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« Hustings Report (2): Solihull | Main | Doreen Davis: "Days go by and we don't speak on the phone" »



Not surprising echo of Blair, is it?

A good time to say...

Goodbye from Buxtehude!

The time has come to admit defeat, to hang up my boots, to retire to the church organ in my sleepy Dorset village. The greatest cruelty is to hold out hope – the greatest relief to give it up. Anyway, I can’t afford the Internet charges anymore, so it’s goodbye to the web too. Except maybe I’ll tinker on my grandkids’ laptops once in a while.

I say this to my fellow DD-supporters: get the vote out. Every vote counts. Even though we lose, it is vital that the message survives, that there was a true resistance.

I ask you to remember what was for me the greatest moment in football. 35 years ago. John Hollins shot, the ball hit the post, Hollins amazingly ran a loop to collect the rebound and smacked it a second time for Chelsea’s winning goal against Arsenal. Jaw-dropping.

But it wasn’t until I left London that Chelsea started winning again, so maybe leaving this debate will mean Conservatism will triumph after all!

I have one tiny victory: that Michael Gove finally posted his 2003 article, “I love Tony Blair”, in full, yesterday, on the site. My last act is to repost it in the comment below this one. He says: "Tony Blair is proving an outstanding Prime Minister... Mr Blair's entitlement to conservative respect doesn't rest on his foreign policy alone... looking at Mr Blair now is, what's not to like?"

Gove is a brilliant writer and a decent man. I just think he’s wrong. He misunderstands what Blair is truly about. Blair harmed every caused he touched because nothing about him is real and therefore he inverts meaning. Remember, only a few weeks ago in Blackpool, Cameron with his own mouth was claiming to journalists that he was the continuation of Blair. (Now he’s trying to claim the opposite).

Gove is great, but he and his friends admire Blair too much. And now he’s writing the tunes for the Conservative Party. But read the article in full, below. Decide for yourself.


MICHAEL GOVE: “I just can’t hold back; I love Tony!”
Posted by Michael Gove on this site yesterday.

“For the interest of those curious souls who wish to read my original article on Blair from The Times of Februray 25 2003, here it is...

“You could call it the Elizabeth Bennett moment. It's what Isolde felt
when she fell into Tristan's arms. It's the point you reach when you
give up fighting your feelings, abandon the antipathy bred into your
bones, and admit that you were wrong about the man. By God, it's still
hard to write this, but I'm afraid I've got to be honest. Tony Blair is
proving an outstanding Prime Minister at the moment.

“This news is, of course, the last thing the Prime Minister needs. Mr
Blair faces a difficult enough task in the Commons today trying to rally
the Labour Party behind his Iraq policy without Tory Boys in the pay of
global press magnates slavering all over him.

“And many, but far from all, of my fellow rightwingers will wonder what
on earth I'm doing licking Mr Blair's boots when Labour are, at last,
dipping in the polls.

“Shouldn't any Conservative-inclined commentator be turning up the heat
on the Prime Minister now, at last, when he's vulnerable? Don't the
Tories have enough internal problems without those writers who're
supposed to be sympathetic to their cause bigging up Blair?

“They're all good points if you're a tribalist. But I'm a journalist. In
so far as I'm sympathetic to Tory politicians, and their arguments, it's
because as a right-wing polemicist I find them persuasive. And as a
right-wing polemicist, all I can say looking at Mr Blair now is, what's
not to like?

“Central to any current assessment of Mr Blair has to be the manner in
which he is handling the Iraq crisis. But before considering just how
impressive his stance is, and how petty his detractors, it's worth
noting that Mr Blair's entitlement to conservative respect doesn't rest
on his foreign policy alone.

“The Prime Minister has been right, and brave, to introduce market
pressures into higher education by pushing through university top-up
fees in the teeth of opposition from his egalitarian Chancellor. He's
been correct in conceding, to the annoyance of his wife I'm sure, that
the European Convention on Human Rights gets in the way of a sane asylum
policy. In dealing with the firefighters, and their absurdly selfish
strike, he's been satisfactorily resolute.

“There are certainly idiocies aplenty across the range of this
Government's domestic policy, indeed that's hardly surprising given
ministers like Tessa Jowell and John Prescott in the Cabinet. The
problem with putting muppets into office is that there's no one left to
pull the strings when your hands are full.

“While we're on the subject of pulling strings, the Government will also
struggle to improve public services while it continues to rely on
centralised funding, management and provision. But even here, Mr Blair
and some of his smarter ministers, such as Alan Milburn, the Health
Secretary, seem to be acknowledging the limitations of their tax, spend,
command and control strategy.

