My argument to my own party is that David Cameron has passed his first
test, it's now time to show a bit of discipline and pass yours...
All of us - in all parties - like to gossip and speculate on who the next party leader will be from time to time - but that's all it is, idle gossip. No one seriously believes that David Cameron's position is under threat despite the difficulties of the last few weeks - and nor should it be. His 67% vote in the leadership contest gave him the mandate to lead the Party into the next election. Anyone who launches a leadership bid against Cameron would be deservedly crushed.
Matthew D'Ancona, in a piece on the Spectator Coffee House blog, says the real conclusion of Fraser's article is not that he's trying to cause mischief but...
What Fraser's piece shows is that there is no clear post-Cameron Plan B and no obvious dauphin waiting in the wings with a plan. No wonder Tory MPs are so
rattled and were so supportive of their embattled leader at the 1922 meeting yesterday evening. But, as today's poll in the Daily Telegraph shows, the voters have already formed the impression that Dave is not in charge of his party. I am told that his performance before his MPs last night was very impressive: he will need to make many more such speeches after the recess. The Conservative Party is dicing with death.
Overly dramatic maybe, but one lesson I learned from reading Alastair Campbell's Diaries was that Tony Blair would often have periods when he became run down, disengaged and demotivated. So did Campbell, for that matter. It has occured to me that David Cameron cannot possibly be expected to function on all cylinders 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. He needs more support from his Shadow Cabinet colleagues.
It is not Cameron who needs to up his game, it is them. Ben Brogan's story on his blog about the number of outside interests some of them have has to be part of the reason why some - and I emphasis, some - of them are virtually anonymous from a media profile viewpoint. They should all read Campbell's diaries and if they are not able to give the same level of commitment that most of the Labour Shadow Cabinet did between 1994 and 1997 then they shouldn't be in their positions.
But it's not just about having outside interests. No matter what their qualities are, some of them are just useless at getting media coverage - and in Opposition, that's what it is all about. And you do not get media coverage by bombarding the Westminster lobby with emailed press releases. Yesterday I got four press releases in ten minutes from CCHQ. The temptation is to ignore them when they come flying at you so quickly. Andy Coulson's challenge is to educate Shadow Ministers and CCHQ on ways to get press coverage over and above the normal press release. Some Shadow Ministers will find this an easier process than others to adapt to. If you've been doing it in the same way for ten years change is not an easy process.
And so do Tory MPs.
To brief against Cameron when Labour and their allies in the media are trying to create a 'Cameron in trouble' narrative is idiotic.
The now have a real chance to damage Brown over the mess they made before, during, and after the floods, let's hope they don't waste it by moaning about Cameron.
Main problem with the Tory party seems to be that most of its MPs and members either hate everybody else on the planet or at least are deeply suspicious of their motives. The leadership selection process seems designed to eliminate effective candidates rather than promote them. I wish I'd kept the cartoon from the Telegraph which showed the counting process - one box labelled 'can't stand IDS' the other 'can't stand Clark'...
Iain, a very good analysis of the situation. If I had one complaint above all about the Parliamentary party it is their sheer lack of motivation to get themselves on every news channel or quoted in every column when we have a week like this.
They should have been angry enough to have been on the phone to CCHQ and the media stamping on these stories.
Instead apart from David Davis and a denial from other quarters about the letters we have had silence. Some of the media coverage this week has been beyond parody in its lack of facts or balance, but where was the Shadow cabinet or backbenchers to robustly contradict those reports and to defend their leader?
I am sorry but simple saying he is the only option just doesn't cut it. You make an excellent point about David Cameron not being able to do it all every day of the year, but equally it is about time that some in Parliament and at constituency level stopped this inward looking demand for him to sit and explain every single part of the strategy to them when he should using all his energy just now selling the party to the voters.
Who, pray, appoints these 'useless' shadow ministers?
Hughes Views said...
"Main problem with the Tory party seems to be that most of its MPs and members either hate everybody else on the planet or at least are deeply suspicious of their motives"
What a croc of shit.
So all non-Tories leave their houses and cars unlocked?, walk around late at night listening to their i-pods with no fear?, don't mind extreme Islamists? and thought the Soviet Union's leaders were just deeply misunderstood nice-guys?
