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« The race for second place | Main | Liam Fox promises red meat to Eurosceptics »

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Mark Fulford

You may or may not be right about Europe, but without being in power it's all hypothetical. We have to be focused on one thing only: winning the next election. To do that we need to win the floating centre-vote, and to do that we need a charismatic leader who connects with ordinary people and talks sense on issues that matter to them. Europe is not important at the moment. If we continue with more of the same, that's exactly what we'll get in the polls.

Jack Stone

I am afriad it is not the media who is responsible for David Davis coming across badly on t.v. its Mr Davis himself.
Take away the politics of all the contenders and judge them on charisma, personality and oratry and Davis is I am afriad the worse of all the candidates.
I don`t think he will but if he does win the election he will have to win the general election on the merits of his policys because people will not be swayed by his personality or wooden orarity.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Take away the politics of all the contenders and judge them on charisma, personality and oratry and Davis is I am afriad the worse of all the candidates."

Have you seen or heard David Cameron? You can label Davis as wooden if you want, but at least wood is stronger, more solid and more reliable than plastic, which is the material the Tony Blair imitation doll (that's Cameron by the way) is made of.

James Hellyer

My lord, I agree with Daniel! Davis isn't an amazing orator (in fact he's rather poor), but he does seem genuine. I can't say that for Cameron. His speeches are overconstructed, obviously button pushing artifices, and his media interviews make himsound like a faux friendly prefect. Not good!

Daniel Vince-Archer

"My lord, I agree with Daniel!"

This is getting to be a disturbing trend with us James. Perhaps you could throw in one of your gratuitous slurs about Ken Clarke just for old times' sake? ;-)

James Maskell

Ken Clarke on Question Time tonight. Without doubt I will be watching it. He needs a good performance. Simon Hughes will be there with Patricia Hewitt, Stephen Green and Janet Street-Porter...the first 4 names fair enough but JS-P?

James Hellyer

Perhaps you could throw in one of your gratuitous slurs about Ken Clarke just for old times' sake?

Now the media (or Ed Stourton, at least) is on his case, you don't need me to call Clarke a merchant of death (copyright Tebbit, 2005).

James Maskell

Tebbit called Clarke "a merchant of death"? When was that?

James Hellyer

In the Mail on September 3, Lord Tebbit warned that Mr Clarke's tobacco directorships make him vulnerable to being "smeared up hill and down dale as a merchant of death".

James Maskell

What has Tebbit said about Cameron? Anything about his directorships?

James Hellyer

I don't think he's said anything to the press.

Wat Tyler had a lot to say about Cameron and vertical drinking establishments though...

Daniel Vince-Archer

Speaking of Question Time, I forgot to ask last week what everyone thought of the new set and reworked theme tune? Good start by Ken tonight as well (you'll have to excuse me, QT is transmitted half an hour later in Wales). Hewitt being her usual patronising, condescending herself, what a shocker!

As for Tebbit, having somewhat over-excitedly called him a swivel-eyed fossil before, the less I say about him the better I think!

James Maskell

KCs just spoken about privatisation of the health service, Hes doing alright. Patricia is burning the sides of everyones faces with her eyes while they talk. Patricia actually reminds me of my old Thanet College teacher, who I disliked intensely because she spoke down to me like a teenager.

"my old Thanet College teacher, who I disliked intensely because she spoke down to me like a teenager"

This is not uncommon in colleges.

James Maskell

Im talking at the younger end of teenager, not the elder.

Simon C

For the polling junkies amongst us, I strongly recommend this article in the Spectator, which is an example of the sort of qualitative polling I have described elsewhere. Click on the link at the bottom of the article to see the full poll. It's not beyond reproach. But it gives much better insight into public attitudes than the simplistic stuff that we have seen to date.

http://www.spectator.co.uk/article.php?id=6690&issue=2005-10-01

James Hellyer

Some of the statements seem more loaded than others, Simon. For example, Liam Fox was "in favour of the war in Iraq" while Davis was "in favour of intervention in Iraq".

Simon C

James,

I thought it was safe to assume that you would get your teeth into the "balance" of the questions. Another example is that Cameron's campaigning for disabled people is mentioned, but not Liam's campaign for people with mental illness. Cameron is the only one of the 4 whose attitude to Iraq was not mentioned.

As I say, it's flawed. But it is still a good example of polling that provides more insight than a mere snapshot.

James Hellyer

The devil, as is often said, is in the detail, Simon!

That episode of "Yes Minister" where Sir Humphrey steers Bernard through two different sets of questions to give opposing answers on the reintroduction of national service must have taught me something...

As you say, the survey is flawed. I'd say it's "headline" on who has the most positives or negatives is the greatest weakness, because with a slight rejigging of the questions or the introduction of new ones, you could add or subtract a great deal of support.

What it does show us is that behind the opinion poll topline figues, all the candidates have strengths that would help the party.

Anthony

James - the print copy of the Spectator has truncated versions of the actual statements used. The full wordings are up on the YouGov website - http://www.yougov.com/archives/pdf/BRO050101006_1.pdf

Liam's stance on the war was, for example, actually presented along with a short quote from Liam saying that it was right to remove a vicious tyranny.

James Hellyer

I'd seen that, Anthony, but my point stands. Davis has said remarkably similar things, but his question on that subject just says he supported "intervention" (with no quote from him). That would obviously produce different reaction, I would have thought.

Paul Marks

I present some fact and arguements and instead of replying to the points I made the "moderates" here simply say that I am "ranting" and that I am a "moron" - interesting.

By the way, how can a man (Mr Clarke) who supported increases in government spending, taxation and regulation whilst in office be called a man of the "centre".

Centre of what?

No doubt (if I get any response at all) it will simply be that I am "ranting" am a "moron" and so on.

If this is the standard of the thought in the "moderate" wing of the party, the sooner they leave and join either the Labour party or the Liberal Democrats the better.

A poltical party does not have to be made up of people who agree on everthing, but it does have to have agreement on a few core principles (otherwise it is not really a party at all - as Mr Burke pointed rather a long time ago).

In the case of the Conservative party these principles are those of limited government and national independence. Mr Clarke does not believe in either of these things. He does not believe in really controlling the size and scope of government, and he does not believe in getting powers back from the E.U.

We can not expect to win a general election whilst we can not even agree on our core principles.

How can we convince the voters of our case if we do not believe in it ourselves?

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