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Very disappointing that Cameron is now publicly defending the enlistment of Dyke.

What a pity that Mr Cameron should defend such thoroughly unprincipled, political chicanery.
I have long since seen him as sincere about his idiosyncratic political beliefs: now he emerges as a true successot to Blair, untrustworthy and deceitful.

It's just another bit of decontamination, isn't it?

Think I agree with you EML. This all has a ring of PR stunt about it.

I usually defend Cameron but not this time. The only time to try to pull a stunt like this is if we have absolutely no chance of winning (as Labour realised in Tatton), that is not the case in London.
Equally the job of the Mayor is of much greater consequence than that of an individual MP. The office holder can make some difference to the fate of our capital city and the people who live and work within it . In other words it's far too important a job to be used as a plaything to embarras Labour which is what I think is all this idea was meant to achieve.
I'm very sorry to say that his defence of this idea in the Guardian is simply Cameron being disingeneous.

Now that David Cameron has clearly demonstrated his win at any cost strategy by using Blairs buddy, Dyke,how can we expect the electorate to look at us as being Conservatives?

We made an immense mistake on this one,immense.

Who next?

Peter Mandelson perhaps?

We really made a "Horlicks" of this one! I can't understand why it was allowed to happen. No one could possibly have ever thought Dyke would be in any shape or form a Conservative-friendly candidate!

So Cameron's philosophy with Livingstone vs Dyke is to go for the lesser evil? Isn't that like choosing Mussolini over Hitler? We should be looking to roll back the Left's power, not just slow down its advance.

Yes a very bad week for us.

It is the Lib Dems that we need to defeat in many of our top target seats, yet here we are blurring the gap between us and legitimizing their MPs as "acceptable".

Madness.

Of COURSE Cameron is going to insist he was right. He's not going to say; "you're right, I was naive, patronising and dismissive of Conservative principles and I've learnt my lesson", was he?

Of more concern is the way he's trying to spin this out to make him look good with his "oh, I'm just trying to break the mould of politics - not be punch and judy" mantra. Very disappointing.

It's very insulting to try and make political capital out of humilitating the whole party. Particularly as he's not averse to "punch and judy" politics when it suits him, especially when it comes to Gordon Brown.

He insulted all members of the Conservative party, especially the prospective candidates, when he approached Dyke and tried to deny the electorate a clear choice of governance in London. He expressed absolutely no confidence in Conservative principles to win the day.

This makes me worry because if he has no confidence in Conservative policies to win in London, what confidence does he have in Conservative policies to win the general election? Does he care about anything apart from becoming PM?

What is the point in voting if it doesn't offer a change in the approach of the government?

How CAN you vote if you don't truly know what the party stands for?

I know he, Maude and Hilton will love this as they can demonstrate that they have "scored" another "victory" against the membership, but this is very dangerous.

This isn't the Labour party in 1994. Let me repeat. THIS ISN'T THE LABOUR PARTY IN 1994.

The Conservative membership is not LIKE the Labour party. Neither is it reactionary, ideological or regressive, as they seem to think, but pragmatic, moderate and level-headed. It is willing to be led and work with Cameron.

But if Cameron and his team continue to insult and patronise all our members and use them as a "punch-bag" for media image purposes, members won't volunteer their own free time to campaign for him.

Will he learn, in time?

It is very sad that the party has a shortage of principled politicians.

When will the likes of Davis, Hague and IDS tell the leader that his decision was wrong and he should apologise to the party?

"A Cameron Government will make many crucial appointments and this affection for Greg Dyke is a worrying omen."

This for me is a very crucial point. We need to be as ruthless as the left in appointing right-thinking people to quangos (if we cannot democratise/ privatise them). If Dyke is the sort of person that Cameron favours we should be very worried.

Who's next?

B Wegg Prosser. He is the high profile New Labour person referred to by Draper who is in negotiations for a safe seat. He is v chummy with Hitlon and Vaizey...

