Conservative Home's debate blogs


  • DVD rental
  • Conservative Books
My Photo

Conservative blogs

Blog powered by Typepad

  • Tracker 2
  • Extreme Tracker

« Davis promises twenty new grammar schools for the inner cities | Main | Robert Key's endorsement of David Cameron »


Selsdon Man

Hague was excellent in the Commons at PMQs but that did him little good at the polls. It is television and media coverage that counts.

Cameron in relatively inexperienced as a Commons performer but will get better because he will work hard to improve.

As for Skinner, I would trust the judgement that old socialist dinosaur.

Selsdon Man

I forgot the "not" before "trust" above.


Of course Labour wants Davis - not least because he has no House of Commons presence whatsoever. Even Tory backbenchers who happen to be in the chamber fail to stop talking amongst themselves when Davis is speaking. There's no respect for him.

I do not know what DC would be like and clearly Skinner will heckle whoever gets the job.

Has Davis made a memorable speech in all his 17 years there? I cannot remember one.


Aha! Exactly what I've been alluding to - Skinner and I see this one, at least, alike. He may be an old dinosaur, but he's no fool. To all those who keep chanting 'all that matters is winning', I remind them of what winning without principle is really like. Mandelson was brilliant, and all round a winner, wasn't he? And look at him now. Still in a 'top job', but universally reviled. What's the point of that kind of victory?

We now need Cameron to be tested, to make sure the media halo isn't just smoke and mirrors which disappears when the circumstances change. Selsdon Man is right that good Parliamentary performances don't necessarily help - but the reverse isn't true: flopping at the dispatch box does damage. It makes you look weak. Remember how that particular deficiency undermined IDS.


"To all those who keep chanting 'all that matters is winning', I remind them of what winning without principle is really like."

The fact of the matter is without winning we cannot implement a shred of conservative idea or agenda... Frankly are more tory mandelson like Cameron is better than a labour madelson..

Conservatives don't understand the situation... We all might love to cry out "tax cuts" and such....But without actually convincing the people to vote for us.. We cannot implement it.... Being stubborn right now doesn't help our situation... Labour learnt this much quicker than the tories obviously..

Blair was a geneous... His policies are fairly right-wing with a labour touch... Its exactly what Cameron needs to do..


Buxtehude. I agree completely. Cameron does need to be tested and we do not yet know enough to make a proper judgement. Davis has been tested over 17 years in the House and he does not look good.

He's a great machine politician and did very well as a whip and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. But he's not yet had a successful public role.

Alastair Matlock

Editor, your last few articles have rankled a bit with me, but when you begin regurgitating tedious bilge spewed by that great 'Conservative' Dennis Skinner to get your licks in against Cameron it really is more than I can bear.

I have been considering donating to this site, but I will not be doing so until the Editorial slant becomes rather less pronounced. For you to insist after every jibe at Cameron that you really are unbiased and floating is merely an insult to our intelligence.


Well I see Private Eye reports that Labour provided the gay smear on Fox to the Cameron faction to pass on to the Evening Standard. That Rachel Whetstone fed Nick Robinson the line about Davis standing down so Cameron could be crowned.

In fact listening at this moment to Any Questions I can say I am relieved that Britain is a faded force, the pathetic response of Tim Yeo made him seem as effete as David Laws the clueless LibDem. Their whole approach seems to be so long as we all jump together noone can blame us if we are wrong........there is not an ounce of leadership or backbone.

Maybe Cameron will win and spend his time swaying with the parliamentary jelly. It is a time of overwhelming mediocrity.


BNC man ? Does that mean you went to the House of the Brass Knocker ?

Do Tory MPs have respect for anyone, or anything (save money) ?


I do understand Skinner's comments, but I think it was unfair to call Cameron's education debate performance a 'flop.' It wasn't anything groundbreaking, but it was hardly as terrible as some try to paint it as.

