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A well-written and powerful editorial - thank you.

Why is it acceptable for hte media. I can see no circumstances where the media wrongly portraying our grass roots is any more acceptable than our own
MPs doing it.

It does annoy me when the media talk about the so-called "blue rinse" brigade! The only blue rinses these days are on the very oldest of the older generation and dying out rapidly! I suspect that those who seek to play up the stereotypes are those who are seeking to denigrate us as a Party and they simply do not recognise that we are increasingly representing the different types and backgrounds that make up the whole of society.

It is not acceptable from the media, Martin, but more understandable given that it's a simple, off-the-shelf template story for them that doesn't require any original thinking. The rest of my little editorial makes it clear that I don't think it's an acceptable template for them to continue using.

Now, can we please have more open primaries? They obviously work!

This should be filed under "but some of my best friends are black". You just don't get it do you? Just because in one or two areas something different happens, that does not mean the majority are anything other than racist and sexist and, yes, homophobic.

You only need to remember that it is less than a year ago that the party was led by the man who introduced Section 28!

That's true, Peter, but Tory members are still tending to make up the majority of participants in these open primaries (which ConservativeHome has long championed).

I sit in a Branch and an Association that is gradually growing and renewing itself. My own Branch has changed 1/4 of its Membership in a year. Recent recruits are under 40 and there are signs of us gaining a large % of the "New Voter" vote. On a wider front the party is selecting candidates much earlier and the quality of candidates is clearly miles above the "Blair babes" that we are up against.

As someone who has suffered from the party's decision to change the face of its candidates, I have to say that the parliamentary selection process is going well. Associations have shown the resolve to select non-A list candidates when they consider there is a better local candidate and have selected A list candidates when they have performed the best. Selection has been on merit.

I have not seen any candidate selected who would not make an excellent MP.

Your editorial is right - the party membership is doing a good job in choosing candidates. As we know Tory party members are not the stereotype the media suggests they are. They are also politically astute and would probably have selected the same candidates irrespective of the A list.


James Hendron@9.34 - can you absolutely guarantee there are no racist, sexist or homophobic voters in the Labour or LimpDump parties?

Please note the recent considerable success of BNP candidates in East London Labour strongholds!

Great news about Priti - I am very happy. I know she will make a great MP and have thought so for many years.

I have to take issue with this Editorial though. Of course there are parodies of Conservative Party members, which are often unfair. But the fact remains that white, straight middle class men have been advantaged because many constituency members feel more comfortable having such people as MPs. And bigotry has also, sadly, existed.

So let's put Priti's selection in context. A very talented candidate was selected who happened to be Asian and female. This shows the party is moving in the right direction. But it does not show that the party is completely meritocratic, any more than the selection of a white man above Priti would have shown the party to be completely prejudiced.

And, by the way, Priti was on the Priority List of candidates. Her selection is a great example of why we need such a list. She was unfairly disadvantaged in the past (and said so) - the Priority List helped redress the balance.

Usual cultural Marxist claptrap from James Hendron and the Maude clone, changetowin. Never a day goes by without these people pandering to the stereotypes and caricatures of the UK left. Sounds like Witham picked a good candidate last night but in what sense is it an improvement that the any discrimination in the past is now repalced by a different form of arbitrary discrimination?


Priti Patel has never been unfairly disadvantaged. She campaigned for another party against Conservative candidates in 1997, subsequently joined the Party, and fought the oligatory hopeless seat. She deserves congratulation for now getting what looks like a safe seat. But the idea that she was somehow hard done by in the past is a fiction.

And I think this was an excellent editorial. I have always thought the Guardian's view of Conservative Party members was misplaced, although clearly some Conservatives prefer the Guardian's point of view.

Well done - this presses a vital message home, but we need to keep pressing hard to get the reality past the editors of mainstream media who only want to portray us in such a way as to confirm their paranoid suspicions.

I wonder what you would have thought if you had attended the meeting in Witham last night Changetowin.Priti Patel spoke well,very well but she is without a shadow of a doubt interested in traditional Conservative subjects such as law and order,maintenance of the countryside and Europe.It was what she had to say on those subjects in particular which in my opinion won the audience over.
On the subject of the editorial I would agree with you Tim.Many Conservative members are old but few in my experience are as narrow minded or bigoted as the media would us believe.

Malcolm, changetowin isn't interested in evidence or reason. It is an article of faith in certain sections of the Conservative Party (naturally those who want a flimsy pretext to centralise power in their own hands) that ordinary members of the Party are invariably racist sexist bigots.

How is a 'policy adviser' who is currently a "responsible drinking consultant" for a drinks company proof that the party is diverse and representative?

