Conservative Diary

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16 Sep 2013 06:11:53

Coming for Party Conference - a ConHome redesign

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By Paul Goodman

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Since I became Editor of this site in April, it has changed a lot: Iain Dale, Marina Kim, Jesse Norman, Priti Patel and Stephen Tall are now columnists, which means that almost half of all of them are new.  And since I became Editor, it hasn't changed at all: the categories under which we write - ToryDiary, Platform, LeftWatch, MPsETC - are all exactly the same.

That both claims are true hopefully helps to explain how I think change should work and the site should develop.  In a nutshell, I believe that Tim Montgomerie left the site he founded in fine condition, and that evolution is better than revolution.  Which means not destroying the wheel and then reinventing it.

Continue reading "Coming for Party Conference - a ConHome redesign" »

29 Aug 2013 10:16:33

Perhaps David Cameron does read ConHome...

By Tim Montgomerie
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Earlier this week The Spectator's James Forsyth reported that the PM's trusted aide Gaby Bertin would return from maternity leave to run a new Department of External Relations. The appointment is the latest attempt to strengthen the Downing Street operation, including the appointment of The Sun's Graeme Wilson as press secretary. A Department of External Relations - based on the White House model - has long been proposed by ConHome (also here and here) as a way of ensuring effective management of relationships with strategic opinion-formers, including third party organisations and charities. Time will tell if this DExR will get adequate resources and whether Gaby Bertin will be empowered to build long-term relations with groups like the RSPB, FSB and think tanks - or whether she'll be constantly pulled into day-to-day responding to events. That caution aside, its formation is welcome news.

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16 May 2013 05:59:33

Lewis Sidnick to be a Contributing Editor to ConsevativeHome

By Paul Goodman
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Lewis Sidnick will be providing support to ConservativeHome and ConservativeIntelligence as a Contributing Editor. Lewis is a communications professional with over 15 years experience in the private sector and extensive political experience, and has also worked for the Conservative Party in Westminster and in Brussels.

15 Apr 2013 14:10:42

Comments Policy

By Paul Goodman
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ConservativeHome's editor-of-the-day must post the daily newslinks by 8.30am on a weekday, send the daily e-mail, put up the MustBeReads, ponder and/or design the graphics, put up some more posts in due course, write one or two further posts himself, commission new pieces and/or get them into our system, and deal with e-mails and phone calls - while keeping an eye on the news and Twitter.  This leaves less time than is ideal for responding to comments in the threads, or editing them, and I don't expect that to change much in future.  But since ConHome turns a new page today and the site can't flourish without its readers, I thought it would be worth writing briefly in relation our comments policy, which is linked to at the foot of the front page each day.

The totality of readers, of course, is not to be confused with the very small proportion of those who comment on the site.  Regular complaints are made to the editorial team that those who comment are largely UKIP supporters, and the site therefore isn't what it was.  To which my answer is that I agree that it isn't what it was.  It couldn't be.  Tim Montgomerie began ConservativeHome eight years ago, when there was no Twitter.  Our campaigning fuction with party members is very important to us, but many of the actvists that, back in 2005, would have left comments on this site are now on Twitter themselves, or have lost interest in the Party, or have simply moved on, as people sometimes do.

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15 Apr 2013 06:30:15

We announce the new ConservativeHome editorial team. Paul Goodman is Editor.

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By Paul Goodman

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Mark Wallace has been appointed as the new Executive Editor of Conservative Home.  Many readers will know Mark as an experienced campaigner and commentator.  He's been Head of Media Relations for the Institute of Directors and Campaign Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance. Mark currently blogs at CrashBangWallace, is a Senior Fellow of the TPA and sits on the Council of The Freedom Association.  He'll start work with us in roughly a month's time.

Andrew Gimson has been appointed Contributing Editor.  Andrew is the biographer of Boris Johnson, is a freelance contributor to a wide range of publications, and was parliamentary sketchwriter and Berlin correspondent for the Daily Telegraph.

Continue reading "We announce the new ConservativeHome editorial team. Paul Goodman is Editor. " »

7 Apr 2013 06:49:36

Iain Dale is to write a weekly Friday diary for ConservativeHome

By Paul Goodman
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Screen shot 2013-04-07 at 05.44.11Iain was a third of what I will always think of as the original holy - or unholy - trinity of centre-right bloggers, the other two being Guido Fawkes and Tim Montgomerie of this parish.  (As Tim has written, he continues as an adviser and will write a weekly blog.)  Iain announces today in his blog that he will be writing a weekly Friday diary on ConservativeHome: Iain Dale's Friday Diary, to be precise.

Iain is a marvellously inventive political entrepreneur, and a real loss to Parliament.  But as he says, he has no formal affiliation with the Conservative Party any longer, and the man I first knew working backbreaking hours as David Davis's Chief of Staff has acquired a new breadth and wisdom in recent years, or so it seems to me.  What hasn't changed about him that he is a thoroughly decent man.  This is the key to Iain, and and it shines through in everything he does.

