Coffee House

Dominic Raab is a brilliant fighter. It’s time he focused on Labour

31 January 2014

31 January 2014

Dominic Raab is one of the most impressive members of the Tory back benches, able to pick a string of good fights and – even rarer – able to win them. He’s a black belt and seems to regard politics as karate by other means. He’s a 3rd Dan in fighting and a 10th Dan in rebellion. But his latest victory – forcing the government into a humiliating climbdown over deporting foreign prisoners – was one too far. Thanks to Labour votes, his amendment failed so all he really achieved was embarrassing the Home Secretary. Yes, Raab can fight. Yes, he can win. But in my Daily Telegraph column today, I suggest it’s time for him (and other rebels) to stop.

Raab was clear, calm and articulate in arguing that foreign prisoners should be stopped from fighting deporation using spurious human rights claims. The government was a mess, first giving him a wink of encouragement only to declare his idea unworkable at he last moment. No10 didn’t agree with the Home Office. Both declared his proposal illegal, but couldn’t vote against it. The government’s weakness, and the paucity of the Prime Minister’s parliamentary authority, was exposed for all to see.

As a journalist, I’m for all this. It’s hilarious. But I can’t see how all of this is in the interests of Tory Eurosceptics. God knows that David Cameron has mishandled relations with his party, and was doing so long before he became Prime Minister. He has stripped the Whips Office of its authority, which means they have no more stick to put about. No10 responds quickly and regularly to pressure, as if in a constant panic. This, of course, invites pressure, especially in a Eurosceptic cause. But what’s happening now looks less like strategy and more like the political equivalent of happy slapping. With an election campaign 14 months away, and Ed Miliband ready to do to Britain what Hollande is doing to France, the stakes are rather high.

The rebels can be divided into the serious Eurosceptics, who rebel for a reason, and about a dozen headbangers who just loathe Cameron and want him gone. They are the Tory equivalent of Labour’s Bennites – who prefer ideological purity to power.

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The majority of Tories are in the former group, and will know that there will be one of two outcomes in next year’s election.

1)   David Cameron is Prime Minister, so there’s an EU referendum

2)   Ed Miliband is Prime Minister, and there’s no EU referendum.

The amendments being laid down now by the rebels (tweaking immigration controls, challenging the authority of the ECHR) are trivial compared to what Britain may achieve in the renegotiation of EU membership which Cameron had promised to undertake. Ah, I hear you say, the EU won’t give him anything. Well, if not, then the referendum will end in a ‘no’ vote – and Britain will be off.

But none of this will happen if Ed Miliband is Prime Minister. And even now, he’s on course to win next year – still the bookmakers’ favourite. Yes, his opinion poll lead had been reduced to two pitiful points earlier this week, but that’s all Labour needs for a majority. The Westminster voting system is stacked in its favour. If he was two points behind, he’d still end up Prime Minister but 16 votes short of a majority.

For the Tories to win, pretty much everything needs to go right between now and election day. And if they look like a disorganised shower, they are unlikely to be elected. So Tories have to weigh what’s to be gained by rebellion (lots of fun, a concession or three out of No10) versus what’s to be lost (making the Tories look divided, disunited, unelectable. And carrion for Ukip).

There really aren’t that many legislative battles to be fought between now and polling day. The Tories are good fighters; Dominic Raab especially. They’ve outwitted this coalition government, and can probably win a parliamentary battle any time they really put their mind to it. Raab has perfected the art of parliamentary insurgency. Cameron needs help (boy, does he need help) taking the fight to Labour.

So I’d suggest the Eurosceptics’ real enemies are on the other side of the floor of the Commons. The guys in red rosettes promising no referendum and, in its place, a deluge of regulation and taxes. The election campaign is 14 months away and Miliband, for all his faults, can at least say that he leads a united party. To defeat him (and Ukip) Cameron needs to be able to say the same. Things are going pretty well for the Tories – and they could still win, if they keep it together. A rather big ‘if’.


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Show comments
  • global city

    Perhaps he views certain causes as being beyond party management issues.

    Not such a tribalist, but a decent patriot.

    Better a patriot than a brown nose, as the only people to benefit from the latter is the establishment.

    Fraser is a terrible brown noser.

  • Lady Magdalene

    Raab is a Conservative and sounds like a decent prospect for a future Conservative Leader.
    So the LibCON Elite in the Party will ensure that he is kept well away from any possibility of progressing.
    HE seems to be speaking for the majority of the Party. Not the LibCONs in Government and the Lords.

  • Martin Jennerson

    Political commentariat wrong here – most people don’t care about the boring “shambles” line, but are happy that there’s some kind of pressure to curtail the “human rights” of terrorists etc

  • saffrin

    “Miliband, for all his faults, can at least say that he leads a united party.”

    United or subdued into compliance?
    Whichever it is it isn’t listening to the majority view.
    Habitual liars and deniers.

