Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Why Can't These Dinosaurs Depart the Stage?

Before the last election Lynton Crosby told us all that we should ask ourselves every morning: "What am I going to do today to help the Conservative Party win the next election?" These sentiments would of course be entirely lost on the Fourteenth Marquis of Lothian, who has let rip in the Daily Telegraph this morning. What on earth did he think he was doing by slagging off David Cameron in this most gratuitous way. And on the say that the party is publishing its Public Services Commission Report!

Michael Ancram is a delightful man in private, but he has the political judgement and timing of a blunderbuss. I well remember than in the Hague years he was the first to tear his hair out in frustration at the antics of Michael Portillo (cf the Nick Kochan biography of Ann Widdecombe). He was no doubt also frustrated by those who went on TV to denounce Hague's apologies for what went wrong during the Thatcher years. And yet he is now doing exactly the same to David Cameron despite the fact that Cameron has never trashed Margaret Thatcher's legacy. He was, it should be remembered, deputy leader of the party when Iain Duncan Smith wrote a book called THERE IS SUCH THING AS SOCIETY (I published it). I don't remember him speaking about that as an insult to Margaret Thatcher.

He criticises David Cameron for not paying enough attention to core conservative issues like Europe and tax. Does he not realise that in the 2001 and 2005 general elections we lost in large part due to appearing to only concentrate on these core-vote issues? Despite his history as a 'moderate' he appears unable to comprehend that elections are not won from the hard right - they are won from the centre ground, and, until recently, David Cameron was rather successfully reoccupying that centre ground. To revert to the kind of strategy chosen by Ancram would be electoral suicide. Yes, I would like a firmer line on issues like tax cuts too, and some of the Cameron programme leaves me reaching for the political smelling salts from time to time, but I recognise what has to be done. Careless talk like this costs votes and reinforces the view of a 'lurch to the right' which Gordon Brown would love the Conservatives to do.

Michael Ancrams's pamphlet, which his article was intended to publicise is called Still a Conservative. A Tory MP suggested to me this morning that it should be renamed to Still a Prat. I find it hard to disagree.

Coming on top of yesterday's news on John Bercow and Patrick Mercer this sort of internal navel gazing is intolerable. The people I feelsorry for are the parliamentary candidates who have been slogging their guts out for months. They must look at this shower and wonder why they are bothering.

Politicians like Ancram have had their day. They should leave it to those who have a future ahead of them to plot the party's future.

UPDATE: I have done a bit of media this morning. Sky and News 24. [blush] Dizzy appears to like what I said [/blush]


Anonymous said...

Well said. I heard you on radio 5 last night and agree with you regarding Ancram.

Anonymous said...

Well said Iain. What about starting a Prat of the week award for Tory MPs? God knows there never seems to be a shortage of candidates!

Anonymous said...

[Bangs head repeateadly against wall]

Chris Paul said...

At last Iain. A reference to Widdy. But what about her news? Or yours?

Anonymous said...

Isn't the bigger problem that this is not seen necessarily as a 'lurch to the right', but that there is simply no clear picture of what the Tory policies are at the moment ??

Michael Gove was on Newsnight last night confirming that many of the 'policy proposals' are simply that - proposals, which can't be implemented while the three year 'tax and spend' freeze is in place.

Then to the outsider, Dave Cameron, who had put his head above the parapet has lowered his shoulders while a host of other guys are pushing their heads up.

We can slag off Nulabour for control freakery, but the point that the Prince Of Darkness Alistair Campbell realised was that in any communication you must have one, clear, consistent message.

That applies whether you are selling baked beanz, BMWs or trying to win the next General Election..

Newmania said...

Iain I read the Times today for the Polulus Poll and the Telegraph...In the latter the pages were full of anti-Cameron propoganda. Just when the qualities Cameron has are working ,we are betrayed by blundering fools who seem to regard the Conservative Party as their private timbered boozer in which they gurgle and burp out irrelevamt fantasies.