This woman seems to me to have racist attitudes, having said in the past that the fact that a member at a selection meeting wearing a Union Flag tie made her feel uncomfortable.

Why is this? Is she saying that the Union does not include people whose skin colour is not white? This is an incredibly racist suggestion. It is no wonder we have ghettos in Britain when we have Tory politicians that think like this.

The flag of ones country should never make one feel uncomfortable. I have never heard of Arnold Schwarzenegger, or any of the many non-white US politicians saying that the flying the flag is racist.

The nature of a UNION is that includes everyone in it. This woman seems to believe the union flag does not represent her. Why not? There are plenty of people from ethnic minority who believe in Britain, regardless of their colour.

Why are we so proud to have selected a candidate who is so full of hate for Britain that she can't stand the sight of our flag?

Young, Asian, female, but that was counterbalanced by being Eurosceptic.

Well said and well articulated.

I can't help but attribute some MP's comments about the membership as some form of excuse for their shifting opinions over time as they drift with the prevailing wind.

How do I explain moving from Thatcherite to Majorite to Moderniser? Well, those weren't really my views before, even when I spoke in parliament or at conference. It was just necessary to get selected by the bigots and misfits who never lift a finger to get me re-elected.

Justin, I'm pleased to see you thought this powerful and well-written. Maybe you'll think twice before writing posts like :

"The problem is the Associations! Of course not all of them are bigoted, but too many are (see my previous posting). I think Bernard Jenkins was just telling the truth."

and some of the other posts you have made about associations being full of bigots.

" In the cities, our members are inclusive and tolerant. In the shires, many of our members are nasty old bigots."

And another previous pearl of wisdom from Justin....

I do hope you've taken this editorial to heart.

Really ... "racism", "sexism", "homophobia" ... when will Tories grasp that if they adopt the language invented by their opponents to disadvantage them in debate, then, yes, they will be disadvantaged in debate? And talking like their opponents, eventually they will come to think like their opponents. The second of those three words didn't even exist two or three decades ago, and the third didn't exist one or two decades ago - so who invented them, and why? As for "xenophobia", which has so far escaped mention, yes that had been lying unused in the depths of the more comprehensive dictionaries for a very long time, but who decided that it was time to pull it out and put it into common circulation, and why?

Let's be absolutely clear about this. The classic condemnation of party activists as "The Nasty Party" came from the lips of the party establishment in the form of Theresa May.

So let's suppose that the public really did regard the Conservative Party as The Nasty Party. On what observations would such a judgement be made? Well clearly not on the activities of the voluntary party, since the electorate know little or nothing about those.

No. It would of course be based upon the reputation of the parliamentary party, bolstered by fictional stereotypes such as TV's Alan B'stard MP. As I have said before, the parliamentary party's treatment of Margaret Thatcher and IDS must indeed give some credence to the epithet, though not in the sense that Mrs May intended.

The selection of Priti Patel is good news, not on account of her sex or ethnicity but because she has a proven record as a true conservative and as a Eurosceptic.

We need plenty more with her outlook.

If we are honest with ourselves there will always be a diversity of opinions and prejudices within the rank and file Conservative membership.

For every fair minded member who will view an applicant for a Parliamentary seat on merit there are likely to be others less objective and perhaps more prejudiced. We can't and simply aren't all 'Liberal Conservatives.'

But the same can be said of MPs, our Leadership, our Councillors and the media itself. Surely diversity of views is not always a weakness however?

It still annoys the hell out of me that we are dubbed the 'nasty party' by the modernisers in CCHQ past and present.

It was a spectacular own goal for Theresa May for which she should have been sacked on the spot to coin that phrase.

Who wants to join the 'nasty party'?
Who wants to join a disenfranchised grassroots that cannot be trusted to pick a decent candidate or elect the Leader of the Party?
Who wants to join a party when their membership subscription is all that is asked for, and when the centre cannot even be relied on to issue a membership card efficiently?

Lord, deliver us a party centre that nurtures the development of membership and grassroots involvement, rather than constantly seeking to divorce membership from any form of constructive engagement with the political process.

Priti is just wonderful!!!

She's brilliant, I've known her for nearly 73 years now & I just love her, I love that she Asian, I love that she has darker skin than me - she's just fab!!!!

She'll make the best MP ever ever & ever - not quite as good as me as I'm also brill - but she'll certainly come near.

By all!!!

The problem with the Old Conservative Party was that you had to be a retired major to be on an association board, or the retired major's lady wife, and to get into the association in the first place you had to pass an arcane initiation test during which you had to sing "Rule Britannia" whilst beating working class youths from the council house estate with a rolled-up copy of Horse and Hound. Then it was back to the Vicarage for Gentleman's Relish on toast and claret.

