Managing the Conservative party

Before the last election Mr Cameron was attentive and available to MPs who wanted a change of course. He was persuaded by some of us to veto the Fiscal treaty, to offer a referendum and to seek to cut the EU budget, for example. Although he did not have a fully representative number of Eurosceptic Ministers in the government, he did make up for that to some extent by meeting with us and seeking to understand our concerns. We were delighted with the offer of a referendum, and redoubled our efforts to achieve a Conservative government on the strength of it.

Since the election Mr Cameron has been  spending much more  time with other EU leaders than with Eurosceptic backbenchers. Maybe that goes with the job. Maybe it was necessary to undertake a renegotiation. In part it is because the EU has entered another one of its phases of permanent crisis, with the great migration testing the borderless empire to destruction of the policy whilst the financial tensions of the Euro continue to play in many parts of the currency zone. He was of course abroad when the IDS problem blew up, showing again the difficulty  of EU entanglements to domestic politics, taking a PM away from crucial domestic matters when it is important to be available in person.

Whilst this may all be an understandable use of Prime Ministerial time, the danger is he loses sufficient contact and understanding with his own party, the very force that keeps him in office. Ending up on the opposite side to a majority of his party members and to around half his Parliamentary party on the EU issue despite indicating clearly he would like them to side with him creates new issues in party management that need careful and urgent attention. If he retains his understanding  of the merits of the Eurosceptic case and can sympathise with what we are doing it can be handled. If he gets to the point where he has forgotten all the reservations he has expressed in the past about the EU, and the apparent narrow call he made to recommend staying in, then he will find it more difficult to put the party back as one after the result of the vote. Some of us were proud to help with the Bloomberg speech, and many were pleased with its clear message that democratic accountability had to rest in the UK from the people to their Parliament. That is what we are trying to restore by proposing we leave the EU.

So what needs the Prime Minister to do to unite his party? He needs first of all to demonstrate that Ministerial jobs are as open to pro Leave people as to Remain people – I speak for many talented colleagues who wish us to leave, not for myself. The replacement of Iain Duncan Smith with a Remain person is not a good first step. If Leave wins then of course all the crucial roles that are EU facing and are part of the negotiation for exit need to  be taken by people who believe in exit. That modest minority who wished to remain and have been long term believers in the project also deserve their share of positions, but those who have voted Remain with little conviction do not need a representative quota given the views of the party but should be judged solely on their Ministerial merits. Were Remain to win the half of the Parliamentary party that wants out will be  bitterly disappointed as they are believers and representatives of much of the party membership , so will need to be involved in the government that follows. Again some of them could  be useful in EU facing roles to try to prevent the EU using their win in our vote to brush the UK’s continuing legitimate concerns aside.

He also needs to nuance his comments in the referendum campaign. He speaks as if the only thing that matters to him is winning, turning a deaf ear to the legitimate  views of the other side. That is fine for a partisan fighting a  normal election, as such  partisans don’t win the right to stay in office if they lose. As he wishes to remain  Prime Minister, he has to remember that the Prime Minister has to speak as best he can for the whole nation. As party leader he has to speak for the majority of his party. If he spends the next few weeks denying, criticising and brushing aside everything we believe in about the fundamentals of our democracy and our nation, it will  be that much more difficult for him to put it all together again afterwards.

I respect those on the other side of the EU debate who genuinely want a United Europe, with full banking, monetary, economic and political union as the leaders of the EU want. I disagree with them, but understand their vision. I find it  very difficult to understand people who argue with us about how imperfect the EU is, and then insist we stay in it for fear of them trying to  be nasty to us if we leave. The UK has no tradition of giving in to bullies. It is  bizarre that the main view that many pro EU people have in the UK is that our partners are nasty. Fortunately they would not be powerful enough to hurt us.

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157 Comments

  1. Wingsovertheworld
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    I think if the country collectively decides to stay in the EU, Cameron’s and Osbourne’s current antics will be so hurtful as to provide much fuel for UKIP to make a run at the next GE. Cameron will not be there as PM c.2020, so a new leader will have to emerge. Who? Osbourne, after *that* budget?

    The Conservative’s traditional policies of smaller government, lower taxation and enterprise have been undermined somewhat in public opinion. The idea of bringing people out of tax via the personal allowance is most welcome, but it doesn’t escape attention that it was a LibDem proposal. Increasing the higher rate tax band is also welcome, though I fear too little, too late. Lowering corporate tax is welcome, but plays into the hands of the image of a party favouring businesses’ wealth over individual’s. Backtracks on tinkering with the pension system, while I can understand the reason for both proposing it (short term deficit reduction) and removing it (short term media image), also indicate a party in disarray over a direction. It does not install confidence in the voting populace.

    I feel the main reason why more conservatives have not turned purple is that Farage and Nuttall et al are personally quite hideous to most Tories. If UKIP were somehow to get Suzanne Evans as party leader and Farage took a step back I feel it would popularise them with many disenchanted Leave voices who feel ignored, or moreover ripped-off by the current administration.

    I think that should be of grave concern to the Tory party when considering Cameron’s and Osbourne’s schoolboy behaviour.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      You are right – we have the example of Scotland, the close “No” vote in their referendum lead to an SNP landslide. The equivalent here would be UKIP>

      • Hope
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:06 am | Permalink

        WOTW is correct in what he writes. JR, I am surprised that you are out of touch with the perception of the public. Montgomery’ s resignation should have been the final wake up call that Cameron is liking the role of acting like a president with his side kick, just like Blaire. You saw his agar once over gay marriage, his view towards his own supporters and association members. He has surrounded himself with strong Europhole advisors from the past Major, Clarke and Heseltine. His cabinet skewed and unrepresentative of his party only his own views. If he was objective Osborne would have walked in 2012 after his calamitous budget, May for her continued failure to get to grips with the Home Office and Immigration and Villers over the West coast railway fiasco. He got rid of Gove for no good reason, he got rid of Patterson for no good reason- leaving us to suspect he was ridding his cabinet of potential dangers to the EU project. In no way has he been representative or credible for any Eurosceptic view- that is pure wishful thinking on your part. The facts were and are clear. Look at his actions, results and behaviour. He had many opportunities to act on his word and CHOSE not to. Undoubtedly coached by those who sought to entangle the UK into the EU project forever without a number from inside your party as it would be too late and to advert another split that kept your party out of office for many many years. JY, unusually, poor analysis and wishful thinking. I do accept this might be your contribution for your party’s benefit. It is too late with the public. You cannot believe a word Cameron says.

        • Mitchel
          Posted March 21, 2016 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

          You could add to the list the government’s immensely relaxed attitude to large parts of our strategic infrastructure being sold off to foreigners or closed down,be it the energy sector,the steel industry or The London Stock Exchange.Britain’s open for business has come to mean nothing more than everthing is up for sale and everone is available for hire.

          It is almost as if they want the country to permanently lose the capability to function as an independent,sovereign nation.

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

          May for her continued failure to get to grips with the Home Office and Immigration

          You are not labouring under the illusion the government wants to cut immigration, are you? They really don’t. It is the ONLY way they can get the economy to grow. With the government as a monkey on the back of the British people – taking so much of what they earn in taxes – with so much money spent on the EU and Foreign Aid – with no increases in productivity due to the increase in low skilled jobs – there is no alternative for them to get GDP up. It’s not rocket science. Stick another 5 million people into a country and GDP is bound to go up.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        @Wingsovertheworld; “I think if the country collectively decides to stay in the EU, Cameron’s and Osbourne’s current antics will be so hurtful as to provide much fuel for UKIP to make a run at the next GE”</I.

        They might need to change the name of the party, and many of their policies first though!..

        @Roy Grainger; But was that 2015 SNP landslide so much a vote against the Union [1] or against Tory and Blairite (and the LDs selling their heart for a taste of power in 2010) policies, and why did Corbyn win such a landslide in the Labour leadership contest…

        [1] if so why didn't Scottish voters just vote for a iScotland less than a year before?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        With the FPTP voting system (and all the always have always will vote Con or Lab) the choice is Conservative or Labour or no overall majority.

        It may not be fair but that is how it is. The historical Tory and Labour brands still have huge value they are very hard to displace.

        We need real Conservatives to resume control of the party that is the only way.

        Anyway the UK public are surely sensible enough to vote BREXIT, if they do not they surely deserve all the disasters they will certainly ensue.

        No one should vote remain in the first referendum anyway as a better deal will follow as night follow day – the EU and establishment will not give in easily.

        • Peter Parsons
          Posted March 21, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

          The FPTP system is a cause of what is currently occuring in both the Conservative and Labour parties. Like a couple who stay in a marriage despite it being in neither’s long term best interests, the neccesities of FPTP elections mean that these two large coalitions of multiple, often diametrically opposed, smaller parties (because that is what the Conservatives and Labour both are) stay together despite their internal divisions.

          It is a personal frustration that this electoral self-interest is prioritised over giving the electorate what the majority (by which I mean more than 50% rather than the majorities you get under FPTP) of us actually want – a reformed, proportional system, one consequence of which may well be the dissolution of the two coalitions and the creation of parties which many on this site claim the current ones are not and what they actually want to see e.g. a Conservative-type party which espouses the policies that LifeLogic regularly advocates. Perhaps there would be separate Blairite and Corbynista Labour-type parties as well.

        • getahead
          Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

          Lifelogic, you keep talking about a second referendum.
          There is no need for a second referendum. OUT should mean exactly that. OUT.

          • matthu
            Posted March 21, 2016 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

            Indeed. Cameron has clearly indicated no second referendum.

            Unfortunately, once Cameron is ousted and replaced by whomever, that person can very easily say that it is in our best interests to re-open negotiations aimed at achieving the fundamental reform of the EU that we always wanted to be followed by a second referendum … This would receive the support of nearly all of Labour, half the Conservative Party and all of the SNP.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 22, 2016 at 4:33 am | Permalink

            I agree, but I doubt if that will happen. The EU and the remain lot will not give in that easily, especially if it is close as is likely.

          • Bob
            Posted March 22, 2016 at 8:44 am | Permalink

            @getahead
            Normal logic doesn’t apply to matters relating to the EU where referendums are repeated until they get the desired answer.

