Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ken Clarke - return or revenge?

It is reported than Ken Clarke QC MP is to return to the Shadow Cabinet after a decade on the back benches - probably because he realises that the Conservative Party is once again on the cusp of power, and he wishes to be a part of it. One has to observe that he been of absolutely no assistance to the Party during its decade in the wilderness, and he has actively sought to undermine some Party leaders during this time. One might also recall that he was the first Cabinet minister to advise Margaret Thatcher to resign during the 1990 leadership contest.

Mr Clarke is to replace as Alan Duncan as Business Secretary. Apparently, he 'has accepted that the Tory position on Lisbon, the EPP and the Euro is settled. He won't attempt to change party policy but neither will he change his views.'

The Conservative position on Lisbon, the EPP and the Euro is not remotely settled. There is an entente cordiale between opposing factions, and Mr Clarke will actively oppose from within the Shadow Cabinet giving the British people a referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon (he is no fan of democracy even within the Conservative Party). Mr Clarke has always said precisely what he thought on matters relating to the EU, having appeared on platforms with his political opponents to the detriment of the Conservative Party and to the embarassment of the Leader. Indeed, he even favours a coalition with the europhile Liberal Democrats, and has publicly said so. He is a loose cannon, and regularly defies the Party whip with impunity: indeed, his voting record identifies him as a rebel.

This promotion is a reward for disloyalty and rebellion. But while eurosceptics who assert their EU beliefs are permanently exiled from David Cameron's inner circle, europhiles who do not toe the Party line are positively embraced. That Mr Clarke enters the Shadow Cabinet for perpetually defying the Party Whip sets a curious example for all those ambitious young MPs who are encouraged to cease thinking for themselves and to vote as they are instructed.

Cranmer does not wish to say any more.

He is a little despondent.


Blogger Peter Mc said...

'he is a loose canon'

May I suggest that your grace shows his religious background most entetainingly with that small typo

Mr Clarke is a loose cannon.

18 January 2009 at 22:52  
Anonymous an ex-apprentice said...

Your Grace,
Tis a measure, methinks, of the fear engendered in the Conservative ranks by that nice Mr Mandleson, that this aberration has occurred.
I detest Mandy, and all he stands for, with a passion that I find slightly embarrassing; yet I must regretfully admit to the new-found polish of his performance.
Perhaps it was his spell in Euroland, maybe a new degree of self-confidence boosting financial comfort, but his treatment of the select committee last week was an exercise in patronising, langourous superiority seldom seen from any member of ZaNuLabour.
The Tory's have not yet got to grips with him, and I suspect they fear his effects in the future. Will Ken do better? And even if he does, will the damage he has the potential to do to his own party be worth it?
Your Grace's wisdom in these matters is greater than mine.

18 January 2009 at 23:00  
Blogger Morus said...

You Grace - there is no entente cordial. There are almost no Europhiles left in the Party. They are gone, forgotten - Ken Clarke is the last of the big ones.

There will be no change in policy, there will be no further integration - there won't even be cooperation with the EPP.

If Cameron can't contain one dissenting view on one policy area, then he shouldn't be Prime Minister. I would have been even more impressed if he had sacked Duncan for refusing to give up outside interests, sacked Spelman (pick a reason), and brought back David Davis, but daring to have Clarke back is praiseworthy.

I know he's a loose cannon, but that's why I like him. We have enough obedient, boring lobby fodder in the main parties - thank heavens that someone who defies the whip with impunity has been given a profile - perhaps it will encourager les autres.

Bringing Clarke back is a signal that he is serious about winning the election. The public like Clarke, only the hardcore Eurosceptics don't. They are right on the issue, but awful at making their case. If they don't like it, there is always UKIP. It's a drastic overreaction, given that no policy changes, but if they left, I suspect that could only increase the appeal of the party to middle Britain, which although Eurosceptic, finds the window-licking and frothy-mouthed paranoia of some of that movement's advocates unattractive.

The way to be a good and effective Eurosceptic is to get the Conservatives back into power, and prevent any change in policy. This does both. Opposing it, or splitting the party over nothing, is antithetical to that end.

