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« Charles Moore proposes extra ballot of MPs | Main | Fox closes in on Clarke »

Comments

James Hellyer

Which is plainly untrue.

It isn't untrue. David Cameron did not give a straight or punchy answer to any question. He answered in generalities and talked around the questions - that's why he said little that could upset anyone, because no substantive positions were taken.

This really is tedious.

I agree. You are.

Selsdon Man

"I'd urge people to be very careful what they say in this difficult area."

May I point out that postings on blogs and web sites are actionable. You and the editor (as publisher) can be sued for libel if you make defamatory comments about another individual. This is the advice of a close relative who is one of the country's leading media libel lawyers.

Selsdon Man

By the way, I have used her in the past. She does not take prisoners! You have been warned.

Henry Mackintosh

Cameron was pretty weak on QT last night - certainly I don't think on the basis of that performance that we'll be hearing too many more claims that he has 'reinvented politics'. Average to slightly ingratiating would be my verdict, but I do have to laugh at "Jack Stone" [who's remembered to keep the caps lock button off this time, which he doesn't always do when he's, in various guises, treating us to his opinions] and his fantasies about DD smearing efforts. Yeah, that's what we all remember about Hague and Duncan Smith's leaderships - that DD was smearing and briefing and bitching. No, wait, that's actually what we all remember about the Modernisers who are currently using Cameron as their sock puppet.

I strongly suspect that before the end of this race, the Mods are going to wish that they had run Osborne rather than "Dave", given that his implosion comes ever closer. "Today", for example, was interesting this morning. As blatant as you want (you'd better get your aunt onto that too Selsdon), they were discussing the Cocaine issue, and the salient fact of Kate Moss was mentioned. Which, very simply, is that if you have done Class A stuff in the past, and are obliged to admit to it because you have foolishly put yourself in a public position where your every past action will inevitably be examined, well, you'll get a visit from Plod soon enough.

The Cameron defence at the moment seems to be, 'he does not have to answer this question because it is a question he does not have to answer'. Why? What exactly is it, about drugs use for example, that makes this something some sort of unofficial statute of limitations applies to? If a leadership contender had, say, burnt down a house twenty or thirty years ago, would the passage of time mean that it was no longer relevant? And if it is the passaage of time that means the issue is 'dead', how much time has to have passed?

Obviously this question is relevant because if the Cameron camp say, 'well, coke is *wrong*, if done less than 10/20/whatever years ago' it does bring them up against the issue of what do you do with people who have done plentiful amounts of coke more recently than that? Since a moral proposition is, in effect, beign advanced by the Cameron camp - ie long ago drugs use: forget about it; recent drugs use: naughty - how exactly is it apllied in real life? For example, would Cameron knowingly employ someone who had had a major drugs habit as recent as this decade? That's the problem with the lines of defence the Cameron campaign are trying to advance - they're not very credible when you try to apply them to real world situations.

The Cameron campaign is plainly in cloud cuckoo land - they seem to think that if they keep saying 'nah, nah, nah, everyone did it you squares' that this issue will go away. Total, utter spinning incompetence. Cameron could make it vanish in an instant, but won't. If he can't deal with a press issue like this, he really isn't up to the job of being party leader.

Robert

David Cameron was performed pretty well except for the question about 'indescretions' or whatever. He does fit a lot of words into a sentance but is pretty good overall.

I'm not a Conservative supporter but the race is fascinating. Personally, I see David Davis as potentially an effective leader. Ken Clarke seems unelectable ("Oh boy have you made me wait" and wait...and wait...), it's hard to imagine voting for Liam Fox (ideology/high level of smarm) and Cameron is pretty good, just so inexperienced. I think he talks quite a lot owing to a little nervousness. He seems to have a lot of support because of his 'similarity' to Tony Blair. For Conservative minds, this seems like a real risk.

The impression I have is that Fox has run a good campaign (I think he had his campaign website online first and generally seems proactive), Cameron had a mass of support for his pretty good speech and has run an effective campaign. Davis had some poor press for an average speech (the political reporting on this race has been bloody awful at times) but it's his own fault that he didn't rise to the challenge. Good luck Ken, you'll need it.

