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« Davis challenges Cameron over tuition fees policy | Main | Dolly's advice for Mr Cameron »


Oberon Houston

I think he does have a good point regarding the depth of the malaise in the party amongst a large group of our MPs. More than 50% did vote for maintaining the status quo, or moving to the right, in spite of the glaringly obvious folly of doing so.

The indignant 'moral' right in our party have maintained assendency because of their ability to project this bullying threat (real or percieved) over the rest of us. For too long the centrists AND those on the right that are adaptable to political realities have pandered to this crowd. I am sick of it. I am sick of being in opposition. Sick of these people losing us votes every time they leave their doorstep, sick of Labour continually capitalising on their refusal to be swayed regardless of the detrimental impact.

It time to end this behaviour and everyone that knows what needs to be done to regain power, regardless of their personal preserences should get behind the program and those that are not are not wanted, they are a liability.

Fed Up

I'm sick of your hysterical hyperbole.

Oberon Houston

Can't argue with that.

Sean Fear

Oberon, ideology was only one of the issues at stake in this contest. Plenty of people from the right of the party supported Cameron, and plenty of people from the centre and left of the party supported Davis.

Although Portillo didn't name names, I imagine that it is fairly socially conservative people like myself that he would like to see kicked out of the Conservative Party. The problem is, the Party would have to get an awful lot of new members and voters from somewhere to make up for the loss of the ordinary Conservative members and voters that he wants to lose.


Peter, we need to be careful when you say, "I just don't come across all these pro-European, pro-gay rights, pro-immigration social liberals."

Your reasoning implies we're ANTI all those things. This is the Party's big image problem. Because for those who aren't particularly PRO or ANTI anything, it's a big turn off. We become labelled by floating voters as the negative party. Casting a vote is a positive action, so why would the voter want it to achieve a negative outcome?

On the whole, People vote (or prefer to vote) for a Party which reflects their aspirations and hopes not their fears and prejudices. That's why fringe Partys are exactly that.

Conservatives need to smile more!

Jack Stone

I agree with the sentiments stated above,
I believe that people have warmed to David Cameron because of his optimism and positive message that gives people hope.
I also think that we need to make people think that we are committed to change if elected and I do think its easier to convince people you are serious about change when you have a younger leader than it is with someone older.


I still have on tape that Rory Bremner impression of Portillo doing his SAS speech at a Tory Conference. Who was that right-wing nut that had Portillo enthralled at that time ? He is such a follower is Portillo a real careerist ready to bend the way the wind blows.


"Three letters send a chill down the spine of the enemy: SAS. Those letters spell out one clear message - Don't mess with Britain!"

James Mawdsley

For those who think Michael Portillo has nothing to say: I think his article for the Sunday Times of 19 June 05 was the best piece I have ever read in that paper. The substance is formidable and the style a delight.,,2088-1660237,00.html

Please read it. In the 1980s I was (precociously) strongly for Britain having a nuclear arsenal. But the world has changed. We need to adapt accordingly...Portillo explains this much bette than me - please read his article.

Nuclear bombs arguably had their use in 1945. They have served a deterent purpose through to the 1990s. But their continued existence is mind-boggling madness.

There is no hope without taking risks. Scrapping nukes would be a risk for Britain, but it is our best hope...or do we want to live in a world where we have used a nuke? Or die in a world where we are hit by one?

Defence today is about surveillance, networks and tightly targetted firepower. It aint about levelling cities. And its a cliche now, but terrorists just aren't going to be deterred.

Wake up Tories! Ban the bomb!

I am undecided on DC v DD, but the right answer on this would go a long way to winning my vote.


So the Tories have a CND faction too !

Now that North Korea, Pakistan, Iran, India have decided to go for guns rather than butter I think we should build a new generation of nuclear weapons with more MIRVs. The alternative of building up conventional forces is too expensive..........nuclear weapons replace manpower with capital equipment.

Before long Japan will have to go nuclear to keep China in check, and it is time for US/UK to link with Japan and India and Australia in a new defence alliance now France has seen fit to link with China.

Portillo was a joke Defence Secretary - Volker Ruehe used to call him "Polly"..........he certainly has a high opinion of himself not widely shared.


"do we want to live in a world where we have used a nuke? Or die in a world where we are hit by one?"

Illogical. This is what Aneurin Bevan called an "emotional spasm".

"Defence today is about surveillance, networks and tightly targetted firepower. It aint about levelling cities. And its a cliche now, but terrorists just aren't going to be deterred."

Complete twaddle. Why are you so obsessed with terrorists, they are today's theme but not the main one ? If you pursue your logic we should have conscription to build a large trained reserve of say 500.000 men.

It is so fashionable to rabbit on about terrorists but Iran is not building nukes to protect Hisbollah and Syria is not a specialist on bio-chem weapons just to help Islamic Jihad - it is part of the spectrum.

Yet another Anon

Atomic and Thermonuclear weapons on 24 hour standby remain a vital part of Britain's Defence and if neccessary to prevent defeat in a contest the UK should be prepared to use them in a conflict even if the other side has not - the UK needs better weaponry with higher Defence Spending not further disarmament.