Alan, a very perceptive point. Major was utterly hopeless in this regard e.g. appointing Kinnock to be a European Commissioner. Blair did not repeat the mistake, appointing Patten, a Tory In Name Alone, in defiance of Hague's wishes.

The point that David Cameron has not addressed is that Greg Dyke is a man of the left who has fallen out with Tony Blair over Iraq. But the same is true of George Galloway, Claire Short and the late Robin Cook. Do they therefore deserve Cameron's backing for Mayor of London? At this stage, I am not even sure that Dyke does disagree with Livingstone over much. Maybe others know more.

Well at least DC made his comments to the Guardian which no-one from the real world reads, but it is worrying that DC fails to recognise some basic facts, that lefties and Trots have no place in the party, even a NeoCon Party.
Dyke would have problems as London Mayor, in the first he lives in a million pound home on the St Margarets Trust Grounds Estate, by the River Thames opposite Old Deer Park. Secondly he is involved in property deals. Thirdly he is a leftie wide boy with no real management experience. Fourthly, the BBC scandal over the death of Dr Kelly and the Gilligan reporting shows that he is not able to control and large and diverse organisation.
I think we are well rid of Dyke.

Greg Dyke was spotted by a Tory councillor telling for the Lib Dems in St. Margarets at the local elections last year. Dyke is a Lib Dem activist as well as being a donor. Did he tell Dave about that?

It is clear from the press reports that Dave planned to persuade the London chairmen to approve his plan to cancel the Open Primary and adopt Dyke as a joint Conservative-Fib Dem candidate.

Francis Maude's bold claims about the Open Primary can therefore be disregarded as anti-member spin. Cameron and Maude simply do not trust the members in London to pick a winning candidate.

How long can the members tolerate this contemptous behaviour by the Leaderhip? I cannot and I am seriously considering leaving the Party.

I can't WAIT to see the ratings for Francis Maude in Conhome's next monthly survey. He is universally hated and his popularity has hit rock bottom.

Funny thing is, in a sort of perverse sado-masochistic way, I think Maude rather likes being hated by the members.

Let's see if he likes being booed at Conference.

Yes - interesting that DC wrote for The Guardian. It's becoming the house newspaper.

Hang on a mo. Isn't this typical of the LibDems? Not least that they seem to have got away with this?

There were obviously discussions behind the scenes on this. Nothing this big could have been done in a few weeks let alone a few days, yet it seems to me the LDs were simply setting a trap. Once DC was hooked, they pulled the rug from under and then pointed fingers.

Isn't it they who should be pilloried for playing politics and looking solely to damage another party?

They are not known as "the golden shower" round here for nothing!

David Cameron had a bad week last week. He cites Liam Fox's failure to undo Des Browne on Monday - Editor

David Cameron can hardly be held responsible for your man missing an open goal.

This confirms that Cameron is barking mad. (Or perhaps Islington mad...?).
He should stop damaging the Conservative Party further and make a bid for the Labour Leadership - or the Libs Dems, as Ming's profile is fading away like a political cheshire cat. Not sure they'd take Dave though, as his judgement is so flawed.

Hellow DrFoxNews... I think the Dyke debacle was the main reason for Mr C's bad week. Dr Fox also deserves credit for calling the Navy story right as soon as the story of newspaper deals broke. I did not watch last Monday's debate so cannot personally say if the largely negative coverage was fair.


It has been a terrible week. Like Malcolm, I usually defend David Cameron and Francis Maude - but not today. The whole process has been both embarrassing and shambolic. All in all, very damaging to the Party in London. For the first time ever, I will give D & F a low mark in the next ConHome poll.

Regardless, let's continue to plough away for Conservative gains in May - good luck to all our candidates!

Let's not forget this week could get worse if the board take away members rights to vote in the MEP selection process...

Dave Cameron is doing a wonderful job, and showing good judgement. No-one else could lead the Conservative Party like he does.

Cameron and Maude simply do not trust the members in London to pick a winning candidate.

