political commentator * author * publisher * bookseller * radio presenter * blogger * Conservative candidate * former lobbyist * Jack Russell owner * West Ham United fanatic * Email iain AT iaindale DOT com
Friday, August 31, 2007
Telegraph Column: Weebles Wobble But They Don't Fall Down
My latest Telegraph column can be read HERE. It looks at the reaction to David Cameron's Newsnight interview and the immigration issue, and takes up Dizzy's theme of political triangulation.
I hope I'm not the first poster to mention this - although I may be because I'm in N America and it's still just evening here - but if an election were called tomorrow, Labour would get a 100 seat majority.
Please, Iain, and please Tories, face the fact that the choice of David Cameron was a disaster. The Tory contender, after 10 years of Blair slime, should have been able to romp in.
Why couldn't you see what everyone else could see? Mr "man made global warming" - fading so fast now that Al Gore has other things to attned to, do not speak to Conservative voters. This silly man's photo ops on a Norwegian ice floe with a couple of A-list huskies made everyone cringe. People hated him immediately.
I want to see a right agenda, because that is the agenda that makes things work. That's the reason the Soviet Union didn't work. It had a left agenda. Duh.
Pretending to be a leftie will not play to people who hold conservative values - the values that hold society together. Dave's a turncoat because he wants power, yet his weak little empty face tells us he will never have power. Weak. Unformed. The man has no convictions that he will actually fight for. He will concede every battle.
He will lose for the Conservatives, and that will be the end of the Conservative Party.
Perhaps a good thing, because they have been sliding down the tubes since 1997. The silent cry of non-achievement.
I will not vote Tory as long as Dave is in charge of a philosophy of which I do not approve - socialist.
Depending on who's standing, I'll vote UKIP or BNP.
Britain is an island and there is not an uncontrolled flood of people arriving there.
Recently thousands of ethnic Karen fled from Burma to Thailand to escape from the repressive Burmese Army. Also some Hmong have fled from Laos. In recent history millions of refugees have arrived in Thailand.
The countries neighbouring Afghanistan have also received millions.
The U S of A has its wetbacks but to swim the English Channel is a much greater undertaking.So we are not swamped.
The 'fight back' had better work Iain or its Cameron who'll be fighting, to keep his job!
Well said, verity (except the bit about voting for BNP!).
Thanks Verity – we were all desperately wondering where you stood.
Although myself an advocate of environmental care, I had reserved my decision on Cameron and his team whilst they got up to their jolly PR japes, but it seems now beyond hope to salve or save the Party. As Verity describes him ("weak little empty face"), Cameron's image is just light-weight.
How to vote? BNP certainly should never be supported and UKIP still appears a mite silly and amateurish. Abstention seems the most likely course for me, but were UKIP to broaden its policies credibly beyond its admirable anti-EU stance, the defections from the Tory mainstream could possibly become significant (imho).
So Cameron and the Conservatives may find they fail to obtain votes from the left of centre whilst losing votes from the right of centre. How many votes remain in the centre of centre?
Iain - this is an acquired taste and may not be your style. But it has been viewed 2.6m times, which is more than webcameron
The question is, who's Bob?
No offence Iain, but why do all your telegraph articles have the byline "Iain Dale is a former Chief of Staff to David Davis"
This isn't the West Wing you know, why don't you 'fess up' and change it to 'Office Manager'? Speaking as a former 'Chief of Staff' myself, I think we have a right to know!
Iain - it was a good article but you failed to mention David Cameron's 'wobble' when he was challenged by Stephanie Flanders about his moralising on 'marriage'.
The point Stephanie was making is that she is unmarried. She has a child. Is DC telling her that he would like her to get married? If so, is that any of his business? Does a politician have the right to interfere in her private life? The answer is no - it is none of Cameron's business.
The proposed tax break is a pointless 'gesture' - and taxpayers money could be spent on a more worthy cause.
