« David Cameron's reaction to Hain's resignation | Main | A video history of British Conservatism »


I'm quite entertained by the idea of politics without soundbites. Even IDS used them.

Boring monologues where you have to listen for 5 minutes before realising what is being talked about isn't an ideal presentation style.

No Mr Clarke! It's tortoises vs hares not rabbits vs hares!!! What a silly twit!

Iain Duncan Smith's best soundbite was "noone believes a word he says anymore" about Blair. It helped crystallise public opinion on Blair.

Wasn't IDS just quoting Brown on Blair : 'There is nothing you could say to me that I would believe any more'?
I think the words 'any more' were superfluous.

Another good IDS soundbite in the Northern Rock debate: when Darling said 'I have a plan!' he retorted 'we're glad to know Chancellor Baldrick has a cunning plan'.

I like to talk to friends about how they see certain politicians and someone who always comes across well is George Osborne. People see George Osborne as being a very serious and level-headed politician and they clearly take him seriously. So Mr Osborne should definitely have a greater media profile.

In my opinion Richards is the best political commentator in Britain. Yes, he is of the Left, but he lacks that nauseating sanctimony that enveloped Rawnsley, Marr, Ashley and Toynbee.

We Tories have to continue play the long game, take a leaf out of Blair's book from 94-97 and not "frighten the horses". Say what you like about New Labour but the Blair/Brown/Campbell/Mandelson team were superb political strategists at their peak, who pitched it to perfection.

I thought David Cameron framed his response to Hain's resignation just right. Dave radiates passion and anger. Talking of speaking to non political friends, I have yet to meet a single person to date who has been impressed by Nick Clegg. "Dear oh dear" was one reaction I heard to the mess he got in over the EU referendum.

The Lib Dems have missed a trick AGAIN- why have Dave Lite when we can offer the real thing ?

The man who cost us the 1997 election.

Pro tax Pro EU

Confused and senile

I would like to hear Ken Clarke really weigh into Gordon Brown on the GB version of his stewardship of the economy. It needs demolishing once and for all and if the shadow Treasury team won't - or can't - create a set piece demolition job, complete with relevant facts and figures, then Ken Clarke (or William Hague) is just the chap to do it.

On the question of soundbites, DC has produced some memorable ones: "an analogue Chancellor in a digital age" really succeeded (though one must admit that Vince cable's was even better) but his comparision to Del Boy did not.

As I have suggested elsewhere today, I would like him to plug the line: "The PM is like a very old man stuck in the past; we have to deal now and in the future with the failings of the government he has been part of for the last 11 years".


Ridiculous comment if I may say so.

Clarke is a thoroughly decent guy, his one blind spot is Europe. He was also a very good minister.

Do you not think Neil Hamilton, Jonathan Aitken, Tim Smith, David Mellor etc, not to mention John Major, played a small part in our deserved thumping in 97 ?

"The man who cost us the 1997 election."

It is not really fair to blame Ken Clarke for our landslide defeat in 1997. Of course he was a part of it, but so was John Major and the Tory Parliamentary Party.

Obviously Ken got very confused about the tortoise,rabbit, hare stuff! Probably also good for his heart that he doesn't read Conhome! He should though, it would give him a good idea of how disappointed people like me who think he is a very able man but are completely put off by his dogmatic europhile views are with him.
The advice to Cameron to always try to be statesman like is first class.

Ken will never change his Euro views now, but the fact is we should have made him leader in 1997, and we made the same error again by not choosing him in 2001.

David Belchamber, one way to describe Gordon Brown would be as 'the plastic chancellor who built a plastic economy on plastic credit cards'. As you wisely state time and time on ConHome Gordon Brown must be attacked on the issue of economics. Brown broke all sensible rules of economics and allowed artificial demand to chase supply and of course we have seen the results of that in housing inflation, in sky-high mortgages that cannot be paid back, and only the overvalued pound and reliance on imported goods has kept inflation out of the high street but now the pound is ready to nosedive we will see the real picture. More must be done to expose captain credit and his fake economy.

London Tory

No one who wants to hand the governance of this country to Brussels is fit to be the leader of any party in this country. Indeed what is the point of being an MP if you do not wish to govern!

@ jonneyboy

What has been the point in being a Conservative MP for the last 10 years with Labour sitting on huge majorities?

I disagree with Ken Clarke on the EU, as does the overwhelming majority of the Conservative Party. I think that his EU views are inherently defeatist and incoherent, and smack of Heathism at its very worst.


Every opinion poll on the matter between 1997 and 2005 showed that Ken Clarke was our most popular figure by some margin. He had a solid record as Chancellor, was a good debater, and cultivated a popular image. Hague as leader you could make a case for, although at 36 it was far too early. IDS was a complete disaster. We would be even further on the road to recovery had Ken been leader at some stage. Just a shame about those Euro views.

