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« Osborne dampens expectations of Cameron honeymoon and launches punchy attack on Brown | Main | Mixed messages from the Mail on Sunday »

Comments

Tomos

Would any one care to revise their shadow cabinet predictions having read today's sunday newspapers?

My predictions:

Leader: Cameron
Shadow Chancellor: Osbourne
Foreign Affairs: Hague
Home: Fox
Health: May
Education: Duncan
Leader of the House and Deputy Leader: Davis
Defence: Rifkind
Environment: Letwin

As for the lesser roles, who will they be filled by in your opinion?

Ed R

Au contraire, James. (Or did I miss the Thatcher economic reforms... of 1975?)

Chris Palmer

"The objective of a political party is to seek power"

"No it isn't. Achieving power is one of the means by which a party may achieve its objectives."

Not quite. It should be, An objective of a political party is to seek power. You can't do very much if you're not in power.

Daniel Vince-Archer

This news about Alan Duncan is simply unfathomable and defies logic. A few points to note:

- The man has little discernible political talent apart from self-promotion.
- He slated David Cameron during the early stages of the contest.
- By all accounts, the big jobs in Cameron's Shadow Cabinet have already been allocated elsewhere.

Consider all these points together and they do not add up to a big promotion for Duncan unless he will be promoted as a token gesture to reflect the supposedly more inclusive nature of a Cameron-led Conservative Party. Personally I suspect the source of the Telegraph speculation is none other than Duncan himself and that he will be rather disappointed with his position after the reshuffle.

John Hustings

"It's sad that you'd rather see Labour ruining the country than support a Tory party that attempts to sing to more than the choir,"

I don't see any evidence that a Cameron-led Tory party would reverse any of the damage that Labour has done. What's more, he might damage the reputation of Conservativism -- just as the Major years did.

I don't believe that Cameron will be singing to "more than the choir". It's just that the choir he will be singing to is the notting hill/islington media set, rather than the Tory faithful (whom he will most probably ignore, or worse abuse).


" but frankly this sort of attitude -- "let's be purer than pure and impotent" is the kind of electorally suicidal thinking we need to lose."

That wasn't my attitude. You obviously didn't read what I wrote. I said that I believe Cameron will be a failure (and he will deserve to be). He will not even come close to winning a general election. The polls will flatline, and he will be ditched. The Tories will then be set back another 5 years, since it will be extremely difficult to win the next election with another short term leader.

"Not just because it's hopeless for achieving any kind of real power and therefore heading off Labour's power-mad tax-happy Europe-appeasing politicos, but also because it's criminally negligent for the second largest political party to wantonly refuse to represent the public it alleges to serve. "

Do you have *any* idea what the public want? If you read the Editors very interesting discussion of Soho vs Easterhouse modernisers, you will see he mentioned that there is *no* evidence that the general public *want* the kind of modernisation David Cameron is offering.

More blacks, more gays, more women. Is this really getting *in touch* with the public? Is softer drug laws (and soft on crime generally) really want the public is crying out for?

Please point to an opinion poll that has shown this!

"The core vote strategy would lead to another resounding -- but thoroughly deserved -- defeat."

There is a difference between not running a "core vote strategy" and abandoning core vote policies. I don't have a problem with saying that the last general election campaign was too *narrow*; I have a problem with saying that the policies were wrong. They were not wrong.

I have no problem with the "And Theory of Conservativism" that the Editor likes to espouse. I *do* have a problem with Cameron's social modernisation. But please don't do a straw man type of argument that pretends that all those who oppose Cameron advocate a "one more heave" strategy. It is pathetic and moronic: your boy is not the only one who can offer "change".

But excuse me for thinking we can win the next election and still remain conservative. Apparently that is too much to assume.

"What a ludicrous assertion! The objective of a political party is to seek power."

Then why not join the Labour party? They already have power. They sound perfect for you.

"I suggest if Barbara, John, et al, are hostile to the idea of attracting support from outside the party's membership,"

Straw man.

"I wish to have a Conservative Britain once more,"

A Conservative Britain but not a conservative Britain.

I put the philosophy ahead of the party.

I really don't understand tribal loyalty. Are you saying that if David Cameron advocated the nationalisation of industry that you would still be loyal? There has to be a limit to everyone's loyalty. So there is to mine.

"Or perhaps someone has finally realised that the core-vote are always going to vote Conservative whatever happens to the party - just as the Labour-core vote did for Tony Blair."

They won't stay loyal. My type of attitude is the predominant one amongst right-wingers. The "core vote" you think can be taken for granted have been abandoning the Tory party for years. And they will *continue* to abandon it. I know lots of conservatives who are *already* saying they won't vote for Cameron next time round. Please do not think you can take core vote conservatives for granted because you simply can't. They don't behave like Old Labour.