Yet another Anon

The Armed Forces have to be prepared not just for current and future probable conflicts but also the possibility something totally unforseen will come up - there is no way of knowing who the enemy will be in the next decade, it might even be Russia again and China is already the world's second Military Power and soon will be the main Superpower.


James M - Do you think Ghengas Khan thought 'ah those lovely Romans have weakened recently, they've toned down their fighting forces aren't they nice now, lets let them live in peace in their luxury and excess'.

Doh, I don't think so!

Though we've got a lot to lose if we start trouble and conflict, we have everything to lose if we cannot defend ourselves by the most expedient method.

Sean Fear

Somehow, I don't think people like the North Koreans are going to reciprocate if we scrap our nuclear weapons.

Granted, the need to possess them is less than during the Cold War, but who knows what threats we'll be facing in 10-20 years time.

James Mawdsley

My two simplest arguments against the UK maintaining nuclear weapons are:

1) They are no longer a cost effective way of defending oursleves, given other uses to which that tremendous amount of money and intellect could be put;

2) Our having nukes no longer makes us or the world safer; it makes the world more vulnerable. If having nuclear weapons is the mark of a "great power" then of course unstable countries will want them - many of the maddest leaders have the strongest hunger to be a "great power". Our having them encourages proliferation, and ties our hands in arguing against it. The NPT cannot credibly be led by nuclear powers. Once they are held by a great number of nations, it really will not be long before fanatics get hold of some.

Besides the human cost, a nuclear strike anywhere in the world - even if far from Britain - will have a far greater impact on us than 9-11. It will be of an entirely diffeent order. The economy will not be the same for a generation - and that loss will cause domestic deaths.

I understand the risks of not having nuclear weapons - but do detractors understand the new risks of maintaining them?

Freedom will not come to Iran or North Korea through the use of nuclear weapons. We have limited resources; we should be putting these resources - urgently - to alternative means of securing peace.

A third argument against them is simply to ask in what circumstances would you be happy for your country to nuke another country? In what circumstances would you say - "to hell with thousands of innocent lives, I am not going to risk an alternative approach." [extreme cowardice] And what would be your order of priorities once it was done?

Good job none of us is generals...


Call me nationalistic, but even if Britain possessing nuclear weapons did make the world a more dangerous place (and it doesn't), I'd rather live in a more dangerous world where Britain's global status is enhanced by its armaments than a safe world in which she lacked this distinction. You can't just assume a ready recognition by all of us that global safety trumps the British national interest.


James M, was interested to read that you haven't decided who to vote for yet. I really hope you vote for Cameron, not just for the sort of compassionate conservatism he promises, but also because he could do most to increase our crumbling support in places like your home town, Durham.

Since 1997 we've sunk from 12000 to 4000 votes this year. We must win back those moderate Conservatives who have drifted away to the Lib Dems since 1992. Voters who are going to be more responsive to an optimistic, aspirational Cameron Conservatism, than the alternative.

James Mawdsley


Thinking that possessing nuclear weapons enhances our global status is precisely the line that hamstrings us when we try to advance the NPT.

If we forge such a world (where having nukes gives you a seat at the top table) then undoubtedly half the nations will clamour for them. The only way to stop them (so long as we fail to show leadership by renouncing nukes) is by bullying and bribes. I don't have a problem with the morality of this (it's politics) but just that it is blindly ineffective. When the bullying and the bribes fail, we will have to use bombs (conventional I hope) to knock out nuclear development sites...but this will be a problem recurring with ever greater frequency and one which brings concomitant crisis as its fruit.

What is our long term strategy?

Masterfull William Pitt formulated a "balance of powers" basis for foreign policy. I suggest that in the 21st century the "balance of powers" which we need to strike is not between nations so much as between citizens and state (and other powers, e.g. media, finance). It is in free people everywhere that Britain's security lies. This is not an abandonment of historical practice but a development of it - at it retains at its heart, as it must, Britain's national interest. Which powers are we trying to balance? We want to make tyrants ineffective? We can better do that by helping their people win freedom than trying to cower them with weapons.

"yet another anon" - you believe China will be the next Superpower? It is possible that by the time that happens China will be governed by the wishes of its people, in which case it will be a benign Superpower. But it will be a close run thing. Now if the UK, or Europe, or the West, wants to work now to help tip the balance toward the rule of law and respect for the dignity of the person, then we could be doing a lot better than spending money and brains on nuclear weapon systems - there is plenty of action to be taken now in promoting freedom in China, which will bear much more fruit for Britain's security than trying to ward of evil with nucelar weapons.


As for DC v DD: depends on the hustings.


Selsdon Man

"As for DC v DD: depends on the hustings."

Most will have voted before the hustings. We should have have the hustings before the ballot papers are sent out.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Voters who are going to be more responsive to an optimistic, aspirational Cameron Conservatism, than the alternative."

As shown by Cameron's crushing victory in Stafford in 1997. Oh wait, hang on...

If Cameron had been Prime Minister from 1992-1997, then your obsession with this argument might hold water.

just as Blair lost his deposit in his first election to become an MP.

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