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« Commentators call for candour from Cameron on cannabis | Main | Sir Malcolm Rifkind quits race - and endorses Ken Clarke »



Most of the tory members I've spoken to are only interested in winning an election so you would expect Cameron to surge ahead as he is the only candidate that the British electorate might buy.

Cameron's new found stature does Clarke's "I'm best to win" campaign no favours at all.

henry curteis

Fox To Save Turkeys

They say that turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. Conservative MP’s and members who back Cameron could well be falling into a ‘turkey’ trap.

With great comedians you can never remember any of the jokes afterwards. So it is with great speeches. You remember feeling uplifted by the sentiments, but unless you actually write down the words, you can rarely recall what was actually said. Cameron’s speech was no exception – good enough to win the accolades, but nothing much in the way of content that was memorable.

Given that there is little substance in the policy arena on offer, just a youthful energetic charm machine, it seems bizarre that Cameron is getting wing to wing support in the Rupert Murdoch media empire, and also with the BBC. The media recognises exactly the man they want – someone so dependent on their good image that they – the media - will be in a position to exert maximum leverage upon them. A mutual interdependence is being established, which will of course be exploited ruthlessly should it pay off.

In Cameron the media see not strength that they must respect but weakness of the kind they can eat for dinner. The views of MP’s would soon become secondary, those of the membership irrelevant – even the views of the public. As with Blair, good media support is all that is needed in the mediocracy game. A Cameron regime would become a media regime. No wonder Murdoch is so excited.

MP’s would be mad to back Cameron, except for Boris Johnson of course, whose media career needs an urgent lift. Fox must provide the escape route for the Conservative Party from this toxic media embrace.

James Hellyer

The Populus poll finds that Mr Cameron's support amongst Tory voters has risen tenfold - from 3% identifying him as the best leader to a new level of 33%.

I wonder if that has anything to do with the media hagiographies of Cameron and concurrent trashing of Davis, sudden ignoral of Clarke (now it looks like he won't), and continued ignoral of Fox and Rifkind.

Graham D'Amiral

It would be foolish to believe in this the media age that concepts of image and style have no importance. The media is a critical tool by which to get your message across to the widest possible section of the electorate.

I welcome that various candidates are talking about change, even if they do mean different things by it. The most unattractive position for the party to take would be one that thought we did quite well in the general election so if we pursue a steady course and keep our nerve eventually the pendulum will swing our way.

I am looking for a leadership candidate who understands the importance of repositioning the party so that we can make a claim to be the party of the centre. Ken Clarke, David Cameron and Sir Malcolm Rifkind all would appear to understand this. Sir Malcolm is a politician I greatly admire but clearly has no realistic chance of becoming leader, David Cameron has lots of good ideas and many appealing qualities but rather lacking in experience, so I have reached the conclusion that if the Conservative Party are to seriously challenge for power again we should elect Ken Clarke as our leader.

James Maskell

The poll was done the weekend after the Conference. No suprize then really, so close after the Conference. It doesnt really say how people think now in light of the stories about him. Ive still not got a firm view on his views. He has to answer these questions and set out his stall with more than bunting and fanfares...there has to be some actual wares to sell. We need something more substantial.


You people really amaze me.

As soon as a popular and energetic figure that can engage with the world outside your little comes along you trash him.

Is this just jealousy or are you really that dim.

The conservative party's main areas of support come from the elderly and the lower middle class. The lower middle class is shrinking as people get richer and the elderly generation is dying off. The conservatives need someone that will fish in a different pond.

The only candidate who has demonstrated a narrative that could make the conservatives relevant again is David Cameron.

If Davis or Fox is elected the conservative party will probably die.

Selsdon Man

"continued ignoral of Fox and Rifkind" - it is the responsibility of campaign managers to ensure that the media covers their candidates.

James Maskell

But what is he offering the Party? I am not talking style here. That we can se on the stage or in front of the media. Im talking the meat and veg here not the garnish. There needs to be something tangible that we can look at and say "Yes, I can see what he wants, this is the direction he wants the Party to go in and I can support this". What substance does he have? I cant see it yet. He hasnt pointed it out yet and time is ticking.

Im open to be changed here, but effort needs to be made to add some meat to the bones of the campaign. I would find it very sad for him to be elected on the basis of a single speech at Conference which didnt really tell us much about what he actually offers the party apart from style.

James Hellyer

it is the responsibility of campaign managers to ensure that the media covers their candidates.

... because they can dicate post-conference coverage can't they?

The problem Selsdon is that the media has a story they wanted to tell about the Conference. That was Davis fails and Cameron succeeds. How other people did is not part of that story.