  • fathomwest

    I prefer MP’s that speak up for the Country not the EU.
    I am rather tired of this editor, who writes of Cameron as if that ghastly fellow is a great thinker, when we all know he is as weak as tap water. This editor does share one quality with Cameron. the ability to forget his promises. (Immigration/Neather!)
    Time for a new editor to bring some credibility to this once proud magazine/

    • the viceroy’s gin

      You’ll have to find a new owner first, as the existing one has purchased exactly what he wants here.

  • foxoles

    If Raab is such a good fighter, such a brilliant strategist and ‘has perfected the art of parliamentary insurgency’, it sounds rather as if he should be the leader.

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    “As a journalist, I’m for all this. It’s hilarious. But I can’t see how all of this is in the interests of Tory Eurosceptics.”

    Fraser, we are precisely at the point at which an ever increasing number of people have *stopped listening*. They will no longer look at detail, look at points made, understand the impact/effects it would have, understand that in the end the big picture is made up of small but important parts.

    The most pressing thought for people in Britain has demonstrably never been the EU or immigration – it has always been that of

    *vision*, *opportunity* and *reward for taking the initiative*.

    Whilst some will argue that we were on a path to address the latter two, our attitude towards the former is still surprisingly lacking and vague. Our government, any government in the last thirty years in fact, has never been in a position to successfully argue what our British *vision* is. Even if someone had, an ever-increasing part of the populace appear not to understand what that vision entails. That is a huge problem and I fear the Scots will now take this matter into their own regional hands.

  • Denis_Cooper

    “… all he really achieved was embarrassing the Home Secretary.”

    She was only embarrassed because she cares more about what the Council of Europe might think than about what the British people want, and as somebody who is only Home Secretary because she was elected as one of the representatives of the sovereign British people in their sovereign Parliament she should be embarrassed.

    And the more often she and her ilk across the old parties are embarrassed the better, and the sooner she and her ilk across the old parties are removed from Parliament and replaced by people who are actually committed to our national sovereignty and democracy the better.

    Unlike Fraser Nelson I do not put petty party politics first, I put the restoration and improvement of our national democracy first and I see no more hope of that being achieved by voting Tory than by voting Labour or even Liberal Democrat.

    • OriginalChris

      Extending your theme, Denis, is Donna Edmunds UKIP in an interesting article about the ruling class versus the country class (nothing rural in that label):
      http://www.ukipdaily.com/ukip-country-class-ruling-class/#.UuueuLDuPcs
      UKIP: for the ‘Country Class’, against the ‘Ruling Class’

      • Denis_Cooper

        Thanks for that.

        • OriginalChris

          I can’t seem to post on a particular website on which I was a regular, which is very frustrating as I have lots of links which would be of relevance to the articles posted there. All very odd.

          • Denis_Cooper

            ConservativeHome?

            • Kitty MLB

              Some were trying to be subtle Mr Cooper.

              • OriginalChris

                :)

        • Kitty MLB

          Indeed the gentleman who said he cannot post
          on that other website is quite correct.
          It seems some are trying to manipulate the type of
          visitors and are somewhat afraid of the consequences of the next election-
          Very similar people are ‘ strangely disappearing’
          Grass Root Conservatives and Kippers alike- very odd.
          I know 20 since Christmas- and not of their own choosing.
          Others there have commented on our quiet it has become,
          it will become even more quiet if only supporters of a certain
          Prime Ministers can post.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            It’s too late, though. They may be desperate to save the Cameroons, but it’s far too late for that. What’s done is done, and this is done.

            • Kitty MLB

              Yes its far too late now, and if their was a
              smidgen of hope, that would need to come from
              Grass Root Conservatives, pretending they do not exist and
              making them ‘disappear’ because they do not want to
              acquiescently spout hackneyed, nonsensical drivel
              from HQ is just wrong. As you say, some are
              and HQ are desperate to save Dave- but what’s done is done.
              Any way, Have a very good weekend, I hope you are not having
              the same amount of rain as we are in the West Country-
              will need a boat before long.

            • Kitty MLB

              Apologies There not Their.

  • HookesLaw

    You have woken up at last Mr Nelson. Raab is playing to the gallery instead of getting on with the hard work of fighting Labour. When his country needs him he goes showboating. Pathetic.

  • AdH2011

    I think people underestimate how good a job Labour have done in demonising the Conservative party. There are many places particularly in the north where they are seen as the root of all evil and the legacy of Thatcher is the cause of every single bad thing in the country.

    Cameron while hardly a great leader (and they’d have been much better with someone who isn’t a ‘Lord Snooty’ in these difficult times), has a difficult job in persuading the public that this isn’t the case. It is necessary to soften the conservative message to do this though.

    Another Labour government for 5 years would be disastrous yet many seem to be quite happy for that to happen if it means they are rid of Cameron. The ultimate cutting of your nose to spite your face.

