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        « A road to smaller government and social justice | Main | Saatchigate must never be allowed to happen again »

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        James,

        IDS didn't abandon helping the vulnerable. The party abandoned him!

        Tim

        James Hellyer

        "Each candidate should submit their own timetable for action (to coin a phrase), consisting of concretely defined policies, campaign strategies and party reforms that they will have in place by given date, with a letter of resignation as the only acceptable substitute for delivery."

        The words Micheal and Howard leap to mind.

        D&D

        I completely agree with the above article.
        If Michael Howard had run a positive campaign, which focused on what we could do for the country,as opposed to what Labour has done, we would probably have won about 30 more seats.
        I hope that the next general election is fought on a platform of positive change for Britain, which highlights the rut Labour has put us into, but lays forward new and completely different strategies to take us out of it, maybe a bit of ''compassionate conservatism''.
        But we cannot throw charisma to the wind. if there is one thing Gordon Brown does not have it is charisma. Tony Blair, on the other hand has bounds of the stuff. If we can get a leader with charisma, then we can win

        Jenny Stoker

        I cannot agree with the constant sniping at Michael Howard over the election. He did as good a job as he could in the short time he was leader and with the material he had to work with. He brought some semblence of unity among the MP's at Westminister which is something that had not been seen for over 10 years. He had a Shadow Cabinet who were largely unknown to the elecorate and who didn't go out of their way to make themselves better known. There were several so called heavy weights who didn't want to serve in the Shadow Cabinet but were quite content to snipe from the side lines. Michael Howard and his wife Sandra put everything they had into the election campaign. He almost ran himself into the ground but in the end thought he had failed and not done enough because we lost. He would never say that he is perfect and didn't make any mistakes. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and making Michael Howard the scapegoat is an easy option. We lost because of much deeper reasons than Michael Howard and his leadership.

        We lost because the electorate didn't think we were fit to be the party to govern this country and the anitcs of our MP's in Westminster in the last few weeks have proved them right. We can't even sort ourselves out never mind the country.

        Keep changing the leader is not the answer. That is like someone with smelly feet who thinks that to constanly change their socks will sort it out, but obviously this does not get to the heart of the real problem.

        We have got a Party that is running into the buffers and who is almost at war with itself thus reverting to type. We have got MP's at Westminster who are perceived to be out of touch, predominately male, middle class stuffed shirted snobs who give the impression of being a rabble that is unleaderable, that whoever is chosen to be leader by whatever means will constantly be undermind and stabbed in the back by one or other faction. This is not a new phenomenal it has been going on for years it is like a cancer eating away at the very heart and needs to be cut out. Besides this they are now showing signs of utter contempt for their own membership by implying that they are not fit to have any say in how the new leader should be elected. Are the MP's so stupid and out of touch that they can't or won't see what damage all their squabbling and in fighting is doing to the image of the party to people beyond the Westminster Village, proving once again that we are the nasty party and adding to the belief that we are becoming irrelevant.

        Theresa May was righ by saying she thought many of her male colleagues still "hadn't got it". We are not connecting with great swathes of the population. Unlike Labour we don't look like or give the impression of being a rounded party that represents all parts of society. We still give the impression of being the party for the business man and the well off. We don't connect with women who make up 52% of the population. We say we want more women MP's but don't sound convincing or that we really mean it. We also imply we are only looking for business women. There is still the impression that we are a male dominated sexist party at Wesatminster which is especially true when we hear that some male MP's were giving the new MP for Wimbledon a hard time because they were jelous of the media attention she got at the election. Is it any wonder that women are not falling over themselves to stand as a Conservative MP if they are treated this badly. We also give the impression of mentioning the plight of the disabled, vulnerable and less well off but not really careing or undertanding their situation. We have very little presence in many of our major cities
        and again are perceived as having no idea of the problems encountered by the people living in them.

        The party needs a completly new realistic attitude its party machinery needs a complete overhaul. At present it looks tired, disorganised, out of touch and old fashioned.

        One has to ask when we have a party in such a desperate state why are so many MP's queuing up to take up the poisoned challis of the leadership. Do they fully understand what is involved and what a big task they would be taking on and do they want the job for the right reasons. To date what I have seen and heard from the present contenders none of them fit the bill. The one who has impressed me most is Theresa May who seems to fully understand what is needed but as yet has not put her hat in the ring but is the male dominated Conservativer Party ready yet for another female leader especially after the way they treated the last one.

