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« Q12: Leadership Election Process | Main | Elsewhere on conservativehome.com »

Comments

Tax, Europe, asylum and immigration - Was this the new 'modern conservatives' Davis promised us?

That interview could have been made anytime from 1999.

And carried out with Davis sat in front of a huge portrait of Margaret Thatcher...'modern conservative'? Give me strength!

James Hellyer

"Davis supported withdrawing from the 1951 convention on refugees, and tried to claim you could withdraw from the ECHR without leaving the EU."

Cameron supports - and indeed wrote - these policies.

Wat Tyler

As others' have said, nobody wins against Paxman- unless someone can think of a contrary example. DD stayed on his feet, and we'll see how DC does next week.

"Mr Davis- why are you a shit?"- It reminds me of his sophisticated intro with Theresa: "Mrs May, why are you so unattractive?"

So is this public service broadcasting? Would a commercial broadcaster employ such bloodsport interviewers as preening Paxman and GOM Humphrys?

The Fox anchors are certainly opinionated but they're gentlemen when it comes to not spraying interviewees with undiluted ordure. And Meet The Press's Tim Russert is politeness personified. But if you want to find out what the interviewees are actually thinking...you know, it's much more effective.

Still, the clock's ticking on all those tax-funded BBC types. And interviews like this probably speed things along.

 Ted

But DC hasn't put them forward as key policies in this election. DD was exposed last night - only hope for DD supporters is DC being more exposed.

Barbara Villiers

Well Citizen Fulford, at it again? He never said any such thing and you know it. Nevertheless he had to know that people like you would twist it so he should really have considered his answer better.

No, it was not DD's best performance but that says more about Paxman, eyes bulging manically - he's become a cartoon character, not a proper political interviewer. Political interviewers should be exacting but this has become 'The Paxman Show'. It will be interesting to see if he subjects Cameron to the same. If he doesn't that it will only prove what many of us have been thinking and that is the BBC bias towards Cameron.

malcolm

I wish DD had fought fire with fire on the Paxman interview.JP has become a caricature of himself and his sneering tone which was once amusing is now seriously irritating.DD fell into the trap of sounding defensive and very nervous.He should have struck back hard particularly when talking about immigration.The fact that Zimbabwe is a signatory to the 1951 convention on refugees is no damned reason for Britain to continue to sign up for it.A bottle of champagne from me to the first Conservative to tell Paxman to go forth and multiply (or words to that effect) the next time he becomes too impertinent.

Barbara Villiers

Pardon me no name, but it was Paxman who set the questions and he set such questions purposely.

And Wasp, do some research on the 1951 convention and how other countries adhere (or not) and then tell me if it is necessary. It was written for a different era entirely and past its sell by date.

James Hellyer

"But DC hasn't put them forward as key policies in this election."

Davis hasn't put forward immigration as a key policy. Cameron has however publically reaffiremed his support for the very same immigration policy.

James Hellyer

Personally I'm looking forward to the day that a leading politician does a John Nott rather put up with Paxman's abuse.

loyal_tory

"But DC hasn't put them forward as key policies in this election." DC has tried to avoid saying what his policies are at every opportunity. That is the problem--and that is why Davis did Paxman: to get Cameron to go on.

michael

I was pleased Paxman covered the divisive accusations against Davis - I've got an impression that Davis isn't a guy to inspire loyalty.

This quote in Crick's Searching for Michael Howard worrys me;

'Davis had been a leading member of Howard's campaign team in 1997, but over the past 12 months, according to a former ministerial colleague, Howard had grown 'disguisted with Davis and felt he had 'behaved in a dishonourable way'.
That was around Oct 2003.

I fear that if he is elected by activists, many MPs will feel no sense of loyalty to him as a majority didn't back him.

michael

James - George Galloway did exactly that a few months ago.

Mr Eugenides

There's no doubt that Paxman was at his best, or worst - he was indulging in all sorts of cartoonish asides, eyes goggling in mock astonishment, harrumphing at answers he didn't like, generally getting into semantic arguments for the sake of trying to trip DD up. But he succeeded.

I can't imagine the pressure of a Paxman interview but surely DD could have done better on the tax question than he did - something along the lines of "instituting, and sticking to, a growth rule for cutting taxes is a cast-iron guarantee; whether the figure turns out to be exactly £38bn or not will obviously depend on the economic circumstances of the time".

