Monday, January 28, 2008

Tortoises v Hares: Tories Should Beware of Creating False Divisions

The power of ConservativeHome to influence debate within the Tory Party has gain been amply demonstrated in the last week by Tim Montomerie's description of George Osborne as a Hare and David Cameron as a tortoise. Tim regards himself as a hare. Various media outlets have latched onto this description including John Rentoul and last night's Westminster Hour. In a way it is a statement of the bleedin' obvious that there are people in the party who wish to do things at a faster pace than others, but Tim's point is to analyse which tendency is in the ascendant. He reckons the hares are winning the day. Danny Finkelstein points out on Comment Central this morning that in the parable the tortoise actually wins in the end.

I'm not sure how helpful it is to frame the debate in this way. It can be divisive to pigeonhole people into one camp or another. Too often the Tory Party seeks to demonise one tendency or another. Wets, dries - consolidators, radicals - Eurosceptics, Europhiles... the list is endless. To portray George Osborne and David Cameron as being on opposite sides of an argument is stretching things and merely gives opponents of the Cameron project something to gnaw on.

UPDATE: Tim has responded HERE to Danny F and me. He concludes: "This isn't a split but a grown-up discussion about the pace of Project Cameron. The debate is real and Iain of all people should support the grassroots joining in that debate. "


Anonymous said...

Tim Montgomerie creating pointless splits again to further his media career? Surely not....

Anonymous said...

ConservativeHome is a dreadful website. Awful. Divisive and narrow minded. Give it up - it's bad for your health.

Anonymous said...

Didn't the tortoise win?

Anonymous said...

I thought 'conservativehome' was a good site at first; but they've been 'outed' as a bunch of pc-dogooders. They might as well be Liberal Democrats!!You certainly can't criticise 'other cultures' without being 'zapped'. I do look at the site (occasionally,) and have noticed the comments have decreased. I wonder why...

strapworld said...


Tortoise or Hare matters not. What this country needs is a LEADER with strong convictions and with some plan as to how they intend to carry that out.

I saw Cameron on Sky News this morning. He watched, as most of us did, the scenes in Warrington last Saturday night. Scenes which, I am sure, were replicated in most towns, cities even villages in our once great Nation.

What was Cameron's great plan to stop this mass lawlessness. 'There is not enough use of present legislation. It is an offence to serve alcohol to an intoxicated person - so The Police should close that bar!!!

He then talked about a shop in his constituency having their licence revoked because they sold to under aged teenagers. It sounded so out of touch.But getting back to the police closing bars -
Absolutely amazing!-Firstly it is the Courts NOW COUNCILS that would either suspend or cancel the license held by the establishment NOT the Police. The Police, obviously, provide the evidence.

Would local councils, with an election on the horizon, close any bars?
I very much doubt it.

THEN came the old chestnut. The police should not have to do all the paperwork. Which begs the question WHO would do it?

The Crown Prosecution Service (aptly named the Criminals Protection Service) was brought in by the Conservative Government. Removing the power of police to decide to charge and take to court many people who now, because of financial constraints, are not taken to court!

The CPS have created a mountain of forms etc Police have to complete for them!

Obviously the mountain of legislation passed by this present shower of incompentants we call a government has added much to the burden of the police BUT Cameron offered no sensible suggestion on how he would actually reduce that paperwork. Just a 'soundbite'

Sorry, I could go on and on. Cameron came across all wishy washee. NO idea. No LEADERSHIP.

People need to know just WHAT he will DO. How he will do it and how tough he will be.

I am sorry but on that showing he just aint no leader.

Can he not see that there really is a crisis out here? He should get on the first train next weekend and spend a Saturday night in Warrington seeing for himself. He should then get together with Police and his policy advisers and come up with a STRONG policy.

Why not town centre curfews? Why not a return to the old licensing hours?

Cameron wake up.

Newmania said...

I do agree Iain it often seems to me that people who,if they were in the same room , would have no more than a friendly discussion portray themselves fierce doctrinal enemies for no better reason than to attract attention/

You know how I deplore those childish attention seeking people :)

Anonymous said...

The media want to create another Blair v Brown story.

Tim said...

But other than this outside influence you and Tim have no relationship with CCHQ... just so we're clear.

Yak40 said...

All I can say is that it's long overdue to see some in your face "opposition" from Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.

How much ammo do they need ? There's enough to launch fact based attacks daily, just like Blair & crew did so effectively prior to 1997.

I think Osborne(sp?) was right, the new political class is collectively more concerned with self preservation than in doing its job.

Tim said...

Yak40, Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition is very selective about which ammo they use. They don't just want power, they want to play with some of the exciting toys New Labour have created.

SOCPA is a very good example of this. You may also wish to take a look at the Tories (not) fighting tooth and nail to support those who helped us over in Iraq.

(Psst! Iain... are you there? Any clarification on that relationship with CCHQ?)

Anonymous said...

Who needs George 'The Tortoise' Osborne or David 'The Hare' Cameron when you have got the Boris 'The Jackal' Johnson !!

GO BORIS !!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Claws away ladies.

Tim has always had his eye on greatness, but cannot quite bring himself to do anything about it. He will not stand for office, but wants power. Mmmm, power without responsibilty, the perogative of the blogger throughout the ages.

Tim said...

That's a 'no comment' then, is it Iain?

Pity. You like to give the impression that you're transparent about your relationship with CCHQ, and now it appears to be some kind of secret.