I believe this is going to be the biggest error of the Cameroons: right-wingers will simply not vote with a Blair-like leader in charge.


James Hellyer

"Au contraire, James. (Or did I miss the Thatcher economic reforms... of 1975?)"

No, it was a false analogy. Bread can only be baked with heat. However achieving power is not an objective in itself for political parties. It's a means of achieving their political obvjectives - but only one means. Even parties that are not in government can achieve their goals by framing debates, or marking out a direction.

Your comment on the Thatcher reforms shows how much you've failed to grasp the point. Mrs Thatcher didn't seek power as an end in itself, but because she wanted to use it to implement a programme she thought would improve the country.

Chris Palmer

"They won't stay loyal. My type of attitude is the predominant one amongst right-wingers. The "core vote" you think can be taken for granted have been abandoning the Tory party for years. And they will *continue* to abandon it. I know lots of conservatives who are *already* saying they won't vote for Cameron next time round. Please do not think you can take core vote conservatives for granted because you simply can't. They don't behave like Old Labour."

I think we've probably gone over this ground before but let us go over it again. Who are you going to vote for if you don't vote Conservative? Who will you vote for, or will you simply not vote? Please, in another 4 or even 8 years time of Labour in Government, come back to us/me and say what you've just said again. I am from the right of the party like yourself John, but I have realised that you can do very little if you're not in power. Very little at all. Ok so Mr Cameron might say liberalise drugs, no grammer schools etc (which I hate the sound of) but in the end we must *win* If we are not *very* careful, there might not be a Conservative party left to embody conservative (small c) views.

Had you ever considered that Mr Cameron might not actually mean or believe what he is saying? He might be saying "share the profits of growth" as an election ploy to win votes?

malcolm

Well John I hope your assertions prove to be wrong.Time will tell.
I don't quite understand the point of posts like yours,after all Cameron has done nothing yet as leader good or bad.
He would have to be extraordinarily bad indeed for me to ever prefer that we lose to the current bunch of crooks who must surely be both the most corrupt and incompetent government of the modern era.

Chris Palmer

Exactly Malcolm. Exactly.

Ed R

I've met Duncan a few times and he's always struck me as fairly impressive. I think he deserves promotion. I'm not as impressed by Letwin and Willetts.

James: The Conservatives only have the clout to influence debates as far as they do because they put 198 MPs into the legislature. That's power. It's not executive power, though; that's why you shouldn't look out for anything more than peripheral changes to Labour's course unless a party which isn't Labour takes some or all of its power. To earn the right to spread its message as far as possible, to earn the right to be listened to in order to frame debates, the party needs to place itself in a position of power by filling the legislature and occupying the executive. I'm sure there are many debating societies around the country where the members are very clever and perhaps even move somebody in power to thought. That's all very well and good. But the Conservative Party, thankfully, is not one of them.

Barbara Villiers

Chris

Is that what you want - a leader who says things as a ploy to win votes? Is it so important to have power? Then you are no better than the 'incompetent crooks' we have in power now for that is exactly what they did.

John Hustings

"I think we've probably gone over this ground before but let us go over it again. Who are you going to vote for if you don't vote Conservative? Who will you vote for, or will you simply not vote?"

I might deface the ballot. We'll see. That's if Cameron lasts that long. Which I doubt.

"Please, in another 4 or even 8 years time of Labour in Government, come back to us/me and say what you've just said again."

And how would voting for Cameron make a difference?

"I am from the right of the party like yourself John, but I have realised that you can do very little if you're not in power. Very little at all."

And if Cameron wins, "the right" of the party will be abused and trashed. We could not be more disenfranchised than losing our own party to a bunch of political opportunists. It happened once before in my life time, around 1991 or so. Do you remember? Look what happened when they got their way then.

You have not addressed any of my previous points:

*Why* will Cameron be popular? *What* difference will Cameron make even if he is? *In what way* is Cameron appealing beyond a narrow group of people? *How* is Cameron representing "modern Britain"?

"Ok so Mr Cameron might say liberalise drugs, no grammer schools etc (which I hate the sound of) but in the end we must *win* If we are not *very* careful, there might not be a Conservative party left to embody conservative (small c) views."

Well with Cameron as leader it seems that this is exactly what will happen. How exactly do you expect a Cameron led Tory Party to represent (small c) conservative views?

"Had you ever considered that Mr Cameron might not actually mean or believe what he is saying?"

