Ken Clarke: decent chap, but wrong about everything

29 April 2013

Kenneth Clarke has always seemed, to me, a decent sort. By far the most likeable and least lordly and arrogant of those Euro-wanking wets who plagued Thatcher and, later, Major. Nonetheless, he is always wrong. About everything. If you are ever in doubt about where you should stand on a particular issue, find out what Ken’s thinking and immediately think the opposite. You won’t go far wrong.

And so it is with his branding of UKIP as ‘closet racists’. It seems almost superfluous to say it, but of course it is not racist to feel a bit uneasy about the levels of immigrations we have endured in this country of late. And the antipathy at large among the population is not largely directed at the incomers, but at fat, complacent liberal legislators who encouraged their entry – ie Ken, among others. I think the public has grown up a bit and is no longer gulled when told that they cannot hold the views they hold because they are ‘racist’.

For sure, there will be plenty of loons emerging from UKIP’s vast list of candidates. But the support the party is getting now is a consequence of a failure on the part of the main three parties to address wholly legitimate worries from the country at large over both immigration and the Euro. Ken opening his big fat gob will only suggest that they were right to switch their votes.

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  • William Reid Boyd

    Yes, but rather Ken than Nigel all the same my little fruit fairy does instruct me.

    There’s no such thing as being right (as opposed to wrong) in politics. Just shades of grey.

  • Victor Southern

    I am a Tory but Ken reminds me of a mad uncle who keeps turning up at family gatherings.

  • redleicester

    A pudgy puffball

  • In2minds

    “Ken Clarke: decent chap, but wrong about everything” –

    A bit like Alex Massie!

  • Austin Barry

    Clarke always reminds me of those avuncular uncles who invite their nephews out for an agreeable lunch at their club, get drunk and then make an unfortunate pass in the cloakroom. Beneath the congenial bluster is something rancid.

  • Robert Mitchum

    One need only look at Clarke’s waistline and rubicund features to see where his priorities lie. Pass the port, old boy.

  • andy_gill

    Ken is the Tory that Time forgot.

    • Wessex Man

      Sadly he’s not, sadly this Tory Party is now in the control of people like him and Heseltine and Call me Dave is the son of Heath in his thinking and actions.

  • Noa

    Clarke, In the Cabinet because its cheaper than his care in the community.

  • Wilhelm

    Kenneth Clarke is the enemy within, one is reminded of the Cicero quote.

    “A nation can survive its fools, and even the
    ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the
    gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly.
    But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly
    whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of
    government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in
    accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their
    arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of
    all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in
    the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body
    politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”

  • Trofim

    He can’t be all bad, because he smokes. And his taste in jazz is excellent.

    • In2minds

      Ken smokes but does not inhale

    • Max07

      And he is a grammar school boy amongst a posse of public school toffs, which is a point in his favour as far as I am concerned. Sadly, though, I think Rod’s assessment is about right.

  • thanksdellingpole

    This post is just typical of the person who tuns up to a party, stays for 30mins and then leaves, only to crow the next day of how many things they did, but obviously didn’t do. Pretending to be in on “it” but really, still a wannabe.

    The further away from “respectable politics” UKIP leans the more representative they are of the silent majority, I think we need more UKIP loons, many more!

  • A J Brenchley

    Well said, Rod.

    If I were Nigel Farage I would say: ‘Every party, whether large or small, attracts people with less than perfect personal lives and personal opinions. But no party rises or falls on that fact. The important point is not the perfection of all a party’s members but the practical desirability of its policies. If every single Conservative and Labour candidate were Practically Perfect In Every Way, and held the most impeccably acceptable private views, their parties’ policies would still be damaging to the nation. They would still not be up the job of governing a free people as they deserve to be governed — with transparency, respect, and accountability’.

    • DougS

      Cracking stuff AJ – nail on head!

      • A J Brenchley

        Thanks very much, Doug. : )

    • Baron

      Superbly well put, AJ, but when you have the time tell Baron why the majority still give the vote to those whose personal opinions, or at least that part of the stuff that gets into the public domain, are pure and impeccable, but the policies they promote injurious to the people they govern rather than voting for the other lot?

      • Swank

        Hi Baron, it’s me, and thanks for your lovely compliment. The simple answer is that people have been badgered, bullied, and hoodwinked into believing that in order to be ‘good’ people, they must approve of certain policies or subscribe to certain views. It comes down to the success of the Left in misrepresenting what it means to be a conservative — or, as I prefer to call it (a less relative term) — classical liberal.

        • Baron

          Good point, Swanky, also generous to the unwashed.

          You may have heard the story before. During the 1952 presidential campaign, a female supporter shouted at A Stevenson, the candidate of the Democrats ‘every thinking person will give you his vote’. The man replied: ‘That’s not enough, we need a majority’.

          • Swank

            Ha ha! Good one! :^)

  • OldSlaughter

    Pretty good Chancellor though

  • Abhay

    Ken C is the smeared dividing line between centre-left and centre-right. The exact point where politeness prevails at the expense of everything else, including combative ideas and world-views. There ought to be something repugnant about the terms centre-left, centre-right and the oft repeated centre-ground.

  • John Steadman

    I think that if Ken (and you right, Rod, a decent bloke) and, say, Frank Field, swapped places, then they, and we, would all be a bit better off.

