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« Ken Clarke might serve the right leader | Main | Is David Davis steadying his parliamentary ship? »

Comments

alexw

Sean - very true, but I doubt that the other members of the EU would take kindly to the UK saying "cheers for the trade, but here's two fingers to the laws". The idea that we could stay a member of the EU and yet continually flout its laws is highly questionable - a logical conclusion that honest people on both sides of the debate have reached. At the very least, Cameron would have to threaten withdrawal in very clear terms and pray that the ECJ et al. didn't call his bluff. What I find slightly objectionable is Cameron's opportunism in trying to milk right-wing votes in full knowledge that this is a policy he could never pledge to or enact in practice.

James Hellyer

In a way Cameron's "pledge" is just a riff on Michael Howard's pledge to ‘re-negotiate’ the return of our fish. If the rest of the EU didn't agree, Howard said he would legislate in the House of Commons to take them back.

Spain and Holland, at least, would not want to lose our fish, so they would challenge their repatriation in Luxembourg. The ‘Court’ would have to declare the UK’s action unlawful, and we would then have been faced with climbing down or leaving the EU.

Hardline eurosceptics see such pledges as coded support for leaving the EU. Looking at David Cameron's statements about Britain's membership of the EU, it's hard to believe he wants to follow that course. He might however want to offer a coded - and cynical - appeal to those who do.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"When you repeatedly write beloved phrases such as "caviar-conservative" and "caviar Cameron", do you think you are adding to the debate?"

Not really if I'm honest. It's merely a lighthearted nod towards their background.

Simon C

Glad to see that DC is following Liam's lead in relation to the EPP. Long may Liam be his leader!

More seriously, this does support my Platform blog thesis that Liam is the candidate who is actually changing the Party.

Without trawling back through scientifc papers, it's far from clear that the drugs policy that DC used to espouse, but now appears to have distanced himself from, did represent "the best scientific advice" at the time. The link between cannabis & schizophrenia has been well-identified for a while now. This tack of DC's strikes me as a poor answer. We need a leader with sound independent judgment; this is an unconvincing & worrying excuse to put forward.

Do we know what drugs policy DC now believes "the best scientific advice" would support?

The Party needs some consistent leadership - if the new leader chops & changes policy under pressure, opportunism charges will follow quickly.

Nelson, Norfolk

I feel that some of the writers of the above posts come across as if they do not like DCs success in this leadership campaign.

DC has got the mo factor and he is very good on TV. He is the man that will lead our Party into power.

Forget KC. He should leave the race now. He has too much baggage.

DD is not a good leader and he is not good on TV. Also he is not able to inspire people.

LF appears to be guided by the right wing. The British people will not vote for him as he is moving away from the centre.

Go for DC.

Simon C

Editor,

Will you be posting on how DD & LF got on at the hustings?

Daniel Vince-Archer

"I feel that some of the writers of the above posts come across as if they do not like DCs success in this leadership campaign."

What tipped you off Sherlock? For the record, I don't like his emergence as a serious contender in the leadership contest but that's because I don't like what a Cameron leadership would entail, i.e. the NewLabourisation of the Conservatives. I have nothing against Cameron the person, it's Cameron the politician I have a few issues with as I still believe in politics of substance, not of superficiality {sic?}.

James Maskell

Wasnt DC an advisor during the ERM mess? That worries me. Tony Blair will drag that up every Wednesday along with the other dirt dragged up during this campaign. You could see this afternoon that TB is up for the PMQs this term. That spiel about the Conservatives only caring about those at the top of society we all know is complete bs, pardon my French. If DC is to be leader he has to exorcise the demons from his past.

Daniel,

Although you may have posted it before, I am intrigued as to which candidate(s) you would be most willing to back? I only ask as I've only seen your negative posts about Cameron and your own blog, and although you may have posted your preference somwhere, I can't recall.

Which candidate's position and future direction for the Party interests you most in comparison?

Richard Carey

Sorry, Daniel, that question was mine, just missed a couple of fields!

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Although you may have posted it before, I am intrigued as to which candidate(s) you would be most willing to back?"

My preference is Ken Clarke, although I would still be happy if either David Davis or Liam Fox became leader.

"I only ask as I've only seen your negative posts about Cameron and your own blog"

I'll admit my recent posts here have tended to concentrate on Cameron, but that's largely because the recent threads have been, in the main, Cameroncentric.

Richard Carey

Thanks for indulging me, Daniel.

On a different topic:

"Any 'Cornerstoners' who got into bed with Cameron, Duncan et al, would regret it. Mark my words."

Given the following remark on BBC News (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4335760.stm ) tonight, perhaps the regret might be mutual!

'The Cornerstone Group of right-wing MPs discussed who to support at a meeting on Wednesday evening.

One of the group's leading MPs, Edward Leigh, said: "Twenty-one MPs turned up for the meeting.

"I think the majority of them will vote for Dr Fox, firstly because he appears to accept all the Cornerstone agenda and secondly because they would like to see Mr Clarke thrown out of the balloon." '

I am not a particular supporter of either Kenneth Clarke or the Cornerstone agenda, but we all have to work together and the "secondly" above is gratuitous and I hope that Mr Leigh might see fit to reconsider his injudicious remarks.

Alastair Matlock

Hear Hear.

pigmalion

"Angela Watkinson did raise the issue of drugs and his position on the legal status of ecstasy. Mrs Watkinson served with him on the Home Affairs Select Committee when he adopted liberal policy positions."
When did DC change his liberal position? and if the best scientific advice of the time changes will it alter the position that he now holds?