    • Paul H
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Whilst it would undoubtedly boost UKIP, I don’t think it would be as strong as has happened with the SNP. The SNP was on a higher base – indeed, already in government – and has clearly established an emotional loyalty beyond that of simple reason. UKIP has none of those things indeed – indeed there appears to be an irrational aversion to it among many leavers.

      So I don’t think UKIP will surge enough to put it in power, but it could certainly seriously weaken the Tories and help propel Corbyn to No. 10. Indeed I can almost see now the warnings from the Tories – “Vote Farage, get Corbyn”. Whilst it is tempting to say that by then such warnings would be too overused to have much effect, the prospect of a Corbyn government would be even more chilling than that of a Miliband government propped up by Sturgeon.

      Incidentally, perhaps I lack emotional intelligence but I don’t really understand why Farage is so much of a deterrent compared to Evans.

      • matthu
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        The main reason is that the media joined forces to paint UKIP (and Farage by closest association) as racist at the time of the last election.

        Just about every TV interview focused not on what the UKIP policies were, but on why one or other UKIP candidate had connections with racism, or why some or other pamphlet did not have the requisite number of black faces on the cover.

        The media were so successful that Cameron has ever since been able to avoid debating Farage, and more recently avoid ANY Eurosceptic debate.

      • John C.
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        My feeling is that speculation over 2020 is really pointless. Who would have forecast a year ago that we would have a majority Conservative government splitting into two, a Corbyn (who?) led opposition splitting into two, an SNP up for another referendum despite its whole economic reliance on oil destroyed, and the E.U. collapsing over a tide of immigrants?
        If a week is a long time in politics, a year is an age, and 4 years an eternity.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Wingsovertheworld,

      If the country does collectively decide to remain then it won’t matter a jot what British government is in office.

      The coming referendum really is about whether or not to abolish the British government – though it will continue to operate but only to present the image of a normally functioning democracy.

    • Chris
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Wings, do you realise the number of conservatives who have left Cameron’s Conservative Party in order to join or support UKIP? 4 million of the electorate voted for UKIP. Farage and Nuttall are not “hideous” to many, and that includes former Conservative Party members. It would help any debate if you were more measured in your comments.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        Chris, totally agree with these comments. I think Farage and Nuttall are brilliant and at least what they say is true. They are the only party who have spoken facts about the EU referendum and not fiction.

      • MikeP
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps strident and rude would be better descriptions of Farage than hideous. Personally I don’t mind the strident bit as it denotes a man with passion, forthrightness and conviction. But the videos clips of his insulting remarks in the European Parliament do him (and the UK’s image abroad) no credit and that is where he crosses the line, unnecessarily so.
        Some of the greatest statesmen have found ways of putting down opponents and winning their arguments without recourse to blatant personal insults, Farage isn’t one of them, sadly and ironically, as I agree with most of what he says.

        • PeterDGardner
          Posted March 23, 2016 at 2:40 am | Permalink

          Nigel Farage does not pretend to be a statesman. Cameron does but isn’t one either. Furthermore Farage has been quite open and clear that he does not want to be Prime minister. His only objective is to get Britain out of the EU. He has no personal ambition to hold power. Prime Minister Cameron has power and is using it to give the EU permanent power to govern Britain regardless of the future wishes of the people of Britain or their representatives in their parliament. I notice Cameron never attempts to explain why supra-national government by an unaccountable foreign power is superior to sovereign parliamentary democracy but that is what he wants for Britain in future. Whose side is he on? At least Farage is on the side of the British.

      • Wingsovertheworld
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        4million is a large number in of itself but not when there are 47million registered voters up for grabs. Not all will be the disenchanted swing voters I grant you, but those are the ones which need targeting.

        I didn’t say I personally find Farage or Nuttall hideous – I said many Tory voters would. And I stand by that statement. If they weren’t turned off at the first instance of hearing the name “Farage” maybe they’d have time to listen to what he had to say, which in the round, make perfect sense. That is why I suggested that Evans would make a better frontman (-lady) for UKIP. She is not tainted by the media’s representation of her. Her manifesto made a lot of sense and she delivered it well. She has a laid back style that I personally find more appealing than the slightly shouty style of Farage and Nuttall, although I say again, I don’t personally find them hideous. They obviously have their loyal fanbase, but those people are not the ones UKIP need to win over to win seats at the next GE.

  2. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    None of the parties in Westminster look lasting. Odd that two consecutive budgets have not left the starting gate. Held up solely by Tories in the Lords and Commons as Labour cannot hold up so much as a drinking session in the proverbial.
    The next Prime Minister will be Tory if the Party can rid itself of believing Britain has a “World Role”. The world laughs, as the British bombs meant for Syria are tossed to-and- fro between Mr Benn and Mr Cameron, with the US, Russia and Canada having no use for them. In that anyone of account on the international stage listens to their warmongering, they sound like Colonel Blimps

  3. Excalibur
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Another splendid article, JR. I particularly liked the phrase “that democratic accountability had to rest in the UK from the people to their Parliament”.

    A criticism I have of CMD is that if he is so certain of the merits of Remain, why is he not prepared to debate the matter publicly with proponents of Leave such as yourself ?

    Watching him embrace Jean-Claude Junker on television was particularly odious.

    • Hope
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      He has not been held to account that he failed in his negotiations and failed to rule nothing out. Although I accept this was never going to be the case and he would accept nothing to stay in the EU. Watch him speak in parliament when he was clear he would not want or support a referendum and the U.K. Was better in the EU. This was before any sham renegotiation of change of terms. He denied the public its wish. He only changed when the voting pattern worried him when UKIP won the EU elections. Scared how this might affect the general election he changed, believing he would not have to deliver as they all thought it would be a hung parliament.

  4. ian
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Mr Digby Jones the well known industrialist has open a web site called free parliament,
    well worth a look at and will be going public in april 2016, I know that most of you are con party and ukip supporters it another view on things.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      I will look. Actually in my longish life and based on the circumstances of each particular election I have voted in I have variously voted Labour, Green, Conservative and UKIP. I think I may have also voted Liberal. I am tactical voting personified. Actually I once voted in a General Election in a seat where the winner only won by 2 votes so once my vote almost made a difference.

    • A different Simon
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Ian ,

      Others might not know that Digby Lord Jones was never a member of the Labour party .

      He carried out his job as minister in the spirit of public service for the benefit of the country .

      Apparently the Conservatives also offered him a job but his refusal to join any political party was an insurmountable problem for the Conservatives whereas it wasn’t for the Labour hierarchy at the time .

      I haven’t always agreed with him but much prefer a down to earth Brummie to head the CBI etc ed.

    • Mitchel
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Mr Digby Jones(I think it may be Lord actually) is a lawyer rather than an industrialist.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        Really, he is a lawyer but (from Wikipedia) he is also

        Chairman of Triumph Motorcycles Ltd, Non-Executive Deputy Chairman of the Unipart Expert Practices (UEP) Division, Corporate Ambassador to Aon Risk Solutions, Senior Adviser of Babcock International Group plc, Chairman of Grove Industries, Non-executive Chairman of Thatchers Cider Ltd, Corporate Adviser to JCB, Chairman of the Advisory Board of Argentex LLP, Chairman of Cell Therapy Ltd, Chairman of On-Logistics Ltd, Non-executive Director of Leicester Tigers plc, Senior Adviser to Harvey Nash plc, Business Adviser to Barberry Developments Ltd, Non-executive Director of Leicester Tigers plc, Corporate Ambassador to Ravenscroft Securities of Guernsey, Chairman of the Governors of Stratford-upon-Avon College and Non-Executive Chairman of G-Labs Ltd.

        With his political experience and industry experience I’d say he was someone worth listening to.

  5. The Active Citizen
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Good grief JR. What a measured and powerful article.

    I know it won’t go far enough for many readers, but Party loyalty is something you’ve demonstrated down the years. Now it seems you’re adjusting the nuances considerably and I for one applaud this.

    “to demonstrate that Ministerial jobs are as open to pro Leave people as to Remain people – I speak for many talented colleagues who wish us to leave, not for myself.” Why in heaven’s name not? There may soon be a vacancy at No.11 and I can’t think of anyone better qualified.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Agree Active Citizen. Do I detect a slight wobble in Dr Redwood’s stance and support for Cameron? As far as most of us are concerned, it is not before time. I and many other supporters of the Conservative party are well fed up with Cameron/Osborne and the way the party is heading. Not what we expected after the LibDums were dumped. I think many in the party will find it hard to work alongside many of the Remain numpties after the vote. The thought of Corbyn getting in is scary to say the least and I think Cameron is playing straight into the hands of UKIP the way he is going. I heard, but did not see who was speaking on Breakfast this morning, someone arguing that we could create many MORE jobs by getting out of the EU and thought whoever it was made a very good case.

      I wonder how many more MP’s are feeling like yourself John??????

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. Could 12 good men and true be found to deny the government its majority on pain of Cameron adopting a neutral stance on the EU and put the government machine at the disposal of both sides.

    • Timaction
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Indeed. Many of us aren’t interested in internal party politics when our National Interest is at stake. We don’t have time for threats to the future when he is turning every issue on its head and stating the exact opposite to the truth on national security, sovereignty, threats, trade etc etc. Time to act is now. Your leadership is not up to the job. Cameron is the “Remain” lead and using our taxes to support him. Outrageous!

  6. Mark B
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    There was no Fiscal Treaty and therefore, CMD did not veto anything. He just did not sign it. Only the EU Commission has the authority to sign Treaties, and that is why the other EU Countries referred to it as a ‘Pact’.

    I hear our kind hosts disappointment in CMD. Believe me sir, you are not the only one ! He has told you what he tells everybody else. ie What they want to hear. Anything for an easy time and a quite life. No wonder the man loves the EU, he does not have to do anything except sign what is put in front of him then spin it to both Parliament and the people. Trouble is, when you are someone with no real beliefs, and you are trying to convince others, you soon run out of ideas and things to say. That is why, ‘Project Fear’ will not work on many, hence his retort about not wanting talk to people who have already made up their minds on the EU, and is endlessly repetitive.

    CMD will, in time, betray all those around him. He, as LL has often said, has a dodgy compass. So dodgy in fact, that it will him only which way the political wind is blowing so he can follow that course to who knows where.

    The UK is not just rudderless, it is all over the place with a discontented and sometimes mutinous crew, and passengers whose final destination is unknown.