Useful idiots and senile meddlers we do not need amd they should be ashamed of themsleves.It is so depressing to see this spectacle and I greatly appreciate seeing some sense as ever from Mr. Dale

Anonymous said...

Ancram is telling the truth, everyone knows it, 'Lurch Cameron' is a Trojan horse for the usual crowd of right-wing looney head bangers, who will leap out after the GE. Notice you didn't mention Ancram's opposition to, 'Same sex partnerships' Toryspeak for, 'Why are the so many f***ing gays in the Tory Party.?' You had a go at the Republicans for its anti-gay attitudes, why not the Tories.

Iain Dale said...

Chris Paul you really are behind the times. Ann Widdecombe announced her departure about six months ago. Do keep up at the back.

As for my own future, that's for me to know and you to guess.

Anonymous said...

"Campbell realised was that in any communication you must have one, clear, consistent message"

That does not, of course, equal policies. Had you asked people about Labour in the rnu up to 1997, what you would have got is a repitition of soundbites, like 'tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime'. It's a message, but not a policy.

Chris Paul said...

All parties have them. Though Labour's are being fairly well behaved at the moment.

Is drawing attention to them the best tactic to deal with the Tory dinosaur threat?

But no, kind of you to offer, but Michael Ancram would be a Tory-too-far for the LP recruitment drive, surely? ... what's this? ... breaking news ... only kidding.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I see Michael Ancram must have got back from talking with Hamas...

PS am I the first person to point out that IDS' book was actually called 'There Is Such a Thing As Society'?

kinglear said...

Iain - this is such an idiotic outburst, I just wonder whether it is a little cleverer than that.Ancram says " keep core values" ie lose elections and votes. Cameron, on the other hand, can do a "The lady's not for turning" speech, which actually makes him look good and reinforces the message that these remnants are dead- they just haven't realised it yet

The Splund said...

It's not just the Parliamentary candidates who are in despair Iain, it's also the moderate, loyal Tory supporters who are collectively wondering when the bunch of [expletive deleted] cretins are going to show a bit of discipline, loyalty and frankly INTELLIGENCE and get on with the job of removing this egregious government. Many of those supporters are looking around for alternative political homes.

Anonymous said...

As they say on the football.. 'It's like deja vu all over again..'

What price Cameron doing a 'Major' style 'back me or sack me' before the next General Election ?

Anonymous said...

In a nutshell this is the never ending problem of the Conservative Party - people who are either ex-Ministers/Front Benchers or so called "senior party figures" who failed totally when they had the chance to either a) lead the party b) actually convince the electorate to vote for them or c) who are still obssessed with Britain's membership of EU

trying to tell the leadership how to lose an election !

Anonymous said...

Totally agree. All these old duffers will do is leave the country with another term or 2 or 3 of New Labour government and stuff the future of the country.

Anonymous said...

The Tories are their own worst enemies. This dozy dinosaur, Ancram, needs to retire. Sour grapes.

Anonymous said...

I take it you've given up on your hopes to be an MP after the next election then, Iain. The tone of your posts in the last few days certainly seems to suggest so.

Lest we forget the courtship of Blair and Brown by senior members of the Conservative party, the masses of column inches given to Hattersley and his ilk, and the dubious status of Frank Field during the first half of the 1990's. What comes around etc...

In all seriousness, see it as a shedding of dead wood, people who have blown their chance to make an impact on the Tories right now and are looking for crumbs of comfort. They were never part of the future, so don't see their diversions as negatives. Keep pushing on and present the country with a clear vision as the Conservatives, rather than the opportunists, see it.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read Ancram's mini-manifesto, but i suspect i'd agree with most of it. Ancram is not one of the 'white coat' brigade. Ploddingly pedestrian is the title that i'd catagorise him under. Perhaps he's reached the point when he does not wish to speak copious amounts of BS to 'toe the current party line'. Anyway, WHY call Ancram a 'dinosaur'. A cheap insult- and i should know! BTW- when i saw Stephen 'who' Dorrell on GMTV toeing the Party line i just laughed out loud. This is a man who thought he could lead the Party after the well deserved defeat by Labour in 1997! Ancram's general message of 'don't denegrate Thatcher (ism)' is to be applauded. She was the Tories best leader. Until the wet-Europhiles embarked upon a course of destruction. The right-wing of the Party has taken the flak that should be bestowed upon the wet-Euro fanatics. They- and only they- are responsible for the Party's predicament (Masstrict, the ERM, etc).

