Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Heffer Confronted: Thick & Useless Tories

Simon Heffer's column today took the Tories to task over their failure to provide a proper opposition. He suggests that John Redwood should take over as Shadow Chancellor. I am a great admirer of John Redwood but I put it to Simon Heffer that he does seem to frighten the electoral horses a bit. And when Mr S calls David Willetts thick ... well, see for yourself.


Wrinkled Weasel said...

Sorry. I agree with Heffer, including the bit about Redwood.

The lousiest, stinkingest, shagginest Labour administration in history and the Tories are scared of their shadows.

These pieces are greatly entertaining, despite it looking as if you are on Heffer's lap.

Mark M Heenan said...

Redwood as Shadow Chancellor. What next? Appointing King Herod for Shadow Children's Minister be be only slightly more politically naive...

Ted Foan said...

Much as I find it galling to agree openly!)with Simon Heffer, I think he's right about John Redwood's under used abilities - just read his blog to see how well he can marshall an argument and set out a coherent strategy.

However, I agree with you that he does not have obvious "voter appeal". The old nonsense about him being a Martian, one of John Major's "bastards" and his inability to sing the Welsh anthem would just be dragged up every time he stood up to speak from the front bench. Very unfair but that's politics.

Personally, I think he would handle all that barracking from the likes of Skinner very well but it's David Cameron who doesn't want the distraction at this stage.

Nevertheless, Simon Heffer does a grave disservice to the Conservatives. We all want lower taxes; we all want distinctive Tory policies; but most of all we all want to get this Labour shower out!

Anonymous said...

What a cheek to hear Simon Heffer criticise the shadow cabinet and in particular George Osborne for petty name calling. Just remind me how constructive or balanced Heffer has been as political journalist over the last 2 years towards the present Conservative party?
He hasn't been, but more importantly you don't get the impression that he has any idea how the ordinary voter lives or what they think outside the home counties.
Luckily the present shadow cabinet seems to be more in tune with those voters, which is probable why they are the most likely Tory opposition shadow cabinet to be elected as a government in years.
The Conservative party and its membership have moved on, I just wish the dead wood press would match that balance with the pool of political journalists they employ.

Anonymous said...

Iain this weak the people that lied to us over the approach to the war in 2003 ( I'm surprised no comment after Paco destroyed the Twat the other Nigh)?
Arms length of Cyprus

Paul Burgin said...

Oh to see Simon Heffer as Shadow Chancellor! ;)

Chris Paul said...

Mr S? Anyway, GOO and Cam are lightweights. Mendacious, shrill and about to "enter the zone" as losers through and through.

Anonymous said...

Agree with you on Redwood, Iain. Unfortunately, he's a complete voter turn-off. However, Heffer has a point on Willetts; he may have two brains, but unfortunately there isn't an ounce of common sense between them.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely excellent. Iain has the handsomer profile, but both are good value.

I agree with Simon Heffer that John Redwood ought to be the Shadow Chancellor. He is so much cleverer, incisive, quicker of wit than wossname that he would score every time, and that's what the voters are looking for. Blows. Points. Cruelty. Shafts of light.

Cameron, who is, to be sure, frightened of terribly intelligent people, should put him in as Shadow Chancellor anyway, and on his first outing in Parliament, when called by the Speaker, Redwood should say something like, "Don't worry, I'm not going to mime the Welsh national anthem."

Laugh. Issue over. On to business.

David Cameron has no charisma and is an unjust man. He doesn't inspire. He must be replaced because he does not come across as a potential Prime Minister. But first, Redwood in the Shadow Cabinet.

rob's uncle said...

Dominic Grieve, Member of Parliament for Beaconsfield and Shadow Attorney General, impresses me as someone who is competent, more so than Osborne, who is merely clever. Declaration: I am a Liberal Democrat.

Anonymous said...

Dimwitted 12:24: Just remind me how constructive or balanced Heffer has been as political journalist over the last 2 years towards the present Conservative party?

Since when were political journalists required to be "balanced", sweet thang? I must have missed something. Partisan journalism spurs the debate. Tell me, are you sending in your fevered contributions from that US satellite that's going to be shot down over the Pacific in a couple of hours?

My condolences.

Tapestry said...

The time to appoint Redwood is well before any election, so the public get accustomed to his more intellectual ways than the average MP.

The public will get to like someone who understands all the disasters going on around the globe, and those happening much closer to home - like the NR.

It will be refreshing to have Redwood in a top position.

If he's appointed now, his negatives (all politicians have them) can be well innoculated, to use the PR term, before any election period.

The times when the Conservatives show passion about issues, they rise in the polls. Heffer is right this time. He'd make Brown look the dimwit that he is. As for Darling, minemeat..

Praguetory said...

The most intelligent people that I know in the Conservative Party wanted George reassigned a long time ago. We should be ripping Labour hearts out over NR.

Why does the leadership always need to learn its lessons the hard way? Personally, I support Fallon for Chancellor and Redwood at Business.

asquith said...