“It is not, however, on the domestic agenda that Mr Blair is facing his
biggest challenge at the moment. It is over Iraq that he is in greatest
difficulty politically. All because, as a Labour Prime Minister, he's
behaving like a true Thatcherite.

“Indeed, he's braver in some respects than Maggie was. The Falklands war
took courage. But Thatcher had most of the country, and her party,
behind her. In dealing with the Iraq crisis, Mr Blair has neither.

“The Thatcherite approach to foreign policy isn't to every Tory taste.
The belief that dictators should be confronted, not coddled, America is
there to be supported, not patronised, and the national interest
includes maintaining our honour not just calculating narrow advantage,
is deprecated by some Conservatives.

“They include a lot of clever people, from Matthew Parris to Chris

“But if ever I'm tempted to think these Tories may perhaps have a point,
I just look at who's enraged by the Thatcherite stance that Mr Blair has
adopted towards Iraq. Any policy that unites George Galloway, Vanessa
Redgrave, Jacques Chirac, the Bishop of Oxford, George Michael and Piers
Morgan in condemnation has to have something going for it. And Mr
Blair's policy has more than just the right critics. It has the merit of
genuine moral force.

“As the Prime Minister has pointed out, all those opposed to him have no
solution to the problem of proliferating weapons of mass destruction,
they offer no hope to the people of Iraq, they have no understanding of
how much every tyrant and terrorist across the globe would rejoice if
the West were to back down in the face of President Saddam Hussein's

“My admiration for the Prime Minister's bravery in making this case is, I
have to add, only increased when I listen to the sneering condescension
with which broadcasters treat Government policy on Iraq. Jeremy Paxman
is just one of several who seem determined never to give the elected
head of our Government the benefit of any doubt, cheerily mocking Mr
Blair's Christian beliefs and brazenly maintaining that the last
inspections regime failed because of Western, not Iraqi, bad faith.

“It may seem a trifle rich of me, as someone who's enjoyed giving Mr
Blair a good kicking, to object when the boot is being driven home on
another foot. But there's a difference between taking on a leader with a
93 per cent approval rating when he's steering to the sound of applause,
and piling in against a Prime Minister who's grown into a conviction
politician, risking public approval, party support and a cosy
relationship with Europe in order to confront tyranny.

“Critics in his party say he won't be forgiven if his policy fails. But
in truth he won't be forgiven by his critics if it succeeds, because
he'll have proved them wrong. That's the cost of conviction. And it
would be churlish not to applaud it.”

Posted by: michael gove | November 14, 2005 at 04:45 PM

James Maskell

DC has made some mistakes in his articles which Blair or Brown will bring up during the Crime debates.

He complains that prisoners are banged up for 23 hours a day. The spin which will pin DC to the wall is that he is saying we should be soft on prisoners. Indeed you could spin it a little more and say he wants to give murderers, rapists and paedophiles more freedom while in prison. We all read the articles this weekend about the freedom Rose West was enjoying. The Mirror went crazy over it. The public wont forget these comments. This is a bread and butter issue for the Tories.

DC is proving to have some views which are going to hurt like a kick to the groin come 2009.

I like some of the things he says about police but a lot of it is stuff we expect from an idealist. Im not sure how elected police commissioners will work...who will elect them and what bureaucratic and restrictive practices will he get rid of? -there are quite a few. And for those about to come back with the old "We cant set the 2009 manifesto now!" I say, no we cant, but its still too vague. We need an example of what practices.

James Maskell

Something I just missed was the videogames industry comments. I watched wrestling when I was little and I played violent video games. I read horror books and enjoyed horror films.

And yet I did not go out and attack people. Nor do I feel psychotic thoughts running through my mind (although as a Tory, Im sure itll kick in soon). I dont get the urge to stab someone or run into a school guns ablazing. People who are going to kill are already that way before they play that game or watch that film.

The Manhunter game was blamed for a murder (in which the owner of the game did not actually do the murder) and the Duke Nukem game, along with Marilyn Manson, Doom and the Matrix were blamed for Columbine. Computer games do not create just gives them more ideas.

An example of how ridiculous this is is that when the NoW was giving away Little Britain DVDs I had to remove them from the NoW if selling it to an underage kid. Every single kid who I had to take the DVD from had watched Little Britain. They had watched it with their parents.

My non-political friend was shocked to see the fuss being caused over the Bully game and Keith Vaz's questioning about this issue. The way to deal with this is to make sure that retailers stick rigidly to the BBFC rules and classifications and that anyone who does sell underage is severely dealt with. You cannot blame the industry for creating games where there is a demand for them.