Yes I'm inclined to believe that Cameron is much more left-wing than he is letting on. He wanted to win the votes of members by just mouthing vagueness like "hope optimism change", when the change he has in mind is rather more specific.

I don't want the party to be a "socially progressive" party. If it is, I won't vote for it.

"He might be saying "share the profits of growth" as an election ploy to win votes?"

Maybe he is. Do you know this? Quite a gamble if you ask me.


"Well John I hope your assertions prove to be wrong.Time will tell.
I don't quite understand the point of posts like yours,after all Cameron has done nothing yet as leader good or bad."

Ha. Well maybe I'm just trying to demonstrate my powers of prophesy :)

"He would have to be extraordinarily bad indeed for me to ever prefer that we lose to the current bunch of crooks who must surely be both the most corrupt and incompetent government of the modern era."

I have enough faith in him to think that he will rise to this challenge.

James Hellyer

Ed, are you wilfully ignoring the point?

Sam asserted that achieving power is the prime objective of political parties. That's manifestly not true. Furthering their policy agenda to improve the country is the objective of political parties. A narrow focus on office leads to rudderless adminstrations like that of John Major.

And the point stands that office is only one means of furthering an agenda. The Conservative party's position on Europe, for example, framed the debate even while in opposition, keeping us out of the Euro, forcing a referendum pledge on the Constitution, and thus also leading to the Frech referendum.

Chris Palmer

"Chris

Is that what you want - a leader who says things as a ploy to win votes? Is it so important to have power? Then you are no better than the 'incompetent crooks' we have in power now for that is exactly what they did."

It's not how you get power but how you use it that counts.

Editor

Selsdon Man: "John Hayes may be a social conservative but he is no free marketeer. He is a protectionist and on the far economic left of the party. He cannot be compared to John Redwood."

Up to a point, Lord Copper. John Hayes is a different kind of right-winger to Mr R, it's true. JH is less keen on tax cuts - less keen on free trade - but they're both on the Right insofar as they're both Eurosceptic, want a tough line on crime and are socially conservative.

Simon C

Hilarious to see the jockeying and grandstanding in today's Sunday papers. The Sunday Times was particularly entertaining, with its section on the Cameron "Massive". Portillio's attempt to nobble Fox is also worthy of mention:

"It will seem only sporting to give important posts to David Davis and Liam Fox, especially since the latter gave his support to Cameron after being eliminated from the leadership election. But if Fox (who presented himself as the most right-wing candidate) is to become, say, the shadow home secretary, the shadow cabinet is not going to broadcast an unambiguous signal that the party is changing."

Hmm...Fox's tack on the EPP has of course been followed by Portillo's choice - Cameron. Fox's approach to foreign policy, stressing that regard for democracy, human rights and the rule of law is in Britain's national interest has been endorsed by none other than Portillo's biographer, Michael Gove. Domestically, Portillo is entirely entitled to say that a campaign that had mental health and domestic violence as two of its key themes presents as right wing, but that reflects more on him that anyone else. Miguel is in danger of becoming a reverse weather vane - reliable in that he is always pointing in the wrong direction. Even he should realise that the old right-left divide is just sooo last century.

I agree with Wat that the policy debate goes on. At the risk of causing Wat and others ( such as my old ally in the frontline for Fox, James Hellyer) to expire over their cocoa, the reason that, in the end, I voted for Cameron is that I think he too would agree that the policy debate is still up for discussion.

We should take him at his word - he has said as much. On drugs, he has said that he will accept the outcome of the party's policy review. He has said that we need to re-think the way in which we apply existing Conservative principles to 21st Century Britain. That sounds like a policy review to me.

He has constantly called for a shadow cabinet of all the talents - that in itself will leave large chunks of policy up for review if it is to be meaningful in any way.

Cameron's strategy of supporting the government when it is on the right track is evidence that he takes policy seriously. I disagree with Davis that we should oppose Labour at every opportunity. That makes no strategic sense. If we are interested in policy we should support the government where it has the principle right, and reserve our fire for the details that it is bound to get wrong. If we take ideas seriously we should support those we favour, whoever else proposes them. That demonstrates principle and consistency. It also, tactically, increases pressure on Labour's internal rifts.

By deliberately avoiding much detailed policy discussion, and putting it aside until after the contest, Cameron has not built a policy mandate for himself. I think he would recognise that, although not everyone around him will.

The chatter in today's press smacks to me of desperate left-tories trying to squeeze Cameron into their own corner. His support for marriage and his policy on the EPP are hardly evidence that he is on the left of the party.

So, going forward, my hope is that Wat and others will be able to rest safe in the knowledge that a serious policy debate lies ahead of them.