James Hellyer

"Mr Cameron said that he acted on the best scientific advice of the time and he now appreciated that that advice had changed."

I'm not aware of the medical advice changing over the last five years. The links to mental illness have been established for a long time. As for the excuse Cameron offered that cannabis was stronger now, I'm not sure that's any more the case now than when he was on the Home Affairs Select Committee (i.e. cannabis strains are stronger than they were, but this isn't a development that's happened in the last five years).

greg

The "best scientific advice at the time" line is the one the government used when they recently came under fire about the reclassification of cannabis (something it appears Cameron supported).

greg

Needless to say it's nonsense - the dangerous nature of the drug had little to do with the decision in the first place (nobody ever said it was 'safe'), and so further evidence of the problems caused by cannabis are obviously not a reason for the rules to be changed back. The reality is that the policy hasn't achieved its stated aims.

wasp

You have to stop associating euroscepticism with being right wing. People like Gove campaigned against the constitution and Cameron has always been a strong opponent of the single currency.

I've never seen anything to suggest that Cameron is not a eurosceptic.

I am however disappointed with the EPP withdrawal. This would leave a future conservative government completely shorn of influence in europe. Meaning that the sort of case by case regning in of ever closer union would be impossible.

James Hellyer

I've never seen anything to suggest that Cameron is not a eurosceptic.

Apart from his belief that some surrender of powers is in Britian's interests?

I am however disappointed with the EPP withdrawal. This would leave a future conservative government completely shorn of influence in europe

No it wouldn't. Membership of the EPP-ED does not give us influence. Intergovernmental negotiation at the Council of Ministers and Commission gives rise to influence.

Membership of the EPP-ED simple associates us with lots of policies that Conservatives should want nothing to do with:

http://www.epp-ed.org/Policies/en/policies.asp

Simon C

Richard,

I don't think Edward Leigh meant literally that Ken should be taken up in a hot air balloon and thrown out (although Ken & hot air do have a natural affinity...)

The leadership contest at this stage is a little like a "balloon" debate - which lots of school & university debating societies hold. The idea is that each character in the debate makes his case. There's a round of voting. The least persuausive is thrown out of the balloon. They each make their case again; there's another vote... and so on until there's only one left. One candidate eliminated in each round.

That is what I took him to be getting at.

Simon C

"Needless to say it's nonsense - the dangerous nature of the drug had little to do with the decision in the first place (nobody ever said it was 'safe'), and so further evidence of the problems caused by cannabis are obviously not a reason for the rules to be changed back. The reality is that the policy hasn't achieved its stated aims."

That's the issue, Greg. There is a place for "expert advice". However, all too often politicians use it as a shelter to hide behind, to cover-up indecision or poor judgement. That's particuarly the case in issues such as this, where there is certainly no settled scientific or policy consensus as to the most effective approach.

There was a chance to generate respect - by saying something like: "Drugs cause intractable and immensely complicated problems. The status quo is failing & the damage is such that we cannot allow that failure to continue. I thought it worth trying an experiment on cannabis to see if something different would work. The evidence from Brixton is that it hasn't." (Assuming that's what he thinks)

But, having nailed his colours to "best scientific advice", it would be good to know what policy he currently supports.

Jonathan Sheppard

My personal view would be - there is a clear evidence that cannabis use can cause mental health problems. The decision to downgrade cannabis was not supported by judges or the police - and as such was a mistake. If we are serious about tackling the drugs issue we need to send the message to young people that smoking cannabis is not acceptable and can cause immense harm.

Not everyone in the constituency I fought agreed with me - but they knew where I stood and respected that.

malcolm

What influence do the Conservative MEPs have currently Wasp? It seems to me that it is supremely irrelevant what group we are attached to as no major decisions are made in the European parliament at all.
As regards Edward Leigh and his foolish remarks about balloons.When will this man realise that he and some of his Cornerstone colleagues are such a terrible advertisement for the Conservative Party that if given prominence will ensure that we are never reelected.

andy

It's difficult to find anything about Cameron on anything apart from written questions and answers to the Secretary of State for Education and Skills. All he seems to be passionate about is changing the education system to help less fortunate children. That's an honourable cause, but when he was asked how he would fund the changes that he was proposing he couldn't give an adequate answer.
It's all very well being high minded but politics is a pragmatic business where you have to make deals with people that you don't necessarily like, and more often don't agree with. Quite frankly I'd have to agree with Mr Cameron. He is no Tony Blair! Blair would never put himself in a position where his conviction blured his politics unless it meant invading another country to secure its oil reserves. A nice version of Tony Blair? realy!!!
I'm reminded of the words, "...But Brutus is an honerable man." and look how that story ended.

Barry Graham

'As regards Edward Leigh and his foolish remarks about balloons.When will this man realise that he and some of his Cornerstone colleagues are such a terrible advertisement for the Conservative Party that if given prominence will ensure that we are never reelected.'

Couldn't agree more. Leigh, Cash et al are an embarrassment and they have had a disproportionate influence on the party for too long.
I think anyone (Fox, it seems, here) who receives their endorsement would be best advised not broadcasting it.
The fact that LF has/is got/getting their support is, to me, conclusive proof that he (Fox) is the most right-wing and, therefore, electorally-dangerous candidate.
The usual response to this is the hackneyed ... 'it's a mistake to look at this as a left-right thing...'
Sorry, if you get Cornerstone's backing, it clearly is.

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