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"his liberal approach to abortion and guns make him one of the more acceptable Republicans in the eyes of some in the party."

There's no such thing. I assume you hadn't you heard that it's fashionable to bash conservative America at Notting Hill dinner parties?

I vote for General Petraeus, no doubt about it.

I'm quite sure that his decision was affected by two considerations:

1) Arnie only likes to be associated with winners. Unfortunately, because of the leadership the current leadership, the polls are clearly indicating that the Tories are highly unlikely to win at the next election;

2) Arnie likes his 'hardman' Hollywood image (and relies upon it for his film career). He can't be seen to be associating with the pinko-Green-Liberals of the Tory upper-echelons, and rightly sees it as potentially harmful to that carefully crafted image.

Bit of a pity really, but no great loss. I'm sure when Parris was advocating being seen with statesmen, Arnie wasn't top of the list.

Funny that, Schwarznegger calls off his speech as the polls turn against the Tories. Hes biding his time to see how things come out here before playing his hand. It'd be too risky to come out as a Conservative Party supporter, then find later on hes rather not have spoken in front of our Conference. Heaven knows, I wouldnt speak in front of us if I was him.

So we are left, it seems, with the appalling Paul Kagame as Star Turn at the party conference.

I have already posted here on this individual who, because of the potential oil and mineral resources Rwanda might control, is being courted by the US and UK Governments. The disquiet about him may again be put shortly: there is a strong body of opinion that believes that, but for the intractable, dishonest and corrupt politics of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, he ought to be indicted for the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity under Article 3 of the ICTR Statute and grave breaches of the laws and customs of war under Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

In addition an investigation that was carried out by Jean-Louis Bruguière, a French judge, into the 1994 shooting down of an aircraft bearing the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi by a surface-to-air missile as it approached Kigali airport concluded that this terrorist act was ordered by Paul Kagame. In November 2006 Bruguière signed international indictments against nine of President Kagame's senior aides and accused Kagame of ordering the assassination of the two African presidents. Kagame could not be indicted under French law, given that as Head of State he has immunity from prosecution but he could be indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in respect of these crimes. Thus he would, but for the technicalities of the law relating to Heads of State, be wanted by a friendly foreign power with a view to prosecution for murder.

I hope his invitation will be withdrawn or some other way be found of not having him at the Conference. If not, one profoundly hopes that people will have the good taste to spend Kagame’s hour upon the stage in the bar.

And if he is the only overseas speaker of ‘note’, do we need to be reminded about Rwanda at this time?

The recent obsession with celebrity in a milestone in the degeneration of the party conference.

I accept that many years in the wilderness without the excitement of hving serving milisters as guest speakers must take its toll but the answer should be to make the conference more democratic and grassroot-dominated. Instead they have gone the other way.

Years ago I was called to speak (on the rented property market if I remember rightly). I wonder how many other contributors have been called in recent years?

Very few, I suspect.

So we are left, it seems, with the appalling Paul Kagame as Star Turn at the party conference.

Perhaps Ben Rogers and his Burma/Myanmar-focused colleagues might like to offer us the benefit of their ethical opinions on this move?

Sell the pass this year and General Than Shwe could be our Special Guest Star in 2008.

Or Mugabe...

Perhaps the 'real action hero' will oblige in his place?

James Maskell could be right in that Arnie does not want to be associated with Dave right now. It is possible that Arnie was lobbied not to come by his mate Tony Bliar, doing a favour for The Dour One.

John McCain spoke to the Tory conference and his political fortunes have dived since. Arnie may fear the same fate too.

Alternatively, Arnie might have heard about the state of Blackpool and The Winter Gardens. Not exactly Pebble Beach, nor the right the image for the Terminator- Governator!

Dave seems as popular as the proverbial "Douglas" in the swimming pool.

Former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton. He's in town for the CWF dinner anyway...

Well, that's one good piece of news for Cameron. Arnie really is a strange character, accused often of sexual harrassment and an admirer of the Austrian Nazi who strangely became UN Secretary-General, Kurt Waldheim.
Actually many Republican politicians are a bit strange and they are not useful role models for the Conservatives.

Kagame is just another brutal and corrupt African president.

The Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, would be a good choice.

I second Stephen Harper, Victor.

The Canadian Conservatives are very impressive.

See here for more.

Rats and sinking ships?

There's always Jim Davidson! he's free at the moment.

What about Giuliani? He's coming to London soon isn't he?
His crime credentials would be very appropiate and he's way ahead of McCain in the presidential stakes.
Failing that, someone from a big charity or social enterprise of some kind would fit in nicely with the Cameron message.

I won't be missing Arnie. In his place I would love to invite Sheriff Joe Arpaio. So come on Dave send him an invite and let's see what real crime fighting is all about. See here

try again here

Charlie from Busted...

Who needs outside celebs when the party has Boris!?

Absolutely Alan. I'm not too sorry Arnie can't make it. As far as I can tell he's done nothing remarkable at all in California as a politician and is really still really known as a ham actor and not a very good one at that. I hope the Conservative party party does not go down the route of courting 3rd rate 'slebs' as Labour did and still does. Personally the fact that Sir Alex Ferguson is a Labour supporter makes me dislike them even more than I would otherwise have done.

Bernard Kouchner.


Blair, "a real action hero". God help us!!!!

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