Heffer couldn't care less about Redwood, he's just stirring.

Madasafish said...

Heffer comes over to me as a cantankerous old duffer who writes great prose and lives in the 1980s (politically).He may very well not be.. but that's the impression he gives.

The Conservatives are rightly still regarded with suspicion by those of us who lived through the dismal Major years.

John Redwood would just confirm that image.

I agree with him the Conservatives are useless at Opposition...but going back to the past will not solve that.

I am no great David Cameron supporter but to suggest as Heffer does that he's a disaster is to forget where the Conservative Party was electorally and where it is now after Cameron became Leader.

It's all very well suggesting tax cuts and slash Gov't spending: I agree... but if the electorate will not elect you to do it, it's a waste of space.

Heffer is crying for political purity: unfortunately that was contaminated in the 1990s by Redwood amongst others. Political purity is great. It does not win elections.

If it did win elections why is Michael Howard not PM? (Don't reply: I can think of lots of reasons:-)

Newmania said...

I have to say I agree with Heffer about John Redwood who must must must have a higher profile role at the very least .This is aman with an enormous amount to contribute to the country and its criminal that he may not be in a position to do so. Your comment about the "symbolism" of Redwood is realistic but the cure for that lies with him adopting a more concilliatory tone to the concensus centered on sustainable localism and compassion.It would be a great help if he were to work on an area of social policy and show that his remedies are based not on cold calculation but on human understanding
Heffers silly bumptious whining which , in effect , attacks the Conservative Party from the right, is really only a blog rant that I could do just as well myself .All good fun , but I wouldn't take it too seriously.

I have little doubt he is actually a simple Conservative but you could impute a kind opf frenzied fascism from his scribblings

Anonymous said...

Simon Heffer is a hard hitter, and right on the nail. He sees with brutal clarity the pigmies in the conservative party, and their pathetic scratching around. Redwood is real, solid, and can deal with the illusionists of NuLabour. As has already been said, this is the most deceitful, lying, incompetent government of the past three centuries, and yet the Cameron conservatives can barely make a mark. Frankly, like Cromwell, I would like to clear the Commons, and appoint a Heffer.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he's got a point Ian - cant say Osborne is exactly setting the world on fire, its not as if he hasn't got plenty of ammunition, and as for Willet's - I cringed at the time! - However on balance don't think Redwood would do much for Tories 'cuddle factor' !

strapworld said...

Iain, you got red around the gills - calm down dear boy, calm down!

BUT I agree with Mr Heffer totally. The juvenile politics being deployed at the moment, names etc is boring the pants off everyone.
WE want to know exactly what the Tories would do and Redwood would be an excellent choice.

Yes there will be a few unfavourable headlines to start with - but once he starts to bite with intellectual argument watch those cricisms turn to plaudits.

Look at today for instance. I MIGHT Ban arranged weddings!! NOT I will...just a might then watch what the reaction is! THAT Iain, is NOT leadership.

I think it is time that you and every Conservative Supporter started giving Cameron HELL. Shake him up. WE sshould be at least 20 points over Labour now!

Remember that Labour was well ahead of Maggie but she turned it around. God Forbid -but Brown could do the same.

Time for Cameron to show real leadership and also get real fighters, like Redwood, alongside him on the front bench.

Sack the Europhiles - Like Clarke who is really a Socialist at heart.

asquith said...

As much as I disagree with strapworld's expressions and general point of view, he does get it right that Cameron didn't go anything like far enough on forced marriages. I think you should blog about it from an explicitly secular, pro-freedom point of view. Letters From A Tory scored on this point. I left a comment explaining my own humble opinions on the matter.

And I agree that Labour's approach towards religion and "culture" should be a stick to beat them with.

Anonymous said...

cant stand that profile thing - you at least benefit from the optical illusion that anybody standing near Heffer does of looking better than you actually should.

Anonymous said...

Anyone recommending John Redwood for Chancellor is clearly a nut.

Why are you so obsessed with Heff. Unfortunately for you Heff represents the heart and soul of Tory Land. If you have really changed, then you need to tell Heff to Heff off.

Richard said...

I actually thought that Heffer came out of that exchange with a clear victory, Iain. His arguments for appointing Redwood echo my own and Osborne just does not have the economics background or a media and Commons presence of sufficient gravitas to warrant his holding of the second most-important job in government.

Furthermore, you couldn't come up with anything to counter Heffer's criticism of Willetts and his lacklustre handling of the grammar school fiasco in 2007.

The Conservative Shadow Cabinet possesses about four or five figures who are genuine hardhitters, of Cabinet-level ability and who could actually make a difference when serving in HMG. The rest are there to make up the numbers, which is a crime when you consider the likes of Redwood, Clarke, Howard, Widdecombe and Dorries languishing on the backbenches. Cameron needs to act quickly to appoint a Shadow Cabinet of all the talents, and thus one that is ready to govern and to govern well from day one.