Clarke's a Tory rogue..!

KEN Clarke is to make another bid for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Do you find him appealing?

  • United Irelander

    Ken Clarke has hair doesn’t he? No he won’t do at all…

  • Kevin

    I find him appealing as a person. The man is joly, witty and fun to watch. However, I read an interesting piece in the Times recently saying his politics haven’t changed since his days back in Cambridge, which are nearly 40 years ago. Also, that he doesn’t talk to people, but over them and furthmore, he doesn’t listen.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1071-1750756,00.html

    I’ve also written a bit about the Tory leadership race for Disillusioned Lefty – http://disillusionedlefty.blogspot.com/2005/08/tories-and-that.html

    Sorry for the shameless plug, but I believe I’ve written enough to deserve it, no?

  • Kevin

    I find him appealing as a person. The man is joly, witty and fun to watch. However, I read an interesting piece in the Times recently saying his politics haven’t changed since his days back in Cambridge, which are nearly 40 years ago. Also, that he doesn’t talk to people, but over them and furthmore, he doesn’t listen.

    Times Article

    I’ve also written a bit about the Tory leadership race for Disillusioned Lefty – The Tories and that.

    Sorry for the shameless plug, but I believe I’ve written enough to deserve it, no?

  • circles

    Would have been a good choice instead of Baldy Duncan Smith, but he’s too old now – next election he’s pushing 70.
    Pity – British politics could do with a good leader of the opposition (could actually do with a real opposition, but thats a different story)

  • Alan

    I hope he bought his own furniture!

  • Visioneer

    He’d probably be a laugh to watch standing as leader of the opposition in the Common’s, but I don’t think that he is overly appealing to the public, yes he is a good ‘people person’, but I don’t think he would be a great vote catcher for the Party.

    H/ever, I can’t see David Davis as a great vote catcher either, he seems cold when speaking on TV.

  • Jo

    He would make for good head-to-heads with Gordon Brown, on TV and in Parliament.

    Old fashioned fisticuffs!

    Not a guaranteed election winner though, but who would be?

  • slug

    We have become used to a young leader in Blair but older PMs are just as capable, the key question is ability and authority and he has both of those. Of all the candidates he will get the Tories the most votes – I am certain of that. (Cameron is another Hague, too inexperienced, and Davis is another Duncan Smith).

  • andrew m

    I would have to disagree with slug regarding Cameron. Hague led the party at a time when the country remained significantly dis-attached and uninterested in the Tory Party. The wrong leader at the wrong time.

    In contrast people are taking the Tories a lot more seriously and Cameron has the ability to win the hearts and minds of the voters in middle England. Clarke although attempting to dilute his pro european crudentials would remain well out of touch with the majority of his MP’s at a time when Europe will once again rise up the political agenda.

    The Tories need new faces on their front bench, the public associate Clarke, Rifkind with the bad old days and will be projected by Labour as nasty failed entities.

  • Christopher Stalford

    If the Conservatives want to win the next General Election Kenneth Clarke is the only choice.

  • Keith M

    Agreed Christopher. Davis is just IDS mk2.

  • La Dolorosa

    I agree too that Ken C is the best bet – he’s humane and from the One Nation Tory school of thought – he might even prove to be more to the left than Tony/Tory Blair.

  • Alan

    *If the Conservatives want to win the next General Election Kenneth Clarke is the only choice.*

    I don’t think that the Tories intend to win the next election, hence Clarke announcing his candidacy.

  • Dandyman

    I think Ken Clarke can be an appealing figure at times and can be entertaining to boot, but he’s quite hard to take seriously. I saw a feature on the guy on last night’s Newsnight on BBC2 and the way it was presented he came across as a bit of a caricature, with his carefully assimilated ‘jazzman’ image and his ridiculous hat, cigar and pseudo Rat-pack-like swagger. It’s not just his politics that haven’t changed in 40 years, but his sense of ‘style’.