Cameron does need to be tested. However, it is becoming increasingly likely that the only time we will be able to see him tested is at PMQs after his election as leader. This once again means that party members are having to make a big gamble. However, I'll be interested to see Question Time as well. It will be very interesting to see how Cameron comes across then.


"Question Time" will be fascinating. Will Cameron actually answer any of the questions?

Steven Patrick

How many threads has the Editor started attacking David Cameron? It is getting plainly ridiculous.


I make NO APOLOGIES for focusing 'questioning' on Mr Cameron, Steven. If you want Pravda-style or Hello-style profiling you're not going to find it here!

I think it is questioning - not attacks. If you are happy for the frontrunner to go unquestioned that's fine. But if blogging isn't a little subversive of the party establishment/ frontrunner (without being destructive) it's not the medium I thought it was. If DD was the frontrunner he would deserve the scrutiny but it's very unlikely he can win. I'd like to use this next few weeks to learn a lot more about our most-likely next leader.

Forgive me but there'll be much more of the same...


I'm going to stick up for the Editor here.

As I've said in earlier posts, David Cameron does need questioning and testing. It would be unwise to elect a man without looking at the details first and attempting to find out just exactly what he believes in. I think the Editor has just responded to this and has given his own genuine views on the questions David Cameron needs to answer. I don't think the Editor is biased, but I think he's sensible to ask these questions now, not a few years down the road. The more questions for Cameron can be attributed to two factors: 1) the fact that he is a relative newcomer and his experience needs to be tested and 2) he's chosen to be vaguer on policy commitments than Davis.


Thanks Elena very much,

Steven and Alastair may not believe that I'm unbiased between the candidates (if anything I'm slightly more likely to vote for David Cameron than David Davis (as it happens) because of DC's passion for social justice) but I do have many policy/philosophical biases which I'll readily admit to and on which I'd like to know where the candidates stand. Here are just seven:

+ Taxes are economic as well as budgetary weapons and need to be reduced immediately Conservatives win office.

+ In this age of nuclear/WMD proliferation we need to pre-empt threats before they become impossible to manage. Iraq was a war of pre-emptive self-defence.

+ Social justice can't be built on laissez-faire attitudes towards drugs or family life.

+ The sale of arms to repressive regimes by Britain is a modern evil and should stop.

+ Our failure to do anything about the massacre of up to 400,000 people in Darfur bloodstains our age.

+ Growing environmental problems are going to be solved by technology - not by Kyoto-style growth caps.

+ We need to have a more open party - more democratic, more decentralised, more diverse.

I'll use this blog to promote these biases but no alternative opinion (unless its actionable, racist, homophobic or in another way hateful) will be unwelcome.

Alastair Matlock

Is Davis going to get any of the same sort of 'questioning'? The fact that he is now proposing the same sort of tax package that served us so well at the 2001 election would seem to be to merit some - including the fact that it calls his political judgement into question. But some on here seem to be hailing it as some sort of visionary revelation! Utterly ridiculous. As I said above, no money from me until the tone moderates.


The Editor's rightful questioning of Cameron's experience would carry much more weight if he also put the focus on Davis's shortcomings whenever he has to open his mouth.

The man is incapable of commanding attention if he has to speak to people as in a speech or an interview. That is, as I keep repeating here, a fatal flaw in a leader.

IDS was just the the same.


Alastair: The promise of an unspecified donation through PayPal in return for me stopping asking perfectly reasonable questions of our likely next leader is very, very tempting but I'll manage to resist!

Alastair Matlock

Editor: I don't want you to stop asking reasonable questions. Quite the contrary, I'd like to see the bias that you so flagrantly promote in your writing end and for reasonable questions to be asked of both candidates! BNC Man has just above pointed out a Davis flaw that is far more serious than any vagueness on policy that may afflict Cameron four years before the next election, shock and horror! Your own credibility is at stake here if you persist in this baldly one-sided line of commentary.

