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« Editorial: Making abortion rare | Main | The week it didn't happen for Ken Clarke »

Comments

Hugh Field

I don't believe that all of these Davis declared MP's will actually vote for him.If they see him as the front runner it makes sense to cosy up to him but actually to vote for Clarke etc.
Anyone elso agree? Also, is it a general consensus that the anti-Davis vote will coalesce around the candidate who looks most likely to beat the man?

Daniel Vince-Archer

Yes but the Guardian should be expected to attack Davis. Why does News International hate him so much though?

One wonders why Ann Winterton didn't declare her support when her husband did?

Daniel Vince-Archer

"I don't believe that all of these Davis declared MP's will actually vote for him."

I hope you're right, if only to keep the contest interesting. As it stands, he only needs one more vote to guarantee a place in the final round.

"Is it a general consensus that the anti-Davis vote will coalesce around the candidate who looks most likely to beat the man?"

I don't think so - there's quite a sizeable {sic?} anti-Clarke vote out there too.

James Hellyer

She was in the middle of another racist gaffe then, Daniel! Having her latest joke association with the Davis campaign probably wasn't deemned desirable.

News International doesn't hate Davis. The Sun does. Last October it attacked him for being "all talk and no action" after he had failed to turn up for a Commons debate on immigration. It concluded that “There must be someone in the party who could do the job better than him.”

James Hellyer

I don't believe that all of these Davis declared MP's will actually vote for him.

I think his publicly declared supporters will. I'd guess he has more support than he'll unveil, precisely so he won't get fewer votes than endorsements. If he did, that would seized on as a sign of weakness in his campaign.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"News International doesn't hate Davis. The Sun does. Last October it attacked him for being "all talk and no action" after he had failed to turn up for a Commons debate on immigration. It concluded that “There must be someone in the party who could do the job better than him.”"

Yes it was that piece in the Sun I had in mind when I asked the question. Ok, maybe 'hate' was a strong word for describing News International's attitude towards Davis but the degree to which the two most widely-read Murdoch mouthpieces (the Sun and the NotW) are prepared to put the boot in would certainly seem to suggest that I wasn't too far wide of the mark. The Times has hardly sung his praises either.

"Personally I'm surprised they wanted a public endorsement from Ann Winterton. Her repeated racist gaffes have pretty much made her totemic of what's wrong with the party."

On the subject of questionable jokes, what do you make of the following:

"What do you call three dogs and a blackbird? The Spice Girls."

Is that the kind of joke a potential party leader makes?

James Hellyer

Sorry, but that doesn't even begin to compare with Ann Winterton's litany of racist jokes (which are only funny if, for example, you actually think we have too many "Pakistanis" in Britain). For a start, the joke you've cited is not even racist. It doesn't betray the same underlying assumptions as Winterton's oeuvre - which would be why Dr Fox's apology was accepted and he was publicly excused.

But nice try anyway, anonymous.

"For a start, the joke you've cited is not even racist."

Which is why I didn't say it was racist.

I did say it was a "questionable" use of humour, which is why Fox felt compelled to apologise.

For me, the joke doesn't make him racist, but it does make me worry about his judgement.

Wat Tyler

Hmm..yes, I'd forgotten about that ( http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=487122002 ).

Er...any thoughts, James?

Editor

After a bad case of jet-lag I'm now awake and the list is updated. Sorry about the delay!

Wat Tyler

Yes, OK...most of us say things we subsequently regret.

James Hellyer

Er...any thoughts, James?

Already answered. That joke may not be very good, but it does not display racism or sexism. It's a play on words.

By contrast, Winterton's jokes betray a racist mindset. Take for example the joke in the article you cite: it's only funny if you accept the underlying premise that there are too many Pakistanis in Britain.

That's why Winterton was sacked for her joke, while Dr Fox was simply able to apologise.

I find it disturbing that people even draw comparisons between the two (note that the article you cite, Wat, calls Winterton's joke racist and Fox's "poorly worded - so not even it backs up your comparison). To say their the same means the assumptions Winterton expresses are not being recognised and rejected.

James Hellyer

Which is why I didn't say it was racist.

Which is why you were comparing it to a racist joke - so your point did carry that implication.

it does make me worry about his judgement.

Doesn't worry me. It was an indelicate remark and a once off. We all make mistakes. The difference is Winterton repeatedly makes them.

"Which is why you were comparing it to a racist joke - so your point did carry that implication."

I was merely interested in your thoughts on Fox's offensive joke, as you expressed strong views on Winterton's comments.

I don't doubt that what she said was more offensive, and you're right, she is a repeat offender, but I'm not impressed when a senior politican with aspiration to high office makes a joke like that.

Daniel Vince-Archer

I'm probably not the best person to comment on this, seeing as I once voted for UKIP and that is akin to being a fully paid-up member of the Hitler Youth if you believe some people (hello Jack) but when a person makes a joke that plays on the colour of a person's skin, it is open to being interpreted as racist. Liam should have known better than to leave himself in a position where he was open to such accusations. The fact that he didn't shows poor judgement.

The next leader will need to demonstrate that the Conservatives can reach out to all sections of British society and if Liam is the next leader, he will be undermined by our New Labour enemies and their media stooges will use the joke as a weapon to beat him with.

Daniel Vince-Archer

Sorry, there should have been a 'who' in between 'stooges' and 'will'.

James Hellyer

"It is open to being interpreted as racist."

Only by people who don't know what "racist" means. And I don't think it did play on skin colour, but on words.

if Liam is the next leader, he will be undermined by our New Labour enemies and their media stooges will use the joke as a weapon to beat him with.

I think that's nonsense. Even bbci and the Guardian have said that joke wasn't racist, and if that's the best New Labour could come up with, then the next election will be a walkover.

Sean Fear


The real problem is that Ann Winterton's jokes aren't funny.

Wat Tyler

Sean- I agree: a bit like Spitting Image on, I think, either Jim "Nick-Nick" Davidson or Bernard Manning: "I don't object to him being a racist right-wing bigot, but I do object to him being crap".

James Hellyer

If that was the "real problem" her jokes wouldn't keep dominating the agenda on political discussion programmes. I mean, doesn't anyone else remember the issue of "On The Record" where poor Theresa May couldn't communicate anything she wanted because all John Humphrys would do was aske her whether Winterton should be sacked?

Dan

Then surely the best idea when we get back into power would be to give mer Mandy's job in Brussels?

Get her out of the country and upset the Frenchy.

Dan

Dan

apologies TYPO:
Then surely the best idea when we get back into power would be to give her Mandy's job in Brussels?

Get her out of the country and upset the Frenchy.

Dan

Dan

who were the other 9 declaring for DD anyway? Were they part of any group?

Dan

James Hellyer

Andrew Murrison, David Amess, Malcolm Moss, David Gauke, Mike Penning, John Baron, Sir Paul Beresford, James Paice and Ben Wallace.

They're not members of any bloc within the parliamentary party.

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