    • AnotherDave

      Tosh.

      He didn’t need to “soften” the Conservative message. He needed to demonstrate that low tax, small government is good for poor people, as well as rich people.

      You can’t do that by increasing taxation, and expanding government.

      • Colonel Mustard

        +1

      • AdH2011

        Easier said than done. How was he meant to do that in 5 years with an enormous deficit and the public used to getting handouts from the government for everything and still hope to win an election at the end of it?

        Plus the fact he’s running a coalition of course with a party with completely opposite principles in many regards

        • the viceroy’s gin

          No, that party isn’t “completely opposite”. Dave agrees with them, in fact, as do all of the LibLabCon clones. That’s the whole problem.

    • jazz606

      “..It is necessary to soften the conservative message to do this though…”

      Absolute rubbish. Trying to mollify these idiots is a waste of time. Stick it them, at least they may then end up respecting you even if they hate your guts. The alternative is that they still hate you guts and hold you in contempt as well.

      • AdH2011

        It might well be but some of these ‘idiots’ are required to get a conservative majority.

        Due to the boundaries, Labour can slide into power with pretty much just it’s core vote, the Tories won’t. Without widening their appeal, they’ll simply stay in the lower 30s at best and never be elected.

        If Scotland (which the Tories have as good as given up on) votes to be independent and Labour lose all these seats then this would change.

        • jazz606

          Unless UKIP manage to throw a giant spanner into the works Labour will win the next election. So get used to it.

          The Tories are failing because they have over a number of years (decades ?) alienated their natural support by not standing up for Britain and conservative values.

          • AdH2011

            It’ll be closer than it looks, I suspect both main parties will poll similar but it’ll end up with a small Labour majority (possibly with the Tories getting more votes)

            And indeed they have but they have also suffered by Labour using their 13 years in power to boost their support through subsidies/bribes (tax credits, benefits, public sector jobs etc) – effectively making people reliant on the government teat.

            • jazz606

              “..And indeed they have but they have also suffered by Labour using their 13 years in power to boost their support through subsidies/bribes (tax credits, benefits, public sector jobs etc) – effectively making people reliant on the government teat..”

              All true but it doesn’t alter the fact that the Tories have failed to stand up for conservative values, have alienated their core supporters and are now going to pay a very high price.
              Cameron had a chance and he blew it, but what do you expect from a PR PPE graduate?

              • AdH2011

                Well indeed, many politicians these days seem to have no principles at all and bend whicehever way the wind is blowing. All style and no substance

                The rich toff aura that surrounds Cameron and Osborne makes it difficult for them to deliver the necessary ‘cruel to be kind’ policies too as it won’t effect them and people know it. Not that Labour front bench is much better of course.

                • jazz606

                  A good reason for not having ‘rich toffs’ in charge. There are plenty of other good people who don’t suffer from that built in disadvantage.

                  Of course Cameron isn’t just a rich toff, he’s a full paid up member of the liberal elite.

                • AdH2011

                  Very true. Depends what you view as the lesser of 2 evils here – personally I’d prefer the conservative party to be united and for it to win the next election even with Cameron in charge.

                  This may well be a lost cause but the prospect of Ed Balls in charge of the economy outweighs other issues for me.

                • jazz606

                  Yes the thought of Balls having another opportunity to screw the economy doesn’t fill me with pleasure either.
                  However it might be the price we have to pay to rid ourselves of a Tory party that has consistently betrayed conservative values.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  If you’re scared of the Millipede, you best vote UKIP, because Dave is going to be disappeared.

                • AdH2011

                  UKIP need to flesh out their policies (and quickly) seeing as Farage has disowned their entire manifesto.

                  He is exactly what we need though – straight talking and to the point. Most people switch off the minute the current crop of career politicians open their mouths as it’s the same regurgitated crap we’ve all heard a 1000 times

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, UKIP just needs to take it one step at a time. First the MEP elections, then the political shakeout following, and then the initiation of preparations for the 2015 election. They’ve got plenty of time, and their fate is dependent on the others’ failings, so no need for them to be in any rush. Let the others keep failing, would be the best bet for them. Just stay out of their way while they’re failing, and then step up to claim what’s come available, come election time.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No cruelty involved in eschewing the VAT increase that Boy George slammed down on everybody. No cruelty involved in rejecting the global warming kookiness Dave embraced, in fact, it’d reduce energy costs for most.

                  The Cameroons are socialists, and govern like socialists.

  • sarahsmith232

    I remember watching Teresa May on Andrew Marr prob’ ages ago now, saying that unless the judges started to consider more than just the criminals rights then Parliament would legislate to ensure that they did do. So, they haven’t, a backbench MP attempts to get Parliament to legislate to ensure that these judges do do, she wont back it.
    So, all that she said on Andrew Marr was rubbish then. Why was that? Was it another e.g of a politician trying to play us like a fiddle? She would have known rightly that Parliament doing any legislating on this Article 8 business wasn’t going to happen. When are they all going to realise that these constant, non-stop lies are so damaging. I’m so tired of it all.

