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Tuesday, 26 June, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 26 Jun 07, 03:59 PM

Presented by Jeremy Paxman

TORY DEFECTOR

quentin.gif"Under your leadership the Conservative Party appears to me to have ceased collectively to believe in anything or to stand for anything". The words of the now ex-Tory backbencher Quentin Davies in a letter to David Cameron today, announcing his defection to Gordon Brown's Labour party.

He goes on to lambaste the Tory leader for everything from his opposition to nuclear power to his decision to withdraw from the European People's Party. Perhaps the wonder is that he endured so long in a party with whose policies he so profoundly disagrees. We'll be assessing how serious this is for Cameron.

BLAIR'S NEW JOB

There's still no official confirmation that Tony Blair is to be the Quartet's new Middle East envoy, but at a press conference this morning he said he was up for the challenge. We'll be debating whether he's the right man for the job.

BAE INQUIRY

The US Department of Justice's decision to pick up where the Serious Fraud Office left off and launch an inquiry into BAE's relationship with the Saudis could prove to be the first big challenge to Gordon Brown's special relationship with George Bush. He'll have to decide whether to pass on crucial documents which could aid the inquiry, but damage the British government.


BROWN ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

And - he's been compared to Stalin by one man that worked closely with him. So has Gordon Brown been trying to cultivate a warmer style of politics? The independent film-maker Jamie Campbell has been following the new Prime Minister for the past month on the campaign trail, in a bid to engage him in a conversation. Watch to see if he succeeds.

Comments  Post your comment

It has got to be the best joke of the day! Bliar Middle East Peace envoy, they have got to be kidding. The man who led the invasion of Iraq with Bush under a lie and which led to death of many Iraqis as well as British soldiers; the man who refused to support a ceasfire last year when innocent civilians were crying for help in southern Lebanon. The man who has never condemned the illegal buildings on Palestinian land, etc etc. His knowledge of the Middle East is so simplistic that he thinks the Iranians, Hamas, Hizbollah as well british suicide bombers are all the same. He has no idea how disliked he is in the region for blinding supporting Bush, who is in love with Israeli far right.

I am sure am not the only one who thinks this is a joke fit for any age!

  • 2.
  • At 08:04 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Andy Waters wrote:

Re today's defection of Quentin Davies to Labour, I am very disappointed (particularly as I am a Tory), and generally do not approve of people defecting (in any direction) unless they are prepared to resign and stand under their new colour at a by-election. But of course that won't happen.

Having said that, and whilst I think the timing is very convenient for Gordon Brown, I have to say that it should make David Cameron sit up and take notice. It is no secret that Quentin Davies has never been a great Cameron supporter, but a lot of people will be thinking that the accusation that Cameron has no principles rings true.

I personally suspect Cameron knows exactly which way he wants the party to go, and the sort of policies he wants, and that he is not "all spin and presentation" etc. However, once the dust has settled after Brown's appointment as PM, it is high time that Cameron started putting some meat on the bones, and set out a clear and distinct direction for the party. Then all of us will be able to work out which direction we want to go in.

  • 3.
  • At 08:37 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Maurice - Northumberland wrote:

Davies defecting doesn't come as any surprise, if anything it's a wonder have not. Cameron needs to grow up and take a look at what is, and what is will not be sorted by the wet politics of Liberalism. He either turns right or he goes out the door.
Socialism is a proven disaster world wide, just as it will be shown to be here!
All three so-called main Parties seem intent on driving their respective voters to UKIP and the BNP. I doubt it will be a bad thing in the long run, the tri-party dominance have taken the electorate for granted for far too long.
Time to change the whole deck instead of re-shuffling the same old pack!

Blair Peace Envoy - April 1st is it?

Brown and BAE - so it could destroy the Government could it, that is the best news I have read in several years. They have systematically been destroying what was the UK. they now refer to the Indigenous population as a mere Community.
So the Destruction of such a Government by any means sounds good!

Brown - Campaign Trail.
That is a joke isn't it? He has become PM without a vote being cast by the General Electorate.
He spouts listening to the people (peasants) how many times have we heard that from the Labour Party - many many times, invariably around an election time! Brown is a Brezhnev in very little disguise!
let us see how many 5 year plans are in the pipe (dream).

How is 2 Jags 10 year Integrated Transport Plan going?