Barbara Villiers

What lie, steal, cheat to get power? The means justifies the end? If that is what Cameron world is about then I want no part of it. I feel sick at what you are saying and I have never been one of life's Pollyannas either. How cynical and how wrong.

Strategic Thinker

Of course Alan Duncan will be receiving big promotion in the next few weeks. Self-promotion.

Simon C

Any clues as to what this mystery event on Wednesday will be - the one that is intended to demonstrate how the Party has changed? The ceremonial defenestration of Simon Heffer from the first floor windows of the Carlton Club?

Any other ideas?

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Any clues as to what this mystery event on Wednesday will be - the one that is intended to demonstrate how the Party has changed?"

Cameron will bring two animals to PMQs - a parrot to repeat everything Tony Blair says, and a seal to clap at everything Tony Blair says. The rest of the party will be expected to follow their lead.

Chris Palmer

“I might deface the ballot. We'll see. That's if Cameron lasts that long. Which I doubt.”

A pointless protest. Do you think that will change anything?

“And how would voting for Cameron make a difference?”

Every time I or someone else votes for the Conservative party under David Cameron, then that is one person not voting for the Labour and one step closer to getting rid of Labour.

“And if Cameron wins, "the right" of the party will be abused and trashed.”

What makes you so sure? I don’t feel abused and trashed at the moment.

“It happened once before in my life time, around 1991 or so. Do you remember? Look what happened when they got their way then.”

No – I was about 5 years old then. Sorry.

“Why will Cameron be popular?”

Young, attractive, not Tony Blair, not Gordon Brown, no political baggage, to name but a few.

“*What* difference will Cameron make even if he is?”

If he’s popular, then more votes for the Conservatives – less votes for Labour and the Lib Dems.

“*In what way* is Cameron appealing beyond a narrow group of people?”

Unfortunately not everyone thinks how the Conservatives do. Being a Conservative, David Cameron is also trying to say things that might appeal to other voters who are not natural Conservative voters or have lost faith in the party in the past. His message of unity for example.

*How* is Cameron representing "modern Britain"?

How is Tony Blair representing Modern Britain? How is Charles Kennedy representing Modern Britain? Modern Britain means something different to everyone. David Cameron at the moment represents a blank canvas - an empty book whose pages have yet to be written (so to speak.)

“How exactly do you expect a Cameron led Tory Party to represent (small c) conservative views?”

In being “The Conservative Party.” David Cameron is one man. Admittedly he would be the leader and therefore have a great deal of policy power, but there would still be others with the party who would have a say. David Davis, Liam Fox, John Redwood etc.

“Yes I'm inclined to believe that Cameron is much more left-wing than he is letting on. He wanted to win the votes of members by just mouthing vagueness like "hope optimism change", when the change he has in mind is rather more specific.”

Hmmm, I wonder where you get these ideas from.

“He might be saying "share the profits of growth" as an election ploy to win votes?
Maybe he is. Do you know this? Quite a gamble if you ask me.”

No I don’t, but you don’t know either. I am prepared to take the gamble, since the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

Ed R

James, parties change their policy agendas all the time -- in recent times, the party has been both pro- and anti-Europe. Specific people and groups will use the party as a platform for discussing and pressing for specific policies. The party itself exists to give the power that allows these policies to be pursued. But since you seem to be, as you accuse me, "wilfully ignoring the point", I think we will have to agree to disagree on this.

James Hellyer

I am not wilfully ignoring the point. The point is that gaining power is not in and of itself an end.

"The party itself exists to give the power that allows these policies to be pursued."

So you now admit that gaining power is not in itself the end. How consistent.

Ed R

James: It really is quite irritating when you make snide remarks based on deliberately obtuse readings of my posts.

Sam

James, today you appear even more confused than usual.

Try again to understand my point. The Conservative Party's reason for existing is to gain power (either thought winning seats or the election itself) thereby applying or influencing a conservative agenda. In order to do this you must try to win over people outside your core support - This is what political parties do. How you do this is indeed a different matter altogether and opinions will vary.

My suggestion was that if like John Hustings, you are not prepared to seek support from those outside your core, then you ought to preach conservative values from an interest group/think-tank, which is not seeking election itself but only aims to influence opinion. This is what makes them different from political parties, which are specifically formed to seek power.

This irrational exaggeration of trying to win over "museli eating sandal wearers or the chattering classes" is a pitiful distraction from the task ahead. We must try to win the intellectual battle for conservative values in the minds of those who may not subscribe to the Guardian, but nevertheless abandoned us to vote for New Labour since 1997. They are not a "narrow group of people", but a very significant section.

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