Cameroon and the wets were stuffed once they said
"The Tories have got to change"
"we have the reputation for being the nasty party"
(Teresa May should have been sacked for that total Gaff).
The left wing MSM now have us fighting on THEIR ground - "we don't win because we haven't changed enough"
The people of this country are deeply resentful of a UK elite that does not seem to mind that large parts of places like Slough are seeing sheds being built in gardens for human habitation to facilitate mass immigration. (See the repeat of Panorama tonight at 1.30am).
They know that just dressing up customs and immigration in uniforms will not stop this.
They want a party of the right not a "rainbow alliance" that's already elected Bungo the Bear as its leader
Tis no wonder that Gordon Brown finds it so easy to steal Dave's clothes, and as Nick Robinson opines "have a lurch to the right". There appears to be no praetorian guard to offer protection, but sadly, one must agree with the Archbishop's observation!
I have posted my thoughts on this issue on my blog. I would say that it is getting ever more frustrating that every time the party gets into a position that the public is prepared to listen, some within the party use any wobble or mildly less good period to try to destablise the leadership. It would be nice if these particular MP's acted at all times as if they deserved their seats instead of doing immense damage to the party with anonymous briefings and threats of letters to the Chairman of the 1922 Comittee.
RE: Tone's comments above . . .
Didn't DISRAELI once say that "a Conservative government is an organized hypocracy" or something like that? They didn't sack HIM for telling the truth!
Parties like people must change in order to remain among the living. Question is, how they change.
In the 1980s and 1990s Kinnock, Blair & Brown led the change in the Labour Party that resulted in the 1997 landslide and a decade in power after two subsequent general elections. Note this change was accompanied by much teethgrinding by the mad tooth grinders.
The "people" do NOT want a "party of the right" any more than they want a "party of the left" or a "party of moon cheese". What they want is a range of options when they vote. Many will then choose the most appealing from their perspective. But the result is almost always decided by the voters who select the choice that appears LEAST OBJECTIONABLE.
With respect to immigration, for most folks this is an emotional as opposed to a logical issue. Thus the preponderance of heat over light.
Interesting thing to me is the way that the Right in both USA and UK is being penny wise but pound foolish on the immigration issue. They are playing a short range strategy that will bite them in the butt BIG TIME in the long run.
FOR EXAMPLE note that in the early 1990s in California PETE WILSON (who up to that time was regarded as a moderate GOPer) led the charge for an major immigration crackdown. Result: Hispanic voters and others of recent immigrant stock swung heavily against the Republican Party, turning California from a critical swing state into a Democratic bastion. Only way GOP can win their these days is when the Democrats screw up royally AND the Republicans recruit an exceptional candidate like Arnold Schwartzenegger . . . who wins by campaigning like a Democrat!
IN THE UK the Polish plumber that you spit upon today - quite often a center right voter in his homeland who is economically and socially attunde to conservatism - is being driven into the arms of Labour (or Lib Dems) by default. AND when he and his children become UK voters, the Tory Party will reap the whirlwind.
In a true cult of the personality, it is never the leader who is at fault, but those around him. That is, of course, until the moment when everything is the leader's fault, and he must be toppled. We're not there yet - quite
Cramer makes a valid point. The Shadow Cabinet are by and large anonymous and ineffective, but Cameron appointed them. Putting someone with such 'odd' views as Sayeeda Warsi in Communities is the most perverse decision since... well, since Blair put Ruth Kelly there!
I have said before in 1996 the public would have known Gordon Brown and Margaret Beckett, as well as Straw, Blunkett, Prescott, and Harman. Some may also have been able to name Mo, Dobson, Short and even the Prince of Darkness who wasn't even in the Cabinet.
Ask your friends at work to try to name five members of the Shadow Cabinet now.
Something to think about. When Labour went from left to centre, there was no other party on the left who could take votes.
The Tories have UKIP. Moving away from traditional views on Europe, tax and immigration will send the grassroots into UKIP arms.
Well Mr Piper. They would have been known because the terribly impartial BBC and ITN news, stuck them in the headlines at every opportunity, to crap on the Conservative government.