    What this country lacks, is someone with clear simple belief’s many can share and a plan to both maintain those core belief’s and build on them.

    Any suggestions ?

    • Duyfken
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      I would plump for someone not part of the older generation of Tory MPs; otherwise I might have suggested JR himself. JR should of course be one of the kingmakers and if some such (for instance Raab or even Crabb) were chosen as leader, he could depend upon a strong team of supporting heavyweights such as IDS, Gove, and of course again, JR. Boris would not seem to bear the qualities sought by Mark B, nor would I expect him to be satisfied with a supporting role.

      • John C.
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        Boris as a communicator, supported by a wise and knowledgeable group containing Gove, JR and the honourable IDS, would be a voteable party to me at least.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Cameron is a good presenter but he is always trying to present totally daft policies due to his totally lack of any sensible direction. Far easier to present sound policies for a change.

      Sound policies that will work well, such as lower, simpler taxes, higher growth, far smaller government, no EU, cheaper energy, sound money, a strong defense, a criminal justice system that actually has deterrents, far more efficiently organised and funded NHS and Education and a sensible limited (quality only) immigration policy.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        Interesting to see the UK murder rate climbing after a general decline and the distribution & reasons for this.

      • John C.
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        Sound like UKIP policies to me.

  7. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    “Some of us were proud to help with the Bloomberg speech, and many were pleased with its clear message that democratic accountability had to rest in the UK from the people to their Parliament”.

    However I’m sure you know that it was just a speech and Mr Cameron is very competent at reading them out. It’s aim was to placate your Leave colleagues and constituents, nothing more, and it certainly doesn’t represent his own views on the EU. I wonder if you regret helping him when it is clear that his actions simply don’t match the sentiments in the speech. The EU campaign is personal for him, it doesn’t even seem to be about ideology, he wants to win, that’s all, and he will punish anyone who does not help with that aim.

    Osborne is finished by the way, and I wonder if those loyalists like Sajid Javid who ignored their instincts on EU to support him are already regretting their bad choice.

    • Narrow shoulders
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Mr Redwood

      As some one who evidently has had access at various times to Mr Cameron what prompted the change of views from Vetoing the Lisbon Treaty no ifs and no buts to the current state of in at all costs?

      A similar transformation seems to have befallen Mr Hague during his Foreign Secretary tenure.

      It surely can’t just be Sir Humphrey in the background can it?

    • getahead
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      Cameron works for big business. He has no loyalty to his office.

  8. Antisthenes
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    David Cameron is coming over as ruthless, vindictive and unprincipled and that is not good for the future unity of the Conservative party. Of course principled politicians would never get elected in most cases. As politicians have to be very unprincipled to convince voters that they are principled according to Cafe Hayek with which I have to agree. I believe Hilary Clinton epitomises that fact in spades. Trump not so much he spouts rubbish but at least he believes what he says. Perhaps Corbyn falls into the Trump camp.

    Other attributes of politicians that I find disturbing is their hypocrisy, deceitfulness and often poor grasp of the subject that they pontificate or judge others on. Are these things a new phenomena because progressives have so dumbed down everything even our moral compasses or is it because of the explosion of communications technology which is now exposing these facts?

    Although our parliament is full of people with these unsavoury traits at least we have some control over them at the ballot box every 5 years. That cannot be said of our masters in Brussels they can and do what they want without fear of retribution. Only the other day an EU commissioner when being asked about the migrant crises and the recalcitrance of some countries to accept quotas he insisted that if they did not do it voluntarily they would be forced to by Brussels. Do we want to be part of an organisation that has such untrammelled power. I think not.

    • oldtimer
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      As some once said allegedly (Graucho Marx?) “If you can fake sincerity then you have got it made”.

    • Antisthenes
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Following on from my previous comment I do not believe IDS comes out of this smelling of roses as either. Principled he appears to be but also showing signs of being vindictive. It sounds like he has a serious axe to grind with George and Dave as they have not being playing fair with him or the disadvantaged.

      Is this however a reason to believe that perhaps principle does not have a place in politics. As the fall out from his principled stand is very harmfull for the image and unity of the Conservative party and reflects badly on the leavers campaign.

      • John C.
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        You advocate Realpolitik, then. Or only following one’s superior’s orders, even though you know them to be wrong. Or putting your party before your beliefs or your people.
        It seems to me that the IDS situation was this: he had agreed, reluctantly, to cuts; when he discovered that these cuts would be accompanied by giveaways to the better-off, he felt betrayed; he knew he would be carrying the can; he went away, thought about it, and concluded he could no longer support such an arrangement; he resigned.
        Seems reasonable to me.

      • Jagman84
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

        If it was his intention to hasten the demise of Mr Cameron and scupper the chances of Gideon replacing him then, I say, more power to his elbow.

  9. brian
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    It’s quite possible that Cameron has Eurosceptic views but genuinely believes that staying in the EU is best for Britain. If so he is right to state his views and right to canvass for support of those views. He is the Leader of the Party and the Nation. He cannot sit on the fence. Unfortunately there is a rabble of Conservative MPs who think that attacking him is the way to go. They are deluded and will make the Party unelectable if they continue.
    I am a waverer on EU membership but judging by the behaviour of some Brexiters I worry about their effect on the Party.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      If so he is right to state his views and right to canvass for support of those views. He is the Leader of the Party and the Nation. He cannot sit on the fence.

      Actually, if he had a brain between his ears, on the fence is exactly where he should be sitting. This is a referendum. One man, one vote. He has one vote the same as the rest of us. The fact he became a MP and worked his way to the top job is, in my opinion, meaningless. My vote is as important as his and what I say is as important (or unimportant) as what he says.

      If he has a role it is to put the government machine at the disposal of anyone who wants to present FACTS to the electorate. He is finished whether we Stay or Leave. If we Stay more than half the Tory Party will detest him and drive him from office. If we Leave, he will have to resign. Brilliant eh? What a strategist! And this bloke is in the top job.

      • Maureen Turner
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        Well said MW. That first class honours degree in PPE the PM received from Oxford needed another “P” in it – psychology – as the past six years have shown us he seems totally incapable of understanding his core vote never mind the electorate generally.

        I can’t say I see Mr. Cameron as arrogant it’s just I don’t know who he is or what he stands for politically other than his love of all things EU plus an unfortunate tendancy to be more than a little economical with the truth.

        Whatever the outcome on 23rd June let’s rid the Con. Party of the PM and his Chancellor and put conservatism back in the Party where it belongs. The EU boil that plagued Margaret Thatcher and John Major looks as though it won’t need the cut of a lance. It’s going to burst of its own accord.

      • John C.
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        It is very difficult to produce facts about a future and unparalleled situation. Speculation is really the name of the game, rather than facts. The debate must be about the ethos of surrendering your sovereignty, and about the situation as it now stands, financially and in respect of such factors as immigration and E.U. regulation where the facts are generally known,
        What the future holds no-one knows; there are no guarantees either way; and there are no facts from the year 2018 to be revealed.

    • Know-dice
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Regardless of Cameron’s personal views, he has called a referendum and as such must ensure that all information whether it be Remain or Leave is freely available to all.

      Certainly personal attacks doesn’t do anyone any good, but I’m seeing these sort of attacks from both sides equally…

      Why are you a “waverer”?
      What would help you make up your mind one way or the other?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      “He is the Leader of the Party and the Nation. He cannot sit on the fence.”

      I don’t agree. He’s made his best shot at “reforming” the EU and now he should leave it to the people to decide whether it is enough to persuade them to stay in. After all it is the will of Parliament that the matter should be referred back to the people for their verdict, and arguably the executive should be presiding over that process to ensure that their debate is free and fair and properly informed, and organising the actual poll and guaranteeing its integrity, but not taking either side in the debate.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

        Extract from my blog below:

        Who will be in charge of the Tory Party?

        The Remain campaign has been characterised by the attempted spreading of irrational fear, uncertainty and doubt, often involving downright mendacity, by bullying, and by the calling in of favours from fat cat organisations that don’t know what they are talkng about (do the CBI and the Governor of the BoE know what they are talking about?). It has been an absolute disgrace and it has been led by Messrs Cameron and Osborne.

        As a result, I have decided that the whole rotten pro-European crew must go. Win or lose the EU referendum, my advice for the 2020 General Election is:
        – If your Conservative candidate is Eurocceptic, vote for him
        – If your Conservative candidate is Europhile, vote UKIP
        – If your Conservative candidate is Europhile, if there is no UKIP candidate, and the Labour candidate is Eurosceptic, vote Labour
        – If there is no Eurosceptic candidate, don’t vote

    • forthurst
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      “It’s quite possible that Cameron has Eurosceptic views but genuinely believes that staying in the EU is best for Britain.”

      An oxymoronic statement: CMD is not one of us, not with his home background; he is a cuckoo in the nest and it’s about time some Tories, who should know better, woke up to the fact that the instinctive patriotism which they imbibed with their Mothers’ milk did not nourish all those who purport to be Tories.

    • Tom William
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      If he genuinely believes staying in the EU is best for Britain why “negotiate” and come home with nothing of substance and pretend everything had changed? Why hold a referendum at all, even though one had been promised in the manifesto? As PM, and a master of spin, he could have produced reasons why it was no longer appropriate (eg Putin, ISIL, world economy etc.) and promise one later. The fact that he had promised one before 2018 answered by “the facts have changed..not now…wait and see…I am basically Eurosceptic”.

      Such behaviour would have surprised no one.

    • getahead
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      “He is (Cameron) the Leader of the Party and the Nation.”
      I disagree. Cameron is the representative of the CBI and international business in Westminster. He does not represent the electorate who voted for him and is in no way fit to be Prime Minister.

  10. alan jutson
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    What a complete shambles, caused by two people at the top who thought they could ride roughshod over those who they conceive are below them, in both Party position and thought and deed.

    Lets face it, Cameron and Osbourne are now dead in the water, as are their hangers on.

    Both have been completely discredited, one by his European Fiasco, the other by his too clever by half arrogant stealth Budgets, where the detail does not match up to the headlines.

    Clearly these two will hang on until the EU referendum, but I can only hope that the great British Public will vote leave, then your Party Mp’s and Members can do its Duty, and end both of their careers in short order.

    Both men seem completely out of touch with reality and the mindset of the public in general, let alone the majority of their own Party Members.

