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'The Blairites did have excellent ideas for government'

I can't think of any. They came to power thanks to the public's boredom with the Conservatives after 18 years and in the space of 10 years they managed to wreck both the economy and the Constitution. One of the few original ideas they had was to take away the Bank of England's supervision of the banking system and look what that led to. Another was to flood the House of Lords with newly-created Labour peers and look at what that led to with cash for peerages and cash for peers' votes. Excellent ideas ? I can't think of any.

I heard that this was in the pipeline a few days ago from a reliable source. As Fraser Nelson indicates, I understand that more are lined up for the next few months.

I have blogged on it here - http://richardwillisuk.wordpress.com/2009/02/14/senior-labour-advisor-defects-to-conservatives

I have always been quite wary of defections. It doesn't matter which way they go or from what party either. It does worry me that someone who has supported a party would defect to a pole opposite. Surely their fundamental beliefs remain the same. Or is it that in this case the Conservatives under 'Dave' are not too far away from being new Labour circa 1996?

In what sense has David Freud defected? He was at David Cameron's welfare launch in Brixton as an active participant a year or so ago.

He clearly suffers from a bad case of political promiscuity.

It does worry me that someone who has supported a party would defect to a pole opposite.
With you Josh. Now becomes a peer for defecting. Bloody disgraceful, should earn his spurs. Sickening.


John C.

Quote: "They came to power thanks to the public's boredom with the Conservatives after 18 years"

Er?...........That's not strictly true now is it.

Labour came to power in 1997 because the Tories under Major were corrupt and the public were fed up with the almost daily round of Tory Sleaze at the time.

It was Anger at Tory Sleaze that swept Labour to power and the hope of a decent, honest Government. Oh the irony!

However, little did we know that after 11 years, the current Labour Government would make the Tories peccadilloes look like a minor parking infringement when set against the WAR CRIMES of New Labour LOL

I would however say that, do you guys really want a Labour cast off?...........are you not worried that someone who has been happy to sup at the Labour Table despite what they stand for, will be perceived by the public as ....tainted.

David Freud's proposals on welfare reform are completely doomed to failure. I predict this with absolute certainty.

Hopefully the Conservative party will not be taking advice from Mr Freud on welfare.

"I would however say that, do you guys really want a Labour cast off?"

Hopefully the Conservative party will not be taking advice from Mr Freud on welfare.
Point one, NO.
Point two, It's to be Lord Freud, for heaven's sake.
Bloody politicians.

The Blairites had no good ideas for government, just good spin for suckers. E.g:the Academy programme is a pale imitation of the Tories' City Technology College concept.

David Freud will have to improve his basic understanding of the benefits system if he's going to continue to comment on welfare reform. Last year he was stating that Incapacity Benefit applicants have their claims authorised by their own GPs.

It does make you wonder about his grasp of the subject.

With defectors who jump a sinking ship (as opposed to those who experience a genuine Road to Damascus conversion) as friends, who needs enemies?

Blair too, of course, suffered a blinding flash and fell off his donkey. Some of us are old enough to remember when Labour-controlled councils forbad the schools under their control to even compete in games against the pupils of the City Technology Colleges.

getting a libdem mp is the big prize

'City Academies are a great idea'.Really? Why?

Oh for heavens' sake, Winston Churchill "defected" twice.

Only in his day it was called "crossing the floor of the house".

Alan Douglas

Is this a case of defection for a peerage?

This is more evidence of Blue Labour turning to Blairism. I want nothing to do with Red Toryism or Cammunism. We need more true Conservative Peers. Jeff Randall would be my choice.

"Is this a case of defection for a peerage?

Posted by: michael mcgough | February 14, 2009 at 23:24"

Michael, it's defecation - on Conservative values!

I bet the bedblockers are worried that they'll be no peerages left for them if they've all gone in defection bribes.

"What next retiring UKIP MEP joins the EPP Party for the price of a Tory Peerage?

Posted by: Maastricht Whip | February 14, 2009 at 23:32"

IIRC, Roger Knapman MEP, former UKIP leader, was a Tory Whip. Would the Tories give Piers "Duvet" Merchant (Knapman's aide) a Knighthood for defecting too?

People change their minds though, or circumstances change and people who are on the fringes of one party find themselves going into another, sometimes it's a cynical aim at furthering career, but not always.

