Parris vs Monty rumbles on

2 September 2014

As Mr S predicted yesterday, the row between Times colleagues Matthew Parris and Tim Montgomerie has simmered on. And turning up the temperature in the Times’ Red Box email this morning, Parris seemed to be getting rather catty:

‘I was pleased to be singled out by my friend and colleague, Tim Montgomerie, in yesterday’s throwaway “I’m looking at you, Matthew Parris”. In the course of these remarks, Tim also wrote this: “Political leadership … becomes impossible if a leader is not willing to give large majorities of his or her party’s natural supporters what they want. From a less well-intentioned speaker than Tim I would regard that as a disgraceful piece of advice. I’m happy for this to encapsulate the difference between us.”

Happy? He does not sound it…

Mr Montgomerie declined the opportunity to comment further. For now.

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  • uberwest

    Political leadership … becomes impossible if a leader is not willing to give large majorities of his or her party’s natural supporters what they want.”

    Usually, a party’s political leader has broadly similar political aims to the party’s natural supporters. This has of course gone out of fashion over the past 17 years.

  • global city

    Does anybody feel bereft or somehow inferior because Ireland is no longer part of the Westminster Union?

    I don’t.

    Ireland has left political union, but the human ties are as strong as the days when they were ‘with us’.

    • Damon

      I couldn’t give a stuff about the ‘human ties’. I care about my country not disintegrating. I’m even willing to put up with Scottish Labour MPs in order to stop that happening.
      And with the greatest of respect, your comment is on the wrong page.

      • global city

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Unionist myself. Actually I’ve been torn off a strip on here for stating that my identity is British rather than English. All I was pointing out that the situation will not change too much, as everything except some political affairs will continue as they do now…. it is not the end of the world or the UK if Scotland leaves it.

        • Damon

          Well, not the end of the world, but I do think it will diminish the UK if Scotland leaves. Anyway, pleased to hear you’re a Unionist.

          • global city

            Diminished but not finished!

  • james allen

    Parris thinks the Tories need to stay on the mythical “centre ground”. Starkey and others have already explained why this is stupid – middle-class Guardianistas are never going to vote Tory, so why waste time chasing them? Instead you should focus on winning over the C1s – but Parris maintains this is the only electorally-sensible course.

    I fear Parris refuses to acknowledge his personal preference for centre ground politics over a wiser, more dispassionate judgement that says it’s not the best way to maximise your vote. If you can’t motivate or retain the loyalty of your base, you’ll never win power; that’s what Rove understood so well.

    Of course, you should always go with your conscience, so fair play Matthew….

    • global city

      Yes. The notion of the centre-ground, especially one that chimes with the world view of Blair/Parris only exists at the end of 18 years of solid Tory government that goes badly wrong during it’s last five years. other than that the common-ground is the place to look for. Right now that is not where Cameron is.

      If only just one of our Speccie crew could take this on board and check their analysis from ‘true centre’?

  • HenryWood

    Who cares? I last paid attention to Matthew Parris maybe some thirty/forty years ago when I perhaps noted he had written something “witty”. Since then, even as a gay man myself, I have found his wittterings, twitterings, and even his shitterings to be always only worthy of a quick nod and then pass them over.
    “Matthew is Matthew”, as more than I have noticed.

    • soysauce1

      I have to agree Parris lost his edge many years ago…he now just trades on his name…

  • ScaryBiscuits

    These two “modernisers” are effectively arguing about why “modernisation” has failed.
    Matthew is a pro-gay-marriage gay. Tim is a pro-gay-marriage Christian (I think). Neither wants to talk about the precipitous decline in Conservative support whilst this was rammed through with their support.

    • Kaine

      It was in the Conservative manifesto, DC spoke about his personal belief in it, and every poll (bar a single deeply flawed offering by C4M) showed the majority of the public in favour.

      • ScaryBiscuits

        It wasn’t in the manifesto. It wasn’t in the Coalition agreement. And if it was so popular, why did Conservative support drop from 38 to 28% (according to during the period it was being put through Parliament? The only think correct in your statement is that DC personally believed in it.

        • Kaine

          It was on page thirteen of the equalities section, top right corner if memory serves.

          Tory support dropped because the minority who objected were disproportionately Tory voters. DC underestimated the number of bigots in his party.