  • 4.
  • At 08:48 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • M.Lin wrote:

My respects to you Andy Waters! (comment repteated below for convenience). You have declared a position - clearly and unequivocally. You have called the Conservatives to action. For a healthy democracy we need them to cease and desist from being purely reactive and/or bleating on a pin-head. High time we heard them unravel some abilities to THINK broadly and PROPOSE their ideas and solutions.

"2.

At 08:04 PM on 26 Jun 2007,

Andy Waters wrote:
Re today's defection of Quentin Davies to Labour, I am very disappointed (particularly as I am a Tory), and generally do not approve of people defecting (in any direction) unless they are prepared to resign and stand under their new colour at a by-election. But of course that won't happen.
Having said that, and whilst I think the timing is very convenient for Gordon Brown, I have to say that it should make David Cameron sit up and take notice. It is no secret that Quentin Davies has never been a great Cameron supporter, but a lot of people will be thinking that the accusation that Cameron has no principles rings true.
I personally suspect Cameron knows exactly which way he wants the party to go, and the sort of policies he wants, and that he is not "all spin and presentation" etc. However, once the dust has settled after Brown's appointment as PM, it is high time that Cameron started putting some meat on the bones, and set out a clear and distinct direction for the party. Then all of us will be able to work out which direction we want to go in."

  • 5.
  • At 09:18 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Darren Riche-Webber wrote:

Now this stupid Goverment enquiry on BAE has alerted the Americans, I'm more concerned about BAE being destroyed. Business is conducted like this around the world. Deal with it.

Britain (our Country) does not need to lose contracts to France, or America. I'm sure thier companies use all sorts of methods with their respective goverments to get contracts.

This goverment has undermined country's industry, attitude/spirit, values,traditions, even the concept of what our country and union is. I'm not too concerned with this goverment.

  • 6.
  • At 09:45 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Martin W wrote:

transferred comment about today's resignation:

So which person of clear conviction said
“the Chancellor has been losing control… His projections… have been consistently wrong. He has been wrong about both revenues and expenditure… The Chancellor took risks… he is imprudent… a great worry… very worrying… he simply wanted to win the next election—if he can… it does not matter what happens afterwards… the Chancellor went in for an orgy of self-congratulation… deceiving other people… complacency… he is not prudent and responsible, and not a person to be entrusted with the management of anybody's finances, let alone the country's finances… unattractive and frankly problematic… an absolutely devastating misjudgement and mistake—the destruction of our pensions system… We have not had a word of apology from the Chancellor… He was just incredibly imprudent… extraordinarily incompetent… extraordinarily naïve… desperately complacent… As a result of that self-congratulation and complacency, the Chancellor is becoming so cut off that he is beginning to underestimate the intelligence of the electorate… I trust and believe that something nasty will happen to the Chancellor in electoral terms before too long. He will have no one but himself to blame.
That would be, yes you guessed it, reliable Quentin Davies

  • 7.
  • At 10:05 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Graeme wrote:

I'm looking forward to Prime Minister Brown. I couldn't see him getting the office by any other means than Tony handing it to him. Actually I can't see anyone from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland becoming Prime Minister on a straight first run vote. I don't think its anything as brutal as racism, just a natural conservatism and favouring of ones own clan or clique. The overwhelming English population majority has its advantages in the British parliament. I suspect this may have been part of "Granita conversation". It's probably an argument that could convince most Scots.

The hope / promise would be that given time to establish himself in the role (that Tony handed to him) that natural English conservatism could be overcome. As I said at the start I'm looking forward to Gordon but if he ends up as Tony's clone I might start greetin. If he ends up looking like the leader we thought John Smith might be then I might start weeping for these lost 10 years.

  • 8.
  • At 10:48 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Shawn wrote:

Jeremy Paxman - Could you please investigate and make as part of one of your shows Gordon Brown's financial RAPE of our children, the middle class, and the elderly?

Gordon Brown does this through his raising of taxes, reducing tax free pension schemes, and his poor understanding of the property market. If he does understand the property market, why does he keep such a greedy governmental stance? I do not understand why he does not want people to prosper and retire more well off...

  • 9.
  • At 11:10 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Tom Berney wrote:

Who does Paxman think he is?

I'm no fan of Quentin Davies but Paxman's first question- before Davies had spoken

"You are having a mid-life crisis aren't you?" Was absurdly insulting and offensive. Similar to Kirsty Wark's contemptuous treatment of Alex Salmond.

