Splits and Sleaze

By Wyatt, Petronella | The Spectator, June 7, 1997 | Go to article overview

Splits and Sleaze


Wyatt, Petronella, The Spectator


ON my way to Kenneth Clarke's new office I could not help but feel worried. The cause? A report in one of the newspapers that Mr Clarke had made a series of concessions -- concessions to spin-doctoring, that is. In a video launched to appeal to wavering voters in the Tory leadership contest, the scourge of the image-makers was wearing a pin-striped suit. Worse, he had apparently lost a stone.

Was I to be disillusioned? As he walked in through the building's glass doors I was reassured. Clarke was as well-proportioned as ever. His suit was suitably rumpled and his tie was twisted. In his hand was what looked like a dog basket but turned out to be a picnic hamper. `This business of moving is so boring,' he declared jovially.

Clarke's rooms were in Parliament Street, almost directly opposite his old offices in the Treasury. After negotiating the hamper through the narrow doorway, we sat down in two chartreuse-coloured chairs. I asked how his campaign was going. `I'm a lot more optimistic than when we started,' he said. `I'm convinced we have more votes than any other candidate. I have easily the single biggest bloc of voters.'

But he was not expecting to win on the first ballot? `No, I'm not expecting to win clear on the first ballot.' There had been reports in the newspapers of a `Stop Clarke' campaign orchestrated by Lady Thatcher, who was said to be appealing to Messrs Lilley, Howard and Redwood to unite against the former chancellor. Clarke dismissed this with a wave of his ample hands. `If there is such a campaign, it is a foolish notion. I think it is being planned by people desperate to find something to write about -- after all, this is an election campaign with just 164 people.'

Clarke maintained that recent political developments in Germany and France (which have made a single currency unlikely for some time to come) had increased his chances. `My fear was that the party would get obsessed with its ideological position. Only the Conservative party could contrive to have such a debate on minutiae. The country just isn't that interested. Now events are taking things in my direction, moving to my advantage. In five years' time the European debate will be unrecognisable.'

Even so, how would he prevent his leadership from causing a permanent split within the Tory ranks? `None of the zealotry would come from me. I would lead on an inclusive basis. I propose doing this with bonding. My leadership campaign has been publicly low-key so as to cause as little division as possible. It's not stage-fright on my part. But it is unwise for the six candidates to put out different views of the party when we have to unite it pretty briskly.'

I was interested to know how he proposed to 'bond' with such virulent Eurosceptics as John Redwood. If Clarke won the leadership, would he offer Redwood a place on his team? He considered this. `Anyone in the present parliamentary party must think about what they can contribute and the leader must draw on it.' So he was not ruling out making an offer to Redwood, then? No, I'm not ruling it out. I'm not ruling it in either.'

Given that the Tory party had been badly affected by public disputes, would it not be advisable to make it easier for the leader to discipline MPs? `It's true that a great deal of the constitution of the party needs to be addressed. That includes the way in which candidates are chosen. The party should be diverse but we should address the candidates system. Individual dissent on occasional issues is a feature of democracy but we must prevent organised faction. The whips failed to deal with the factionalism of the last parliament.'

How did he propose to set about constructing an effective opposition to Mr Blair? 'I grit my teeth at all this Tinseltown stuff. I grit my teeth at Blair's glowing press. What we need is personal debate of substance, to seek to command as much of the media as possible, to reshape the party's organisation to make it capable of winning. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Splits and Sleaze
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.