Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Alan Duncan Wins the Newsnight Battle with Quentin Davies

Do watch last night's NEWSNIGHT in which Jeremy Paxman hosted a discussion between Quentin Davies and Alan Duncan. It's at the start of the programme and lasts about 18 minutes. Paxman didn't even interrupt and just watched them carving each other up. Davies came across poorly, while Alan Duncan kept getting fits of the giggles. Despite the giggles, Duncan remained calm and collected while Davies whined. On this performance the Labour Party are welcome to Davies, even though he hasn't got a socialist bone in his body.

69 comments:

Laurence Boyce said...

Well I have little regard for anyone who crosses the floor of the House, but I scored the bout entirely to Quentin Davies. Alan Duncan’s prepared tactic of laughing like a girl at everything that was said, rather backfired in my view.

Anonymous said...

No chance of Davies standing in Sedgefield I suppose.

Anonymous said...

The prolem with Davies is that (apart from his pro-EU sentiments) you could not find a better example of a stereotypical Tory grandee.

I can't blame Alan Duncan for pissing himself.

Anonymous said...

I presume that Duncan had enjoyed a liquid dinner. Name calling and selective quotation meant that duncan didn't really do himself justice. Incidentally, Davies's letter is a pretty damning criticism of Windmill Dave & the Notting Hill set, and coupled with Portillo's insightful article in the ST (which Iain typically responded to with personal abuse), suggests that the party is in real trouble again. Very sad!

TV Eye said...

Can't agree with you on this one, Iain. Duncan came across as very snide and sneery and the name-calling tactic rather proved Davies' point about all-spin-no-substance. They're both as bad as each other.

rosemountino said...

I cannot agree, I don't think Alan Duncan did particularly well, even though Davies' position is somewhat baffling.

wandsworthtory said...

Duncan looked a simpering fool, unable to argue the substantive point, so resorting to snorting faux-derisively.

This is a bad sign of things to come, and we ignore it at our peril.

Anonymous said...

Duncan looked pissed to be honest.

Diablo said...

Iain - I despair at some of these comments. Michael Portillo, and now his alter ego, Quentin Davies have both delivered their barbed spears into the heart of the Conservative Party that made them what they are today - traitorous hypocrites.

How on earth either man has the gall to attack Cameron as all PR and lacking substance with their records? Remember the famous "SAS speech" from Portillo? Davies has consistently attacked Gordon Brown's (lack of) economic competency and now says he's a great leader!

True Tories should not let these two pricks deter us from doing the right thing. Beat the sh*t out of Brown and his spin machine!

rat said...

Duncan wiped the floor with him.

Ross F said...

I've just read Quentin Davies's resignation letter for the first time and what strikes me is that he doesn't even pretend to be a Labour supporter. For example he attacks Cameron for the 'Polly Toynbee' praising, which I agree with, but it hardly makes sense to join the Labour Party in response!

It would have made sense for him to at least pretend that he was leaving because Cameron was too right wing.

gordon welcomes said...

Good article in The Times:

First day, first humiliation for Mr Brown
A defection that defies belief

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/alice_miles/article1991086.ece?openComment=true

"Mr Brown should have steered well away from this one. He only took the leadership on Sunday, promising that “I will endeavour to justify every day and in every act the trust you have placed in me”. Two days later he welcomes a lifelong Conservative and former Tory frontbencher into the Labour Party. Well, his members won’t be overwhelmingly delighted by that, that’s for sure.

It looks not just insincere but insecure in some way. It’s not as if Labour has a small majority, is fragile or needs to prove its inclusivity, is it? Or is it — and does it? Uh-oh"

bizarre brown said...

It gets even weirder through the Labour looking glass:

'I spotted him [Quentin Davies] in the Members’ dining room this evening in the company of Dawn Primarolo, who, as Paymaster General, is responsible for the tax credits fiasco. Both appeared to be enjoying themselves immensely.'

David Jones MP blog

http://davidjonesclwydwest.blogspot.com/2007/06/joining-sinking-ship.html

Bob said...