By contrast Broadcast news under a Labour government, have dumbed down domestic issues and prefer to talk about de-politicised subject matter, therefore give themselves (very conveniently) no reason to use the Conservative spokesman (not that the BBC do, even when they cover domestic issues) The pro-Labour/anti-Conservative bias in the media has much more to do with it. Why do people heap blame on the Shadow cabinet, when it is bloody obvious that they would be criticising the government, if they got the chance to do so publicly, Why the hell wouldn't they??? Although, they might have got used to being ignored for so long, that they don't try too hard anymore. But, please don't tell me they choose to be ignored and not kick this useless shower of an administration, at least on the big issues.
Oh no, geezer, spare us the whole 'It's all the fault of the nasty commie BBC' nonsense. The Tories have got virtually the whole of the national press behind them... or they would have if they had half an ounce of initiative and were prepared to work for it.
Why the hell wouldn't they!!! you ask, and the only answer I can give you is either a) because they are useless or b) because they are bone idle. My guess is that they are not idle.
Sit back and squeal about the BBC if you want, but you had better be prepared for a long time in the wilderness if that's your only strategy.
"The Tories have got virtually the whole of the national press behind them... or they would have if they had half an ounce of initiative and were prepared to work for it."
Except that Labour have been shamelessly grovelling to the "Feral Media" or the Dirty Digger, to be more precise, for the last 13 years. I mean what happened to the Times??
If Major, Cameron and the others had knelt down in front of Murdoch, and given him a bit of executive relief, and said "thank you master" for the privilege, the way Bliar did and Broon still is, then perhaps they might have more friends in the MSM. But, I for one, am very glad they didn't demean themselves.
As for being useless, their not all diamonds I'm sure, but looking at the front bench that Labour have put up over the last ten years, I suspect the average teenage school sports team, could have done as much good and been a lot cheaper!
...i come, hotly, from the jcr to say - i hav been MOVED. TRULY moved...
me & peason were watching C4 news when we perked up at the story of shambo...
...he is a BULLOCK.
By those who might, indeed.
...tho sadly it apere that he is infected. and with a most noxious pox, eg TB. (now that IS irony,hem-hem...)
with the goggle-box on news24, the 'peason-gates' Steam-PC (pat. & lawsuits pndng.) fixed on SHAMBO-cam, and the crystal-set whiskered to the wurld service, coverage continu...
"And so, as the Especially Empowered minions of the state approach, sploshing thro' the floods, we report that Shambo-ron was last seen running accross the screen and disappearing off to the left for a quite disconcerting length of time..."
tho' his ace media team then edit him lurching on from the right at the last pmq's...genius.
'coulson has us sold, ect.ect.' cry a grateful few.
..the poor cambo now appear, like a rabbit, dumbstruck in the headlights... jus' waiting for the powers that be, that control his fate, to show up...
and so they do. webshambo-ron now show an empty stall, devoid of the bollocks that the devotees strought so stridently to protect.
it is such a shame...(cheers cheers)...
geezer, whether by design or plain stupidty fails to get the point. It is not the capability the public judge, but their brand recognition. No wonder you people are in such a mess.
I am in despair at the sight of tories panicking at the first bout of unfavourable polling for over a year. The Brown Bounce was forseen by all but a few. Things will never be as good for Brown as they are now. I'm with Portillo when he states that the tories have missed some golden opportunities to paint Brown as he really is. Instead they continue to deny the government a decent opposition.
Time after time they have let down the country in insisting that we should suffer a mediocre, at best, government whilst they gaze at their navels.Once more we see "the bastards" sharpen their knives for yet another leader. Would someone please form a party which espouses conservative values (in the Cameroon sense) without the bitching which constantly seems to beset this once great party?
Bob, to quote me old grand-daddy, many of our fellow posters "DON'T KNOW AND DON'T WANT TO KNOW!"
Works for me!
As for the notion that a Tory Party that can takes its eyes off its navel and its head out of its ass is going to lose critical support to UKIP, well, that's a hoot and a half. IF that logic truly computed, then why didn't Scargell & Co. cut New Labour a new one back in 1997????
Not to mention the fact that UKIP is a extinguished volcano . . . or rather a clapped out old fart who can't find his Viagra!
