENT. It is impossible to discern any settled policy apart fom building more prisons.

On education he is again incoherent except where he is WRONG in denying selection and thus condemning all our children to declining standards while simultaneously stopping the really bright ones from realising their potential.

On tax-cuts he is WRONG since social justice demands them for the poor and economic survival for industry. These are not optional.

You may guess that I don't like the man for
he's not only WRONG over his surrender re the MEPs and the EPP but a broken promise is totally unforgiveable. Since he is proven to be untrustworthy why believe anything else he says?

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