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« Dr Cooper's letter to The Scotsman | Main | Who has put £500 on a Ken Clarke leadership? »


Selsdon Man

From the Evening Standard on 26th August

"Publisher of the Independent newspaper, Independent News & Media, paid him about £50,000 as a director of its UK division and for sitting on its international advisory board of political and business thinkers".

We can expect the Indie to back its employee. Would he still have been an employee if he had vigorously supported the Iraq War?


What is the point of running on an issue that is now in the past? We need a leader who is in tune with members on a whole range of major issues. Now that we are in Iraq it would be madness to throw it all away by early withdrawal, so what can Ken Clarke say on the matter other than 'I told you so'?

Wat Tyler

Fair enough, I guess. If you were Ken, you'd also play the Iraq card.

But is anyone really going to think this outweighs his now admitted Euro-errors? Or what I certainly consider to be his errors in taking outside employment (Andrew Pierce reckons he's made a million quid from BAT alone-,,2-1755857,00.html )?

Ken- for all his experience- seems to come up with almost laughably trasparent strategems (eg shackling up with Eurosceptic Redwood in 97).

Maybe that's the essence of his roguish appeal.

Selsdon Man

Ken is playing to his perceived strength to distract from the shortcomings outlined above.

Where is the substance on the economy, public services and pensions? That is what, I suspect, the younger generation of MPs will want to know.

Simon C

"Ken is playing to his perceived strength to distract from the shortcomings outlined above.

Where is the substance on the economy, public services and pensions? That is what, I suspect, the younger generation of MPs will want to know."

More to the point, that is what the voters will want to know.

Iraq will not be a factor in the next general election. It had limited impact in the 2005 general election, and there is no reason to suppose that it will have more sway on votes in 4 or 5 years time.

Public services, long-term pension provision, the economy and other issues will dominate the next election.

Public services and the economy are what Ken Clarke and certainly not David Cameron is qualified to speak with considerable authority on. As a former Chancellor, Health Secretary, Education Secretary and Home Secretary he is surely much more of a heavy weight on the issues that will decide the election than either Davis or Cameron. His speeches on the economy in the last Parliament were some of the best heard from the Tory benches - not something that can be said about Mr Cameron's contributions.

Selsdon Man

The problem is that the public and Party members will not have heard his contributions. Ken chose not to serve Hague, IDS and Howard and lost his Party platform.

Most of his media contributions have been about Europe. He needs to set out his platform quickly - for everyone's benefit.

Daniel Vince-Archer

Well, well, well... the article in today's Daily Mail about the respective campaigns of Clarke and Cameron certainly makes interesting reading. I've had a sneaking suspicion for a while that Cameron will come to regret being so quick to reject 'doing deals' (although I think the so-called Davis Dash or maybe even the Fox Trot could be on the cards when the contest gets really serious and Clarke has won over a lot of the potential Cameronites) and it is beginning to look like he played his hand too early and peaked far too soon.

Could it be that the Cameron bandwagon will shudder to an embarrassing halt as the wheels fall off, to be stolen by the Clarke bandwagon, which is increasingly gaining momentum? (Forgive me, I don't always talk in clichés!) Even the Telegraph was less dismissive of Clarke today!

I can envisage Rifkind, Willetts and Lansley all eventually following Yeo's lead and backing Clarke, May is more difficult to call (although previous form would suggest another Clarkeite {sic?}) and I believe Fox will hang on, quietly but steadily building support along the way.

The bottom line is I cannot envisage any of the remaining leadership contenders backing Davis or Cameron and it may be the case that, just as in 1990 (Major beating Thatcher and Heseltine), 1997 (Hague beating Clarke and Redwood) and 2001 (Duncan Smith beating Clarke and Portillo), the written-off outsider may come through and win.

Feel free to disagree!

PS For the record, I am neutral to a certain extent, as I would be content to see any one of Davis (right background), Clarke (popular), Fox (sound ideas), Rifkind (experience/wisdom) or May (sensible plus offers something different) lead the party, no offence intended to Cameron ('toff'/Blair clone), Willetts (lacks charisma/wrong image) or Lansley ('who?').

Selsdon Man

Cameron is now trying to appeal to the Bush supporters (and Conerstone?). His campaign does appear to be stalling.

Fox's natural constituency is the same as Davis'. He has his work cut out but could be the dark horse (and take votes of new MPs from Cameron too).

