Saturday, August 27, 2005

Vaizey: Sorry About Newsnight

Ed Vaizey reflects on that depressing Newsnight leadership discussion:

'Last week I lost my Newsnight virginity. I appeared on the programme in front of Kirsty Wark. It felt a bit like an audience with the Queen.

My co-panellists were Michael Brown and Ann Widdecombe. By the time we had finished, we had made the royal corgis look models of good behaviour. We were supposed to be discussing the leadership of the Conservative party. We ended up having a shouting match.

The whole spectacle must have been completely unedifying. It will have switched off many more than a handful of neutral voters. I agree with the many who have told me that this is not the way to conduct a leadership campaign. Lesson learned.'

We like the look of 37 year-old Ed, and we think he holds great promise for the future. And let's be honest, he isn't the first to wake up in the morning with a headache and a feeling of embarrassment at his virgin performance with an older woman.

So we applaud his openness in admitting he's still got a lot to learn.

Interesting too are his further comments about the leadership race. Describing Ken's 'near-as-dammit' declaration as 'electrifying', he says there are two big concerns:

'However widely loved someone is as a potential candidate, that love soon cools when they are leader. He will be judged on different criteria than whether or not he is a good bloke.'

Excellent point.

'Second, there has so far been little evidence that Ken has done some of the hard thinking needed on the issues a Conservative government would need to tackle if it was elected in 2009. His conversion on the euro is a decade too late - and even then it is one of practicality rather than principle.'

You certainly can't argue with that.

He reckons- as we do- that the real choice is between DD and DC. On Our Man, he says: 'Davis has been much-maligned, unfairly so.' And in stark contrast to Watlington's rather strange comment, he adds 'There is much to recommend him, not least the support of Nick Herbert MP and his chief of staff Iain Dale, two men I have huge respect for. I am sure that Davis, too, would be an effective leader. '

Naturally, Ed is still backing his friend DC: 'I think he measures up to Davis in terms of charisma and intellectual ability. But I believe he has something else in his favour. One of the charges laid against him - his inexperience - is actually a strength, in my view. The public want to see a leader of the Conservative party who sends out a clear message simply because of who he is - a fresh start.'

We think there are some important differences of belief as well ( eg DC being rather too fond of Labour-style managerialism), but we certainly respect Ed's view.

Except of course, we think that inexperience thing is a show-stopper. It did for poor William Hague, and at this stage of his career it would do for David Cameron.

For the first time in living memory, our Parliamentary party is buzzing with young talent. It must be cherished and nurtured, not shredded.

An inexperienced late-night fumble with Kirsty is one thing: being pitched into the first morning of the Somme is quite another.


Blogger David Farrer said...

An inexperienced late-night fumble with Kirsty is one thing

Whenever I see Kirsty I can’t help recalling that she is a former pupil of Wellington School. Those of us who attended the nearby Ayr Academy used to lust after the smartly-dressed girls of Wellington and would have welcomed a “fumble” with one of them at any time of the day.

12:23 PM  

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