AnyoneButBrown said...

As regards Mercer and Bercow see:

As regards Ancram see:
and he should re-read:

Anonymous said...

Ancram is a moron.

Windsor Tripehound said...

A pedant writes:

Michael Andrew Foster Jude (Wan) Kerr is 13th Marquess of Lothian.

I'm sure Iain will apologise to the Ancram family for the embarrasment caused?

Anonymous said...

Well said Iain.

Madasafish said...

vWell as a voter, Ancram always came over as an old fart. His current outburst proves he is not: he is an old out of touch and out of date fart.

Pity the CP has about another 100 MPs just like him who, if they stood in any urban constituency, would lose their deposits.

I think it's a good thing.
1. Who ever listened to Ancram anyway? The DT are nuts putting him on the front page... he was never front page news when in Government.
2. I suspect it must be giving the message to all but the most rabidly right wing of the CP that the past policies are losers.

After all, who seriously goes on about same sex issues as a political matter? I thought as an issue it had been and gone. I suspect the electorate will just yawn...

Madasafish said...

simon said"The right-wing of the Party has taken the flak that should be bestowed upon the wet-Euro fanatics. They- and only they- are responsible for the Party's predicament (Masstrict, the ERM, etc). "

Any one who thinks the broad electorate care much about Maastrict, the ERM etc are as out of touch as Ancram.

The electorate care about (in no order): jobs/money/NHS/education/Law and Order

I fail to see where IDS/Howard and that other failed CP leader Hague did not follow right wing policies. They were trashed. They were just unelectable.

You remind me of Arthur Scargill arguing why Labour lost elections was because policies were not Left Wing enough.

The vast majority of the electorate would as much vote in a right wing CP as vote for George Bush.

Anonymous said...

I thought we'd re-learned the concept of discipline under Michael Howard; how quickly some seem to forget.

Dr.Doom said...

Looks very much like you've swallowed the 'windmill' and 'solar panel' speel, a treat, Iain.

Dave all the way to No 10, no doubt?

On the one hand, Boris Johnson and on the other, Dave and Georgie.



Anonymous said...

Rachel Sylvester rightly describes Bercow and Mercer as "Brown's useful idiots" in The Telegraph this morning.
She could include her editor Will Lewis to make up the Three Stooges. Lewis has turned the so-called Torygraph into the Daily Mirror.
Of course Brown won't be at all interested in what his new "advisers" have to say; after all, he never listens to his own people. It's a toss up as to who despises the turncoats more - Brown or genuine Tories.

Laurence Boyce said...

God, what a moron. Has he not stopped to wonder why he once came last in a leadership contest, whereas Cameron came first?

Anonymous said...

'Madasafish'- never has a pseudonym been more appropriate! I've never been called 'Arthur Scargill' before! That's another insult added to the list. You miss my point you silly moo. Maastrict led to a SERIOUS amount of distrust btwn the Heseltine government and many of it's backbenchers. The ERM led to 'Black Wednesday'. Both disasters attributable to the wet pro-EU fanatics. Infact, i think Elsie Garnett has more political nous than you!

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I think you are being very unfair to Michael Ancram, because he seems to be a thoroughly decent and principled MP. I am sorry that you, )just like the BBC would), decided to use his title,(which he does not use).

His voting record, though predictable, shows a dedicated, working man, who costs less than Diane Abbot to keep in paper clips. He is an incredibly loyal Tory. With over three decades in Parliament.

His worst crime, as far as I can see, is to have had one night's hotel accommodation, courtesy of the Syrian People's Council (definately NOT the People's Council of Syria) - the sort of thing you are always fond of getting Ken on, but so funny I had to mention it.