Ask yourself, Why did Davis only decide he was in favour of these massive tax cuts once he fell behind? I seem to recall him being in favour of limiting the rate of increase in public spending to the rate of growth before the conference, which obviously would have maintained spending at 42% of GDP. But now isn't it a different story! As has been said elsewhere, a sceptic might regard this move as cynical last gasp effort to save a floundering campaign and the expense of good public policy, or worse a return one of our brilliant core vote strategies four years before the next election! Is this the sort of political mastermind we want leading us into the next election? God help us if we do!

Naturally, it is your blog and you are free to say whatever you wish but... c'mon.. you can do better than this.


If DD had a serious chance of winning he'd deserve as much scrutiny as DC, Alastair, but he doesn't.

If you look back at my Good Week, Bad Week editorials when DD was the frontrunner you would see me - week after week - criticising his uninspirational campaign.

I don't like his stance on euthanasia.

I wish he had the same policy on the EPP as DC.

I've also criticised DD's failure to embrace the kind of 'extra mile compassion' that Liam Fox promoted. When he talks about helping the poor it's about encouraging social mobility. There's very little policy emphasis on the really broken members of society. This, more than anything else, tilts me towards the Cameron candidacy at the moment.

I've also criticised DD's press operation, his website, the bully boys around him and his inability to respond to the Cameron phenomenon.

But DC is today's frontrunner and he'll get frontrunner levels of scrutiny!

BTW: I'm getting a bit tired of criticisms of DC going unanswered by his adherents. Those of us who are reluctant to sign a largely blank cheque are not going to give up yet... Less shooting of the messenger please!

Cllr Iain Lindley

Many Davis supporters elsewhere have attempted to make considerable capital out of the fact that the "left" (the Guardian and the Observer, amongst others) prefer Cameron.

I can't help but notice a conspicuous silence here. :)

Jonathan Sheppard

Editor - I have to say I back your stance. And I say that even at times when you have "gone after" my candidate of choice.

If we Conservatives cant ask these questions we know the Labour party will. Better to have a leader who is battle hardened and can provide answers than not to have asked probing questions in the first place.

We should take heart that as Conservatives we are prepared to have these sort of deabtes as opposed to our opponents whose control freakery rules out any aspect of dissent whatsoever.


"If you want Pravda-style or Hello-style profiling..."

That's exactly what they want, Editor. Their other man Blair got it, and they want it for Cameron too.

Let me be quite clear about one thing: I'm profoundly unimpressed by DD's performance. I wanted him to win, and sort of still do, but with no conviction at all. I expect Cameron to win, and win easily, and I hope he does well. THAT IS WHY he needs testing!

If he wins and turns out to be a hot air balloon, we're going to look even worse than we did before.


"Editor: I don't want you to stop asking reasonable questions. Quite the contrary, I'd like to see the bias that you so flagrantly promote in your writing end"

Which national newspaper do you wish to have change its editorial; bias ?


Jaz, what is it with you? "The fact of the matter is without winning we cannot implement a shred of conservative idea or agenda... Frankly are more tory mandelson like Cameron is better than a labour madelson.."

Of course we can't implement a programme without winning, but why are you so keen to ditch the whole Conservative cause? Don't you think it's possible to win and be a Conservative? That's what I find the really dangerous assumption. You don't have to agree with me on tax, or indeed any other issue, but not let's be quite so enthusiastic about throwing out principle as if that in itself will give us momentum!

And no, I would not prefer a Tory Mandelson ("like Cameron", in your words) over a Labour Mandelson. It's like those kids' games - which would you rather? be dropped into a pit of spiders, or be forced to drink a pint of piss. I wouldn't rather one over the other. I want something completely different.

I want someone who can turn the Conservative cause into a country-transforming programme. I share your doubts that DD will achieve this. I'm hoping Cameron can. But I've seen zero evidence of it.

The comments to this entry are closed.

About Conservative Home


  • Conservative Home's
    free eMailing List
    Enter your name and email address below: