Kenneth Clarke: the man and his message

Let the battle commence
Click to follow
Indy Politics

Buzzwords: "winning" (eight times), "victory" (four times).

Emphasis: General election.

Wife watch: Gillian loves "photography and quilt-making".

CV: Secretary of State for Health, Secretary of State for Education, Home Secretary, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Manifesto launch venue: St Stephen's Constitutional Club, St James', London.

Photos on leaflet: Ken at the despatch box (John Major skilfully cropped out); Ken in the TV studio; Ken at the polling station with two elderly ladies; Ken eating a sarnie; Ken with wife Gillian.

Follicle rating: High. Lots of shots of Ken's unruly locks.

Quotes in support: Matthew Parris, Ann Widdecombe, Malcolm Rifkind, Paul Routledge (The Mirror), The Sun, The Sunday Telegraph.

Favourite quote: "Policies will not be made in focus groups, on bandwagons or on the hoof."

Newest idea: Four independent policy commissions on health, education, environment and transport, government and the constitution.

Education: Will "look for ways of abolishing the tuition fee" for university students; more parental choice.

Health: New performance standards for the NHS but a cut in bureaucracy and form-filling and much more responsibility given to doctors and nurses on the front line.

Transport: Has an "open mind" on congestion charging to cut pollution and traffic; new emphasis on the benefits private rail firms can bring.

Environment: Apart from leaving open the idea of congestion charging, nothing new on the issue.

Government: a largely elected House of Lords, an end to the days when local councils were the "Cinderella of the Tory Party", firmly opposed to regional government.

Race: "British society has been enlarged and enriched by large-scale immigration from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. We need to remember that members of ethnic minorities are productive citizens and should seek to recruit more as potential Conservative members and voters ... We stand for a patriotism that is not narrow nor chauvinistic".

Morals: "This must be a matter of personal decision... A morally authoritarian tone has cost us support in recent years, particularly among younger voters. Freedom to choose is the condition of moral choice".

Europe: "Europe is an important issue in British politics but the electorate does not believe it to be the most important. We must regain a sense of balance about this issue and reflect the priorities of voters". Anti-federalist, opposes giving up veto on tax or spending.

The euro: "All members of the party will be free to express their views both before and during a referendum if one is called. I don't think the conditions are right for Britain to enter now."

What he says: "There is such a thing as society."

What he means: I am no Thatcherite.

Illegible signature: looks like "Li Peng"

Comments