He is essentially arguing for absolutes over relativism, soul over spin and principles over position and because our host is philosopically married to the latter, it is easy to see why he is prepared to trash him.

Anonymous said...

Couldnt agree more Iain, i really do dispair sometimes at the way we gratuitously, wantonly, unnecessarily, keep shooting ourselves in the foot like this.

If people keep on like this, we are going to lose the next election, pure and simple.

Chris Paul said...

Meanwhile over at Guido's, the fearless freedom fighter is running a so-old internet story and a map from Reporters Sans Frontieres without even a click through to RSF. Slogan for the day Comrades: Intellectual property needs a minimum of a hat tip.

chatterbox said...

Iain, you sum up what most conservatives will be feeling today reading and watching the media coverage of Ancrams harking back to the old days.
One of the guests doing a newspaper review on sky last night asked Michael Brown(journalist), how members of the party could keep doing this sort of thing time and again to damage their team?
I feel most sorry for all those candidates who are trying to win back seats we have lost over the last 10/15 years, their biggest enemy is not Labour or the Libdems, but Tory MP's sitting in safe seats that will remain blue what ever the fortunes of the party!
They do not have the hunger for power or it seems the desire to add new members to what they regard as their own private club.

Anonymous said...

Can duffers like Ancram not see that its exactly the "legacy of Thatcher" which prevents most people under 40 voting Tory and makes many of them view us as pariahs? Don't get me wrong - Thatherism was right for its time, but to suggest that some sort of neo-con, trickle-down, back2basics platform would do anything other than wipe us off the map is madness. We will never get more than 30% of the vote with those policies as long as we are faced with a "social democrat" Labour Party. Yes I wish that more people were right wing too, but they're not (at least in the UK as a whole, an English-only election would have a very different psephology) and I'm amazed that someone as experienced as Ancram can't see that re-running the last 3 elections will lead to the same result.

JGS said...

OT Just watched Baroness Perry on BBC24 - a splendid contrast to Ancrim's bonkers outburst.

Ralph said...


It does though help counter the 'lurch to the right' spin that Labour are putting out, a bit like when Scargill et al felt left out of Labour.

What should be the Tory narrative now is Brown + Tube PFI = strikes.

JGS said...

OT again. Just watched you, Iain, on News24. Splendid stuff. I don't really worry about Ancrim's nonsense - most folks will think that the "Blast from the past" line is a pretty good response. It does Cameron no harm at all to be seen telling these idiots to bugger off.

Anonymous said...

Chris Paul said...
"Meanwhile over at Guido's, the fearless freedom fighter is running a so-old internet story and a map from Reporters Sans Frontieres without even a click through to RSF. Slogan for the day Comrades: Intellectual property needs a minimum of a hat tip. "

Guido's map clearly shows that it is from Reporters Without Frontiers.

Unknown said...

It seems pretty obvious to me that between 1979 and 1987 people voted for Thatcher because the other two parties were unreconstructed pseudo-Communists. Labour and the Lib-Dhimms have now been forced to concede that they were utterly and 180 degrees wrong on everything important since about 1970 - nuclear weapons, nuclear power, state ownership of utilties, state ownership of industries, trade union law, EU membership, the USSR, NHS reform, economic policy, multiculturalism, etc etc etc.

Having reluctantly done this, there is not that much left to distinguish them from the Conservatives except "core" issues such as immigration, taxation, pensions, defence, and law and order.

These are core issues only to people like Ancram, however. With the possible exception of the last, they are basically of no interest to the proles at large, who are quite happy as long as their public sector salaries continue to be paid. So Ancram at al should stop talking about them and focus on issues that do matter to people and that Labour has comprehensively fucked up but cannot effectively reply.