        Tim Roll-Pickering

        Why not be really radical and think outside the box. Maybe the party needs to bring in some truly fresh blood from not just outside the current big names but outside the Shadow Cabinet, outside the Parliamentary Party and even outside party politics.

        The party needs both to learn how to be lead and a leader. It needs someone who can lead, who can inspire, who can motivate, who can deliver and who can discipline. Looking beyond the norm may provide the answers.

        And as a first name to through into the ring how about Colonel Tim Collins?

        RichardC

        I have to agree with many of the previous points. IDS, as someone who "sets a course, and then sticks to it" (approximately his own worlds, I believe) was abandoned. However, that is one value from his leadership the Party would do well to adopt. A few within the party need to do some growing up, at least with regard to gaining the intellectual maturity to play a slightly longer game, to be able to integrate up across a series of individual opinion polls.

        We need a leadership that sets out a long-term strategy, and then follows through on that. As a starting point, thinking back to the beginning of Michael Howard's leadership (to whom we owe a debt of grateful thanks), whatever happened to the British Dream, to a Party for all Britain and all Britons? We need to build a narrative, to tell and sell a story of life in a Conservative Britain, and that seems to be as good a point as any for us all to start.

        (I hope that no-one sees this comment as the launch of a personal leadership bid ...)

        malcolm

        Totally agree with you Richard.I can't understand why MH seemed to abandon this idea so quickly.Probably because of the findings of a focus group.

        Peter Berrow

        In terms of party reforms why not have the same system as the UUP in place. As for party policy can't the leadership just except that one last step and support a referendum on are membership of the EU. Another would be also referendums for polices either through a number of people signing for it or through say a new elected second chamber?

        Rick

        Why not return to the fundamental idea of elections ? Local People electing Local Candidates - that is why we have simple majority elections rather than a nationwide list.

        It is tedious getting Tory literature with Howard or Hague on every page and not a word about local issues. The Councils are capped and impotent thanks to Thatcher, the Planning System is centralised in London, and Education is some areas is in the hands of SERCO and hospitals in the hands of MONITOR - but instead we get fed the theme issued from Tory Central Office.

        Hague fought on a platform of Save The Pound...........good news....He Lost....The Pound is safe....and he gets over One Million of them each year............but he still managed to get a Labour MP elected in a previously safe Tory seat because he could not muster a 3% swing.

        Pathetic......but now he's the darling of the media and swimming in lucre.

        If the Conservatives could get professional and win each local seat without parachuting some PR graduate or City hack into every seat things might even look like a functioning democracy rather than Big Brother

        David Sergeant

        At last, at last, someone has put their finger on the problem. It's not policy, or campaign methods. It's leadership. Not just by the leader but by MPs and leaders generally. Time and again Labour get away with nonsence. In 1996 Tory MPs were reported as saying Blair hasn't put a foot wrong, of course he had, lots, but no one noticed because Tory MPs never said anything. Time and again a leader really pushing it and getting headlines finds a "party grandee" saying he is being simplistic or something. (Remember the story of two MPs who refused to deliver leaflets in Cheadle they thought were a bit too hard hitting. (We were bound to lose Cheadle: the Labour vote would turn out for the Lib/Dems.))

        Local Councillors just think turning up at the Town Hall is all that's required. The idea of going out and extoling the party or critisizing Labour is seen as beneath them.

        I don't understand what Central Office do. Time and again, even in the Telegraph, Central Office staff offer no support when an issue is arround. Or actually mutter critisisms. Anyone of them should be able to write letters, if necessary, as ghost writers, in support of the party. In letters to newspapers we lose out about 10 to 1 compared with other parties. Including UKIP for gods sake. Anyone read a letter from a Labour MP? Bet they are all telling their constituents now that we intend to bring in a flat tax to help the rich and make loads of nurses redundent - if they do no "Labour grandee" is going to complain - it gets votes you see. That's votes.

        When are we going to see that party membership is about the party not pushing your own policies. We are like Labour under Michael Foot.

        You can see how I think things should be changed: nothing to do with "exciting new ideas" just behaving like a grown up organisation in a competitive world.

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