Be not despondent. This makes a Conservative Government (opposed to Europe, but without the insatiable need to purge every Europhile) more likely.

Disclaimer: I am not a Conservative, but would consider voting for them.

18 January 2009 at 23:03  
Blogger Witterings From Witney said...

As I have said on my blog, there is no difference between Cameron & Brown with a reshuffle - no matter how many times Cameron & Brown shuffle the pack - the cards they hold are all nonentities!

Not one of the three main political parties can produce a manifesto which does not allow for EU 'laws'.

Who governs this country - not the British electorate!

18 January 2009 at 23:11  
Anonymous an ex-apprentice said...

Dear Mr Morus,
"which although Eurosceptic, finds the window-licking and frothy-mouthed paranoia of some of that movement's advocates unattractive."

A little paranoia can often be instructive, it is a skill to be cultivated.

18 January 2009 at 23:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You Grace - there is no entente cordial. There are almost no Europhiles left in the Party. They are gone, forgotten - Ken Clarke is the last of the big ones.

As a Conservative Party member of long standing, I can confirm that I believe this is largely true. As far as the membership is concerned there is as good as total unity. The strength of which there has not been before.

However I am equally sure that if the Labour Parties membership had known what they now know 11 years ago. They would not have had such as wide smile on their collectivist faces as they did back in 97.

Who would have thought that 'a Labour government, a Labour government,' would have carefully guided, lied and conspired us into a bloody and long war in the middle east, for example? I did, but that is not the point.

Who actually considered at the time, that when they said to our faces there would be a vote on The EU constitution, they were only pulling our leg while lying through their teeth? I did again, but again that is not the point.

Not many people I would wager, not currently bushing buttons on my PC.

The only two things a human being can truly count on in this life is DEATH and TAXES. So the two only things we can really count on, I believe can safely be assured, will not in the future be in short supply.

Atlas shrugged

19 January 2009 at 00:18  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

The Tories are a bunch of worthless twunts.

19 January 2009 at 00:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little paranoia can often be instructive, it is a skill to be cultivated.

Now that is an excellent quote.

If the author is reasonably well known, could you please supply their name.

Otherwise I will claim it as my own.

Atlas Shrugged

19 January 2009 at 00:28  
Anonymous an ex-apprentice said...

Dear Uncle Atlas,

Note the word "little".

This precludes your involvement.

19 January 2009 at 00:46  
Anonymous not a machine said...

perhaps its unfinished business from the 80s , problem is we need someone who really understands business , this is no job for an amchair pontificator , the economy looks in very bad state .

all cameron can do is try him , see if he gets on with the job and then look at in 6 months .
i suspect his work when he was chancellor will be invaluable, but will he see where the rot is , is he up for putting a stake into mandelson/nu labour and being a true "stake holder" !!

so long as reports to dave , does his job and doesnt pump up the EU waste of money , i think give him a chance .
he should also give john redwood a bit of honour , hes been pumping out some intelligent blog posts for ages.

never have worked out how come the son of a coal mine supervisor becomes a tory , or for that matter a pro european . oh well

19 January 2009 at 00:52  
Anonymous somebody's old auntie said...

"A little paranoia can often be instructive, it is a skill to be cultivated."
ex-apprentice - I too would like to know who said this; some of us decry plagiarism for many reasons.

One is that accurate citation allows us to check the original text and context. In this case, I'd like to verify that I'm not blindly accepting someone like Nietzsche. Indeed I also need to clarify: Are we talking about the one who suffers from the condition, the one who induces it, the one who cures it, or a cold observer?

Neither would I like to be picking up on a half-quote - you know, as Marlowe's Faustus did; it is one of the oldest tricks in the world, and perenially in 'vogue' ... I use the frogword without euro-flattery!

19 January 2009 at 04:15  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

Your Grace, may I offer a glimmer of hope for Western Civilisation and a request that you give the following link some prominance.
It may show our conservatives what real Conservatism is about.

Join at

19 January 2009 at 07:10  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Peter Mc,

You are, of course, quite correct. His Grace was typing late, and slumber beckoned. He did not proof-read, as is his wont.

