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« The Davis-Willetts dream ticket? | Main | The Times salutes Theresa May »



It is certainly welcome. Is Cameron here trying 'triangulation' within the Conservative Party?

Tom Greeves

How agreeable to have some undiluted good news about the Party for once.

The Political Thinker

And I thought everyone said that David Cameron, and the Notting Hill set, were all lefty social liberals who have no concern about families, etc. – I think this proves you all wrong; although, I’m somewhat disappointed on his stance in regards to education, and it would seem, as others have said, it’s more managerial than anything else.


"I think this proves you all wrong" - does it? I hope so. Or might it prove the tricks some people will play to win? (Maybe that would be good news too - one might believe that the party needs someone who will say anything in order to win. A little bit of Clinton and Blair.)


As a married person I find the whole idea of supporting marriage through the tax system quite offensive. Why should a few extras pounds a week from the State make me more likely to remain married?

Extra support for charities working to help people in their married and family lives is welcome, but I honestly can't see the case for promoting marriage through financial gain - it seems like a very wrong-headed way to support an important institution.


In the meantime I've read the speech by Cameron. It doesn’t seem substantial to me – it’s the same soft stuff we’ve heard before, with the exception of a good paragraph on marriage. All the rest is standard Blairite stuff.

The section on offering providing a real conservative alternative to Labour, as opposed to just better management, was awful: “Imagine", he says, "If the doctrine of "clear blue water" applied in the commercial world. You're a supermarket chain up against Tesco, who's offering ‘good food at low prices’. I know: we'll offer ‘bad food at high prices’. It's no different in politics.” That is an Aunt Sally of such monumental idiocy that it demonstrates bad faith. OF COURSE you don’t offer an alternative where there is genuine consensus (and unless you also believe in the alternative). But those advocating ‘clear blue water’ are not saying that, and to pretend they are is playing the ‘same old politics’ that he says he rejects. There are many areas where there is no consensus, and where the public wants something different from what’s on offer, and where most of the Conservative Party has a different view from the ‘liberal elite’. For example, on tax. The public has a right to expect better than Cameron’s ‘I’m a Blairite too’ approach to politics.

I'm not surprised, though, that he shows such ignorance of 'the commercial world' (where a giant gap in the market is quickly filled). His is the world of professional politics and media, and always has been.

Sean Fear

I note too that he wants an *even higher* proportion of school leavers to go to non-universities to get non-degrees (assuming they don't drop out).


David Cameron does come across better than the rest and he presents what he has to say better than the others (call that management speak if you will).


"I'm not surprised, though, that he shows such ignorance of 'the commercial world'"

He has worked much higher up in the commercial world than a lot of his colleagues.


Like what, Becker?


In fact, Becker, here is the CV for Cameron:

Conservative research department, 1988-92; special adviser HM Treasury, Home Office, 1992-94; head of corporate affairs, Carlton Communications 1994-2001; Member of Parliament for Witney, Oxfordshire, since 2001; deputy chairman, Conservative party, 2003-04; head of policy coordination and member of shadow cabinet, 2004-

Now, you think there's anything there that is the 'commercial world'? P-lease. We in the commercial world would not think that his one real job - in corporate affairs - thinks of that as 'comemrcial'. Its PR, for heaven's sake, pure and simple. Shows how much you know about the comemrcial world. Sorry to sound so boorish, but really!

James Hellyer

Oh dear. Cameron has done the same dreary New Labour routines, but because he mentions marriage people are falling over to praise him. Why? This appears to be precisely the triangulation that we despised as principleless cant when used by Clinton and Blair.


I like him he actual seems a genuine person, if a bit aloof, but harmlessly so.
I'm glad Davis is being given proper opposition, and Cameron undoubtedly has strong characteristics that mean the new leader will have to give him a prominent position

James Hellyer

I hopem Cameron is not given a prominent position. His every public utterance has shown him unworthy of one.

In his Keith Joseph lecture, Cameron decried the very concept of "the centre ground" that he now seems to find so important. He also now abandons key principles concerning choice and champions marriage. These are not the actions of a conviction politician.

Simon C

Just saw him on the news. He comes across as nice and likeable, but still a baby (in political terms). He hasn't got the authority yet that a leader needs.

The party is not so over-endowed with dashing and promising young subalterns that we can afford to lose them by sending them over the top too early. Some of them need to survive to become tomorrow's generals.

I have seen Cameron in the flesh, and he was impressive, no doubt about it. But the leader? Not now, not yet.

The Political Thinker

I’ve been thinking… many of us dislike Cameron’s New Labour stance, although have any of us stopped to think – maybe that’s what the public want? They’ve won three consecutive elections, not only because people are disillusioned with the Conservative Party, but because people actually like Tony Blair, and like his moderate third way stance.

To Simon C: The problem is few people are taking notice of the older, but moderate potential candidates such as Theresa May, Alan Duncan, Andrew Lansley, etc. – Personally I’d like one of the older but more moderate candidates (such as one of the ones I’ve mentioned above), but we have to be realistic the race is / will be between Cameron and Davis, and although I’m not a fan of Cameron, I couldn’t stand having Davis as leader and I don’t think there are many who could. For many of us it’s choosing the lesser of two evils.

