September 18th, 2012

Ken Clarke Attacks Tory Right and Reshuffle
Tells Allies: “The Party Has Accidentally Drifted to the Right”

Speaking to those subversive wets of the Tory Reform Group at the Carlton Club last night, Ken Clarke displayed some characteristic candour. Reports from the room suggest that Ken was rightly introduced as the “only cabinet minister to lead us out of a recession”, but he quickly veered off message and rambled away:

“So now we’ve had the usual comic shambles that happens after every reshuffle… This has been my umpteenth reshuffle… I deny any suggestion that I got that job because I’ve had all the rest of them. My job will be to slot into the bewildering range of things that the government is doing… I’ll be dealing with the alphabet soup.”

Joking aside, Clarke’s insight into his role is rather telling:

Now George wants me in to keep an eye on Vince and Vince wants me in to keep an eye on George… We’ve got a deficit the size of Greece, we’ve got a real job on our hands… I don’t want to bring too much gloom, but it will be a long haul.” 

He doesn’t seem too bothered about having two masters, and why might that be? Apparently:

“the party has accidentally drifted to the right”.

He also noted that Cameron was having to lead “with the right acting up again” and Guido understands that there was a plea “to keep the centre ground, where elections are won”. The number of Clarke’s ilk in the ranks has greatly diminished since the last time he went into battle with his own party. 

Picture via @timothy_barnes. Quotes via @asabenn

UPDATE: Ken Clarke’s office are kicking back hard on some of this. They seem to be blaming tweeters in the room for distorting what Clarke was saying, though he does not deny attacking the right, or the his interesting choice of words like “bewildering range” and “alphabet soup”:

“These tweets give the opposite impression to the serious points I clearly made.  It is slightly altered little phrases taken from different jokes and put together. I made the case for a successful coalition and stated there was no ideological divide within it on economic policy.  On the economy I stressed that we were in for the long haul and that the Chancellor’s approach is the right one.  I also said in passing that the reshuffle should not be interpreted as a shift to the right.  Twitter is not renowned as an accurate form of reporting, but even I am surprised at distortions on this sort of scale.”

Seems someone is keeping an eye on Ken keeping an eye on George. 


  1. 1
    Some Twat up North says:

    Only £850.00 a ticket mmmmm money well spent….

  2. 2
    Sleepwalking to Disaster says:

    Meanwhile….the shambolic Coalition of Fools gives useless, venal & equally hopeless Labour a 15 point lead in the Opinion Polls…..

  3. 3
    Docgeo says:

    Ken Clark is a serial backstabber bur fortunatley these days his knife is blunt.

  4. 4
    Kebab Time says:

    Was he drunk when he said the party had drifted to the right?

    After the re-shuffle Number 10 said the policies would stay the same?

    Also if argues that parties need to stay on the “centre” ground then is he basically saying that democracy is a sham, we have three parties all trying to stay on centre ground.

    Ken, just retire.

  5. 5
    Hefferlump is Wrong says:

    This government is even more rudderless than the Major years…..time for a leadership challenge….before the next election becomes a shoe-in for Greek style governance.

  6. 6
    DZ says:

    Drifted to the right of what?

    Ken needs some L & R mittens

  7. 7
    nellnewman says:

    Yes but the flip side of that poll is that 60% said they want cameron as pm and 31% plumped for militwit.

    So I’m not sure populus knew what it was up too. Bit of an odd poll really.

  8. 8
    Mrs T. says:

    Time to retire Ken, you weren’t great back in the 1980’s but you’re a downright embarrassment of a wet now.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    Jimmy says:

    Never mind all that, what he’s off at his shindig who’s babysitting the cabinet?

  11. 11
    Incapable Vince says:

    I deny that Wet Ken and I are antediluvian antiques.

  12. 12
    Kevin T says:

    No, Labour had to move to the centre ground beccause not enough people supported socialism, unilateral nuclear disarmament and the country effectively run by militant unions.

    The Tory right’s main policies – being tough on crime, wanting to limit immigration and opposition to EU membership – are the majority view in the country.