Mr Morus,

His Grace has no doubt that some europhiles have been sleeping - Ian Taylor and John Gummer spring to mind. Mr Clarke's return will embolden the likes of these, and they shall be given a platform out of all proportion to their numbers.

19 January 2009 at 07:23  
Anonymous Morus said...

Your Grace, if the European Project relies on Mssrs Gummer and Taylor for its advocacy, I really don't think you or I have anything remotely to worry about!

They might speak out, they might even be covered by the BBC, but the public will yawn, because in fact they could not care less.

An ex-apprentice: that is a good quote, though I'd argue the operative word is 'little'!
There is a difference between trying to win and trying to beat your opponent. The Eurosceptics have won - stop trying to beat whatever is left of your opponent.

19 January 2009 at 09:45  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Morus,

The public may indeed yawn, but they will be left with the distinct impression - however subliminal - that the Conservative Party is divided. The airtime Mr Clarke will be given by the BBC will be out of all proportion to his status, and media opportunities will inevitably spread to other 'big beasts' like Michael Heseltine.

19 January 2009 at 09:52  
Anonymous Jim Carr said...

There are almost no Europhiles left in the Party. They are gone, forgotten

Not so, I'm afraid.
They have gone undercover and turned their campaigning to "tackling climate change".
This is Europhilia by another name since all of this loony greenery is pushed by the EU.
Every Tory who peddles this discredited garbage will be a closet Europhile without exception.

19 January 2009 at 09:54  
Blogger Johnny Norfolk said...

Just what you expect in politics.

Power at any price.

I agree with you about him, but it will do no harm in courting the wider public support.

At time like this if it helps us to be rid of this Labour government led by the worst PM we have ever had then it has to be a good thing.

19 January 2009 at 10:27  
Blogger EUBanana said...

I'm not even remotely surprised.

There is no need for Ken Clarke to be in the shadow cabinet. There is no need for his "gravitas". Polls show that the Tory lead over Labour is in double digits - and thats without Ken Clarke.

It isn't like Ken is there to save the party from defeat, the party will win, Ken or no Ken.

So why is he there?

Of course Camoron already reneged on his one promise regarding the EPP, so the signs are there, for those with eyes to see. Any instinctive Tory who votes Conservative in the next election is a sucker, the same as any natural socialist who voted Labour in 1997 was.

As for why people like Ken I have no idea. He's the embodiment (literally) of Big Tobacco, and very much a patrician who knows whats best for us better than we humble proles.

19 January 2009 at 10:56  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

All the Major Parties are in on the EU Project.
80% of our Laws are now made in EuroLand.
It's as obvious as a Shiny Gold Coin on a pile of Dung.

Like a Gold coin on a Pile of Dung

Now would be a good time Generals.

19 January 2009 at 11:41  
Blogger McKenzie said...

While Gordon and Alistair have been weaving webs of deceit today, where have the Tories been? Where is the new champion today while Mandleson serves up some crucial mind weave about the latest monumental failures of government? Well, I have sen him on the news poncing around outside his house waffling to the press.

19 January 2009 at 13:34  
Blogger Timothy Belmont said...

Mr Clarke should prove to be a formidable political foe against that supreme political Machiavellian, the Lord Mandelson.

Ken Clarke may not be to everyone's taste with his pro-Europe stance; however, he still much energy and enthusiasm, and he is refreshingly direct and frank which is unlike most senior front-benchers.


19 January 2009 at 16:22  
Blogger McKenzie said...

So who is going to save this country? The Conservatives seem clueless, and if you ask me Dave's heart is not really in it, lets be fair he is doing quite well now without all the stress. The BNP are too busy making SS daggers and having swastika tattoos (yawn), and the LibDems are trying to convert the gene pool into one homogeneous mass of voting sludge!

Non of this is being lost on the NuLabour, as it could be seen today with the expression of smug arrogance on both Gordon and Alistair's faces today as they recited their version of The Wizard of Ozz while we all sat down at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, down Mandleson's rabbit hole. A win win situation all round, hic!

19 January 2009 at 16:31  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

The Ego has landed.