Margaret Thatcher and Keith Joseph for example started very much as One Nation Conservatives who were favourable towards retaining almost all of the social reforms of the 1945-51 Labour government, Ronald Reagan started as a Liberal Democrat and made a speech campaigning for Harry Truman to be returned as President in the 1948 election, Eric Forth was a Communist in his youth, President Mitterand was a Gaullist who later became a Socialist President. Ariel Sharon started as a prominent member of Mapai, was later a member of the Israeli Labor Party, before later joining Likud, and eventually forming Kadima - all based on firm philosophical principles. Winston Churchill started as a Liberal standing on a plarform of mass Nationalisation, Ramsay MacDonald and a number of others switched from Labour to National.

President Mitterand was a Gaullist who later became a Socialist

err, no

Petainist, maybe. But NEVER a Gaullist.

Some Blairite ideas were never bad. Please remember that at one stage the discussions driving politics was the ability in service delivery.
However having said that, I believe that Blair mouthed Tory policies without truly understanding them, which is why their service delivery was so bad - there was strong cognitive dissonance.
GOAT is much more realisable with the Tories than ever with Labour, and never really achievable with Brown with his control-freakery tendencies,
I do accept the unease expressed about side-changing. I prefer also people of consistent side to those who jump with the wind, but who of us through their ancestry can say none ever changed? It's a bugger.
When is it right to be strong oak and when to be flexible sapling?

Its always possible for MPs to switch between parties, its important as it compells political parties to reflect and keep their eyes on the views of their grass roots.

It is a rather irritating issue however when its one of your own thats defecting however!

I wonder who will be next?

G. Stuart (Lab. B'ham Edgbaston),
L. Moffatt (Lab, Sitting Duck)
F. Field (Lab, Birkenhead)
S. Woodward (Lab, Judas ****!)
Q. Davis (Lab, Stupid ********!)
A. Blair (Lab, Jerusalem East and Hebron)

Take your choice!!!

Mass uncontrolled immigration
Gay Marriage
Early Realease
Declasifcation of Cannibis
Regions etc- some good ideas maybe (that they stole from the Tories) but the rest are PC, marxist b@ll@cks.

Kate Hoey.

The word should really be "defecation" not "defection" as the real motives rarely smell better than something in the gutter

GB£.com, presumably then, you'll be adding Mark Oaten to the list?

It would be wonderful to get Frank Field.

Along with Hoey, I do not know why they are still with that ZanuLabour crowd.

Who is in charge of defections,is there a supremo or are there seperate ones for each party?Or perhaps there is a dirty tricks dept to utilise embarassing info.It must be much easier to go after old colleagues than cold call the Labour rats.Is there a sliding scale as with cash for honours?Do defectors have to promote 'ever closer union' within the EU?

Freud wouldn't haven't defected if David Cameron had not made it clear the Tories are serious about welfare reform. Freud was never really a party animal and it is good that he'll give solidity to our policies in a way that Theresa May probably cannot.

I have just deleted two comments from 'Maastricht Whip'.

Comments from the same IP address under different names will be deleted and the person risks a full ban.

I think a good start would be to go for some "low-hanging fruit".

This would mean going for GOAT ministers like Digby Jones, who certainly should be approached. Adair Turner and others who have axes to grind after having their reports for the government ignored would also be natural candidates for some sort of role. Picking off a few of these would enable us to claim Labour were losing non-party supporters and being reduced to a left-wing rump.

Next stage would be to go for someone like Andrew Adonis, before getting the real coup of a Kate Hoey, Frank Field or an Orange-booker.

"Comments from the same IP address...the person risks a full ban."

Editor, this is a great idea. There are people who come here, not to offer constructive criticism, but merely to stir up rancour and spoil the threads.

As an election approaches more and more new vistors will be logging in to find out where the party stands and what they can expect of a Conservative government.

The last thing we want is to see new voters turned off by reading contrived posts full of 'Nastyism', posts that don't reflect the party or the true nature of policy.

Editor you musn't be swayed by libertarian arguments that all opinion is of equal value, because some opinion expressed here is purely intended to put people off voting Conservative. Classic black propaganda.

I don`t think it is to do with Freud getting a Peerage - those, like so many other things, are not what they were. It has to do with wanting to be on the rising side of success not going down with the sinking ship of failure. And people who cross the floor for that reason, as against for a genuine change of heart, always end up looking foolish because politics swings and sooner or later the Successful end up as the Failures again. Then those who have jumped ship are stuck. Unless they jump back again, whereupon they look REALLY silly.

I am totally with eugene: Frank Field and Kate Hoey next, please.

Freud advised on policy. If he was genuinely interested in reform, then why not advise the Government of the day - that his ideas were watered down almost to the point of complete ineffectiveness is not his fault.

