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« Caption competition (8) | Main | Round one: The result »


Justin Hinchcliffe

People - inc. our Ed. - who are in the Tombstone Grp/CCF tend to pray each morning for electoral victory and new financial backers. How many ordinary people do this? As a Christian, I find it all rather distasteful.


I am an anyone but Davis man myself and although Cameron is in the lead for me I have been won around somewhat by Fox.

I started out as a Clarke fan but I fear the right of the party would make his leadership impossible, Fox however could unite both sides of the party with his compassionate Thatcherism.

I would love to see Cameron v Fox on the final ballot but unfortunately I doubt it will happen.


Interesting read. And a fair write up on the good points associated with Fox (although I disagree with the view that the Iraq war helped the war on terror - that's a debate that has passed). Alan Duncan did a good job of making sure people noted the flag and abortion bits, but much of the media ignored the human rights issues and the strong stance on domestic violence and suicide.

The problem both Fox & Davis have is that right now it isn't enough for the conservatives to modernise/change/become genuinely more compassionate - it must be seen to happen and that means electing someone from the modernisers/centre ground. I feel very certain that only two of the four have the potential to be Prime Minister and that is Cameron & Clarke.

Personally I think Liam will be the first faller, although with a respectable number of votes. Some of Dr Fox's comments have opened debate in new directions and I look forward to seeing him play a role in the new front bench team.

Michael McGowan

I am trying to work out which are the extreme right-wing views of Liam Fox which Jack Stone objects to.
The ones I have identified are:

1. Fox believes in supporting democracy in Iraq and fighting terror. Jack presumably believes that the Iraqis would be better off with Saddam back in power and that Al Qaeda is just misunderstood?

2. Fox opposes abortion on demand, capital punishment and euthansia. In short, he is pro-life. Jack's definition of a "social liberal" presumably requires one to be pro-death. In any case, all these issues would be free vote issues.

3. Liam Fox is gravely concerned about family breakdown and the plight of the mentally ill. The "FT", and presumably (?) Jack Stone,regard this as too gloomy. Which is code for saying that their brand of "compassionate Conservatism" is skin deep and doesn't involve grappling with the problems which disfigure our country.

Henry Fitzpatrick

All this stuff about "you don't get it" - so boring, so needlessly agressive. Do try argument every now and again - you might actually convince people once in a while.

As the indefatigable James H has pointed out time and again, no candidate has travelled lighter in terms of policy than Cameron. Now a reactionary cynic might think that this is a good think - and that we've, as a Party, had enough of programmes and platforms and policies. But somehow I suspect behind the waffle Cameron *does* have an agenda, and it's not one that going to please traditonalists one little bit.

I say it's a pity he doesn;t have the courage to come out and say what he actually wants to do if he becomes Leader, but perhaps I am wrong and being sour. In which case, 3, 6 or 12 months into his leadership, if that's what happens, let's come back to this thread and see if he's leading as he ran. I bet you he won't be, but I do hope we don;t have to find out.


Fox combines the youthful looks of Cameron with the experience needed to be party leader. His policies are those of traditional Conservatism. Let's hope that the MPs can see it.

Richard Cave

You're an interesting sort of Christain Justin, keeping yourself busy calling other Christians 'distasteful'. It's a lucky vicar who has you for a parishioner. Out of interest, since you raised the subject, what exactly do *you* pray for?

And rather more importantly, religion has been entirely absent from this race. Has Cameron ever muttered anything about being a Christian?

Justin Hinchcliffe

We've all said and done things in our youth which we later regret. This goes for most normal people. Are you seriously suggesting that I'm not allowed to change my views from those I had when I was fourteen? If you think that Conservatives should be banning things -however 'harmful' - then perhaps you'd be better off in another party?

That's ok Derek, but he lacks a certain gravitas and charisma I think an opposition leader would need to become a PM. Also, lots of good policies don't necessarily amount to a vision or clear strategic direction. 'compassionate thatcherism' would be a tough one to sell on the doorstep.

James Maskell

I dont like Liam Fox as leader. Hes too different from the modernisers in the Party. Ive said previously I disagree with him over key points he has made during the campaign eg abortion. He is IMO the only person to be specific about his aims though. Although in doing so he may well have put off a number of MPs.

Liam Fox is my 3rd/4th choice. Im not sure if he'll go through. Its going to be close.

Im not sure if Fox would really work with Cameron in terms of beliefs. Cameron is on the left, quite strongly it would appear, whilst Fox is a solid right. I think the gaps too big. Fox might do it on the basis of Cameron being young and having done one good speech...

Justin Hinchcliffe

When I do actually pray (not very often), I think of those less fortunate than me and for those in discomfort. I would never dream of praying for a political party or financial gain. I think the Bible may back me up on this one? Don't think relgion should matter but it's the Tombstoners' who are backing Fox for this very reason.

Richard Cave

Ah, so you are. Thanks for filling in that detail. I have to admit I haven't myself yet got round to saying the poor should etc etc - but as I'm still not quite forty, there's still plenty of time, God willing, for such craziness. I may do some crack as well.