    • jazz606

      “..I’m so tired of it all…”

      Who isn’t ?

      • sarahsmith232

        Agreed.

  • teigitur

    Absolute tosh Mr Nelson. It is always a good idea to try to set one’s own house in order before deriding others. Thanks to Mr Cameron, the heir to Blair, the Conservative house is way out of order. You could not make him up.

  • swatnan

    Raab and Rees-Mogg are insiders and penpushers and need to get out more into the real world. The public don’t really want to send kids now adults who have been brought up in Britain and have fallen foul of the law through the indiscipline in our schools and lack of parental authority, sent back to a foreign country they’ve never known.
    They want scoundrels like Biggs and the Costa del Sol criminals facing their just deserts, and the Afghan Warlords with blood on their hands.

  • Kitty MLB

    Mr Nelson ( are you related to Horatio)
    If you were, your would know that he always fought under his own colour banner
    and was brave !
    and to be fair on the weak, ghastly vulture Milipede- he does the same!
    You are really fighting a losing battle with this one.
    Scare tactics, blackmail,and what ever other underhand measures Cameron
    can think of will not win him an election.

  • Denis_Cooper

    “Yes, his opinion poll lead had been reduced to two pitiful points earlier this week”

    No, Labour’s lead is still averaging about 6% according to the first chart here:

    http://www.conservativehome.com/majority_conservatism/2014/01/the-polling-trends-bring-bad-news-for-miliband-too.html

    And it hasn’t changed significantly for the past six months.

    If we can’t even trust the media to give an accurate account on something like that, what can we trust them on?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      You can’t trust them, is the answer. This Speccie rag is a propaganda sheet, like much of the media rabble .

  • anyfool

    That Fraser thinks that Raab has succeeded in poking the Home Sec only is not quite true, he forced Labour to veto the excluding rapists, murderers and all the other various scum of the earth that Labour imported into the country for votes.
    The people will remember as soon as some headline grabbing crime occurs.
    The man have done the Tories a favour, he has also done UKIP a service in the Labour heartlands if they have the sense to use it.

    • Mynydd

      Mrs May the Conservative Home Secretary said that the Raab amendment was illegal, there by, forcing Labour and other parties to vote it down. If the government had constructed a bill to legally deport rapists, murderers and all the other various scrum of the earth, then all sides of the house would have voted for it. You should also note that Mr Cameron the Prime minister and the bulk of the Conservatives did not vote for the amendment.

      • anyfool

        No but they did not vote against, the Muppet Miliband did, it is not illegal, it is possibly illegal, a very big difference taking into account where this very dodgy opinion came from.

        • Mynydd

          If there was any doubt about the legality of a Labour government bill and/or amendment the Conservative opposition quite rightly must vote against it.

        • Denis_Cooper

          If something is passed by our sovereign Parliament, the supreme legal authority for this country, then by definition it cannot be illegal under the law that matters most, our national law; as it will be part of our national law obviously there is not even the possibility that it could be illegal.

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  • Kitty MLB

    Yes indeed Dominic Raab is very impressive.
    (Not a spineless little amphisbaena such as Cameron)
    He should stiffen up thy sinews , summon up thy blood ,
    eschew this comfortless road leadeth thou knowest whither-
    defeat Cameron as well as the immoral Labour Party!’
    Cameron and the coalition are a collection of muddleheaded
    self satisfied untrustworthy hypocrites.
    Cameron says ‘Tough on Immigration’ yet very weak on votes,
    and needs to rely on his Leftie comrades to go against his own party
    who represent the electorate and not the EU- a utter disgrace.

  • @PhilKean1

    .
    Fraser.

    You are making a right nuisance of yourself. You must know that your strenuous efforts are going to make no difference.

    We understand how some people are panicking and becoming irrational and desperate because they can’t see past their fear of Britain electing another Labour Government.

    We understand that the good old and trusted tactics of emotional blackmail, scares, and calls for unity – are the stock-in-trade for those people whose default position is to always fall into line behind whatever they judge to be the best of the worst.

    Nelson, we see you here, we see you there, we see you warning us everywhere.

    Here’s an idea for you. Have you ever worn a sandwich board?
    .

    • HJ777

      Surely you can’t blame people for fearing another Labour government considering the absolute horlicks made by the last one?

      • @PhilKean1

        It is the EU which is our Government. It is they who make our laws. It is they who we are unable to replace if they inflict administration on the British people they regard as objectionable and damaging.

        This position has happened under Labour, AND so-called Tory Governments.

        2015 is the last chance we have to end this cycle of destruction. We must hold our nerve.
        .

