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« | Main | 67 days until the next leader of the Conservative Party is elected... »


Mark Fulford

He's won my vote.


Let's keep rejoicing that we all now have one Mark!


Well, it's hardly news he that he has won my vote... he did some time ago. I must say I'm really pleased with his website and the video is excellent. Ladies and gentlemen may I present to you, the next Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Mr David Cameron :-)


Cameron makes good points. What's more, he's kicked off the campaign with a trendy, "new wave" launch and has emphasised that we have to do the same as Labour did in the 90s to make us electable.

I'm a little worried about him, to be honest. I don't think the country needs a Tory Party to emulate Blair - when he finally quits, the nation will be sick to death of him. They won't jump easily into a similar style of leadership under Cameron.

Don't get me wrong, Cameron came across well. It's just that I have severe reservations over whether he has the experience and the strength to carry out his policies, and whether his image and character is one which will be palatable to the British Public come 2009/10.

Jack Stone

If Ken Clarke fails to get through to the final two and DC manages to instead he will have my vote.
Everytime you hear him speak you can`t help but be impressed. He as Prime Minister written all over him.
A leader must not just have the right policies they must have the ability to inspire and make people want to follow them on the journey they want to take.
David Cameron as that ability and I am sure that when he becomes party leader and he surely will sooner or later he will lead the party back to power.


Elena, I understand your concern, but in reality I think listening to Cameron now, he has the potential to be one of the great leaders of the generation. And yes a modernising Tory & a New Labourite are going to have some common ground, but having put right wingers up against Blair in the past and failed we need a leader who appeals to the masses but has his thought based in Conservatism. If you watch the video, read the sentiments, this is a man who's approach is already on a par with World leaders. It would be a massive shame if he doesn't get his chance to shine. For him personally that time needn't be now, but for a battered party - the party needs Cameron to lead us now.

"never better expressed" - ed.

Ed, I do wonder about you. Whenever one of the candidates says something that you've been pushing, you get so over-excited.

I know you're in Washington DC right now, and watching and commentating from afar, but you must try to keep some perspective. Cameron is certainly capable of putting together some button-pushing phrases, but it doesn't add up to anything convincing.

Jack Stone

The choice people have to make is do they want someone as leader who they feel comfortable with and who mirrors there views or do they want someone as leader who can win.
David Davis will lead the party to eight or nine years more in opposition, Ken Clarke or David Cameron will give the party a real chance of getting back into power in four years time.
I know what I want!

Mark Fulford

Well he convinced me, and I'm prepared to put my name to my comments...


Leaving my name off was an error, from having removed my old cookies.

By the by, are you the same Mark Fulford who has many Tory MPs as clients?


Excellent website, enjoyed reading the manifesto, like the 'we believe'. Nice friendly photo I thought including all the media comments from a wide range of publications which was quite clever too. Charming, but there are many people in social enterprises that are just in it for themselves too, check the benefits and pay package of a lot of charity workers and their sick leave payments, the same with housing associations.

Will the national school leaver programme be voluntary or compulsory - who will pay for it? how much will it cost? Will it be local to where they live or residential, how do you get children with no transport to residential programmes? When do they fit it in? the majority of children I know get summer jobs (nmw £3 per hour) to help fund themselves through college, not everyone gets educational maintenance allowance and parents with three children can't afford massive amounts of pocket money or even to match the EMA allowance that some of their friends are getting.

On Cameron's interest in road charging, is this just for new roads or does he believe that all roads should be tolled? Has Cameron worked out the impact of road charging on the economy and the workers, will essential workers not have to pay, will transport companies get rebates or put charges up higher which comes through in shop prices?

On compulsory pensions - I believe this will only work if we all pay into the same pot it won't work if private companies and private individuals aren't allowed into the same state workers pension pot - it won't be fair to ask private businesses and private individuals including the self-employed to fund their own pensions and then pay more taxes to fund the public sector pensions too because successive governments haven't put up the contributions; do we all pay the same amount per year or a % of earnings, where is it invested to guarantee the return that the public sector are guaranteed, will the Changed Conservative Party guarantee these pension savings? Be careful what you promise you might have to deliver.

I don't want this to sound too critical because at least David Cameron has issued quite a detailed manifesto there are just some items that ring alarm bells.

Patrick Leahy

You're far too kind on Cameron. Everything on his website is incredibly wishy-washy and full of meaningless statements. No-one quite knows what he stands for as far as I can make out.

Before making my next point I'd like to point out that *in theory* I should be a Labour supporter but will sometimes vote Tory because some candidates are slightly less liberal on social issues. But Cameron is too much of a "toff". I know people will berate me for saying that. I have no objection to "toffs" per se - but I very much dislike the low taxation, privatisation aspect of Conservative party policy and whenever you see someone like Cameron presenting it you just think it's so that it benefits the rich because of his background. It's not so much prejudice but more a dislike of a policy which is made more salient by Cameron-types.

I used to like Davis a lot but have gone off him considerably recently. He seems to have also become rather wishy-washy and is using lots of Blairite inclusive-language. I think I now prefer Fox even though I didn't like him at first (!) because he's the only candidate so far who has had the guts to make
big statements on even controversial issues like abortion.

I might not agree with him on all these things but he seems to be the only candidate offering clear policy decisions. The Tories are in a crisis because nobody knows what they stand for. They need a candidate whose positions are much clearer to offer a proper alternative for swing voters like me.

Daniel Vince-Archer

I don't normally buy into the paranoid allegations of BBC bias and I don't indulge in the gratuitous BBC-bashing that others are so fond of, as I find it rather distasteful for my liking, but I have to say I'm disappointed by their reporting of the launch of the two campaigns today (although referring to Cameron as a 'young Tony Blair' was spot on IMO).

I had BBC News 24 on in the background earlier on and on both occasions that they reported on the launches, they followed it up by wheeling out a Cameron supporter (first Nick Swire {sic?}, second Matthew Parris). Where were the Davis supporters? The BBC could hardly claim that he has a shortage of supporters so there is no excuse for the lack of balance.

On the BBC Ten O'Clock News, Nick Robinson was noticeably more aggressive in his questioning of Davis compared to the tame approach he took with CamEton; although, to be fair, he did effectively admit that Davis is almost certain to make the final two by stating that the other four candidates are scrapping for the support of the remaining undeclared MPs.

If the BBC continues with this unabashed cheerleading for CamEton then I will despairingly admit that the allegations of bias aren't so paranoid after all...

James Hellyer

Hugo Swire, OE.

And the BBC is notably kinder to the more "moderate" candidates. They've given Ken Clarke huge amouns of coverage (including putting his speeches in full on Radio 5 - they've not done that for anyone else), and seem to go easy on Cameron. It's almost certainly not deliberate bias, but these men are closer to the BBC's sympathies.

Simon C

Cameron's launch was certainly portrayed very sympathetically by the BBC - and he came across pretty well. A good website too. He is one for the future. But, having warned all summer against trashing the Party brand, some of his comments today have come dangerously close to doing just that: "our culture and attitudes are out of step with twenty-first century Britain". The Nasty Party rides again?

He's also complained that the leadership election has sent everyone to sleep - as a candidate what responsibility does he bear for that?

It all smacks a little too much of using the campaign to lecture the Party about the need to change, rather than seeing the campaign as an opportunity to demonstrate the leadership and vision that he would bring to Britian. Banging on about the need to change is easy to do, and ammounts only to talking the talk.

Liam Fox, in contrast, has focussed only on his vision for Britain, and has not talked introspectively at the Party. He has demonstrated his compassion for the mentally ill, and his commitment to Human Rights. His Broken Society theme summons up a new and vivid language for conservatives, that challenges preconceptions and takes us beyond the realms of the purely economic. Liam's campaign walks the walk, as the Daily Telegraph recognised in its leader today.

James Hellyer

I think the key difference is that David Cameron talks about the need to change, while the supposed ultra-Thatcherite Dr Fox, actually has changed.

Daniel Vince-Archer

Just as a point of interest, isn't it notable that no new parliamentary supporters came forward at Cameron's launch today?

Simon C

Good point Daniel. In a similar vein, how did DD do on that front today? Were there any more endorsements, or can we assume that we have reached the end of his rolling thunder?

James Hellyer

Cameron unveiled three new supporters on his website:

Soames, Butterfil and Robertson.

That's the OE vote sewn up then!

Daniel Vince-Archer

I stand corrected. I assumed that because the supporters lists hadn't be updated that nobody had come forward.

James Hellyer

I posted into "Who's backing whom" this afternoon. I guess what with being in a different time zone and all, Tim's not picked up on it yet :)

Barry Graham

I think Cameron has his finger on the pulse and is the candidate most aware of the scale of change needed in the party.
It's just a shame he doesn't seem to have momentum in terms of new backers coming forward.
I'd happily vote for him in the members' vote but I'd be astonished if he's one of the two names on the ballot paper.
If not this time, though, I hope his time will come in the future.


Daniel, re BBC bias.Look at Ceefax,BBC.CO.UK, or listen to Radio 5 for a few days.Then you'll see they are as biased as hell.

Oberon Houston

Patrick, you seem to be the kind of person we are trying to convince that voting Conservative will be a better choice at the next election.

I can understand your point that Cameron may sound a bit wishy-washy in his statement, but within the party at the moment we are becoming acutely sensitive to these kind of words. Internally we are trying to orientate ourselves (if that’s the right word) before ploughing on. Cameron’s statement says as much about strategy as it does about tactics. For instance he is asking the question “Do we need to re-align where the party starts from before woing voters towards us”, whereas I suspect David Davis is asking the question “We remain as we were, but do we need to change our tactics to get voters on board?”

I believe the country has changed and to remain relevant we must start from a different place, a place where everyone in the Country can feel a Conservative will support them to live full and happy lives. This leadership election will decide whether we are ready to follow that course or not.

John G

Oberon, not sure that the likes of Willetts would be on board the DD campaign if that's all it is.

I quite agree that Cameron articulated some important details that the Conservative party needs to listen to. But as a campaign launch, I found it desperately disappointing:

1. What's all this music, pre-speech slide shows, etc all about? It seemed to prove that he's all about presentation. The more he reminds people of Blair, the less trust he will engender, which is a shame.

2. His comments on the vulnerable and foreign policy are welcome, but not exactly ground-breaking. Willetts and Fox have been making similar points for weeks - and he hasn't got them on side. Perhaps we should wonder why.

3. Elena is right. He is young. He came across as an enthusiastic student making a decent pitch to be student union president. He lacks experience and might well seem lightweight in head-to-head matches with Brown.

There was plenty I liked, but that's why I'm very cautious to say I'll back DC on the back of his launch.

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