Thank heavens people like me have changed the party.

Mike, Priti's selection is encouraging. As they say: A lot done, a lot to do...

What this thread needs is a good dose of Avian Influenza!

(Although I have to agree that the real Louise' posts do sometimes exhibit a slight Panglossian tendency. Perhaps she's just a bit too Candide?)

I don't mind people complimenting or congratulating others on winning the PPCship for certain constituencies, but Bagshawe does it every single bloody time...in a really nauseating - brown-nosing-peverse kind of way.

It almost makes you sick quite frankily. Like I said, nothing wrong with giving someone a pat on the back, but when its taken to new found levels such as the Bagshawe here it puts you off reading the following replies.

Is this the candidate who accused a member of her selection committee of being a racist because he was wearing a Union Jack tie?

I thought I would put my "two penneth" in with regards the great (in my view) news that Priti has been selected. I have known her for the last 10 years. We were both candidates in Nottingham and speak regularly on the phone about politics. Now in my view Priti got selected, not because she was Asian, young or female - but because she is good, and more importantly she was felt (one assumes) to be the best candidate on the night!

That's what we should strive for - selecting the best people. If the party is anything it should be a meritcoracy, and the selection of Priti restores my faith that the Tory Party can be!

The Tory grassroots will be stereotyped as Old Tories forevermore. Nothing will change it. Associations put up fights against the centralising CCO and CCO makes itself look like the victim and that Associations are blocking the changes necessary to win the election, even though we know that thats not a fair assessment of the reasons why those fights are put up. CCO blames Associations for its own failings.

Well done to Priti Patel, who finally found a seat. I was beginning to wonder if she would become another Laura Sandys!

changetowin and the other blind loyalists show reversed bigotry. They are as guilty of bigotry as those they accuse.

For what it's worth I tend toward the 'moderniser' camp and I think Theresa May's 'nasty party' comment was appallingly misjudged. Sometimes these comments are misrepresented after they've been spoken -- my blood boils whenever the media glibly says that Cameron has told people to hug hoodies. But the 'nasty party' speech seemed gift wrapped to Labour from the start. I struggle to think of the last time any politician scored such a blatant own goal. But that's in the past now and we'll just have to put it behind us.

I enjoy Louise's posts, which are optimistic, interesting and often quite informative. I don't think there's anything the least bit 'nauseating' or 'perverse' about a Conservative candidate extolling the good, hard work of other Conservative candidates and prospective candidates on a public website. I hope more people show her bouyancy and team spirit.

Last but not least, congratulations to Priti Patel.

Selection should be by meritocracy and local, not imposed centrally for media imaging.
Witham have demonstated how the system works in a properly run and democratic political party.
NuLab take note.

"And talking like their opponents, eventually they will come to think like their opponents"

Has political correctness conquered Conservatives too? Lets hope not.

Priti Patel's selection was by open primary so was it the enlightened local Party membership who chose her or the general public of Witham? If it was the Party membership, that wasn't the intention behind introducing the open primary so what's to be done to encourage more "ordinary electors" to take part in future?

14:29:
"Is this the candidate who accused a member of her selection committee of being a racist because he was wearing a Union Jack tie?"

Hopefully she's matured since then. People do.

Denis @ 11.40 is spot on here – can I suggest an answer to his last point.

Could it be that the old usage “racism and fascism” died out as a result of the cultural Marxists deciding to ditch the F-word and replace it with one that might snare a wider range of political opponents on the broad right?

It’s all the more idiotic that they were allowed to do so, given that we all know a phobia to be an inexplicable fear (eg. claustrophobia) rather than a politically incorrect dislike.

How to overcome the disadvantage in debate with our opponents is a far wider issue, but it would be a good start to steer clear of speaking ill of fellow conservatives in such a manner.

In reply to some of these posts about the so-called "nasty party" speech:

(i) was Teresa May not just articulating David Cameron's analysis, only several years earlier?

and (ii) it was not the Labour Party but tory traditionalists who have taken it out of context. I've just Googled it and found the exact words:

"we've made progress. But let's not kid ourselves. There's a way to go before we can return to government. There's a lot we need to do in this party of ours. Our base is too narrow and so, occasionally, are our sympathies. You know what some people call us - the nasty party. I know that's unfair. You know that's unfair but it's the people out there we need to convince - and we can only do that by avoiding behaviour and attitudes that play into the hands of our opponents. No more glib moralising, no more hypocritical finger-wagging. We need to reach out to all areas of our society"

What sort of Tory would disagree with that?

