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Why, oh why do we cause ourselves problems at our own will?

I simply do not agree with Ken's return.

It is the blast from the past; the comeback of a divisive man; yet another chance (btw. how many of them will he get?) for a rejected politician who got opinions the Party disagree with and one even cannot say that Ken Clarke was future once.

Excellent news! A seriously big hitter is back.

I think he is overrated as Chancellor, Norman Lammont took the difficult decisions and the worst shift - all Ken had to do was sit back and watch things happen - which he was good at!

Best news I've heard since Cameron won the leadership contest. If we embrace Ken's return, as we should, we will win with a healthy majority - i.e. no need to worry about what he votes on Europe. Just hope the right can keep quiet about it.

Ken is understood by a vast swathe of the electorate in a way that other members of the front bench are not. They trust him, and no party wins power without trust. Cameron has made a brave decision here, but a necessary one. Bodes well for the future.

Time to bring back the youthful John Major to help with Lisbon?

I think it's a good move. The significance of his pro-European views are totally over blown by the nutty crew. Just tribalism. The Party is much more settled on it's views on the Euro than it was in the 90s, so he'll have a tough time trying to change it.

Big beasts should be caged.

Tim, out of interest, which MP emailed the cartoon to you. If I was a betting man...

It's either inspired or insane. Only time will tell which.

Either way, it's a serious two fingers to anyone in the Conservative Party who is a eurosceptic. Nice one, Dave.

Mark, I'm eurosceptic and welcome Ken's return. There is indeed a wing of euroscepticism which gets swivel eyed when those with different views appear - why I don't know, but its not healthy to find oneself 'swivelly' about any subject - its caused by fustration, which is caused by losing an argument. Winning an argument calls for clear heads and reasonable people. This is why UKIP will always be viewed as loony.

You missed out Mike Smithson's article this morning on PB.com Tim!

I picked up on an interesting comment which Jono posted on the thread last night which reported Clarke's return to the Tory front bench, I reposted it over on PB.com, and Mike Smithson picked up on it and used it in today's article.

"Sure, but it was the right move regardless of the European thing.

There is one pillar of the whole, painstakingly constructed edifice of the Brown myth that has always been vulnerable and that is the role of Ken Clarke in creating what was sustainable economic growth. He created the 'Golden Legacy' that Gordon, a lesser economist all round, has destroyed. It's a powerful narrative.

So I'm pretty sure he's been brought back to challenge Brown, not Mandelson. He is Brown's achilles heal and Brown knows it. Mandelson just pails. He's the superficial, headline-grabbing, vain ex-Trot, lightweight irrelevance he has always really been. He's outclassed.

I think Clarke (no stranger to vanity himself, but a manager like Cameron knows that) is pissed off with Brown's boasts and he's been given the opportunity to stick it to the pretender. And he will take that opportunity. One more for the team and a legacy secured.

He is an annoying, flawed, lazy, implausible Europhile but he is brilliant and he's got the bit between his teeth. Which means there are going to be excellent fireworks from now until the election.

I think Brown's life just got a lot more difficult - not least because he's about to be held a lot more accountable for his incompetence - by someone he looks up to (not through choice).

It's a shrewd move by the Tory leader.

Posted by: Jono | January 19, 2009 at 02:53"

I think that he is onto something with this analysis.

I see that Nick Robinson has gone big on the Euro aspect of Clarke's return, shows how out of touch he has become with Tory politics these days, and the grass roots.

Inspired (by this site I suspect), we are going to have a landslide victory as a result. Ken is just the man to take on the P.O.D. Good move Dave.

Good move. Clarke can make real contributions to cementing a big Tory victory at the next election and perhaps by bringing that election closer. He has wide public appeal, especially amongst groups who are not natural Tory voters or who are flaky about voting Tory. He has much to contribute to exposing the lies of Brown and his team of incompetents on the economy and that is the central issue.

Eurosceptics - and I'm one - should get some perspective on Clarke and his views on Europe. Those views will never dominate and arguments about Europe are a distraction, expecially in opposition. The party should have one objecttive and that is getting rid of Brown and the dark stain of Labour, everything else is irrelevant.

Ken Clarke's return should be welcomed by every serious Conservative who wants to see David Cameron in No.10. He is a moderate Tory who appeals to moderate voters.