Unfortunately this is looking increasingly likely to be true, albeit mainly because said winning candidate is nowhere to be seen on the horizon. How can you pick something that isn't in the choice before you?!

Well David Cameron has certainly got all the dogs barking on cue!

I think we have to wake up to the fact that Ken is going to romp home unless we do something different. The suggestion of a joint candidate has some merit and was certainly worth discussion. Cameron’s errors were two:

1. he credited Ming with being sensible enough to resist playing party-politics and

2. he didn’t see that he and his party have different perceptions of Greg Dyke.

So yes, David Cameron misjudged this idea, but it makes me laugh that on CH a misjudgement makes you unprincipled and disingenuous. With friends like these...

A joint candidate would have made things pretty awkward for Tories campaigning against the LibDems in the Euro elections (which are gonna be held the same time) or any other elections held on that date!

Even if a joint candiate was a good idea, the way this was handled was awful.

(as anyone who reads the London blog will know, I hate Livingstone.....but he actually looks the sensible choice after this sorry affair........)

Saying, in reponse to the TORY leader secretly asking a NON-Tory to be the Tory candidate, "Well David Cameron has certainly got all the dogs barking on cue!" is much like me being sour enough to say, "any criticism of Cameron and the lickspittles come out to slurp".

Mr Cameron said
" We could have given the people of London - and Britain - hope that a new kind of politics is possible - "

This would have been an ideal opportunity to say "London and England "
( cos London is the capital of England remember )
sure , it might be the capital of somewhere which the metropolitan elite call Britian because they are too scared to say the correct phrase Great Britain but the point is that the other component countries of the UK have their own capitals and London is the capital of England
and yet once again England was airbrushed away by a leading member of the political establishment .

I daresay that the people of England greeted this pronouncement by Mr Cameron with the same lack of resonance which he greets them .

What do you expect, Yeah, yeah, yeah, Mr Fulford is always left, left, left.

Cameron for London Mayor might be the solution. Were he to win, it would have the added attraction of a change of leadership for the Conservative Party and a better chance of a centre-right choice for the electorate in 2009/10.

"Saying, in reponse to the TORY leader secretly asking a NON-Tory to be the Tory candidate..."

Is that really what happened? Or is the truth that David Cameron explored an idea that, had it been agreed by Greg Dyke and Ming Campbell, would have been put to the party as an option? It's quite a big difference, isn't it?

Let's remind ourselves of what David Cameron wrote:

And I took a risk last week when I asked Menzies Campbell to back the idea of offering our respective parties' members the choice of Greg Dyke as a joint Conservative/Liberal Democrat candidate for London mayor.

It was a risk, it didn't pay, but he wasn't daft for exploring the idea.

"Hellow DrFoxNews... I think the Dyke debacle was the main reason for Mr C's bad week. Dr Fox also deserves credit for calling the Navy story right as soon as the story of newspaper deals broke. I did not watch last Monday's debate so cannot personally say if the largely negative coverage was fair. - Editor"

This reminds me of Arsene Wenger every time one of his players gets sent off. I didn't see it, honest. One bad piece of judgement doesn't make a bad leadership. God only knows where we'd be in the polls if this website had got its way during the leadership campaign.

This website did get its way Mathew. Tim supported Fox but he did not do so in an overtly partisan way.The main aim of this website was to encourage the party to allow members to vote for the leader and it succeeded magnificently.We should all be grateful.

God knows where we would be if this website got its way at the leadership election. Excellent question. We would be down at about thirty per cent in the polls. continuing to be obsessed by Europe, tax cuts and immigration with a leader in Dr Fox who as been useless at every single job he as been given. Victory at present is possible with this web-site defeat would be certain.

"Yes - interesting that DC wrote for The Guardian. It's becoming the house newspaper."

Goodnes knows why, barely anybody reads and and those that do will never vote Tory.

"...to be less partisan..."