Give my 'married tax break' to pensioners. They deserve it.
Well I `m not so sure , chiefly because I `m riven with envy that Dizzy is splashed all over the Telegraph whilst other worthy blogs ....( ahem) Labouring quietly ...( cough cough ) but are ignored while this strutting peacock tweaks the nose of ancient degree ruling the court through his mysterious hold on King Blog. Dizzy this ...Dizzy that....ha! Dizzy is brilliant but this Clintonian triangulation is just Politics graduate doodling and best left in the margins of his wallpaper covered doodle book .
The subject of recast migration fears has already been dealt with in the New Statesman in an article which got a lot of response ending with the words “” They “(economic migrants ) should have as much right to live and work here as the rest of us and if that means building more homes and roads to accommodate them so be it “( Brendan O`Neill) .. This was the end of an article in which he claimed the BNP were wrapping themselves in a Green cloak and that’s the sort of attack you can expect , its racism thinly disguised . The association of the BNP with the Conservative Party is the subliminal message . Even this Brownite mag`s readers were spluttering ant the naivety
Cameron`s weakness to this sort of accusation is that he is not telling the truth he is only telling a more acceptable story. The reason for slowing immigration is not because of the pressure it puts on public services , although it does , or more to the point on housing ( 1,000,000 of the proposed 3,000,000 new homes will be occupied by immigrants not here yet ) it is to do with a concept now gaining currently hat he should import into his vocabulary and that is Cultural Capital. All socially conservative people across the spectrum believe that there is a value in communities and coherence between otherwise atomised individuals . You do not shoot your friends and brothers ,prescription can be light because voluntarily engaging in socially beneficial behaviour becomes the norm. This is the resolution between the Libertarian and prescriptive ideas in Conservatism. Take schools ;Dianne Abbot David Cameron, Tony Blair Emily Thornberry and many many more took one look at the multicultural heaven and sent their children elsewhere. This is because schools struggling to cope with eight languages and twenty traditions are overloaded and the necessary esprit is elusive. We instinctively know that this understanding built up over time has a value and that many new elements once dilute it particularly to the cost of working class communities who rely on a more public expression of social coherence.
Now when we look around at where we are going to live like Billy Bragg ( in all white Dorset) Political correctness disappears from the hallowed sanctuary of the car. When we see a lot of black or Asian faces we think “Oh dear this doesn’t look good “. We are not thinking about Public services of even housing we are making assumptions about class but chiefly we are seeing what we imagine correctly to be an atomised and alien environment where you know little of you neighbour.. That is because it would be entirely reasonable to assume that it is far more likely that cultural capital was built up in the person of whites as they were likely to have been here longer . This will sometimes be unfair , there has a been much comment ion the phenomenon of the “ Coconut”...brown on the outside but all assumptions are unfair to exceptions.
Ass long as Cameron cloaks what isa defence of the culture and integrity of the English with whatever clothes are lying in the shop he is vulnerable to the accusation he is sugar coating racism. . If he admits the truth about immigration and its problems ...as well as benefits , then he can cast of racism as a category and open the new front of Cultural capital . It is this above all that new Labour have shown unrelenting contempt for and it is the difference between the Conservative instinct and the National Socialism of Brown and the BNP.
I understand the dangers but when the Telegraph announces white will be in a minority in Birmingham in twenty years people are concerned and it is not because they are Nazis it is because they fear the cost to the community and the values that make it work.
I'm glad you gave Dizzy a mention in the article, he deserves more readers.
I don't like the idea of political triangulation - though it may well be on occasion necessary. Its suggests a form of subconscious deceit of the electorate and has been key to the dark arts that New Labour - masterminded by Gordon Brown - have destroyed the vibrancy of debate and public life with.
What we need is a clear analysis of what it is that is fundamentally wrong with the stealth socialism of Brown and his hangers on.