    It perhaps started with such hope, its ending with great disappointment.

    You need to rebuild with new people at the top if you want to remain in Government, its as simple as that.

    Good grief, even Corbyn is gaining ground with growing popularity against these two.

  11. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    In the last government, wasn’t there a Quad of four people who effectively ran the country? Now the Conservatives have won a slim majority, I understand the Quad is now a Pair. This is extremely unhealthy.
    I listened to Mr IDS yesterday and it seemed to me that the Pair were simply not including or listening to this major member of the Cabinet.
    A good Prime Minister (Harold MacMillan?) spent a lot of time in the tea shop listening and discussing stuff while his ministers got on with it and he could trust them too. His Cabinet was secret and people spoke their minds to him and he to them frankly.
    As soon as a PM becomes too grand for his power base he/she is doomed.

  12. John S
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Nothing to do with the EU referendum and so it will not be necessary to publish this comment. A relation of mine is a civil servant working on the HS2 project. The team was also tasked with putting the economic case for HS3. They found no economic case but the project is proceeding regardless. Perhaps you would like to ask the transport minister for the economic report on HS3.

    • stred
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      To say nothing about the £9bn 18 mile long tunnel with light shows to help drivers, linking Manchester to Sheffield. The heavy traffic is able to take the M1/M62 route at present but needs a tunnel when it snows. Described as ‘madness’ by the Campaign for Better Transport, but given the go ahead by Gideon Powerhouse.

      Regarding HS3, there is no plan of the proposed route or tunnels. The electrification of the existing route was apparently so difficult for NR to manage that it was cancelled last year. The existing express takes about 45 minutes but is overcrowded for commuters and HS3 would save 20 minutes. ( If only they could knock 20 minutes off the Brighton to Victoria) Would it not be sensible to give the very highly paid directors of NR instructions to get their fingers out and some money to upgrade the existing line very quickly. If they can’t put overhead pantographs through the tunnels, perhaps something like we have in the SE with a third rail would work to pull trains through.

      Then, we might have enough left over to afford aid for the disabled.

      • Walterb
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

        We already have 3 railway tunnels under the Pennines.
        Called the Woodhead Tunnels, the first tunnel was opened 1845.
        The 2 was completed in 1853,and the 3 opened 1953,
        The last passenger services finished in 1971.

    • bigneil
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Will HS2 and HS3 have disabled access? – They won’t need it, the disabled won’t be able to afford a ticket.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        They will if they work for the state sector on expenses and perhaps also for two extra people to accompany/help them do the job too.

        They have to make “reasonable adjustments” – all at tax payers expense of course. Rather harder in the real world when you cannot just use other peoples money.

  13. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    I hope the main man reads your piece…and fully understands it. Also those in Brussels and the USA might pay attention.

    The loss at the DWP is significant and is likely the last place it should have happened. The man himself is not pleased about any of it….I can see that!

  14. eeyore
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    I hope Mr Cameron reads your blog because he would learn things he needs to know. If the Conservative Party is split over Europe, it’s because Britain is. A Cabinet not reflective of the split is not reflective of the country.

    Incidentally, the odds are moving toward Leave. Punters are talking to their friends and colleagues, hearing what they say and voting with their money.

  15. ChrisS
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    I fear that CMD has learnt nothing from recent events. He has been doing his best to alienate all of us who wish to leave and his claim to have fundamentally renegotiated our terms of membership insults our intelligence.

    Then we have the ludicrous claims of the dire fate that awaits us if we dare to vote to leave. As has been said, the leaders of Remain, and especially CMD, have been predicting that everything but a plague of locusts will decend upon us. This leaves him and his campaign with little or no credibility whatsoever.

    I’m not sorry to say this but after the end of the campaign he simply has to go. Had he behaved in a statesman like manner and shown respect for both his opponents and the electorate, thing might be different.

    Recent events will ensure a clean sweep at the top : as has been widely expected for some time, No 11 will become vacant, but now it will not be because the current resident has moved next door.

    We will not see a return to right wing conservatism. It seems that the country is not ready for another Thatcher. However we can surely put an end to so much of the Green Crap and bring the Foreign Aid budget back down to an affordable level where we can ensure that it is all well spent.

    You never know, HS 2 might yet be cancelled and Boris Island become a longer term reality !

  16. Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    I do not see how Cameron can be leader of the Remain Campaign, use the power of the Civil Service to muster support in the press and do this by arguing he has the right because the GOVERNMENT has a position and then also appoint Leavers to government posts or listen to the views of Leavers.

    The only way he could unite the party would be to take a very big step back from his present position as leader of the Remain Campaign and compel the Civil Service to stop its biased actions.

    It is not logical to be the leader of one side whilst also trying to run a party that is fundamentally split, Mr Redwood should know he is asking for the impassible and accept he is either in the wrong party or the party has the wrong leader. Then he would join those of us who have already decided enough is enough and have withdrawn our support from the party.

    • bluedog
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      The party has the wrong leader. Unless you can bring yourself to support Corbynite Labour, there is only one viable option in what is a two horse race. UKIP have signally failed to build any domestic constituency that translates into a parliamentary power base. It follows that support for the Conservative Party is the only hope. One has to trust that the parliamentary party will sort out it the leadership issue very soon, preferably before the 23rd June.

      When one reads that the British PM is demeaning a former colleague by declaring him not a ‘gent’, it is time for that PM to go. Every Conservative MP will now be wondering whether he or she qualifies as a gent, and is therefore not marked down as a social inferior to be humoured and tolerated with some reluctance by Cameron. One half expects Sir Nicholas Soames to declare his eligibility, just in case we have forgotten him.

      • Ken Adams
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        I do not support any party that wants to remain in the EU and untill they do sort out the leadership that is the clear policy of the Conservative party.

        They have to decide one way or the other it is no good telling us they are the only hope when they do not offer any hope.

      • John C.
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        Being a gentleman has little do with social class and everything to do with being a gentleman. Cameron does not appear to be a gentleman, just a smooth-talking salesman who sell political ideas.

  17. DaveM
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Cameron doesn’t seem like a PM. He doesn’t even seem like the UK’s rep in the EU.

    What he looks like is the EU’s ambassador to the UK.

    Unfortunately with an inordinate amount of power.

    He spends more time in Brussels than he does in London and looks more comfortable with EU leaders than he does with his own Party. But that goes for all of them – the French, the Germans, etc, none are happy with their leaders so they hang around together having lunches on us.

    Mr IDS has struck a massive blow – we voted for a Tory govt, we didn’t vote for a neo-liberal dictator. As you said, he’s supposed to speak for all of us. Someone should remind him. Can’t you and other senior party members do something before we find ourselves in a nightmare situation in 2020?

    • Chris
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Re “Can’t you and other senior party members do something before we find ourselves in a nightmare situation in 2020?”:
      Margaret Thatcher’s comments about being too “frit” come to mind. Very sad, and a disaster for the country.

  18. David Murfin
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Mr Cameron advocated that we stay in an EU suitably reformed, but he has failed to achieve any substantial reform and is reduced to scare stories to remain in rather than the principled course of admitting that failure and advocating we leave an EU determined to take us in a direction we do not want.

    (A slightly off-topic observation: it is frequently pointed out that the UK is the world’s fifth largest economy, so the EU would trade with us outside.
    The EU would be the fourth largest economy outside the EU, and those rich economies inside the EU would be hard pressed to maintain existing subsidies to its poorer members.)

    • David Murfin
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      “The UK would be …! sorry

  19. JJE
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    It matters little what the balance of the Cabinet is if they are not allowed to set policy or run their departments. Andrew Marr’s aside about Cameron and Osborne being the Ant and Dec of government was telling. It’s a twin dictatorship, not a Cabinet government. Ministers are expected to be the PR mouthpieces for policies they don’t themselves believe in.

  20. Lifelogic
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Indeed but what actually is the leave/remain split among the Tory MPs perhaps 50/50 at best. At least 50% of them are essentially big state, high tax, greencrap, pro EU Libdims like Cameron or perhaps just sheep following him and looking for promotion?

    I too find it very difficult to understand people who argue with us about how imperfect the EU is, and then insist we stay in it for fear of them trying to be nasty to us if we leave. As you say the UK has no tradition of giving in to bullies and anyway in never works in the end.

    I suspect this and the bogus 50% of our trade and only 7% of theirs is the only arguments they have.

    The only other one I have heard seem to be the claim that it will take about 10 years to reach any trade agreements with anyone as bureaucrats & governments are so slow and incompetent. If it is in both sides interests, as it will be ,it will happen quickly enough.

  21. bluedog
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    An excellent piece, Dr JR. You have written earlier and most presciently of the manner in which the EU changes the domestic politics of its constituent provinces. So it is with the troubled dominion of Britannia.

    Within the Conservative Party it seems that the resignation of IDS has led to a sudden hardening of positions and the broad church argument has been overtaken by events, there is no longer any forgiveness. In that event the numbers are critical and a loss of confidence in the CP leadership by MPs in the more marginal seats will prove to be the deciding factor.

  22. Richard1
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I can’t see the logic of IDS’s position. It seems to be quite clear he was well aware of the policy he has resigned over and in any case it has been put aside. The objective of balancing the budget is laudable – and should be happening if anything faster than it is. He is right though to say middle class welfare such as free benefits for rich pensioners is not justified. Neither is the ring fencing of other areas. Much better value could be got NHS. Ring fencing overseas aid and planning huge spending on vanity projects like HS2 is not justified. The budget was broadly sensible and if we get a continuation of better than average growth and a budget in balance in 5 years, Osborne will have done a good job and implemented successfully the policy which on which the Conservative Party including Mr D-S got elected.

    Reply The final straw for IDS was when someone briefed he was to blame for an unpopular policy which he had opposed and only reluctantly gone along with as a compromise in government.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Osborne saw the chance to blame a prominent eurosceptic for an unpopoular policy.
      If he had been more interested in prudent economic management than politicking, the economy would be in a sfer and stronger place.

