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« Hustings Report (8) - Part 2: Frimley | Main | Cameron more popular than Blair »


Selsdon Man

"the subsequent sound problems showed some of the Tory brigade to be quite rowdy with their “can’t hear you” cries. Oddly, the cries came back briefly around the time that the Chairman of the proceedings (London regional Chairman, Matthew Carrington) was asking for money to cover costs!"

The upstairs speakers were not switched on until the end of David Cameron's speech. We could not hear any of the Davis speech. Check your facts before making a prat of yourself.

Ian Sider

Thanks, Sam, for the great report. I was there last night, and you've portrayed the proceeding fairly.

You're quite right about the Lib Dem question. Neither candidate seemed to have much idea what to do about them -- except to say how much they hate them.

They'd have done better to answer how it was the Lib Dems picked up Labour's lost votes and we didn't.

I wish they'd also been more generous to New Labour. Listening to the candidates you'd think that Blair and Brown add up to more than a few abortive attempts to reform the public services and lashings of extra bureaucracy.

Now, that's not the reason why over 60% of voters support the parties of the centre-left. Until we understand what they are voting for -- and offer a better alternative -- then we'll remained mired in irrelevance.

interested observer

I went to the Pub next to the Hall afterwards and was surprised by the number of times I heard comments along the lines of - Cameron's a pretty professional speaker (but not in the same league as the party's best (Hague, Heseltine, Thatcher, Clarke etc as he doesn't do spontenaity or passion very well) - we all know he's going to win but (and this was the interesting refrain) I've reservations about his policies and conservative convictions and would prefer Davis's.

Another person observed we have a resurged Conservative Student branch but that Cameron himself wasn't passionate enough to want to get involved when he was at Oxford despite the late 80's being prime time.

Selsdon Man

A large number of the audience could not hear the speeches. The chairman simply did not care!

Davis Davis gave a much more assured performance, especially during questions when he should have ventured away from his lectern.

It was sad to hear the candidates repeat the same old jokes.


The sound problems were pretty inexcusable, and the event should have been put on hold til they were sorted. Note to Sam, the only reason DC 'spoke slowly' was because he'd worked out that the real problem those of us in the gallery were having hearing was a result of the echo. When DD spoke quickly the echo of what he was saying was competing with his real-time speaking. The speakers were switched on in time for us to hear about the last third of DC's speech.

I followed a group of young men out of the hall who appeared to be taking the previously issued 'advice' to tell reporters they were undecided before the hustings, but firmly for DD after. Their take on this was to have an overly loud conversation as they were leaving the hall about how they had been leaning towards DC before hand, but were now definitely voting DD! The furtive glances round to check that they had an audience for these comments kind of gave the game away!


An excellent report Sam. Thank you. I love your idea of picking out the keywords.

Cllr Graham Smith

I've heard the amusing story about the late Quentin Hogg on several occasion, but up until now had never come across anyone who admits kneeling at his command. I think David Davis should be applauded for revealing this particular episode in his past.

Ed R

Great report. Interesting to read the questions rundowns and 'key words'. Nice one, Sam!

Nelson, Norfolk

Vey good report Sam. I hope whoever wins will look at the Boundary issue.


Once again thank you Sam-a great report! I actually left the meeting very bouyed up, both by the professionalism of both candidates and the size and makeup of the audience who were about as far removed from the stereotypical blue rinse brigade as can be imagined.
I think we can all be proud of of our leadership candidates who both spoke well and are in my opinion both more credible leaders of our party now than they were when the contest started.
Both had high points in their speeches (which I thought Cameron won) and in their answering of questions (where Davis was superior).
Davis spoke particularly well on his analysis of the damage Blair has done to the credibility of the entire political system in this country and on his heartfelt opposition to tuition fees.
The only weak answers (apart from Iraq where I fundamentally disagree with both candidates) came on Pensions and the Lib Dems and again from both candidates.
Some very hard thinking has to be done by our party on both issues and quickly.It is entirely inadequate chaps to believe that people who vote Lib Dem have no idea what they are voting for or that just by working harder we will beat them .
On Pensions I had hoped we could have expected far more from Cameron in particular who merely promised to look at the problem and hadn't ruled anything out,Davis promised to reverse Browns £5 billion raid on tax credits but didn't say how.
In the end though it was the fact that Cameron in my opinion had the better analysis of what our party has to do to actually win an election which has finally persuaded me to vote for him.It not without reservation but for the first time in years I really believe that our partys fortunes are about to change in a very significant way.