Some of opposition is luck. Its hard to beat Labour when they are running up the countries credit card bill and running down its assets like the military, freedoms, sovereignty - but telling everyone its all OK ( crime is fine, under Labour thanks to their stats ). They buy votes in the public sector - and behave in the shameless way before the last election - eg Rover and pensioner council tax credits.
But to win when the tide turns our analysis and predictions need to be in peoples minds before the events that they predict - if we are to benefit.
The alternative is to play the game of spin and deceit as Labour has done. But if that is done then no one will be trusted.
Watching David Cameron over the last few weeks he seems to have understood this. He looked like a man on a mission on Newsnight ( despite BBC lighting failures )- at last.
I think that man is well worth voting for verity - a vote for a fringe party will just put Gordon Brown back in office.
Anonymous at 9.10. I don't choose the byline, the Telegraph do.
But I do rather agree with you about the job title. At least I had quite a few staff to be chief of - there was one chief of staff who had to be chief of himself as there were no others!
Newmania, I do love you still even though you're wrong.
"I will not vote Tory as long as Dave is in charge of a philosophy of which I do not approve - socialist.
Depending on who's standing, I'll vote UKIP or BNP."
I was surprised to learn that residents of Mexico could vote in UK General Elections but I understand that is indeed the case.
Labour are 8 points ahead of the Tories? YouGov polling suggest this in today's Telegraph. Where do they poll ..what are the questions? & what groups are involved? Cannot believe that such an obviously inept government with all the catastrophic baggage they carry is 8 points ahead of the Tories!!
I can understand Verity’s view here. She lives in the USA and I live in Austria. It’s sometimes worth taking a step backwards to view things from afar. You certainly get a broader view of the landscape and, like Verity, I can only see disaster looming for the Conservatives. To be absolutely honest, I wouldn’t vote for Cameron for the simple reason that he is decidedly worse than the early Blair. Blair fooled the electorate with his chummy approach which was novel at the time, but this is all gone now and the dour Brown is a “relief” for most ordinary folk. People are fed up of sound bites, gimmicks, buzzwords and the overall marketing dirge of nu-Lab and they’re not going to choose an alternative with even more outrageous antics. We have to get real and find a leader who is mature, serious and capable. Nobody takes Dave Cameron seriously and the only people that do are fawning up to him in the hopes a miracle will happen. I really do have trouble imagining him in charge of our country during a crisis.
I agree with Ned. And frankly, Verity, I think that anyone who would even for a nanosecond consider voting BNP is somebody whom Cameron is far better off without. I think he would be insulted at the idea of picking up votes by pandering to neofascists - which is what the BNP are, for all their posturing. You're also wrong to think that people hated him immediately - the evidence was and is that they like him, but do not yet take him sufficiently seriously to rate him ahead of Gordon Brown.
In any case, I think you're wildly wrong, and you are only picking the facts that suit you and ignoring the inconvenient difficulties with them (similarly Vienna Woods). The undercurrents that I detect are running against Labour. In any case, I think this poll should be taken with a gallon of salt for several reasons (check out my blog for more).
If the wreckage of the last ten years doesn't stop another Labour victory then the UK deserves everything that will follow, and it won't be pretty at all.
Other than house prices, just what hasn't degraded since 1997?
Anonymous 10:49 - Yes, if we are British, we can vote no matter where we live. (Until the socialists notice and remove that right in the realisation that most people who live overseas flit because of them and vote Tory.)
With regard to my vote, I will vote for UKIP or the BNP, whichever one is standing in my constituency. So will millions of others. From what I can deduce, the BNP is morphing into a more mature political party and will inevitably become more inclusive. It stands up for British values, British history and British traditions. There are tens of thousands of black British voters who would also vote for these values and I expect they will be welcomed soon.
My preference would be to vote for UKIP, because the EU is at the heart of our malaise. But if they're not standing in my constituency, and the BNP is, then I will vote BNP.