Why doesn't he understand? This goes beyond party politics, it's a distinct ideological difference between *any* Conservative and Dyke. It's not petty party politics, it's a matter of principle - though I suppose we shouldn't expect Dave to understand that.

He writes in The Guardian because the BBC read The Guardian and that's who Team Cameron want to reach.

It was indeed a bad week, in so far as we failed to capitalise on the opportunities presented to us, and possibly seriously mucked up the mayoral elections. We do need to put it context however, of the absolutely abysmal time that Labour is having - which will only get worse on the 3rd May - something all of us should remember is very much thanks to Cameron.

What will be more serious, in my view, is if the Party Board decides to remove the membership from the ranking and selection of Euro MPs. That, combined with the Dyke debacle, would send a very worrying message about the role of the grass-roots in Cameron's Conservatives - as being nothing more than cash cows and leaflet stuffers - something which will cause many to reflect on whether there are any benefits in remaining a party member at all.

I think the criticism of Fox is a little unjust - and reflecting some people's desire to have a go. The media never smelt the blood in the water (pardon pun) on this one - and, whilst I think the public were unimpressed, I don't think anyone saw it as a resignation issue....

it's a distinct ideological difference between *any* Conservative and Dyke.

Do you know the differences and similarites well enough to make such a definite statement? I don't.

By your reaction to the idea, clearly not. Greg Dyke is a tax and spend, positive discrimination junkie. The idea that he would be fielded with joint Lib Dem and Conservative support is a disgrace: the Lib Dems are undoubtedly the most left wing party of the big three. Yes, he was a fool for considering it, and yes, I do know the differences and similarities between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives to make such a statement.

If Cameron geuinely thinks, in hindsight, that he was right about the Greg Dyke debacle then I find that very scary indeed.

Why blame Mr Maude - he wasn't involved. It was David Cameron, who I agree with Sally Roberts made a horlicks of this. While I agree with Mark Fulford that it got all the dogs barking on cue, and hate to join that chorus, DC made a serious error. He & the leadership promised a Primary, promised more openess and then he get's into a behind doors deal.

Have no idea how different Greg Dyke's politics are from a leftish or even centrist Tory - like many Blairist Labour supporters he could well be one of those who had the Tory party been the up & coming party would have thrown his support that way.

However this wasn't breaking the political mould, it wasn't wrong footing Ming (though it did) it was an attempted stitch up. DC challenged his party to vote for change and they did, he has challenged many to give up chrished policies, and they have. His party on the whole understand and support his actions - why can't he be brave enough to trust them?

Maybe the concept was right, just a terrible choice of prospective candidate.

From what I can tell, and I do stand to be corrected, at the moment neither the Conservatives or L/Ds are able to individually put up a credible candidate who will beat Mayor Livingstone. Of course the problem was also timing, trying to do such deals just prior to important elections is too good a points scoring opportunity....for the L/Ds. They really are rather unprincipled people so one has to tread carefully when trying to do any deal with them.

Somebody, somewhere close to DC should have had the instinct, antennae and authority to have stifled the Dyke idea at birth. The fact that nobody did is worrying. Yes, political courage is essential. But it needs to be combined with good judgement or it risks spilling over into recklessness.

There is nothing "new politics" about Greg Dyke, and nothing in his track record to suggest that he has what it takes to run London well.

***

Prentiz (1531) is right - there does seem to be a periodic briefing campaign against Fox which is all rather depressing and on the lines of: "not-a-team-player and anyway-Steve-Hilton-doesn't-like-him". As always the sources are anonymous, but they seem to emanate from CCHQ. This does nobody any good and is bad for party unity.

It is hardly reasonable to criticise LF for failing to secure Des Browne's resignation bearing in mind that nobody in the Party, including DC, actually called for him to resign - clearly the decision had been taken not to press for his resignation at this stage.