This is a long list indeed and Dave's line of attack about the broken society is spot on. Labour cannot plausibly argue that nothing much is wrong with society when 11 year olds get slotted by other 11 year olds, so they can't say there's no problem. But since that poor kid has lived his entire life under Labour neither can they shirk the blame or claim that they've got the answer - if they had the answer we'd have seen it by now. Labour is utterly speechless on this one and flaps its lying lips like a stranded fish whenever it comes up. Dave needs to find more of these issues because he registers hits whenever he does.

Ancram should just piss off. He has come up with the perfect strategy for winning an election in the 1980s. In the current decade the party needs to address what matters, because all this crap that he's worried about can be dealt with in the fashion he wants it dealt with after we've won. If people don't care enough about immigration to vote a Labour government out of office because of it, they won't vote a Conservative government out of office for sorting it out either.

Alex said...

There is a misconception commonly held by elected politicians that voters actually care about their opinions. The truth is that by and large and with the notable exception of ministers and those in positions of power, voters do not care about their views except to the extent that they are broadly compatible with their own.

The bottom line is that when Bercow or that army fella cozy up to the other side (just like that Michael Mates episode a few years ago) or when Ancram shoots his mouth off, nobody really cares what they say, but they deserve to be kicked off the team for doing so.

Anonymous said...

ancram is useless. remember when he advocated legalising cannabis as part of his leadership campaign, and hauled his daughters round with him? look for a tory screw-up in the last 15 years and he'll be somewhere near it. but he does have the same failing as cameron, a sense that he's born to rule, which has infected the whole party.
there was a sense when cameron got the job, that the tories went "ah, ha, we now have a decent leader, so be fair, hand us the ball back, it's out turn"
having a telegenic, popular leader is a necessary but not sufficient criterion for regaining power.
i'm no tory, but david davis is a striver, a hard worker and wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth. cameron and ancram can retreat to their posh toff backgrounds if it all goes wrong - davis (and his target audience of hard-working families) can't. iain, make sure that he's ready to answer the call next time, otherwise it'll be "jeremy hunt for a kinder, softer cameron", mark my words. then you may as well pack it in.

Anonymous said...

Calm down dear, it's only a commercial

(as you point out, it's for his pamphlet)

Anonymous said...

"What should be the Tory narrative now is Brown + Tube PFI = strikes."

Fair point Ralph, but doesn't this highlight one of the big problems: what is the party's policy on PFI? Or most other things, for that matter?

Blair got away with refusing to be specific on policy in 1997, but he had a tightly-run media machine and a government that was all but dead. I don't think Cameron has either of those.

Anonymous said...

calm down, iain. you're just peeved that he's hogging a safe seat, when you don't have one and nobody will let you have a crack at a marginal because you did so badly last time. he hasn't said much new. the telegraph has oversold it and you've bought it.

Sonicdeathmonkey said...

I often think the tory party need another 10 years in the wilderness to get rid of these dinosaurs. Until the party is hungry enough and disciplined enough to want power it itsn't going to happen.

Anonymous said...

I'm quite shocked at your "lurch to the Left" recently Iain. Your blog seems to have become a bit Soviet recently - toe the party line, trash the people who don't agree with the leader...
The sign of true democracy is debate. Yes the Tories need discipline, but it shouldn't stifle reasoned debate.
Your slightly hysterical post has left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

Anonymous said...

I just saw the Guardian Online's "Focus on Thatcherite values, Ancram tells Cameron" headline.

This is surely exactly what Cameron needs - if he really covets the middle-ground and distance from the now-unelectable Thatcherite wing.

BTW what happened to the weekend's R4 story that Brown is looking at Denmark's fixed 1 per cent of your house's value local rates?

That would kill Labour stone dead.

strapworld said...

As I mention on another page. Do not shoot the messenger! He is articulating just what the majority of party members are saying. NOT the ones in the Westminster Village, possibly. BUT the ones that do the walking and placing of posters etc through letter boxes, without which you could not win anything!

The reason Cameron is doing quite well in the opinion polls, at the minute,is just because he has re-discovered right wing Tory principles!

And for you Iain to denounce him under the lurid bannerWhy Can't These Dinosaurs Depart the Stage?" is a damned disgrace.