      • Chris
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        Brian T, have you seen Oborne’s article in Daily Mail? He seems quite clear about Camaeron’s agenda and it is not attractive:

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3501996/PETER-OBORNE-Beginning-end-Dave-George.html#ixzz43Wy6J7uR
        “…Now it’s reached another climax. Cameron and Osborne always intended to use the European Referendum to destroy the Tory right.
        They have long sought the extinction of Duncan Smith, and other Brexiteers such as Owen Paterson, Bernard Jenkin, Sir Bill Cash. There are very old scores being settled here and neither side will show mercy. This is ugly, visceral politics, which is why Tory Party discipline has collapsed over the last few days….”

    • f
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply. If this is true – and I have no reason not to believe it- then IDS is a moral man and one of principals. A rare thing these days in politics. If only there were more like him.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      That doesn’t sound to me like something a cabinet minister should resign over. Shouldn’t he have sought a meeting with Messrs Cameron and Osborne and tried to sort it out? He must have known that his actions are a gift to Labour and other enemies of free enterprise policies. We really need to avoid a re-run of the 1990s!

      Reply They did discuss it, and that apparently made the disagreement worse.

      • Ken Moore
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        Shouldn’t he have sought a meeting with Messrs Cameron and Osborne and tried to sort it out?

        That would suggest that Messrs Cameron and Osborne are fair minded and principled men when they are not. They are political schemers and professional liars who want power at any cost as IDS has discovered.

  23. Old Albion
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Cameron is dedicated to stay in the EU. He always was. His meaningless renegotiation was what I and many predicted, a farce.
    He has no backbone and is scared he could be remembered as the PM who took the (dis)UK out. That’s why he is now driving ‘project fear’

  24. Pete
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    It would be interesting to see if Cameron stayed so pro EU if there was a change in US policy. At the moment they are keen on us remaining in the EU to increase support for their policies. If we left European sentiment is likely to go a lot more independent and much less supportive of US led wars both physical and economic. Basically Washington wants it’s agents in place and if we left we’d be just another US satellite with bought and paid for leadership. If ideas changed in America maybe they’d prefer that and Dave would suddenly become Eurosceptic?

    • stred
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      The PM has denied Leave ministers information from their own departments, withheld information about NI and employment and refused to answer questions about the Turkish deal personally. Some threats to Leave ministers jobs may also be the case. The strangest apparent cover up is his decision to bury the Chilcott Report until after the referendum, as this apparently has nothing to do with the EU.

      Some light on this may come from the sacking of the Chambers of Commerce president last week, when one of the chief aides at no 10 was implicated. It turns out that Cameron’s Korki was sent to help Condoleeza Rice when she was helping George Bush II and Tony and her Transformational Diplomacy was getting them almost religiously excited about bringing democracy to the Middle East and Africa. This was diplomacy backed by force if necessary and involved diplomats getting involved with local democratic movements. Since Condo retired the Whitehouse has continued to back this policy and it has been approved by neoconservatives such as Mrs Newland, who used such colourful language when helping in Ukraine, etc ed

      But Eural too has had his apparently Transformational moments too, as when hoping to expand the EU to the Urals and helping the Libyans to a democracy so successfully. And with a chief aide making the running and helping us ditch our democracy and make a new type run by commissioners and unelected presidents, who would want any of this sort of information coming out.

      re wiki

      • stred
        Posted March 21, 2016 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        To say nothing about Afghanistan, Egypt and Syria or the number of people who now wish to escape to the EU.

  25. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    When the coalition was in power, the government was handled by an inner cabinet of the Quad. Now, apparently, it is run by a Pair since two of the Quad were not re-elected.
    You only have to glance at the New shots of the cabinet to see that it is an orders group with little or no discussion. You only have to listen to IDS with Andrew Marr to realise that there is little or no communication between the Pair and the rest of the government, however important their ministries.
    To get to “the top” you have to be an alpha fe/male.
    So passing over such people and making them feel unloved and unimportant is terribly dangerous – even fatal.

  26. sm
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    I agree most strongly that there has obviously been very poor (or virtually non-existent) Party management over the Brexit issue.

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of IDS’ departure, someone should have been dealing with his disquiet, and someone else should have been handling the presentation of Budget policies, pointing out that reducing the top tax rate (which I support) at the same time as apparently drastically reducing disability benefits would need the most sensitive and sensible media handling.

    • Narrow shoulders
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      Surely the headline was the reduction of corporate tax and capital gains tax not higher rate tax. Higher rate tax is mainly paid by PAYE serfs who can not choose when to take income like the 45%ers so will lead to a reduction in tax take, it has little laffer curve impact.

      Corporate tax and capital gains tax reductions should in theory lead to a higher tax take as companies and investors take their cash against reasonable tax rates (why not include housing in the capital gains reductions freeing u stock and generating cash?).

      A “clever” Chancellor would have found the £4.4 billion in higher tax receipts arising from these reductions and declared that the vulnerable are being supported by business paying its way therefore it was OK that the benefit cap had been breached in this instance.

      I am also sure that £4.4 billion could have been found from reductions in housing benefits, child benefits and tax credits from the “reformed” EU deal recently agreed. So even without factoring in a Brexit there would be lower payments to EU citizens residing here.

      Amateurish.

    • John C.
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Does it really need someone standing next to Cameron and Osborne and pointing such blindingly obvious foolishness? If they are not capable of seeing this (which looks to be the case), they are very ,very incompetent politicians (which looks to be the case).

  27. agricola
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    With a totally different construction that emphasised democracy, and a membership of the Euro that was dependent on financial equality it might have worked. As such it could have been a goal to which others in a free trade area could have aspired to join.

    If the conservative party is to survive the referendum, it needs to be under a very different leadership than it has at present. It should listen to it’s supporters in the country.

    As you imply it is difficult to understand what motivates many in the remain campaign. Is it a religious faith that demands adherence in the face of logic. Is there a hope that in serving remain they will be rewarded. Is it the agenda of the secretive Bilderberg group, of which Cameron and Obama are members, along with many of the movers and shakers in the western world. It could of course be the illogical bloody mindedness of the lemming.

    Remain means subjugation to the EU for as long as it lasts. As there are growing Frexit and Gexit movements this might not be for very long. Let’s help them put an end to this totalitarian construct by voting Brexit. It would be an unselfish decision in aid of our European friends and neighbours.

  28. Mike Wilson
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Whether we stay in the EU is the most important issue facing the people of this country. The position taken by Cameron is incomprehensible to me. He should have come back from Europe and said ‘I tried my best, I didn’t get much, on balance I think we should stay in – but I say that with a heavy heart as the EU is very resistant to reform – and it needs it. It is up to the British people to decide and the government will assist them in making that decision by providing whatever facts and figures it can to people on both sides of the debate’.

    If he had done that he would have appeared statesmanlike and, regardless of the result, could carry on as PM and could unite the Tories afterwards. As it is he has backed himself into a corner and could well destroy his Party. He seems to fail to understand that at least half the parliamentary party, and a lot more than half of Party members, want to leave the EU.

    I wonder if we’ll see MPs that want to leave threatening to vote against the government to remove his majority. It wouldn’t surprise me if he doesn’t take a more statesmanlike position.

  29. Bert Young
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Any leader who surrounds himself/herself with individuals who only agree with his/her views , is blinkered and idiotic . A sensible leader will always attend to opposing views , discuss and debate them with his colleagues and then take a course of action . When the leader reaches a point that he can no longer maintain his position by reasoned argument and persuasion , he must resign . In a public company the shareholders also have a significant voice in the power of their vote ; it is not unknown for them also to cause the resignation of the Chairman or the Chief Executive .

    Cameron’s inexperience has been exposed in a number of ways and he has now reached the point of resignation . He has failed to read the messages of his advisers ; he has failed to read the messages of the public . If he had been wise he would have read the dissent in the Cabinet that existed and , as John has pointed out , the messages of his eurosceptic colleagues in Westminster . He has been blinded by the bureaucracy coming from Brussels and he has wilted from the pressures of other European leaders . He is now a tired and failed Prime Minister who should never have been elected in the first place . The Conservatives are now a very split Party who will not be able to unite until a new respected and experienced person is in place . The sooner this happens the better . As it stands , the Labour Party can only stand , laugh and gain ; were it not for Jeremy Corbyn they would now be miles ahead in the opinion polls .

  30. ian wragg
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Both Dave and Gideon are metropolitan liberals. Neither having to worry where the next crust is coming from and totally at odds with the British people.
    Reducing the PIP was an act of suicide by someone who should know better. If welfare is to be reduced there is plenty of scope with Motability. I don’t understand why someone with a slight disability should have a top of the range luxury car fully funded by me the (70 year old) taxpayer.
    I help in the charitable section and I see endless scams where perfectly healthy people are on the gravy train of benefits.
    Social housing rent free to foreigners together with help to buy transport.
    There is plenty of low hanging fruit to cull but clever dick and his mate go for the least able.
    What’s this about Andrea Leadsom wanting the government to declare 100% carbon free by 2030. Are we ruled by complete idiots.
    Germany builds a dozen coal and lignite power stations a year. We shut cheap coal stations down and German owned utilities ship transformers and other equipment to these new power stations.
    It’s really time these posh boys were ousted and some real Conservative policies adopted

  31. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Cameron’s personal reputation and ‘legacy’ is now focused on winning this referendum. He is already doing everything he can to denigrate and undermine his opponents, scare the public and win. The same tactics were used in 1975. He is selling the country short; allowing (encouraging) foreigners to threaten our country with retaliation should we be so bold as to want to be independent and govern ourselves. He is behaving like the leader of a puppet government.
    No one can seriously believe that he would be capable of handling affairs after a vote to leave.

    • John Lamble
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      One suspects that Cameron was always determined to remain ‘in’. Having [from his viewpoint] acted rashly by promising a referendum he had to turn to the EU to give him during ‘renegotiation’ a figleaf so resplendent that the more biddable among the electorate would be dazzled by it. How amusing to find that the UK is so hated in Brussels that he couldn’t even get that. Repeal of the tampon tax doesn’t quite have the same weight as ‘full repatriation of powers to Westminster’. So Cameron is now reduced to inducing his shady chums to issue scare stories about Brexit. The pile of them is starting to totter as one piece of ridiculousness is piled on another. Before Cameron I was a member of the Conservative Party. No longer.

