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« Finkelstein takes on Davis; Heffer takes on Cameron | Main | Blogging Question Time »


Selsdon Man

I agree with your comments, Editor. I have also been disappointed that we have not heard from the candidates about how they will improve the party's grassroots campaigning activities. You should send them a copy of James Morris's article on this blog and ask to submit an article that assesses its implications for grassroots campaigning.


Mistakes of the past?

When the Tories have had strong views on tax cuts for ALL voters they have done well, please read the 1970 and 1979 manifestos and transcripts of the election broadcasts. The 2005 failure was due to going big on Iraq, ignoring our strength on Europe in the month 2 referendums got defeated (please look at the early 2005 literature where we ran on 6 issues, one of which was Europe which then got culled to 5 - who exactly was policy co-ordinator), and as Andrew Tyrie rightly points out, having a policy that was morally and economically wrong on immigration.

The Euro-sceptic position was the one area where the Conservatives consistently scored highest, indeed we should be claiming greatness as the only major political party in the EU to oppose the failed Euro. The mistake was not co-ordinating it in any wy into our election proposals.


There are several problems with running on Europe.

One is that it is not rated as an important election issue. People are much more likely to vote on the basis of health, education and transport.

Secondly Labour tends to have a lead on Europe not because of its position but because they are trusted as a party of government and the conservatives are not.

Thirdly because Blair's referenda strategy leaves the opposition very little ground on which to operate on this issue.

But Wasp, Davis plans to continue the 'Blair Settlement' by offereing even more referenda.


The problem with Europe is that we don't try to run with it, not that we can't win talking about it. Its the one big issue that gets Labour and Lib Dems on our side in the debate?

Jack Stone

David Davis campaign as just been one long retrend of policies from the past.
The party needs to look fresh, new and modern not like its always looking back to the past for its policies and inspiration.
Electing David Cameron will give the party a fresh new start with a bright, energetic, young new leader. We will look like the party with energy and a willingness to change ourselves and the country. The Labour government need to be kicked out of office as its failing our country and as run out of steam.
Only a David Cameron Conservative Party will successfully accomplish that task. I hope the membership will not fail our party and our country on December 6th and give him a chance to accompany what whenever you see him speak you can`t fail conclude is his destiny.

henry curteis

It's all just fine with David Cameron writing Alpha grade essays about state and society and so on. The main issue today is not even mentioned by him - that is that the political process has been hijacked.

The assassination of IDS and the deification of Cameron were both effected by two week orchestrated media campaigns. The media which is only meant to comment on the process, has become the process. The power that used to vest in Parliament and at one time the Crown, now vests with the media and whoever manages to control it.

Without theorising on where power has been removed to, and who it is that decides to coordinate our media to manipulate the results of leadership decisions etc, there is only one place for power to be returned to, and that is the people.

If the system of representative government has collapsed which it has as it now completely manipulated, then the only way to give control back to the people is to use referenda as proposed by David Davis to decide who is running this country.

Cameron's vacuity and waffle is all he needs to satisfy the media. But the public have enough David Beckhams and glamour icons. What they want is to be able to influence their system of government. Cameron is not democratic. He is compliant. He is mediocratic. Davis is being completely media-blanked because he is challenging the power of the media. He needs supporting for putting up a fight. Cameron has already surrendered. He wants his day in the sun. The people want democracy. He doesn't offer any.

Michael McGowan

More Motherhood and Apple Pie from David Cameron. Alastair Campbell was quite funny and perceptive about the Tory Leadership Election on "Newsnight" last night when he described it as a ludicrous beauty contest being conducted in a policy vacuum.

James Hellyer

The problem here is that Cameron's attempts to refute Heffer's comments have instead reinforced them. Every counted cited is either extremely nebulous or banal.

"We do think there's such a thing as society, we just don't think it's the same thing as the state" is an example. It's a non sequiter. Nobody has ever asserted that state and society are the same thing. If this is an attempt to counter Thatcher's famous "no such thing as society" comment, it really misses the point. There it was people, rather an abstract noun, that are moral agents.