It is about time BBC presenters were give a sense of proportion about their own importance. It is the guests on the programme who are of interest to viewers not the calculated rudeness which hacks like them display.

  • 10.
  • At 11:18 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • John McGinty wrote:

On a day when a Tory deflects we are presented with, what I find, a really creepy reportage on Brown's campaign.

Surely this just adds to the feeling that Brown is a total control freak. If this is a good or bad we shall see.

  • 11.
  • At 11:23 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • John Roadknight wrote:

Following Alan Duncan's rather smug and comical performance on Newsnight this evening where he portrayed Quentin Davies as an Old Conservative do they now have plans to rename their party "The New Conservatives"???

  • 12.
  • At 11:24 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • martin browne wrote:

Jamie Campbell's attempt to communicate with Gordon Brown was a telling tale. Stalin may well be the right person to compare him to alright. By contrast David Cameron was a perfect candidate for being 'elected' the next PM. According to the writer Ardo Ci in his book Soulmate, Brown has a magnetic polarity rating of (- - - -) and Cameron (+ + + +). These occurences are based on identifying the magnetic energy of Freud's 'Id'. Would it surprise you to know that of the 20 prime ministers since Balfour at the turn of the 20th century only one other had Brown's polarity rating of (- - - -) and that was Alex Douglas Home. And he lasted barely twelve months. I therefore predict with some confidence that Gordon will never be 'elected' prime minister. And on the basis of Jamie's film all I can say is thank God for that.

  • 13.
  • At 11:29 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Tony Berry wrote:

What was the point of tonight's Newsnight piece in which "film-maker" Jamie Campbell followed Gordon Brown around and failed to gain access to him? Is it any wonder Brown's press officer didn't let him get anywhere near the PM-to-be? It was only a couple of weeks ago that Campbell was on ITV with his cock out interviewing Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen.They were well advised to keep Brown away from the publicity-hungry, attention-seeking poor man's Louis Theroux. Newsnight paid this guy (and a camera crew) for ONE MONTH to follow Brown? Staggering waste of money.

  • 14.
  • At 11:30 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Matt C London wrote:

I really enjoyed the piece on Brown's 'open approach' to our press, I know there's an uncomfortable history between the party and Newsnight but that performance was ridiculous! It seems such a waste of these apparently-precious Police resources, just to continually move one individual from corner to corner. The reporter's style was not far removed from some of Mark Thomas' conflict journalism!

I also really agree with Maurice from Northumberland, it's mind-boggling that we're now led by an unelected Prime Minister from a party with 35% of the last general election votes.

  • 15.
  • At 11:35 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • abi bilesanmi wrote:

Quentin Davies: For those Tories who say they are over their 'spats' about Europe, it aint over til its really over.
BAe: Corruption has been an integral part of this sham of a corporation. Their ability to give kickbacks exceeds their ability to make ammo- planes that can't fly on cloudy days.Ammunition that jam and past thier sell by date.
On the campaign trail with Brown: Well thats what is meant by 'ushering a new kind of politics' - where the politician is further remote from the journos and more still from the voter
Blair as a Middle Peace Envoy: Well, if Paris Hilton can be considered as a UN Goodwill Ambassador ........

  • 16.
  • At 11:44 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Roger Kidley wrote:

Jamie Campbell followed Gordon Brown for about a month apparently failing to pose his questions let alone get answers. Perhaps if he had changed his style he would have stood more chance. I assume he is not a friend or even an acquaintance, so perhaps addressing him as Mr. Brown rather than cheerily calling out "Gordon" may have helped.
Also he seemed to have deliberately dressed down for the attempted interviews, usually in very ordinary t-shirts, sometimes unshaven and rather unkempt. If he had approached me on the street calling my first name I may well have ignored him too.
I noticed that he dressed far better to meet Charlie Wheelan and I suspect he made an appointment for that too. Perhaps the same level of respect for Mr. Brown would have earned some response?
However I do feel that Mr Campbell seemed to deserve better treatment from Mr Brown's press team.

