Introduction by Ben Wright & Speech by Ed Vaizey
Peter Hitchens Speech
Iain Dale Speech
Discussion Part 1 - Dale attacks Hitchens who hits back
Discussion Part 2 - Vaizey on a more Tory agenda & Dale on why people go into politics
Q & A Part 1 - Tory schools policy, localism & Europe, Terrorism & civil liberties
Q & A Part 2 - Civil liberties - has it dropped down the Tory agenda?
Q & A Part 3 - Universities & vocational education. Dale & Vaizey disagree...
Q & A Part 4 - Climate change, a hung parliament, leadership & optimism.
I wrote about the event HERE, and was fairly critical of Peter Hitchens' approach to the debate. Peter has sent me the following email, which I am happy to publish. Watch the videos and make your own mind up!
My difficulty with Iain's account of the Oxford Orwell debate is this. What I would really appreciate would be a serious Tory loyalist reply to my criticisms, which are I think quite clear, rather than the misrepresentation of my views and suggestions that my motives are cynical or based upon spite.
I do not say , and have never said (because I do not believe it) , that the Tories lost the last three elections because they were not conservative enough. They lost them because they were the Tories, and beyond rescue.
They still are beyond rescue. As it happens their manifestoes were not specially conservative in any of the last three elections, but I am not sure how much difference this made to the outcome. What is clear is that they now believe their future lies in accepting New Labour's social, moral, cultural( and economic) positions.
Nor do I say that all politicians are careerists. However, I do say that those who pursue office without principle are careerists, and that when or if they get office, they will not be in power. I regard this as a statement of observable fact, not of opinion.
My motivations are not personal, nor the result of bitterness. I am unwounded by my wholly predictable and expected failure to win the Tory nomination for Kensington and Chelsea nearly ten years ago, and in fact remained a member of the Tory Party for some years afterwards. Nor am I a Trotskyist sleeper. My motivations, like those of Iain Dale, are based on a desire to help my country.
I am not thoughtless or destructive for destruction's sake. My prescriptions for national reform are clear from my books (which few of my critics have read, though they have read hostile and mendacious reviews of them) and from my many writings. My conclusion, that the Tory Party is an obstacle to political conservatism in this country, is further explored in my next book, to be published on 5th May, 'The Broken Compass'. Please read it.