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« Hague set to return as Shadow Foreign Secretary | Main | Hustings Report (10): Newport »

Comments

Mark Fulford

Interested - I was never defending the post. I'm only objecting to the method of attack. To disagree with content is absolutely fine. To ridicule spelling in a public blog is childish and foolish.

John Coulson

I agree, lets not resort to petty insults.

Oberon Houston

After six months of renewed unity and purpose my greatest hope is that the party won’t return to old, destructive ways once this contest is over.

Is this the same IDS that voted against his own Government 40 times?

RobD

Maybe he has learnt his lesson of what that did to the Major Government in the 10 years since he was a rebel?

Oberon Houston

I'm not sure I've forgiven him yet. Lets see what happens over the next 12 months.

Iain - I'm placing you on 12 months parole.

Daniel Vince-Archer

Sam, you're right the link doesn't work, but the article is still at:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4484718.stm

Not sure why my link above doesn't work though.

Bruce

There seems to be the notion that some Tory politician's (Hague, Rifkin, IDS, Clarke) "talents" are "indispensable" to the front bench. I beg to differ. While freely admitting my admiration for the talents of the above names and others, the simple fact is that if (god forbid) a plague struck down ALL of our MPs, we could quickly replace them with people just as talented, just as bright. Ten such plagues would hardly exhaust the pool of talent latent in the ranks of the millions of UK Unionists. If the party is to present a "new" image, the party's face must be that of "new" leaders like Cameron or Fox, leaders who largely avoid the baggage of the past.

Oberon Houston

Bruce, I am sceptical of your optimism that talent hangs on trees. The depth of experience Clarke or Rifkind has takes many many years to accumulate. If it was easy, everyone could click their fingers and become Prime Minister. The reality is very different. I think Ken and Malcolm should occupy senior positions within the Shadow Cabinet, and the two main reasons for this are:

1. The new leader needs them for their experience and support
2. The new leader needs them to prove to the electorate that he is serious about following a consensus agenda. Its easy on these blogs to forget just how far away from many ordinary voters the party currently is. By selecting two men that have proven themselves as reliable Ministers in Government, we will go a long long way to demonstrating that we can be trusted when we say we are changing course.

The opposite would be for the new leader to surround himself with failures from the past. The electorate would then have physical proof that the change agenda is a Trojan Horse. I am pretty certain that I can predict the outcome of the next General Election the second I see Camerons Cabinet. If it has Clarke and Rifkind in it, then we have a good chance of winning the next election. If it has IDS, Hague and Davis at the top, then we will almost certainly lose again. We MUST engage with the Electorate again and stop this pig-headed decent into oblivion.

Oberon Houston

ps, Im stuck at Heathrow, hence the bad mood - no hard feelings guys - just trying to deal with political realities.

Bruce

Oberon, while emphasizing again that I have nothing but admiration for the talents of the people I named, their talents are known to the public simply because of the exposure they received while in cabinet (and shadow cabinet) office. They public would gain a similar affection to anyone of talent who had received this exposure.

Proof of what I just said? Historically, there have been many shadow cabinets made up of "new men", both in GB and abroad. For example, Tony Blair's first cabinet was, of necessity, made up of people largely without cabinet experience because Labour had been out of power so long. Ditto the Labour cabinet of 1945, Diefenbaker's first cabinet in Canada, and many others I could name. The public certainly didn't have any trouble voting for them.

As to the need to "consensus agenda" the cabinet in the eyes of the public, that can be done just as readily by promoting Clarke supporters as by promoting the man himself. You can get the balance without taking on the baggage.

The key, IMO, is to break with the past, not just with people you think are "failures from the past", if for no other reason than many voters think Clarke and Rifkind, as well as Hague and IDS, are among the "failures from the past".

sadly biased

This "The reality is very different. I think Ken and Malcolm should occupy senior positions within the Shadow Cabinet" and this "it has IDS, Hague and Davis at the top, then we will almost certainly lose again" is very ugly bias.

Ken Clarke and Malcolm Rifkind are "failures from the past." Wake up and smell the coffee. They were a key part of the team that produced the worst Conservative defeat since 1906 or 1832 depending on how it is measured. The "team" of Major-Howard-Clarke-and-Rifkind presided over the loss of 176 seats. Not William Hague. Not David Davis. Not even IDS.

