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« Ken Clarke: People think we want to reform public services to cut taxes for our rich friends | Main | Omigod. What have I done? »

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James Hellyer

You missed out Sir Malcolm's declaration that "Iraq Worse Than Vietnam"...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-5292718,00.html

Oberon Houston

The Iraq war is much worse than Suez, for lots of reasons other than the length of time involved. Suez was the result of a change in world order that Eden failed to recognise. By escalating the crisis Eden did not understand the rules of the cold war, or that America and Russia were the decision makers. Eisenhower knew that only by protecting sovereign states independence could stability in the Middle East be ensured (the Russians were gagging for an excuse to help Nasser).

After this Macmillan invented a principle that never again should British foreign policy be at odds with American foreign policy. Tony Blair is rumoured to have said that it was the Macmillan principle that led to him backing Bush. He should have instead looked at the real reasons for Eisenhower’s policy for ensuring stability in the Middle East.

Now comes the crunch… If Tony didn’t treat Whitehall like he does his own party, would the FO have agreed with the Macmillan principle being applied to Iraq? Or would they have seen the terrible mistake the PM was making, and pointed it out?

The quicker a sound relationship between Whitehall and Government is re-established the better.

Selsdon Man

The problem for Sir Malcolm is that he needed to attract former Clarke supporters like Damian Green, Ian Taylor, Richard Ottaway and Humphrey Malins. They have committed themselves to Davis.

Accusing past leaders of "selling out" One Nation principles will not attract them or their supporters. It is getting harder to see how Sir Malcolm can make it to the final three.

James Hellyer


I don't think he's trying to get to the final three. I think he's trying to block Clarke.

There are real policy differences between the two. Moreover while Sir Malcolm tried time and time again to get back into parliament and help his party, Clarke bedblocked the green benches and made a living in the City. Now when Sir Malcolm is back and wants to lead, Clarke has stolen his One Nation thunder. I think there's some real resentment there.

Oberon Houston

Is there any other honourable way to found a party? If one does not subscribe to the One Nation vision, is one not saying that it is okay to exclude large sections of the populus from the vision for the Country?

Furthermore, its not enough as Malcolm Rifkind says to pay lip service to One Nation Conservatism, the electorate must believe you when you say it. Up until now, they simply have not believed us when we said we would govern for the benefit of all.

James, on Clarke and Rifkind, are you conceptualising in the way you like best? i.e. where Clarke play's the bad guy?

James Hellyer


Oberon I'm simply extrapolating from Rifkind''s comments. Whan he has spoken about other candidates, he's been overwhelmingly critical about Clarke. Rifkind must know he hasn't a chance himself, and if his intention is to back Clarke, rubbishing him at every opportunity seems a bad way to go about it.

Of the two, Clarke is the bad guy on the matter of service to his party. Sir Malcolm tried to get his Pentlands seat back. He was then turned down for safe seat after safe seat. All the time, Clarke sat in the Commons, refused to serve in the Shadow Cabinet and serviced BAT's interests. How anyone can portray that as the act of a "good guy" is beyond me...

malcolm

I wasn't aware that Rifkind had rubbished Clarke at all.He has stressed his own euroscepticism which in an overwhelmingly eurosceptic party is sensible campaigning but there is a big difference between that and rubbishing Clarke.
I don't think Sir Malcolm will make the final 2 either but I hope he gets a big job in the next shadow cabinet,he is an excellent debator and I agree with most of his views on Iraq.

James Hellyer

"I wasn't aware that Rifkind had rubbished Clarke at all."

He's said a europhile candidate is out of the question (I wonder who he meant). And he said that a lot. He's also called on Clarke to stand down saying he's a divisive figure. There's a lot more where that comes from.

malcolm

I hadn't heard that he'd asked Clarke to stand down when was that?

James Hellyer


Try here:

http://telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/09/17/ntory17.xml

malcolm

I'm sorry James,maybe I'm being thick but I can't seem to access this story.Could you put it up please?

James Hellyer

Step aside, Clarke's camp tells Rifkind
By George Jones and Brendan Carlin
(Filed: 17/09/2005)

A leading supporter of Kenneth Clarke predicted last night that Sir Malcolm Rifkind would soon follow David Willetts in pulling out of the Conservative leadership contest.

Tim Yeo admitted that the Clarke camp had been "surprised" by Mr Willetts's decision to support the front-runner, the Right-winger David Davis, rather than Mr Clarke.

Mr Yeo told GMTV's Sunday programme in an interview to be broadcast tomorrow, that he believed Sir Malcolm, a former foreign secretary, would also drop out of the contest "quite soon".

"I think he will pull out because of his limited parliamentary support," he said. "I would hope he would back Ken Clarke."

Mr Yeo said he believed it could come down to a contest between Mr Clarke and Mr Davis as other challengers were squeezed out.

Sir Malcolm, interviewed on the same programme, said Mr Clarke should consider stepping down. He said the leadership contest would be a choice between one candidate from the traditional Right and one from the One Nation tradition.

The Clarke camp received a fillip when a front-bench Tory MP who originally supported Mr Willetts for the leadership backed the former chancellor.