When you have given as much for party and country then you can say such things. I object, as an oldie, to this view within the Cameron Tory Party that once your over fifty you are a Dinosaur and should, therefore, Depart the Stage!

I believe that Cameron could do no better than bring back a few old Dinosaur's to take on the boys and girls in Brown's team.

Devil's Advocate said...

Absolutely spot on Iain (yet again!)

Ralph said...

Zeno: 'Fair point Ralph, but doesn't this highlight one of the big problems: what is the party's policy on PFI?'

It doesn't matter. Just getting the message out is important.

You could also point out that some of Metronet's parent companies gave money to Labour.

Anonymous said...

The reason Cameron is doing quite well in the opinion polls, at the minute,is just because he has re-discovered right wing Tory principles!


The reason we're coming back in the polls is because Cameron is sticking to his guns.

Great timing on his behalf also - coming out on the day the Public Services Policy Review

Fossils like Ancram should just shut up and sod off! - perhaps he should join Gordon's happy band?

Anonymous said...

Melanie Phillips had a good article on this yesterday. Her point is, that the damaging part of the phrase 'a lurch to the right' is the word lurch.

The Tories MUST NOT be seen as trimmers. They must stop asking, 'What should we say?' and start asking 'What must we do?'

At the moment the party is like Churchill's pudding. It lacks a theme.

Sonicdeathmonkey said...

'As I mention on another page. Do not shoot the messenger! He is articulating just what the majority of party members are saying.'

Even if thats the case, those 100-150k of people isn't what going to get the party elected. It's the millions of people which have turn their backs on the Torys over the last 10 years which will.

The party is also the one which elected DC over DD in the first place with a 2/3rds majority (wasn't it), so at the very least they need to give him a chance at an election...

Yak40 said...

I don't think Ancram's comments are any worse than a shadow Chancellor promising to spend as much as the current government.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Someone called "a" said

"I'm quite shocked at your "lurch to the Left" recently Iain. Your blog seems to have become a bit Soviet recently - toe the party line, trash the people who don't agree with the leader...
The sign of true democracy is debate. Yes the Tories need discipline, but it shouldn't stifle reasoned debate.
Your slightly hysterical post has left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth."

I am inclined to agree. It is obvious that you want a safe seat. It is obvious that you have unquestioning allegiance to the Fuhrer. It is obvious how desperately ambitious you have become of late.

And it's a bit sad, and this blog is the worse for it.

Anonymous said...

There is an interesting debate on these pages, but I feel that Iain is right.

There are two fundamental ideas which I believe defeat those on the "right" of the party.

1) The Conservative Party is the Party of Pragmatism, and will choose common sense over Dogma. For reference to this cc. Labour party under Michael Foot.

2) Thatcher was a politician of her times and a great one at that. But do we really think that the answers of the 1980's answer the questions of the noughties? No, because we are Pragmatic (cc. point 1). Thatcher put taxes up when she came to office. It was a means to an end as part of a wider strategy and way of thinking.

I just wish that some members of the party weren't so reactionary. It's almost like people have forgotten why they have certain views, but still grimly hold on to them, even when they have lost relevance and intellectual validity.

Iain Dale said...

Wrinkled Weasel, comments like this really piss me off. You just pick and choose according to what suits your prejudice. You have presumably forgotten my post lambasting Goldsmith and Gummer for their green proposals. You presumably didn't read my post yesterday about George Osborne's comments.

I have absolutely no expectation of being a candidate at the next election, so don't attribute motives to me which just are not there.

You have read this blog long enough to know that I am quite happy to call it as I see it.

On this occasion Ancram is barking up the wrong tree. It's intes=resting that 90% of the comments here agree with me, and even ConHome readers are angry about it.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I'm not here to piss you off Iain, I am here to call it as I see it.

Regardless of my opinions, you have my respect. Just don't expect me to be one of those acolytes that the labour trolls are always accusing me of being!

AndyR said...