Hmm, think your judgement on Dunca's 'victory' is a little misplace, Ian. Seems like the majority of people writing with follow up comments here seem to agree.

In particular, Davies's last word, coupled with Duncan's idiotic giggling over the matter, simply strengthened the point Davies was trying to make.

As Paxman said, regardless of one's views on Davies, there are countless of Conservative MP's who (though might not go public) express similar views - Graham Brady, for instance.

Duncan should have contemplated his points, reflected, and demolished them with a considered response - not tee-hee'ing like a pissed fart.

things that go clunk in the night said...

Sorry Bob, I don't think Quentin did himself any favours on Newsnight, Duncan humiliated him, but it must have been a little like shotting fish in a barrel given the man's previous.

gordon misjudges said...

What was Brown thinking of? This squalid stunt is the best he could come up with? Labour are dead in the water with Broon.

Bob said...

To 'things that go clunk in the night':

Yeah perhaps you're right, it's hardly a substantial catch for Labour given Davies's previous record.

But Duncan's approach was wrong. Instead of giggling, I really feel Duncan should have really proved why Cameron is not just ephemeral substance.

By just approaching the whole interview in such a faux-disbelieving manner (when it is quite clear that some Conservative MP's feel similar things), Duncan simply misjudged and thus ended up with an inappropriate response.

In the meantime Labour Party members such as myself (yes, I hold my hands up!) rejoice in the Conservative Party's inexplicable ability spontaneously self-combust in front of the cameras.

Madasafish said...

I normally like A Duncan.
But watching last night Mr Duncan made himself look like a superior sort of half pissed sneerer.

Q Davies? well he comes over as a confused buffoon who says one thing about GB on months and does another next.

Personally I thought neither did their personal causes any good.

As far as the CP is concerned , it will all be water under the bridge. GB will be judged on more substantive issues...

Anonymous said...

Alan Duncan did an excellent job, for those who care to criticise, have they ever been asked to do something similar?

I don't blame Alan Duncan for laughing for one minute, Mr Davies' excuses for crossing are farcial.

As we learn more about this as the days go by, we will learn the real reasons. Already there is talk on other sites that he escaped one de-selection process - it would not surprise me if he jumped before he was pushed.

Who will befriend the old fool on the Labour benches is beyong even me !

Incidently, I more than suspect that some of the anti Alan Duncan comments on this column are not from Conservative supporters.

Certainly Brown's PR team would have advised him to get friendly posts on the web, in much the same way as they used to use the letter columns of the press.

Earlier, I heard alan Duncan on the radio and I have to say he did an excellent job.

Johnny Norfolk said...

I thought Alan Duncan looked a right pratt sniggering like a schoolboy trying to laugh it all off. Whilst Davies came over as a bit of an oddball I do see where he is comming from in his remarks about Cameron. We have just rid ourselves of Blair and I dont think the country wants another that has PR before substance.
Because of this
I think Brown will make mincemeat out of Cameron.

CCTV said...

Incidently, I more than suspect that some of the anti Alan Duncan comments on this column are not from Conservative supporters.

No...they are simply not supports of a silly little twerp like Pixie Duncan who is insignificantin political terms but best remembered for his harassment and haranguing of the late-Lord Nolan.

This is the little twit that sponsored Portillo by buying in phone lines in the hope he could find an organ grinder in need of a monkey.

eddie said...

Disagree completely, Iain. Davies, though clearly parroting out the Labour party line, was much stronger than Duncan, whose fits of giggles and simpering "harrumph" responses were quite cringemaking.

Anonymous said...

What are you thinking of Iain? Duncan looked absolutely awful. He had clearly had a, er, good dinner. You just don't respond in that way to defectors - he looked as if he was laughing at the concerns of anyone who feels a bit alienated from the Conservative Party and you cannot afford to do that. The only proper approach would have been the standard "more in sorrow than in anger..." approach.

tim said...

Iain.
It doesn't really matter.
The only thing that counts is that waht Davies said about Cameron chimes with what the public perception of him is becoming.

Digger said...

alan duncan came across as a man of the people much like DC does

Hermione said...