    It’s obvious he models himself at least in part on Winston Churchill, & I know Chruchill was voted ‘Most, like, Brilliantly Fantastic Brit EVER’ by BBC viewers in that TV poll last year, but it’s somewhat symptomatic of the problems within the Tory party that a man like Ken Clarke presents this sort of image to the public and the media thinking it’s ‘cool’ or ‘suave’, and will help him or his party to get elected. He hadn’t the balls to really go for it when he was younger, now he realises he’s waited too long and the tide is against him.

    A bit sad and desperate is how I’d describe Clarke’s attempt to squeeze a last gasp of breath out of his career. I reckon he sees that there’s not much competition in the Tory party anymore because the party itself is lost at sea, so he figures since he’s never going to eb PM, he may as well be remembered for something, even if it is for being the leader of a defunct political party.

  • Dandyman

    That should read ‘be’ Prime Minister, obviously.

  • The Watchman

    Christopher Stalford and Keith M:

    You were aware that at a leadership hustings in Westminster 4 years ago, Clarke started slagging off The Daily Telegraph for being far too pro-unionist? Whereas David Davis gave the Vote of Thanks at last year’s Ian Gow Memorial Lecture given by Andrew Roberts and organised by the Friends of the Union? Clarke is the most out-and-out anti-Ulster Tory there is.

  • Jo

    ..but it is ironic that the only reason that Ken will have a chance at the leadership is that Michael Howard is leaving because, at a year younger, he feels he will be too old for the next election…

  • Dandyman

    Watchman

    So, because Clarke publicly cited a newspaper for being unbalanced in its take on events in NI, that automatically makes him biased and an Anti-Unionist?

    What about the Whataboutery?

  • Christopher Stalford

    The Watchman

    On the documentary “Endgame in Ireland”, Clarke came across as very supportive of the Unionist position.

  • ConorS

    I think it’s misleading to believe that if Clarke is leader of the Tory party, he will lead it to the left of Labour. Clarke has been portrayed as a left-winger simply on the basis of his Europhilic tendencies.
    In almost every other regard however, he is of the centre-right. His introduction of the internal market into the NHS is evidence of a profound belief in economic liberalism. In the event of his becoming Tory leader, his likely opponent at the next election will be Gordon Brown. With Brown unable to stomach foundation hospitals, let alone an internal market, the alignment will be more centre-left versus centre-right.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Oh dear. There are unionists out there still looking across the water for the support that abandoned them 15 years ago.

  • slug

    Does anyone know who Mike Gove is supporting, speaking of stronly pro-unionist Conservatives?

  • La Dolorosa

    Conor S – It’s not that Clark has actively changed his political outlook but it’s a result of New Labour’s eagerness to show its neo-liberal credentials and the Blairite philosophy that he appears left of centre – even though he has remained in the same place all along

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    “Does anyone know who Mike Gove is supporting, speaking of stronly pro-unionist Conservatives?” Probably Cameron is my guess but he could be with two brains. Havent heard one way or the other. I know one thing the leaders view on Ulster will not be a major consideration to anyone. Besides who cares how supportive they are if they dont get into No. 10 what good does it do anyone?

    So Watchman did you bend over and consumate your daliance with the DUP yet? On a closely related thread “quiet man making noise” any hands up from you on that disaster of a speech from IDS?

  • slug

    DSD are you aware of the Watchman’s identity?

    Is he a he or a she?

    On Ken Clarke’s alleged anti-unionism, I have also heard him repeatedly saying that he wanted the Conservative Party to reach out to people in Middle England, Middle Wales, Middle Scotland, and Middle Ulster. Which was very much to remember about and include NI in the British democracy. A minor point, but the phrase was not indicative of anti-unionist instincts.

  • ConorS

    La Dolorosa

    I wish to clarify that I did not intend to intimate that Clarke had shifted his position. My point was that Labour’s move to the right, the Tories’ similar shift and his own European views have led people to portray him as someone who is centre or centre left. He is not. He is centre-right.

  • la Dolorosa

    Conor – what I was rtrying to say is that positions seem to be more and more relative these days – the political landscape is shifting so Clarke may be centre right/left but it depends where and what is the centre is…..