Willetts is more likely to back Davis, especially if he is likely to win.

Lansley and May will probably back Clarke. Rifkind, judging by his conditions that need to be satisfied for him to stand, would probably back Clarke too.

By the way, is anyone fighting Labour at the moment or have hostilities been postponed?


Some interesting views, here is my take on the current situation:

Davis: nothing new, still the choice of the right. Still never going to be Prime Minister.

Cameron: Yes he is trying to appeal to both sides of the party, but he is still the modernising choice. Accomplished when he speaks, but understandably concerns about his inexperience.

Fox: despite the support from this site, he hasn't got very far out of the starting blocks at all.

Clarke: Total wildcard, could be PM, could condemn the party to another 10 years in opposition.... but at least it'd be interesting to see which.


Good question Selsdon Man.Who the hell is fighting Labour?
Cameron in particular has blotted his copybook in my opinion by having very little to say about Education and a helluva lot about a raft of other subjects.Most disappointing

Chris Hughes

If Ken Clarke runs against Iraq, thats it for him in my own view. I cannot and will not support him if he does - end of.


I opposed the war and while I've been a Euro-sceptic, I have never been any more than sceptical. On the Europe issue recent events suggest integration is slowing. My two problems with Ken Clarke are the tobacco links, especially with a company that has been accused of acting highly unethically and his arrogant attitude. But I can't deny he'd shake things up and we do need a pretty quick shake up.

James Hellyer

You'd have thought A Level and the GCSE results would have given Cameron a chance to strut his stuff, wouldn't you?


That's a very good point, James. We haven't heard much from DC on the ever-inflated results scandal...


Cameron did speak up during the results, criticising Labour's lack of long term backing for A-levels. It can be difficult to be too critical on a day when hard-working students have been achieving good grades. If we only have the debate on grading at exam time we will seem unpleasant and negative. A turn off to the young.

James Maskell

I agree with Another Nick there. Its difficult to criticise. I got my results for my Intensive A Level in Business Studies (fail by 3 marks-the exams were very hard-got the AS with a D) and an E in AS Media Studies (didnt revise at all). Ive already got my 3 A Levels. I find it extremely hard to take the results when people slag off the A Level system on the day when results come out. Many students have worked so hard that for it to be put down to the exams being easy is an insult to their intelligence.


I read an article by Cameron: 'Confidence in GCSE's must not be undermined' and his suggestions for a 'School Leavers Programme' on 25 Aug.

No-one's fighting Labour because they've been on their holidays.

Perhaps Ken Clarke is the Tory's answer to Age Discrimination legislation after all you did elect the first female PM! I think the language used concerning his age should be cautious.

Personally for me he's not much of a team player and seems to take his ball away when not chosen as the teams' goal hanger.

Although I do find him rather like Bagpuss and it would certainly be different. I'd like to know Mr Clarke's views on None smoking in public places, business regulation, youth crime, school leaver skills, immigration, and 24 hour boozing before I form any conclusions.

James Hellyer

As Clarke is a fully paid up and well paid supporter of Big Tobacco, I'd be surprised if he favoured any public smoking ban.

As far as any other issue goes, Europe aside Clarke accepts the status quo. When he was Home Secretary, he accepted his civil servants advice that his job was to manage public expectations of crime, not to cut crime. Unsurprisingly crime shot up on his watch.

Clarke may have been a formidable debater once, but he's an intellectually lazy yesterday's man. Saying he's the answer to our problems would have been like Labour making the same claim for Lord Healey in '92!


good questions from a-tracy, I too would like to hear from Ken on smoking and alcohol legislation/proposed/suggested legislation. Mind you I'm not sure what any of the candidates views are on the proposed smoking bans and Davis and May are the only two I can think of who have really spoken out about the new alcohol rulings.

As the thoughts in this post become even more random.... if the CC rejects the MPs only vote Theresa May could still have a shot at the leadership, high profile in opposing the MPs only vote and well known among party members.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Willetts is more likely to back Davis, especially if he is likely to win." - Selsdon Man.

In light of Clarke's complimentary comments about Willetts in the Daily Mail interview, I stand by my belief that Willetts will end up backing Clarke, probably in exchange for the Shadow Chancellorship in the event that Clarke becomes leader.

Mark Vane

Hey, I recently added a news widget from to my blog. It shows the latest news, and just took a copy and paste to implement. Might interest you too.

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