      • Kitty MLB

        What people loathe and fear are completely different things,
        they loathe Labour for the utter destruction of our economy
        and leaving us vulnerable.
        What they fear is not feeling safe, that the human rights of criminals
        is far more important and governments are so trapped within the iron
        fingers of the socialist EU that they will put the interest of Brussels
        before their own country.

        • HJ777

          I loathed the last Labour government and fear another one.

          • Kitty MLB

            Its a pity those who chose Cameron as leader
            did not feel the same! choosing a leader who had
            so much resemblance to the leader of the party opposite,
            even calling himself ‘ The Heir to Blair’ How was that going to work out?
            As for going into coalition, people say ‘Tory led government,’
            yet nothing could be less true! and yet the Conservatives ( who are the camservatives , now in reality) will
            be judged by this period during the next election. As
            well has having a leader who truly is not too keen on
            his grassroots and backbenchers.
            People should fear Miliband and Balls, they are dangerous, anti English
            manipulative and treacherous, yet because of all incompetence and weakness by the coalition, people
            are more concerned with being rid of them- I personally
            would like to see the back of all of them- and have
            a real Conservative leader.

            • Makroon

              That’s an easy one – because they were desperate to be led by someone who was at least electable – unlike the three previous incumbents. Cameron has never failed to disappoint, but he is a dedicated family man, and lazy by inclination. I doubt he will linger for too long.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Me too. Even before the election communist scum like telemachus are boasting about the power they will wield rather than representing the people. Watching Thornberry, the odiously smarmy Oakeshott and that ghastly Smurthwaite on QT last night It will be horrendous.

            • @PhilKean1

              I couldn’t watch it. Thornberry is representative of everything I hate about Socialist UK.
              .

              • Colonel Mustard

                You would have felt almost physically sick – as I did.

              • 2trueblue

                I think I will record it and watch it in the light of day. It was disturbing in so many ways. Before it even started you knew it was not going to go well. Dunbleby has no idea how to be impartial and chair the show. Last night the audience realised that they could disrupt it and they did. Never the less the panel (and I include Dunbleby in it) is so biased that it is just a Liebore fest show.
                With the boundary issue, which the LibDums buried, we are more that likely to get a Liebore government. There is no democracy anymore. With that, the possibility of Scottish independence, and the EU there is no hope that we as individuals matter anymore.

              • Kitty MLB

                Phil, I also never watch ghastly lefties, never watch question time- and I cannot stand that Thornberry wench.
                All these politicians ( and other lefties) look as if they have
                been visited by a taxidermist, its that zombie quality,
                its the empty soulless nothingness-
                they just go through the motion that they were conditioned to obey- quite scary really .

                • @PhilKean1

                  What I find so abhorrent is that they take advantage of the fact that the majority of the British public are politically-ignorant, and so are dependent on the views of politicians.

                  Distorting the facts surrounding the 50p top tax rate is as low as it gets.
                  .

                • Kitty MLB

                  Yes indeed Phil, the 50p top tax that is now the weapon
                  of choice to beat those who pay tax in the disguise of
                  a pathetic little class war. Even the arch deceive Blair,
                  actually said he would never have done that.
                  Our very own deficit and EU slayer * cough cough* George
                  Osborne should have dealt with that immediately,
                  instead of being manipulated by those who
                  do not have England at heart.

            • Magnolia

              I agree but they were shouted down by the audience for being ‘soft’ on terrorism because of refusing to say they support the amendments.
              Fraser could have misread the whole thing because the Conservatives can now smear Labour and the Lib Dems with this until election time. That will be popular with voters.
              The first action of a Labour/Lib Dem government will be the theft of private property. There will be property/land value taxes brought in and the capital rich, income poor will ‘owe’ the tax for the future, hence there will be in effect a real massive rise in inheritance tax.
              The fear will be palpable.

              • Colonel Mustard

                There was a strong and vociferous socialist group in the audience as usual who continued the trend of booing and heckling audience members they disagreed with. Thornberry got a hard time over her waffling reply to that question and the man in the audience who attacked her took even Dimblebore by surprise. But generally it was the usual lefty smugfest with seal clapping at the predictable and clichéd Labour slogans.

                • Magnolia

                  I just heard it rather than watched it.

                • Paddy

                  Thornberry is a vile woman but the audience had her number.

                • Makroon

                  I really don’t understand why anyone of reasonable intelligence would watch that pantomime. Surely you have better options Colonel ?

      • sarahsmith232

        I’m starting to wonder whether a Cameron led Tory party being had out at the next election would be so bad in the long run. Surely they would pick a proper Tory leader that says they’re going to get something done about immigration and actually mean it next time. Labour will create another 1970s mess, they’d be out after one parliament, then onto a real Tory led gov’. Only issue is the fact that we’re no longer living in a democracy and the pro Labour electoral slant will have increased by then. With the welfare dependency/open-door combo’ the Tories might not ever get back in.
        This Cameron was only ever another London member of the Metro’ elite, with the dead typical prejudices. 4yrs in and we’re still living in the Labour party’s England, nothing has changed. Sickening.