19 January 2009 at 16:45  
Blogger Jomo said...

Mr Clarke's greatest merit is his consistent views on Europe.

The rest of the political class only opposes the EU when they can do nothing about it. Despite everything said by both parties since entry, there has been no brake on the drive to the "ever closer union" proclaimed in the original treaty.

The present leadership of the conservative party has done nothing to lead anyone to believe that they will change policy on the EU after an election victory. Equally,they have found it difficult to put together a coherent and convincing response on the financial crisis.

In contrast,Mr Clarke has been a beacon of consistency and principle on the EU. Hopefully, he will lend a little backbone to those around him.

I totally disagree with him on Europe but at least he is honest, and even more important,the electorate like him.

19 January 2009 at 17:32  
Anonymous an ex-apprentice said...

Dear Auntie, 4:15am

I got it from John Shirley;
"I think paranoia can be instructive in the right doses. Paranoia is a skill."

From what you say, you might like another of his;
"I get drunk writing words. I don't drink or do drugs, but I get so carried away with writing that I get inebriated from it."

19 January 2009 at 18:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Morus: "Bringing Clarke back is a signal that he is serious about winning the election."

Good god. We need a signal that the leader of her majesties opposition is serious about winning an election.

Look, Given that Clarke is responsible for more disposing of more Tory leaders than, well anyone in the last 100 years. There can be only one reason Cameron wants Clarke in the shadow cabinet.

Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer.


Clarke and Cameron are as one on Europe.

Frankly, I prefer the latter.

19 January 2009 at 20:48  
Blogger McKenzie said...

Ah, the mist (red) is clearing, I am seeing the wisdom in this. The Nazi's will not give us a any debate, but the introduction of Ken will twang the subconscious mind of the sheep giving them a choice of dogs and pens. Brilliant!
Let's hope it works. By Jove I think it may!

19 January 2009 at 21:01  
Blogger EUBanana said...

Enh, I just simply repeat. The Conservatives are winning. They have a double digit lead in the polls and Great Depression 2 has barely even started. Gordon Brown will be carrying the can 100% for this, because he personally has been in charge of the economy for the last ten years. Even Mandelson will have difficulty spinning that inconvenient fact away. Never mind the fact that Gordon does actually genuinely seem to be clueless as to what to do, so his future likely floundering and manifest failure is hardly going to be an electoral asset.

Ken Clarke is moving in after the battle is pretty much won, so his qualities, whatever they are (can't stand the man myself, he's the embodiment of Big Tobacco, not to mention one of these annoying patrician Tories who will be happy to tell us ignorant proles what to do), won't have much bearing on what is to come - they certainly had zero bearing on the aforementioned double digit poll lead the Tories currently enjoy.

So lets forget stuff like how the electorate likes him, because its completely irrelevant. Governments lose elections, oppositions don't win them, and in any case, the government has pretty much certainly already lost, and Ken had nothing to do with that. If the economy recovers miraculously in 2009 then Gordon might win, if not he will lose - Clarke does not factor into this.

Cameron said one thing about Europe - actually the one promise he made while running for leader that he could actually carry out as leader of the opposition. Presumably he said it to be elected by his eurosceptic membership. In any case he promptly broke his promise, despite the fact it would have cost him essentially nothing in political capital to keep it, in fact it probably would have neutered UKIP good and proper in the Euro-elections.

Even the "keep your enemies near" thing is irrelevant. Eurosceptics in the Tory party have to keep their head down. The chance of europhile backstabbing happening as of last week was pretty much nil, the issue was settled. Ken Clarke was a dinosaur, a nobody. His political career was essentially over. Hardly anybody who wasn't a political junkie even thought of him or remembered him, most likely.

Not anymore. Suddenly he's back. Why?

Clearly the europhiles have been strengthened and for no real electoral purpose.

Yet again on the issue of Europe the country is going to be played like a banjo. You mark my words. It shouldn't really be a surprise, we have ended up in a situation where 80% of our law emanates from Brussels despite the fact that the electorate is to a lesser or greater extent eurosceptic already after all.

