Bill's Archived Comments

for the week beginning: Monday, 30th September 2002

Contents of this page (scroll down the page to see the full text of the article which interests you)

- Tory right-winger, Ex-Monday Club member, resigns from Party (3 Oct 2002)

- Slick Willie at the Labour Party conference (2 Oct 2002)

- Major hypocrisy a shock, but not a surprise (30 Sep 2002)

(If you wish to see other articles, please click on the 'Archives' link above to go there now)

Tory right-winger, Ex-Monday Club member, resigns from Party (3 Oct 2002)

Andrew Hunter MP announced yesterday that he is leaving the Conservative Party and will sit in Westminster until the next General Election as an 'independent Conservative'. Then he will stand down.

He is leaving the Party to join the Democratic Unionist Party and will stand for the Northern Ireland Assembly. The DUP is led by Ian Paisley, like Mr Hunter a well-known bigot and homophobe.

Mr Hunter, it will be recalled, was one of the three Conservative MPs required to resign from the Monday Club by Iain Duncan Smith soon after he was elected Leader in September 2001 (see my article written at the time by clicking here). However, it was not until May this year that Mr Hunter severed contact with extreme right-wing magazine 'Right Now!', which shared its mailing address with the Monday Club - read my article by clicking here. Naturally, 'The Daily Telegraph', in reporting on Mr Hunter's resignation today, makes no reference to Mr Hunter's former association with the 'Monday Club' or 'Right Now!'

What I find particularly disturbing, although not in any way surprising (unfortunately), are the remarks Mr Duncan Smith is reported to have made about Mr Hunter's resignation: "He will always be a friend of the party and a friend of mine." One is constantly told that Mr Duncan Smith's reputation as a hard right-wing bigot and homophobe is ill-deserved, but I think it is more telling to observe with whom a person maintains friendships and for whom he has warm words, such as Mr Hunter or the late Baroness Young.

Slick Willie at the Labour Party conference (2 Oct 2002)

Former US President Bill Clinton gave a keynote speech at the Labour Party conference in Blackpool today, the British seaside resort on the Irish Sea coast that doesn't quite have the style of Atlantic City (irony alert!).

As with his speech some months ago for the 'Dimbleby Lecture', President Clinton gave a typically polished and wide-ranging speech; highly impressive, provided one refrains from subjecting its content to too much rigorous analysis. As a loyal American, he gave public support to President Bush in his efforts to combat terrorism, and called upon those at the conference (obviously mainly of a left-wing tendency) not to reject the policies of the US Administration in this regard because they have disagreements over the ideology of much of the rest of the Republican programme - Clinton said that he, too, has disagreements with much of the Bush administration's policies.

However, apart from this support (welcome as it no doubt is) his remarks about Bush, the Republicans and the British Conservatives were almost entirely negative; naturally, his remarks were received with some rapture in the hall. He cast strong doubt upon the validity of the election as President of George W Bush (alluding to the 5/4 Supreme Court vote and the fact that two of the four were Republicans who had "praise the Lord" voted against their Party); his allusions to his own predecessor as President, President Bush Sr, were equally double-edged. His remarks, too, about the Conservatives in this country were decidedly acerbic, no doubt at least partly as a result of the support given to Bush Sr by then Prime Minister John Major prior to the 1992 Presidential election (which I thought at the time was certainly not a wise move on Major's part); one assumes he will not soon be invited to speak at a Conservative Party conference. One hopes, too, that his effusive praise for Tony Blair and the 'third way' will not damage his apparent close relationship with the 43rd President - one can imagine that some in the Bush administration will be less than amused by the apparent continuing cosiness of Blair with Clinton.

Major hypocrisy a shock, but not a surprise (30 Sep 2002)

The revelation that John Major had extra-marital relations for about four years in the 1980s, and just a few years later felt able to gave his [in]famous 'back to basics' speech at the 1993 Party Conference is, to me, the most shocking aspect of this sorry affair. Frankly, it does not bother me in the slightest that he, and indeed Mrs Currie, both engaged in what some choose to regard with contempt as 'adultery'; so far as I am concerned, they are both adults and have broken no [secular] law so I feel it quite inappropriate to take any view of that aspect of their behaviour. The only people it should be of interest to are their respective [and former] spouses and children. And the consciences of the two principals.

However the hypocrisy displayed by John Major, as Prime Minister, in adopting the 'holier than thou' attitude he did when others in his Administration were revealed to have committed various kinds of sexual infidelity in which, again, no [secular] laws were broken is to say the least 'disappointing'.

It is being said by a number of 'Conservative' commentators and politicians today that if his infidelity had been known of earlier, he would either never have become leader of the Conservative Party (hence Prime Minister) upon the forced resignation of Margaret Thatcher, or would have had to resign had it been revealed during his premiership. Some others are saying that Mrs Thatcher had a more tolerant attitude to such matters so may not have blocked his advancement, or at least only deferred it temporarily (a view I tend to share), but it is indeed moot whether he could have survived had he already been Prime Minister, with the ascendancy of the moral traditionalists which had already begun to take place by that time in the Conservative Party.

Until now Mr Major has been regarded as a lacklustre Prime Minister, even though he undoubtedly (in my view) played a major part in laying the foundations of a sound economy, from which Labour now benefit, but he had generally been regarded as a man of personal integrity. I did however observe from time to time a 'ruthless' streak which I thought belied his 'grey' reputation; the phraseology of some of his utterance whilst he was Prime Minister occasionally struck me as having a core of 'steel' directed at specific [unnamed] individuals. Now, however, we know he was just another politician on the make, prepared to do and say whatever was required to get and retain power - lies, double-dealing and grotesque hypocrisy seem not to have been activities he regarded as unacceptable. In his case, as we now know, the public image in no way matched the private reality. His 'shame' seems to have been occasioned only by being found out and his stature as a senior statesman is now seriously damaged in my view. Who can ever believe a word he says in future? As for Mrs Currie, I won't be purchasing her book, and I imagine those who have matters they would prefer to remain confidential, and of which she is aware, must now be wondering when the blows will fall in their cases.

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Copyright © 2002 William Cameron