It was Major's strategy that was "core vote." Others can be critcised for failing to improve on that much. But let us not forget the individuals and many, many mistakes that reduced our party's vote to its core.

Your bias ignores the fact and is "pig headed"

Oberon Houston

Sadly Bised (is that a Stage Name?),

When Major lost the General Election in 1997, everybody was desperate for a change of Government - 18 years is far too long in a healthy democracy, everyone is agreed on that, including it seems IDS, who was certainly voting like he wanted Labour in.

That is not denied, the crazy situation however was that the Labour lead EXTENDED under Hague, and despite wasting every opportunity presented to them BY A MAJOR GOVERNMENT, taking the cash and wasting it, ripping up the reforms of a MAJOR GOVERNMENT, then trying to re-instate them, go into a war by lying to everyone - then still have a big majority AFTER IDS, HOWARD and three elections etc.

So don't lecture to me that these guys are the panacea Mrs Sadly Biased - because I'm sick of it. Sick of the (I repeat) pig headed behaviour of many in the party, Labour in perpetual power, losing and losing and losing and the sheer waste of it all. And if you want to carry this on, give us your real name and I'll gladly oblige.

sadly biased

"the Labour lead EXTENDED under Hague"

Wrong.

The Labour lead achieved when Major let the party was points. When Hague led the party it was 9 points.

The Labour majority when Major led the party was 179 seats. When Hague led the party it was 165.

It's a very strange world where everyone in charge of the party when an election is lost is responsible except when their name is John Major. Clarke and Rifkind are respectable despite being heavily involved in Tory defeat. But others who have attempted to recover the patient (and failed) are not.

And what is your biggest reason for supporting Cameron and before Clarke? They will move us to the centre. That is not what this is about. The party moved to the centre 1990-1997. "18 years is too long" is a pathetic excuse for the failure of a bunch of politicains you mistakenly worship (and besides it had only got to be that long because someone else who was a lot better at winning elections than Major or Clarke actaully managed to do so--three times).

As for your ridiculous claims about how the party is to blame for the fact that people were not up in arms about a government that "ripped up" Major's reforms. Perhaps you should reflect upon the fact that the electorate was not as much in love with that government as you were and so didn't care. The fact that they didn't share your emotional state is perhaps revealed by the verdict they delivered on 1st May 1997.

sadly biased

sorry missed out the 13 point Labour lead under Major compared to 9 points under Hague

Rick

The Labour majority when Major led the party was 179 seats. When Hague led the party it was 165.

Progress......glacial perhaps....but progress.

One day Labour could lose a Confidence Motion but at this rate not before Euan Blair leads the party

Oberon Houston

So I see your name is really Sally Biased? Ah well, if your wanting to hide behind pretend names that’s fine.

2001 Results - Labour lost 6 seats, Lib Dems gained 6, and we gained 1

The Major Government brought in many reforms that were vital for the continuing prosperity of the Country. Despite the problems with the CSA, many Executive Agencies were a real success. Foundation Hospitals were the really way to improve productivity in the NHS and Grant Maintained schools status would effectively reform our schooling system. This would have cost more, but was easily affordable due to the budgeting process that was implementing.

Now, you seem to think that I am hung-up on the Major Government, I’m not. Its just that I find it hard to swallow when right wingers that moved heaven and earth to bring it down then come out with comments – just as you have just now – slagging it off and when they can put their case to the Country and get told to sling their hook turn around and say “tried to recover the patient and failed”. That is the kind of nonsense that will drive this party into oblivion.

To coin a phrase: I happen to believe that 65million Britons cannot be abandoned because of the irascibility of 50 right wing rebels.

Now, I’m drawing a line under my participation in this - I’m not conversing with any more mystical creatures.

malcolm

Well done Oberon,I agree with your sentiments.The Major governments made many mistakes and Major was badly let down by some of our MPs but there were as you point out some successes gained in the most difficult circumstances.
To dismiss talented people because they happened to serve in that administration is in my opinion, ludicrous.

