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« ICM pours cold water on Tory parade | Main | David Davis reaches out to the 'wristband generation' »


Daniel Vince-Archer

Oh dear. I'm on the same side as Heffer and Hitchens. If Melanie Phillips weighs in against Cameron as well, I'm heading for the hills...

James Hellyer

Melanie Phillips already has weighed in against Cameron:

Ed R

Cameron's making the right noises. There are the twin vices of blind populism and blind ideology that act as a siren call to politicians. You need a bit of both to keep the public and the party from open revolt, but if Cameron and his team do what they have a great opportunity to do -- to look at all the problems of modern Britain and decide on solutions not based on populism or ideology but based on an objective assessment of the best way forward -- then it will be great for the health of the party and the nation. It may well be that I don't agree with those conclusions, or some of the bedfellows he makes to implement his agenda once it forms. But I'd rather see the party developing policies that work from first principles rather than using focus groups or ideological tried-and-testeds to please particular groups.

Henry Cook

We should be careful not to go to far in calling Cameron a 'liberal'. On drugs, he wants to reclassify cannabis from C to B (on the basis of it getting stronger) and ecstacy from A to B (on the basis that it is no way near as bad as heroin and crack). Liberal, or sensible? You decide. Hugely increasing rehab places and taking ex-addicts into schools to talk to pupils about drugs aren't exactly 'liberal' measures. I especially like the latter policy, having experienced it at my own school: the message really hits home.


I'm quite sure Cameron is delighted to be on the opposite side of the fence from Mad Mel. Any distance between him and the barrel-scraping lowbrow populists at the Mail is to be welcomed.


Given that it is now 13 years since we persuaded more than 33% of the electorate to vote for us, isn't it a positive development that DC is attracting the support of people not normally minded to support our party? Apparently not, according to our esteemed Editor. New support? Perish the thought! Broaden the coalition? God forbid! Far better that we remain an ideologically pure debating society than actually wield any power. By the way, even by the very high standards of the right of the tory party to find vote losing policies, campaigning against Kyoto is pretty special.

Wat Tyler

Ed R- "...look at all the problems of modern Britain and decide on solutions not based on populism or ideology but based on an objective assessment of the best way forward..."

This goes to the very heart of our political debate. Socialists believe you can reach a objective "evidence-based" managerialist solutions to most problems, and that people of goodwill can and should buy in.

But we freedom type Tories believe that's pie in the sky. For one thing, many problems do not have rational managerialist solutions- our best "technicians" disagree and there's actually no workable alternative to trial and error. Drugs may be one example, public services are definitely another.

And even where the technicians can agree, there are usually winners and losers. Pensions policy is an excellent example, where we all know the pension age must increase but the losers won't go along with it.

Political conflict is inevitable, and you have to take your pick between populism (er...DC) and ideology (umm...DD?). I know which I prefer.


Gareth: You misunderstand me. I absolutely believe in reaching out. I began with praise for Nicholas Kristof's article. All I am saying is that we must build coalitions that are authentic. An alliance with people who take libertarian views on drugs like ecstasy or cannabis is ultimnately unsustainable and won't help the conservative coalition. Forming new alliances on issues such as human trafficking and against genocide and in Darfur is the right way to go and should not upset more traditional conservatives.

henry curteis

DC is a good brand manager. He could sell Tories or Persil washing powder equally as well. He has flair for marketability. DD has an ability and the courage to get the product right. So DD should be the leader and DC should run the marketing department.

Never put the sales and marketing people in charge of the company. They are far too nice to the customers and never make a profit.

The risk/reward calculation requires a concept of strategy - where are we now? Where do want to go? How are we going to get there? Not just the words - but the hard choices.

David Davis wins.


But david davis has got the product spectacularly wrong.

He's repeating the same bilge that lost the party the last 3 elections, while at the same time showing little to suggest he understands any of the problems facing the party.

Drugs is a bad issue for Cameron to pick but he is suggesting doing the right thing. Putting ectasy in the same category as heroin makes the law an ass.

Selsdon Man

Hari may have liberal views on drug laws but he is no libertarian. He is a liberal socialist - as demonstrated by his anti-free market articles. Was this an attempt to smear libertarians?

Selsdon Man

There are several former Portillo and Clarke supporters in the Davis camp. Frederick Forsyth's analysis was superficial.

James Hellyer

There is a difference between someone supporting Portillo's leadership bid in 2001, and someone who's a Portillista. Liam Fox would be in the former camp, for example, while Francis Maude is in the latter. The difference lies in the acceptence and continued pushing of the Portillo agenda.


I echo Daniel Vince-Archer, politicians can sometimes be defined by their friends and enemies.With enemies like Hitchens,Heffer and Forsyth Cameron may be able to lead the Conservative Party to victory.
I t would be hard to think of three worse advocates for our cause than that gruesome trio.

Selsdon Man

"against the red-blue-yellow-white-flag alliance on Iraq".

Those of us who opposed the war are not cowards. Invasion for regime change is illegal under international law. Bush picked on an easy, oil rich target. There has been no proof that Saddam had WMDs or was involved with Al Queda.

What is really appalling is the Bush administration's use of torture in other countries - extraordinary rendition. See my post on Nicholas Krystof's article. Those responsible must be put on trial for war crimes and human rights abuses.


While I welcome attempts to broaden the appeal of the party by having policies on issues like the environment, we must be careful to get the policies right. Any policy which puts heavy extra burdens on our economy, such as carbon taxes, will not be a vote winner, but will give a n opportunity to our opponents to knock us.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Melanie Phillips already has weighed in against Cameron."

I'll start packing for my escape to the hills now...

"With enemies like Hitchens,Heffer and Forsyth Cameron may be able to lead the Conservative Party to victory."

Although I don't like being on the same side as these folk, the only thing stopping me performing a Damascene conversion to Cameron on the way to said hills is the fact that I largely agree with the named individuals (uncomfortable though that sensation is) about Cameron. That, and the fact that I would rather share a French kiss with Margaret Beckett that support Hewitt-lite's bid to NewLabourise the Conservative Party.

Kate Castle

This is just a realistic view that the politics of right & left are in the past. New Labour's education ideology would have been greeted with cheers by Tories had a Conserative said it. If the policy is right, then we should support it, afterall we want to run the country as best we can, not look for a fight at every given opportunity.

James Hellyer

"New Labour's education ideology would have been greeted with cheers by Tories had a Conserative said it."

I don't think it would. It doesn't look like it will actually do anything it's supposed to. Saying a piece of legislation is about "choice" doesn't actually mean it is about that!

Kate Castle

the details may not be perfect, but the ideology of the education policy is much closer Conservative thought, than old Labour thought. We shouldn't just oppose, we should act like grown ups who are capable of running the country.

Climate change is a good example where the parties need to work together, we can't waste more time bickering among Westminister village.

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