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« David Cameron's old views on drug liberalisation are new blow to his campaign | Main | Dr Fox launches campaign with blend of Euroscepticism and compassionate conservatism »



Disraeli - I know this probably sounds naive to you but (1) What makes Fox a right winger? (2) What have the public said that Ancram and Fox have ignored (or what issues if that's easier)? and (3) What on earth does 'the world is always much more complex than in the world of neo-liberal ideologues whose ideas generally have little connection to genuine Toryism' mean?

Oberon Houston

I’m sorry, I just can’t get as worked-up about this as you guys, or Ancram for that matter;

1. Ken has said no to the Euro and the Constitution (he has James, no he has.)
2. There is apathy amongst the general public on this subject, suggesting the status quo is fine (ref: UKIP performance in May).
3. The popular area of debate amongst the public (what they are interested in wrt policy my friends) is not European Integration, but Public Services, Housing, the Economy, Pensions, Middle East & Trans Atlantic Foreign Policy, Housing and Crime. NOT EUROPE.

If Michael wants Europe to be at the heart of everything, he can do it under a UKIP platform, Joe Bloggs isn’t interested, and neither am I just now – I think the public want us to engage them on the things that matter to them. Failure to accept this smacks of arrogance.

OMG, Europe. Again!! I feel another migraine coming on (there are only two phrases that do that to me these days, ‘European Integration, and ‘Liberal Democrat’).

James Hellyer

"1. Ken has said no to the Euro and the constitution (he has James, no he has.)"

No, he's put them on hiatus. He's still a "yes in principle and when the time is right" boy.

"If Michael wants Europe to be at the heart of everything, he can do it under a UKIP platform"

As he didn't say that he "wants Europe to be at the heart of everything", I can only assume that you're another person who prefers tom deal with a fictional representation of someone's views rather than what they actually believe and have said.

Oberon Houston

FACT: Ancram said

“The future structure of the European Union and its impact on our national sovereignty lie at the very heart of Conservatism.”

How do you read that? I read it as it is the heart of Conservative policy.

FACT: The First line of the UKIP aim section reads:

“The UK Independence Party is committed to withdrawing Britain from the European Union.”

FACT: Michael Ancram said:

“…We must seek to retrieve those areas of sovereignty which we should never have surrendered [to Europe] in the first place.”

… fine, you decide, I’ve made my mind up. He should join UKIP, he would love it there. And I would love him there too.


And many Tory members may love to see Ken join the Lib dems - Mind you, who would notice if he left - he's been so active over the past few years.

Oberon Houston

FACT: Ken said on European Integration:

“The Constitution is dead”

So, James, boy, do you prefer to deal with a fictional representation of what people say people say, or do you prefer to accuse them of dealing in a fictional representation of what they actually believe and said. Is that a fictional representation of what you said to me?

Oberon Houston

BB - Cheap shot. Stay out of this, its between me and James - man-o-mano

Jonathan Sheppardd

Let me get this right Oberon - would you want every Euro realist MP and MEP in the Conservative party to join UKIP.

Firstly they have distinctively very different policies.. BUT

Say for example in the East Midlands. Four out of the MEPs elected would be classified as sceptical of the European Union. Two Tories - Helmer and Heaton Harris, and two UKIP (well Kilroy isn't anymore). What would you suggest the two Tories in that region do - join UKIP aslo?

Would you suggest great MPs like Andrew Rosindell should also leave.

Come off it. I have been to Brussels and lobbied for various things on behalf of British busibess, and there is absolutely no reason why we should be ashamed at fighting our corner.

Frankly Id rather have Ancram in Government sticking up for my interests - than an unelected disgraced politician like Mandelson.

Oberon Houston

I am not saying that every Conservative who is sceptical on Europe should leave (I’m sceptical for crying out loud). Just those that are willing to put it before the good of the party should consider leaving.

Jonathan Sheppard

OK - so we can be sceptical. So what has Michael done that is so bad you feel he should clear off to UKIP?

James Hellyer

"So, James, boy, do you prefer to deal with a fictional representation of what people say people say, or do you prefer to accuse them of dealing in a fictional representation of what they actually believe and said. Is that a fictional representation of what you said to me?"

Oberon, you have deliberately misrepresented what Michael Ancram said. UKIP favour unilateral withdrawal from the EU. Michael Ancram sees the turmoil following the rejection of the Constitution as an opportunity to press for a vision of the EU that is more more in keeping with our principles.