Interestingly, on This Week last Thursday, Diane Abbott (looking much slicker and becoming more party political as the prospect of GB's regime looms?) and Andrew Neil did their best to entice Michael Portillo to have a go, but Portillo - hardly a die-hard Fox fan - nobly resisted the temptation and even stood up for him. I don't think the media coverage was largely negative - The Times sketch writer was as she always is. Quentin Letts, however, was unusually complimentary.

...and yes, I do know the differences and similarities between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives."

Ash, "Lib Dem" doesn't define Greg Dyke. I don't think we particularly know his personal views on how London should run. I haven't seen anything that says he's a tax and spend junkie, and support for positive discrimination isn't so un-Conservative that he couldn't stand with our endorsement.

"...he get's into a behind doors deal."

Ted, I don't think it was a particularly behind doors deal. There'd be no point in putting a suggestion like this to the party without first checking that it's possible. I don’t believe this idea was ever going to be adopted by the Conservative Party without it first having been put to a wider decision.

We shouldn’t criticise people for having ideas. We should only criticise them for implementing bad ones. This idea was a million miles from being implemented and was certainly worthy of thought.

David Cameron offered Lib Dems a joint candidate who, without doubt, was acceptable to them (if Greg Dyke chose to stand on a Lib-Dem ticket, they’d bite his arm off). They declined the offer, showing that they’re truly against a jointly-endorsed candidate. However, had they agreed to the suggestion, there could have been wider consultation and subsequent negotiation about possible candidates. If the candidate was slightly more blue than yellow, would we be so opposed to a joint-offering?

I suppose I should admit that I'm an anyone-but-Ken man, so I'm just looking for the most certain way to oust him.

Even as a non-Londoner, I still would have been interested to hear what Greg Dyke would have offered London's Conservatives as an independent, Conservative/Liberal Democrat-backed candidate for the Mayoralty.

For me, the biggest disappointment of this whole episode has been the lack of fair-mindedness shown all round, although the over-reaction of the right-wing malcontents was utterly predictable of course (and I don't expect them to react any differently if/when Nicholas Boles gets the gig...).

I would have thought that support for positive discrimination is pretty unConservative, Mark, at least if you are the kind of conservative who believes in meritocracy. Shorn of all the window dressing, positive dioscrimination is after all just discrimination. People can't do anything about their skin colour and describing the BBC as "hideously white" suggests that Greg Dyke hasn't got much to offer most of the people who live in this country....many of whom are white immigrant Londoners such as the Irish and the Poles. Having said all of that, I agree with you that Livingstone is a disaster who, if given the chance, will continue to bleed London white.

"The over-reaction of the right-wing malcontents was utterly predictable of course"....as unfortunately is the reaction of born-again Cameroons like you, Daniel, who would no doubt have been equally "interested" if CCHQ had suggested backing Frank Dobson as an "independent" anti-Ken candidate.


If Greg Dyke were some vaguely centre right figure, but not a member of the Conservative Party, the idea could have been worth exploring.

But since he is firmly on the Left of the political spectrum, his campaign would have fallen to bits before it had started. I don't know any London Conservative who would have supported him.

DVA,

Dyke had the opportunity to tell us something about his new politics and his vision for London in a lengthy Observer piece on Sunday (link at the end). He didn't take it. He simply stressed the need for managerial competence.

My guess is that he has no new thinking to offer at all, and that you would have been rather disappointed.

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/conservatives/story/0,,2063016,00.html

I suppose that depends how you define positive discrimination. Giving money to a charity who help the homeless? That is pretty much the same thing as positive discrimination (I mean, you are specifically targetting a population that you feels need support). Institutionalising such matters is another matter as far as I am concerned, but we should be careful about where we draw the line.

"I would have thought that support for positive discrimination is pretty unConservative"

Michael, without re-running several previous arguments on this site, discrimination becomes entrenched and self-reinforcing. Reversing entrenched discrimination within a reasonable timescale requires positive discrimination, much though I dislike that necessity. However, positive discrimination should only be used to choose between two otherwise equal candidates.