    • ButcombeMan

      This sort of scaremongering message is no longer serious political comment.
      Cameron has alienated too many possible supporters.
      I regard it as inevitable that Labour will be (at least) the lead party of the next government.
      Cameron has pushed me out of a party I have supported for 50 years.
      I will vote according to conscience in 2015, I advise others to do that too.

      • @PhilKean1

        Conscience, and using the best tactics.

        Someone with Fraser’s influence could right now be persuading the approximately 100 pro-Sovereignty Tory MPs, and the 20 or so Labour and DUP pro-Sovereignty MPs, to form an alliance and join with UKIP and other like-minded parties in order to contest the 2015 election with the aim of holding the balance of power.

        IT CAN BE DONE !

        We just need some people of influence and intelligence to find the courage and the determination to make it happen.
        .

        • the viceroy’s gin

          It won’t be the Speccie kid pushing for that, however, as he’s being paid to push the exact opposite line.

  • HJ777

    I wonder what Fraser thinks will happen if the Tories win considerably more votes in the next election than Labour but Labour gain an overall majority of seats?

    In such a scenario, Labour could hardly claim a mandate, but they would be in a position to form a government. This would surely focus the public’s attention on how the current electoral system can produce a perverse result and may create considerable pressure for electoral reform.

    • AnotherDave

      The only time this parliament that the Conservatives have challenged Labour’s lead in the polls was during the ‘vetogasm’.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_next_United_Kingdom_general_election#2011

      It is now clear that far from repatriating powers from the EU, which they say they want to do, the Conservatives intend to pass more powers to the EU. (8m50s into the video linked to below)

      http://youtu.be/c3JnIw50zL8

      • HJ777

        That’s irrelevant.
        We know that mid-term governments are usually relatively unpopular and opposition parties relatively more popular than they turn out to be at the subsequent election. Having only a small mid-term lead is more of an alarm bell for an opposition than it is for a government – except that there is currently an electoral boundaries bias that favours Labour.

        • AnotherDave

          ? Being more popular than your principal opponents is the only relevant thing for an electoral candidate.

          The 2015 election is 16 months away, and the voters the Conservatives need to attract/convert will not be drawn to them just because the Conservatives would like that to happen.

    • Mynydd

      Any party can claim a mandate to form a government, when following a general election, they have the largest number of seats in the House of Commons. Mr Cameron at the last general election failed to do this, and had to go cap in hand to Mr Clegg to add Lib Dem seats to his to form a government. I would call this is a perverse result as neither Mr Cameron or Mr Clegg won the majority of seats in the House of Commons.

      • Colonel Mustard

        I would call you perverse for making a silly case like that. The Tories very clearly had a mandate from the votes cast.

        What a very silly fellow you are stalking up and down this thread whining your nonsense on behalf of the Labour party that no-one here has the slightest time for.

  • AnotherDave

    The Conservatives two biggest negatives with Conservative supporters and defectors are:

    1. Voters do not like their performance on immigration.

    2. Voters do not like their performance on the EU.

    http://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/01/27/how-tories-can-win-next-election/

    Backbench MPs are trying to bring the Conservatives performance in line with voters desires. That’s how candidates get elected.

    • HookesLaw

      Do voters like labour’s record on immigration better?
      Tories are bringing down immigration and tightening uo various rules. Vast scaremongering about hoards, millions of Romanians seem to have been overstated.
      The tory party ois working to a refferendum on the EU in 2017.
      All you say is based on rubbish.

      • AnotherDave

        Voting Labour is not the only alternative.

        UKIP is picking up support, and _not_ voting is also an option.

        Turnout in 2010 was 65%, I think turnout in 2015 will be lower.

        http://www.ukpolitical.info/Turnout45.htm

        • tjamesjones

          if UKIP do pick up a good number of votes, labour will form the government, there will be no EU referendum, there will be a 50p top rate a mansion tax, a socialist government. If that’s what you want, vote UKIP!

    • Frank

      I agree, not sure why Fraser seems to find it so hard to understand this.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Well, remember, the Speccie teenager is being paid to do a job, and that job excludes conservatism and liberalism both. For the Speccie kid’s paymasters, the job is about authoritarianism and socialism both, as proven when that conservative bashing discussion was deleted from this site 2 days ago, because it had been met with such fury in the comments section, from people who are conservative, unlike the Speccie.

        Authoritarian socialists simply hate to be disagreed with, and will not tolerate such.

      • global city

        Because he sees brown nosing as more important than analysing an issue nowadays.

