BHHRG

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The British Helsinki Human Rights Group monitors human rights and democracy in the 57 OSCE member states from the United States to Central Asia.
* Monitoring the conduct of elections in OSCE member states.
* Examining issues relating to press freedom and freedom of speech
* Reporting on conditions in prisons and psychiatric institutions

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Where does Cameron go next?
HITS: 1936 | 17-06-2004, 22:42 | Commentaire(s): (0) |
 (Votes #: 0)

Possible scenarios of how a Blair-Cameron double act will save what Peter Mandelson called “The Project” are:
1) Cameron crashes and burns. This is the least likely outcome. The media and his backers have invested too much prestige and effort into promoting him to let David Cameron’s lack of precision, flat delivery and tetchy response to occasional awkward questions pull him down.[1] The fact that his “Ronald Weaseley”-style and even more youthful ally, Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, has been praised for his puerile personal abuse of Gordon Brown in most British newspapers and on television rather than slapped down by the commentators shows where the proprietorial muscle lies. A Cameron-Icarus would not help save Tony Blair’s tottering support among rebellious Labour backbenchers. If Cameron fails, Blair will fall with him.
2) Cameron sits out an increasingly harassed and despondent Labour government as Tony Blair waited for John Major’s downfall from 1994 until 1997. The arithmetic of the membership of the House of Commons suggests that a Labour government should cling on to power until the next general election. Despite Tory abuse of Gordon Brown, it is not clear that the Chancellor or another adult Labour leader could not face down Cameron in an election when real voters decide not carefully selected focus groups. However, “time for a change after 12 years of Labour could carry Cameron eventually into 10 Downing Street but in four and a half years the wheels could fall of his wagon as easily as Gordon Brown’s. Even if he could glide on hot air for that period, this scenario ignores a likely alternative:
3) Cameron and Blair become the Baldwin and MacDonald of our days. Just as Ramsey MacDonald’s infatuation with duchesses distanced the first Labour prime minister from his working class backbenchers so Blair’s evident taste for the high life Berlusconi-style has increasingly alienated normal Labour members. Just as the Conservative leader, Stanley Baldwin, propped up Ramsay MacDonald as premier in 1931 against the great majority of his own Labour MPs so Cameron’s promise not to “oppose for the sake of opposing” offers Blair a chance to slip his Labour moorings once and for all. A Blair-Cameron nexus could bring about the sort of new party envisaged by Roosevelt and Willkie in 1944.[2] If Blair can rally a hardcore of New Labour MPs into a reform-minded and WMD-hunting alliance with Cameron’s Tories he could both push through the Agenda of mass privatisation at the tax payers’ expense and give himself a new lease of political life shorn of any need to pay homage to Labour’s few remaining shibboleths. The Tories will swallow such an alliance because their MPs queue up to praise Blair[3] while damning Labour and Gordon Brown. Also, Tories will remember that Stanley Baldwin eased himself into 10 Downing Street after a decent interval. Maybe David Cameron will be in office sooner than the next general election, just sitting around Tony Blair’s cabinet table before he inherits the only chair with arms in the Cabinet Room after a decent interval.


[1] On BBC 2’s “Newsnight” (17th November, 2005), Jeremy Paxman grilled Cameron over policy and his emphasis on presentation and the candidate’s irritation with other than fawning questions about his new and content-free forward-looking agenda showed – though not in other media reports which lauded yet another triumph of presentation and style,
[2] Nevile Chamberlain, too, wanted to establish a new party after the 1931 coalition between Labour and Tories: “I hope that we may presently develop into a National Party, and get rid of the odious title of Conservative, which has kept so many from joining us in the past." See
http://conservativehome. blogs.com/toryleadership/2005/11/tory_newspapers.html,
[3] See
http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2005/11/michael_gove_mp_1.html For Nicholas Boles’s “principled support” of “Tony |blair’s foreign policies” as well as his membership of the MI6- heavy “Henry Jackson Society”, see http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/2005/04/the_state_of_th.html.

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