  32. forthurst
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    A quite remarkable interview with Yvan Blot, ex-MEP and advisor to former French President Nicolas Sarkozy on many topics: Syria, Russia, Ukraine, the US, NATO, the EU, the Referendum:

    “…one of the big problems with the EU is that it is not democratic at all. It was built not to be democratic. The power in Brussels is not in the hands of the Council of ministers and is not in the Parliament. I was for 10 years in the EU Parliament, I can tell you that all the power, in fact, is in the Commission. It’s a government of civil servants, who have no responsibility towards different countries, and they do what they want, and for that reason, more and more people are against this sort of technician government, which is not a democratic government.”

    SophieCo on rt.com:

    https://www.rt.com/shows/sophieco/336066-nato-role-russia-europe/

    • Chris
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      There are some exceptional interviews on RT, and I am very pleased that you have successfully posted this, forthurst.

    • Mitchel
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      I saw that interview too.Very illuminating,I agree.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted March 22, 2016 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      I’ve got say I’m glad we can turn to Russia Today (RT) it’s easy to recognise anti-western stories, but our media are in league with our authories to keep many things out of our sight.

  33. AndyC
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    This is quite strong stuff from our host, who normally picks his words very carefully. I applaud it wholeheartedly. Looks like the plates are moving, as someone once said. Cameron & Osborne are deservedly losing the loyalty and respect of the parliamentary party, and even more so the party outside Westminster. Europe forms a big element, but as IDS has highlighted, it’s not just that. Cameron probably has the skill to turn it round if he were to put his mind to it, but the referendum means he can’t do anything constructive for months, and he’ll be gone relatively soon afterwards anyway whatever the result. Osborne strikes me as a politician with a very narrow outlook who would be wholly incapable of commanding support beyond his own – surely now dwindling – coterie of junior ministers.

    I’d take issue with one point. You say the UK has no tradition of giving in to bullies. Britain’s political leadership spent much of the 1930s doing precisely that. Luckily, then as now, it also contained people with a little more vision and understanding. They need to stand up. Some already have.

    It’s a pity about Mr Cameron and his European appeasement policy. Look at the role models he could have chosen. Peel, Disraeli, J Chamberlain, Churchill, Thatcher. Instead he’s decided to be a combination of Stanley Baldwin and Edward Heath.

  34. alte fritz
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    In relation to the final paragraph of this post, what the “timid” remainers really say is that sovereignty has gone. They say that, in effect, the UK is no longer a viable nation. It will be a sorry state if they can win on so feeble an argument.

  35. acorn
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Please can we have a General Election (GE), instead of a Referendum.

    If we had a “Top Two” Primary election in each constituency, you might get the top two candidates for the GE, being both Tories; one a euro-sceptic and one a euro-believer. All the voters, many of whom would be reluctant to vote Tory normally, get to vote euro-sceptic or euro-believer.

    Simples!!! Have a read of how it works in Washington State USA particularly.
    https://ballotpedia.org/Top-two_primary

    • acorn
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      If you want to read something really EU stupid, it is at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-21/these-eight-eu-countries-are-in-the-budget-danger-zone

      The EU stability and growth, pact is killing the Eurozone. Trying to get budget deficits below 3%; and, debt to GDP below 60%, is even more stupid than the USA Congress, having a budget ceiling increase debate, every year.

      The government sector budget deficit, is primarily decided by the non-government sectors of the UK economy. Decisions on how much each of those sectors will spend and how much they will save. That is, households and corporations and the “rest of the world” that we import stuff from.

      That is why Osborne didn’t eliminate the deficit by the end of the previous parliament; and, why he won’t do it by the end of this parliament. Assuming he is not on some Banzai mission, to destroy the UK economy, by destroying the UK public sector and all who depend on it.

      JR, you know as I know that Brexit and Osborne, are NOT compatible!!!

    • hefner
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      What would be the point of a General Election with the same FPTP system? How would you decide between the In- and Out-Conservatives, between the Corbynistas and the other Labour? It would be a complete waste of time and money.
      Better to stick with the 23/06 referendum and see after what the situation is.

      The Top-two primary idea is “interesting”, but, as far as I understand, it has not been used outside Washingtion state. Following (a bit) the US primaries, I am not sure I would want a similar system, anyway, specially the money amounts that seem to be involved, which makes the candidates much more dependent on rich “sponsors”.

      • acorn
        Posted March 27, 2016 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        Say that in or out of the EU, is the most important question for you, far more important than which shade of neo-liberalism gets to run the country for a while.

        Say you are a dedicated Labour person in Wokingham, You could vote Labour with its “remain” stance in Wokingham; or, you, a Labour voter, want out of the EU above all else; so, you vote for the “leave” Conservative.

        For once, a Labour voter gets to make a vote that would actually count for something. Probably a winner in Wokingham.

        PS Other candidates and parties are available, terms and conditions apply.

  36. mick
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    A little off topic but i see that the BBC as been found out to be bias for the remain camp.
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/653836/BBC-biased-Brexit-EU-referendum-Newsnight-Question-Time
    But saying that what can be done about it !!!

  37. Sean
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    The Tories aren’t Conservatives at all, they are hell bent on giving away public money, spending wildly just as the stupid party Labour would do. UKIP are more Conservative than the Tories, Con-man-eron will be forced out after the leave referendum is won.
    We need someone with ideas like: Stuart Verney, Daniel Hannan, John Redwood but with the Fire in their Belly like the Late Mrs Thatcher.

  38. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    A nicely nuanced, frank but tactful, article, JR.

    My view is that Cameron should either be the leader of the Remain campaign or he should be Prime Minister, but he should not be both at the same time.

    Basically that means Cameron should have remained as Prime Minister and got on with all the many tasks and duties of that office, while being careful that he and indeed the whole government maintained a studiously neutral stance in the referendum, presiding over and organising and assisting the referendum process but not trying to influence the people on the matter which Parliament has referred to them for their verdict.

    Instead he has deliberately chosen to assume the mantle of de facto leader of the Remain campaign and use the resources of the government in his cause, while some ministers have publicly taken the other side, and not only is this disrespectful to the electors it also seems that whatever the outcome of the referendum their party will be left deeply split.

    I’ve mentioned before that in Ireland the Supreme Court ruled that government must remain neutral in referendums:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referendum_Commission

    Even though that has not worked out very well in practice.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and it would have served Cameron well to remain neutral. He could have come back saying he tried his best but would understand it whichever way people voted. A bit of humble pie but not a disaster for him. Instead couldn’t resist the temptation to hype up his negotiation efforts beyond belief, and got stuck then on that bandwagon.
      Really a lack of judgement and an excess of hubris.

    • Posted March 21, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Denis, I always respect and very frequently agree with your views but in this case I cannot.

      Cameron has made it Government policy that we should remain within the EU.

      He has done his best over the renegotiation but he made the fundamental mistake of saying in advance that he would be campaigning to stay in. Brussels never believed for a moment his “won’t rule anything out” comment and, combined with their arrogant view that no country would ever vote to leave their wonderous creation, his fellow leaders have given him an almost impossibly weak hand with which to play.

      Given the utter chaos in Europe, surely only ignorance of the issues and inertia amongst the electorate can result in a vote to remain ?

      But whether we like it or not, CMD is totally within his rights to ensure that the civil service falls into line behind Government policy.

      However he has no mandate to allow the BBC to do the same, indeed the culture secretary should be calling the corporation to account for being so overwhelmingly biased in favour of Remain.

  39. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    As noted above the government seems to be run by Cameron and Osborne alone, for example it was bizarre to hear Osborne announce in the budget that schools shouldn’t close at 3:30pm. Obviously with Gove fired from the job the position of Education Minister is now regarded as irrelevant.

  40. graham1946
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Cameron cannot now reunify the party. Sending out no accounts like Amber Rudd, Ros Altman and Greg Clarke on a Sunday to to smear IDS was childish. Only this time last week, he would have us believe that IDS was a valued colleague. IDS by comparison has been very dignified and spoken only the truth.

    Cameron has now blown his premiership and has no credibility. He should have learned to keep out of the fray and be ready with a scapegoat. Osborne is also damaged beyond repair. He makes a habit out of clever sounding budgets which fall apart immediately someone competent looks at them.

    The EU has been divisive for many years and if he thought the referendum was going to close up the split, he is sorely mistaken, especially if he goes on in his spiteful way, should he win, to demote or sack people like Gove, Patel etc. The party now needs a new leader urgently. Someone who can try to paper over the cracks, for that, alas is all that can be done whether the vote be in or out.

  41. oldtimer
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    You make powerful points. I hope your parliamentary colleagues take note of them and act on them, otherwise there is a real danger that the Conservative party will self destruct. That would not be good for the parliamentary system.

    What was especially revealing for me, in the Marr/IDS interview, was the extent to which sofa government prevails in Mr Cameron’s administration. IDS said he only learned of the decision to scrap the proposed change to disability benefits through the media. He does not seem to have been party to the decision even though he was the Secretary of State at the DWP! I found this to be an extraordinary revelation.

    It is also the reason, I suspect, that we have a dysfunctional government. There appears to be no adequate process through which objectives, supporting strategies and action plans are considered, debated and settled within the Cabinet. That way leads to muddle, inconsistency and drift. It is evident in poorly managed businesses which, in consequence, are driven by events not by purpose. My impression from the Marr/IDS interview that IDS certainly had a sense of purpose. But there seemed to be little attempt at the Treasury to seeking coherence or balance in securing what were probably some sensible reforms to a system that claimants were starting to game. It has turned out to be a completely botched job. Add in the reported difficult personal realtionships between Mr Duncan Smith and Mr Osborne and the Conservative party now finds itself in deep crisis.

  42. Shieldsman
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    What renegotiation might that be?
    I have reformed the European Union and the best of both worlds is a load of bullshit.

    The DEAL was a big CON it amounted to a restatement of existing agreements and the promise is to revisit the Treaties on a future occasion.
    Lawyers for Britain in – The Renegotiation – “Ever Closer Union” explain it all.

    “It is recognised that the United Kingdom, in the light of the specific situation it has under the Treaties, is not committed to further political integration into the European Union.”
    “The substance of this will be incorporated into the Treaties at the time of their next revision in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Treaties and the respective constitutional requirements of the Member States, so as to make it clear that the references to ever closer union do not apply to the United Kingdom.”

    A reminder – The Treaty on European Union (originally known as the Maastricht Treaty) refers to “ever closer union” in the second paragraph of its first Article:-
    “This Treaty marks a new stage in the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizen.”