Victory, hands down, to Davies. Duncan simply appeared unpleasant and immature. Davies kept his cool, ignored all the personal things that were being said about him, and dealt with the nuclear power and fox-hunting attacks well. His last point was devastating - exposing the casual way Duncan used 'old-fashioned' as a way to skirt the issues and try to smear his opponent.

Anonymous said...

Huncky Duncky didn't win it (giggles excluded) Davies lost it.

Anonymous said...

When I saw the line up I was looking forward to a slicing and dicing of an older ex-middle ranker by two individuals usually at the top of their game, Paxman and Duncan. I couldn't have been more wrong. Davies performed well and Duncan did not land any punches. The sting of the 'killer' quote was lost when Davies accepted he was mistaken on economic forecasting and Brown correct. It also ended with a good counter-attack by Davies. Duncan's charge of old-fashioned was taken to pieces.

true blue said...

I too think Alan Duncan made a complete prat of himself. I can`t see what all the fuss is about, Quentid Davies is a puffed up b.o.f. and typical of the old "Blue Rinse" Tories ! The NuLabStalinist Party is welcome to him, there`s no place for his sort in the new and rejuvenated Conservative Party. I can`t wait for David Cameron to take on Brown, this must be the most golden opportunity for an opposition leader,ever ! Bring it on Dave !

Mayhem said...

Well done QD. Expressed precisely what I have been feeling for a (very) long time, about the loss of radicalism post Thatcher. The New Conservatives brought people together when they challenged the worn out, old, system by empowering entrepreneurs and home owners. The edgy change-drivers who renewed Britain. However, DC has made the loss of direction incomparably worse. Can't see him recovering, which is interesting after a full ten years of Lab.

Man in a shed said...

Alan did well for the first part of the interview - by QD did manage to get him on the subject of Energy, which wheeled Alan in a bit. Still QD looks completely out of place.

By the way you were quoted earlier - now the wife recognises you on TV these days she called me over to catch the end of you helpful comments in QD ! (Was trying to watch 18DS - but streaming has been a real mess over the last few days ).

Colin D said...

I thought that comedy was dead!! Ole Paxo must have been laughing his Yorkshire balls off!!!
2hours twenty seven minutes to the broon job taking over.

O Iain, you did rather well on the news at ten. just smile a little more.

towcestarian said...

It was like a pair of tarts hitting each other with handbags - absolutely priceless viewing. QD, however, came over as greasy, vile, arrogant and self-serving. You Tories are well rid of him.

Alan Duncan won said...

Alan Duncan destroyed Davies and literally laughing at him was fantastic. Davies gabbled and floundered and came across as a mixture of reactionary Old Tory and Euro-nutter. What a catch for Gordo!

anyonebutgordon said...

I really like Alan Duncan, OK it wasn't his best performance but he still made his points and made Davies look silly. Davies is a traitor. He parroted the NuLab narrative that is forming i.e. Brown is substance, Cameron is spin and PR. He had been clearly coached in the line to take.
A traitorous b*stard.

Jane said...

Interesting how we all view interviews and draw different conclusions. I thought Alan came over as supercilious, condescending and quite pathetic. I did wonder if he had been drinking! Quentin Davies won the argument in my opinion and Alan Duncan let his party and himself down with his antics.

Desperate Dan said...

That little squirt Alan Duncan was absolutely appalling as usual. He should never have been allowed to climb aboard the Cameron bandwagon.

Ed said...

I haven't read through all the comments so my apologies if this has already been said:

Perhaps Davies' and Portillo's attacks are a good sign that the party is changing. Portillo is seem as a slimy piece of work outside the Westminster village and if patrician pro-European old-Tories are feeling more comfortable in the Labour party then people will sit up and take note.

I now can't wait for the policy reviews to publish and see some intellectual meat on the bones.

wrinkled weasel said...

This washing of pants on the public broadcasting channel was undecorous and constituted a no-score draw as far as I could make out.

I don't know who Mr Davies is; he looked like a Fat Old Tory with his Hawes and Curtis air of old money.

Fact is, his comment that the Conservatives have ceased “to believe in anything, or to stand for anything” is true.