Proof that this was the right decision can be seen in the way the BBC is wetting itself this morning.

You just lost four votes. Clark is Bilderberg and the Hegelian opposite (ie the same) as Mandelson. Bye bye Tories.

Well done Dave, and good luck Ken.

Whether it's completely true or not, we can now go with the message: Ken built the British economy which Brown is destroying. Only Ken can stop the rot.

I for one will not be raising the issue of Europe over the coming months. If Brown or Mandelson do, just ignore them and ask them why they are trying to avoid talking about the economy.

"Just hope the right can keep quiet about it"

Yes, of course, it's absolutely the duty of the majority of the party to keep their traps shut whilst the minority form policy indistinguishable from that which most of the party have fought against for years. That's been the attitude ever since Cameron took over (actually, it's been the attitude of all the various leaderships - except IDS, that's why he got canned - ever since MAJOR took over)

"The significance of his pro-European views are totally over blown by the nutty crew. Just tribalism"

The wrongness of this accusation has been pointed out so often that you get to the point where you have to believe that those making it know that it's wrong, they're just making it out of malice and to avoid having to discuss the matter seriously.

Nobody cares about Clarke's views on Europe execpt those who agree with him. The problem people have with him is not his views, it's his arrogance and clear contempt for those who disagree with him. Such an attitude makes him unfit for any elected office, let alone a senior one.

Mandelson is old news now.

We've brought back a big beast of our own and what's more is that he's in the Commons. Brown is in for a very hard time.

As long as we stay united, we're on to a winner.

Churchill was by no means perfect but, by God, I would always want that talent in my government.

One possible problem is not so much the EU but the fact that he might well overshadow Osborne and the rest of the shadow treasury team (unless DC brings in John Redwood or Michael Fallon - or both!!).

Brown gives vote of confidence to Clarke.

Mr Brown also welcomed the return of Kenneth Clarke to the shadow cabinet, praising his views on the Europe and the government's fiscal stimulus

“It’s good to have someone in the shadow cabinet who is supportiveof our policies on Europe, supportive our policies on VAT and probably quietly supportiveof a number of our other policies,” he said.

"As long as we stay united, we're on to a winner."Exactly. The way some people talk you would think Ken was the enemy not a senior and very well respected member of the party. Those who want to jump ship as a result of Ken’s return should go, as they are nothing more than traitors to our collective well-being. It is abundantly clear that Ken has a very big support base who will now feel they are being taken seriously at long last.

Agree with Oberon. I'm eurosceptic but Ken Clarke is a very effective big hitter and its good to see him back.

The potential danger here is not just the behaviour of Ken Clarke, but that the small group of Tory Federalists will try again to stir up trouble.

Still we are where we are, so lets take advantage of having him back on the front bench.

Still I've always liked the man. He is one of the few MPs who when interviewed in his local pub on election night has mostly finished his pint of beer (and it may not have been his first), rather than nursing a full pint as the rest of the career politicians do.

I'm definitely not saying Oberon :-)

ChrisD: I'll add the MIke Smithson link to the frontpage.

Europe is IRRELEVANT , the position is settled. Anyone on here posting otherwise is doing Labour-BBC's job for them.

Kenneth Clarke's return is good news------ for U.K.I.P.

When the EUSSR takes over in 2010 the LiblabCon alliance are finished. The small minded idea that Con can replace ZaNuLab in the next election is a distraction.
Parliament will be in the pocket of Brussels and probably turned into a museum of Democracy.LOL. the crusty Tories may then wake up when it is too late. Clarke voted against the Tory whip in order to prevent the people having a say on the Lisbon Treaty. The man is a Traitor and a anti-democrat. This makes him very suitable for the Non-Con party.YUCH.

I've always liked Ken. More jazz on the Tory frontbench must be a good thing.

“Europe is IRRELEVANT , the position is settled. Anyone on here posting otherwise is doing Labour-BBC's job for them.” I don’t think Europe will be truly settled until the people have a vote on the matter. Call me old fashioned but I feel that democratic debate is a good thing. What are the sceptics so scared of Democracy? I thought we wanted a referendum, and were willing to except the view of the majority. When it comes to the EEC I am only in favour of it when it suits of national interest. However we still have to work out what our National interest is an how the EEC can serve that.
Debate is good, not something to fear my sceptical friends.

