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« Theresa May declares for David Cameron | Main | Now we know why DD has problems with the media... »

Comments

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Our editor, Tim Montgomerie, has been very subtle here, he put the issue into the limelight and like a good tabloid hack he gave it "legs" and the cover of a real story by dredging up some comments Cameron made to the Home Affairs Select Committee. A smear under the cover of earnest "concern" on policy.

Brilliant piece of dark arts work that would make Mandelson in his heyday proud. Well done. Now wash your hands."

Well, well, well, what a surprise. The editor highlights a concern about Cameron and gets smeared for it. Who would have predicted that?

Graham D'Amiral

I'm a Clarke supporter, so have no particular concern in defending David Cameron but all the same I will say this, Whether DC took drugs or not whilst a student is completely trivial and of no interest to anyone. Let's focus on the issues and the personal qualities each of the candidates could bring to the leadership of the party rather than dragging up ancient and irrelevant history.

Selsdon Man

"David Willetts (apparently a "headbanger" according to Jack Stone) once said that libertarianism was a political philpsophy for childless immortals."

David Willetts regularly misrepresents libertarian philosophy and views. Libertarians have families, are often Christians and believe in personal responsibility. Willetts represents libertarianism as libertinism - a howler that would shame an undergraduate. As a friend said, he needs two brains to do what the rest of us can do with one!

Guido Fawkes

Its not an attempt to smear Tim, he is a big boy and knew exactly what he was doing. It was a shrewd move which will have been appreciated by Fox's camp.

Tim is plugged in, he hears the same gossip that I do and we know what the unspoken/unwritten story is here. I don't think Tim was innocently wandering through the transcripts of the Home Affairs Select Committee one day and got the idea for the article. He has heard the same speculative gossip, and shrewdly figured that if he could find a legitimate political reference to drugs by Cameron he could flush out the issue to the discomfit of Cameron.

It was clever, hence my comment.

Mark Fulford

Daniel, these unjustified and sarcastic accusations of spin and smear are wearing a bit thin. Tim is perfectly able to defend himself. This story has now been in this blog’s spotlight three times and it is perfectly valid to bring that into question. On this occasion, the thread was started in reaction to positive coverage of Cameron in the Telegraph. Yesterday it was started in reaction to negative coverage. It’s a bit like the drugs question, whichever way Cameron turns, his critics will use it against him.

kris

Whether the intentions were just to discredit Cameron or not, the point is valid. Regardless of his past, what are Camerons views on Drugs now? What are his policies and the policies of the other candidates. Drugs are an important issue because they have an effect on law and order, poverty, quality of life and many other issues. It is not 'cameron bashing' to ask what he intends to do. I am hoping cameron responds to this issue so i can vote for him with confidence.

Editor

I wish I was as clever as Guido suggests I am. When he has finished accusing me of all sorts of things I'd rather he and others focused on my main point. David Cameron held controversial views on drugs when he was on the Home Affairs Select Cttee. Those views are a problem for people like me who have witnessed the huge social damage that soft drug policies cause. Mr Cameron may no longer hold those views but I'd like to know.

Cllr Iain Lindley

Does "controversial" mean "trying to think beyond the prevailing tabloid hysterical response to drugs which has failed badly over the last thirty years"?

Editor

"Controversial" is attached to a policy that I believe will only increase drug use and all the associated health, employment and relationship consequences that flow from drug addiction. I don't mind debating drugs with you Iain but can you deal with the substance of my remarks? - not accuse me of being scared of the tabloids...

Tom Greeves

Well said Tim. I'd like to know his views too. If Cameron no longer holds liberal views on drugs, he may well get my support in the forthcoming election.

I do think whether he partook at college, and whether he should say so, are distinct matters from that bigger point.

I also think the idea that anyone who has made mistakes therefore lacks the moral ballast to express an opinion is a stupid one. (I'm not saying that's your view Tim.)

By that token, anyone who has ever driven over the speed limit has no 'right' to be in favour of the speed limit. The argument is palpable nonsense.

We are often best informed by our mistakes. It doesn't make us hypocrites. If Cameron lied about drug use that would be one thing. Saying that he doesn't want to get into what he did when he was barely out of his teens is another. It's safe to assume he hasn't murdered anyone!

kris

I couldn't agree more.