As Tony Blair goes you can characterize his leadership as one, not only of moral vacuity, but also of wickedness.

Dave certainly has the "moral vacuity" bit nailed, now let's watch him achieving his goals by devious means in the name of some higher principles that he discarded long ago.

bobby said...

This must have been the most bizarre and surreal political interview I have ever seen. Whilst I agree with just about every word of Quentin Davies analysis of David Cameron, I am not nor have I ever been a member of the tory party. Davies came across as confused and very little he said made any sense. Whilst I can see his disillusion with the current tory party I cannot understand how he can possibly fit in to the labour party. I can see him becoming an independent in the not too distant future. The whole thing makes very little sense beyond a short term propaganda coup for labour. No wonder Alan Duncan spent the whole time giggling.

Desperate Dan said...

At the very time when Brown has recognised that NuLab is out of favour and is turning to Tory policies to keep voters on board. Cameron has decided to ditch Tory policies in favour discredited NuLab views on everything. And he apparently believes that Alan Duncan is a suitable Ambassador for his newly-adopted vacuous socialist policies.

gary elsby said...

'Even though he hasn't got a socialist bone in his body'.

Oh, Iain. Oh, deary me.

When it rains, it certainly pours down for you hapless Tories.

Back to basics:

The Tories will never gain power again. Modern politics inna Global world, doesn't entertain right wing Tory thinking.
Ok, so Dave is busily ditching right wing Toryism (with the help of Hilton), but the facts remain that this Country sees through the 'couple of Tory toffs' running the present scam!

Dave is the 'heir to Blair'and everyone knows that he too, hasn't got a socialist bone in his body.

This is why Dave is a loser.

Sack Hague, sack Osborne, bring in Clarke (and Portillo as advisor) and dave stands a chance for 'one Nation Toryism'

You won't win but the Country will believe in the opposition of it all against Brown.

Curly said...

The great thing this morning is that Brown's defection stunt hardly gets a mention on the front pages at the newsagents.

Thankful, small mercies, and all that.

Anonymous said...

I thought the whole relevance of the event was summed up by Paxman at the start of Newsnight. Describing the defection he said "It's like going marlin fishing, only to end up with a pilchard".

Anonymous said...

Agreed - better than watching girly mud wrestling, well okay, on a par with that...

Guthrum said...

For somebody you feel was a pompous windbag all along, what does that say about the judgement of the Grantham Conservative Association ? From Brown's body language I think he was just as embarrased as Cameron was over QD. People like QD just show the low standard that the bankrupt party system has to offer. He has had his undeserved 15mins- can we move on to how we disengage from Iraq, which really is a matter of life and death. Not QD

Madasafish said...

Well all I can say in summary of my thoughts is:
QD is an old style Conservative...and irrelevant cos he has not made any political headlines nor is a big hitter.
If Mr Duncan is typical of the younger Conservatives, the Nasty Party is alive and well.

The whole episode reminds me why I am equivocal about the Consercatives - still..

( But to those who critise DC, suggest another leader... not from the "failed already" list please...and not from the shoot/flog andhang them brigade either .. someone who can appeal to floating voters.)

Ed said...

Modern politics inna Global world, doesn't entertain right wing Tory thinking.

Funny then that Blair hasn't felt the need to re-socialise Britain in his ten years. Nearly every other country is moving away from high tax, interfering governments, why is it different in our bit of the global world? The countries which are doing better are the ones where taxes are being cut and regulation is being cut. "Communist" China has much less of a safety net that the UK (although I don't think that is a good thing).

Self reliance not reliance on whatever the state thinks you deserve is the way forward, with the state only providing "enabling" services like education, health, police and defence.

If anything is "not entertained" today it is the dead philosophy of socialism. Blair and Brown realised this which is why they have been successful.

Anonymous said...

Duncan wins Newsnight battle with Quentin... You are having a laugh. Duncan was torn into tiny little pieces by Quentin. Duncan was embarrassing to watch as he giggled like a 4 year old girl. Quentin however gave a good solid argument to back his decision. Duncan and the Tories nasty streak was yet again exposed. The surface was scratched and they all came out foaming at the mouth. Quentin told the truth, and you cannot handle it.

