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« An unnecessary, untruthful and expensive campaign to disenfranchise party members draws to a close | Main | The race for second place »

Comments

Richard Allen

I have always liked Redwood. He is extremely inteligent and ideologically he is as sound as anyone in the party. However I doubt that every spin doctor on the planet could change his image into something electable.

Derek

This result is a step in the right direction, though it may still only last for one election. There are still a lot of people who believe that the MPs should have the final choice, so let's hope that this time it works well, and that CCHQ get on with it.

Will this result mean any new entrants - I doubt it. After all to stand any chance any candidate has to come first or second in the MPs ballot, and if they know that's not going to happen, they are only going to look silly.

Unless the party has moved to the right I expect the final ballot will be Davis against either Clarke or Cameron.

James Hellyer

"who refuse to recognise reality -namely, that the only time the party membership chose the leader it was an unmitigated disaster"

... because the MPs gave the members the choice between an unacceptable and unexceptional candidate. Blame them. That was their choice.

"and that only by adopting a position and tone which will appeal to centrist, free-market liberal thinking people can the Conservative party win an election.

There's a mess of contradictions. Free marketeering is not a centrist position. It's firmly right of centre. Liberal thinking? In what way? Classical liberal? Economic liberal? Social liberal? Left liberal?

Bruce

Clarke, Rifkind, Redwood and Davis are all faces from the past, people who were leaders in the very John Major administration that ended in disasterous election defeat. A "Ghost of Tory Past" leader is not the way to persuade voters the Tory present is "new" or "changed". Such a leader will only reignite old controversies.

James Hellyer

Davis was probably such a minor figure then that, like Fox, he wouldn't be tainted by the Major years.

Bruce

James, I agree that Davis (a govt. whip at the time, not a cabinet minister) would be less tainted than the others.

Cllr Graham Smith

Followers of el Guido will no doubt have been amused by his comment on the election:

"Let Guido do an Anthony Wells style analysis (he uses computers, I'm using whiskey) - 71% of MPs think the activists are too stupid to be given a vote and 58% of the activists agree."

Source: http://5thnovember.blogspot.com/2005/09/from-tory-website-constitutional.html

James Maskell

How did the vote yesterday on Helmer MEP go?

James Hellyer

Guido is little too close to the mark, Graham!

wasp

I think Cameron's stand on the rules was damn right. A candidate should not vote on how the election should be held because they would use it to give themselves an advantage e.g. Cameron would have wanted it to stay in the MPs.

Of course DAvid Cameron will stand, hes the most likely to benefit from a Rifkind withdrawal and is could still come second in the MPs vote. It would also push him up into the heir aparent position if either Davis or Clarke were to win.

James Hellyer

Either Cameron believes in the principle of membership participation, in which case he's a political coward, or he doesn't, in which case he's still a political coward. It was a matter of principle and Cmeron showed he hasn't got any.

Sean Fear


A good many of the "activists" are party apparatchiki of various types. I expect that a majority of the 440 constituency Chairmen voted against the proposals.

Don't forget that they were placed under considerable emotional blackmail to vote in favour of the proposals in any case.

Bruce

Wasp, take a look at the results. There were no abstentions. Either Cameron voted "yes" or "no", or he didn't vote at all. The "yes" or "no" would be at odds with his alleged neutrality, the non-voting a display of non-leadership. To me the "ethical concerns" advanced by Cameron and other candidates appear to be a smokescreen for a political decision not to take a stand.

James Hellyer

I agree with your analysis, Bruce. Not voting was political decision not to offend either pro or anti democracy advocates.

Daniel Vince-Archer

I didn't want to do this yesterday because I don't like being hypercritical (or hypocritical for that matter) about another blogger's comments (I'll leave that to my erstwhile sparring partner, who I won't dignify by naming ;-) !) but having read the offending comments again, it just has to be done I'm afraid:

"I can see Redwood trying his hand now the rules have been kept the same. He could win the backing of old IDS supporters and triumph in the members vote..."

