Monday, January 19, 2009

When Dinosaurs Roamed the Conservative Party

Earlier this afternoon I took part in a discussion on the Simon Mayo programme on 5 Live. I had been told that Liam Fox and Ann Widdecombe would be on, but the producers hadn't said that Barry Legg would be in the studio with me. I generally have a policy of not appearing on programmes with other Tories who I know are purely there to disagree with me, as it does not generally lead to a very edifying discussion. For those who have never heard of him, he was a Tory MP in the 1990s and before that was on Westminster City Council. He currently chairs the Bruges Group.

He was naturally against Ken Clarke having any role in the Tory Party whatsoever. Whatever question Simon Mayo asked him he always brought the subject back to Europe. It was like being in a timewarp. Suddenly I knew how Peter Mandelson felt when he found himself banging his head on the Cabinet table last week when the Cabinet was discussing Heathrow.

Legg had been invited onto the Mayo programme as a former Chief Executive of the Party, albeit for only a few weeks back in 2003. In some ways it was encouraging that they were reduced to choosing him, as it meant there were no leading figures prepared to put the anti-Ken argument over the airwaves. A few years ago, there would have been a queue at the studio door.

Anyway, if you want to listen to ten minutes of me and Barry Leggosaurus slugging it out, then click HERE. Scroll in 38 minutes. Enjoy. Or not.


strapworld said...

I do hope that after his disgraceful statements on the radio, Mr Legg has his party membership recinded. Let him join UKIP which is his natural home. He would simply enjoy meeting and talking to fellow cavemen who probably want to save the GROATE.

It would be interesting if decent people who, like me, have supported the Bruges Group leave it asap. It is obviously run by people who have not moved on for twenty years!

He was a disgrace. He even tried to shout Iain down. But Iain retained his composure and won the tussle hands down.

JPT said...


Anonymous said...

Maybe there is room for Mr Legg with Mr Brown - Please look at the Blog to understand what i mean!

Michael Heaver said...

Moved on, strapworld?

The issue of the EU is the most important facing Britain today. I accept that it is in the Tories favour to try and skip over the issue as if it is no longer of importance, but those like Iain cannot always skip over the subject as if it is like any other issue. It is not. This is about who governs Britain. You have promoted a man who wants to surrender Britain's sovereignty lock, stock and barrel. It is a huge deal.

Ted said...

Couldn't help remembering that it was Derek Conway who demanded he be sacked as Chief Executive because of the scandals asserted on Radio 4.

What goes around....

Andy said...

Good performance Iain. We know viscerally that Europe needs reform but it is simply not an election issue; we must bfocus on what is - the economy - and reform the EU once in power. Legg is a fool.

Anonymous said...

Typical BBC stitch up.

As I said on 'Guido's' even though I am anti Europe, the Bruge Groups dopey outburst shows them to be a load of numpties.

BTW - Political Betting is reporting new Ipsos-MORI poll with 14% Tory lead.

strapworld said...

Michael Heaver wake up.

The world is a different place right now. People are losing their jobs on a daily basis. Firms are closing down. I believe we are in a depression. We need good sound politicians who have proved their worth. Clarke is most certainly one of those.

What I cannot stand are people who live in a timewarp, who are one subject politicians and cannot or will not allow other people a view.

I am, possible, more anti EU than yourself and have put my money on the line for that cause! I have witnessed the growth of the EU financed Common Purpose and that should worry everyone.

I have tried the useless UKIP and one other party and came to the very quick conclusion that these parties are run by people who do not believe in democracy. They, frankly, frighten me!

Ken Clarke has his view he has expressed it. But I am more than willing to accept his statement today.

I want the Tories to win the next general election. Should Brown win then we can all forget about any semblence of a united kingdom then!

Andy in Newcastle said...

I'm going to despair if the ultra-sceptics start stirring things up because of Ken's return. The party has a settled policy, so they can't seriously think Ken's return is going to turn us into the LibDems, surely?

At the end of the day, are they seriously suggesting that the UK is better of with the current lot in power? They want their heads examining.

Jim Baxter said...


You - relaxed and natural.

Legg - tremulous.

Which presentation suggests the more honest, informed man?

Hubba hubba hubba, who dya trust?

Out of the two I mean. Without necessarily supporting their party.

Ilja Nieuwland said...

Just witnessed Mr. Legg on Newsnight contributing to the BBC chorus of disapproval. With friends like these...

By the way, as a palaeontologist I must disapprove of your comparison of Mr. Legg to dinosaurs. The dinos would be hard done by.

Ted Foan said...

Doesn't the Legg bloke - whose needle seems stuck in his cracked record - realise that if (when) the Conservatives are in government they have given an undertaking that (assuming Ireland hasn't been coerced to go back on its "no" vote before) the country will be given a referendum on Lisbon?

Ken Clarke can have no influence over that but he can certainly be used as the attack dog against Brown & Co that Cameron wants.

Weygand said...

I did not hear his interview on 5 live but he was all over the media yesterday, and I caught others.

My reaction (even as a moderate eurosceptic) was exactly the same as yours - one of culture shock.

Nothing he said made any sense; especially the claim that by giving Ken Clarke a job, Cameron was abandoning his promise to have a referendum on the Euro.

Fortunately, he came over as the sort of guy who makes you instictively want to side with whatever he is opposing and will have caused embarrassment to nobody but himself and other extremists.

All the same, he should bugger off to UKIP where he belongs and if he doesn't he go voluntarily should be sent packing by DC.