Cracking site this, Tory or not,

Robert.

Henry Cook

I think the Sunday papers (esp the Mail on Sunday) this week will be critical in whether DC survives this issue or not. If they haven't found anything by Sunday, then I think it unlikely they will. If his campaign is torpedoed by this issue (which I don't think it will be), I only hope the leadership does not end up in the hands of those cowards who have done it. As for the QT perfomance last night, I at least am amazed at the reception he got from a BBC, yes BBC, audience. You'd have thought they'd have relished heckling and ripping into the man that could be Tory leader, but they didn't; they loved him.

Oberon Houston

Do you think this may be an opportunity for the Davis campaign? Get him and DC onto the ballot paper then hope the tide will turn with the ordinary members on the drugs issue?

To be honest (feeling a bit feisty this morning), I think the only chance we have of winning the next General Election is if KC or DC become leader. Those that believe Davis has the ability to woe voters that previously voted Labour of Lib-Dem are a bit delusional, or are indifferent to that fact, and would rather have a Tory party in cuckoo land than even contemplate a centrist leadership.

Who was it that said recently "Many in the Tory party regard politics as a spectator sport"?

Mark Fulford

Even if Cameron did try something at university and it is uncovered by the MoS, it does him no harm. His position has been very constant: the issue is not relevant and he's not answering it. The controversy in that statement is not modified by whether he has or hasn’t taken anything.

Ed is absolutely right that the critical question is how drugs policy might change under a Cameron leadership. I personally believe that we can not start solving the tragic problem until we are informed, honest and realistic about drugs, addiction and what can actually be done. That is a difficult process when any pragmatic suggestions become labelled soft or liberal.

Of all the candidates, I think that Cameron has shown himself most concerned about the plight of drug addicts and most willing to consider and find answers. I think he stands a real chance of reducing the harm done by drugs and I certainly don't think you need to worry about Cameron handling the issue recklessly.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"I think the Sunday papers (esp the Mail on Sunday) this week will be critical in whether DC survives this issue or not."

Yes it was interesting to see the Caviar Cameron cheerleaders at the Guardian pre-emptively trashing anything the Mail might say on the issue this weekend.

Personally I think it would be better for the Mail to get it out of the way this weekend as the consequences would be much more damaging if it was left for Alastair Campbell and his media lackeys to unleash the hounds on this issue at the next election if Cameron became leader. If that happened, it would damage both the party and Cameron, whereas if it comes out now, it only has the potential to hurt Cameron.

No doubt this comment on Caviar Cameron and drugs will be met with the usual snorts of derision and pot shots from his sympathisers.

Innocent Abroad

Even if Cameron did try something at university and it is uncovered by the MoS, it does him no harm. His position has been very constant: the issue is not relevant and he's not answering it. The controversy in that statement is not modified by whether he has or hasn’t taken anything.

This is tosh mark, and you know it is. It really doesn't matter how much Team Cameron asserts that something is not 'relevant' - they don't actually 'control the vertical and the horizontal'. Much as they might wish this set of questions wasn't being asked, or shouldn;t be asked, it is, and it's going to go beign asked until they've been answered.

You don;t have to be a genius to realise that it's better for Cameron for him to answers these questions himself, rather than wait and see the Sundays answer them for him.

BTW I see that the latest Cameron 'defence' is, "if I spoke about drugs, I'd have to speak about other stuff too" - what on earth is that all about?

kris

It sounds like a veiled threat to his colleagues not to spill the beans on him lest he tells all on them. It sounds like the house of commons has decended into a sewer of iniquity! If Cameron is a coke-head then he has lost my vote.

Henry Cook

Daniel, I agree with what you say in that if there is anything for the media to find, let them find it now rather than mid-election campaign in 2009.

I must say though this childish caricature of 'Caviar Cameron' is rather amusing. Is this the best attack there is on him? A less than witty witticism? I could talk about 'Lung Cancer Clarke' but I wouldn't because it lowers the level of debate.