Jack Stone

If three of the four top jobs, leader, chancellor and foreign secretary are going to be held by people under forty five you have got to balance that with some appointments to older more experianced ministers.
I think Malcolm Rifkind should be appointed deputy leader and shadow home secretary just to help balance things out a bit.
I think room must also be made for women like Teresa May, Caroline Spellman and Julie Kirkbride.I think Julie Kirkbride would make a great shadow health secretary.
I think DC also as to promote into the leadership some of those extremely talented new members like Ed Vaisey, Justin Greening, Douglas Carswell and Michael Cove who were elected for the first time in May so they can start gaing the experiance necessary to be in the position to be promoted into the cabinet in time for the next election.
Personally I think it is nonsense to say that defence would be a comedown for David Davis. To appoint someone of his standing to that position will actually give defence the profile it deserves.
When we have thousands of our servicemen overseas fighting in areas of conflict its important that defence matters are given the priority they deserve.

Rick

Foundation Hospitals were the really way to improve productivity in the NHS

Foundation Hospitals are a New Labour innovation. It would be good if you could discern a difference between Conservative and Labour policies Oberon !

Unfortunately the Treasury levies a "capital charge" on hospitals, something the Tories did introduce, and must return 3-6% annual budget to the Treasury as a "rental charge". The state of the hospitals is pathetic, and whilst they do not have high grade staff or systems, I doubt any enterprise could handle the way administered prices are changed by government. Deficits were a feature of the NHS before Labour; it is just now these deficits are illegal.

Rick

If three of the four top jobs, leader, chancellor and foreign secretary are going to be held by people under forty five you have got to balance that with some appointments to older more experianced ministers.

Why not have a few 19 year olds so the next leader can appeal to future voters rather than existing voters who have turned off ?

sadly biased

"Its just that I find it hard to swallow when right wingers that moved heaven and earth to bring it down then come out with comments – just as you have just now –"

Who tried to bring it down? I voted for it in 1997 (knowing it had brought down itself).

I can only wonder what you would say about Thatcher or Hague or Howard if they had lost as many seats as Major (176--more than half of the party's representation in parliament).

"To coin a phrase: I happen to believe that 65million Britons cannot be abandoned because of the irascibility of 50 right wing rebels."

What rebels? The rebels against the Major government, or what? If that's what you mean, please note that the rebellions began after that brilliant reformer John Major presided over a slump in Tory support to the low 30s--which later party leaders (unlike him) inherited along with a decimated rump of a parliamentary party.

The decision to break the party's election promise on tax was his. The decision to pursue the costly mistake of the ERM was his. The party's hard-won reputation for economic competence and tax cuts was lost in government, not in opposition where it is much harder to earn a reputation for such things.

The question is not about whether Clarke or Rifkind should serve or not. The question is the hypocrisy of saying that Clarke and Rifkind, who like it or not, were part of the top team that took us to the heaviest defeat in decades should serve, but that William Hague and Iain Duncan-Smith should not.

sadly biased

I think some maths can solve this question.

When Major took the leadership of the Conservative Party, it had 358 seats in parliament. By the time he left, it had 165 (less than half of the total he inherited).

If Thatcher had had the same record she would have handed 127 seats to her successor (instead of 358).

If Hague had had the same record he would have handed 76 seats to his successor (instead of 166).

If Howard had had the same record he would have handed 77 seats to his successor (instead of 199).

Whatever the failings of Thatcher, Hague and Howard, we could not as a party afford any more of Major than we got. Indeed, we could not really afford as much of him as we did get.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"The decision to pursue the costly mistake of the ERM was his. The party's hard-won reputation for economic competence and tax cuts was lost in government, not in opposition where it is much harder to earn a reputation for such things."

UIVMM, it was Thatcher's government that took us into the ERM. But you're right when you point out that it was during the Major government's mishandling of the ERM-linked troubles that our party lost its long-standing reputation for economic competence and trustworthiness. The special adviser at the Treasury (the one who sent memos to Major making the case for rejoining the ERM) must have been doing a sterling (no pun intended) job. I wonder what happened to him?

Well, it was John Major who lobbied harder than anyone else to persuade a reluctant Thatcher to join. It was he who stayed in despite all the advice. And it was he who wanted to raise interest rates through the roof in a futile attempt to save the policy, which cost countless jobs, homes and businesses.

malcolm

And here was me thinking it was Lawson & Howe.But maybe the chief secretary to the treasury had more influence with Mrs Thatcher than her foreign sec and chancellor.Got any proof otherwise anonymous?
As far as I'm aware neither Mrs T,Lawson or Howe have ever apologised for their terrible mistake.

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