          • ScaryBiscuits

            Dave didn’t underestimate the number of “bigots” in his party. He just thought they would be replaced by nice enlightened types (more like himself) who’d previously supported Labour but were just waiting for the policy on gay marriage to be modernised before changing allegiance. Alas these people turned out not to exist outside of Notting Hill.
            BTW before insulting people you disagree with by calling them bigots perhaps you should stop making stuff up. The Conservative manifesto, pretty easy to find with Google, didn’t have an ‘equalities section’ and page 13 was blank.

            • Kaine

              Page 14 it turns out, was correct on top right.

              The fact you didn’t bother to read the equalities section does not mean it didn’t exist.

              Having heard no argument in the years and years this has been debated against equal marriage that didn’t boil down to “I think boys kissing is icky” then yeah, I feel correct calling such people bigots.

              I notice your powers with the interwebz have failed to provide you with a poll that counters my proposition that equal marriage was the will of the people.

              • Count Dooku

                You are arguing this from the wrong angle, and this plays into the hands of authoritarians who want to dictate what people do in the privacy of their homes and the status of their personal relationships.

                Rather than saying “gay people should be allowed to marry”, you should ask “why should gay people not be able to marry?”. Content is similar but it makes others approach the issue differently.

                Regardless of one’s feelings on same-sex relationships, it shouldn’t interfere with the relationships of 3rd parties.

              • ScaryBiscuits

                You said it was in the manifesto. It wasn’t. You link to a different document, a sad reminder of that terribly run campaign. Quite what Theresa May thought she was doing issuing a document like that towards the end of it when nobody would hear of it baffles me. It’s also very useful to anybody that doesn’t want her to become leader.
                I didn’t dispute your poll or agree with its accuracy. I pointed out the facts that Conservative support and membership plummeted as a result of gay marriage. Also you cannot blame this on the grassroots as upsetting them was deliberate.

                • Kaine

                  No, that document is the equalities section of the manifesto. It was released before the election stating what the party would do in the areas of equalities if elected.

                • ScaryBiscuits

                  It was released before the election. It wasn’t part of the manifesto, although I can see you might have thought so.

          • soysauce1

            Does your wonderful memory also serve to remember that it was actually published in a supplementary document to the manifesto released to the general public only 24 hours before the election, I for one could not have voted conservative out of good conscience had I known and many other tory voters feel similarly lied to and no doubt voted elsewhere or not at all. DC underestimated the number of people of good moral values in the party.

            • Kaine

              If it was that important to you, then in the Information Age, as someone who obviously has internet access, it is your own fault for not reading the document.

              • soysauce1

                The document was launched surreptitiously 24 hours before polling day without any kind of announcement it was done deliberately to con the electorate many of whom would not have voted conservative had they known of its contents.

                • Kaine

                  No, the document was released on the 3rd, the election wasn’t until the 6th. You had four days to read about the stance of the party on an issue which you have said would have affected your vote. You couldn’t be bothered. Take some responsibility for your actions.

                • Mark Adams

                  Kaine, you are right that May and Cameron wanted in fact to bring in ‘gay’ marriage, but it’s clear that they kept that sotto, sotto voce from the public. Manifesto commitments aren’t snuck out just before elections in ancillary codicils with no fanfare.

                  Nb the commitment was “to consider calling civil partnerships ‘marriage'” not to introduce ‘gay’marriage, tho I’m sure that was their intent.

                  Parris, like Andrew Sullivan, is driven by one issue, homosexuality, which determines his attitude to every other issue and every politician.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  If civil partnership is called marriage. then there is gay marriage. I don’t understand your point. And are you really saying that gay people marrying is so important to you that it willl cause you to change your vote. You are obsessed. People too old to procreate are allowed to marry. If the purpose of marriage is to produce children then they ought not to. And people who marry without having children should be summarily divorced for not doing their bit. .

        • ButcombeMan

          According to the whispers, it was Samantha wot made him do it.

    • pointlesswasteoftime

      “rammed”. Tee hee hee.

    • ManOfKent

      Parris is no moderniser except where it suits him personally. Otherwise he’s a dyed in the wall Tory wet who hasn’t moved on from the 1980’s in so many ways.

      • ScaryBiscuits

        True. But that’s also true of most modernisers, a bunch of old men trying to tell the rest of us how to be hip.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Dyed in the wall? Sounds very painful.

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