  13. 13
    Keith Vaz says:

    Claim it on expenses, put it down as “constituency business”.

  14. 14
    Jimmy the Dhimmi says:

    In English, please ?

  15. 15
    Schmuck Romney says:

    Mitt. “I don’t know what I’m doing. It might be best if y’all just voted that Obama fellah in again until I come up with some ideas.

    Ed Miliband – “Don’t despair. I don’t know what I’m doing either. But I look sincere when I’m not doing it. Don’t worry if your piece of paper is blank. I never do and I’m doing really well.”

  16. 16
    Abu Qatada's Mum says:

    English is about to be outlawed in this country, don’t you keffers realise.

  17. 17
    annette curton says:

    QED the raison d’etre of the 648 is to maximise their chances of re-election so that they can trough in perpetuity, nothing to do with principle.

  18. 18
    Some Twat up North says:

    I stayed at Butlins in Diluvia once, when Ken and Vince were Redcoats.
    What a song and dance.

  19. 19
    Jimmy says:

    “No, Labour had to move to the centre ground beccause not enough people supported …opposition to EU membership ….”

    Fixed that for you.

  20. 20
    Chloe Smith says:

    I had mine donated :)

  21. 21
    The Libor party says:

    Oh ! Celebrate !!

  22. 22
    Jimmy the Dhimmi says:

    ‘beccause’ ?? 0/10.

  23. 23
    Ken Withnail says:

    “Are you the farmer? We’ve gone to the right by mistake”

  24. 24

    Party drifted to the right? I don’t think so.
    Our Italian allies are weighing us down. It might be better if there was a Liberal coup and the Libs buggered off to labour. The Corby Labour invasion might trigger it.

    Trouble is Dave might arrange a mountain top rescue of Clegg.

  25. 25
    Ken Clarke is a moron says:

    “there was a plea “to keep the centre ground, where elections are won”

    Yes, because the Conservatives never ever won an election when they were “on the Right”, and never failed to win one when they were fiddling about in the Centre.

    Oh no, hang on..

  26. 26
    Michael Howerd says:

    Latest polls say Miliband is “Creepy and out of touch” according to 5Live. He’ll never get in

  27. 27
    The LimpDums says:


  28. 28
    Leftluver says:

    Talk to the good folk on the check out desks of all the major supermarkets etc and find out what real people think better than any opinion poll crap.
    The voters going past the tills tell the real story of the state of the country.

  29. 29
    God says:

    Ken had probably had a few too many tots of whisky when he made that speech. The party certainly hasn’t drifted noticably to the right – maybe it would benefit from doing so! However, a little pissed as he undoubtedly was on this occasion, Ken Clarke usually talks good common sense and is still the best Prime Minister which the UK never had.

  30. 30
    Kens Mum says:


  31. 31

    There’s something intrinsically funny about calling someone “right wing” from the interior of the Carlton Club put I cannot put my finger on it.

  32. 32
    Popeye says:

    Clarke is the archetypical Euro-idiot, everyone else is out of step.
    Lurch to the right, how much had he drunk before uttering those immortal words?

  33. 33
    I hate Parliament so much it hurts says:

    It’s about 70% who oppose the EU membership. Labour shot themselves in the foot abandoning their anti-EU stance, didn’t they, but the likes of Blair and Mandy saw a big juicy money-making opportunity for themselves – after all, anti-EU pro-EU Kinnock was making a mint out of it, so the EU suddenly became A Good Thing, kerrching..

    Such a shame Tone never got to be President.. after bribing Brussels with our EU rebate, too. Still, it was worth a shot, and it only costs us – you and me – about £3billion every year. Just so Tone could try and be El Presidente.

    £3 billion. Every year. Forever.

  34. 34 says:

    Dealing with deficits and debt require a right-wing government because left-wing governments who created the mess will refuse to tackle it seriously (and put it off for another day via more borrowing and QE) until they have to go cap in hand to the IMF. By that token the current coalition government is still left-wing.

  35. 35
    Shoo ! Shoo ! says:

    Time for Clarke to shuffle off and join Liebor.