Reading the comments above I had to pinch myself to make sure I hadn't I stumbled onto RantersHome or something? Let be realisitic about this; yes a political party has to have principles that unite the members, and which it advocate to the general population. However, for a political party to form a non-despotic government, it also has to show itself capable of taking on board the concerns of the wider electorate. For many years, one of the Conservative Party's major weaknesses was that it was seen as being incapable of tolerating other viewpoints; a weakness that Cameron has made enormous steps towards correcting although one that appears to be alive and well in some quaters judging from this thread. I trust you are all LibDem trolls.

It just seems to me Dyke is an incompetant buffoon. Roland Rat is his main contribution to telivision. Over the Hutton affair, he and Gavin Davies were so incompetant that it beggers belief. But then Davies is now in Brown's group of friends, he couldn't have messed it up for the BBC to help Labour could he taking a naive Dyke down with him?


Well, I certainly didn't think he had anything to offer David.

"As unfortunately is the reaction of born-again Cameroons like you, Daniel, who would no doubt have been equally "interested" if CCHQ had suggested backing Frank Dobson as an "independent" anti-Ken candidate."

I'm not interested in anybody standing as an 'anti-Ken' candidate, whether it's Frank Dobson, Frank Bruno or Frankenstein's Monster.

If I was a London voter (and hopefully I will be when the next mayoral election comes around), I would judge mayoral candidates on the policy agenda they were offering rather than in terms of not being somebody else and I'd like to think that I wouldn't discount somebody based on pre-conceived prejudices without giving them a fair hearing.

Both David Cameron and Greg Dyke clearly thought that Dyke would be able to offer enough to Conservative voters to merit serious consideration of offering Conservative support for a putative Dyke candidacy - these are two highly successful, incredibly astute people who are not given to wasting time on frivolous flights of fancy and therefore, yes, I would have been 'interested' in hearing more about the Dyke proposal.

Forgive my ignorance, but what is a troll?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29

I think the Dyke affair was a mistake. It did however show just how deceitful the LibDems are and just how they keep on getting away with it. It's like up here where they attack Labour (their coalition partners) while taking credit for all the things the Scottish Executive have got right.

I would say February and March was an excellent pair of months for the Conservatives. April looking to be less so. This is bad because of timing. Last year, we didn't way better than expected at the local elections. This year, it may end up be the opposite way round. Activists, it's down to you now. Uncle Sam needs you!

Er no, Daniel, David Cameron is a creature of patronage and the PR industry going back some 15-20 years. His rise would have been rather less effortless if he had actually competed openly for, say, his job as adviser to Lamont or his Parliamentary seat. As for Greg Dyke, he made millions by bringing us Roland Rat which is success of a sort I suppose. His management of the BBC is a chapter best forgotten. It is a big leap from all of this to say that these are two "highly successful incredibly astute" people. You seem easily impressed.

You're quite right Michael - David Cameron is a talentless toff who has presided over nosediving poll ratings as leader of the Conservatives, a position he owes entirely to his establishment connections and not overwhelming victory in the 2005 membership ballot for the party leadership.

As for Greg Dyke, perhaps the fact that he clearly brought the BBC crashing down to its knees means he does have something to offer the Conservatives after all?

We're clearly not going to agree on this Michael, so don't bother replying.

I'll reply if I want to reply, Daniel. I hate to cast doubt on your private personality cult but just remind me of the open competition which led to David Cameron being appointed MP for one of the safest seats in the country? Somehow I don't remember the open primary or the slate including a woman or a non-white candidate. Ditto Osborne in Tatton.

Talentless toff - I like that. But the Tory establishment has not just begun hanging out with lefties under Cameron. I read that Eric Pickles boasted of working hand in glove with the Searchlight outfit, a nasty little band of leftist law-breakers who were founded by a convicted Communist criminal, Gerry Gable, thankfully no longer about to cause trouble.
Time to evict the fellow-travellers from the Party - something one used to say to Labour.

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