The Euro nutters (for and against) should get over it and calm down. Both should take a deep breath and remember that the debate on Europe in the party is settled and we have bigger fish to fry.

Right now Gordon Brown and co is the biggest threat to this Country. If an experienced man can help then lets give him a chance to prove it.

Ken would only have come back if he believed the Conservatives would win the next election.

Fact is that UK plc is in deep trouble as a result of the hubristic Mr Brown and his reckless incompetence dating back to the time just after Ken Clarke left the Treasury in '97.

Ken is recognized and liked by voters, an excellent communicator, has oodles of experience and was a successful Chancellor.

So we (UK plc) need him. And I'm sure that when DC discussed bringing him back, they agreed collective responsibility on things like Europe.

Time will tell, but I'm optimistic that this will prove an inspired move...

"Kenneth Clarke's return is good news------ for U.K.I.P.

Posted by: Ric | January 19, 2009 at 10:13"

Yep. The Tory defectors are coming over in disgust. One is a senior councillor in a Tory target seat!

Rejoice! Rejoice!

Thanks Tim. I think that Jono made a very good point about who will be most worried about Ken's return. Brown can whitter on about his European views, but he will be the biggest loser in all of this.

Lee Chamberlain- well said.

I am a fervent Eurosceptic, but the Maastrict rebels did more damage to our Party than Ken Clarke ever did.

"Ken is recognized and liked by voters, an excellent communicator, has oodles of experience and was a successful Chancellor."

He has oodles of sex appeal as well. Which is rather odd but lady's of a certain age love Ken. His Charisma is massive. Whats more many soft-Labour voters will be happy to vote Tory with Ken in a more Prominent role. Great move Dave, and good luck Ken.
As for the rest of us lets get ready for Governement.A landslide is coming.

The Bruges Group.

Barry Legg, Co-Chairman of the Thatcherite Bruges Group, commented that;
“This effectively means the end of David Cameron’s promise to hold a referendum on the EU Constitution. The Liberal Democrat and Labour parties are opposed to such a referendum and it is now clear that Mr Cameron does not have the will to carry the necessary legislation through the House of Commons if the Conservative Party were elected to office. Mr Clarke and his supporters within the Conservative Party have been given carte blanch to oppose the policy.

“The so-called ‘big beast’ has trampled all over Mr Cameron as the price of his return to the Conservative front bench.”

What many people here seem to ignore or have not noticed, is that the party in the Commons, where it matters, is now much more eurosceptic than it was between 87 and 97.

Clarke was part of a commons coterie which included Heseltine, Hurd, Gummer, Fowler, and a host of junior ministers, all signed up the ever closer union.

Almost all the new MPs elected in 97,01 and 05 are eurosceptic. Name me the second highest profile, europhile Conservative MP today? I can think of David Curry, John Gummer and, errr, that's it. Hardly front-line influentials in the party today, are they?

Look at the position of prominent Euro-sceptics like Nick Herbert who ran Business for Sterling so effectively it was one of the reasons Blair and Brown felt they could not push for Euro entry in their first term.

Clarke is fine where he is, batting second wicket for us, but out-numbered and out-gunned in the one area where he could do us harm to the extent that he will keep shtumm about Europe.

It's a good move.

"Yep. The Tory defectors are coming over in disgust. One is a senior councillor in a Tory target seat!

Rejoice! Rejoice!"

Well so be it UKIP is the rightful home of ex-Tory Traitors and other intellectually immature troublemakers. When they have stopped throwing their rattles out of their prams we all know what they will say “goo goo ga ga”.

The concept of a big-hitter seems a distraction. If there were some big-hitter policies today's politicians could put them over and look good.

I believe that experience is hugely under-valued in our society - look at how D. Cameron and G. Osborne were allowed to take over the Conservative Party. So on that score Ken Clarke is qualified. His main achievements from memory were in deploying his left-wing look and feel against the trade unions.

I do worry though that apart from demonstrating that the Cameroons don't have any policies or principles, Ken is about to be embarrassed. Our allies: Greece, Spain, Italy and Ireland are being crucified by their decision to join the Franco-German Euro. This is the fate Ken wanted for us. What's he going to say in interviews as they crumple and collapse into mass unemployment and beggary?

