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« Anyone attending the Leicester or Newport hustings? | Main | David Cameron on Section 28 »


Henry Cook

It makes the hustings seem rather pointless. Why did the contest have to go on so long? Why couldn't the deadline have been about now, or in a week's time? Its slightly frustrating, but that's the way it is.

Any suggestions about how the contest could be constructive from now on? I'd like to see DC endorsing Fox's position on mental illness/domestic violence etc. A compassionate conservatism that reaches out to the vulnerable, but not only those who are vulnerable because they are poor.

I sincerely hope, and partly expect, that DC will be the next Conservative Prime Minister. Let us now make sure that when he is in office he makes a real difference to the lives of all Britons. Whether his victory is in 2009 or 2014, may it be a victory which symbolises all that is good and great about this country, a victory which seals the Conservative doctrines the general polity have come to adopt, and a victory which makes every single person in this country proud to be British.

[Slightly tipsy rant over, but you get the picture. Come on guys, we're shaping the future of the country. Enthusiasm is essential.]


Well, all DC needs now is KC to complete the set...

Barbara Villiers

Well if this isn't an example of MPs' opportunism and 'getting his own back' I don't know what it.

Fox was pretty bitter and twisted about not making it to the last two, publicly accused Derek Conway of putting it about that he was gay to which was a huge slur on Conway as he has an openly gay son and there was no way he was not going to put the knife in.

I am absolutely disgusted by the turn that this entire contest has taken. All about froth and spite. What a combination! I can only hope that the members aren't fooled but I somehow doubt it.


1. Foreign Policy should be Idealist not Realist.

Emphatically not ! This would require huge arms expenditure and a very large army. It is this mentality espoused by Woodrow Wilson that created the conditions for the Second World War in Central Jimmy Carter he willed the ends but not the means.........unfortunately those who espouse such half-baked notions usually opine "mourir pour Danzig" when the time comes to cut bait or fish

henry curteis

Liam Fox is showing a realistic approach by backing Cameron - his leadership challenge was felled by tactical voting of Cameroons voting for Davis in the second round, and it was Cameroons that released dirt on Fox in the Evening Standard.

The best joke of all would be if David Davis won and left all the MP's stranded in the Cameron camp. This looks an increasingly unlikely scenario, but the show's not over til the fat lady sings.

David Davis should offer a referendum on British membership of the EU, and the battle would be wide open again. Come on Dave. Play all your cards. You might never hold the pack ever again.

Wat Tyler

Well, it looks more and more like a done deal. Unless the members suddenly take it into their heads to overule the MPs, we are heading for a DC leadership.

Of course, DC's win has been on the cards since Blackpool, but we had hoped that the hustings would at least show us some beef. Instead, we've had pants. DC will become leader as pretty well a blank sheet, strikingly exemplified in today's ST article. Great for him, but not especially reassuring for us "ideological" members.

So the doubts remain...experience, policy, conviction even. But who knows? With Blair looking a little groggy, we may strike lucky.

John Reeks

There's loads of different kinds of Foreign Policy idealism - Woodrow Wilson feel into a specific trap of thinking his domestic liberalism could be translated directly into the international sphere. There's nothing wrong with having principle and following it though - and having a large army that you're willing to use only in the most needy circumstances is a good thing.


"It is this mentality espoused by Woodrow Wilson that created the conditions for the Second World War in Central Europe"

Just a thought, if we had apporached foreign policy in the 1930s with a more ideological mindset, perhaps we would have intervened much earlier and kicked out Hitler at the very latest by the Sudetenland crisis and not sold the Czech's down the river and saved us a devasting war in Europe. Not that I supported the war in Iraq but thats a different matter. A healthy mix of realism, inspired by ideology is perhaps a better suggestion for foreign policy. Hopefully Fox continues as shadow foreign secretary, pity he isnt in the final 2. But now is not the time for regrets but to make the most of our new leader. He may be a blanksheet on policy so far, but in an attempt to be optimistic, that means we members may be able to influence Cameron and the direction of the party more, we can only hope.


Interested to hear what James Hellyer has to say about Dr. Fox jumping to Cameron.

Graeme Archer

I like Tim's disclosure that he supported Liam Fox in the first round. Presumably for his enlightened approach to health and foreign policy rather than for the fact, that I can never get out my head, that he once dated Natalie Imbruglia. And look what happened to her! You can't ascend from the depths of an Oxford St tube platform without passing her face all over some perfume advert. I was SERIOUSLY disconcerted by the gay "smear". I spent my life rubbishing more gung-ho friends who confidently asserted that any male who made the press was "secretly" gay. Yes I'm the man who was shocked by George Michael and the Pet Shop Boys.