Parties change. The Conservative Party under Dave has - and how! Dave, who doesn't seem to have an analytical, or skeptical, mind, thinks "man made global warming" is real. I find this frightening in someone who seeks the reins of power. The Earth got rid of the Ice Age (and probably many Ice Ages before it over the millions of years) with absolutely no help from mankind, who hadn't made an appearance yet. It was the sun wot done it.
Dave flits hither and thither, as light as thistledown. He doesn't have a constructive, realistic idea in his head for repairing the fabric of our civil society - a fabric intentionally and malignantly rent apart by the Labour Trots.
He's weak, vacuous and pandering.
When the Flanders woman (can't remember her name and it's not worth looking up) asked him if he wanted her to get married, he should have slashed her down, not tried to pander to her. He should have said something like he had absolutely no interest in her private life. Or "Why would I care what you do? You're well able to finance your own lifestyle." In other words, he should have been cutting and unpleasant and a million people who are sick of being governed by the mores of smug champagne liberals would have cheered.
He misreads every situation.
He is unable to relate to people who aren't from his privileged stratum. He's faking it, and it shows. Oh, how it shows!
David Davis or John Redwood are leadership material. They're both intellectually strong and they both have a strong sense of reality. David Cameron belongs on the sales floor of the Jaguar showroom in Dallas. He truly is Blair Mark II and he doesn't even understand why people find this revolting.
"...In other words, he should have been cutting and unpleasant and a million people who are sick of being governed by the mores of smug champagne liberals would have cheered..."
Clearly Verity doesn't like Cameron as a person any better than his words and deeds!
It does seem to me that a large part of politics is about persuading people to support ones views rather than violently abusing those who disagree with them. Steph is clearly beyond persuasion, but the audience out there would have every right to be turned off by a politician behaving in the intemperate way Verity recommends, whereas his polite but unruffled response to her rather childish questions seems to have won a fair amount of praise in the press and in the less impassioned blogs, so presumably more than one or two votes.
Personally I would rather stay at home on election day than support any candidate whose sales pitch was as disagreeable as Verty's post. While I wouldn't want to start a flame war here, I do think Verity has outlined a very good way of losing elections.
For what it's worth I voted for DD in the leadership election but apart from the fact that DC won with a huge majority, which should command at least some respect, I he has done a pretty reasonable job. Whether he (or anyone else) has a chance of beating Labour is a different matter.
Henry Rogers - Nowhere did I suggest "an intemperate" response. Intemperance always loses. I said he should have cut her back, but Cameron does not have the skill - or the nerve - to be cutting. He cannot think on his feet. Both John Redwood and David Davis could have cut her down to size on national television while maintaining an implausibly polite facade.
Dave couldn't do it - although that is what Conservative viewers would have wanted to see. In fact, I don't even think it occurred to him to fight back. I don't think he has an ability to think on his feet, except to dredge up a few clichés.
He's 10 points behind the ghoulish, rather personally revolting Brown. Does that tell you something about how his abilities are perceived by people who long to vote Conservative but don't see a plausible candidate?
"He's 10 points behind the ghoulish, rather personally revolting Brown. Does that tell you something about how his abilities are perceived by people who long to vote Conservative but don't see a plausible candidate?"
And that is the crux of the matter. If we are to attract the voter, the figurhead has to appeal to the Conservative voter and that is certainly not the case currently. We should also establish how the majority of the electorate perceive Dave Cameron. How about someone commissioning a decent survey to do just that, instead of the half assed mini polls that are completely unrealistic. Oh yes, and get somone outside of the party to formulate the questions, not one of the inner circle.
Vienna Woods - interesting suggestion, but I don't think we have the time. We need to scupper Dave right now - today, if possible - and get Redwood or Davis in as leader. A bruiser in a velvet glove.
Let the yahoos jump up and down shrieking with laughter. It doesn't matter. No one cares. They weren't going to vote Tory anyway. Dump Dave now and hand the reins to someone who knows how to drive a coach and horses through the cheap, illusory edifice of Brown's unelected premiership.
