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« Dr Fox's big picture speech | Main | Editorial: Making abortion rare »


Daniel Vince-Archer

Well somebody must have tipped off the BBC Jonathan, and it's the Davis team which has been significantly boosted by the news Oberon, so I'd guess the leak came from them...


And what an excellent speech Ken made.I hope the next Conservative PM takes on board every word and acts upon it.It will be interesting to see what sort of coverage the BBC gives it tonight.

Oberon Houston

Maybe they are trying to bounce him.... speculate speculate....!!

Well, I also see my old friend Edward has strayed onto the stage, the Maidenhead Amateur dramatics society really has arrived in town.

Hey, I like the guy, but the idea of popular politics is black magic to him.

Samuel Coates

I was surprised by this, in the last week i've gone from an 'anyone but Davis' man to thinking very seriously about Davis (with a good cabinet behind him)and becoming an "anyone but Clarke" man!
Hate to say I told you so, a bit, but you lot were confident that Willetts and Clarke had done a deal the other week whilst I said Clarkes praise was merely wooing him.

I'd be saddened if Willetts was stuck with the pensions portfolio again, or something equally below his ability, as important as it is as an issue.

James Hellyer


"Hate to say I told you so, a bit, but you lot were confident that Willetts and Clarke had done a deal the other week whilst I said Clarkes praise was merely wooing him."

Actually it was either they'd done a deal or Ken was risking having his fullsome praise defect to another camp...

I admit I inclined more towards the former explanation, but then Clarke is supposed to be clued up political operator.

Speaking of which, Oberon says "Maybe they are trying to bounce him.... speculate speculate....!!

I sincerely doubt that. Imagine the damage it would do to the Davis campaign if they leaked this, and then Willetts promptly turned around and backed Clarke.


That's a pretty big leap Samuel.What changed your mind?


As Malcolm mentioned KC's speech this morning, should we expect to see a profile of Ken's speech today in the same way as Davis and Fox have had their speeches profiled on this site?

James Maskell

I go to work for 4 hours and when I come back I see this news...interesting news indeed.

Samuel Coates

At the very start I didn't mind Davis, working class, experience in army, big on the popular Tory issues on crime etc.
I then realised he was a pretty arrogant chap who has little sense of loyalty or ability to take criticism. It was and still is hard to see how he could woo the womens vote.

Recently though, he's reassured me with some of his policies, and I feel very much aligned with Willetts and respect his judgement.
This has coincided with me realising the many drawbacks of Clarke character and views - we would just be cynically using his name and face to get votes (might not work anyway).

I have about equal respect for Cameron, Fox and Rifkind too however, so would like at least two of them to band together with Davis. (maybe even one of those being the figurehead rather than Davis, but that isn't too realistic.)

James Hellyer

Where's the picture of Willetts with a bed red X through it?

Mark O'Brien

I've been behind all of this for the last couple of weeks (education has an astonishing ability to make me more backward!). But this is huge. Personally, I didn't think he would go to Davis. I really did think Clarke would take Willetts with him, but that prospect has gone now.

This brings Davis into the foreground, as his silence during the last few weeks and months - whilst it came across as sensible and mature to many people - smelled ever so slightly of arrogance to me. But this news, coupled with Davis's 'six of the best' speech, makes him much more attractive to me personally.

Selsdon Man

If Willetts is so brilliant, why could not get enough backing to stand?

As for Edward Leigh - Anne Widdecombe with trousers!

James Hellyer

But Ann Widdecombe is popular with the grass roots, Selsdon.

Also I don't believe she's ever claimed to speak with the authority of God. And Gainsborough.

Selsdon Man

I did not say that Anne Widdecombe is unpopular with the grassroots. It must be what you subconsciously really think James.

James Hellyer

I'd hardly say Edward Leigh is "popular" with them, Selsdon! Hence the comparison...

Selsdon Man

James, my comparison was based on both being enthusiastic Roman Catholics and having similar moral views!

James Hellyer

And I was comparing different aspects of them. That's killed the joke.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"If Willetts is so brilliant, why could not get enough backing to stand?"

Because he's all brain and no charisma.

Oberon Houston

Well, it's official - he went and said it on the Today program an hour ago. Well well well. It is a big boost for Davis, but it’s not over till the fat lady sings and she's not even started her warm-up scales back stage yet. I'm looking forward to conference now; I want to see these people up close enough to see the white of their eyes.

I still think that Davis will not connect with the electorate. He comes across as a bit of a 'Swiss Tony' character, and its’ not always the people that are 'right' that get the prizes. If I am right (and I truly hope I’m not gents), Willetts can be Shadow Chancellor for 10 years, and the Lab-Lib coalition can implement their policy.

I'm up in Scotland at the moment, where the Tory’s are so unpopular people don’t even get angry at the thought of them any more, they just laugh – it’s scary and London seems a long way away. Now in Heath’s time there was 22 Scottish Conservative MPs, despite all his failings as a PM, what does that say?

Wat Tyler

Oberon- I know Scots who are Tories: I'll introduce you to them at the Conference if you like.

Besides, with all those subsidies lavished on the People's Republic of Caledonia by Labour, no wonder most of them want to leave things as they are (last time I crunched the numbers it was 10% of their national income- compared to the South East, which is robbed of 10%)

But the fiscal charabanc is fast running out of road. Then we'll see.

Selsdon Man

Scots who are Tories - Fox, Laing, Forth, IDS (born in Edinburgh), Gray, Ancram etc etc. All sitting for English seats! Chilling though - In 1955 the Conservatives got over 50% of the vote in Scotland.

Wat - how are you treating Scotland's oil revenue?

Oberon Houston

All valid comments. The question is, as Conservatives, what, if anything, are we going to do about it?

Daniel Vince-Archer

""I wonder if Davis has actually offered Willetts the Shadow Chancellorship?"

I would be really surprised if Davis did. His and Willets (sic)positions regarding tax cuts are hardly harmonious. Davis seems to favour bold cuts, while Willetts is very cautious in that regard." - James Hellyer

In his article in The Times, Willetts says that the Conservatives should argue relentlessly for lower taxes, or words to that effect. I don't really see how that could be seen as 'very cautious'. Michael White in the Guardian also claims that Davis is more likely to present Willetts with the Shadow Chancellorship than Ken would have been.

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