Do the ranks of ConservativesHome plan to attend either the London Hustings or the Jonathan Dimbleby programme next Sunday? I still think you should get a ConservativesNotAtHome blog going. Anyway I'd love to meet other bloggers. I shall be the short bald bloke at the back huffing and puffing at anyone who pronounces their "h"s ... it's an 'ackney fing mate.


"Just a thought, if we had apporached foreign policy in the 1930s with a more ideological mindset, perhaps we would have intervened much earlier and kicked out Hitler at the very latest by the Sudetenland crisis"

Reference to facts helps immensely. Perhaps reviewing the Treaty of Locarno will help you there, and if you get really fact-based you will note the Great Britain had NO alliances with Czechoslovakia (and none with Poland pre-March 1939) was La Republique Francaise which had created these alliances with Poland, Czechoslovakia in was Pilsudski who asked the French to join him in a pre-emptive strike on Germany in 1934/35 but France balked.

It was Daladier than inveigled Chamberlain into being an 'honest broker' to get France off the hook it had impaled itself was Chamberlain's half-brother who had won the Nobel Peace Prize; and it was the Peace Pledge Union which had huge support for Collective Security through The League of Nations...............and it required a vote of the League before a member of the Central (Security) Council could go to war.

Britain in the 1930s was ideological - it was committed to the League just as some pledge allegiance to the UNO today. In fact it was Chamberlain who started rearmament in 1935 funding the RAF expansion and Rolls-Royce shadow-factories.


You might Rob also look at the deployment of the British Army in the 1930s and how little there was here as opposed to India. You might consider that Germany had been rearming since 1919 in a JV with the USSR and had huge reserves far better trained than Britain which is reluctant to pay for peacetime forces.

I have not heard any Conservative leadership candidate propose restoring aircraft to the Royal Navy which are to be removed in 2006; nor to rebuilding the Territorials, nor to funding proper equipment for fact Defence appears not to be a Tory issue at all.


It may come as source of surprise to you that despite supporting Cameron from an early point in this leadership campaign, I have warmed to Davis of late, (never changing my voting intention) but at least confident that the party would be in safe hands should he win.

Early on, I had always seen Davis as one of our more divisive MP's. In my opinion (though his characteristics leave him wonderful placed to act as the frontbench bruiser) stories from the Westminster bubble long before this leadership campaign, portrayed him as a bully, ruthless, and disloyal. I think the truth in these stories are now begginning to emerge. There seems a fundemental lack of support towards the man from the Conservative right itself - people that you'd naturally assume would flock to him over Cameron. What Barbara mentioned of Conway's gay smear in an early posting (and the Aitken saga in my opinion), demonstrated his heavy-handed approach to his own colleagues. All's fair in love and war of party politics, but you can't expect to get away with this within your OWN party, especially when everyone is expected to revert to a cohesive unit once a leader is chosen.

I don't think the declarations of Redwood, Fox, etc are as opportunisistic as much as they demonstrate the lack of internal pleasure for Davis as a leader. Its again ironic that he brandishes Cameron as a Blairite when it is his campaign that has revealed a penchant for smears, headline-grabbing policies, and control-freakery.

Barbara Villiers


You have it wrong. It was Conway who was smeared - not the other way around. Why would somebody with an openly gay son seek to smear somebody as being gay?

What I am saying is that the way the Parliametary party in this election is despicable. I have never seen such running for cover in my life. The only ones who played it totally clean was the Clarke team.

The mass exodus of MPs to Cameron when they knew Davis and his policies from the beginning smacks of nothing more than the most crass opportunism. What, they all had a Damascene conversion to Cameron like that? Hardly, they want to be on the side that is winning and/or wanted jobs in the new regime. Not one bit of conviction among them and you wonder why people have no respect for politicians.


Point taken over Conway Barbara, but Conway has been no stranger to bullying on behalf of the Davis Campaign before.

I think the "gis-a-job factor" has been overemphasised. Many of the right-wingers (like Cornerstone - which choosing Cameron over Davis quite frankly astounded me!) have never liked Davis and shown classic symptoms of ABD (anyone but Davis). Now few of these declarations are people that previously declared for Davis, which would be clear opportunism. I suspect these MP's who have remained tight-lipped until recently, have feared a Davis victory all along but not wanted to sound out publically against it until they were confident that it would fail. In fact most of them are pervious Hague & IDS supporters that can't forget Davis's past disloyalty, and some are still upset over Maasticht with Davis's actions as a whip.