He is a tactical manager who operated well within the philosophical framework of Thatcherism. Allowed to roam at will to define Cameroonism constrained only by the puny Osborne and out of his depth teachers-pet Cameron, he is going to take the Conservatives up some pretty interesting paths.

All I can say is: Have a fun trip! What a great voyage this is going to be for us spectators.

London Tory

The position on Europe may be settled but the position on the eu is not. The implications of lisbon are such that a Conservative government will have to challenge it or face total impotence.

Ken's part of the bargain must be to keep stumm on the eu.

There is sometimes a tendency in the Party to see things too much from a partisan position. The truth of the matter is that the country is getting ready for a change to a Cameron Government. We owe it to the electorate to put forward our best team. Bringing back Ken Clarke shows that we are serious about deploying our best talent in our appeal to the electorate.

Great news! Now you've got the Mandy and Ken partnership working for EU...

Agree with Ric. This should be worth at least a couple of additional UKIP MEPs in June.

Excellent news. Ken Clarke is one of the most respected, recognisable, and dare I say it popular politicians with the general public. If Eurosceptic Tories want to clear off to UKIP and live in the political wilderness, then they go with my blessing. If Labour can live with Mandy's returen, then surely the Conservatives should rejoice at the return of Ken.

Here is the UKIP reaction from Nigel Farage:


A Place for Every Child: Making the Free Entitlement Work
23 October 2008 – National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) and the Local Government Association (LGA) today launched a new publication, ‘Making the Free Early Years Entitlement Work – good practice case studies to partnership working.’

Spelmans new role

A Place for Every Child: Making the Free Entitlement Work
23 October 2008 – National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) and the Local Government Association (LGA) today launched a new publication, ‘Making the Free Early Years Entitlement Work – good practice case studies to partnership working.’

Remind me again who are UKIP

@ david 1

Is that the same ex Tory MP Barry Legg who lost his seat in 1997 because his views on Europe made him seem such an oddball with his constituents ? Thought so.

@ jonnyboy.

I agree. And he will.

Spelmans new role

A Place for Every Child: Making the Free Entitlement Work
23 October 2008 – National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) and the Local Government Association (LGA) today launched a new publication, ‘Making the Free Early Years Entitlement Work – good practice case studies to partnership working.’

"Remind me again who are UKIP"

It’s a place for deadbeat’s and cast offs. As well as for traitors and the disaffected ex-members of this party. It’s a lot like the now defunct SDP only a lot less effective. Above all its is political lunatic asylum, and a place where immature Euro-sceptics go before disappearing completely off the political map. It’s a great shame but a very few of its members could have had a happy home with us, but chose instead to knife us in the back. Its activists are among the most persistently dishonest of all bloggers. A lot like termites once you have them, they have to be eradicated. Why they persist in posting here is a mystery. They should have their own Home site UKIPHOME., but are to lazy to set one up. Frankly they are a political backwater a dead end and something of a joke. The silliest thing is that they are anti-Europe but love nothing better than getting into the European Parliament were they can join in the gravy train to their hearts content.

Who are U.K.I.P.? They are the conscience of the Conservative Party. Many of the comments on this site show the Conservative Party for what it is. It is a party which has consistently sold this country down the river in our relations with the E.U. Its members put their party before the country. Yet Bishops Wife calls U.K.I.P. members traitors.

What a sad state British Politics is in when both the governing party and the party wishing to govern has to bring back has beens to ensure the public takes notice. Elected in 1970 nearly 40 years ago - must be in touch with those new generations that Cameron is desperate to get voting for him.

John Major as leader of the lords, Ken Baker, Parkinson, Tebbit bring em all back to recall the halcyon days. Are we trying to create a New Britain or just turn the clocks back? I wonder!

Spelmans new role

A Place for Every Child: Making the Free Entitlement Work
23 October 2008 – National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) and the Local Government Association (LGA) today launched a new publication, ‘Making the Free Early Years Entitlement Work – good practice case studies to partnership working.’

Why do UKIPPERs love this site so much, it distorts thread's a lot. Can we get off the subject of UKIP and the EU please, tory policy is fixed on this. Britain is entering the grip of a terrible recession. Millions of jobs are at risk, families across the country have a daunting future, there will be a general election within 18 months and we have the ability to rebuild the country.

What is particularly encouraging is the astonishingly feeble response from Labour.