    • whs1954

      I’m sure you could have said the same thing in 1996. Yet the lurch to the leadership adopting the mouth-foaming of the loony squad didn’t lead to Tory landslides in 2001 or 2005.

      More than any policy, voters hate divided parties that squabble amongst themselves, particularly over minutiae. They respect parties that look united. And here we have Tory backbenchers putting up stupid Europe-obsessive amendments, while the Labour Party unites behind Ed – they know he’s a prat as much as we know he’s a prat, but they want to be IN and they know not looking divided is how you get in.

      So, no, it’s not a good thing. If I were Lynton Crosby in the middle of a 1922 Committee meeting, “Shut up and focus on the real enemy, get behind your party, otherwise Ed is in and there’ll be no fight put up against the EU at all” would be the message.

  • classieview

    David Cameron (and Lord Feldman) have packed the parliamentary party with Heathite metropolitan liberals. The resulting centrist progressivism is a cause of permanent friction inside David Cameron’s party. Raab’s mini-revolt is as nothing compared with the measures the likes of Maria Miller and Greg Barker try to impose from the heart of government.

    It’s likely that these liberals will bale out first and try to form some new 21st century SDP . Just like Spectator readers who cancel their subscriptions on reading the umpteenth Alex Massie piece extolling immigration, conservatives lose all of their deference when confronted with such cuckoos in the nest.

    • HookesLaw

      Absurd rubbish.

  • telemachus

    We give the impression of being in office but not in power.

    Norman Lamont

    You have sat too long for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!

    Oliver Cromwell

    • Barakzai

      And the alternative? Here’s a Churchill quote for you, Tele:

      “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

      • HJ777

        or this one by Margaret Thatcher:

        “Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They [socialists] always run out of other people’s money. It’s quite a characteristic of them.”

        Nobody can say they weren’t warned about what would happen under the last Labour government.

        • telemachus

          In the same “This week interview she said

          “Er, I think it’s true to say, that the differences between Conservatives are very small indeed. Very small…..”

          • HJ777

            They are very small in comparison to, say, the difference between you and an intelligent person.

      • telemachus

        But he goes on to say
        …..even though the wise may predict misery the creed has the power to mesmerise the masses and we must consider carefully…….

        • Colonel Mustard

          You might think that the “power to mesmerise the masses” is to be admired. I don’t. It recalls too many tyrants of the left – Stalin, Hitler, Mao.

      • Mynydd

        Yes he was drunk at the time.

        • Barakzai

          Drunk or sober, his eloquence was just a mite superior to any of your likely Labour heroes, including Saint Nye . . .

    • Bert

      Gordon Brown
      “No time for a Wallace”

    • Colonel Mustard

      “For a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”

      –Winston Churchill

      • telemachus

        Anyone who’s tried to pay a heating bill, fill a prescription, or simply buy groceries knows all too well that the current minimum wage does not cut the mustard.
        Sherrod Brown

        • Colonel Mustard

          He doesn’t agree with you about Stalin though:-

          “In March 2011, Brown came under scrutiny for a senate floor speech in which he cited the names of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin while he criticized Republican efforts in Ohio and Wisconsin to mitigate the power of public employee unions to negotiate with taxpayers. In his speech he said “some of the worst governments that we’ve ever had, do you know one of the first things they did? They went after unions. Hitler didn’t want unions, Stalin didn’t want unions, Mubarak didn’t want independent unions”. Brown, however, added that he was not comparing the two situations. He later apologized for his speech.”

          Tee-hee.

          • telemachus

            Ed on the other hand cut McCluskey down to size

            • Colonel Mustard

              Go away. Fabians think their s**t doesn’t stink.

            • Kitty MLB

              McCluskey controls Milipede as you well know.
              Was he not going to reform the unions until they
              threatened to take away funding’s, after all
              Labour have very little money now they have been deserted
              by many of their donors, and even more will go after
              the little announcement that Balls has made.

    • Colonel Mustard

      “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions, rather than their results. We all know a famous road that is paved with good intentions. The people who go around talking about their ‘soft heart,’–I admire them for the softness of their heart, but very often it extends to their head as well.”

      — Milton Friedman

    • Colonel Mustard

      “The siren song of redistribution of wealth by centralized government never ceases for those who seek irreversible and unusurpable control over the lives and liberties of private citizens.”

      –Josh Jones

    • Colonel Mustard

      “You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.” – Dr. Adrian Rogers

      • Kitty MLB

        Colonel, I am afraid you are bashing you head against a brick
        wall. Telemachus has been very much befuddled by the
        siren song of the left, he has drank from cicre’s chalice.
        You will never be able to reason with the chap or any leftie
        who thinks that by attacking the rich you are helping the poor,
        unfortunately there will always be some who will want something that someone else has earned.
        Envy and division stand as the cornerstones of socialism.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Oh, I’m not trying to reason with him or convert him. View my posts in response to telemachus as the virtual equivalent of two fingers and a raspberry. He tries to dominate this blog and my posts are insurgent graffiti.