    There is no intention to remove those three little words.

    The PM – “The task of reforming the European Union does not end with this agreement, and I will continue to pursue the further reform that Europe needs.”
    On this score he is in a worse position than he was before with the eurozone going in a different direction, the insertion of the following clause curtails his ability to interfere.
    “(UK) will not create obstacles to but facilitate such further deepening (economic and monetary union) while this process will, conversely, respect the rights and competences of non participating member states”

    Flashback, what did Cameron say in his Bloomburg speech: –
    “People feel that the EU is heading in a direction that they never signed up to. They resent the interference in our national life by what they see as unnecessary rules and regulation. And they wonder what the point of it all is”.

    “Put simply, many ask why can’t we just have what we voted to join – a common market?”

    “The European Union that emerges from the Eurozone crisis is going to be a very different body. It will be transformed perhaps beyond recognition by the measures needed to save the Eurozone.
    But I agree too with what President Barroso and others have said. At some stage in the next few years the EU will need to agree on Treaty change to make the changes needed for the long term future of the Euro and to entrench the diverse, competitive, democratically accountable Europe that we seek.”

    A reading of, Euractiv.com :Cameron’s renegotiation is nothing more than a rebranding exercise. There is nothing of substance to the United Kingdom’s renegotiation agreement, but it has been sold as a full revision of the country’s EU membership, write James Bartholomeusz and Daniel Schade.

    Having conceded to rising Eurosceptic sentiment in his own party and the British public more widely for over five years, he could not be seen to support continued EU membership in its current form; however, it was also abundantly clear that other European countries had no appetite for British special pleading, beset as they were by a chain of crises and impatient with Cameron treating European Council meetings as a series of domestic media opportunities rather than as forums for serious diplomacy. There was only one solution: to launch a ‘renegotiation’ that would change next to nothing, but sell it as a wholesale rewrite of Britain’s membership conditions.

  43. JJE
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    So the PM who was so frustrated by the delays in the Chilcot Report that he promised to publish it within two weeks of receiving it now plans to delay publication until after the referendum.
    According to the Independent he is concerned that the report could significantly erode trust in politicians. I don’t think he personally need worry himself too much about that.

    • bluedog
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Here’s a prediction on the Chilcot Report.

      Because it contains so much that is effectively ‘Cabinet Papers’ it’s release will be deferred for thirty years under the rule of that name. Not only that, it will be a rolling thirty years, with the date of release being re-set from the date of each deferral! Current ETA, 2046.

      Where are wkileaks when you need them?

    • John C.
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      Quite. You can’t erode what isn’t there.

  44. Jane
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Party loyalty does matter and I feel again we are in the throes of war are over Europe. Also the public hates division in a party and punish it at elections.

    For the past few months I have been reading about Mr Crabb – not someone I know very well. Indeed, Bruce Anderson on CapX has recently written an article that he could be a future leader. If his talents have been picked up by many commentators then it is not surprising that he got the vacant post.

    As to IDS’s departure, I am not at all surprised. I am an avid reader of memoirs and political books, blogs etc and it seems that there has been a longstanding feud with the Chancellor. I think he was peeved that PIPs (his creation) was being kicked into the long grass because of complaints. To be honest, I do not think IDS has been a very good Minister. I have read Audit Reports, Select Committee reports etc on Universal Credit and his department has been condemned for failed and complex IT systems etc . The project is three years behind schedule and is costing a fortune to implement. Even PIPs has caused more spending on assessment etc etc. It is alright having good ideas but one must also have the ability to implement them without them costing the taxpayer a fortune.

    So we have an embittered and not very competent Minister who is out to tarnish the leadership of the party which is very petty. Of course he has his supporters as he is a well known Eurosceptic. You indicate the PM has not done sufficient work with backbenchers and this is because of his work in Europe. Having read Alastair Campbell’s diaries as well as others, it seems that Europe has always taken up a lot of a PM’s time. Looks to me too that IDS has not done much to work with his fellow Ministers either. His holier than thou attitude is insulting to other MPs from all sides of the house who are also compassionate. i do not believe his reasons for leaving government as Nick Clegg tweeted it followed her should have resigned before because of other welfare policy issues

    I voted for the Conservative Party because of David Cameron being at the helm. I would never vote for a party lead by a buffoon who is great fun or someone who is too far to the right. I loathe extremes be they left or right.

    The party is tearing itself apart again and I do wonder if it is possible for any one person to ever be its leader. I have also read Norman Fowler’s book about the wilderness years and I envisage this happening again. You will certainly lose my vote if Mr Cameron is ousted. Same old voices with the same old moans. David Davis again – poor dear was trumped.

    I have yet to make up my mind about which way to vote in the referendum. At the moment I am ploughing through the reports obtained by one of my fund managers Neil Woodford so I am doing my own research. I respect the views of those who want out and those who want to remain. You obviously do not as your article implies that Mr Crabb got the job because of his views on Europe. That is not in accord with recent articles about his abilities.

    In all it sounds like a very disgruntled article – disappointing. Anyway, if Jeremy Corbyn is ousted, the conservatives will lose out at the next election. I am presuming that the discontents are happy with this? Matthew Paris seems to agree with this suggestion too in a recent Times article. If it happens, I will know who to blame as personal vendettas seem to matter more than good governance of the country on behalf of its citizens.

    Reply There is nothing disgruntled in my article. Just decent advice in very moderate tones.
    The issue of the EU goes to the heart of who we are, whether we are self governing, whether we have a democracy here or not. These are mighty issues above party politics. Mr Cameron rightly allows Conservatives to express their passion for UK independence as we wish. No-one can lead the Conservative party to unite behind a platform of confirming the huge transfers of powers of Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon which all Conservative MPs opposed at the time.

    • Jane
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for courtesy of a response. It was very much appreciated.

    • forthurst
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      “Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb MP to vote to remain in the EU”

      “If we vote to leave then there will need to be a very long process to negotiate the terms of our exit and whether we continue to remain in the bits of the EU system which we think are beneficial. It is vitally important for UK jobs that we stay in the Single Market so that we can trade freely. But it is wholly unrealistic to think that we can get access to the Single Market without also signing up to a set of binding EU rules – including the basic principle of freedom of movement for workers.” Western Telegraph

      Sorry Stephen, you are up a gum tree; if we agree to free trade with the EU post-Brexit, that will continue to allow privileged access to the UK market by the EU which has five million jobs dependent on trade with us together with a massive chronic trade surplus. We do not need or wish to be in the Single Market because we don’t want free movement of persons which is having huge negative impacts on Education, Health and Housing and we do not wish to abide by Single Market trade rules unless we are exporting to the EU, otherwise the EU can mind its own business.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      “… the huge transfers of powers of Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon …”, none of which would be reversed by Cameron’s “deal”.

    • Hope
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear Jane, you do not appear to be a very good judge of character, a bit like Cameron. Look at membership halving under Cameron and you might conclude he is responsible for the huge decline. Partly because he insults his electors and supporters.

    • Margaret
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      For goodness sake people, even though they belong to political party can’t agree simply because the leader says so. . Whether the EU issue is above party politics or not, it is only right and fair to voice objections to policies and intended policies as they arise. That is also democracy. This is modern UK where we are allowed freedom of expression;

    • bluedog
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Anyway, if Jeremy Corbyn is ousted, the conservatives will lose out at the next election.’

      If you voted for the Conservatives in 2015 because of Cameron, who will you vote for in 2020, given that Cameron has said he will not continue as PM? Who did you vote for in 2010? Rather than pick personalities, is it not wiser to pick a political party whose policies you agree with and then to trust the MPs, being the parliamentary wing of the party, to elect one of their number as leader and potential PM? In practice, you have no alternative, unless you prefer to be a swinging voter.

      As to Labour winning in 2020, on the basis of past experience, this is a possibility and it will be a very hard election for the Conservatives to win. After ten years of the Conservatives in power the British electorate is likely to vote for a change. By 2020 Corbyn will be too old to become PM and the younger leadership candidates are likely to dump him no later than 2018 in order to try and prepare for power. Who will Labour choose to follow Corbyn?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 22, 2016 at 4:36 am | Permalink

      No-one can lead the Conservative party to unite behind a platform of confirming the huge transfers of powers of Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon which all Conservative MPs opposed at the time.

      So why is Cameron trying to do exactly this?

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 22, 2016 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Jane

      Mr Cameron should not have taken on the EU renegotiation himself, he should have appointed others to do that job.

      If he had done the above, stood above it all and allowed proper debate with all having full access to the facts with Civil service help, then he would not be in the position he is now.

      Instead he chose a side BEFORE NEGOTIATION and is trying to force his views on others.
      A Huge , Huge mistake for a person in his position, when he is asking the PEOPLE TO DECIDE based on one sided information.

      For a man with his so called intelligence, he has made an error of the highest magnitude by nailing his colours to the mast before they were even raised, and signalling to the EU his pre negotiation wishes.

      Cameron has proved in the past that he is useless at any sort of negotiation.

      His choice of personal staff has not been too good either.

      He has lost the trust of many of the electorate ( as has his Chancellor) who simply now do not believe a word either of them utter.

      Hence the Scare tactics, as he has nothing else left to offer.

  45. yosarion
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    The Flower Pot Men in No Ten and Eleven Downing Street are no more than little Weeds (Heseltine) Glove Puppets, and whose working Him?

  46. Posted March 21, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Gadzooks!

    Young IDS NO longer willing to play the role of ‘Baldrick’ to Cameron and Osborne’s ‘Flashman’ and ‘Blackadder’ ……… and refusing to ‘take the kicking’ for the Posh Boy Masters for the misery imposed upon the sick and the vulnerable!

    Well I Never!!!!!!!!

    By the bye!

    Those fiddled figures for the NHS budget requirements?

    Who SHOULD be hearing the slamming of a cell door behind them…………..

    A). Cameron…………?

    B). Osborn ………….?

    C). Both A and B ……?

    D). The Cabinet en masse ……….. ?

    I humbly ……………………………….. ponder!

  47. Posted March 21, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    A fine posting Dr JR but you omit one type of Conservative MP, those who always protested their opposition to the EU in their selection process and now profess Remain. Ambition perhaps trumping belief.

    Unfortunately that describes my MP.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 22, 2016 at 4:38 am | Permalink

      Indeed rather a lot of them – Cast Iron Cameron included.

