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Comments

James Hellyer

Do you really see Cameron as such a person?

No, I don't think David Cameron is "evil". I really think you are overreacting to what was a very poorly phrased, off the cuff point. For that I apologise.

I don't mean that David Cameron uses his child in the way that, say, John Gummer did when fed his daughter burgers in front of the press, at the heights of the BSE crisis. What did make me a little uncomfortable though was a recent interview on the BBC - after his conference speech in fact - where the interviewer asked if he'd prove he wasn't privileged by sending his child to a state school. Rather than saying his child was at a state school and his youngest would go to one (if true) or that that like all parents he'd want to send them to a good school, Cameron concentrated on his child being disabled and used that as a platform to talk about special schools. To me the way that was done seemed a little too much like an attmept to get sympathy and shift the discussion's focus to something more favourable.

While I accept that David Cameron does have a real and personal interest interest in special schools, I think he - like all politicians - needs to be careful about how they involve their families in debate, because it can look like they are using them. That can appear distasteful.

tom geast

Yes but he can because he walks the walk spending hours and hours looking after his son. To a degree he is shameless but talk to anyone who knows and they are nothing but impressed by the way Cameron has dealt with the issue personally as well as getting politically involved in disability and state provision

James Hellyer

I just wish that a 28 year old like yourself James were more in touch with people of your own generation and if it is true that you are seriously thinking of standing for parliament make sure you do it in a retirement town as you certainly wont be representative of anybody under the age of 60, but then they wont elect you because you are a nasty little sod...

Thanks for that Tom. It means a lot to not be endorsed by someone as obviously "nice" as yourself.

David Taylor

I think we should use another politician to compare Cameron to: Chris Smith. He was a Labour cabinet minister who suffered from HIV. Instead of making it public and using this to shame his opponents and making himself someone who couldn't be attacked he kept it to himself until he was about to leave Parliament. I have every respect for the way Smith held himself with such an infection. Could we really see Cameron not using such a debilitating infection for his own self promotion. I can't.

The way he patted his wifes pregnant stomach was slightly disguisting. Get this fake politician away from the leadership.

Jay Harding

Tom Geast: 'I mean Zac Goldsmith - tory MP who would have thought?!' - yeah, wealthy Old Etonian ends up as a Tory MP - unheard tell of .............

More to the point, James Hellyer is spot on: if "Dave" doesn't want to talk about the personal & private tragedy of his son, it's very simple - don't. Tell hacks who come to interview you that you won't, and then don't answer if they do pose a question.

Dave is guilty of very poor taste over this whole matter. In fact, it's more and more - Portillo without the sincerity.

Jay Harding

Don't now how to get a Lexus search up for those of you who don't have a key, but google is damning enough re "Dave": http://www.google.co.uk/search?num=100&hl=en&q=%22David+Cameron%22+disabled+son&btnG=Search&meta=

David Taylor

Just another question: who here would be willing to knock doors for the Tories under a pot smoking Cameron leadership?
I did a great deal of work this year - I won't under DC. All the others - yes.

tom geast

I am not saying he is not shameless about it, his ambition speaks volumes about who he is but if you look beyond that and see the means as a way to the end then you should give him some slack. I am just happy that there is some prospect of there being a possibility of a reasonable opposition to Blair which none of the other candidates, nor Michael Howard, nor IDS, nor Hague could manage. To be honest I think all politicians should be forced to have a spliff to get into the heads of what comprises a very different britain than what they all grew up in

AnotherNick

I am staggered this discussion is even taking place. It makes me ashamed to be in a party with people making such unpleasant statements about David Cameron's supposed exploitation of his son. I do not feel he has played on it in anyway. He has had his eyes opened to a problem in society with education for disabled children and he has campaigned on an important issue as a result of it.

Out of respect to the editor and his hard work on this blog I will not write the tirade I'd like to against those who have shamefully accused David Cameron of such heartless explotation.

Daniel Vince-Archer

Whilst I've had my differences with James H in the past, I have to say the attacks on him are grossly disproportionate considering he was only voicing an opinion which many people happen to share. Sickening? Bile? Get a life? Nasty little sod?

It's particularly disappointing from you Nick, you're clearly an intelligent person, so you should be able to be able to argue your case without descending to cheap personal abuse. Disgusting? Go back to your little hole? Take some pleasure from the fact that your attitude will be enough to ensure you never have a chance of being elected?

Would people please just calm down and consider the argument without launching into vicious personal attacks? These slurs are far more distasteful than James H's mild opinions and reflect badly on the individuals that make them and also offend the many people who happen to share his view that Cameron could be said to have used his son as a political football.

Steven Patrick

David Cameron is dammed if he does and dammed if he doesn't. I am sure if David hid his son away and never mentioned his son there would be equally vile comments from James Hellyer and David Taylor.

Henry Cook

Thank you James for that, it is much appreciated. I still disagree with most of what you say, but it is just about within the boundaries of civilised, intelligent debate. To those who say "Get this fake politician away from the leadership", congratulations on the measured and reasoned tone of your contribution.

Jay Harding

There was something more than a bit OTT about AnotherNick's attack on James, wasn't there? Sometimes I do wish everyone was obliged to post under their own name, so we could know just what agenda they're working to. Or for that matter, quite whom they're working for? Something tells me another Nick is fairly familiar these days with the Laughing Halibut in Strutton Ground*.

And for what it's worth, "Dave's" exploitation hasn't been "heartless", it's been shameless, and in staggeringly poor taste.

*Boring SW1 joke: it's the chippie right next to the Portillo campaign HQ.