The truth is he's never been able to command support from a wide berth of MP's - left wingers, rightwingers or centrists. What I put to you is that perhaps it was self-intreest that MP's gave him so much support in the first round. After all, before his conference speech it seemed pretty set that he was going to win which I believe carried through to reflect in his level of 1st round support.


If what previous comments are saying is true, or even partly true, it clearly shows why choosing the leader should never again be handed back to MPs alone.

I think the reason why the contest cannot be shortened is simply to allow for all the hustings. Whether we actually need all these hustings is a matter of opinion, but it also allows time for any appeals against not being given a vote to be sorted out. While the earlier television appearances are the most crucial, I believe it is still important to wait until the end in order to get a full picture of both candidates before sending in the vote.


Time to start thinking about the composition of the Shadow Cabinet. This is actually rather important. If the Conservatives want to win, we need to present a very unified party, with a number of intelligent, obviously competent and pleasant personalities in the frontlines with the inexperienced Cameron.

There are just about enough qualified people to fill a decent team: veterans like Davis, Hague, IDS, Rifkind and new talent like Fox, Chris Grayling and others. We have one big problem in that we really need two attractive and competent women and we don't have them.

I guess the big, and indeed revealing, decision will be what DC is going to do with his buddy Osborne. I am rather a fan of Osborne and think he has a very bright future in the Party. (Although he comes across as too arrogant and immature at the moment--he still needs to learn quite a bit). But it would be a grave tactical error if DC keeps Osborne on as Shadow Chancellor. DC needs to lead a unified party. There are obviously the Davis people who will be dissatisfied, and many in the Davis camp see it as a generational issue: DC is 'too young' and their whole generation is getting passed over. We cannot win if there 40 MPs with grumles against the DC camp. Particularly because DC will find it necessary to depart from conservative orthodoxy in policy terms, he needs to make peace with the older, right-wing elements. That means that he will need to give a top job to Liam Fox, a top job to Davis (assuming he wants it) and a top job for Hague. It would be reassuring if DC is able to persuade Osborne to be happy elsewhere on the front bench.

John Coulson

The man for the big Shadow Chancellors job is john Redwood. Lets take the fight to Brown and Blair with the most intelligent and ariculate member of the Commons as our new 'big beast - slim version'. If we can win the intellectual case then the election is won. DC himself said we need an intellectual revoution to match Thatcher and Keith Joseph. Joseph is similarin many ways to Redwood.

Join me in the campaign:
Cameron make Redwood Shadow Chancellor!!


I have never had too much time for Redwood until he was installed as Deregulation spokesman. He has followed the party line and been a useful and valued media performer. 6 months ago I would have scoffed but now i think the idea needs to be taken seriously.


I always though Redders would make an awesome Shadow Minister for Europe, John.

Would love to see Clarkey rather than Gideon as Shadow Chancellor - he would absolutely destroy some of the lies that Brown gets away with.


Yes but Clarke won't serve - we do need a 'big beast'. The biggest beast we have (who happens to be thin as a rake) is Redders. Remember folks, if Clarke had won in 1997 Redders would have been his Shadow Chancellor.

John Coulson

Wow! People agreeing with me - a novel feeing on here. Mostly people attack me before the Editor bans me!

On a serious note, we do need to harness the talents of performers such as Redwood. Shadow Chancellor would be a great platform to parade his intellect.

Richard Allen

I agree that Redwood would make a fine Shadow Chancellor. He is extremely inteligent and intelectually sound but I question whether he would be allowed to pursue the agenda he would wish if Cameron is leader.

Richard Allen

The above should have read 'ideologically sound' not 'intelectually sound'

Michael Tombs

Much as I have always admired John Redwood, I can't help feeling it would be a mistake to appoint him to any of the most prominent jobs in a prospective Cameron Shadow Cabinet. (It pains me to write this, as I would classify myself as being on the right of the Conservative Party, and a natural supporter of politicians like John Redwood.)

One of the big attractions of Cameron appears to be that he represents a clear break with the past. It would seem counter-productive for him to appoint someone so closely associated both with Thatcherism, and the 'bastard' years of John Major to a high-profile position. However able John Redwood may be, he just does not 'resonate' with the electorate. It seems inconceivable to me that he could be appointed as Shadow Chancellor, Foreign Secretary or Home Secretary. Far better to appoint him to a post that would harness his undoubted intellectual and analytical abilities. Work and Pensions would be ideal - a critical area where the Conservatives need to construct a credible policy.

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