A few points here:
Jo(e) Public hates the PR rot that is Nu-Labour, and was rooting for Lame Cameron to get in there and Kick Arse!
He hasn't got the balls to do it, so on a parliamentary level they're a dead duck
On a local level, they're still the same lying toerags that let Labour in the first place
It comes to something when the Lib dems and loons like UKIP and the BNP are the credible opposition in this country
The words "straws", "clutching" and "at" come to mind on this one. Not only that, you are in danger of agreeing with ol' Portaloo on this.
I have been doing some back reading and it is very clear that Cameron has chosen to surround himself with some people who espouse a strong social message, such as IDS, David Davis and Oliver Letwin. They do this in a robust and compelling way.
"You would have to be blind not to see that there are people who are not able to participate properly in everything that most of the population takes for granted," he says. "Any human being who looks at that is bound to conclude that we should take steps to enable those people to move out of that condition."
"It should certainly alarm us that many of these victims of State failure are among the most disadvantaged people in Britain today.
Ian Duncan Smith:-
"the Breakthrough Britain report is based on the belief that individual people must be responsible for their choices but that government has a big responsibility to help people make the right choices"
I firmly believe that you can tell a man by the people he surrounds himself with. The three aforementioned impress me with their apparently genuine commitment to social justice, and not just as a cheap shot hit and run exercise, they really mean it. They think about it.
Portaloo claims that the Tories are not "hungry for power". That is such a nasty phrase, very akin in the morality index with "getting media coverage".
They are both vacuous phrases devoid of morality, devoid of humanity and devoid of intellectual rigour.
You say that Cameron "He needs more support from his Shadow Cabinet colleagues".
My own impression is not that he is not supported but that the overall approach will not dovetail with the demands of modern media.(Letwin is a case in point, even I was despairing of his rather distended prose.)
His people are cerebral; reflective and given to quoting Vaclav Havel. For God's sake, you are not, I hope, suggesting that the rest of the pack start engaging in STUNTS?
Cranmer is right, particularly as Dave only recently completed his reshuffle. The question is, did he pick the wrong people, or is that the best that they've got (that are willing to work for him)? A bit of both, I suspect. He may have missed a few gems, but it doesn't appear to be a rich seam.
And that applies all the way down the party, from what I can see. There appears to be a real problem with the quality of policy analysis. This suggests that some shadow ministers are not providing a strong lead, demanding the best, nor have sufficient discernment to tell the wheat from the chaff. But it also suggests that their researchers and advisers aren't exactly the sharpest tools in the box either. Sheds a different light on the snide remarks about the difficulties of working for DD - maybe other shadow ministers ought to be that demanding too, and researchers not to expect an easy life.
I went to conservatives.com earlier, to see what they were saying about Rwanda (answer: nothing, all mention of the trip appears to have been expunged). But while there, I noticed that there was a news item on Theresa Villiers's comments on the Rail White Paper, and had a look. You should too for a laugh. It is seriously feeble. It ticks a number of boxes in terms of issues raised, but it lacks credibility and gravitas. Mostly, it sounds like whinging. It appears not to have identified where the Government's usual financial trickery has been snuck in to give them the headline figures (clue: look at whether these are real or nominal figures). The figures in that White Paper are so improbable that they are ripe for ridicule - we're going to get more investment, better service-levels, more capacity, lower contributions from taxpayers and all without massive hikes in some fares? Yeah, right. And not in all fares, mind, just the majority (mainly on commuter routes) that are unregulated. So commuters will pay for the improvements while those travelling to parts of the country where a rail service may not even be justifiable (but where they tend to vote Labour) continue to get subsidised travel. This deserves a good kicking, but all it gets from Theresa is a tickle under the ribs and a bit of a moan. Lightweights.