"Isn't it good to have that nice man Ken back who once said some stuff about Europe and VAT that I also think" is hardly the response of a party that knows how to deal with Ken's appointment.

As for this being "worth a couple of UKIP MEPs", back on planet Earth, most people will not be voting on the basis of the return of one man to the Shadow Cabinet. That's because most people are normal, well adjusted human beings rather than obsessive UKIP types. If all UKIP can do is focus on the return of one man, it demonstrates just how desperate they are to cling on in the face of an onslaught from a resurgent Conservative Party.

In the forthcoming elections, more than previous European Elections, UKIP will be nothing more than a distraction to people who are concerned about their employment prospects and finding enough money to pay the mortgage or rent. Anybody who thinks that Ken Clarke's appointment will do anything to help UKIP in that scenario is seriously delusional.

Not surprising but still disappointing that so many of the posts have focused on the Europe issue.

Ken Clarke has already addressed this in the statement and accepts the party view on the matter.

In this period of economic uncertainty, there is NO-ONE more qualified to join the shadow cabinet than Ken. Rather than focus on the dead issue of Europe, Ken will no doubt put his energies into our economic recovery as outlined in his statement.


It's a dead issue because you, I and about 100% of the Conservative Party are against the Euro, which is causing utter devastation to the Irish and other European economies.

The bloke who is now going to craft your commercial policy is wrongheaded enough to think we should join. It is the implication of poor judgment on an issue as massive as this that is the issue. Do you really believe he can get this wrong and be too stubborn and proud to admit it, but is going to get everything else right?

Of course the economy is rather important. I agree with you. Let's see what his policies now are. Unfortunately, the taxpayer has been shafted to insolvency already by Labour and Tory policies on welfare, both personal and corporate.

I am prepared to give Ken Clarke the benefit of the doubt but only because he is such a blast from the past that neither I nor you have any idea about his economic policies for today's world. Osborne's policy is non-existent as well so we don't know what you are cheering on; only that this is an irresponsible decision by Dave.

Better Redwood than Deadwood - Clarke.

Redwood at least has a brain and is industrious, Clarke is but an obese jovial bully who does not listen, ever.

Clarke was not a bad Chnacellor because he was the embodiement of Laisez Faire. Lamont rectified his own and Major's grevious mistakes and put our former recovery in place.

Returniong Clarke instead of Redwood shows Cameron's total lack of experience and judgement or else his inbtended deceit on Europe.

Excellent news. It should have happened years ago. If the bonkers brigade flounce out to go to the kippers, good riddance. Ken is one of the few who will bring back all the voters lost to nulab who havent come back

I'm very much a Eurosceptic, but it seems pretty clear that the Tories have a settled position that Clarke has no hope of changing, and he must have come back knowing that, and knowing that keeping quiet and not doing the BBC's work for them is a condition of coming back to the front bencgh.

He'll help get rid of this terrible, terrible Government. That can only be a Good Thing. As I survey the state of the country today, I find myself very much prepared to overlook his considerable wrongness on Europe.

Press release from Mike Nattrass UKIP MEP

UKIP is gaining members because of Ken Clarke's return to the Tory front bench. "Clarke's views on Europe are so out of line with the bulk of the Tory Party membership that they simply cannot stand being in the same party any more." said Nigel Farage, UKIP leader.

Mike Nattrass, UKIP MEP for the West Midlands said "Only UKIP is firmly committed to leaving the EU so that we can be free and independent once again." "Tory MEPs consistently transfer power to the EU and that Tory policy is confirmed by Clark's return."

The first defector in the West Midlands is Denis Allen. A former Mayor of Wellington, a town councillor in Wellington, a councillor on Telford and Wrekin Unitary Authority and former cabinet member there. Denis has also been the Chairman of the Wrekin Conservative Association. After service as an officer in the RAF Regiment Mr. Allen went on to become a Lt. Colonel in the Light Infantry TA.

"I was already uncomfortable with the way that David Cameron fudged the issue of the Conservative membership of the EPP group in the European Parliament. But the appointment of such a strong europhile like Ken Clarke to the front bench was the last straw. We can see that we can't negotiate from within: they ignored the Dutch and the French referendums and they're ignoring the Irish now. We have to leave so that we can rule ourselves." said Denis Allen. "That's why I joined UKIP, the only party advocating that Britain should be ruled by the British." Mike Nattrass added " Tory MEPs put their Group allowances into the "Yes" campaign and that says it all."

Have just heard the BBC news at one. Gordon Brown gave a very warm welcome to Ken Clarke`s appointment.

Need I say more?

To Bishops wife. Neither UKIP nor the BNP have signed or ratifed a European Union Treaty, the contents of which and laws and regulations are contrary to our own Constitution.

My Loyalty is to the British Crown and through the Crown to all the people in this land and this Country. It can never be to the European Union.

Just how long do you think, especially in this Crunch Time, continue to VOTE and pay for a Government that has to obey the laws of Foreigners that override our our Constitution and they have to obey like the rest of us. How much longer are we going to stand by while all our industrie and our way of life goes 'pear shaped'?

"Press release from Mike Nattrass UKIP MEP

Nobody cares about your press releases. I used to defend UKIP on here a long time ago but I'm starting to understand why they get such a kicking.

"Why do UKIPPERs love this site so much, it distorts thread's a lot. Can we get off the subject of UKIP and the EU please, tory policy is fixed on this."

No we can't, the European MENACE is the most important issue our nation has EVER faced. You are a TRAITOR for suggesting we discuss other IRRELEVENT issues.

The EU is simply a tool of the NEW WORLD ORDER. Ken Clarke is a BILDERBERGER who will drag us into the Euro.


I've never seen so much in-fighting about Ken Clarke's appointment! We elected a Leader to lead, and leaders have to make decisions - some more difficult than others. How about everyone in the Party getting right behind David Cameron and fighting this discredited Government, instead of grumbling pathetically amongst ourselves about his decision-making?

Welcome back, Ken Clarke.
And goodbye, Hyacinth (since he "walks behind the horse with a bucket", he is Hyacinth Bucket), to be followed rapidly by David Cameron.

Clarke himself will not become Leader. But someone (David Davis?) who could reasonably claim to be a serious politician will. And that would be quite a change.

Clarke is outside the Tory mainstream on Europe? How, exactly? The Tories are the party of the Treaty of Rome, the Single European Act, the Maastricht Treaty, eighteen consecutive annual votes to approve the Common Agricultural Policy (with only the tiniest handful of rebels, towards the very hand), eighteen consecutive annual votes to approve the Common Fisheries Policy (likewise), the withdrawal of the whip from an infinitesimal number of MPs who had merely abstained on increased British funding of the EU, the deselection of a Maastricht rebel and of no other MP ever on the European issue, the fake call for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty rather than for its simple rejection by Parliament, and the refusal to promise to campaign for a No vote in the extremely unlikely event of any such referendum.

Even the vague promise to revisit the CFP, an old Major hand like Michael Howard’s nod to Euroscepticism, has been ditched by Cameron, Michael Heseltine’s mini-me. The Tories have not left the European People’s Party, and they never will.

Meanwhile, this is a golden opportunity to amend the Standing Orders of both Houses so as to require that Ministers appear to answer questions in either House as required, rather than only in that of which they are members.

The Tories could embarrass the Government (and do the right thing) by putting down such an amendment. What is stopping them?

I am a staunch Eurosceptic, for historical and economic reasons. I also am an ardent supporter of Clarke's return.

Mr Cameron is an extremely ambitious man. Do you think he would risk undermining his ambition by appointing Clarke?

There will be a gentleman's agreement somewhere, and this appointment will appeal to Lib Dem voters, and swinging Labour voters.

Roll on a landslide


Alexander @14.51. Eh?

We shouldn't waste time worrying about UKIP - they live in their little insular world closing their small minds to all modern realities. They should be pitied not attacked. They are a complete irrelevance.

Our annual contribution to the EU is a “modern reality” as is the CAP, the CFP and the fact that 70% of our laws come from Brussels. So too is the Lisbon Treaty and the dangerous fragility of the Euro zone at its periphery.

"Clarke back", that puts an end to the myth of Cameron being EUrosceptic. But then we always wondered who was pulling his strings, now we know.

This on top of the ridiculous speech on energy should finally finish the "not the conservative party".

"I think Brown's life just got a lot more difficult - not least because he's about to be held a lot more accountable for his incompetence - by someone he looks up to (not through choice)".