For once in his career, Deadwood has been sensible and has shown no indication that he intends to stand. If he was going to make a move, he would have done so by now, because as shown by Lansley and May, the Famous Five (Cameron, Clarke, Davis, Fox and Rifkind) have gained such a headstart that no other leadership contender will be considered a realistic prospect. As for winning the backing of old Duncan Smith supporters, even the man himself could not rely on the support of said supporters when push came to shove and he needed the party to rally round him. Deadwood would not triumph in the members vote as he wouldn't even get through to the members vote.

"It is highly unlikely that Rifkind,Lansley, Leigh, May or Cameron will stand. The candidates are almost certain to be: Davis, Clarke, Fox and possibly a dark horse like Redwood (with backing from IDS, Leigh etc.). However if Davis has his supporters vote tactically for Redwood to get rid of Fox or Clarke then it gets very interesting. Should Clarke, Redwood and Davis be left a deal could be done between Redwood and Davis..."

How on earth can you suggest that Deadwood is more likely to stand than the candidates you named? I agree that May and Lansley won't stand but I certainly don't agree that Deadwood will enter the contest in their place. As for Cameron and Rifkind, both have shown a great deal of stubbornness by continuing to defy expectations in refusing to back down and support Clarke - this indicates a growing likelihood they will stand, certainly if both give strong performances at conference. As for this mooted deal between Deadwood and Davis, in 1997 Ken, to his eternal regret I imagine, demonstrated what happens when you do a deal with Deadwood - you kiss goodbye to your credibility and you kiss goodbye to your supporters.

"Leigh and IDS supported him in 1997 - why not this time? He is widely viewed as one of the most intelligent and able men in the Tory party..."

Both these men are more likely to support Fox (unless Leigh carries out his ludicrous threat to throw his hat into the ring, in which case, I assume he'd support himself!). Being viewed as one of the most intelligent and able men in the party (which is questionable in the case of Deadwood anyway) is no guarantor of support in this contest, look at David Willetts for example.

"For once let us pick a man with a vision, conviction and a straightforward story to tell. I would vote for Redwood and I think many others would..."

That's a contradictory point if I ever saw one.

"I have always liked Redwood. He is extremely inteligent and ideologically he is as sound as anyone in the party."

Again, extreme intelligence is not enough to be leader, as shown by Willetts. As for being ideologically sound, the man is not known as the Victorian Vulcan for nothing.

I apologise if I've gone overboard with any of my comments or offended anybody, it's just I get really frustrated when people insist nonsensically {sic?} that folk like John Redwood would make credible party leaders.

Hugh Field

An interesting interpretation of my comments. However, you do not give any knockout reasons for why Redwood is not a credible leadership contender.
You question his intellect - the man is a fellow of All Souls for goodness sake!

His credibility? Who else had the guts to challenge Major in 1995? Who else has kept a constant line throughout his career (inclding a very successful stint as Thatchers' Head of the No.10 policy unit)? His dodgy image is due to Matthew Parris and the 'Barmy Army' tag that stuck during 1995.

Davis is a self regarding, devious politician who has got where he has through back stabbing. Cameron is a career politician. Clarke is past it. Rifkind has many good points, as does Fox. However, if we want a leader to challenge Brown intellctually, with logic and an academics forensic detail then Redwood is our man.

We must stop following the anti-Tory press and pick a leader for what he offers and not because Matthew Parris called him "half man, half vulcan - brother of spok". This is a childish attitude.

By the way- like Davis, Redwood is also from a council street!

Daniel Vince-Archer

"However, you do not give any knockout reasons for why Redwood is not a credible leadership contender."

There has been no indication that his intention is (or that he is even contemplating) entering the contest. How's that for starters?

You obviously missed my point that the Famous Five have already got a significant headstart over any other potential contenders and with the field being as crowded as it is I can't see any new contenders gaining enough support to catch up and secure a place in the final two.