Simon C

This is a long game - we don't even know who the electorate will be yet. Those who have made the early running will need to keep their momentum up, or they will fall back rapidly.

As to your first point - yes people like politics conducted in a moderate voice. But they don't like Blair very much, and are crying out for an alternative. We have failed them. We need to look post-Blair - assuming he will keep his promise and stand down this Parliament. What will people want after Blair? His particular genius lay in working out before we did what the electorate wanted after Thatcher, and providing it.

James Hellyer

"I’ve been thinking… many of us dislike Cameron’s New Labour stance, although have any of us stopped to think – maybe that’s what the public want?"

Or maybe we've just failed to present and sell the pebliv a credible alternative vision.


David Cameron is highly intelligent, media friendly (which obviously is bad thing?!?), not tarnished by the past and hasn't plotted or is lazy. Consequently James Hellyer thinks he shouldn't be given a prominent position in the shadow cabinet.

You have to wonder if some of our supporters really want us to be in Government in the near future.

James Hellyer

"David Cameron is highly intelligent, media friendly (which obviously is bad thing?!?), not tarnished by the past and hasn't plotted or is lazy. Consequently James Hellyer thinks he shouldn't be given a prominent position in the shadow cabinet."

Nice straw man argument. Or I could have judged him on the vacuous things he has said, his policy announcements concerning education and the apparent baselessness of his politics (what he says now somewhat contradicts his public utterancers of only a few months ago).

I also dispute the idea that he's media friendly (other than leftish Conservatives, I've not heard anyone really praise him), hasn't plotted (apart from since the general election). He is however untarnished by the past, but as a flip to that is also unexperienced.

James Hellyer

"Or maybe we've just failed to present and sell the pebliv a credible alternative vision."

Obviuously "pebliv" should read "public". Oops!

Beyond the spelling error, this is a serious point. We haven't tried to sell the policies on school choice to the people. All we talked about before the election was "discipline". It's hardly surprising then that our policy on choice wasn't bought into.

One of my problems with the Tory "modernisers" (including Cameron), is that rather than recognise this, they blame a perfectly good policy and want to scrap it in favour of showing commitment to the current structures. Others like myself, see the structures themselves as the problem and don't accept that different management will necessarily improve things.

I think the managerial approach is also unlikely to inspire the electorate and requires the incumbent government to lose it's safe pair of hands status.

The likes of Cameron are really waiting for Labour to lose rather than finding a way for us to win. The irony is that in so doing they are throwing out what could be good and distinctive Conservative policies.

That's all rather more why I don't like these people being in prominent positions.


You know I fail to see the bad side of oppurtunistic politics if it gets the Tories in power. If Labour does it then I admit i see at as a bad thing but ''Hypocrisy isn't the worst vice''.
Blair allowed the middle class to vote Labour.
The middle class are turning Tory again, seen by Labours' greatest loss of seats in the South East. Additionally the Tories recieved 80,000 more votes in English constituencies , but still had 79 less English MPs than Labour.
That is why I believe as long as we have Davis as leader and a strong, intelligent, varied Shadow Cabinet,we can retain our core middle class vote and secure the vote of the less well off, thus giving us the land slide result we need to win the 2009 election.(Which I will be old enough to vote in, so I think I can safely say I represent young Conservatives in my views)

James Hellyer

Opportunism and unprincipled politics are not the same thing. The former relies on on the other side providing an opportunity (e.g. Borgas during the election), while the latter means betraying what you stand for.

Emulating New Labour IS betraying what Conservatives stand for. David Cameron accepts current structures in education. But it is those structures that deliver grade inflation and disobedience.

Offering to manage the structures better simply surrenders the agenda to Labour and delivers the services they want in their way. If you want that, you vote Lib or Lab.

Lorne Irving

Dear All,

Can you see any of the others really fitting the bill though? All of them bar DD harken too much back to the past and I for one do not like the emphasis DD puts on issues like Immigration, it's the economy stupid, was the phrase I thought of throughout the last uninspiring campaign.

I can see Cameron offering a far more inspiring version of Conservativism to both the party and the public.


Colin Scott

David Cameron's argument for giving tax breaks to married couples in order to support the family is disingenuous and illogical.

Is Cameron so out of touch that he doesn't understand that the family includes co-habiting couples every bit as much as married couples?

Cameron extols at length the virtues of the family, then throws in the non-sequitur: "I think we should be clear that the evidence is that married couples stay together for longer." If it is about family's staying together for longer, the policy must surely be to give tax breaks to all families for as long as they stay together and withdraw them when they split.

Could any Cameron supporter please explain why children of married couples should benefit more than children of co-habiting couples? And could they tell us what this says for people's freedom to make sensible lifestyle choices?

If this policy of his is typical (and it looks like it), he is going to lead this country by muddle down an old nettle-ridden path to Toryism.

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