  48. Chris
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I think it is time for Conservative MPs to make a stand about the EU, TTIP and the NHS. IDS has acted on principle, so please could we have some action by MPs on the stark truth that we cannot keep the NHS and be in the EU. See D Tel article by Louise Bours today:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/eureferendum/12196908/Britains-NHS-cant-survive-staying-in-the-European-Union.html

    Her article is a frank and very clear assessment of what will happen with TTIP. How can MPs of all shades apparently sweep this under the carpet? It is crucial to the Referendum debate by being a deal of huge significance to the future provision of our health service if we remain members of the EU. Cameron and his government have not made any of this clear to the electorate, and the only forceful interventions I have heard have been from UKIP spokesmen who have consistently flagged this up.

    • matthu
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      There is something in writing, that is formal that proves the NHS will be subject to the trade agreement. It is in a document that was filed in the European Parliament library in June, specifically about TTIP. It says: “The EU reserves the right to adopt or maintain any measure with regard to the provision of all education, health or social services which receive public funding or state support in any form.”

      Soft drinks giants are already set to sue over sugar tax. Claim = it’s discriminatory because fruit juice/milk shakes are excluded.

      And one might ask why, for example, (other products ed) should be excluded? Some of them are 30% sugar.

  49. Mike Wilson
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I used to think that Cameron’s legacy would be …. errr … a doubling of the debt and gay marriage.

    Now it seems the destruction of the Tory Party can be added to the list. That certainly gives his legacy a bit more solidity.

    • matthu
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

      He can’t claim credit for initiating the Chilcot inquiry (that was Gordon Brown) and may not even be able to claim credit for publishing the outcome – unless he is quick …

  50. Elliot Kane
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Cameron’s biggest problem as a leader, at least IMO, is that he demands absolute obedience at all times from everyone, including on matters of principle. He should know, because it should be obvious, that demanding people obey when they absolutely will not or cannot reduces his authority and makes general disobedience far more likely.

    People who feel they are not respected will always react accordingly.

    Consider how different things within the Conservative party could’ve been if David Cameron had come back from his negotiation and said, “This is the best deal I can get from the EU, but I’m leaving it up to all of you to decide if it’s enough, and thus which way you intend to vote in the referendum. As the leader of the Conservative party, I shall not be taking sides in the referendum, nor will I ask any member of the party to act against their conscience, as I know there are honest and deeply held convictions on both sides. My job as both party leader and Prime Minister is to help Britons to come together in peace and unity, not to encourage division. I intend to place that role above all others, and I will fully accept the decision of the British people, whatever it may be.”

    If he’d said that and stuck to it, Cameron would have almost none of the problems he has today. His party would be able to respect him as their leader, whichever side of the fence they are on.

    But by taking an extremely partisan and increasingly bitter position, Cameron is alienating an already large and ever-growing section of his own party, let alone the country as a whole. Instead of a unifying figure his party could rally around, he is an active cause of division.

    The impression I get from Cameron right now is that he would destroy party and country both if it won him the referendum. As such, he has made what should be a decision by the British people regarding the EU into a vote regarding himself. This is a very bad thing for anyone to do, and far worse for the Prime Minister to do.

    My honest feeling is that Cameron is his own worst enemy, and has made his position as both leader of the Conservatives and Prime Minister untenable through his own actions.

  51. ian
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    The chances of the con party leader or wet & mad wanting to be around for next election are slim, I think it is a good bet by 2019 they will leave after hitting their goals, if they can get a vote to stay in the EU and the debt up to 1.9 trillion and over 400 billion in PFI with most assets sold and the 8 areas with mayors in place with city mayors to borrowing more money and can keep up the 400 or 600 hundred thousand overseas people coming in each year they would have reached their goals and leave you the hands of the bankers and the EU.

  52. The PrangWizard
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    An very much imagined scene.
    The Place – the home of a highly respected Conservative MP.
    The time – early morning, the bathroom.
    The MP enters and looks in the mirror, to start his shaving routine.

    Behind him a disembodied face appears, it is the MP’s party leader and Prime Minister, wearing an expression of arrogance and superiority, and yet showing some nervousness.

    When he had recovered from his shock, the MP says to himself after much hesitation,

    ”I supported you, I thought you believed in what you said, especially in your Bloomberg speech, I referred to it many times, but now I think you have deceived me. You b*****d, you have betrayed us. As someone has said many times, you betray everyone in the end. And maybe now your end is coming, a majority of those who comment on my blog certainly hope so’.

  53. Phil Richmond
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    John – There is absolutely no chance of managing the Conservative Party and the fault lies 100% with the PM.
    Cast Iron Dave himself is NOT a Conservative. He has himself said he is the “heir to Blair”. Essentially Cameron hijacked the Party and you MPs believed his lies and deceit and followed him blindly like lost puppies. He has surrounded himself with people like Osborne, Rudd, Crabb, Clark, Soubry, Morgan etc who dont have a Conservative bone in their bodies. Please tell me the difference between these sycophantic non-entities and the Lib Dems or New Labour because for the life of me I cant see any.
    The Tory Party is now in civil war and this is a great thing because at last the real Conservatives have woken up!!!!

  54. Phil Richmond
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    I think John you will find a bigger split in the Conservative Party among the members and people who consider themselves conservatives. These real conservatives fall into three categories.
    1) Conservatives that have remained loyal to the Party
    2) Conservatives who have given up and joined UKIP.
    3) Conservatives who flirt between UKIP and the Tory Party.

    For example my local Tory MP wants to leave the EU and is a true patriot with an independent mind so I can vote for him. If for example Anna Soubry was my local MP I would be out on the street campaigning against her!

  55. yosarion
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    There’s a hole in my Budget Dear David Dear David
    There’s a hole in my Budget Dear David a hole,
    Then fix it Dear George Dear George Dear George,
    Then fix it Dear George Dear George Fix it.
    With what shall I fix it Dear David Dear David,
    With what shall I fix it Dear David with What?
    With Four and a half Million Dear George Dear George,
    with Four and a half Million Dear George Dear George’
    There’s a Hole in my budget Dear David.

    • matthu
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

      Billion.

  56. A different Simon
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    I prefer to think IDS resigned on principle .

    Nonetheless , Cameron and Osborne’s careers are in tatters .

    Once Cameron realises he has nothing left to lose , he could redeem himself in his backers eyes by calling an early General Election to prevent the EU Referendum happening .

  57. Iain gill
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Arse elbow
    Do they know the difference
    Nope
    But then these are the same clowns keeping the immigration floodgates open while promising the opposite

  58. Bazman
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Make me a manger.

  59. Bazman
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Do any of you understand this joke? Probably not, so what does that tell you? It is not a joke. Or you are? Hmmm. lefty…

    • APL
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

      Oh look, Bazman two posts, Jerry one post – someone needs to adjust his meds.

    • stred
      Posted March 22, 2016 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      This reminds me that it is important for your party to avoid cuts in the mental health budget and to avoid legalising and taxing skunk, which is causing a rize in psychosis.

  60. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Managing the Conservative Party may be the most important item on your agenda, but it isn’t on mine.

    Budget 2016/17

    Now that the new Work and Pensions Secretary has announced that there will be no cuts in welfare in addition to those already in the pipeline, there is a hole in the budget, if not this year then from next year. The amount of the deficit reduction planned this year is inadequate. We should keep things simple and raise fuel duty by enough to reduce the deficit by £20 billion in FYR 2016/17. It will do minimal damage, doesn’t break a manifesto commitment, and is easily reversible. It will also be a lesson to the Tory back benches that deficit reduction over-rides all other priorities.

    Budget 2017/18

    There are two reasons for big deficit reductions in the first two budgets. Firstly, it is good tactics politically to do the nasty stuff in the first two years of any parliament. Secondly, we need to start reducing total State debt before interest rates start to rise. We should be aiming for a further £25 billion reduction in the defict (i.e. to below £30 billion) in 2017/18. It should be easy if there is a Brexit and we have £14 billion more cash available. If there isn’t a Brexit, that target will be exceedingly difficult to attain – the means will almost certainly mean breaking some manifesto pledges. We have ring fenced too many Departments and promised not to raise employee NI, the standard rate of income tax and VAT. But, as I say, deficit reduction over-rides all other prioities. The means must be found.

    Later Years

    Spare me the vision thing:
    ” I do not ask to see
    The distant scene
    One step enough for me”

    Who will be in charge of the Tory Party?

    The Remain campaign has been characterised by the attempted spreading of irrational fear, uncertainty and doubt, often involving downright mendacity, by bullying, and by the calling in of favours from fat cat organisations that don’t know what they are talkng about (do the CBI and the Governor of the BoE know what they are talking about?). It has been an absolute disgrace and it has been led by Messrs Cameron and Osborne.

    As a result, I have decided that the whole rotten pro-European crew must go. Win or lose the EU referendum, my advice for the 2020 General Election is:
    – If your Conservative candidate is Eurocceptic, vote for him
    – If your Conservative candidate is Europhile, vote UKIP
    – If your Conservative candidate is Europhile, if there is no UKIP candidate, and the Labour candidate is Eurosceptic, vote Labour
    – If there is no Eurosceptic candidate, don’t vote

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted March 21, 2016 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

      Correction: …………………….. vote for him or her.

  61. Anonymous
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    Conservatives are unelectable now after that Budget, you can imagine the Lib Dems for the next 10 year saying this is proof they can only govern in a coalition. Why has this disaster of incompetence happened? Could it be because Cameron and Osborne did not listen to their own party? Utter fools.

  62. iain gill
    Posted March 22, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    well cameron promises more open doors immigration when in india, yet promises the exact opposite here

  63. bluedog
    Posted March 22, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    It is increasingly obvious that the best way to win the referendum for the Brexit case is to ensure the resignation of Cameron, or his defeat and replacement by the parliamentary party, before 23rd June.

  64. Margaret
    Posted March 22, 2016 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    If an issue is brought up as EDM can the same issue be brought up again and again?
    How do all members vote at a division if all have to rush to the chamber ,,? electronically ?

    Reply EDMs are not usually debated. They just appear on the order paper as people sign them.All members have to vote in person

  65. Margaret
    Posted March 22, 2016 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Where do the whips do their work of heavily persuading ? the antechamber

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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