Conservative Home's debate blogs

Advertising

  • DVD rental
  • Conservative Books
My Photo

Conservative blogs

Blog powered by Typepad

  • Tracker 2
  • Extreme Tracker

« And the result is... | Main | Ken Clarke launches his 'Time To Win' campaign »

Comments

Jack Stone

I shall be using my vote for party leader not to elect someone who mirrors my views completly and who I feel comfortable in supporting but will use it to vote for the person who I feel as the best chance of taking the party back to power.
Success at the next election will depend on widening the party`s support and particularly taking votes from the Lib/Dems.
It seems to me that Ken Clarke is the candiate most likely to be able to do this.
If the party really wants to win then they will simply vote for Ken!

Simon C

Bur, err... Wat...your post was intended to make the point that the odds were inaccurately quoted. You suggested that Liam might be embarassing himself by using inaccurate information. In fact it was accurate.

Don't you think you should throw your hands up and concede that it's not Liam who ought to be embarassed?

Paul Marks

I certainly do not approve of Mr Clarke's antiAmericanism (for all his "some of my best friends are..." type denials), but I am concerned at Mr Fox's closeness to the President Bush, the name dropping and little stories about how President Bush quotes him during meetings.

Certainly there are good things about President Bush (his tax reductions, his resistance to treating the U.N. as some sort of World Government, and so on), but his "compassionate conservatism" has turned out to mean spending money like a drunken sailor.

It is not sensible to hold that deficits do not matter (as the Vice President, speaking with President Bush's tacit support, claims) and the spending just does not stop.

The "No Child Left Behind" thing, the Medicare extention, the failure to veto a single spending bill since he came to office, the new wild promises concerning the the Gulf States.

Eventually the bills for all this are going to fall due (the Medicare extention cost is not even on the books yet - but it will be).

And Britain in 2009-2010 is going to be in a position to spend lots of money. We have to save money, not make new promises.

We are never going to win an auction on "compassion" with the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats anyway - the public will always believe that they will spend more than we will.

We have to convince the public that saving money helps the economy - and the poor most of all, as a collapsed economy hurts the poor the most.

All the above being said, Mr Fox is at least strong on trying to get powers back from the E.U.

I just wish he would distance himself a bit from the policy of the Bush Administration.

AnotherNick

I did hear from a reliable, but I will confess potential a little bias, source that there were a lot of Conservatives quietly hoping the Lib Dems would unseat DD. If (and I stress the 'if') that is the case it may be the anti-DD vote could be bigger than we think.

James Hellyer

I heard the same story from someone at CCO some weeks before the election.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"'Come through the middle' is what Douglas Hurd was exepected to do all those years ago. It didn't happen then and won't happen now." - Stephen Newton

I assume this was a reference to the 1990 leadership election?

If so, it's not much of an argument seeing as John Major came through the middle of Margaret Thatcher and Michael Heseltine instead.

In 1997, William Hague came through the middle of Ken Clarke and John Redwood.

In 2001, Iain Duncan Smith came through the middle of Ken Clarke and Michael Portillo.

Seeing as a candidate has come through the middle to win in the last three proper leadership elections (there was no middle option in 1995 or 2003 seeing as there were only two and one candidates respectively), I don't see why/how you can be so dismissive of it happening again?

Barry Graham

I must say, I'm getting a bit worried about all this talk of Liam Fox coming up on the rails.
I think he is unquestionably the worst option of all the candidates. What can anyone possibly think he has to offer, in terms of winning us a General Election?
His campaign launch made clear he is appealing to the prejudices of the party’s right rather than having any coherent strategy of winning over the middle ground.
Talk of reducing the abortion limit, flying the Union flag (why are we not allowed to call it the Union Jack new? PC-ness, I presume) at schools and cosying up to the Cornerstone group, just smacks of the religious right in America.
It’s so reactionary it frightens me. It's obvious - to paraphrase KC — he covets being leader of the opposition more than being Prime Minister.
I trust - due to his views and contrary to what some of you on this thread suggest - that there will be a strong anyone-but-Fox block. God help us if there's not.

James Hellyer

His campaign launch made clear he is appealing to the prejudices of the party’s right

Yes, because supporting the work of mental health charities, caring for the well being of those that depend on them, and putting that at the heart of our health policy is so clearly appealing to the prejudices of the party's right.

Or maybe you've not paid much attention to the events you're deriding...

Talk of reducing the abortion limit, flying the Union flag (why are we not allowed to call it the Union Jack new? PC-ness, I presume) at schools and cosying up to the Cornerstone group, just smacks of the religious right in America.

The "jack" is the naval version of the Union Flag. Simple as that. No PC-ness there, just accuracy. And as the flas is supposed to be symbol of national unity, I fail to see what's offensive about suggesting it can be used to foster a sense of communality. After all, that's what the British identity was invented to do!