Steven Patrick

"There was something more than a bit OTT about AnotherNick's attack on James, wasn't there?"

Maybe Nick just lowered himself to the vile levels of James, yourself and in particular David Taylor.

alexw

I'm slightly surprised by the levels of bile against Cameron here. I would hope that all Conservatives would work under any leader - I would be certainly be just as prepared to do so under Fox or Davis, even though they are not my first-preference choices.

Cameron seems to have the right idea. We cannot simply keep squeezing the Right to muster the 40% we need to get into office: Hague and Howard both tried this strategy. However, I'm slightly Cameron-sceptic at the moment. I find in him many of the traits I dislike in Blair - the sincerity seems a little contrived and the policies are more than a touch vague. For the moment, I'm backing Clarke, as the only centrist candidate with real gravitas, experience and clout, but I would back Cameron in a Davis-Cameron (or, less credibly, a Fox-Cameron one) run-off.

Cllr Iain Lindley

This mud-slinging is getting rather tedious. Personally I find one of the most disappointing aspects of the Conservative Party is the number of people who want to take their ball home if they don't get their way.

I shall be out on the doorsteps advocating the Conservative Party whoever wins the leadership election and I would hope the rest of you would do the same.

James Burdett

It is clear that drugs are a wholly undesirable facet of modern society. The trick is how do you deal with the consequences of drug-taking and the factors that lead to drug-taking in a responsible manner. Yes, we can all go into a hysterical rant about our pet issues. It would not and deserves not to get a hearing. The issue of drugs and drug-taking should be aired in an adult fashion, that way we can make the most difference to the lives of those blighted by this menace.

tom geast

Jay - He may well be an Old Etonian but if you have read the ecologist which unless he has conned us all he has an enormous influence over (he is the editor) then you would realise that after publishing article after article berating bush, consumerism etc etc etc, he runs a magazine which would never be considered anything like a traditionally conservative rag. George Orwell was also an Old Etonian as for that matter is Palash Dave.

AnotherNick

"It's particularly disappointing from you Nick, you're clearly an intelligent person, so you should be able to be able to argue your case without descending to cheap personal abuse."

I'm not going to argue the point, because I don't want to dignify it as a valid point in the first place.

"Sometimes I do wish everyone was obliged to post under their own name"

Perhaps the reason I don't post under my own name is because I don't want visitors to this site to associate me with posts like some of those we've seen other bloggers put on today.

I can't believe there has been a defence for the original comment.

Steven Patrick

Thank you Cllr Lindley for a sane post amongst the mud-slinging.

And I so agree with this point:

"I shall be out on the doorsteps advocating the Conservative Party whoever wins the leadership election and I would hope the rest of you would do the same."

James Hellyer

I am sure if David hid his son away and never mentioned his son there would be equally vile comments from James Hellyer and David Taylor.

You couldn't be further from the truth. I found out my own MP had a disabled child, and his stoicism and refusal to ever do anything that could be seen as capitalising on it made me admire him even more.

By contrast, David Cameron's campaign has ade use of his family. The most distasteful examples, in all fairness, aren't David Cameron's, but rather those of his supporters and "friends".

Take Michael Crick's Newsnight profile as an example: this featured friends of David Cameron's using the fact that he had a disabled child to counter accusations that he was privileged and out of touch (it was something that made him "appreciate the fragility of life"). That is using a personal and private tragedy for political purposes.

Such helpful contributions have probably coloured way that some of us - myself included - see Cameron's own comments on the matter.

Jay Harding

"Vile"? You any words left in the locker for goat-fiddling, nun-robbing or Widdecombe-taunting?

Seriously "alexw", a lot of us *are* put off Cameron by *his* very tasteful and quite intentional tactics. There really is no point in blaming the messenger on this one.

But here's a simple test: he's got another 2 weeks of this contest to go - so what need has "Dave" to again mention his son? In which case, why doesn't he give it a miss?

The sad truth is, he won't because every time he discusses his son, he sets himself up for a free shot, and one his rivals can't tackle him over. It helps him avoid issues, and it means the Cameron campaign remains substance-free. Well, up to a point.

David Taylor

"Taking the ball home"
You may be someone who is a Conservative because you think it makes you important but I am because I believe in it. I will not spend many hours of my time, walking around houses getting abuse all for nothing just so Cameron can shout at Andrew Neil on TV.

Steven Patrick

"I found out my own MP had a disabled child, and his stoicism and refusal to ever do anything that could be seen as capitalising on it made me admire him even more."

Is your MP very a prominent politician, is he running for the leadership of HM Opposition, is being interviewed about his views, his life, his family by various news organisations?

And yes Hellyer, having read your various dennoucations of Cameron on everything single aspect of his policies, lifestyle etc. I know that if he didn't mentioned his family you, and others would be making political capital out of this, like you are trying to make political capital now.


"The sad truth is, he won't because every time he discusses his son, he sets himself up for a free shot,"

So in the words of Hellyer and Harding David Cameron should NOT mention his son, or his family. What should he mentioned in interviews when they want to know about who is David Cameron and what he stands for and why and the background to that?

Steven Patrick

"You may be someone who is a Conservative because you think it makes you important but I am because I believe in it. I will not spend many hours of my time, walking around houses getting abuse all for nothing just so Cameron can shout at Andrew Neil on TV."

So the reason you would not help out the Tories anymore if Cameron became leader is because he allegedly once shouted at Andrew Neil?!?

I have to say I am sure none of the other leadership candidates have ever raised their voice to brillo pad hairstyle ex-Sunday Times editor...

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