  • 17.
  • At 11:48 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • John Malet-Bates wrote:

I think we can do without the rather less-than-A-level puerile attempts of Jamie Campbell taking up valuable ( I think) Newsnight minutes. I'm personally a bit sick of apparently 'oik' journalists pulling stunts.There's far too much hanging around in journalism waiting for 'that scoop', showing that you're 'live' from here or there (usually in front of a building with the name over the poor journalist's shoulder. ITV managed even better - switching from a 'copter view of Yorkshire flooding to 'live from Los Angeles' watching that silly woman walk away from jail. Obliterated the information about extent of floods and danger of a burst, but, never mind, a few million empty heads got filled with something, God only knows what, and perhaps a few sales of this or that hair conditioner. If journalism has to be as contrived as Campbell and Hilton then I hope more and more people just switch off and do something useful. I should have known not to watch the Brown thing and I suppose JP was rather tongue-in-cheek about the whole thing. It's obvious to anyone with half a brain that Brown isn't going to bother with the glad-handing of Cameron - he has work to do. As for Campbell, what does he think he is doing shouting 'Will you answer my question ?' He was right. Pathetic, but not just at that moment. His sort of 'probing' achieves nothing but annoyance. Even Cameron was at the end glad to pat him on the back and get away.

  • 18.
  • At 11:48 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Maurice - Northumberland wrote:

Sadly the Conservatives are now doing what sailors have always avoided!
Come on UKIP and the BNP opportunity is not only knocking, it is kicking the doorwide open!

The argument about the defection of the conservative MP was hilarious and must have cheered up Gordon Brown no end.

The article about Jamie Campbell turned the tables and the conservatives got their revenge. David Cameron looked like a pleasant and friendly fellow in complete contrast to Gordon Brown.

  • 20.
  • At 11:56 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Lesley Boatwright wrote:

I seem to have missed something important in the development of world groupings. There is now apparently something called a Quartet. For heaven's sake, when did the United Nations acquire three equal partners, the EU, the US and Russia?

  • 21.
  • At 12:15 AM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Michael wrote:

The idea that Cameron and Brown's security and press requirements in their respective leadership campaigns is laughable. Dave Cameron is all about press. Brown has said more about Britain's future in the last five weeks than Dave has in his whole career. I hardly think that newsnight's excuse for a jounalist was likely to get anything out of Brown that he hasn't given to hundteds of proper journalists. He just isn't interested in Cameron's fluff. So fair play to Brown's Press guy for keeping this idiot away from him.

  • 22.
  • At 12:17 AM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref Graeme #7

"Actually I can't see anyone from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland becoming Prime Minister on a straight first run vote"

.... errr? … OK back to basics & current reality.

yeah, non English politicians are well underrepresented in UK political parties, its well documented …..say last 4 leaders of main parties:

LABOUR:
- 2004-????: Gordon Brown born in Scotland 1951 [1]
- 1994-2004: Tony Blair: born in Scotland 1953 [2]
- 1992-1994: John Smith: born in Scotland 1938 [3]
- 1983-1992: Neil Kinnock: born in Wales 1942 [4]

CONSERVATIVES:
- 2006-????: David Cameron: born England 1966 [5]
- 2003-2005: Michael Howard: born Wales 1941 [6]
- 2001-2003: Ian Duncan Smith: born Scotland 1954 [7]
- 1997-2001: William Hauge: born in England 1961 [8]

LIB DEMS:
- 2006-????: Menzies Campbell: born in Scotland 1941 [9]
- 1999-2006: Charles Kennedy: born Scotland 1959 [10]
- 1988-1999: Paddy Ashdown: born in India 1941 [11]
- 1977-1988: David Owen: born in Scotland 1938 [12]

SCORES ON THE DOORS:

Of the last 12 party leaders from 3 main parties:

- English: 2
- Scottish: 7
- Welsh: 2
- Irish: 0
- Indians: 1

Electability is more about the policies & the party than speculation about heritage of someone born in UK :)

Big British Cheers all round (too dam right)

vikingar

SOURCES:

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_brown
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Blair
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Smith_%28UK_politician%29
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Kinnock
[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_cameron
[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Howard
[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iain_Duncan_Smith
[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Hague
[9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menzies_Campbell
[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Kennedy
[11] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paddy_Ashdown
[12] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Steel

  • 23.
  • At 12:26 AM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Andy Waters - Newcastle wrote:

I agree that Jamie Campbell's methods perhaps weren't the most professional, but I don't think Gordon Brown came out of that looking great.