Weeble idea fine but no ring to it as with Teflon Tony. Liked the article - especially the bit about he's pulling votes on health from NHS staff.
What do left and right wing mean, Verity?
In ICM Guardian Cameron has retained 91% of Conservative 2005 voters. Brown only has kept 85% of Labour 2005 voters. Cameron is more successful with his core voters than Brown is with his.
"...If we are to attract the voter, the figurehead has to appeal to the Conservative voter....."
Yes that's completely true.
"...and that is certainly not the case currently...."
That may be true of people who are enthusiastic contributors to blogs but I don't really think they have much in common with habitual Tory voters. I suspect the Tory leadership election was (and remains) much more representative of what non zealots feel. So that part of the statement may well not be true.
In practical terms trying change our leader now would be idiotic because Labour would certainly call an election at once which we would lose, being leaderless, and the next victim would have to start all over again from an even worse position.
Most of the people I mix with and chat to, many of whom appear to be Tory sympathisers at the very least, aren't particularly impressed by party enthusiasts (any party) and are very much put off by hard line adherents of political ideologies and by people who pursue vendettas and witch-hunts.
My working hypothesis is that if we really, really, want to lose the next election and probably the one after that then we only need to dump our leader and adopt a sales pitch which fully satisfies our hard-liners. We may of course lose any.
For what it's worth I don't think Cameron is particularly left wing and having listened quite carefully to what he has actually said I don't think he is lurching to the right. I think his diagnosis of what needs to be done to improve life in Britain now is fairly sound. And even if people disagree with his policies it doesn't advance their case much if they indulge in vitriolic personal attacks like Verity's initaial post.
I have no position in politics and I am not an aspirant politician and am therefore free to be as vitriolic as I like, without the benefit of lofty words of advice from Henry Rogers.
If you think, Mr Rogers, that most Tory voters are not bitterly disappointed that Cameron doesn't seem to hold any strong opinions about anything, then you are either a Labourite or you're looking at a different world from the one the rest of us see.
Cameron doesn't seem to be aware of the vast wash of social irresponsibility that sluices around the ankles of the productive people in Britain. The able-bodied permanently unemployed who this government supplies with pocket money for cigarettes, booze and take-aways. The illiterate children, tens of thousands of them born to illiterate single mothers. He doesn't seem to understand - possibily because he is as politically illiterate as Tony Blair - that Labour has created a replica of Lyndon Baines Johnson's Great Society, which was counted an abject and dangerous failure that had to be fixed urgently around 25 years ago. Now we've got one of our own, deliberately created. With the creation of a permanent illiterate welfare class and a Goliathan public sector, the socialists don't need to worry about being out of office ever again.
And they will never be spurred into according the British people a referendum, despite it being promised, on the EU constitution,because who's going to force them? Dave?
You think most Tory voters are perfectly comfortable with this? Because I don't.
We need someone clever and fierce and that person is not the very polite Mr Cameron with a politically correct wind turbine on his roof and a brand new parka that is destined to hang unused in his closet for the next several decades.
You think most Tories are insouciant about this, Henry Rogers? - because I don't.
I live in London so all the social ills you list are pretty obvious, drugs too. Like you I'm dismayed by people who still believe in socialism as it clearly doesn't work and misapplication of socialist ideals has caused so many of those problems. However I know and like plenty of people who vote Labour or Lib Dem. I don't think they are morally wrong to hold their beliefs, just mistaken. Not so sure about some of the demagogues they vote for though.
I'd have thought since he commissioned and gave a warm welcome to IDS's report on social problems Cameron probably does have pretty good knowledge of the situation despite your doubts. I can't see anyone but Tories doing anything about it. Despite your opinions, I can't see that anyone but Cameron has any chance whatever of putting the Tories into power within the next decade, starting from where we are this evening. In my opinion saying we should have chosen someone else or should choose someone else now is pointless for the reasons I gave in my last post.