How is expressing a personal opinion on abortion reminiscent of "the religious right"? It was not a call to make it a party issue, or to outlaw abortion, but rather an expression of personal moral conviction.

Personally I think these calls of neo-conservatism and religious right are just cheap slurs used by those unable or unwilling to engage with issues.

It’s so reactionary it frightens me.

That was my reaction to your post too.

Richard Allen

I'm sorry Barry but your comments are absurd. Liam Fox has made some excellant contributions to the leadership race and his discussed issues that are way outside our right wing 'comfort zone'. To describe him as a reactionary is to show complete ignorance of his campaign.

Barry Graham

James, first of all, thank you for filling in my (lack of) knowledge, re the Union Jack/flag.
I take your point re Fox's compassionate comments on mental health, but I don't think they, alone, are enough of an indication of his middle-ground credentials.
IDS visited and cared about drug-ruined housing estates in Glasgow, while Alan Clark and Ann Widdecombe was/is opposed to hunting on cruelty grounds - but both remain(ed) dyed-in-the-wool right wingers who could never hope to win us election victories. You have to take the whole package.
As for Fox's abortion views ... if they are just his 'personal' views, they should remain just that - private and personal.
I don't think we can afford to sound preachy and self-righteous to the millions of women voters who have abandoned us.
On the Union flag issue in schools, it's naive to say it's just about fostering communality. Its tone is insular when we ought to be outward-looking.
Whatever its merits, it just sounds like the sort of thing that the BNP would advocate and that's just how Labour would paint it.
You say: ‘Personally I think these calls of neo-conservatism and religious right are just cheap slurs used by those unable or unwilling to engage with issues.’
Well, I note that the one area of my argument you don't take issue with is that Fox is appealing to the Cornerstone group - and I defy anyone to say that their views are the route out of the wilderness.
What I want most is to see us regain power and I'm convinced LF is the least likely to achieve that goal.
Sorry James, but you are the converted, so we don't need to preach to you.

James Hellyer

I take your point re Fox's compassionate comments on mental health, but I don't think they, alone, are enough of an indication of his middle-ground credentials.

Well, we have his emphasis on looking after society's most vulnerable at home. While Davis just talks about creating opportunity, Fox has spoken about taking care of those who are incapable of taking that opportunity: the mentally ill, women who have suffered domestic abuse, etctera.

He has consistently done so and supported charities involved in these arease since he had the health portfolio.

Then you havew his emphasis on a human rights based foreign policy, committed to reconstruction in the Middle East and speaking up for the oppressed.

You have to take the whole package.

I would suggest that you aren't.

As for Fox's abortion views ... if they are just his 'personal' views, they should remain just that - private and personal.

Why? People want authenticity from their poiticians and to know they are men of principle. He's actaullay had a lot of positive feedback on that - not least from people who disagree with him.

On the Union flag issue in schools, it's naive to say it's just about fostering communality. Its tone is insular when we ought to be outward-looking.

I don't understand that last sentence. What is "outward looking"?

As for insularity, even people on the left have admitted that erosion of a sense of nation has eroded communal spirit at all levels. That's hard to deny when our own citizens bomb us.

Well, I note that the one area of my argument you don't take issue with is that Fox is appealing to the Cornerstone group

If they want a principled eurosceptic, then Fox is the only choice.

Sorry James, but you are the converted, so we don't need to preach to you.

I can throw that back at you and thus totally discount your views. Try a different argument.

Barry Graham

James, first of all, I wish my old apple mac could do that nice italics stuff to highlight quotes, but I'll plough on anyway.
You make a very staunch defence of your man’s compassionate side, with particular ref to health issues. But , while I accept they are genuinely held by LF, it would be astonishing if, as the spokesman on a subject as touchy-feely as health, he had not managed to express some compassionate views.
His decision to express his abortion views can be interpreted either, as you see it, a welcome show of candour, or, as I see it, a calculated appeal to the very people in the party he needs the support of to gain the leadership.
Even if it is the former, I think it's going to alienate a lot of women in the country at large and is, therefore, risky, if his primary goal is to win a General Election. I wouldn't be surprised, for example, if Blair shares his views but I don't think he'd be caugt airing them publicly.
You say: ‘If they (Cornerstone MPs) want a principled eurosceptic, then Fox is the only choice.’
Exactly my fears. They would be putting what they want from a leader ahead of what is most likely to win us power.

Ronald Collinson

Why this focus on winning the election? It may be important, but it pales before the necessity of maintaining the party's identity. There is absolutely to point winning an election, and then following a program dictated by the erratic whim of the public. That is what Tony Blair did, and, while New Labour has been electorally successful, it has not managed to stick to a single program long enough to change the country significantly. If Blair disagreed with the leftist leanings of the party membership, he should have left and formed his own party (in the same manner as the SDP).

