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« Is The Sunday Telegraph working for David Davis? | Main | Tories must recapture centre ground says Sir Malcolm Rifkind »


Sean Fear

Surely, it's now time for Ken to campaign for the repeal of the Great Reform Act, and subsequent legislation extending the franchise, on the basis that the voters can't be trusted not to vote for people and ideas he disagrees with.

Roland Smith

Sounds like Ken is realising he can't win under any leadership election rules....

Mark Higgins

so finally Ken clarke has shown that he not only supports the European project of ever-closer political integration, but that he also shares the commission's attitude to normal voters--"If they get it right, on we go, if they get it wrong, they're stupid and we continue anyway". While I do agree that the leadership rules have to be changed so as to deprive members of the ultimate say, I don't think members should be entirely written out of the picture, and in any event the insufferable aspect of Ken Clarke's comments is that they amount to a declaration that the grassroots membership is filled by right-wing fools.

maybe Mr Clarke should pause for a moment and remember that in 1997, it was the parliamentary party that rightly condemned him to defeat in the leadership election. The grassroots members were nowhere to be seen, but just praising the parliamentary party's good sense from afar.

Derek Buxton

Does Clarke want to get his snout in the fraud trough that is the EU? What is his love affair with all things to do with the Brussels EUrocrats about? I think we should be told = oh, sorry we cannot understand, unlike a certain politician who signed a treaty with the EU and then admitted that he had not read it. Clarke, get thee gone.

Paul Marks

Well at least Mr Clarke is honest about his opinions. There are many senior people in the party who despise ordinary members of Constituency Associations (and who despise the British people in general) - but they do not make their opinions clear in public.

Party membership has grown in recent years (contrary to what Mr Clarke claims) and I think that many other people might join us, but they will not join if their opinions are treated with contempt.

It is not a matter of race, sex or class - it is a matter of opinions.

There are vast numbers of people in this country who think that government is too big and also wish to end interference in British affairs by the E.U. The Conservative party must represent these people - as if it does not there will be no Conservative party.

Paul Marks.

Mark Higgins

Paul I agree with much of that, but I must add that whilst Ken Clarke is honest, he is plainly wrong as are those who share his opinion but for whatever reason keep it quiet. they all started out as grassroots members and contempt for the membership is contempt for the activists, the supporters and worst of all, the future.

Paul Marks

We are all wrong about some things.

For example I supported John Major for the leadership - and got an orgy of government spending and the signing up to the European Union treaty (Mr Major was defended by a writer in the Daily Telegraph today, but I found it very unconvincing).

And I supported Mr Howard - and got the insane antics against Howard Flight and others.

This is one reason why I hesitate to say who I support for leader - with my track record I doubt my own judgement.

However, I agree that Mr Clarke is just wrong about the most important political issue of the day (it is the most important, because unless we can govern ourselves our opinions on all other political issues do not matter). I also resent his obvious contempt for ordinary party members (although I would - I am one).

Still honesty is a virtue and Mr Clarke does seem to have this virtue (at least in some matters).

Mark Higgins

Diplomacy, and separation of your own personal disappointments from your profession, are two equally important virtues. Mr Clarke has neither.

Jack Stone

Personally I think its totally refreshing to have a politican who actually says what he thinks.
If Ken Clarke was eurosceptic rather than pro-european I suspect that he would be aclaim the next leader in the way Michael Howard was.
People should not let Europe blind them to the fact that Ken Clarke is the party`s best chance of winning the next election.

James Hellyer

Yes Jack, a leader with a track record of failure in high office is just what will get us back into power!

Clarke can point at his Home Office record and tell us how crime sky rocketed on his watch.

Or perhaps he can capitalise on being the former Health Secretary who dedicated his wilderness years to selling tobacco in the third world.

He could even remind us that we are too thick to have say on Europe, while he was so smart he never even read the Maastricht Treaty.

Or we could pick a credible leader. One who won't divide the party. One who isn't being bigged up by the BBC in the full knowledge that they will then turn on his tobbacco related activities.

Mark Higgins

And let's not forget that as chancellor, unfortunately, clarke refused to give the bank of England independence.

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