However, I was quite concerned at the extent to which the police appeared to be more than willing to do the executive's bidding. If they consider someone a security threat, they have a range of powers at their disposal. But they are supposed to exercise their own discretion in making those decisions, not do as they are told by ministers or their agents, which is what appears to have happened in this film.

  • 24.
  • At 12:34 AM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Maurice - Northumberland wrote:

9. At 11:10 PM on 26 Jun 2007, Tom Berney wrote:
"Who does Paxman think he is?

I'm no fan of Quentin Davies but Paxman's first question- before Davies had spoken

"You are having a mid-life crisis aren't you?" Was absurdly insulting and offensive."

What do you ask of a turncoat?
Had Davies resigned from the Conservatives and his seat at the same time - he would get justified respect from all quarters!
He didn't, and to suggest he was having a mid-life crisis was very kind to any turn coat of any colour.
Standards dear boy - Standards and integrity!
Both lost on the latter day hippie Politicians of today.
So when you ask 'who does Paxman think he is' it might be that he recognises the fall of standards of those in the Political arena of today.
Spin (lies) is the name of the Political Game today, and very well established by Nu Labour as the acceptable norm.
Where Socialist Governments leads others must follow - or else!

Brown - How many times was Brezhnev interviewed? Jamie is trying to do what Sailors don't even try drunk!

OMG tonight’s Jeremy is 30/10! Jeremy with Alan Duncan & Quentin Davies nearly had my sides splitting with laughter! From Jeremy asking Quentin if he was going through a mid life crisis to memory loss (well he had voted against fox hunting and gay rights amongst other issues, and yet he’s joined the Labour party!) and Quentin coming back later with the ultimate in bitchy accusations of Jeremy being in politics longer than Alan or he had been! (Note that Quentin was born on 29 May 1944 according to https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/mpdb/html/279.stm making him MILES older than Jeremy, plus, according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quentin_Davies it states that “He contested the 1977 Birmingham Ladywood by-election caused by the resignation of Brian Walden to become television presenter, he was defeated by John Sever who won the Birmingham Ladywood seat with a majority of 3,825,” and from https://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/biographies/biogs/news/jeremypaxman.shtml “In 1977, he moved to London to work as a reporter on Tonight, and after two years he became a reporter on Panorama.” Jeremy wasn’t even involved in politics in 1977….so someone’s talking b*****ks!). Jeremy summed up the whole debate brilliantly – a catfight! Ha ha ha. Excellent interview with Michael Moore too. Poor Jamie Campbell – not a single question answered by Gordon Brown. Is it any wonder he avoided Jeremy? Excellent interview with David too. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s special with Jeremy. :-)

  • 26.
  • At 03:37 AM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • eee aarrrgh donkey wrote:

Politics is getting weird by the day, Quentin Davies who may not be a household name but has clearly caused some upset in the 'New Tory project' by joining the enemy, giving Gordon the opportunity to break out his forced and well rehearsed smile yet again.
Damage limitation mode from Alan Davies was weirder than the Tory defection, or even gordons smile; Davies and his performance on newsnight has only confirmed what i already know...he's a fruitcake.

fruitcake:
1 Looney.
2 Not quite right.
3 Fool.

  • 27.
  • At 07:06 AM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Clapham Left wrote:

Paxman on great form he should have been interviewing Gordon Brown last Friday.

James Campbell should stick to Light Entertainment with the ITV Network,I am sure in their mosh-pit they have ample shows for him.

Police etc were within their rights to keep him away from Gordon Brown.He looks and acts like a student reporter.

  • 28.
  • At 09:05 AM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • john wrote:

'Police etc were within their rights to keep him away from Gordon Brown.He looks and acts like a student reporter'

What rights are those then?

And so what is he looks like and acts like a student reporter. Gordon Brown is a member of parliament and like it or not we have a right to ask him question. He may choose to ignore but don't use the police to keep 'students' away. Think of China and tiananmen square.

JOB INTERVIEWS FOR TONY BLAIR?

Now perhaps we can see the hidden agenda behind Tony Blair’s movements over the past month or so. He was looking for his next job! I wonder what questions were asked; in both directions. What are the fringe benefits? Do they include his personal team of SAS guards?

I thought at the time of his last meeting with Bush that the World Bank job was what it was all about, a nice sinecure to pad out his retirement, but that misjudged Blair’s appetite for the really big test of his skills. He is about to take on his biggest challenge yet!

