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« Ken Clarke boosted by Times poll | Main | Michael Heseltine encourages a vote for 'the bloke' »

Comments

James Hellyer


Dr Fox is an increasingly credible candidate. The general election campaign showed him to be a capable media performer. The recent debates on the EU Constitution have again highlighted his strengths.

Unlike certain other leadership candidates (who just talk about "reaching out"), Fox has a certain intellectual rigour. His speech to Politea was quite clear that we had to remind people why they wanted to be free.

He's certainly a candidate I'd be happy to support.

buxtehude

You must be joking. Intellectual rigour? Wasn't he Party Chairman responsible for an election campaign of dire intellectual poverty, the consequence of which was a zero improvement in our share of the vote? And not exactly best friends with truthfulness.

malcolm

This is exactly the sort of useless point scoring Michael Howard warns his parliamentary colleagues against getting involved in today.I guess all the leadership candidates have done things in the past which they are not particularly proud of, but really that's not the point.
We have a great oppurtunity in the next few months to try to influence what sort of party we are going to have going forward and that means fleshing out workable policies for the issues that face our country in the next few years. A good start has been made by some of our newer MPs in their 'New Localism' book currently being serialised in The Daily Telegraph.
The Labour Party managed to have this debate in quite a civilised way in 1994 (admittedly it produced a bloody awful government!) why can't we?

Mark Higgins

I applaud the above sentiments on point-scoring. It all has to stop.

as for Liam Fox, I'm afraid that on Monday he disappointed me. his response to the foreign secretary's statement on europe was not the intellectual and at the same time cutting response that one imagines Michael Howard or someone similar would have delivered. The idea was right, the sentiments were right, but it was full of passion and a bit lacking in content. what he ought to have done was referred closely to the treaty, not at length, but just enough to have Mr Straw scrambling. unfortunately, and notwithstanding the sketchwriters who described Dr Fox's response as entertaining, it seemed to me to be dictated by impulse rather than being statesman-like and I am concerned that this will not help us win new voters.

I was impressed with the "Let Freedom Reign" speech, but must admit to have been more impressed by the visions offered by others since, most particularly those of David Willetts and Alan duncan. Dr Fox seems to equate the phrase "The party must change" with "The party must modernise or move to the left". That's of course not true, but a consequence might be that he can only offer us a continuation of what has already been started, without the dose of innovation that others can offer and that I think will make us victors in the battle of ideas.

buxtehude

Don't be so silly. It's not point-scoring. What's the point of having 6 months of leadership contest if we're all going to have to respectfully say how wonderfult they all are? The truth is that these politicians are not very impressive. If they were, then our vote share would be a little different, wouldn't it? The fact is, the Conservative has an pretty low-calibre bunch to choose from. But if they're good enough for you, that's fine too.

Mark Higgins

I'm not entirely sure whether I follow the sense of that last contribution. However, as someone else has very wisely observed on this website, there is a lot of common ground between the candidates so on where they differ, we shouldn't be indulging in petty point-scoring, not least because it looks awful and gives Tony Blair another option when he wants to duck questions at PMQs. What we need is a sensible debate and I hope that's what we're having, with genuine, but reasoned and impersonal, disagreement.

buxtehude

Here's what I meant, Mark, and I agree it wasn't so clear: earlier on I had questioned the idea of Fox demonstating 'intellectual rigour' - it's just not something I would ever associate with him. He's not a bad media performer, I admit, but that's about it. I was then accused of 'useless point-scoring'. You then elaborate with the idea that arguing against a candidate simply helps Tony Blair.

But I think the worst thing would be NOT to argue frankly, to see ourselves as having to be nice and reespectful. I can't respect some of these people, and neither - obviosuly - can the electorate, and to avoid direct discussion of this means we yet again don't confront the obstacles that stand in our way. Most of these 'leadership contenders' are simply awful prospects for Prime Minister of Britain, and we have to face up to that - not go around gratefully applauding little scraps of 'common ground'. (That kind of behaviour is for the contenders themselves, not for bloggers!)

Mark Higgins

I agree with you that we must have argument and that some of the contenders are far less worthy of respect than others. however, it is far more persuasive and constructive if the argument is conducted with reason and courtesy and perceived point-scoring may deflect from the very good points that you make and that I support in the main.

Secondly, why ought we not as bloggers to applaud the common fround between the candidates? That at least is the beginning of a Conservative ideology. it shows that we know where we're going or have a general idea. We're not so hopelessly divided that we follow our own paths and never meet. frankly, if nobody had noticed that there was common ground, and a lot of it, it would be a sad day for Tory supporters.

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