Charles Hendry, a vice-chairman of the party and shadow minister for young people, said he would not be following Mr Willetts in backing Mr Davis, the shadow home secretary.

The result of a referendum on whether the party's 300,000 members should lose their right to choose the new leader in favour of MPs only having a vote will be announced on Sept 27.

James Hellyer

Step aside, Clarke's camp tells Rifkind
By George Jones and Brendan Carlin
(Filed: 17/09/2005)

A leading supporter of Kenneth Clarke predicted last night that Sir Malcolm Rifkind would soon follow David Willetts in pulling out of the Conservative leadership contest.

Tim Yeo admitted that the Clarke camp had been "surprised" by Mr Willetts's decision to support the front-runner, the Right-winger David Davis, rather than Mr Clarke.

Mr Yeo told GMTV's Sunday programme in an interview to be broadcast tomorrow, that he believed Sir Malcolm, a former foreign secretary, would also drop out of the contest "quite soon".

"I think he will pull out because of his limited parliamentary support," he said. "I would hope he would back Ken Clarke."

Mr Yeo said he believed it could come down to a contest between Mr Clarke and Mr Davis as other challengers were squeezed out.

Sir Malcolm, interviewed on the same programme, said Mr Clarke should consider stepping down. He said the leadership contest would be a choice between one candidate from the traditional Right and one from the One Nation tradition.

The Clarke camp received a fillip when a front-bench Tory MP who originally supported Mr Willetts for the leadership backed the former chancellor.

Charles Hendry, a vice-chairman of the party and shadow minister for young people, said he would not be following Mr Willetts in backing Mr Davis, the shadow home secretary.

The result of a referendum on whether the party's 300,000 members should lose their right to choose the new leader in favour of MPs only having a vote will be announced on Sept 27.

malcolm

Thanks James.I think Sir Malcolm merely recognises reality when he talks of one candidate from the right and one One Nation conservative.I don't think it will be Sir Malcolm but you never know.

James Hellyer


But Sir Malcolm wants to be that one canddiate!

Oberon Houston

Not a Scot. There is a growing unease in England about the number of Scots running the show (I'm a Scot btw).

Here is a wee prediction, and it is this, Kennedy will be replaced, Brown will succeed Blair (nothing too enlightening yet you say), and when the dust begins to fly over Labours failure they will round on Brown all the quicker because of what he is, a dour Fifer who has nothing in common with middle England, secretly resents them, and has a burning desire to rule them.

Selsdon Man

Sadly, you are right Oberon. The English middle class are fed up being governed by Scots.

The West Lothian question will be a big issue in this Parliament - Blair will need MPs in Scottish constituencies to force through English legislation.

If the Tories elect a Scot, the Lib Dems could dump Kennedy and select an Englishman like Oaten or Hughes.

Daniel Vince-Archer

Nonsense. Most sensible people would prefer the country to be run by a Scot from one of the two main parties than anybody from the Liberal Democrats.

Besides which, Liam Fox and Sir Malcolm Rifkind both represent English constituencies so the West Lothian question doesn't really apply to them.

Oberon Houston

Not nonsense. If you think the Lib-Dems won't be a threat with a good leader and a more centrist agenda then your in for a nasty shock at the next election.

You've also miss-understood the comment regarding the West Lothian question.

James Hellyer

What is this obsession with meaningless phrases about a "centrist agenda"?

What *exactlty* is a centrist agenda. Policy examples please.

Daniel Vince-Archer

I stand by my comments Oberon.

As Theresa May pointed out on Question Time last night, the Liberal Democrats are starting to have their policies scrutinised more closely now they are deemed to a more serious proposition, and the more that their policies are examined, the more people will realise that their pick-and-mix approach to choosing their policies is no way to run a country.

Charles Kennedy will be their leader at the next election, and if by 'centrist agenda' you mean that they will move back towards Labour and the Conservatives, then the last few days have shown that just won't wash with the Liberal Democrat supporters.

Selsdon Man

Right Oberon. The West Lothian question will be an issue - even though it does not apply to Messrs Fox and Rifkind.

I hear many English people, inside and outside the Party moan about being governed by Scots. That may be viewed as bigoted but it is an increasing and relevant trend.

Think about all the Scottish party leaders we have had in recent years - Smith, Blair, Steel, Kennedy. IDS was born in Scotland. That is a disproportionate number that will increase with Brown.

Simon C

Although it seems likely that his will be a short campaign, I had been quietly impressed by the way Rifkind has been touring the country to make his case outside Westminster. I would, however, like to know why he hasn't been putting his Government opponent under sustained pressure. Not only over the government's non-existent plans for long-term pension provision, but because Blunkett's integrity has now been brought into severe question by three serious individuals - Lord Stevens, his own biographer Stephen Pollard, and Mary-Anne Sieghart in the Times.

James Maskell

Ive not noticed Rifkind unfortunately. His campaign hasnt been covered so heavily by the media.

James Hellyer

Sir Malcolm hasn't received much coverage, but unklike most candidates he has admitted there's a world beyond London.

He has failed in his brief though. Where was he when the National Assocaition of Pension Fund Holders warned the retirement age would have to be raised to 69?

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