Saturday, March 22, 2008

Wisdom of Francis Maude

First time I met Francis Maude was in the early 1990s. I was his chauffeur when he visited Montgomeryshire and featured in a debate about whether the UK should enter the Euro, held at Gregynog. His pro-Euro opponent that day was Charles Kennedy. The audience was about 100 local businessmen and women, and the Chair was the BBC's Sarah Dickin. Francis totally destroyed him. A vote was taken and the entire room (except for about two backed Francis). I've had a great regard for his political skill and judgement ever since.

So I read today's major interview in the Telegraph with especial interest. "The Conservative Party only succeeds when we are forward-looking." and "Our greatest tradition is to modernise." and "The idea that offering tax cuts is an instant route to electoral success is utter rubbish." and "I haven't found a single person who wants to spend less on the health service." and a whole lot more. Much of this may well not appeal to everyone, but it does appeal to me.

People often ask me what I think the Conservative Party has to do to win the next election. I usually respond (in all seriousness) by saying we have to persuade a lot of people who have not considered voting for us for the last 11 years, to change their minds. In Montgomeryshire, I always tell our team that there is absolutely no sense in criticising the thousands of people who seem to vote Liberal Democrat no matter what. For us to win, we have to persuade them to vote for us. Francis Maude understands this same principle at a national level better than most.


Dr. Christopher Wood said...

What does Francis Maude think about the so called "Embryo Bill" before Parliament? Good to see that the Cardinal of Scotland, the Archbishop of Cardiff, and the Primate of all England are in unison on this matter and are demanding a free vote. I am wondering to what extent “the prediction” is tied up with this Bill.

Glyn Davies said...

Don't know Christopher. I think my Party is offering a 'free vote' on this Bill. I tend to be a bit 'reactionary' on these issues - if that's the word. I'm going to read about the issue in today's papers, but I instintively lean towards the Catholic stance on this.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Each of our cells has mitochondria from our mother. We can trace back our history through the chain of transfer of mitochondria DNA through the maternal line. From ourselves to our mother, to our maternal grandmother, maternal great grandmother, maternal great great grandmother and so on back through history.

It's so important that Gordon Brown's government doesn't set the UK up to create human-animal organisms that break the chain. Each time a human nucleus is inserted into a host animal cell evacuated of its nucleus we create a human-animal chimera - a new species. The new species will have human nuclear DNA and animal mitochondria DNA.

If UK scientists allow the new man-animal hybrid cell to divide we create a new organism. Inevitably there will come a time when we will go one step further and cause a human-animal organism to go to full term, perhaps through an animal surrogate. The consequences of taking this final step are too horrific to contemplate.

At the very least we contaminate the human genome. What we are in the physical sense is defined by our chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA. The tribes of Israel can trace back their history through the maternal line. Same goes for the Welsh, Scottish clans, native Indian tribes, etc.

Once we create human-animal species we cause splits in mankind’s heredity. And then there's the issue of new diseases that might well emerge as a direct result of replacing human mitochondria with animal mitochondria. There might well be temperate type virus coded into animal mitochondria that are not found in human mitochondria, we might well perturb our genetic stability, if this happens, the consequences again are too horrendous to contemplate.

Owain Cwmtwrch said...

I've just read this post after finishing reading your piece in the IWA book "Welsh Politics Come of Age" i do have to commend you on your 'visionary' and not a 'reactionary' approach to politics, even if i don't agree with it :)

Anonymous said...

Is Dr Wood some sort of clone??

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Anonymous has a point. As individuals we comprise mitotically cloned cells (i.e., cells that have undergone mitosis type cell division – somatic tissue, which accounts for most of our cells are essentially perfect clones of each other albeit differentiated - with different phenotypes reflecting differences in gene expression; germ cells being an exception, which undergo meiosis type cell division to reduce the number of chromosomes (and mix things up a bit with cross-over events), i.e., diploid to haploid.

When our somatic cells are not clones of each other “We have a Problem Houston”. Sometimes the problem is a cell that is mutated into a fast growing cell (meaning too many cell divisions, meaning cancer). So thank your lucky stars if your somatic tissue is made up of perfect clones (PC)

Sometimes, being “PC” is a good thing!

Jim Barr said...

Very much old school, sadly missing a few of them now.
Your post in bang on!
Who is this fool wood who spends so much time wittering on advertising his business on your blog?
Do you know the business to be kosher Glyn?

Glyn Davies said...

Jim - Francis is a class act, who has gone out on a limb for his party. I don't always agree with him, but I do admire people willing to stand up for what they believe. I think he has greatly helped to change public perception of my party.

I know nothing about Christopher at all. I know that some find his comments a pain, but I recommend the scroll down key. I find some of what he says interesting and informative.

Jim Barr said...

I thought you were friends of many years standing!
Ok, get your point about scrolling down!!!