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« Crispin Blunt MP: David Davis fears Rifkind | Main | Compassionate Cameron launches change campaign »

Comments

Simon C

The Telegraph's sketch writer was there to record it all. What's particularly interesting is his comment on Willetts - it was felt at the time that he didn't look terribly enthusiastic - is he now repenting at leisure?

"David Willetts came on first as one of Davis's warm-up men. Willetts was thought to be an amazing catch for the Davis camp.

He was said to show you can be intellectual and civilised and still support Davis.

Willetts rose to his feet and said in a dull tone: "I'm delighted to be here today to support David Davis to be the next leader of the Conservative Party." Had Willetts been drugged? He sounded like a man at a show trial in Moscow in 1937, declaring his full support for Comrade Stalin."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/09/30/ntory430.xml

Jack Stone

To describe Davis and his supporters as modern conservatives must be like describing John Prescott as intellectual.
Personally I think its more all our yesterdays than new and modern.
It is a campaign put together by middle aged men that is unlikely to appeal to no one but middle aged men!

malcolm

Are you really a Conservative Jack?

Richard Allen

Those expecting something flash from Davis can forget it. He is the front runner and has therefore decided to play it safe. I understand why some don't like this but remember 4 years ago, if Michael Portilo had addopted such an approach he would have become leader.

Jonathan Sheppard

Jack - come on!! - perhaps being the age of 30 and having fought two General Elections, having been brought up in the North in a single parent family you may see me as a middle aged typical Tory??

Im not sure that is true - yet I think Davis has what it takes to take on Brown and the Labour Government. Thats what Conservatives should be looking for - someone who can defeat Labour - not in 10 or 15 years time - but when the next General Election comes.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"To describe Davis and his supporters as modern conservatives must be like describing John Prescott as intellectual.
Personally I think its more all our yesterdays than new and modern.
It is a campaign put together by middle aged men that is unlikely to appeal to no one but middle aged men!"

What utter nonsense. Jack, you really must open your eyes and engage your brain before you post in future. Would you not consider David Willetts a modern conservative? As for your mindless assertion that his campaign is unlikely to appeal to anyone (note the grammar) but middle aged men, I refer you to the poll in the Mail on Sunday last Sunday. And if Julie Kirkbride is a middle-aged man, I imagine Liam Fox (with the backing of his neo-conservative Republican bedfellows no doubt) and his Cornerstone pals would have something to say about his/her marriage to Andrew Mackay!

James Hellyer

Would you not consider David Willetts a modern conservative?

He's very 1995. Civic Conservatism and all that.

Was that not the answer you were looking for?

Jules

James - can't you do better than that? I think the point being made is the assertion the Davis campaign is full of middle aged men is false. DO you not agree?

James Hellyer

Jules, I know what the point being made was.

But anyway, thanks for beating that joke to death.

Jules

It must be your accountants sense of humour which is lost on everyone! ;o)

James Hellyer

Well, I hate explaining jokes (but I will anyway)...

Willetts political philosphy seems largely unchanged from the one he coined in his 1995 book Civic Conservatism. It's just nobody really picked up on his themes until now.

So is he modern? No, he's a bit 1995.

Well, it made me smile when I thought of it

Daniel Vince-Archer

Thank you Jules. I fear you may have provoked yet another round of more clever wriggling from a certain quarter though.

James H, the question was actually addressed to Jack Stoned but seeing as you chose to answer it, no it wasn't the answer I was looking for. However, David Willetts is seen as belonging to the so-called moderate, modernising wing of the party and that is what I was alluding to.

Jules

So smart for a 28 year old. You could only just vote in 1995 my dear boy. I think you will find a great amount of work done while he was at the SMF. Being an MP doesnt allow you to be so free with ideas as when you work in a think tank now does it.

Don't give up the dya job - comedy clearly isn't your think :o)

Jonathan Sheppard

James, who is your preferred candidate for the leadership and why?

James Hellyer

Thank you Jules. I fear you may have provoked yet another round of more clever wriggling from a certain quarter though.

Can't take a joke then?

David Willetts is seen as belonging to the so-called moderate, modernising wing of the party and that is what I was alluding to.

I KNOW!

Anyway, I think that's a misconception. Willetts was always right-wing - he ran the CPS in the late 1980s, remember. Nothing he's said makes me think of him as definably left or moderate, just flexible about policy options

James Hellyer

So smart for a 28 year old.

So patronising for one so anonymous!

You could only just vote in 1995 my dear boy. I think you will find a great amount of work done while he was at the SMF.

And all within the frameworks laid down in Civic Conservatism. :=)

Jonathan Sheppard

Back to the original assertion of whether the Davis camapign only appeals to those in middle age - the answer is clearly no. His team have people in it from all walks of life, and appeals to people such as myself who work hard in Labour held areas where we know we have to win back those votes which drifted away in 1997.

James Hellyer

James, who is your preferred candidate for the leadership and why?

Dr Liam Fox is my first preference. He has a clarity of thought and principle which I admire, as well as a counter-intuitive approach to issues that frequently sees him operting well outside the "comfort zone" David Cameron waffles about.

From what I've seen of him, Dr Fox is charismatic, easy to relate to, and frequently amusing.

I think this combination of principle, clarity and approachability means he can make Conservatism seem accessible and attractive to people who may not be our natural supporters.

And I like what I hear from him.

James Hellyer

Back to the original assertion of whether the Davis camapign only appeals to those in middle age

While that assertion was false, his frontrunner status means his campaign does feel very "safe". One of the problems I have with it is that it hasn't really communicated what a Davis leadership or premiership might be like, still less what his vision is.

Obviously he might have said enough that appeals to other people, this sense of nebulousness means it hasn;t really appealed to me.

He's still got the number two slot though.

Jonathan Sheppard

Its early days James - watch this space.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Can't take a joke then?"

Sorry I didn't realise it was a joke until after I'd posted and got to read your post. I failed to spot the obvious comic reference in your reference to an obscure document from 1995, when I was only 11/12. Forgive me.

James Hellyer

It's hardly "obscure". It's heavily referenced in most of Willetts' SMF stuff, and has turned up in a few major speeches lately (anniversaries and all that).

But I'll forgive you anyway.

Jonathan Sheppard

Daniel, I'm not sure commenting....

"He's very 1995. Civic Conservatism and all that."

...is a joke - unless they suddenly have started lacking any punch line whatsoever.

James Hellyer


Jokes don't have to have punchlines, Jonathan. It was simply a neat way to point out that Willetts claims to "modernity" are somewhat shakey - unless you define modern as "unchanged for a decade".

Jonathan Sheppard

No but they are usually amusing.

Anyway - I just dont accept the point being made that the Davis campaign is old fashioned, and that it doesn't offer something new.

That proposition is false. The mere fact that over 50 MPs from all ages both sides of the political spectrum within the party are backing him must go some way to show the breadth of support for the man.

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