Symptomatic of this intellectual malaise is the tendency to measure reports by the number of proposals they incorporate. We were told, with apparent pride, that the Global Poverty Report included 76 recommendations. It was the same with the IDS paper, and with the Forsyth tax report - "look how many different things we have thought of". Except, if they'd really got to the heart of an issue, they'd have tackled the complexity and narrowed it down to a few fundamental changes. This many proposals shows both that you are still stuck in the detail and that you are trying to be all things to all men. It makes it tedious to read, difficult to pull out the main points, and thoroughly unattractive to the media. This is the Government's way - they display their ignorance with Consultations on things like what to do with our old bottles and tins, that include 56 different questions and an absurdly complex yet uninformative RIA. It is not a good model to copy. Simplicity is a virtue, not to mention bloody good ground from which to attack Brown.
These various failings have something in common, which may point to the real cause of their ineffectiveness. A sound, shared, basic philosophy helps when one is trying to decide what angle to put on a story, and to argue the case with confidence. I have commented many times on the intellectual void at the heart of Project Cameron - its philosophy (ignoring tosh about socio-centric paradigms) seems to consist of doing and saying whatever is needed to get elected. That approach is defended with vigour by the many on here who think politics is a tactical sport whose objective is merely to get your team in by hook or by crook, and not a battle of ideas. But that attitude makes it pretty hard to know what the party line ought to be in each specific case, and to speak with the passion of conviction. The hodge-podge of managerialist or nitpicking responses that flow as a consequence from the absence of an overarching philosophy doesn't inspire the media to report on the latest flim-flam or faux indignation from the opposition.
But could Cameron commit to a consistent, coherent philosophy without alienating those parts of the party whose philosophy he did not adopt? If he sets out his social-democrat principles, will he lose the conservatives and libertarians? Impossible situation.
Anyone else notice the irony of Iain advising the shadow cabinet on how to get media coverage on the day he was dumped from the Daily Politics?
Get some policies, then they'll get some coverage...
The premise here is right and despite being a Tory when it comes to the 'Bob & Geezer' thread Bob's spot on - there may be a little media impact but to crouch behind it as a way of avoiding their on shortcomings is not on. Most of the Shadow Cabinet need to raise their game and fast.
Here's the rub though - if there's one member that analysis definitely applies to it's George Osbourne. I know anecdotal evidence can be misleading but for 18 months now I've taken every opportunity to ask friends & colleagues for the 'snap' view on Osbourne - I've yet to hear a positive comment. Even discounting any personal or abusive observations the best you get is a 'who?'. And this applies whatever their party alliegances or degree of political engagement. There's no way the same would've been true of Brown between 94 & 97.
The public always viewed Blair & Brown as a double act and there was a sense that any shortcomings in one were balanced in the other (what Tony lacked in intellectual weight, Gordon made up - what Gordon lacked in 'ordinariness', Tony made up etc.) This duality was as key to their electoral success as Blair himself and a strong high profile shadow cabinet complimented this.
The truth is Osbourne is always embarrassingly tame on the media, has absolutely no authority or sense of mastery over his brief and doesn't even mask this well with any charm or likeability. If the public do see any double act at the head of us Tories it's Cameron / Osbourne and while one half of that team is so inneffective we'll remain in trouble.
And yet from what I read I'm alone in this observation?
Real nice stuff. I like it. Keep it up !!!
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Why dosen't he call everyones' bluff and call for a vote of confidence from his MPs. This will resolve the in-fighting and will put him back onto the front pages and daily news clips. If he loses, which he will not, he has not lost anything because the party is not worth saving.
The problem is that Cameron is a socialist leading a libertarian party in a libertarian nation that is suffering under the tyranny of a fascist regime, propped up by a left-wing media and little Hitlers like Bob Piper, Polly Toynbee and Ken Clarke.
The problem is that Cameron is a socialist leading a libertarian party in a libertarian nation that is suffering under the tyranny of a fascist regime, propped up by a left-wing media and little Hitlers like Bob Piper, Polly Toynbee and Ken Clarke.
July 27, 2007 12:28 PM
There there calm down dear. Seems that poor old Camera On, has his work cut out. Just read the various rants of C4, Newmania et al...Are you actually representative of the Tory core? If so, and I have a feeling that you are, god help you all. Cameron is trying to drag an insular, backward looking organisation into the current century.
Cameron isn’t out of touch with his party...his party are out of touch with REAILTY, C4 and Newmania being prime examples.
