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« Fox with-holds endorsement... for now | Main | Cameron Versus Davis: Hope Versus Experience »



Is this the party of big government or personal freedom?

It wasn't that long ago that members of the shadow cabinet admitted to having smoked cannabis in their student days and the Telegraph was calling for a debate on state intervention on soft drugs.

If we want a nanny state, we can rely on the present government to provide one. At least with Cameron, we may have an alternative.

Ben O

Is this what the next 6 weeks is going to about?

Tim Roll-Pickering

It's a difficult phrasing of the question. Cameron has stick to his guns that his personal life before he entered politics is a private affair. What he's done as an MP is different - law makers should not be law breakers.

Selsdon Man

Alex Thomson was aggressive and David Cameron gave a straight answer to a specific question. That should end the matter - as it did in the interview. Hopefully, the next six weeks will be a stimulating debate between the Davids on strategies and policies to win elections.

Mark Fulford

I think the bigger question is: should candidates have policy commitments at this stage?

Personally I am more interested in the nature of the beast than specific policy promises. From what Cameron has said so far (on all subjects, not just drugs) I trust him to react to unforeseen issues in a way that I would agree with. I don't trust Davis in the same way.


This is becoming very tedious. You must also surely see that the only people who get harmed by this sort of muck raking are the muck rakers. It all back fired badly on Davis last time and will again if you keep it up.

Wat Tyler

I trust everyone heard what DD said on R4 Today this am:

"I'm Shadow Home Secretary; in the last few weeks I've been asked questions about the direction of drugs policy, which have then been written up, rather mischievously I must say, as an attack on David. So for the next six weeks, I'm not going to answer any question on drugs- policy or otherwise- because I'm simply not going to have this debate dominated by this issue."

It's in no Tory's interest to rake over this any more.


Apart from anything else it has become so dull.Is there anything left to say on the subject?

Henry Cook

In terms of policy, Cameron isn't going to be shadow Home Secretary if he wins, a position likely to remain with DD, and so we shouldn't worry too much about this specific policy issue. The shadow Cabinet would prevent too liberal a line on drugs as well - we must remember this is not a presidential election, where the winner calls all the shots. The idea that the winner of contest will draft all policies ahead of the next election is wrong, and one we should get away from.

Michael McGowan

I'm not interested in what Cameron has or has not smoked or snorted or injected in the past. I am interested in his policies. I don't expect him to provide copious detail but as Anthony Seldon points out in today's Times, he is extremely inexperienced and is above all a product of patronage. Mood music is fine but to govern is to choose. Cameron aspires to govern which will involve tough choices, not cliches and soundbites. I might feel more enthusiastic if he were prepared to offer an alternative to Labour's recent cave-in to the public sector unions over pensions. At the moment, I am not convinced that he would.


Wat, I think DD's statement on drugs amounts to a dereliction of duty. I defended him earlier in the week because I believed it was wrong to accuse him of using the drugs issue against Mr Cameron when he was doing his duty - to uphold a strong policy line against drugs. I have recommended that he style himself as the 'fighter for Conservative values and the underdog' in the next six weeks. His surrender on this issue on campaign day one is really disappointing. The issue can only go away when Mr Cameron has clarified his position on cannabis and harm reduction. The issue may bore some people and that may be what Camp Cameron is hoping for. I simply think it is too important a POLICY issue to bury. Thanks, Tim


Its a shame that Davis won't talk about drugs policy but I think he acted with great decorum on Today.

Can't you see that Cameron will struggle to discuss drugs policy without it being tainted with allegations.

Also the comment you posted above is a huge non-story the guy made it clear that he had a private past life seperate to his time as an MP so if asked about his time as an MP then he should of course answer.


OK Tim, the drugs policy issues remain to be addressed but Alex Thomson wasn't asking David Cameron about drugs policy.

The two issues must be dealt with separately.


I have no quarrel with that Michael. I'm only interested in policy in this area.

Wat Tyler

Tim..."dereliction of duty" is a very harsh way of putting it, isn't it?

Sure, you wouldn't start from here, but we can all see the media are slavering around this whole issue like sewer rats on heat. They're not interested in the policies: they want the Big Brother angle- either for DD to nail DC on drugs, or DC to nail DD on being a schemeing little S*** stirrer, or preferably both.

I think DD is quite right in refusing to play their game.

(And please bear in mind the apparent hostility to his leadership bid among sections of the media. Remember HE was the one who spent the first half of his conference speech dealing with his policy brief- and look how that was reported! What's more, as you have graciously recognised, some of the media have taken great delight in twisting his words- not just that Morgan and Platell interview, but also that Politics Show coment on charlatan Blair)


Cameron has rather cornered the market in being the underdog, don't you think Tim, having risen from nothing to favourite? I doubt the press have much appetite for rebranding the contenders at this late stage in the game.

As for fighting for Conservative values, why would a strategy that has worked so well in the last 2 general elections suddenly come good for DD in this leadership race? Good thing you're a commenter and not a campaign manager. All Davis has to do to win is to keep the debate squarely on policy and experience.

Jack Stone

The Davis camp may say that they are going to fight a clean fight now but once it becomes apparant in a couple of weeks time that they are heading for inevitable defeat they will return to type.
Once a dirty player, always a dirty player!

Stephen Alley

It's interesting to step into the mind of a politician. Do you think this was a deliberate admission?

The admission was almost put to him on a plate, "If I were to ask you ... , would you answer yes?". So, you would almost have to say it wasn't deliberate. I wonder whether his advisers behind the camera were biting their lips. At least, the timing was opportune, as the results were the only possible headline today.

So along with the question that claims not to be a question, we get the denial that is not a denial. Surely, the qualifier "as an MP" is an invitation to read between the lines. I almost get the impression this is the way to make an admission and let a story go to rest. "I haven't ..., as an MP/since I was very young/since leaving university".


What evidence do you have for that comment Jack? Your continuous attacks on anyone that opposes your view of Conservative politics really does the party no favours at all.If you are going to make these assertions please try and justify them.


Dull, dull, dull, dull.

On another note: is anyone so seriously clueless that they don't think cocaine use is widespread among MPs?


Would David Cameron look at the legalisation of cocaine within a sensible structured framework or would that be too bold?


By underdog, Andrew, I didn't mean DD himself but the people struggling through life against state and market failure...


Tim: Apologies. This race is making everyone over-sensitive to criticism...

I don't think the press are really giving Davis a fair shout when it comes to selling that narrative, although I hope that the next 6 weeks will prove enough time for him to do so.


"I don't think the press are really giving Davis a fair shout when it comes to selling that narrative, although I hope that the next 6 weeks will prove enough time for him to do so."

He might not have that long. I heard on the news yesterday that in the 2001 contest, most ballot papers were filled out and returned just a few days after being sent out. http://xn--fjq2is76a2rq.xn--fiqs8s/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=672524&fromuid=92584

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