My favourite Clarke soundbite in the HoC was after Brown (as Shadow Chancellor) complained about his budget (which he copied)...

Ken: "I've listened to what the Rt. Hon Gentleman has had to say, and I,ve got to say, the best bits were when he was quoting me. He has about as much policy as the average telephone directory."

How true 12 years on...

I think we should be relatively careful when talking about the current state of the economy.
If we keep telling people how bad a shape things are in, we run the risk of being seen as desperately trying to tar labour with our own brush (since 1992).

People may see this as gleeful crowing, e.g., "Look, they're just as bad as us, now you HAVE to vote for us!"

However, this is a far smaller risk than the potential gains available from 'ramming home' the message that the economy is sliding.
I urge caution, as have others in the press and here, combining analysis of current economic trends and what we would do to reverse them. Tell people the problem and the solution.

In regards to Europe, I think it's healthy that the conservative party has members who have different views on the matter, especially such a high profile character such as Ken Clarke.

Like it or not there does seem to be a continuous pull towards Europe, overseen by both the Tories and Labour, suggesting that despite the rhetoric from the conservatives many believe that there are positive aspects of being in, and continuing to move further towards, Europe.

"Just a shame about those Euro views."

Which has ruled him out as a leader , for its just not an acceptable position to have a leader who will sign away sovereignty as fast as Brussels demands it. I can't think of an instant, but has there been any demand from Brussels which Ken Clarke has turned down?

Ken Clarke's fanaticism for all things EU makes you wonder if his desire to be PM was thought out, for he would have got there made it a powerless position, or else he wanted to get there to finish off Parliament for good and close it down!

...people like me who think he is a very able man but are completely put off by his dogmatic europhile views are with him.

Malcolm, having attempted on this site to argue you and others around to my less sceptic EU position, I'd say dogma abounds (and dogs bound, which is also true).

Another way of describing the economy would be as a Jenga economy, Brown assiduously removing supporting bricks to build the tower higher, and it is only now that the edifice is wobbling that people are noticing that the policy is full of holes!

That's a great analogy James!

Totally true Mark, but I and many others who argue an from EU realist position on this board are not full time politicians, have not sought to undermine the party leadership at almost every opportunity when the EU is being discussed and have never shared a platform with Tony Blair seeking to abandon our currency.
I like Ken Clarke as a man, thought he was a good chancellor, and there are few in our party who are so easily able to destroy new Labour in debate. But his views on the EU are so out of kilter with,( I believe) the overwhelming majority of Conservatives and conservatives that he has earned the emnity of many who would otherwise be his friends.

My views are utterly different to Clarke on the EU but like others I think he had a lot of appeal. At the core he comes across as normal and approachable in a way that the public like and feel comfortable about. I can forgive him getting a bit mixed up about hares and rabbits, its almost part of his likeability. He comes across as someone relaxed and looking at a bigger picture and not hung up on unnecessary detail.

The Conservative Party had its chance and blew it by not electing Kenneth Clarke in 2005. If not him, it should have been David Davis but definitely NOT the present leader.

I am resigning my membership and do not wish to become a member of this Party ever again. Instead of developing serious policies (something the parliamentary party seems to find almost impossible), what we actually experience is an endless process of manipulating the candidates' list, and a logo which suggests that the Tories are now aborigenes. This is not a constructive reaction to defeat, and what is perhaps most pathetic is that the Right-wing in the constituency associations seems to have done very little to resist this process. An observation which suggests that they will tolerate absolutely anything as long as the 'blue' side has a majority. Where's the integrity in that?

@ London Tory

You Cameroons really are as shallow as we pretend, aren't you?

Did we lose the 1992 election because Cecil Parkinson couldn't keep his trousers zipped?

Did Blair lose the 2001 election because his Foreign Secretary was ordered to dump his wife for his mistress or the Welsh Secretary had "moments of madness" all over Clapham Common?


We won the 1992 election because we had cut income tax to 40%.

We lost the 1997 election because
a) we had lied to the elecorate about the importance of ERM and the need for the 1991 recession that it had caused.
b) we put up taxes in 1993 and 1994 in direct contravention of a 1992 promise not to do so.

Clarke himself did b) and was one of the leading Cabinet voices behind a)

Ergo Clarke cost us the 1997 election QED

The real sleaze of the Major years was those two lies and betrayals. The pecadillos of oversexed or venal MPs mattered only in what they added to the gaiety of the Nation. Our betters, with their pants down and their hand trapped in the till as the shutter clicks, spread a little happiness. It doesn't determine how anyone except the most shallow votes.

Well, maybe "ever" again is an exaggeration - but there should be a basic equality of opportunity as regards who can and who cannot stand as a candidate. This basic equality of opportunity should be safeguarded constitutionally. At the moment, this couldn't be further from what is actually happening within the Party!

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker