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« The press versus David Davis | Main | David Davis in third place in poll of Tory voters »

Comments

Tom Greeves

This is an utterly fatuous thing to be debating.

I speak as someone who supports cannabis being illegal, and who thinks that it is far more dangerous than it is often portrayed.

But whether or not David Cameron smoked a few joints at college is a matter of total indifference to me, and I fully support him refusing to get into lengthy or even short discussions about his university days.

James Hellyer

People will respect it.

No. People will notice that David Cameron is shifty and evasive. If you look at his interviews, he seems incapable of offering concise, punchy and convincing answers to questions (just look at him answering Michael Crick's questions about Whites). He just doesn't look trustworthy.

tom

of course it casts doubt on his character but then it is up to discerning people to make judgements as to how really important this issue is and to empathise with DC as to the dilemma he faces. To admit it may well be honest and a representation of the new politics that he wants to represent but it also will alienate lots of people who think that drug use should not be tolerated, that cannabis cameron will be soft on drugs and will undermine his ability to make sensible policy on the huge drug problem that we have in the UK. Look - he is in a difficult spot on an issue that has nothing to do with whether he can chair cabinet successfully, answer questions at the dispatch box, engage with electorate, essentially be a good leader. Yes I would like him to admit he took drugs but then I would like everybody to big him up for being honest about it as opposed to calling him soft on drugs or cannabis cameron as some labour mps did yesterday. He cant win either way - all that I say is that wait until some bigger indicators of his character come through before jumping to wild conclusions as to whether he is just another shifty politician. Keep your powder dry because if he becomes super good and just what we need you all end up looking very foolish. We just dont know yet.

Adrian Sherman

Tom, calm down dear. I don't believe I have a chip on my shoulder. I went to public school, university and have wanted for little. However, when offered drugs I have resolutely refused and feel proud of that fact.

What I, and many others, find outrageous is the condascending nature in which these London-centric politicos trudge up to sink estates up north and go on about the evils of drugs, but then appear to turn a blind eye when it is being done on their Notting Hill doorstep.

It's the liberal/left attitude of "have a quick spliff, it doesn't matter" which has contributed to the debased, decadent and debauched society, which Britain is today.

Still, the Cameron camp are obviously rattled. Solid Entertainment, I say.

Selsdon Man

"What I, and many others, find outrageous is the condascending nature in which these London-centric politicos trudge up to sink estates up north..."

There are sink estates in the south, east and west of the country. You are the one who is condescending - inverted snobbery I'd say.

James Hellyer

To admit it may well be honest and a representation of the new politics that he wants to represent but it also will alienate lots of people who think that drug use should not be tolerated, that cannabis cameron will be soft on drugs and will undermine his ability to make sensible policy on the huge drug problem that we have in the UK.

But as his "won't say" approach has the same effect as admitting to useing cannabis (but with added suspicion of dishonesty) it does cast doubt on his ability to operate as a serious politician.

malcolm

Hear,hear Tom Greeves.This is becoming insufferably dull as the same points are being made again and again and again.

tom

as I said before it casts doubt but so it did with clinton and Bush and you cant get more serious than 'leader of the free world'. Find me a politician who has climbed the greasy pole to become leader of a country and not had similar questions asked about their honesty whether it be about drugs, sexual promiscuity blah blah blah. I would love DC to be absolutely honest on this subject but there is a degree of real politik which operates in 21st century politics with the agressive media that we have. Hypocracy operates at many many levels. I dont believe that not answering a question about something that may or may not have happened many years ago is so serious, but yes I agree it casts a small degree of doubt the degree of doubt will obviously vary from person to person but as this blog has shown there are many complexities to this question which show it shouldnt be taken all that seriously

michael

Why can't David Cameron be upfront and tell us every law he has ever broken and every mistake he has ever made in the past 39 years. He is a politician and I have a right to know every detail about his past so that I can compare it to everything he believes today. How dare this arrogant man not answer in detail every question on his past personal life asked by our decent hardworking media journalists. It's a disgrace!

Blue ipod

Is the modern electorat, who we are really aiming at, bothered whether David Cameron allegedly tried drugs when younger at university? What matters to them is whether he is indulging now, which I am sure he is not. What he may have tried 20 odd years ago is not really relevant. He has obviously come to the conclusion that drugs are wrong and dangerous.

