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« Europe STILL matters, Mr Clarke | Main | Ken Clarke is August's winner but is he a serious contender for the Tory crown? »


James Hellyer

"A party conference can be many things: a show of confidence, an agonising reappraisal, or, as in this case, a series of auditions by pretenders to the throne, while the lost leader withers before our eyes."

- Francis Urquhart, House of Cards

Wat Tyler

Is it really possible that right will triumph?

Maybe we should all have more faith.


Interesting developments. I must say I think Ken would now have a chance now in a vote of the members.


Ken preceded the declaration of his candidacy by making a series of disparging comments about the party membership. Even his cheerleader Peter Oborne admits he would face a real struggle. After all, a poll a few months ago said he would be unacceptable to 42% (I think) of party members.

Wat Tyler

Maude in the Telegraph: "I cannot emphasise too strongly that no one would have gone down this path unless there was pretty strong evidence that this was what the voluntary party wanted. It is not a case of us trying to hijack it."

It seems to have escaped him that modern democratic parties collect such "evidence" through the ballot box, not over drinks at the Carlton Club.

But they're certainly rattled.

And oh the aching irony of it all- they changed the rules to nobble DD in favour of DC, and now find they've actually nobbled DC in favour of their 'old mate' Ken.

As James suggests- they need help from Urquhart.

Selsdon Man

One of Francis Maude's most interesting comments was that the Party is expecting Brown to succeed Blair in 2 years time and call a snap election.

If so, given the huge debts, will the Party be able to finance a campaign? This greatly concerns me.

It also means that all candidates must be selected within the next 18 months. That is a huge task - especially if the Candidates List is culled.

Jonathan Sheppard

I have managed to get hold of (and post on my blog) the press release and letter sent to every member of the National Convention that the New Politics Network has put out today on the subject of the leadership rules. Quite lengthy - but worth reading.

Selsdon Man

BTW, great quote James! House of Cards author Michael Dobbs was a perceptive observer of our Party from the inside. Any more quotes?


Don't worry Francis, it isn't a disaster, I have a plan!

Every potential candidate knows if they have enough supporters by now, so give them a week to declare if they are going to stand.

Two or maybe three live prime-time TV debates, unleash Paxman on the leadership contenders on one occasion.

With the voting forms issue each member with a 2-4 page document that the candidates can use to put forward their policies and priorities (as Conservative Future are doing at the moment). Then we will vote and you'll have a new leader by the conference!

Sadly I don't think this quote will apply for us this year, Selsdon:

"After the silly season comes the conference season. Opposition did rather well this year. Abandoned their usual tactic of squabbling in public and shooting themselves in the foot and had a go at us, in particular the Prime Minister, very unsporting of them."

Selsdon Man

Sadly very true, anonymous!

Party conference should be a coronation for the new Leader rather than a contrived hustings!

James Hellyer

I am anonymous no longer! The risks of using a strange PC, I'm afraid!

James Maskell

It is good to hear that the dark democracy destroyers might lose out to common sense. I don't particularly like Francis Maude anyway but his comments are silly to put it lightly. Does Francis Maude have any respect for democracy at all? I dont give a damn whether it leads to a debacle, democracy isn't there to be thrown aside until the right person is picked. That's not the way it works. I am as passionate about this, if not more passionate, than I have ever been about any issue.

Selsdon Man

When we renewed our memberships this year, the party web site used democracy as a selling point. If we lose our vote, are we entitled to a rebate? Could the Party be sued for breach contract? Just a mischievous thought!

Simon C

"When we renewed our memberships this year, the party web site used democracy as a selling point. If we lose our vote, are we entitled to a rebate? Could the Party be sued for breach contract? Just a mischievous thought!"

It's a serious point though, Selsdon. I raised this basic issue of fair-dealing in my submission on A 21st Century Party

James Maskell

I have decided (very reluctantly) not to renew my membership until September 27th. I want to see which way the Party wishes to go before renewing my membership.

Selsdon Man

The television coverage of Ken's speech yesterday showed having dark brown hair. It looks as it if he has dyed it or put on the old Grecian 2000! If you look at the pictures on his web site, his hair is a light grey - as it was when I saw him in April. It looks as if even "unspun" Ken has succumbed to the image makers.

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