Middle-East envoy for the ‘quartet’ might be an impossible task for most, but Blair might just succeed. He has, after all, had some brilliant successes in the field; from Kosovo to Northern Ireland. He is a superb mediator; and – as the acid test – even managed to keep Gordon Brown on board for a decade!

Paradoxically, despite the UK electorate’s opinion, he rates highly in terms of trustworthiness; and even his religious leanings might help (where the melting pot of opposing faiths in the Middle-East all derive from a common base).

Above all, his close links with the US administration are not a disadvantage, but are his greatest asset. Thus, his most difficult challenge will be to persuade the US, and thence its Israeli clients, to accept some difficult decisions; and there is nobody better placed than Blair to work these miracles.

And this closeness to Bush has been less obvious to the rest of the world than in the UK, especially where – at his insistence - the ‘trade-off’ for Iraq was supposed to be solving the Palestinian issue. In any case the Islamic politicians he will be negotiating with are – in general – mature enough to understand his real position.

Above all, though, he only has to be sufficiently credible; and his record puts him way over that threshold. Success in these situations, as demonstrated by Henry Kissinger, comes because the other participants want the mediator to succeed. They are looking for any excuse to settle their differences, and will happily claim – to explain their various about-turns to their electorates – that it was the charm of the mediator that persuaded them not the logic of their opponents.

There is a good chance that this position has now been largely reached in the Middle East. The Arab participants have – with one notable exception – already paid too heavy a price and want to sue for peace. Above all, however, it is Israel that is at long last looking for real peace. Its belief in military means was shattered by the last excursion into Lebanon; and it now recognizes that military victories on the ground are becoming less and less likely for it despite all the technology – planes and tanks – provided by its US paymaster.

The multi-lateral situation may look impossibly complex: jointly negotiating with Hamas, Fatah, Israel, Hezbollah, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, as well as with the members of the quartet itself. On the other hand, although the overall context will still be multilateral, the reality on much of the ground is largely bilateral. Each of the frontiers in dispute typically now directly involves just two participants; both of whom wants peace and whose paymasters also are – albeit covertly – looking to reduce their political engagements. Negotiations will, therefore, be mostly bilateral and that much simpler.

The one notable exception now seems to be Hamas, but having captured Gaza (at the expense of its influence over the West Bank) this can be isolated for the time being – and, in any case, it is one situation where the borders are not in dispute.

So, Tony Blair is the right person at the right time. The only question now is when will he get his Nobel Prize for Peace!

  • 30.
  • At 10:08 AM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Robert Pargiter wrote:

Congratulations to Quentin Davies for displaying such eloquent dignity under fire. Paxmans' and Duncans' sniggering double act showed them up as a pair of smugly superior bullies. QD ( a man I had never even heard of ) would get my vote which ever party he stood for. His tormentors childish heckling was met with calm grace, a quality all too lacking in the realms of public life. And all this from someone with a generally high opinion of JP.

  • 31.
  • At 01:07 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Graeme wrote:

Ref #22

Vikingar, you must be a politician. You've provided an exemplary answer to a question that wasn't asked. At no point did I say that non-English politicians were under represented in the parties. Neither did I say that they could not become leader. Becoming leader of a political party is "relatively" easy as you are canvassing votes from an interested and engaged constituency. In an election of that kind your political views and abilities are far more important than your percieved nationality. The problem only becomes apparent when you have to appeal to the wider electorate. The vast majority of whom couldn't give a stuff about the political process and reasoned argument and vote more on instinct or wot the Sun tells them to.

This is why spin is so widely employed by the parties. It was the reason why Tony Blair was "born in Scotland" had "roots in the North East" valued his "Welsh relations" etc. When the distinction between the parties appears to be small then people opt for something comfortable - one of us. As there are more English people than anything else, in this democracy one of us has to be English.

A last point: you list the birth places of party leaders. This isn't the issue. No one thinks of Paddy Ashdown as Indian or Tony Blair as Scots. They are thought by the electorate to be English. Image and perception became a major issue when politicians started appearing on TV in the fifties. Since then how many Non-English PMs have we had ? As of today I think the count is 1. By your reckoning Alex Douglas Home ("Born: 2 July 1903 in Mayfair, London") was English. The nub is politics in these isles are anglo centric. They have to be, the English are the overwhelmingly dominant people. Learn to live with it. The devloved administrations have. Oh and in case your wondering I think Gordon Brown has a decent chance of winning an election once people have had a couple of years to get used to him being Prime Minister. The English aren't racist - just slow to adjust.