Tom Greeves

I also want to come to Tim's defence. I should start by stating that he is a friend of mine, although that's not the point.

This is an excellent blog, and it is a superb forum for debate. But there has never been any suggestion that the editor of Conservative Home should be neutral, and he is entitled to express his views like anyone else.

The notion that he would deliberately set out to smear someone is preposterous, and grotesquely unfair. Tim calls it as he sees it without fear or favour, but he is not a malicious person, and he is not into personal attacks.

I disagree with Tim as to whether David Cameron should declare whether he smoked cannabis. But I totally reject the suggestion that Tim is motivated by a personal vendetta.

Tim articulates important views, and is often sujected to very unfair personal attacks in response. It's a sign of his classiness that he doesn't descend to that level himself.

Derek

Cameron's past [or any other candidate's past] can never be completely discounted. It all depends on what he did, and whether someone can tell the tale. We can only presume that he did not answer "no" because he did not want to be proved to have lied. What we do not know was whether it was a one-off puff or was he a regular user,etc. All this was a long time ago and ought not to affect his prospects, but we know that the press will pick it up and some people will be affected by it.

What have far more relevance are his recent views on legalising hard drugs and downgrading ecstacy. His current views on this will need to be examined closely and if he still holds these views I think it will be very damaging to him.

Henry Mackintosh

If another MP, at the hustings today, asks Cameron whether he has ever done any class A substances in the past, and Cameron declines to answer, do the people who are posting "youthful dope doesn't matter" going to accept that *this* does? It may well not matter to the Cameron trolls who infest this place, but it does to the rest of us.

tom

and hey thats democracy...rather be here than in Beijing. Just heard the latest 5 year plan for achieving a 'harmonious society'. Hysterical.

We dont know how lucky we are...

James Maskell

If Cameron is asked tonight about drugs, he HAS to answer it directly and without any hint of spin, Yes or No. Everyone I have spoken to offline has said the right thing to do is just tell the truth.

If Cameron wont answer the question in front of his own peers, then I think he will lose support. The MPs arent think, they know that politicians arent held in great regard and wont like it if their questions are ignored. Ignore the BBCs questions but do not ignore the MPs of your own Party.

James Maskell

And for the record Im no Cameron troll...I just intensely dislike people who dont answer questions asked of them.

Tom Greeves

'I just intensely dislike people who dont answer questions asked of them.'

Hey James, what are the three things in your life that have caused you most embarrassment?

Henry Mackintosh

Bizarrely, DC *wasn't* asked the Class A question, but Clarke was!

James Maskell

1. Going out on my first pub crawl aged 18 and getting off my face, embarassing myself in front of my friends and others. I was so drunk I basically passed out in the front patio.

2. My twin brother running away and the local papers making too much of the reasons behind it. I was bullied for weeks after that.

3. Going to a Speaker's Club and being called up to do a 2 minute speech on a random topic (something to do with soap operas and the public). I didnt even know I was supposed to do one... DDs speech wasnt as bad as that one. I lasted the best part of 20 seconds. I havent been to that Speaker's Club since.

And to answer David Camerons question, yes I have. Once and I didnt like it. Im not a smoker and if anything try to persuade people not to smoke. Its a disgusting habit.

Tom Greeves

Full marks for rising to my challenge!

Regarding the downgrading of ecstasy, if there is any point to having different classes depending on how harmful a drug is, would this not be a sensible move? Though of course all drugs can be harmful, there can be little doubt that ecstasy is less so than other class A drugs: I presume the 'huge social damage' the Editor has witnessed was more connected with heroin, crack cocaine or similar. Such a move would not necessarily be seen as 'soft', if it were combined with tougher sentencing for the remaining class A substances.

DougR

Drugs are the cause of the biggest social problems in the UK and most politicians seem to have given up. We need solutions to the drugs problem and David Cameron is right to have opened the debate. I believe the only real solution is to equip the police with better tools ie. make Britain an identified cashless society (with the complete absence of cash, payments can only be made with credit/debit cards or mobile phones and the police can access details of all financial transactions). Too authoritarian for America and Europe perhaps.

James Maskell

Interesting idea there DougR. Never thought of that idea. My initial thoughts is that it would be extremely unlikely. Arent we having enough problems with credit cards at the moment anyway?

Richard Allen

It's an intersting idea but in practice it would have huge problems.

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