That he now wishes to be part of th enext Government with a genuine chance of getting his ideas implemented is great. I hope we have the courage to go further and demand that JSA claimants put three days a week in, sweeping streets, tending parks etc for their local councils, in return for their benefits. That way we cut the tax bill and still get the work done!

"Lord Crawler of Toady", a good title.

I wonder if Brown had offered him a Peerage he would have stayed on line with Labour?

I feel that Cameron will rue the day he took this cuckoo into his nest. Also there must be people within the Conservative Party who are knowledgeable about Benefits and Welfare either in the Commons already or from the outside world who if necessary could be given a Peerage as Freud is to be.

First Cameron gets far too chummy with the Greens , now with a Labour adviser. What next one must ask?

John Moss, no-one objects to government finding work for the unemployed, however any work undertaken has to be paid at the going rate, otherwise the government is breaking its own laws on the minimum wage. One well constructed legal challenge would kill work-for-dole stone dead and expose it as exploitation of the jobless.

You mention street-sweeping, how are people going to react if regular street-sweepers are being replaced by unemployed people doing it for much less money? Its going to put regular street-sweepers out of a job, a living-wage, and most likely, they will end up being unemployed and having to sweep the streets at a rate of pay far less than they were receiving while being employed.

John, I sense that your approach to welfare reform is not conditioned by a desire to help people find work, but rather finds its lifesource in pure 'ressentiment', you have a bee in your bonnet over this issue and this clouds your judgment, making your responses entirely punitive.

If we want people to vote Conservative, especially during a time of deep recession when people are losing their jobs, is it really wise to be threatening them with workfare?

I think you're right Tony. I used to think that the jobless should be "put to work", but that would undermine those in work and create all sorts of perverse incentives and unintended consequences. A system whereby benefits are not more attractive than work, where work really does pay would be much better.

Another careerist following the money. What's new?

I'm usually sceptical about defections particularly when there's ideological differences but this, for me, is a welcome defection. Freud informed both Tory and Labour welfare policies. There's a lot good in what Purnell is doing. Him coming over to the Tories suggests (a) the Conservatives will continue reform and (b) the writing is on the wall re Tory likelihood of being next govt.

Editor, these reforms promise to take 2.3 million off benefits. This was Purnell's fantastic boast when he slid into Hain's seat. Do you think that these reforms can even take half that number off benefits or even a quarter?

This is all window dressing, an attempt to manage welfare rather than resolve the problem. David Freud may well be able to offer advice to the party in other areas, but on welfare he has not addressed the key question, namely job-creation, how are close-on two million JSA claimants going to be moved into less than half a million vacancies?

Cleethorpes Rock, yes, you are exactly right. Welfare reform is being conducted with a great deal of emotion and very little commonsense. In the long term the solution has to be found in job-creation, in the short term the state should build a waged public works programme into the benefits system, so that after a given time a guarantee of waged work will be offered to those on JSA. This would effectively end the concept of long term unemployment and be a lifeline to those lost in the welfare system.

I'm with Tony Makara on this! I may be well to the Right on Social issues but economically I am Centre to slightly Left.

If the Conservatives wish to have the "Nasty Party" tag back with a vengeance then hitting the unemployed etc by forcing them to work for a pittance below the Minimum Wage is the way to ensure that happens!

Both Kate Hoey and Frank Field have too much integrity to join a party which has yet to define its own core principles and too closely resembles a rebadged "Third Way"

Adair Turner and others who have axes to grind after having their reports for the government ignored would also be natural candidates for some sort of role

Adair Turner is a true believer in the discredited Stern report.
We have more than enough of these bewildered AGW types already.

Of course another famous floor crossing deadbeat was Oswald Mosley. I am always very suspicious of such people even more so in this age of professional politicians. what ever happened to conviction and party loyalty.
"Surely their fundamental beliefs remain the same" Clearly they do not have any.Its makes a good headline. This type is always after power at any cost Churchill being a classic of the type.In Winston's case he was indeed a one off, an egotist who was right to bang his own drum. Today's defectors will rightly be quickly forgotten.

I take issue ith Silent Hunter. Yes there were a few bad eggs, but the Major government was not corrupt - at least it did not issue Pasports for money. We also were divided on Europe.
The problem was that the media was tired of us. Campbell and Mandelson very cleverly manipulated the media under those circumstances - 'sleaze tag' which was repeated all the time.
We were turfed out - but the corruption and the perceived incompetence was nothing compared to the monumental scale of corruption, graft and sleaze of this government and its utter inability to run the country.

All labour governments run out of money.

John Moss is a one-trick pony, and a boring one at that.

It's a shame the Tories can't snatch Vincent Cable from the Lib Dems - he is in big demand....It's also a shame he is in a Party that are going no where...

And when all Nu leiber front bench MPs have joined the Opposition front bench - presto, no change.

I assume that he is one the dynasty. He can’t paint, and he’s not witty enough to get onto Just A Minute, so he has to do this instead. If he is not one of the dynasty, then, well, he can’t paint, and he’s not witty enough to get onto Just A Minute, so he has to do this instead.

Ask yourself whether or not the Government’s “welfare” “reforms” have been successful. Ask yourself whether or not they have really happened at all. Ask yourself what they would be supposed to achieve, even if they were ever to materialise. They are not about getting people into work. There is no work. No, they are merely about cutting people’s benefits in half by taking them off Incapacity Benefit and putting them onto plain, old JSA. But that is all.

We know that David Cameron is fully signed up to this, as to all other aspects of current government policy. That is the point of him: to ensure that nothing changes during his single term, so that everything is just fine and dandy for whichever Miliband, or Cooper-Balls, or Purnell then takes over, having used the four or five years to purge the Labour Party, once and for all, of what little within it still resembles the Labour Party.

Not least, speaking of Purnell, Cameron will be keeping him on in his current position, so that he will once again be Freud’s boss. So Purnell may very well segue into 10 Downing Street in 2014 or 2015 without ever having left the Cabinet or even lost the Labour Whip (which still exists, despite what in historical terms is now a near-total lack of votes on the floor of the House of Commons).

After all who is to stop this? I sometimes get people squeaking about “his CLP”. But the whole point of a CLP is now to do whatever the MP tells it to do; they now barely exist even where there are Labour MPs, and as good as not at all where there are not. That, and to provide people who can be relied upon to wet themselves with excitement at being in the same room as Caroline Flint, or Andy Burnham, or some other such stellar luminary.

The idea of having their MP in the Cabinet would delight any CLP beyond words, entirely regardless of which party the Prime Minister came from. And the idea of calling out the MP, no matter what he did, would in any case never occur to them.

Of course, the shadows of shades of constituency-level organisations in other parties are just as bad. Which is another reason why Cameron will have no difficulty, either in keeping on a Labour MP in good standing as Work and Pensions Secretary, or in appointing a Labour peer in good standing (Andrew Adonis) as Education Secretary. His prolonged standing ovation from a room overwhelmingly containing MPs, MPs’ staff, party employees, think tank employees and media types would be in no danger whatever.

David Lindsay,

You keep making these assertions about Purnell and Adonis but we never see any evidence. Why is that?

On the matter of Purnell, whatever happened to the gushing article praising Purnell to the hilt on this website after his appearance on the BBCs Question Time? It appeared for less than an hour and then promptly vanished, which was a pity because I was just gearing up to write a counterpoint.

How anyone can admire an arch career-opportunist like Purnell strains the mind, people like Purnell and Caroline Flint sully the art of politics. Hopefully a crushing Conservative landslide will wipe these grubbing careerists off the political map.

"Comments from the same IP address...the person risks a full ban."

That's all well and good but many people are posting from Home or small business networks.
My wife posts as do I,indeed even my son sometimes posts here We have four machines sharing one broadband connection, in future all but one of us expected to be silant? I think that all such a ban will do is remove many honest posters whilst those who really do want to make multiple posts in different names will likely use IP masking.

"The Blairites did have excellent ideas for government, and Brown hasn't managed to destroy them all."

Bizarre statement from Tim.

I was a supporter of Blair back in '97 but even prior to the election I believed that the apparent absence of policy was to 'keep the powder dry'.

What I learned was that the absence of policy was exactly that. Make encouraging noises to everyone and a few useful soundbites. But no understanding of Government machinery and no vision for the change you want to make.

No Tim you're wrong on this one. Blair et al had no ideas other than get into power and then stay there. That was the whole point of New Labour.

And now? Our economy is wrecked, sovereignty has been passed to the EU, we have the Human Rights Act to protect terrorists and ID cards for the rest of us AND we're stuck in a war we can't win.

But Tony Blair is a multi-millionaire. Any good ideas that man had were only for himself.

My sincere apologies Tim, I've just re-read the article. You were quoting.

It's Fraser Nelson who took leave of his senses and suggested that Blair and the gang had good ideas for Government not you good self.

My error highlights another Blair displayed - a complete lack of regard for detail.

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