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What advice would you give to David Cameron, if he consulted you, about how to deal with Nigel Hastilow?
Nigel Hastilow is a former editor of the Birmingham Evening Post and a probable candidate for the Conservatives in the next General Election. He has written an article in a local newspaper this weekend saying he agrees with the comments of huge numbers of people in his area that what Enoch Powell said in his infamous "rivers of blood" speech in 1968 had been proved to be correct. Would you advise Cameron to "sack him" like Edward Heath sacked Enoch Powell in 1968, allow him to be a Candidate but state his view is not the Conservative Party's view on this issue, or state that what he said is totally in line with the Conservative Party's view. Which of these three possibilities might be most and least likely to lead to the Tories defeating Labour at the next General Election?
asked in politics, racialism, freedom of speech

vultan answers:

Get rid of him. The main thing Cameron has to do is convince voters that the Tories aren't the same bunch of reactionary extremists that they used to be. You can't get much more old-skool than Enoch Powell.

Cameron's said that the country needs a mature debate about immigration, and perhaps he's correct. But Enoch Powell is regarded with a great deal of revulsion and it will be impossible for Cameron to tackle Gordon Brown on any immigration issues if he does anything that could be made to seem racist. An opposition party has to be whiter than white on any issue it criticises a government for.

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osbertonbowls answers:

Boy David should join hands with Nigel and they should skip off into the sunset with all the other Tory trash never to be seen again- I wish.

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blacksmith81 answers:

He doesn't have to bother, according to the news Nigel Hastilow has withdrawn his candidacy.


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daviddru answers:

Although as Blacksmith points out Nigel has decided to withdraw from being a Candidate, I think this question still worth answering.
If one looks at it solely from what is in the best interests of the Conservative Party getting back in power (which I did get the impression is possibly not the view of Osbertonbowels), I would advise my fellow "David" against sacking him because that could lead to increased numbers deciding to vote BNP rather than Con or Lab or Lib-Dem next time? Surely nobody really wants that, not even Vultan?

The point surely is, whether right or wrong, a very high proportion of the U.K. voting population believe what Enoch said and was castigated for daring to say in 1968, has been proved a correct in hindsight by history since then. "The character of Britain" has indeed changed and there has indeed been "rivers of blood" such as on 7-7 apparently as a consequernce of the huge amount of immigration into UK since 1968? Yes, anybody can expresse an opinion as to whether the massive amount of immigration since then has been good or bad for the UK population overall. That is what freedom of speech is supposed to mean. But any Party leader that is seen to oppose freedom of speech in principle is heading for a shipwreck on the rocks!

I would suggest to DC, the second of the proposed alternatives is what he would be best advised to say. That is "Mr Hastilow is entitled to his own opinion on any political issue. The opinion he has expressed on this matter is not that of the Conservative Party nor one that I (David Cameron) personally share. But I (David Cameron) will always defend the right of any MP to say whatever he believes freely and without prejudice".

That I would tell DC would be in the best interests of his Party regaining power whenever Gordon "bottles in" to calling that General Election he "bottled out of" a month or so ago. And why did Gordon bottle out? It would appear that the huge swing agsint Labour and Lib-Dems and towards the Tories coincided with Cameron's declaration that "immigration" will be an issue at the next Election and that discussing immigration is not racialist?

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