The plight of the Conservative Party in recent years has been the philosophy that 'people vote with their pockets'. It might be true, but it's no way to run a country. If New Labour has done anything for us, it has shown that an ideological vision is necessary.

We lose all credibility if we vote the member most likely to win an election. The Conservative Party is not inherently good: it is good because of its beliefs, and the policies derived from them. Therefore, provided that they vote on ideological grounds, the choice of the membership will be the most appropriate leader by default.

I, personally, would like to see Davis or Fox (although the latter is a tad too American for my taste) lead the party. Ken Clarke would be fine, so long as no significant European issues arise – for all his claims of having no ideology, he is clearly a principled man (although I'd much prefer Rifkind, a eurosceptic uniter). The worst possible result would be David Cameron, but I am convinced that the membership will not be taken in by his talk of the voter as a consumer (actually, I think it was Osborne that said that, but they're so close that it's neither here-nor-there).

Simon C

Actually, Barry, one of the really appealing things about Liam's approach is that he has said what he thinks without desperately chasing after the Cornerstone Group, or any other faction in the Party. His spinners have not been out there suggesting that he cosies up to the right or the left. The fact that Cornerstone has not rushed to endorse him should reassure you.

His supporters (including Eleanor Laing and Justine Greening) are not the "dyed in the wool right-wingers" that you worry about.

You have made a number of other assertions which don't bear much scrutiny either. The idea that we have the Union flag flying on public buildings is not extreme - people on all sides of politics are at the moment concerned to drive up a shared sense of Britishness, stressing what unites us instead of what divides us, since we are now faced with suicide bombers who would seek to destroy the society in which they were born and reared.

His Broken Society theme demonstrates that he realises that poverty and brokenness have an impact which goes well beyond the merely economic. He has put Human Rights and Democracy at the heart of his foreign policy brief.

Your assumption that millions of women will be turned off by his views on abortion is an inaccurate sexual stereotype and, I fear, rather insulting to the millions of women who oppose abortion. His view that a society which carries out 180,000 abortions a year needs to question itself is pretty much incontestable. Lord Steel, who introduced the 1967 Act, thinks that is too many.

pauline

Quite right Simon.Not all women are pro abortion.As a woman who is opposed to abortion I DO find Barry's comments about women not accepting Liam Fox because of his views on the subject very insulting...and sexist

AnotherNick

the flags outside schools is a silly idea and one that is just inviting Lab/Lib to point out we can't be trusted spending money on education. Plus the Scots & Welsh schools would presumably have to fly an extra flag each leading the cost to rise even more. All in favour of a Britishness, but sticking an expensive flag outside every school isn't going to be sensible.

James Hellyer

Expensive? That has to be the feeblest argument I've heard against the idea. Like the one off cost of a flag is going to be much for a school...

wasp

I'll sign up to the ABFs the policies he has espoused have no appeal to people outside the conservative party, and to a lot of people within it.

The neo-conservative approach of Bush is hugely unpopular in the UK so why would conservatives here espouse it. Fox is a good politician and would bring clarity and ideas but he has little to offer the electorate.

James Hellyer

the policies he has espoused have no appeal to people outside the conservative party, and to a lot of people within it.

Nice to know you don't care about society's vulnerable and damaged members, are indifferent to human rights abuses overseas, and appear to have about as good a grip as Ken Clarke on the meaning of the term "neo-conservative".

Or was that not what you meant?

malcolm

Even by your standards James,that is an justified post.

James Hellyer

Justified or unjustified?

malcolm

Unjustified

James Hellyer

Given your propensity for ad hominem attacks on fellow, I have to say you are not in a position to comment on anyone else's etiquette. Furthermore my comments were entirely justified. In this thread people have routinely asserted that Dr Fox's policies are "too right wing" and have "no appeal", which has merely betrayed that they either don't know or care what he says. It's perfectly reasonable therefore to ask whether these people include the wide range of compassionate issues the Fox campaign has covered, in the topics they "don't care about".

malcolm

Yes right James very logical,I'm that's exactly what Wasp meant.

James Hellyer

Yes right, Malcolm, don't bother responding to what I actually said. The point is that that Dr Fox's campaign is repeatedly dismissed by some people as right wing and only appealing to the core vote, when by any standards it has been wide ranging and covered issues no other Conservatives have discussed. It's only right to call them on this. They either don't know what he's said, don't care, or misrepresenting him with their wild generalisations.

The comments to this entry are closed.

About Conservative Home

Subscribe

  • Conservative Home's
    free eMailing List
    Enter your name and email address below:
    Name:
    Email:
    Subscribe    
    Unsubscribe