You admit yourself that the man you're advocating has a 'dodgy image'. At a time when the Conservatives desperately need to improve their media and public perception, choosing a man with a 'dodgy image' would mean the Campbell/Labour smear-and-sneer machine and its media allies having a field day.

"His credibility? Who else had the guts to challenge Major in 1995?"

At a time when the Conservatives needed to be united behind the man they elected as leader, the man you're advocating stuck the knife in - not a shining advertisement for someone who would need to unite the party if it's to go anywhere. As for his credibility, the challenge to John Major that you refer to resulted in humiliating defeat for him.

"Who else has kept a constant line throughout his career?"

So he's inflexible and incapable of changing with the times?

"Davis is a self regarding, devious politician who has got where he has through back stabbing."

Assertion, and hypocritical considering you were lauding your man's challenge to Major before.

"Clarke is past it."

Assertion, and hypocritical considering your man's views went out of fashion a long time ago.

"Rifkind has many good points, as does Fox."

Agreed.

James Hellyer

Blimey, I'm agreeing with Daniel again (apart about Major - he should have gone in '95, as he didn'y have the support of his party - maybe we could have renewed in office under another leader).

Other than that, the field is too crowded for another candidate. Even if Cornerstone did back someone new, they probably would only have that vote, which just isn't enough.

Oh and BTW, call *me* hypercritical will you?!?

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Major - he should have gone in '95, as he didn'y have the support of his party"

Well, I may be wrong, but I believe a look at the voting figures in the leadership elections of 1990 and 1995 contradicts that assertion somewhat James H.

(I say I may be wrong because I was only 7 and 12/13 at the time of the respective leadership elections!)

James Hellyer

Daniel, he won the "put up or shut up" election, but the fact that it came to that shows that he wasn't really in control any more. If someone other than Redwood had challenged him (or if Redwood had seemed more mainstream - no Edward Leigh and stripey blazers), it might have been different.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"He won the "put up or shut up" election, but the fact that it came to that shows that he wasn't really in control any more."

Again I may be wrong, but wasn't that challenge aimed at the 'Eurosceptic awkward squad' (I'm not referring to all Eurosceptics as a large number managed to stay loyal), who were the ones Major was having trouble controlling, and who constituted a minority of the party?

If so, sweeping generalisations that Major "should have gone in '95, as he didn'y have the support of his party" are inaccurate.

James Hellyer

Okay, Major's policies on Europe were of step with his party in the country and in parliament. The most vocal of whom rebelled against his EU bills even though they were threatened with removal of the whip (hardly a sensible threat when your majority would fit in a portaloo).

The point is that when rebellions are so bad that the leader has to submit himself for re-election, that shows his leadership is not tenable. That's why even after that election, when Major won the "support" of the majority of the parliamentary party, his government was still undermined and unable to count on its members to support its business.

If a government is so wracked by division it is non-functional on may occasions, I really can't see how its leader can be said to have the support of his party. If he did, then the government would not be in that state.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"If a government is so wracked by division it is non-functional on may occasions, I really can't see how its leader can be said to have the support of his party."

Surely the government was rendered non-functional by the size of its majority? In such circumstances, the leader could have the support of the majority of his/her party but a small rebellion could still be enough to render a government non-functional. The point being that the leader would still have the support of the party despite division rendering the government non-functional.

James Hellyer

"Surely the government was rendered non-functional by the size of its majority?"

And not by its inability to command that majority?

"The point being that the leader would still have the support of the party despite division rendering the government non-functional."

The point being that things don't reach the state where a leader submits themselves for re-election unless there is significant unrest.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"And not by its inability to command that majority?"

The fact is a rebellion of two out of the entire body of government MPs would make the government a minority. This would not indicate that the leader of the government had lost the support of the party, merely of two people within the party.

"The point being that things don't reach the state where a leader submits themselves for re-election unless there is significant unrest."

The comment I addressed was "if a government is so wracked by division it is non-functional on may occasions, I really can't see how its leader can be said to have the support of his party." Interesting diversion tactic though.

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