All he does is imply that other people think things they don't, while he reaffirms the obvious.


"Davis is being completely media-blanked because he is challenging the power of the media."

Or could it be because he is dull and unappealing?

James Hellyer

No, Michael it wouldn't. As is often the case, the media is writing the story it wants to tell, rather than reporting events.


It's obvious - the media don't want to report him because there's nothing fresh or exciting to report either on him as a person or his core vote message.

Indeed politics itself is atarting to redefine itself in response to Cameron, with Labour talking up alternatives to Brown in reaction to the Cameron factor.

To elect Davis would be to write ourselves out of the political landscape for another four years.

john Skinner

Yet more anti-Cameron stuff today Tim.
I know you partly justify this because Cameron is the likely winner in December and there is a need to question him robustly. But why not leave that to Hellyer and Co? As it is, you run a great blog, it's widely read, but there is the feeling, certainly from me that your bias leads you to be too selective in what you put in and what you leave out.

James Hellyer

"It's obvious - the media don't want to report him because there's nothing fresh or exciting to report either on him as a person or his core vote message."

That's just a restatement of your prejudices.


James, having continually been so critical of Cameron what will you do if he is elected as leader? Will you fall in with party line?


"His main arguments include his belief in the conservative distinction between society and the state."

Troubling, given that the abstraction of states from the societies they reflect is an impeccably liberal intellectual position. Conservatives believe that states and societies are tied closely together, in symbiosis - the institutions of the state both shape and embody society, and that it why they need to be defended.

Or have I got that wrong?


I feel a bit weird here.I simply don't recall DD being 'media blanked' at all.In the past ten days he's had far more coverage in the media that I see than DC mainly because its been DD coming out with the ideas.Not all the coverage has been unfriendly (excepting Finkelstein and the Mackay story)either.
Wasp- Labour do not and as far as I'm aware never have had a 'lead' on Europe in the polls.Our (majority)view is popular and the reason it wasn't more prominent in the last election I imagine was to preserve the party from internal splits.


I still have not made up my mind on this election. Each candidate has strengths and weaknesses. That is what makes this contest so interesting. I do not intend to cast my vote until the end of November. Cameron seems to be home and dry today, but I agree with those who want to know more about his key policies. It does seem that Cameron has more friends in the press than Davis, and I understand that he has courted certain journalists for years. If so he has been very clever, but we all know that journalists, and the media in general, are not loyal friends. They will turn on you as soon as it suits them to do so.

Mark Fulford

Davis isn't being blanked by the media. For heaven's sake, tonight he shares 60 minutes on Question Time with a studio audience adjusted to give him equal support.


John: Your latest complaint about anti-Cameron bias is... how shall I put it... well, er, complete rubbish.

The reference to the ambiguity of the Cameron paragraph could be seen as slanted against your candidate but are you really telling me that what he wrote there was clear and unambigious? The words are almost designed to be elastic and give him complete freedom of movement as leader.

Furthermore: My final paragraph is a complaint about the narrowness of the Davis campaign in recent days.

Michael McGowan

James will give his own answer but, speaking for myself, that will depend on what the Party line is, and whether I believe that the rhetoric will be turned into results. This isn't an age of deference any more and I have never been a Tribal Tory. My family have strong sympathies for the Labour Party. Whether I vote for Cameron will therefore depend on my perceptions of how he would run the country if elected.


Of course. But I think it's enough of a widely held prejudice which influences newspaper editors looking to sell newspapers.

It's a serious point, because in politics perception is reality, in which case Davis isn't going to be able to attract new support to the Party either on the basis of his personality or his core vote strategy.

"I have never been a Tribal Tory"

That's pretty clear Michael McGowan as you tell us you have left the Party and don't even vote Conservative anymore!

James Hellyer

"Will you fall in with party line?"

Is your view of parties that the members should slavishly obey the leadership even when they disagree?

James Hellyer

"Conservatives believe that states and societies are tied closely together, in symbiosis - the institutions of the state both shape and embody society, and that it why they need to be defended.

"Or have I got that wrong?"

No, that's essentially the Burkean position.

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