19 January 2009 at 21:21  
Anonymous an ex-apprentice said...

Dear Mr Banana, 21:21pm
Flailing around in the undergrowth seems to your bag; I still can't tell, with any certainty, where you're coming from.
Lets try it a different way.
I am against EU membership 100%. I would leave tomorrow. Not partially, not qualified membership, out, period.
I would join NAFTA, re-energise and reinvigorate the old Commonwealth as a global trading block and I would continue to trade, on an arms length basis, with the EU.
Any attempt by them to impose import duties or any kind of barrier to free trade would be mirror imaged.
The advantages I can see arising from this are many and varied; democratic, constitutional, financial, moral, ethical and social. I see no disqualifying weight of argument on the downside.
For holding such views I have been described, on ConsHome and elsewhere, as a headbanging extremist, a frothing at the mouth mad eurosceptic etc etc, I'm sure you're familiar with the terminology.
I have had it explained to me, by people who claimed to know what they were talking about, that the tories are doing well, so don't mention Europe, don't start digging up old corpses, move on, move on. The other piece of expert advice says that it isn't a really top priority with the man-in-the-street; the opinion polls don't show it, the focus groups aren't giving us that feedback; so don't frighten the horses, move on, move on.
I don't want a political party that ignores or discards its fundamental principles in order to follow the last focus group that managed to achieve a concensus. I am not attracted to a political strategy that seeks to sweep one of the most important issues under the carpet. Nor do I want a party leader who thinks the best way to go is the last direction somebody pointed him.
I want principle, integrity and honour, combined with vision, flair and imagination, all coupled to the drive, initiative and determination to achieve, not for yourself, but for this once great Nation.
Cynics would laughingly say I am naive and expect too much. I say that one of our current problems is the depths to which our level of expectation of our leaders has been allowed to fall.
What about you, Mr Banana, would you say I was at the plumb loco end of the headbanging spectrum?

19 January 2009 at 22:38  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I think party issues are irrelevant now as is the EU. The disaster unfolding here is not business as usual but probably starts Britain's slide into austerity.

If people could recall the Sorcerer's Apprentice they would understand this mess. Cameron cannot cure it, Obama cannot cure will fester for decades and transform society.

People still have not woken up to the simple fact that spending cuts after the next election will need to be deep and sustained in Health, Education, Welfare since private pension funds are now finished and I am surprised the C of E Synod rants on about the BNP rather than its share portfolio and pensions

Politics will gain a very hard edge, bitter as politicians since the Millennium Bug Scam have flooded the world with easy credit and rewarded fraud and punished honest work aided by a corrupt media

This Society is imploding and politicians are hoping to survive elections rather than reverse what they have done - the post-election nightmare is sensed by voters but obscured by politicians

Cabinet re-shuffle shadow or otherwise has no bearing - the problems are immense and the Conservatives are too shallow, simply cutouts put up by their City financiers to be their Placemen....the populace at large has no interest in London cliques

20 January 2009 at 07:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The doctors have not forgotten what Clarke did to our profesion and to the health service.

true, there have been worse secretaries of state for health since Clarke's appalling tenure, Milburn for example, but he was the one who booted the medical profession in the goolies, brought in the know-nothing twits in suits and their blasted targets, also laying the foundations fo the disastrous Private Finace Initiative.

He is not as popular as some people seem to think he is. I was going to vote Conservative in my con/lib marginal, but now will vote UKIP.

Dr Quack

20 January 2009 at 09:12  
Blogger EUBanana said...

Enh, any talk on headbanging is just propaganda. This is the only blog I really post on at the moment anyway, and I've never even read ConsHome.

I just don't see why he's been promoted. Given I'm not privy to insider Tory gossip as I don't read ConsHome, coming at it as an outsider of libertarian views I'm just bemused and left wondering why he's back, and not seeing any real reason for it.

22 January 2009 at 12:12  
Blogger EUBanana said...

Ah, look at this, for those still reading.

"Tory turmoil as Clarke rubbishes Cameron's warning that Britain is on 'brink of bankruptcy'"

That didn't take long did it.

Jesus christ, just fire the man and put him out to pasture.

27 January 2009 at 14:45  

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