I agree with Jono and I think we are going to relish the fun in the HoC from now on.

At least there will be greater credence in our claims that we now have a team to clear up yet another Labour economic mess.

It really is getting a bit of a habit, though!

Like many other people, I really feel John Redwood must be second in command to GO.

Ken Clarke, like many of his generation, is not easy to typecast left or right. Remember that he was the principal player in privatising the steel industry, in being tough on the health unions, in devising fundholding for general practice, and he was also a market liberal on things like Sunday Trading. He was always pretty dry economically and was an extremely successful Chancellor. I agree with those who say that Lamont deserves some of the credit, but remember also who stacked up the high public spending pre the 1992 election (not just John Major, but his Chancellor, one Norman Lamont). It is a mistake to think all europhiles were on the left and all eurosceptics on the right, but the debate on the euro is not pnly dead within the Consrvative party, but Ken has accepted the settled policy pf the party on matters European and as a loyal member of Mrs T's team knows more about collective responsibility and its implications than most. Backbenchers can free float as Ken did on Lisbon. Front benchers cannot and I'll bet Ken not only knows that, but accepts it - see the paragraph in his statement. Private convictions are one thing, team playing quite another and Ken was a team player throughout the best part of a quarter of a century on the front bench, twenty years in office. Note too that he might well have been able to push John Major out in the aftermath of Black Wednesday and that he played the game. Prediction stands that he will be totally loyal to Cameron. His long experience will be invalauable now, and in the future. Ken's record as Chancellor places him in the top three of postwar Chancellors and not only did he leave Gordon public finances eye wateringly tightly under control but with an economy well set on the growth path that Gordon boast(ed)about. Unfashionably I suspect that we joined the ERM at the right time and got out of it too late (that as i understand it is the Lamont position and the only pity is that he was unable to persuade his Prime Minister). Clarke exploited his realtionship with the Governor of the Bank quite brilliantly because he knew the industrial world and monetary policy was the better for it. He would almost certainly have preferred to give independence to the Bank sooner but all Conservative Prime Ministers (Mrs Thatcher included)were uneasy at doing so. It is precisely because he had been a long-time crtic of Gordon Brown and because he left GB a golden legacy that Cameron's move is so shrewd and why GB is trying to play the Europe card. Gordon's growth record is in fact nothing to write home about since it probably was slightly worse than might have been achieved and that is something Ken never tired of pointing out! See his regular critiques of Gordon in the years in which the party struggled to make an impact, and you will see why so many regard his economic judgment as excellent. But more to the point, as some comments have laredy said, is his ability to put the point across in a way that sounds like common sense and in langiage that does not smell of careful labour in the night time hours. What is put so simply is based on a remarkable ability to absorb and integrate a great deal of information. This man is not at all lazy, he simply takes in things very fast indeed and processes them with equal speed. Could say a lot more, but if you ever get a chgance to talk with the man on any subject and press him hard, you will find a seemingly inexhautible fund of knowledge underpins the seeminglt simple propositions. And he knows a great deal of history, which is also of some use at this juncture. All told therefore, I think those of your commentators like Oberon who welcome the move are right. Just for the record, I too think Ken wrong on the Euro and the Lisbon Treaty, but I think him perfectly genuine in saying the single most important task for the party is to be rid of a Government that has little idea how to get out of the current crisis (rather worse incidentally than the great depression as far as this country goes, though not for the world in general). As for those who want to flirt with UKIP, just remember that the only way to be rid of Brown and all his works is a Conservative vote. Cameron remains a strong eurosceptic, so too Hague, and they will be key players in a Conaervative Government.

The ignorance of those who say the EU is not an issue is mind boggling. The EU now makes around 70 to 80 per cent of our laws - with Ken's blessing. The EU want's to become a fully fledged nation in its own right - with Ken's blessing. To become a fully fledged nation it will have to completely undermine and destroy the Parliamentary democracy and sovereignty of all 27 member nations - with Ken's blessing. We will have an EU army, air force and navy - with Ken's blessing. An armed Euro gendarmerie will patrol our streets and its French, German and other nationals within its ranks will quell any riots and protests - with Ken's blessing. Our Parliament will be undermined and destroyed by the EU - with Ken's blessing.

Now tell me the EU is not important. Ken Clarke? Bless him!

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