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Taxloss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 03:06 PM
Original message
And now for something completely different - a Transatlantic diversion
We don't have "Primaries" in the UK. Instead, we get "Leadership Contests" when a party leader resigns or is booted out. The Conservative opposition has been having a leadership contest since May this year, after they lost their third election in a row. Our domestic rightwingers have had months of backbiting, scheming, infighting and posturing to endure; we on the left have enjoyed it enormously.

Now, that race is reaching its climax. DU's own little UK forum has been abuzz with speculation and gossip. I thought I'd provide a brief rundown of the players in this hilarious sideshow, and a compendium of what UKDU has been saying about them.

The candidates, in alphabetical order: (eliminated)

David Cameron: Presently the front runner. Young, fresh-faced, charming, he looks dangerously electable. Politically, he's centre-right. Libertarian tendencies. However, has little experience and has been plagued by questions about whether he took coke and cannabis at university. Popular with younger, urban MPs; older, rural MPs and the party membership aren't so keen.

Ken Clarke: Eliminated yesterday in the first round of voting. This was a surprising result. Ken was by far the most popular candidate in the UK at large and VERY, VERY electable - a real threat to Labour. This is because he's about as left-wing as the Tory party gets and pro-Europe; while these things make him popular with the general public, they cause bitter opposition from his own party. He also had an amiable, beer-and-cigars image that people warmed to; but he's been annihilated in the first round. He's stood for the Tory leadership three times and lost three times; he's now too old to stand again, and his political career is now in its twilight.

David Davis: Started the campaign as the front-runner, but peaked too early and has lost momentum to others. Hard right, a real bullyboy. The idea of Davis as PM is chilling. He also has electable qualities, as he's the only candidate with humble origins, as he was born on a council estate (Brit for "housing project"). Won the first round, but is losing ground. Still placed close second.

Liam Fox: The dark horse. Dr Fox is placed third, and is also gaining ground. Considered the most intelligent candidate by far, he's youngish and believed to be the choice of ... (spit) ... Margaret Thatcher, which carries a huge amount of weight with it. He's also hard right.

Theresa May: Non-starter, but likely to appear in a shadow cabinet. Most famous for wearing racy footwear.

Malcolm Rifkind: Withdrew ahead of voting and backed Clarke. Soft right and bizarrely popular with some UKDUers.

And here's a festival of UKDU discussionage and linkification:

And they're off:

That Drugs Question:

Rifkind withdraws:

UKDU places its bets:

The Clarke Elimination Thread:

The Other Clarke Elimination Thread:

Cameronmania strikes:

(If you're still reading - hey, this matters to us. And it is a fun soap opera.)
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sweetheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:35 PM
Response to Original message
1. Good luck to Cameron
New labour has grown smug, and its time for a shakeup. I can support
a libertarian, and if Ken Clarke can support him, then I can.
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Disagree on Cameron...
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 06:29 PM by LeftishBrit
I actually prefer Clarke and Rifkind to Blair, though that's not saying much - I wouldn't vote for any of them!; but I prefer Blair to Cameron. Very definitely.

Since I almost always vote for our third party (Lib Dems) anyway, it may not really matter whom I prefer! But I do HOPE that Cameron doesn't get to be PM. For one thing, if Maggie supports him, I don't!
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sweetheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. Opposition
I want a functioning opposition. Gordon Brown is being fiscally
imprudent, blair is raving mad, and nobody can check them until this
bleepin charade/beauty contest is over.

Round where i live in scotland, most all employment is directly or
indirectly with the state, be it for schools, police, fire, health
service, council or nuclear power. The entire approach to risk taking
is unhealthy. No one is inspired to create value, when they can suck
on a secure job with a golden pension paid up by the great taxpayer.

It is a ticket to mediocrity, this state-employment hack that blair has
made of the economy, and as much as i don't like tory hate and abuse of
the poor, increasing the net wealth position of the nation will not
come from socialist state employment. It is a gray mediocrity worse
than the american super-poverty uber-flexible labour version.

The rich nations are dangerously at risk of losing their rich status
in the next century as the population giants flex their economic
muscle, that the volume and low cost producers will all be international
mega-corps, ruled from china and india, dumping cheap labour at
a pittance, leaving britain dumping her most inspired and ambitioous
labour resources in static jobs, rather than in the dynamic of
global competetiveness, realpolitik.

And gosh, at this late date, after a bumbling folly of incompetence
from the tory party, from the wishy wooly meanderings of the
libdems, opposition has failed to check the abuse of power. It has
failed, for following the bumbling electoral logic of a bunch of
dying imperialist losers. But out the the wreckage of that mess
would that they could salvage something. And if britain gained a
libertarian prime minister, it would be for all our benefit.

But dammit, i'll settle for a competent opposition.
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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 07:16 PM
Response to Original message
3. Many thanks for the summary!
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 07:16 PM
Response to Original message
4. Update: Cameron runaway choice of grassroots Conservatives
Thus reversing the previous 'conventional wisdom'.

When party members were asked their voting intentions, Mr Cameron had a stunning lead over his rivals: 59 per cent said they would want to vote for him compared with 18 per cent for Liam Fox and 15 per cent for David Davis.

Mr Cameron enters today's final round of voting among MPs with a comfortable lead over his two rivals - and close to achieving the support of half the 198-strong parliamentary party.

The YouGov poll confirmed Mr Cameron's meteoric rise to favourite in the leadership contest, shooting from third to first place among party activists since the beginning of last month.

This all appears to have been based on his speech to the party conference.

One more thing to add: Liam Fox is the favourite of those Conservative MPs who keep on banging on about 'Christian values' - which probably means, as in the USA, being anti-abortion:

Responding to Dr Fox's recent declaration that he would halve the abortion limit to 12 weeks, Mr Davis said: "This is not going to be the main thrust of the Tory Party's way of winning the next election. It's ethically important, but it is not going to decide whether the party wins or loses.

"We are not America. This is not a battle between the religious Right and the rest of the political establishment." He added: "Any party leader who tries to tell me what the abortion limit is will get told where to go." His defiant stand - controversial because many of his natural supporters are on the Right - came as the contenders faced intense pressure from hardline MPs.
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Taxloss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. I saw that poll on Newsnight. I don't believe it for an instant.
I think in truth the grassroots opinion is a fairly even three-way split, with Davis first, Cameron second, and Fox third.

As for the abortion thing, that's the sort of frighteningly adult and articulate thing I've heard Davis say. Conference aside, he's a good rhetorician.

Fox is scary. Seems like a potential Urqhart character.
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T_i_B Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-21-05 06:48 AM
Response to Original message
7. Another update...Fox has been elimminated
It's now between Davis and Cameron.
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