What next - trying to force the music industry from producing CDs which have lyrics about violence or drugs, or sex? We'll all be forced to listen to Classical music. We certainly wont be allowed to study Shakespeare at school since it has violence and death in it!

Guido Fawkes

Buxtehude throwing in the towel?


Selsdon Man

"Guido has registered on the Davis campaign website and enjoys receiving regular text messages - including pleas for help on the ground with the campaign. Chaps - Guido is doing all he can."

Guido admits that he is plotting for DD.


Just as Davis support begins to collapse, I'd urge Cameron campaigners to work even harder to convince the undecided. He will need the biggest mandate possible to propell him forward. He has that from MPs, he will need it from members to show we are a united Party.

Selsdon Man

That quote is on Guido's blog this morning.

Selsdon Man

""The music and games industry has to stop churning out material that celebrates aggression and violence. The drinks and entertainment industries must stop irresponsible alcohol marketing, and stop serving people who are drunk. Those who produce the media that children consume need to think harder about the social impact of their output."

Did DC say how he was going to stop these things or was it an aspiration? Does that apply to the bar chain of which he was a director until recently?

Selsdon Man

DC - "more prison places"

Was not that one of the issues that caused Alan Duncan to defect to DC?


Michael, the only voting thats going down is Cameron's vote as people say to themselves nice fellow but what is he going to do over the next two years.


"the innovative Conservative council running Bradford for reducing crime and improving urban design."

Irony I hope ?

It is a Con/LibDem alliance with a huge crime problem, enormous truancy, and a catastrophic urban development plan which consists of destroying any retailer who is in the way of a giant property development scheme to replace the 1960s disaster than Nairn used to excoriate when J B Priestley could not find the words - history repeats itself

Daniel Vince-Archer

"The drinks and entertainment industries must stop irresponsible alcohol marketing, and stop serving people who are drunk."

I assume David Cameron's Tiger Tiger bars and the other drinking establishment chains he is a director of will lead the way with this one?

Just as David Cameron made giant strides implementing his much-vaunted 'Change To Win' agenda when he was Head of Party Policy Co-ordination and drafted the 2005 General Election manifesto?

I think he should seek advice as he clearly suffers from short-term memory loss.


Come back Bux - it's not over yet!


Daniel - did you see the lady who attended the husting yesterday? She went in as a floating voter and came out as a cameron supporter!

I thought of you and your Stafford argument.

Wat Tyler

Goodbye Bux. You will be sadly missed.

We hope you reconsider- as you say, DD's message must not be lost, whatever happens.

And let's face it- tinkering with your organ is not everything it's cracked up to be.



What exactly is Davis' 'message'? My understanding was that his pitch was (a) I'm the unity candidate, (b) I'm the experience candidate and (c) I'm the candidate with the right background.

All this is perfectly legitimate stuff, but hardly amounts to an intellectually coherent message that can be 'carried on' as, some might say, Dr Fox set out. Or am I being unfair?

modern conservative

Gareth - isn't his message - 'modern Conservatives'?

He must be the modernising candidate...stop laughing at the back.


""The music and games industry has to stop churning out material that celebrates aggression and violence. The drinks and entertainment industries must stop irresponsible alcohol marketing, and stop serving people who are drunk. Those who produce the media that children consume need to think harder about the social impact of their output."

Did Cameron actually say that? Government isnt around to lecture business and individuals, sounds like a childish rant to me with no possibilty of actually doing anything, that boy has to grow up and quick! Not that it matters anymore, but he's just lost my floating vote with that stupid comment.

James Maskell

Completely agree, Rob. It doesnt look very mature or considered.


Surprised by the references to popular culture as well. This is a minefield which politicians never come out of well.


Daniel - did you see the lady who attended the husting yesterday? She went in as a floating voter and came out as a cameron supporter!

Did she inject or inhale ?

Jack Stone

Oh please Rick! Scraping the barrel surely. Are we going to start getting snide comments about the drugs issue now its almost certain your man is going down?

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Daniel - did you see the lady who attended the husting yesterday? She went in as a floating voter and came out as a cameron supporter! I thought of you and your Stafford argument."

I wasn't at the hustings so, er, no I didn't see her. And I'm afraid your point about one clearly easily impressionable person does not compare to Cameron's spectacular failure to win over floating voters in his one serious electoral test to date.


"Are we going to start getting snide comments about the drugs issue"

I don't know Jack, unless you make them or allude to them I see no point in mentioning it..........clearly it is an idee fixe with you............I shall try to ensure you that the table legs are wrapped in your presence.

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