  • Ron Todd

    I am even more likely to jump to UKIP at the next election.

  • Walter Ellis

    I agree with you on the point about too much EU immigration. Something has to be done. More generally, though, I feel about you, Rod, much as you do about Ken – a fine man. I think you’re a decent chap, and very funny, but wrong about (almost) everything. No offence.

    • rodliddle

      No worries Walter. Not sure about the “decent”, but there we are.

      • Andy Walsh

        You’re sure about the “very funny” though?

        • rodliddle

          Nope, nor about being wrong all the time.

          • A J Brenchley

            I think you’re funny when you need to be, which is not all the time.

      • Walter Ellis

        Ooooh, you are awful, but I like you.

  • arnoldo87

    Hang on a cotton-pickin’ there Rod.

    You’re talking about the Chancellor who left New Labour a Golden Economic Legacy.

    In case you are wondering just what that was, he gave us – in 1997- the largest debt to GDP ratio that existed between 1985 and the great crash in 2008.

  • Mr Creosote

    Ken Clarke: decent chap…Clown.

  • Wessex Man

    So right, an old waffler, who should have been kicked out long ago, his stupid intervention will only drive more to UKIP!

  • Tron

    Well said Rod.
    I saw Ken on TV. What I heard was “Me and my kind have been running the country for decades. We are not interested in what the people think.”
    “If anyone disagrees with my center-left, pro-EU, anti-English policies I’ll put my fingers in my ears and hum some Charlie Parker solos”.

    I also saw a VOTE UKIP badge on his polo-neck that got bigger with every repeat on the news.

  • MikeF

    Maybe Mr Clarke is not quite as avuncular as he seems. I remember walking into Whitehall a good few years back, I think it was the early days of the Blair regime, and seeing him stood in trademark Hush Puppies smoking a cigar outside a building just by the corner closest to the Houses of Parliament. He seemed to be in proprietorial mood and looked like he was surveying all he saw in a sort of ‘one day this will all be mine’ manner. But it was not to be and perhaps he is now just a little embittered. Who knows – but there was a time when he would have said something a little more worthwhile and not have parroted out this defensive garbage.

    • Andy Walsh

      That’s weird because I had exactly the same experience. He was on Whitehall just sort of staring at people. Odd.

  • Inky Bill

    And wasn’t it Clarke who was Home Secretary when some of the mad mullahs (e.g. Abu Quatada) currently giving us grief were given “indefinite leave to remain” in the UK?

    • FrenchNewsonlin

      Apropos AQ . Interesting Teles piece today examining how France, subjected to identical EU constraints as the UK, nevertheless manages to ship out far more Islamic extremists than the Brits ever do and to less salubrious spots than Jordan.

  • DougS

    The Tories are really getting desperate about the hemorrhaging of votes to UKIP.

    If name-calling is all they’ve got they’re in deep doo doo. I think that wheeling out dear old Ken to try and stick it to UKIP has a look of childish tantrum about it.

    Poor old Ken, anybody that doesn’t just swoon over the magnificence of the EU really gets under his skin. There’ll be tears after the local election results, wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth after the EU elections next year and the knives will be out, as usual, after the general election – Ken’ll be a goner by then!

    • D B


      • DougS

        There’s more than one way to spell it – like: install/instal, advisor/adviser.

        I may have spelt it your way if I’d had the benefit of a classical education……….like Ken Clarke!

        • Neil Saunders

          Yes, there’s more than one way – in fact there are two: the British way and the American.

  • Bert3000

    There’s nothing in the least bit closet about UKIP’s racism.

    • Neil Saunders

      How would you define “racism” (and no circular definitions such as “it’s what UKIP are”, please)?

  • Jim Fraser

    Oh, Rod, this is sub-taxi driver stuff.

    • Eddie

      They have sub-taxis in London now? Don’t they sink when theire wheels get clogged up with all the turds in the Thames? Or do they avoid all the swimmers?

  • Eddie

    The man loves some really tuneless jazz too – sort of proves your point really.
    And let’s not forget Ken was around at Tory high table from the mid-60s, when a great many there (and at similar status in the Labour party) were the most awful racists, sexists and homophobes, thou knowest…
    Maybe the police will launch a new operation to arrest any old politicians who touched anyone knee back then. They could call it Operation ‘Not Me’.

    • thanksdellingpole

      Being anti-English is racist, think about it.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    I might listen to him on the subject of ale but otherwise Clarkey is an irrelevance.

    His crowning ‘achievement’?

    • Forest Fan

      and he supports a great football team.

      • Robert Taggart

        Having ‘grown up’ at the other end of Brian Clough Way – one knows what the natives in your corner of Blighty are like – ergo, not to be trusted !

        • Forest Fan

          Hmmm…that coming from someone who’s team used to be owned by Robert Maxwell.

      • DougS

        I had no idea that he was a Newcastle United fan!

        • Hexhamgeezer

          They might be playing each other next season so we might find out who is the ‘greatest’.

          • Forest Fan

            Ha ha!

  • Youbian

    So correct Rod. We are now moving past the period of history when we wanted old men in suits to tell us what to do as they shafted us! Even if they were polite while they were doing it.

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