        • telemachus

          How is it possible to contemplate reason with folks who support the selfish pursuit of personal gain when you adhere to an egalitarian creed of fair opportunity for all
          *
          I guess you adhere to the Roman principle of freedom with equality for citizens supported by millions of serfs

          • Colonel Mustard

            What tripe. You have boasted you are about to leave on a TRADE mission and the only thing you adhere to is the creed of telling everyone else what to do and interfering in every aspect of their lives.

          • Kitty MLB

            You do not think the Unions when they voted for Miliband
            were partaking ‘ the selfish pursuit of personal gain.’
            You do not suppose Miliband does not do this with
            everything he says, starting a childish little class war.
            Labour voters get envy and division- and love personal gain!
            Attack the rich…Oh dear- who pays for public services,
            creates wealth for a country and pays for benefits etc.
            Honestly, Telemuchus, I know you have little grey cells,
            do you not recognise the damage Brown and Balls caused?

            • Colonel Mustard
            • telemachus

              I am astonished and upset for you that you do not recognise the 10 years of prosperity Gordon gave you and give thanks that he finally dragged the health service and education inrastucture out of the Victorian era

              • Colonel Mustard

                And saddled it all with PFI whilst Burnham drank champagne as the helpless elderly died in his hospitals and children left New Labour’s schools unable to read or write and believing Nelson Mandela won the Battle of Trafalgar. . .

                • telemachus

                  How dare you
                  Mandiba had more caring in his little toe than the cabinet put together

                • Kitty MLB

                  Did his wife, when she apparently placed burning tyres
                  around the necks of people- The BBC and
                  Labour ministers called her ‘dear Winnie’.
                  Mandela changed due to being in prison but was a
                  totally different character beforehand and a friend of
                  some Arab dictators who were never ‘ caring’.
                  And stop calling him Mandiba, you did not actually know him.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Fake familiarity is the hallmark of the modern left. Labour scum were all over the TV calling Duggan ‘Mark’ as though they were old family friends.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  How dare you. I have no idea who Mandiba is but I know who Lord Nelson was.

              • Kitty MLB

                I was going to reply, but I have noticed the Colonel
                has informed you of a few facts.
                I cannot believe you said such foolish things.

                • telemachus

                  Kitty
                  You have a few things to learn about Nicholas
                  He is an agent provacateur who has latterly taken on the mantle of DINA

                • Colonel Mustard

                  I thought your name was Nicholas? Someone once posted here that you were a Greek PR man.

                • Kitty MLB

                  I quite like the name Nicholas,growing up in Verona,
                  I had a cat called Nicholas until he run off !
                  I am the name suits both your very diverse characters.

              • Kitty MLB

                I really am totally befuddled, my mind is absolutely boggling,
                How on earth can you talk such balderdash, even the most
                stubborn
                Labour voters admit Brown was a disaster .
                Well I am off now. Adios.

    • Colonel Mustard

      “We still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping at the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised to furnish new pretenses for revenue and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without a tribute.”

      — Thomas Paine

    • Colonel Mustard

      “Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have … The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases. ”

      – Gerald Ford

  • George_Arseborne

    Fraser just check the recent Yougov Opinion poll from Tory Sun: CON 32% LAB 42% … Why excited when there is a LAB slip in the polls and gloom when their stake rises? As you rightly stated, Milliband is the favourite to be in number 10 in 2015 as view by the bookies, that is an established fact.
    Cameron(Mr. Defeatist) can not lead his Party, he follows and gets humiliated all the time. See how organise Labour is under Milliband.

    • 2trueblue

      Organised? You mean we have the BBC (paid for by all) continually parroting what little Millipede has to say. Why we all have to pay tor the BBC I do not know.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …because the LibLabCon socialist collective wants it that way, which is one of the reasons Call Me Dave is going to be gotten rid of, soon.

        • 2trueblue

          They may all look the same, but they are not. The Coalition was not the best thing for any of us. It would have been better to just go to the country again immediately. It has delivered some change that was necessary and kept Millipede, Balls, Byrne, et al away from the till.

          We really need a cleaner, leaner political structure and maybe that is where the public should make that clear from September to gear up to the elections in 2015.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …well, it’ll get a little leaner after Dave’s carcass is got rid of.

            • 2trueblue

              Very drole.

  • Bert3000

    It’s a good job for Raab that we didn’t have the likes of Raab in government when his father arrived here as an asylum seeker.

    • AnotherDave

      Mr Raab’s amendment was about deporting foreign criminals.

      • Bert3000

        Raab’s amendment was about victimising foreigners.

        • AnotherDave

          No. It was about deporting foreign criminals, to prevent them from victimising _more_ UK residents.

    • Denis_Cooper

      Why, was Raab’s father a convicted criminal?

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