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11 Mar 2013 08:19:21

Four headline conclusions from Saturday's Victory 2015 Conference

By Tim Montgomerie
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On Saturday ConservativeHome held our Victory 2015 Conference - on how we might win the next General Election. Lord Ashcroft has already written his review of the day and here are a few headline conclusions from me:

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There is an appetite for serious politics. Saturday was quite heavy. There were some detailed polling presentations, a serious philosophical speech from the Home Secretary and some very thoughtful workshops on how the party might reach out to key demographic groups. And from all of the feedback I received people really enjoyed it. Again and again people said that this was what a political conference should be like. There'll be more events like it from ConHome in the future. My biggest regret was that we booked such a small venue. We'd sold out after about three weeks and had barely promoted the event. We could quite easily have sold two or three times as many tickets. Perhaps, one day in the not too distant future, ConHome will have one thousand people at such conferences.

The next election is going to be very hard to win. Even before the Conference started only 7% of Tory members expected Cameron to win a majority. That was before Lord Ashcroft had published his survey of 19,000 voters in marginal seats. The good news from his mega poll was that the Tories are doing better in the marginals than in the country as a whole. The survey also found that, despite Eastleigh, the Tories could hope to win 17 seats from the Liberal Democrats. Overall, however, unless the outlook improves (and Trevor Kavanagh is sure that it must) Ed Miliband will become Prime Minister with a large Labour majority.

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9 Mar 2013 08:25:50

Rolling blog on the #Victory2015 Conference

5.45pm Ten winning policies:


5.25pm Tim Montgomerie tweets:

May says Conservatism can be an unstoppable force if we fight for the little guy against vested interests #Victory2015

For the record --- I asked Theresa May to give wide-ranging speech when I invited her to #Victory2015 *last November*.

Theresa May has touched on profit-making schools and state-led industrial policy plus Euroscepticism. A big speech for #Victory2015

5.20pm Paul Goodman tweets:

May: big stress on tackling vested interests - undeserved bonuses, high and unfair pay. This is Underdog Conservatism.

Iain McGill tweets:

Theresa May goes after the legal loan sharks - payday loan companies preying on the vulnerable - will use power of state #Victory2015

Continue reading "Rolling blog on the #Victory2015 Conference" »

2 Mar 2013 22:04:57

Cameron adopts ConservativeHome's And Theory of Conservatism

By Tim Montgomerie
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Last Wednesday I announced that I was moving to The Times. For its eight year life ConHome has been championing what we've called the And theory of Conservatism. For example...

"(a) A commitment to actively support healthy, traditional marriages and fair pension and inheritance arrangements for gay adults… (b) A bigger budget for the armed forces and an end to the sale of arms to despotic regimes… (c) Faster, longer imprisonment of repeat offenders and more care for the vulnerable children of prisoners... (d) A willingness to confront the Islamic roots of global terrorism and more opportunities for mainstream British Muslims to set up state-funded schools..."

In tomorrow's Sunday Telegraph David Cameron writes:

"We are the only party simultaneously committed to proper investment in the NHS and bringing down immigration. We are the only party simultaneously asserting Britain’s interests in Europe and seriously investing in a better education for poorer children. It's not about being left-wing or right-wing - it's about being where the British people are.  And where the British people rightly are on all these issues is where the Conservative Party is too."

Exactly. Not Left-wing or Right-wing Conservatism. Not centre ground, lowest common denominator Conservatism but common ground, ambitious Conservatism. Or, as I argued in my musical essay for the Today programme, full orchestral Conservatism.

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27 Feb 2013 16:59:50

Tim Montgomerie moving to become Comment Editor of The Times (but he'll still be writing for ConservativeHome)

By Tim Montgomerie
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It is with mixed emotions that I report that Sunday 7th April will be my last day as full-time Editor of ConservativeHome. The following day I start an exciting new chapter in my working life. The Times newspaper’s new editor John Witherow recently asked me to edit The Times’ comment pages and I have decided that it was right to say yes to this exciting new opportunity.

This doesn’t mean that I am ending my involvement with ConHome. John Witherow and Lord Ashcroft have agreed that I can continue to be an adviser to ConHome and continue writing a weekly blog for the site.  What will change is my involvement in the in the day-to-day editing and administration of the site. I shall be keeping my shares in ConservativeHome.

I’m very proud of ConservativeHome. I’m proud of the daily news service that we provide and of the huge range of views that ConservativeHome has promoted. Most of all I’m proud that we’ve challenged the Tory leadership to adopt a ‘full spectrum conservatism’. Throughout ConHome’s life we've argued that conservatism must have a one nation character – reaching out to those born on the wrong side of the tracks and recognising that there’s much more to conservative politics than economics or individualism.

Today’s team – including Paul Goodman, Pete Hoskin, Harry Phibbs and Michelle Clifford – make up the strongest the site has ever had. I have no doubt that they’ll ensure ConHome prospers in the months and, I hope, years ahead. I look forward to continuing to play a role, albeit more of a back seat role, in this.

Continue reading "Tim Montgomerie moving to become Comment Editor of The Times (but he'll still be writing for ConservativeHome)" »