Recovering some areas of sovereignty is not the same as total withdrawal, no matter how much you spin things.

On the other hand, Ken Clarke supported the Constitution and thought "a referendum was an unbelievably silly idea and.. thought the decision of Tony Blair to hold a referendum was a very weak one." His comment that the constituteion is dead reflects a political reality, not a disagreement with the tenets of the constitution, its spirit or content.

In other words Ken Clarke doesn't see anything wrong with our realtionship with the EU. In his own words: "The political parties and leadership of western Europe have got to readdress this question of their relationships with the public at large: how you get across the positive case for the European Union and the economic as well as the political benefits it brings."

Try dealing with what people havce said and believe, rather than offering hysterical straw men to support your view that our Deputy Leader should join UKIP.

James Hellyer

"So what has Michael done that is so bad you feel he should clear off to UKIP?"

He dared say that the Conservative Party must not be led by someone who will squander the opportunity to reshape the EU that has been offered by the rejection of the Constitution.

As this point was a critcism of Oberon's favoured candidate, Ken Clarke, that made him a target for his ire. Unless he has an actual reason he's not shared...

Jonathan Sheppard

I have my favoured candidate who I think brings us the best chance of electoral success - but I know that a Tory Government will make a better fist of it than this current mob.

Michael Ancram is a decent guy - and I for one respect his perspective.

James Hellyer

Michael Ancram seems to play well with hostile audiences too. Here's what a left leaning student friend of mine said about him:

"I think you always feel that Ancram is being straight with you and will tell you things which don't necessarily show him in a good light. I was really impressed with him standing up for Pope John Paul II despite a hostile audience on Question Time a few weeks ago for instance (I disagree with that Pope's teachings but I understand *what* Ancram was saying his strengths were). "

Jonathan Sheppard

He's also another one who really works hard. Despite his hectic schedule he was able to pay a visit to the constituency I was standing in - and he wowed the members with his anecdotes whilst getting over some serious political messages.

He's a great asset to the party.


My God chaps!I get seriously depressed when I hear Conservatives urging other Conservatives to leave the party.In order to win we need both people like Ken Clarke &Michael Ancram in the party and we should recognise that both have very obvious strenghs and weaknesses.
The Conservative Party will only do well as a broad church of centre/right ideas.

Simon C

Absolutely right Malcolm.

The Labour Party accomodates Dennis Skinner, Tony Benn, Ed Balls, Kate Hoey and Frank Field. I am sure we can squeeze Ken Clarke & Bill Cash in together for a little while longer.


I wish someone could persuade Frank Field to join our party,I really rate him.He was a prime example of John Humphries assertion that honest people don't do well in the Labour party.

Oberon Houston

I'm sorry, but Tony Benn and Dennis Skinner do not set New Labour Policy. In fact their core belief of the merits of Socialism is ignored by the senior ruling Labour party members. They are tolerated because nobody cares, inside or outside the party, what they think and therefore it is easy to accommodate them.

The issue of Europe is different. A handful of very Senior, high profile members of the Conservative Party are using the party as a platform for airing these strongly held personal views and do their utmost to ensure all our time and attention is committed to it. This, I believe, is to the detriment of the Party and the Country. Lets take a more long term view and one step at a time. GET ELECTED, then look at Europe bit by bit. The public will not accept big leaps.

To be honest, I am getting weary of having all my time tied down on this, talking to a number of people that will never change their views or who will never lack the energy to pursue it, regardless of what else gets left behind. I’ve made this point a dozen times on this Blog now, so I’m going to withdraw from any discussion on Europe and lets just leave it at that.


Oberon,you keep telling others not to mention Europe and the n do so yourself!!
Rather than spend time on that I'm still waiting for your thoughts on why MPs should be the only people who elect the leader. I'm really interested to see if you (or anyone else) can put forward a coherent and persuasive case.


Funny - Oberon is just like Ken Clarke. Doesn't want to mention Europe - but when its mentioned he has a rant. Isn't that just what Labour will do to dear old Kenneth?


No I don't think so.In my opinion Ken has opened his leadership campaign with more skill than the others.

James Hellyer

Was it skilful of him to make disparaging comments about the party membership before he declared?


No James.But the rest of his campaign has overshadowed the others.

James Hellyer

I don't think his *campaign* has. The only really skilful bit was Dorrell's spin that electing Ken would be a Clause IV moment. What has overshadowed the others is his persona, which is something the media loves to dwell on.

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