  36. 36 says:

    There was a plea “to keep the centre ground, where elections are won”.

    So Margaret Thatcher was a Tory wet then?

  37. 37
    Tim says:


  38. 38
    Hussein Obama II says:

    I don’t mind if you get in. I really haven’t any ideas how to fix the USA. Unless we turn it into an Islamic Republic.

  39. 39
    Ken's Dad says:

    Lazy little tyke.

  40. 40
    Tim says:

    Precisely. Where is a leader when you need one?

  41. 41 says:

    All you need do Mitt is to promise the world and then all the schmucks may vote for you. And don’t forget to imply that there is a magic money tree that will sort out all the debt. It worked for Obama.

  42. 42
    Enemy of the State says:

    Clark is a commie. When the Greeks went tits up before, they had a Junta. Why don’t you have a Junta? Beats the hell out of the twats you have now.

  43. 43
    I hate Parliament so much it hurts says:

    They said he’d never become Labour’s leader, and they were wrong about that.

    He’s creepy, incredibly stupid and out of touch. But hey! Cameron’s rude, incredibly stupid and out of touch, and it didn’t stop him getting into Number 10.

    Is being creepy really such an impediment?

  44. 44
    Anonymous says:

    Looks like it’s all over for the ConDems.

  45. 45
    Kevin T says:

    Oh yeah, that was the key issue that kept Kinnock out – opposition to something that didn’t exist yet.

  46. 46
    Anonymous says:

    Elections are won by appealing to the mainstream – very different to being on the centre ground.

  47. 47
    No Hush Puppies were stranged in the making of this comment says:

    They are saying Canmeron is as a great leader of the Labour party as can be expected in the current climate

  48. 48
    Away on Business says:

    Here’s a curious thing: Tescos in China are selling booze they call ‘whisky’ and telling the Chinese it is made with French technology.

  49. 49
    Anonymous says:

    The Tory right?? There is no such thing.
    All we have is liberal left wing parties in the UK now.

  50. 50
    Jimmy says:

    I thought that’s what I was doing here.

  51. 51
    Jimmy says:

    At the last election the two main anti-EU parties managed 5% between them.

  52. 52
    Oiveigh says:

    Did Ken have a cheese and onion (Bilder)burger before he spoke?

  53. 53
    Colonel Madd says:

    Give Osborne Party Chairmanship.

    Put Clarke in as Chancellor on condition he follows party policy on Europe (when somebody actually says what it is)-which he’s always done in the past.

    3% growth by year end ,Labour lead eliminated by end of 2013.

    2 months prior to election Cameron tells the mongoloid tendency that they need to go and lick somebody elses windows and ushers Rees Mogg and the rest of his arse bandit mates into the longboat and waves them a fond farewell.

    Simultaneously announces binding European Referendum (Carswell and Co promoted in mini- reshuffle).

    Tories returned with 52 overall seat majority

    Boundary changes rubber stamped within 3 months of election

    Arise Lord Clark of Hush Puppy!

    Carswell made Chancellor

    Scotland floats away on a sea of meths and Irn Bru.

    Tory gubbmint in perpetuity

    I thank you!!

  54. 54
    The Golem says:

    Did he ever leave? I wonder. Like Dave, it’s only in recent years that his true colours
    have been allowed to become obvious.

  55. 55
    Anonymous says:

    The Conservatives have no chance of winning an overall majority unless constituency boundaries are reformed, to create a fair and level battle-ground for the next General Election.

    This has nothing to do with “winning the centre-ground”.

    And Kenneth Clarke is just a fat Europrat.

  56. 56
    welloilbeefhooked says:

    it has,nt done any harm to little mickey gove.

  57. 57
    David Laws Lib Dem Fiddler says:

    Cameron could have taken a different route and retired/sacked him. it would have done us all a favour.

  58. 58

    Thank heavens we have Ken- the best Leader we never had……

  59. 59
    Rayatcov says:

    As a president of the old USSR once said.

    All politicians promise to build bridges…even when there is no water.

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