There has to be something fundamentally broken with a system (politics, media and public) whereby an 'elder' member (or a junior member, I suppose) of the party can so effectively destabilise the leadership by expressing their personal views.

Seems to me that the issue here is not whether Ancram is right or wrong, or agrees/disagrees with Cameron. It's the entirely disproportionate reaction to what is just an opinion piece.

Is the party so fragile - is Cameron so fragile - that any comment on policy is seen as some kind of vehement attack on the leadership?

One of the benefits of our political system is that we elect people as individuals, and we expect them to have opinions. Some people's opinions matter more than others.

I think we attach too much weight to Ancram's opinions, and we would do better to calmly accept his article as an interesting contribution to the philosophical debate, but not particularly relevant to the phase of policy formation that we're going through.

If we continue to overreact, the media will smell fear and uncertainty, and go looking for blood.

Hughes Views said...

It's me who's here to piss yopu off...

Anonymous said...

The Most Honourable Marquess has done Dave a great service, rather as the Campaign Group reliably did for Blair, by helping to underline for the mug punter that the new leader is different.

Anonymous said...

"Wrinkled Weasel, comments like this really piss me off. You just pick and choose according to what suits your prejudice..."

I'd say WW has hit the nail on the head. You want to be an MP so that means that, ultimately, your are untrustworthy as you will do anything to get in there.

Anonymous said...

A) he's actually the 13th Marquess of Lothian.

B) Michael Ancram isn't his real name, but his assumed one: it derives from his courtesy title of "Earl of Ancram" when he was son and heir to the 12th Marquess.

C) he was actually christened Michael Andrew Foster Jude Kerr. This used to be recorded in the Journals of the House of Commons when he swore in as a Member, followed by the rider "commonly known as Michael Ancram".

David Lindsay said...

Ancram a Thatcherite? He wasn't especially when he was a Minister.

In fact, it Ancram (long the weak link in The Henry Jackson Society, and good for him) should cast himself, much more accurately, as a voice of the aristocratic social conscience, of its stake in the Keynes-Beveridge-Attlee Settlement through the farm subsidies that pay the rent which sustains it, of Catholic Social Teaching, of the Catholic Unionist traditions in Scotland and Ireland.

A voice desperately needing to be heard, in fact.

Anonymous said...

"The people I feel sorry for are the parliamentary candidates who have been slogging their guts out for months."

Totally agree with that. But I also feel sorry for the "foot soldiers" who give their unpaid time and effort, going to meetings, leafleting etc.etc. ,trying to get some local councillors elected in largely un-Conservative areas, and must wonder why they bother when people such as this, Portillo etc seem to be doing their utmost to undermine their efforts.

No doubt when the GE comes and the local association can barely rustle up a leaflet drop these people will be the first to say "Oh, look what Cameron's done, run down the membership"!

Wrong, chaps! Look a bit closer to home and try to keep your traps either spouting off at the Government, or else firmly shut.

tgf ukip said...

Sorry Iain, but "wrinkled weasel" appears to have touched a nerve, not so much over your attributed presumed parliamentary ambitions but your identification with Cause Cameron and here I'm afraid I agree entirely with WW. Dave's principal public cheerleaders appear to be centred entirely among the metropolitan litterati/chatterati such as yourself, Portillo, D'Ancona, Oborne etc. You simply seem unable to understand the antipathy he arouses outside the circles you move in.

Scipio said...

Iain, I agree that we need to lead from the centre ground, and there, and only there, will we win.

But there is a need to clarify that we haven't exactly ever really campaigned on a right wing manifesto (such as much tighter immigration, withdrawal from the EU, massive tax cuts and privatisation of the public services).

The relaity is there is the Centre ground, and the centre-right. The majority of the population are in the centre, but the majority of the Tory party membership, and regular Tory voters are centre right.

THerefore, there is a need to at least acknowledge the concerns of the centre-right, even if we aim to win on the centre ground.

As a socially liberal Cameron fan, I still want to see what I consider core issues discussed, because these are still important to many people. At the moment, there are certain issues 'which dare not speak its name'!