Instead he allowed himself to be corralled into a situation where he refused to promise the tax cuts which he actually is promising.

The ECHR question was equally grim. The fact is that Paxman was entirely right on this, and skewered Basher badly.

You can't, on this form, see DC coming out of next week's ordeal much better (arguably much worse) - but at least he's got another week. By the time he emerges from his interview, 95% of the electorate will have cast their ballot.

buxtehude

"The implication that mums staying out home are better parents is outrageous and extremely old-fashioned."

Yes, but is it untrue?

People have difficult choices to make. Often they don't have a real choice at all. So it's not a question of blame. But are you really saying that children aged, say, 1 or 2, are better off at a nursery than at home with a parent? Or just that we should pretend?

No name

Babs, Paxman asked the questions within the parameters of the message Davis has put forward over the past few weeks - which has focused on tax and europe.

Though I hadn't thought he'd focused on asylum/immigration - so I'd concede that.

But my point is that joe public will have seen that as interview as same old Tory talking about the same old issues.

Appealing it werent.

Mark Fulford

Barbara, the inteview is now online so I've been able to check exactly what was said. 18 minutes 55 seconds into the interview:

Paxman: "Do you believe that full time mothers make better parents and happier children?"

Davis: long pause. "That’s more difficult. Most of the time, yes."

It doesn’t particularly surprise me that you see me as some comrade for being able to see the electoral harm in this statement.

Barbara Villiers

Michael,

You couldn't be more wrong.

Let me just put it this way. There is a great deal of institutional prejudice in this Party and to many, DD, not being part of the old boys' network is considered an impudent upstart and the feeling is that 'his kind' should not be in the hallowed halls of Parliament, or at the very most, should be a humble backbencher. Believe me, it exists.

Cllr Iain Lindley

What has that got to do with his fifties-style views on working mothers?

Barbara Villiers

You know, comrade, I'm a working mother (out of necessity) and as much as I love my job, I would have preferred to be home with my children, at least for the early years and do think it is better for the children. Mine have expressed that they wished I could be home more often and it breaks my heart. Children tend to be very politically incorrect but honest.

Having said that, I wish he hadn't answered it that way because most working mothers are consumed with guilt deep down and it will strike a raw nerve.

buxtehude

Mark, it may well cause difficulty with some parts of the press (though Is uspect not with ordinary voters). But out of interest, if you were being thoughtful and truthful, would you have answered thus:

Paxman: "Do you believe that full time mothers make better parents and happier children?"

Mark Fulford: long pause. "No. It makes no difference either way."

As I posted above, it's not a matter of blame. But little children are not better off in a nursery, are they? I mean, honestly?

buxtehude

Barbara V, that's a great comment. I agree: "Having said that, I wish he hadn't answered it that way because most working mothers are consumed with guilt deep down and it will strike a raw nerve."

The issue for me is, do we want to encourage Labour's institutional urging of more little children in nurseries?

Mr Eugenides

Maybe it wasn't the best possible response but actually I thought he dealt with it reasonably well.

Most Tories, when asked if it would be better for mothers to take care of their kids full-time, would consider "most of the time, yes" to be an unexceptional response.

I agree that some women may not like this view much, and DC may handle it rather better, but compared to the questions on tax, the ECHR and his personal qualities, this was pretty tame stuff.

Mark Fulford

And tell me Buxtehude, would you be the one to stay at home? Davis never changed a nappy, so I don't think he'd have been receptive to the idea.

Mr E, I'd qualify your statement with one word: remaining.

"Most remaining Tories, when asked if it would be better for mothers to take care of their kids full-time, would consider "most of the time, yes" to be an unexceptional response."

michael

"Michael,

You couldn't be more wrong.

Let me just put it this way. There is a great deal of institutional prejudice in this Party and to many, DD, not being part of the old boys' network is considered an impudent upstart and the feeling is that 'his kind' should not be in the hallowed halls of Parliament, or at the very most, should be a humble backbencher. Believe me, it exists."

I'm sure it does Barbara - although 5 of the last 6 Tory leaders got to the top despite the old boys network.

But how am I wrong? It surely adds to my point that Davis will be an isolated leader not just because you think he is seen as an "upstart", but mainly because he will be elected with minority support of his MP colleagues.

United we stand, divided we fall.

modern man

What about us fathers who stay at home to look after our kids huh?

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