I think accusing Blair (or Cameron) of political illiteracy is not really sustainable. Blair was the most skillful political operator we've experienced for a generation. Sad that his talent for gaining power wasn't matched by a talent for doing anything honest or sensible with it. You may find Cameron personally repulsive but you'd be making a mistake to underate his political skill or the strength of his desire to do something worthwhile given the chance.
Like you I'm not an aspirant politician, even at local level. So like yours, my opinions are my own too. And what's more I post under my own name. However I do dispute your conviction that you speak for 'the rest of us' Tories. The ones I meet in the flesh are rarely like that. Poisonous personal attacks and ideological rants are best left to extremists of left and right - or trolls.
Cameron is certainly exremely popular with most Conservative Party members who do not tend to be anarchic or libertarian in a doctrinaire way. His conservation agenda is appealing his measured reasonableness is appealing . His history is of a somewhat right wing traditional Conservative and they expect him to chase the centre swing votes .There are untapped reserves of loyalty and much frustration with showboating MP`s and lazy shadow ministers .
His difficulty is that those swing seats are not full of core Party members so he is bound to annoy some of the core vote .He has made it clear he wished to cut taxes , he wishes to control immigration, he wishes to distance us from Europe and he is trustworthy on the Constitution .
He is moreover a brilliant man who runs rings round Brown and has saved the Conservative Party from irrelevance. Those who betray us to Socialism not to say National Socialism are playing game for which a seat far far away provides the best view.
Rogers - who has suddenly become more reasoned because he was opposed, writes: "Poisonous personal attacks and ideological rants are best left to extremists of left and right - or trolls" ...
Please report me as a troll, you insufferable twerp.
Iain has my email address.
Hard to imagine anyone disagreeing with your incredibly sharp and articulate thinking and not be a troll, right? I mean, you're in the club, after all! And you're always right! Reasonable thinking! Informed! No stupid women messing up the debate.
You're one more reason women don't post here. Had I not been posting at Iain's for a couple of years, I would have been off this site due to the change in the quality of poster over the last six months.
Rogers, you're drab and you have no authority around here.
Learn some courtesy.
The problem with most Conservative is that they almost exclusively believe they are members of a bespoke club, of which only they are members. When will most of them get it into their heads that the Conservative Party does include others with an opinion that contradicts their own limited view. We have to appeal to those outside of the Conservgative Party to have any hope of winning any election. Dave Cameron maybe a nice bloke, but he certainly isn't a leader and we are kidding ourselves if we think he will be any way successful. We need to understand the term 'majority' if we are ever going to extract ourselves from the deep excreta we are now in up to our necks (couldn't think of a better way to put it - sorry!).
Iain, this really was a wimpering, wimpish column. It should perhaps have been headed"We Tories daren't be conservatives." Certainly, if you hadn't been CoS to David Davis(one of the few real conservatives on the Front Bench) it would be hard to figure you as anything other than just another of Dave's silly metropolitan, liberal progressives. You can be elected with a robust conservative rhetoric as Ronald Reagan and George W showed in the US and as Gordon is going to demonstrate in the UK. New Labour have already annexed the tough on crime and terrorism stance abandoned by Daft Dave's Tories and now just watch Gordon sound more like Michael Howard than Michael Howard on immigration. Moreover, he's also going to use the slowing economy as the excuse to borrow more and CUT TAXES. Your prissy London lot are going to get some flak then. Hard to say who must love Dave more, Gordon or UKIP.
"Britain is an island and there is not an uncontrolled flood of people arriving there... (snip) ..The U S of A has its wetbacks but to swim the English Channel is a much greater undertaking.So we are not swamped."
Ever heard of the Channel Tunnel ?
Immigration is out of control, even the Gov of the Bank of England recently lamented that monetary policy was becoming impossible to set because no one had a clue exactly how many people were living in today's UK.
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