This is why the Conservatives will never gain power
A charity wants to buy a seven- bedroom house in Ashtead Surrey for families of of injured service personnel being treated at Headley Court rehabilitation centre near Epsom. The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) needs planning permission to convert the house for use by up to six families. However Mole Valley District Council has said the proposal should be turned down after "overwhelming" local opposition.
Guess what C4 and Newmania et al. This TORY run council turned planning permission down, and local TORY voting residents have sent nearly 100 letters of objection to their TORY council.
You see while Camera On desperately tries to show that Tories our actually human, its councillors MPs and hard core supporters prove that at their nucleus lies a swinging brick. The Tories are nasty, I almost feel sorry for Cameron, even I can see that what he is trying to do has merit; but he hasn’t fully comprehended how dreadful his core supporters beliefs and motives truly are.
Its NOT Cameron who needs to up his Game..Correct it is every other Tory who still breaths air. Stop being so nasty !!!!!!
There are a lot of ferrets fighting in a sack here. I hope we can get back to something approaching proper arguments.
Jim, your case study seems interesting, but there is always a background to these things. Surely nobody is suggesting that these ex-servicemen are being shafted?
VERY interesting comments, from all around the ring!
NOW for some HISTORICAL perspective:
It is axiomatic that Britain is a conservative nation (with a small c) with liberal (small l) impulses . . . or is that visa versa?
ANYWAY, despite the conservative Brit bent (recognizable in all non-fringe parties) the historical record shows that, from the time of Robert Walpole to World War I the UK's natural party of government were the Whigs>>>Liberal Party. First Whig, then Liberal governments were the rule; Tory/Conservative administrations the exception.
Before WWI, the rise of Labour led to the weakening of the Liberal Party position, and afterwards its near-total collapse. This provided an opening for the Conservatives.
From WWI through to the eve of the 21st century, the Conservatives could claim to be the natural party of government, as Conservative administrations were the rule and Labour governments the exception.
COULD IT BE that 1997 marks a watershed . . . that the Conservative dominance of the previous four score years is at an end . . . that the polarity of the UK political magnetic field has shifted yet again . . . and that the Labour Party is now the natural party of government for the foreseeable future????
Believe that the post-Thatcher Conservative leaders have all been smart, honorable and well-intentioned. William Hague, Ian Duncan Smith and especially David Cameron have (and still have) much to offer to their party, politics and the British people.
And it is certainly possible that they will be in government sometime in future; after all, during periods when one major party was dominant, the other was still able to win an election every once and a while . . . thanks to the blunders and/or bad luck of their opponents.
YET the lackluster performance of the current Shadow Cabinet . . . and their predecessors since 1997 . . . along with the reactionary cast of many posting on Iain's blog and other Tory sounding boards, makes me think that the Conservative Party AND its leaders are simply NOT ready for prime time . . . and may not be, at least in a sustained manner, until maybe sometime in mid-21st century.
Nice theory, if there were inevitable cycles in tribal politics. But you have to take a very long average (Walpole to WWI) to be able to make the claim that the Whigs were the natural party of government (if there is any such thing). If one took just the nineteenth century, the Tories/Conservatives held power for longer than the Whigs/Liberals - in fact by 1830, the Whigs had held power for only one year during the nineteenth century. Which doesn't prove the opposite. It demonstrates that this sort of generalisation is codswallop.
On the other hand, it is fair to project the near-term fortunes of the Tory party from the current state of the party. Mid-21st century is a bit far out, though. Events that we cannot currently foresee will undoubtedly change the political equations several times before then. My money is on a major global economic crisis and/or an energy crunch between now and then, which will change the terms of the political debate.
Whether the Tories have a relevant alternative message in those circumstances, or whether it needs a new party to offer a credible alternative (and to disassociate the compassionate classical-liberal message from the Little-Englander nastiness that many on this thread have noticed), remains to be seen. On current form, I'd say the latter.
A press release is a good way to announce something but not away of getting press. That comes through a relationship with the journalists.
It is frightening how little we see anyone but Cameron in the press. Maybe that is why we were fooled into putting DC's name on the ballot paper in ES.
A bad leader blames his troops. The same goes for the leader's supporters. If the shadow cabinet is underperforming, there is only one person to blame.
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