  • The Watchman

    Christopher Stalford:

    I also saw “Endgame in Ireland” and to be fair to him Clarke as Home Secretary did take a sceptical view of the IRA ceasefire. However, I don’t think anyone in the Tory front rank, not even Major, took a contrary view. Most Tories from the eurosceptic Thatcherite right of the party are more likely to be in sympathy with unionism than someone from the europhile corporatist left e.g. Heath, Patten, Nicky Scott. At the leadership hustings in 2001, Clarke was asked about his views on Patten. He warned against being too “extreme” on the issue and said the party shouldn’t be like the Daily Telegraph, which, under Charles Moore, was the most authentically unionist paper of all, cerainly in comparison to the pre-Hunter News Letter. I wouldn’t take Clarke round the Ballynafeigh brethren just yet.

    Slug:

    Duncan thinks he knows who I am but I know he’s wrong, just like he’s wrong about most things.
    Gove is definitely supporting Cameron

    And so to DSD:

    I have never worked for IDS so the hands-up approach (a posture with which you’re quite familiar, Dunc) is not relevant. Mind you, IDS did drastically increase the number of his party’s elected representatives, not something every failed leader can boast of.

    No, I haven’t as yet consummated anything with anyone in a bending position, least of all with the DUP. I’m not prepared to bow and scrape or self-flagellate just to win approval in the People’s Republic of Castlereagh. Of course, the “Sod Off And Join The DUP” argument is one reason why the UUP, now in the electoral hole that you helped to dig before doing a runner, lacks the people who could get it out.

    David Davis all the way.

  • Christopher Stalford

    “I wouldn’t take Clarke round the Ballynafeigh brethren just yet.”

    Very good! :0)

  • Young Fogey

    DSD are you aware of the Watchman’s identity?

    Is he a he or a she?

    Maybe it’s like Holly, who came from Miami, Fla in the song…

  • The Watchman

    Actually Young Fogey, I live in a cardboard box on Praed Street.

  • Young Fogey

    Actually Young Fogey, I live in a cardboard box on Praed Street.

    Just around the corner from me, then.

    I’ll chuck you 50p on my way home this evening!

    PS – I’m sure you could hole up in one of the garden squares around they Hyde Park Estate?

  • Denny Boy

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but Ken Clarke is a smoker, who’s fat and hopelessly out of condition. If he can’t run his own body properly then HTF is he ever going to run a country?

  • Young Fogey

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but Ken Clarke is a smoker, who’s fat and hopelessly out of condition. If he can’t run his own body properly then HTF is he ever going to run a country?

    And still has enough energy to make a bid for the Prime Ministership in his late 60s. Pretty good going by anybody’s reckoning.

    On the other hand, maybe you think that mountain biking, brush clearing teetotaler George Bush is a much better example of how to run a country properly?

  • Karl Rove

    I can assure you that George injested everything he needed to before the age of 40, and is now permanently jacked up on Love, Compassionate Conservatism, and the collected speeches of Winston Churchill.

  • Denny Boy

    “And still has enough energy to make a bid for the Prime Ministership in his late 60s.”

    Energy? What, he’s going to cycle madly about the country waving to the voters? Face it, he’s a liability. He could drop dead of a heart attack at any moment.

    This is a new century, though chaps like Fat Ken haven’t noticed yet. Gluttony and airway pollution was OK in Churchill’s day. We’re leaner and more health conscious now – those of us with a modicum of sense, that is.

  • Young Fogey

    Face it, he’s a liability. He could drop dead of a heart attack at any moment.

    More of liability than a weirdo with no personality like the last three weirdos with no personalities they’ve had? Or some wee lad who might be a credible leader in 10 years but sure as hell isn’t up to the job now and thinks everyone went from Eton to a Georgian villa in Notting Hill?

    OK. Whatever you say.

  • Denny Boy

    Young Fogey

    “More of liability than a weirdo with no personality like the last three weirdos with no personalities they’ve had?”

    You’re awfully hard on little Willie Hague! I thought him brilliant. There must be somebody of his ilk within the Tory ranks.

    There isn’t? Oh well. I suppose I’ll just have to vote Lib Dem then.