But Justin you've ever so slightly missed my point. You told us to get in touch with public opinion (which you misquote, if you think it's in favour of legalisation) on drugs, yet, on abortion, you selfishly cling to your oudated, personal belief [sorry, I think I had an out of Mod experience there and started channeling the career of Francis Maude] against it, even though 'public opinion' is clearly in favour of it staying legal. You really can't have it both ways.

James Maskell

It wouldnt suprize me if Fox was a practising Christian. I wouldnt have a problem at all and in fact it hasnt been an issue, nor should it be. Fox's beliefs and views do appear to go quite nicely with a strong Christian background ie abortion, euthanasia.


I find some of these postings quite odd and worrying. Finally the Conservative Party has a serious candidate for power from the public services-an ex NHS doctor. This should resonate in a party which has failed to address public services properly in the last two elections. This is one of the major reasons we have lost not being too "right wing." Instead we are sleepwalking to a Tory toff. You could not make it up!

If more people are relaxed about drug abuse (not use)then it is a sign our society is really in trouble.The pathetic Blair drugs policy, fully supported by Cameron, that depends on more "education" is dangerous and cruel. How is it compassionate Conservatism to allow the scourge of drugs to destroy lives while we do nothing? We hear a lot about need to change and to win. Of course, but win to do what? Change to look more like modern Britain is the mantra. But many things in modern Britain, like the admiration for shallow media attractive politicians are simply damaging. What lessons are the Conservatives going to learn?-and above all, what policies are in the best interests of our country?

I listened to Cameron's conference speech. It was dreadful No content. He said nothing but said it well. I thought I would scream if I heard another three-part list followed by a contrast and a rhetorical question. We need a good public servant, not a good public speaker. Haven't we had enough of Blairite spin? Don't we despise him and his methods. We surely don't need a Tory Blair.

Justin Hinchcliffe

I agree with some views which are considered 'right wing' and vice-versa. I think that goes for most ordinary people, doesn't it?

Fox Blogger

Foxy is a strong Roman Catholic.


Justin, I always pray for the party at election times. My wish to see a Tory Government is so that we can provide opportunity for everyone. Conservatives have done so much to help the less fortunate and those in discomfort so praying for something which will directly help people seems to me the right thing to do in every way.

I don't think we need ask God to help us raise funds though!


Where on earth does all this Cameron is left wing stuff come from. He's not at all.

It seems to me that the supporters of no-hope candidates try to lambast their opponents as been on the left of the party just because they can.

Cameron is strongly eurosceptic but sensible enough to realise that its not an election issue, supports lower taxes and regulation, a keen supporter of supporting families through the tax system, social entrepreneurship, elected police chiefs etc etc.

The candidate that has been policy lite is Ken Clarke. Just because someone is likeable and puts winnning ahead of dogma does not mean that tehy are left wing.

James Maskell

I think the reason why people are turning to a softer policy on drugs is because being tough doesnt appear to help anyone. Its been done before and yet drugs crime is up. Every so often you'll hear about another enormous haul of drugs caught at Dover or another port, or hearing about another young person who takes drugs and dies. Down in my neighbouring constituency in a very poor estate with a bad reputation one house was being used as a drugs haven. Also add to that a popular bar on the seafront where cocaine was found in every toilet cubicle and you find current drugs policy isnt really working.

I do agree with you. If we are to be tough on drugs, we have to do it properly or not at all. I remember seeing Leah Bett's Dad speaking up about the Cameron issues recently and he said it would be a very bad idea to go soft on drugs...I paraphrase but the point is the same.

Cameron is strongly eurosceptic

As only someone who argued for Britain to re-enter the ERM can be...

Was that before David Davis whipped the maastricht treaty through the commons?


These are difficult issues.

What's wrong with being in favour of life over death? Whilst I am not religious I would have thought that respect for life is the cornerstone of Europe's Judaeo-Christian tradition. Even if one leaves the abortion issue to one side (an issue about which like most people I have mixed feelings), one only has to look at the legal developments over the last 20 odd years or so to see that respect for life has been greatly damaged.

As for drugs, the libertarian in me says if it does no harm to others what's it to do with me? But the problem is drugs do harm both the people who take them as well as others.

It disappoints me that what should be recognised as profound and complex issues are treated by some as opportunities to score cheap points from either side of the fence.

James Maskell

The problem with Cameron is that he is still too light on hard policy. Yes Clarke has a similar problem but if you look at his speeches you can tweeze out his views eg Public Services speech for Centre for Social Justice.

With Cameron, as I type I am perusing his latest policy programme document off his site. He talks about the market but doesnt say how. He talks about autonomy for schools but doesnt explain how. His programme is very wishy-washy and can be construed to mean whatever he wants it to.


A lot of the negative things that are being said about Dr. Fox as leader ("will split the party", "can't be elected", "look at the poll numbers", "can't reach out to the middle", "too right wing") were being said about Margaret Thatcher during her contests with Heath and Whitelaw.

Ben O

From the betting markets it looks this editorial has come to late...

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