In saying he like most people in their youth have done things they are not proud of should be enough and he should not be hounded to eleborate any further.
How many politicians of all parties would stand up to intense scrutiny of thing they did in their youth and come out unscathed. What matters is whether they have learned from their experiences.

It is no wonder he does not want to answer the media about whether or not he experimented with drugs because he knows full well how the media treated Ann Widdecombe's conference speech on drugs a few years ago and the resulting headlines about half the shadow cabinet of the time.

His experience of allegedly experimenting with whacky baccy/drugs could actually work in his favour. It means he can say "been there, done it, got the t-shirt (not D Davis one) and give out a positive message about the dangers of drugs to young people. It also means that people who also tried drugs in their youth can connect with him.

Before anyone asks - I am not a signed up member of the Cameroons. Actually I have not yet made up my mind as to who I will finally go for.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"It is exactly a new sort of politics which says, actually I'm not going to answer that question (whatever the subject)."

This isn't a new sort of politics at all. Blair and New Labour have been doing it for years and serves to demonstrate how Cameron and the rest of the 'caviar conservatives' would preside over a NewLabourisation of the Conservatives if he became leader.

"Cameron is showing guts and skill in not playing the media game."

No he isn't. The issue has been wildly blown out of proportion when it could have been killed by providing a straight answer instead of obfuscating.

"It's time politicians stood up to smug interviewers by saying, actually that's none of your business and I'm not going to answer it. People will respect it."

I don't have any objection to politicians asking the media to mind their own business, but as mentioned on another thread, this should not be selective. If Cameron wants to keep his private life private, that's fine by me, but he shouldn't tell people to mind their own business when he's all too keen to bleat about his family or smugly pat his wife's pregnant stomach on stage.

michael

Why shouldn't he be selective Daniel? Why can't a leader decide what he wants to make public and what he doesn't - isn't that leadership? I'm getting tired of these rigteous comments which see any attempt to connect and engage beyond the Conservative Party as some sort of neo Blair betrayal. Get real, if we want to win an election, New Labour could teach us a lot in terms of what to do and what not to do. Eschew modern politics if you want, but we'll never win another election.

michael

Only today's Conservatives could view talking about your family or patting your wife's pregnant stomach as "bleating" and "smug". As if there's a shame in looking and sounding like real people! Yes he's doing it for political popularity, but that doesn't mean it's false. It's little wonder with comments like that, people think we're from another planet.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Why shouldn't he be selective Daniel? Why can't a leader decide what he wants to make public and what he doesn't - isn't that leadership?"

Because it smacks of hypocrisy. It puts me in mind of all those ridiculous celebrities who whine about intrusion into their private lives one minute and then are seen gurning for the cameras of a glossy magazine the next minute.

"I'm getting tired of these rigteous comments which see any attempt to connect and engage beyond the Conservative Party as some sort of neo Blair betrayal. Get real, if we want to win an election, New Labour could teach us a lot in terms of what to do and what not to do."

I don't have a problem with attempting to connect and engage beyond the party, as shown by my preference for Ken Clarke, who is still (despite the pro-Cameron spin merchants doing their worst) the most popular candidate amongst the public at large and nobody scored higher than Ken in today's poll amongst Conservative voters. I just feel that there is a way we can reach out beyond our traditional support without resorting to spin, smear, soundbites and slipperiness {sic?}. I don't buy into this "if we can't beat them, we'll copy them" mentality at all I'm afraid.

"Eschew modern politics if you want, but we'll never win another election."

If modern politics means abandoning straight answers, strong principles and solid policies in favour of the things I mentioned above then I will eschew modern politics, however I have faith that modern politics does not necessarily entail this course of action and I'll thank you not to patronise a recent graduate in international politics.

Innocent Abroad

Uhhh - David Cameron is from another planet, as far as the voters are concerned - you know, Eton, Oxford, Whites blah blah? By the way, I wouldn't push this defence of "Dave" - it vos all a long time ago, far, far away" - too far ....... after all, it only leads to questions like, when's the cut-off point then? At what point should one have stopped using drugs? As, after all, if sins are forgiveable becuase they have a best before date on them, you wouldn't want to be hanging out with any too recent sinners, would you? And if you were, somehow, discovered to be doing just that, well, it would make your dfeence look even tattier.