Icedink said...

All very interesting but the essential point is not whether Q Davies got duffed up on Newsnight but what he said about Cameron, which was dead on. Those words, and his claim that the Tories no longer stand for anything, will be remembered long after the Newsnight interview.

pantherman said...

"[Davies] came across as a mixture of reactionary Old Tory and Euro-nutter."

But saying things along those lines is precisely the reason that I (and seemingly many others) feel that Duncan lost the argument. Whilst Davies' actions seem bizarre to me (and, by the looks of things, to Paxman too) he was at least willing to try to explain his actions whilst Duncan resorted to calling him names, giggling and essentially saying "well we never really liked you anyway." His entire manner played right in to Davies' all-spin-no-substance line, as QD pointed out with his final point about being called 'old-fashioned.' In that regard, it is interesting to see what classes as a political insult nowadays. Maybe phrases like old-fashioned and traditional are acquiring a derogatory status in the UK similar to that occupied by 'liberal' in the US...

Richard Dale said...

This was not the best bit of Newsnight. Quentin Davies does look like a complete fool who is, as Duncan says, being used by Brown. However later in the programme Brown himself looked quite as bad as Cameron looked good (has Newsnight finally started to shake off the bias?).

Jamie Campbell, and independent film maker followed both of them to see who was open and approachable. Watch from about 28 minutes into the programme at the web link.

Cameron comes across as a real person, who is down to earth and approachable. Brown comes across as aloof and arogant, and seems to feel that he is not accountable to the people of the country. He also hides behind his press office and his security, abusing his police protection and anti-terrorism legislation in just the way Labour were accused of doing so at their conference.

Brown said he intended to change this side of his party, and was different. He bases his whole strategy for re-election on that break from the past. He doesn't seem to understand what is required, and nor do his press office. He is screwed.

P.S. Having some difficulty posting comments. I put the letters in the Turing test and it just disappears, leaving me still at the edit stage however often I press publish or preview, until I return to a clean page and cut and paste my text in. Is there a problem with blogger on Firefox?

GS said...

I do hope that none of the Labour Party workers posting here are being paid from the public purse. "Anonymous said..." pretty well sums them up.

swans egg said...

Oh dear, what a dispiriting non-event the whole thing was!And it'll all be old chip-paper in a few days time.

I've been a Tory supporter all my life, and felt saddened that QD was stupid enough to allow himself to be used by the Labour spin -meisters because of his disgruntlement with the new Conservative party thinking. I watched his interview on Newsnight in despair as he gabbled his way through like the old Tory he obviously is. AD's tactic of giggling at him didn't impress me too much either, I would have preferred him to have taken it a little more seriously, but despite this, in my view QD came across as a bitter old dinosaur, talking too much and contradicting himself and his own views which were on record. GB is welcome to him. The funniest/saddest thing about the whole business was QD straight-facedly asserting that one of reasons for leaving the Conservatives for Labour was all the PR and obsession with "image" - I thought: " well, you've just joined the wrong party then if that's your problem, matey!" I feel most sorry for all the folk in his constituency who worked so hard to get him elected - they must be seething today!

bill said...

Duncan's performance was pathetic just as I expected it to be.

Hughes Views said...

Mr Duncan was obviously very nervous; his forced laughter won't even have fooled himself. In a masterful performance of Cameron-brand evasion and froth he proved poor Quentin's main point for him...

The Remittance Man said...

Am I the only one to see the delicious irony here?

An old time Tory leaves the Conservatives citing their lack of policies and ideals as his reason. He promptly joins the party that pioneered modern, ideal-free and policy-lite politics. All the time praising his new leader who just happens to be a joint architect of the new look, pr-obsessed Labour party.

Yet more proof politicians are really in this game for their own benefit, if you ask me. If I were asked to discover the real reasons for Mr Davies's defection, I'd emulate all good detectives and follow the money. Let's wait and see what nice little sinecure Davies gets from his new Master in the next few of months. Shall we?.