Anonymous said...

I disagree that the 2001 and 2005 elections were lost because of too much emphasis on Europe and Tax. I suggest that Europe was hardly mentioned by any of the major parties in the 2005 election. It did feature just before the campaign when our Party announced a tougher policy on asylum only to be told by the European Commission that the proposals were unlawful. It also featured briefly on Newsnight when Michael Howard told Jeremy Paxman that there were no circumstances under which he would leave the European Union. It did not feature as an issue at the start of William Hague's tenure of office but did come to the fore during the 2001 campaign with a line that made genuine Euro-sceptics cringe "we are against joining the Euro for the duration of the next parliament". Clearly the issue was not a matter of principle for William Hague. It would have carried much more conviction, without committing future Conservative administrations had he said "we will not join the Euro whilst I am Prime Minister".

You also state that elections are not won from the hard right. I can not think of anything that Michael Ancram has said or written to suggest that he is of the hard right.I do however believe that whenever the Conservative Party has gained power since the war there has been clear blue water between them and the incumbent Labour administration. Yes, even Ted Heath who fought the 1970 election on the Selsdon Manifesto. Of course the policies changed radically after the debacle of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders.
The tax cuts promised in the 2005 campaign were extremely modest, there is nothing necessarily wrong with that, but what was lacking was a clear explanation as to why a low tax economy facilitates much more prosperity than a high tax one.

Scipio said...

Another thought - is Cameron's position so weak that one MP, albeit a senior one, cannot speak about issues which concern him and members of the party without 'destabilising' the leader?

I think Cameron's position is more entrenched than that, and that there should be room for debate and freedom of speech. We are not yet so eviserated as Labour MPs who have their guts and minds removed before entering the house!

Anonymous said...

"You simply seem unable to understand the antipathy he [Dave]arouses "

Absolutely. Ancram was just speaking for the majority of activists I know.

I also note that Gove committed the Tories to increasing public expenditure above Labour levels on Monday's Newsnight. Asked if the promised expenditure on new prisons would be in addition to Labour's overall expenditure plans (which Osborne had already committed to matching), he went "yes, yes".

So there you have it: Cameron's "conservatives" have a policy of spending more than Broon Labour. Watch those taxes rise...

Anonymous said...

My constituency MP John Bercow's disloyalty was the main reason I stopped renewing my Conservative Party Membership as I observed him move further and further to the left and publicly declare his new liberal views. It comes as no surprise whatsoever that he has accepted a job with Gordon Brown and New Labour, following previous disloyalty to the Conservative party and it's leaders. I will never forget when he publicly 'stabbed' Ian Duncan Smith in the back after resigning his shadow post in such a way to cause IDS maximum damage. He is also the self appointed champion of the militant gay rights lobby even when his enthusiastic pursuit of the these rights have meant riding roughshod over religious peoples beliefs and values; as we saw recently with the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs). John Bercow supported the Government's undemocratic forced new regulations completely, which he clearly demonstrated with his letter to the Telegraph at the time and other public statements.

In my opinion John Bercow is not a man of conviction or has any real principles, nor, is he a man that shows loyalty to the Conservative Party or it's leaders, he is merely an opportunist MP that blows with every favourable wind, if that wind is a trendy liberal wind, all the better.

What does he have to do before his constituency officials realise that John Bercow is now more like a 'trendy left wing liberal' masquerading as a conservative. What does he have to do before they have the courage to deselect him and force him to stand under his true New Labour colours. Or is the only way to remove him as the MP for Buckingham to have a real conservative; someone with traditional conservative values and ideology, stand against him at the next election as an Independent Conservative.

Remember the days when John Bercow was considered far right as a member of the Monday Club? What was it Tony Blair said about him at the time.....'He is a nasty and ineffectual in equal quality'! My my, who are the bigger hypocrites New Labour or John Bercow.... but they say a week is a long time in politics, given a few years it seems MPs and parties are capable of unbelievable self seeking opportunism.

Simon Icke, Buckingham Constituent