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October 19, 2003


Anthony C

Quite agree. Hague's altering of the rules regarding leadership elections were startlingly bad and incredibly damaging - something which was predicted at the time by the late Sir Julian Critchley (among others). Anyone with a moderate amount of historical insight should have been able to tell that this was the case, both from the American experience and from the deliberations that had taken place under previous Tory leaderships - the Hague decision was not taken in a vacuum; in fact successive generations of high ranking Tories had debated the matter of expanding the leadership franchise and had (obviously) successively rejected the idea - in no small part because of the belief that such moves would result in the election of leaders on the basis not of talent but of doctrinal purity and a steady stream of leaders so partisan as to be unelectable.

For all the talk about democracy it is ridiculous to have a party leader who has the backing of the grassroots but who has, at his strongest, enjoyed the support of perhaps no more than a third of the parliamentary party. It is a recipe for disaster. The grassroots want somebody who can hold the party together. Holding the party together must begin at the parliamentary level.

Personally, I veer between wanting to limp on with IDS and wanting to have a change. But one thing is for certain - if he is to be overthrown it must happen soon or it will be too late. The question is - are the Tories doomed to lose the next election no matter what? If they are then it may be best to carry on and let IDS take the inevitable pounding. If IDS is overthrown and then the Tories lose anyway, it may give the sort of people who form IDS's base an excuse to shift blame onto those who replaced IDS and to bring in another leader in the IDS mould for another 4 years of misery. If and when there is a change it must be decisive.


IDS is a symtom rather than a cause of the Tories debilitation. And that cause surely goes beyond that party alone since it affects the whole body politic. The fact is that there is no independence of thought or expression in today's political world. Without such individual independence there can be no collective agreement that means anything since men are not conceding individual positions to a strongly defended collective good but limply waiting to see where the winds of events will blow them.

It is the passivity and caution of those who see themselves subject to a quasi-totalitarian state that we should be concerned about. The hyena mentality that turns upon and destroys everything that appears vulnerable and defers and grovels to everything that appears strong is the disease that is unravelling this country. IDS is merely one more casualty of a dark age.


"Sometimes in order to enhance democracy you have to reduce the number of people taking part". The question is, who is going to decide the "Sometimes"? Does a referendum on the EU constitution come on under the heading "Sometimes" and if we do not have one will that greatly enhance democracy with the EU. Democracy in Britain must be greatly enhanced because less and less people are taking part. I wonder if that is because the electorate believes that politicians do not need to listen because they know best and so there is no point in voting? It seems to me that our democracy in future will be greatly enhanced.

It would not have mattered whoever was made leader of the Conservative
Party he or she would have the same aggravation and backbiting as IDS.

Anthony C

Slightly off topic post, that. Somewhat out of context, too.

Any leader of the Conservative Party would have faced backbiting. An effective leader of the Conservative Party who was not seen to be a public joke by those floating voters who recognise him and would be able to sustain his position on the basis of his successes with the broader electorate at large, unlike IDS who has little ammunition against plotters due to his own incompetance and generally recognised unelectability.


“His attempted quips - the threat to shoot Tony Blair, the prediction that the men in grey suits delegated to depose him would leave without their suits - are always witless and sometimes surreal. His attacks on his political opponents are mean-spirited and small-minded.”

I think Mr. Kamm is being rather unfair here. I would wager (maybe a pound) that Oliver is basing his opinion on limited and selective examples, namely a couple of lines from IDS conference speech. I don’t think that Mr. Kamm’s views are well founded this time round (for once). IDS did call Mr. Blair a liar in regard to the Kelly affair. And he was right (the Japan-aeroplane incident). It was reported for all to see on Channel 4 news some time ago.

That being said, I’m not following Oliver around noting where he gets his information.

IDS is useless when it comes to PR and is not media-savvy unlike Mr. Blair. In my opinion IDS has done a fine job though he has run his course. The Conservatives now have a host of polices to “fight with” and even though many might disagree with them, others find them agreeable.

And that’s a step in the right direction.


i must say, Kamm is quite an interesting character, if not a horrible witty one. i am an international conservative and fat one at that. I am trying to speak in a british accent.

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