Richard Dale said...

hughes views

You clearly didn't actually listen to what Duncan said. It was not froth, the whole point of it was showing the substance, highlighting Davies's bitterness as the real reason. It contrasted beautifully with the lack of substance in both Davies and the party he has now joined.

Rimmittance man has the right idea.

Those criticising Duncan's laughter have to understand that it would be hard to keep a straight face. Davies looked absolutely absurd, so obviously an old Tory even to me, a traditionalist Thatcherite trying to persuade us he was now New Labour.

Even Paxman, not a natural Tory ally, ripped Davies apart, made him look stupid with his own quotes with, Davies's only excuse left to insist that everything he had said in Parliament about Brown was dishonest. Let me repeat that, his only remaining argument was to claim (probably falsely) that he had previously lied about his beliefs, in parliament. This is the man claiming Cameron has no substance.

Brown can have him.

King Cnut said...

Until last night I had been impressed by Duncan. But his silly girly act in front of Davies and Paxo was a perfect example of how to be an airhead Camoroon.

He had been Gordoed and he knew it.

Adrian Yalland said...

I think I laughed when I heard of someone who is about as blue-blooded Tory grandee as they come, crossing the floor. It is deeply dubious, and a deal must have been done.

Richard said...

You must have been watching another programme! Alan Duncan's giggles in response to QD's criticisms of the Cameron party didn't do the Conservative image any good at all. Whilst I don't understand QD's decision to cross to Labour, I completely agree with his concern over the lack of Conservative direction. What on earth is wrong with the Conservatives? Deception over Iraq, Civil Liberties, the fiasco over PPP, lack of truth in public office - there are numerous topics on which the Conservatives could attack Labour. But they don't. So you can understand why people leave the party, although I concede I don't understand how a Conservative could cross to Labour.

bob m mcmaster said...

I have little affection for either party, but it's simple fact that Duncan came across as being drunk. The schoolgirlish giggling was hardly an effective response to Davies' criticisms.

The All-Seeing Eye said...

It is about time the Conservatives published a Manifesto to say what they believe in, what they don't believe in, and what the party is for.

For many voters it is hard to know if the conservatives want to be New Liberal Democrats, New Tory Labour, or simply to be remodelled by the Ownite SDP-Alliance people who seeded themselves at the top of the Labour Party.......the LibDems ejected their SDP man by replacing him with Ming Cambpell

disreputable broon said...

Duncan was right to laugh and keep the farcical and amateurish stunt/defection in perspective. What a characteristically contrived piece of nonsense from Brown. Blair would never have demeaned himself with public involvement in such grubby and contrived tricks. That's no judgement Broon for you.

clunk click said...

Brown must be desperate if the defection was his idea of a symbolic start to his spremiership, a bumbling and ineffectual tory grandee with an illiberal record joins the clunking fist and makes a bitter spectacle of himself on Newsnight. Great stuff guys, keep it up and watch the voters come flooding back. Who are you kidding? Do you imagine that Mandelson or Campbell would have sanctioned such a low rent stunt?

Richard Dale said...

All-seeing eye

It is a very good point often made. However there is a question of timing. The UK media has a terrible, lazy habit of working only with the material shoved under their collective noses. That is why Labour so often announces the same thing many times.

We don't want this from the other parties as well, so they must release their policies at what they judge to be the optimum time.

Chris Paul said...

The Tories are welcome to Duncan ... he really can be a nasty piece of work. Davies' letter was an excellent summary of Cameron's career to date. And its prospects. Cameron did well today I thought - but not by being a yah boo slime ball like Mr Duncan.

Anonymous said...

Alan Duncan sat open mouthed when Davies attacked his energy policy ; he clearly planned to dismiss Davies' defection as a joke and suffered a humiliating
K.O. from an agressive Davies who had one hand bandaged (from a previous bout ?).

chris said...

I thought that Davies scored the best punch when he drew attention to the daft nuclear-power-as-a-last-resort policy. Alan Duncan (who is in any case far too over-manicured to be a "man of the people") gave a pitiful performance.

If Duncan is a member of the Tory front bench then saying that the Labour Cabinet is weak really smacks of stones and glasshouses.