Daniel Vince-Archer

I'm not sure Cameron should be interfering with the work of the independent Boundary Commission, particularly when there's already a review taking place.

As for making all constituencies the same size, both geography and demography mean that isn't really feasible. Sounds to me like Cameron is making Blairesque ill-thought off-the-cuff proposals that collapse under the lightest scrutiny (see also: commitment to withdraw from EPP in first week as leader).

Barbara Villiers

Has anybody seen the Evening Standard which says that Cameron won the London hustings?

They must live in a parallel universe because actually both candidates were evenly matched. Yet another example of the really rather tedious media bias towards Cameron which may very well end up in a backlash.

I thought Cameron to be a bit subdued though and I didn't have my usual urge to shake him!

All in all, a very good evening for the Party.

Selsdon Man

"All in all, a very good evening for the Party."

Not if you were upstairs and could not hear the speeches!

Mike L

The Boundary Commission review is 90% complete and the final report is due to be published next summer.

With the new boundaries there will be no bias between the sizes of Tory and Labour constituencies EXCEPT that the new boundaries will be based on year 2000 electorates so movements in population since then are not taken account of.

Step 1 is clearly to get the current review finished and implemented.

In the future the Boundary Commission needs to be expanded so that reviews do not take 6 years to complete.

The problem is they do area by area in sequence. Each area takes about 12-18 months (depending on wheteher there is a public enquiry). That is fine but they need to look at all areas simultaneously so that the whole thing is completed within a couple of years.

Barbara Villiers

But Selsdon, I thought you were already decided.

Samuel Coates

Actually, Selsdon Man, I was in the very top corner and heard pretty much the whole thing.
Sorry to call you rowdy, I thought it was funny :D

Agree with Barbara that it was fairly even event - hope that came across in the report, though I am fairly Cameron leaning.


and I didn't have my usual urge to shake him!

Posted by: Barbara Villiers | 24 November 2005 at 12:04

Conduct Unbecoming !

Jack Stone

The reason the boundarys are bias in favour of Labour is because Labour have always been agressive in there submissions to the commission whereas the tories have not.
If David Cameron is promising a more professional practice by the party than I think that should be welcomed.
There is no bias by the press towards David Cameron. He is getting the better press because he is the best candidate.

Selsdon Man

Apology accepted Samuel. I was sat at the front of the balcony and the echo created distortion. It was not funny at the time. Surely, the organisers could have got that right!

As for decided, Barbara, I have not posted anything to that effect. My ballot paper is on the window ledge of my study.

Barbara Villiers


What part of my conduct was unbecoming? Wanting to shake him? Or not wanting to shake him?!!!

Jack Stone,

I know you are the life president of the David Cameron fan club but even the most disinterested non-Tory voters I know said they have never seen such bias.


There's no bias its just that one candidate is interesting and one is not.


If you sat upstairs, the sound problems were dreadful, and avoidable. It was curious how they could not be sorted out during DD's opening speech but suddenly corrected during DC's....

The story I heard was that the amp had gone, but the volume was fine, it was more akin to a tuning problem, the sound was distorted, like an old cassette so you could only make out about 2 in 3 words spoken. But then it mysteriously got cured!

Good analysis by Sam. However, I thought that although DC spoke in a very polished manner, has improved since question time and won a couple of the questions, DD was the general winner, and on the Lib Dems and drugs I thought he was particularly good.

Message to both DC and DD - New jokes please!

Daniel Vince-Archer

"There is no bias by the press towards David Cameron. He is getting the better press because he is the best candidate."

I would have responded to this sooner but I was distracted by a squadron of flying pigs zooming past my office window.

Richard Weatherill

"The reason the boundarys are bias in favour of Labour is because Labour have always been agressive in there submissions to the commission whereas the tories have not."

You may be right, historically, Jack but, as far as the recent exercise is concerned, we certainly did pretty well out of it here in Worcestershire. Roger Pratt, who leads for the Conservative Party on this subject, is a formidable operator whose professionalism is second to none.


"There is no bias by the press towards David Cameron. He is getting the better press because he is the best candidate."

So none of it is because they feel ideologically closer to him, as they did to Ken Clarke?

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