That said, the coverage of Dr Fox's was very positive - it just doesn't fit the media's ongoing narrative of choice.

Jack Stone

It is clear the right are more and more resigned to losing the leadership election as in politics it is always the case that when people are in trouble in elections they always blame there plight on the media and rubbish every opinion poll that shows there side to be losing the arguments.
If those on the right take care to read Cameron speeches they will see a differant agenda being set out for the party and a more caring, compassionate language than we have seen before from a conservative politican.
We have tryed the old ways and the old policies surely after three election defeats its time to try something new and see if the answers Cameron is putting forward can lead the party back to power.
It may fail but I think the party stands a better chance with a young, new leader from a new generation with new ideas and a new language of care and compassion than we will with the ideas that have failed to gain support from the people during the last eight years and from someone who can`t even inspire his own party let alone the voters at large.


I'm not a conservative but I think that it was one of you lot that said something about lies damn lies and statistics, but I think that the time has come to realise that it's not just politicians that use figures to confuse the issue.
I remember how when I was young I watched a Nigel Lawson budget and I was amused by thinking that the opposition was completely silenced because they couldn't understand what the hell he was going on about. Neither could I! but I could, at least, appreciate his mastery of numbers. Having then just read Carl Marx's capital it was a pleasure to see and listen to a politician introducing so many variables into a problem that quite rightly required so many of them. The labour party by the nature of its core electorate is forced to follow the rule of Occam's razor which I'll remind you is that one should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities beyond what is necessary. In fact this is just an anglo-saxon translation of a basic principle of Calculus that Descartes established, but that's besides the point.
The point is that the press is faced with the fact of extinction. The likes of the Ruppert Murdock's Empire is a dodo. Faced with that loss, every hack will crawl out from beneath the stone that they are sheltering under and use any means by which to try to affect the world that they never dared to get involved with, other than preying upon it. The only weapon that they have left to fight with is the Poll. But consider the fact that we shall never again see again the likes of Peter Snow and his swingometer. Are the rats leaving the sinking ship? Their last effort is to try to influence the election of the oldest political party in the world.
As a mathematician I call upon you to use your powers of historical reasoning to make sense of the present, and ignore what people are trying to tell you because they are doing just that. Or to paraphrase the words of Bux Fizz, its time for making your own mind up.

Selsdon Man

As John McEnroe would say "You cannot be serious!"


"The labour party by the nature of its core electorate is forced to follow the rule of Occam's razor which I'll remind you is that one should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities beyond what is necessary. In fact this is just an anglo-saxon translation of a basic principle of Calculus that Descartes established, but that's besides the point."

That'd be difficult, given William of Occam died 250 years before Rene Descartes was born.

Oberon Houston

mmm, going high brow. Actually, having been to Conference and also attending a good number of Fringe meetings, my bullet point observations were this…

- Rifkind’s speech was very very well delivered and on oratory by far the best.
- Clarke’s was carefully pitched to avoid areas of contention, but I wouldn’t call it especially brilliant.
- Davis’ fringe (Reform Lecture) and main speech was very dull and uninspiring, exactly as the media described them, although the media did seem to ‘create’ the story of mass disgruntlement, most people just looked blank afterwards. Interestingly he mentioned that he understood the “middle class women vote with their heart as well as their head, and that conscience plays a big part in their voting decisions”. The fact that he recognises this does not necessarily mean he will deliver policy to suit. I think most people smelled a rat.
- Cameron’s speech did have substance to it, but it was subtle and one needed to listen carefully. His Observer Interview was poor, the questions were bad (tabloid style) and he fielded the drugs question badly.
- Foxes one was more detailed and had the strength of conviction, but he depressed people by telling them Britain had gone to the dogs in lots of ways that often seemed over the top and there should have been a ‘Crimewatch’ style “don’t have nightmares” comment at the end.
- Howard’s speech was dignified, but possibly a bit awkward at times.

Overall, it was a very exiting week though, and there is still lots to play for.

Jack Stone

At a time when this country is at threat as never before from terrorism I think its a total disgrace that David Davis is opposing the Police`s wish to be able to detain terrorists for up to three months before they have to charge them.
This party as lost some good servants in the past to the terrorists so we know better than most what it is to lose people to terrorism.
We should therefore be standing four square behind the governemt in there fight against terrorism not looking as if we are more concerned about the welfare of accused terrorists than the safety of our own citizens.

Oberon Houston

But Jack, its not DDs wish to impede the improvment of Law to combat this new threat, its that Labour are rushing through hastily prepared proposals. We need much much more debate on this, it is crucial that we get it right.

Labour always get heavy handed and reacionary in these situations, it is up to the Consevatives to ensure that good law is passed.

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