  • 32.
  • At 01:13 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Clapham left wrote:

28 John

I tried hours ago to reply to you but the posting as yet has not appeared

  • 33.
  • At 02:48 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Brian Kelly wrote:

Quentin Davies one-time Tory MP... you're a traitorous
cur- like lickspittle poodle parading as a parliamentarian!
Where will you be sitting amongst your new Socialist comrades at today's PMQs?.............May the spotlight be on you!

  • 34.
  • At 03:00 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Michael wrote:

I was totally shocked by Alan Duncan's puerile behaviour on Newsnight last night. The discussion began with him laughing uncrontrollably on the periphery, and he, despite the seriousness of the core issues causing Quentin Davies to defect, chose to ridicule Mr Davies instead of addressing the principle question, laid down by Paxman, of why so many Conservative MP's are disenfranchised with the leadership. Mr Duncan diverted attention away from this core problem by simply highlighting Mr Davies' incompatibility with the Labour party. That might be true, however, it does not change the fact that Cameron's coquetry with the opinion polls is doing nothing to convince the general public that he is any more a credible truth-teller than Alistair Campbell.

  • 35.
  • At 03:07 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • EDWARD BRYAN wrote:

The point about the Campbell piece
is not Campbell and his worth as a political journalist.The point is that faceless shadowy 'press attaches' can
micro manage the media and even use
the incredibly vague SOCAT laws to get
the police to detain journalists and protesters who are obviously NOT a threat to National Security.
I think the Brown Era will be one of even more intense control freakery and power to the unelected.
I'm Old Labour,but I'm taking a shine to the boy Cameron.At least he seems to have a personality.
As for Gordons 'openness and listening'
when New Lab say something,think the opposite.

  • 36.
  • At 03:29 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Mike Foster wrote:

I was shocked by the Jamie Campbell piece where he trailed Gordon Brown in an attempt to get him to answer a question.

It wasn't especially well-done or original - Nick Broomfield does it better - but it showed how Gordon Brown and his advisers have no idea how to present themselves as normal human beings.

Obviously politicians are not normal human beings, but people like Blair and Campbell are quite good at appearing to be nice guys - Brown and his gormless PR people clearly haven't a clue.

That's not the shocking thing. The really shocking thing is that Gordon Brown, his inept PR and security staff, and the police knew that Jamie Campbell was not a terrorist. They knew he was just a mild inconvenience - an embarrassment.

But someone in a position of power decided to lie and claim that he was a threat under the terms of anti-terrorist legislation. He was then prevented from moving further by the police on the pretext that he was a threat.

Whoever made that false claim I think has committed a criminal act. I also think the police who then restrained him also knowingly committed a criminal act.

Nice one, Gordon! Our liberties are safe in your hands.

  • 37.
  • At 10:39 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • scott heatherley wrote:

gordon brown and his henchmen, his scotish mafia, are frankly frightening.

  • 38.
  • At 01:26 AM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • eee aarrrgh donkey wrote:

i wrote (in part) at 26


"Damage limitation mode from Alan Davies was weirder than the Tory defection, or even gordons smile; Davies and his performance on newsnight has only confirmed what i already know...he's a fruitcake.

fruitcake:
1 Looney.
2 Not quite right.
3 Fool."

error in naming the two MPS, the Tory defector is Quentin Davies and Alan Duncan is the fruitcake; it would appear both MPs are not household names..sorry, my mistake

  • 39.
  • At 07:13 PM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • Paul Flynn wrote:

At 09:18 PM on 26 Jun 2007, Darren Riche-Webber wrote:
Now this stupid Goverment enquiry on BAE has alerted the Americans

How true.Well said.There are no victims in this scandal.Britain gets £40 billion from the Saudis ,some sheik creams off a billion.It isn't development money for the poor;Saudi arabs don't pay tax - you're not robbing the working man.It is just oil money.

  • 40.
  • At 01:52 AM on 30 Jun 2007,
  • Jim wrote:

I think everyone's in agreement that the Jamie Campbell piece was a bit of nonsense that frankly the BBC should be above...

What it did show, however, was the complete inadequacy of the Brown press people.

Can you picture Alistair Campbell running away from the interviewer like a badly-found-out used-car salesman?

tut-tut..

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