Cllr Iain Lindley

Where did all this nonsense about cocaine come from?

kris

Ken Clarke was asked if he had ever tried a class A drug and he answered, 'I have never taken Cocaine'. Liam Fox also proclaimed that he has never done cocaine. This sounds like a deliberate dig at their colleague Cameron, and sounds very ominous to me. Diane Abbott also aluded to Cocaine. And also Cocaine is the new readily available drug used by socialites and celebrities. That is where is has come from. And the longer Cameron keeps shilly shallying on this issued the more Tory members votes he will lose.

Mark Fulford

If Cameron is a coke-head he's lost my vote too!

But how do you manage to misconstrue Cameron's response as threatening to spill the beans on other MPs? His stance is quite simple: if he answers one question on his past private life he has to answer all questions.

kris

A more facetious answer would be, theres a bloke down my street can get some for you if you like.

kris

Maybe i'm seeing plots within plots and becoming a bit paranoid.

Once Cameron clears this issue up, he would have my vote. Untill then i am officially a Fox supporter.

a-tracy

Mark - Are you the same Mark that came out all moralistic about DD's t-shirts and LF's bad taste joke five years ago? I think you said that was not Prime Ministerial behaviour or something like that. So what's avoiding questions about past drug taking!

DC is a similar age to myself and taking drugs then was seen as serious, it's only recently that Canabis has been downgraded. I have had my eyes opened by bloggers on this site that drug taking isn't seen as a big issue, personally photo's of dead girls on their knees and pictures of families grieving over teenagers that make this mistake is a serious issue. The harm is that his message is that whatever you do as a teenager is ok because you don't know any better well I'm sorry but I disagree whether you know you want to be Prime Minster or not.

Mark Fulford

Yes, a-tracy, I am the one that thinks that David Davis's t-shirts devalued women in the Conservative party. I think it did his campaign harm and damaged the Conservative party's image with the electorate.

I do not think that Cameron's stand is devaluing anything and it's not harming the Conservative party - as witnessed by the audience reaction to the questions about drugs on QT last night- they were behind Cameron.

The drug culture in Britain is a massive issue but, to solve it, we have to be able to discuss it rationally and based on fact. Are you aware that some of the devastated families of those dead people you refer to are actually calling for liberalisation? We cannot over-simplify this debate.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"I must say though this childish caricature of 'Caviar Cameron' is rather amusing. Is this the best attack there is on him? A less than witty witticism? I could talk about 'Lung Cancer Clarke' but I wouldn't because it lowers the level of debate."

As I said elsewhere, the terms Caviar Cameron and caviar conservative are an inoffensive, lighthearted nod towards the privileged background of Cameron and his acolytes, not really an attack as such. Calling him Druggie Dave or Cocaine Cameron would be a more serious attack (although not as offensive as Lung Cancer Clarke), which is why I've refrained from doing so.

Gareth

ONLY the tory party would get hot under the collar about whether someone toted on a joint at uni 20 years ago.

I, for one, couldn't care less.

Mark Fulford

Daniel, one man’s light-hearted nod is another man’s smear. Each time you say caviar-cameron you’re trying to discredit him a bit. Please don't try to pretend otherwise!

Julia McIntyre

Would all the people attacking Cameron for his refusal to answer an irrelevant question be prepared to answer the same question themselves?

Perhaps more interestingly we should be asking:

Do you do drugs (A,B, or C) now?
How many units of alcohol per week do you drink now?
Do you now drink and drive?

Personally I'd rather a leader who took pot/snorted coke 15 or 20 years ago than one who drinks excessively today?

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Would all the people attacking Cameron for his refusal to answer an irrelevant question be prepared to answer the same question themselves?"

As David Dimbleby put it last night, we're not trying to become Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition. Caviar Cameron is.

Julia McIntyre

""Would all the people attacking Cameron for his refusal to answer an irrelevant question be prepared to answer the same question themselves?"

As David Dimbleby put it last night, we're not trying to become Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition. Caviar Cameron is."

If we are so concerned about David Cameron's past misdemeanours (or otherwise) where do stop? Do I now have the right to demand that my GP or local police officers admit in public any mistakes they may have made a long time ago? Or even, god forbid, national newspaper journalists or BBC employees.

If Cameron had a long standing tough policy on drugs there may an interest in highlighting a hypocrisy but this is not the case.

I am much more interested in the behaviour of people today rather than 20 years ago.

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