Hey ho. The stupidest thing thus far written on this thread is the idea that Cameron has the mass membership sown up. Balls. If he gets through to the final round (and I say he won't, as the numbers aren't there)), he'll be torn apart because of a.) lifestyle issues (it is, as at least one whining OE has already mentioned, a very chippy party these days) & b.) because of the attitude his little coterie have to the mass membership. They loath them, and are loathed in turn. In fact, Cameron's position, press hype to one side, with the mass membership is so poor that even Clarke could beat him there.

Mark Fulford

At risk of being a pro-Cameron spin merchant, the most recent poll I know of is the Sunday Times YouGov poll, summarized in the Economist:

"About 39 percent of 746 Conservative Party activists questioned by YouGov for the Sunday Times back Cameron, up from 16 percent before the party's annual conference in Blackpool, northwest England, last week. That puts him ahead of Kenneth Clarke, with 26 percent, and David Davis, with 14 percent, the poll showed."

Pary members, so not a direct comparison. Which poll are you citing?

michael

If we can't beat them we'll copy them is exactly what we must do in terms of political marketing success. In politics, sport or the market, you emulate the best to win.

Why this must mean we will in the process abandon straight answers, principles and policies, I have no idea.

I rather think, saying 'I am not going to answer that question' is in itself a pretty straightforward response.

By the way Daniel, congratulations on your degree. I'm all for Pomposity.


Daniel Vince-Archer

"Which poll are you citing?"

Today's Times/Populus opinion poll of Conservative voters, which has Ken on 33% and has none of the other contenders on a higher rating. Naturally, the Cameron cheerleaders at The Times ignored this and focused on the fact that Davis has slipped behind Cameron. I believe the Editor posted a thread about the poll today as well.

Innocent Abroad

Um, Mark, I'll explain polls as easily as I can (but it's a complicated subject, so do ask me to explain anything I've left unclear):

Polls 101 Module A They go up.

They go down.
End of Lesson; collect your degree on the way out.

For a practical illustration of this complex matter please examine Cameron's poll figures a month ago. They were 'down'. Please then consider them today. They are 'up'. Now (and this is the science bit), think on the future: will they a.) stay where they are? b.) keep going up? or c.) will they go down?

With reference to option C, try and imagine what it will be like should Cameron get to the final round, and the sort of campaign his opponent will wage against him.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"If we can't beat them we'll copy them is exactly what we must do in terms of political marketing success. In politics, sport or the market, you emulate the best to win."

Michael, one of the reasons political apathy is so widespread these days is that people think that politicians and parties are all the same. If we want to strengthen faith and support for democracy in this country, then we need to be offering something distinctive to the electorate instead of copying the other lot and adopting their approach to politics. Like I've said before, if people can't tell the parties apart they're likely to decide it's better the devil they know than the devil they don't and vote for Labour or not vote at all.

"Why this must mean we will in the process abandon straight answers, principles and policies, I have no idea."

Because that's the New Labour way. Their approach is that if the packaging is pretty, nobody will care what's inside, and it's disturbing to think that the Conservatives could go the same way if Cameron becomes leader.

"I rather think, saying 'I am not going to answer that question' is in itself a pretty straightforward response."

Giving no answer is not, by definition, giving a straight answer.

"By the way Daniel, congratulations on your degree. I'm all for Pomposity."

Thank you. And congratulations for the personal attack. By the way, I don't think it's especially pompous to point out that you don't need to patronise me because I have some knowledge of the subject.

Mark Fulford

Innocent abroad, what a wonderful contribution you trolls make.

michael

Believe me Daniel, it is! Let your arguments stand on its own merit. Actually, I don't think we're disagreeing over much - I want the Party to be true to its values of freedom, tolerance and opportunity and policies to be developed rooted in those values. But I want them to be communicated and marketed in the best possible way and I sincerely believe we can learn a lot from new Labour, both from their triumphs and mistakes. After all, they took many of the lessons from us! we've just got to rediscover them.

tom

is having a spliff a sin?

or is it a rite of passage?

James Maskell

BBC reports that David Cameron DID smoke Cannabis. Its the rumour column but its a confirmation.

James Maskell

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4331120.stm

This is the link.

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