"i) was Teresa May not just articulating David Cameron's analysis, only several years earlier?"

Yes, although that's not much of a recommendation to me.

Theresa May was handing our opponents a stick with which to beat us. The phrase "the Nasty Party" is still used by Labour and Lib Dem activists, bloggers etc.

Labour's current attacks have moved on from Conservatives being sexist, racist or homophobic. They're working over the Public School bias, and especially the Eton one.

While we are happy to include candidates from all races, both sexes and all sexual orientations, are we going to be shot down for being too narrow on class grounds? Cameron should look North, and promote people from regional backgrounds - or he's presenting a vulnerable flank on the ultimate unmentionable - class.

Well if Lib Dem bloggers still call us the "Nasty Party", we must be in trouble. Sean, your "one last heave" strategies have been used at the last two elections, and look what happened. The Cameron strategy that you attack has made us electable. It's the only show in town.


A strategy which sees us attack Labour (if at all) from the Left, Patrick, is one that ensures the centre of political gravity in this country moves leftward. That may be great for some people at the top of the Party, but not, I'd suggest, for Conservatives generally.

We attack Labour from the Left?

By opposing the European Constitution?
By promising to spend less than Labour?
By calling for further market-based reforms to public services?
By calling for more police and border controls?
By opposing ID cards on libertarian grounds?

Get real.

"Young, Asian, female, but that was counterbalanced by being Eurosceptic."

Are you implying that Euroscepticism is a nasty or minority viewpoint? You seem to be suggesting that her being young, Asian and female is a good thing but that Euroscepticism is a bad thing.

Congratulations, of course, to Priti Patel.


I grant you points 4 and 5, Patrick, but certainly not points 2 and 3. Some of our MPs (such as Teresa Villiers) have hinted that a Conservative government would spend less than Labour, but others (such as Oliver Letwin) have hinted the reverse. As for public service reform, the timid moves we were offering in that direction at the last election have been repudiated.

As for point 1, that was a policy inherited from Michael Howard, and is not currently a live issue (although it may again become one). We have however, dropped our opposition to the Common Fisheries policy.

The environment is one big area where we are, very much, criticising Labour from the Left.

I think the Oliver Letwin comments you refer to are when he said we believe in "redistribution". Given that we don't propose abolishing the tax and benefits system (though I'm sure some of you would like that), of course we do. This doesn't mean we'll have higher taxes than Labour.

Sean
Is the Environment a Left issue - it depends on the solutions (imposed rationing through individual carbon card for example is a leftist solution, trading & market pricing based on environmental costs more of a conservative one).

Patrick, given that Cameron and Co have essentially said that they will not contemplate any meaningful reform of public services (because that would be far too "extreme" and the BBC/Guardain axis wouldn't like it), then there will be little if any difference between the Labour and Conservative tax take. An unreformed NHS will always "need" more money. Ditto state education. Furthermore, the Tories have fought shy of any plans to cap burgeoning (aand almost certainly understated) public sector pensions deficits which are not going to be paid for by the Tooth Fairy.

"Is the Environment a Left issue"

Not per se, I think. But given the amount of criticism that Peter Ainsworth and others have levelled at Labour for not doing enough about global warming, it is going to be very hard for us not to agree to a high degree of control on both business and personal behaviour, in the name of protecting the environment.

It is disturbing that we should be taking our cue from Tony Juniper, on this issue.

Sorry Patrick, we've bought into the socialist consensus on health, education and welfare that has done so much damage to our country in the last 60 years.

Even Thatcher never went anywhere with reforms in these areas and until we adopt education vouchers for all alongside truly independent schools, insurance based healthcare for those in work alongside truly independent healthcare providers and a "needs based" not "means based" welfare system, we will always be well to the left of the US democrats and forever in the slow lane of growth, innovation and success.

I've heard it said elesehwere, but the risk takers left Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries and Europe was left with socialists.

Perhaps Theresa May's one-man fan club Patrick Imber would care to give us an example of anybody actually calling our party "The Nasty Party" prior to Mrs May's Gerald Ratner moment. That's what she said, so it must be true.

If he can achieve this, I will shade my opinion that this beak-nosed incompetent handed our opponents the gift of their dreams.

However, it's interesting to review her other words, including "No more glib moralising, no more hypocritical finger-wagging."

As it happens, since those words were spoken the Cameroon hypocritical finger-wagging tendency has gone into overdrive on the usual fashionable PC issues, but maybe that doesn't count.

Now here is a genuine question and I'm keen to learn the correct answer.

Does anybody know who actually wrote the "Nasty Party" speech?

Tory "Loyalist",

There are many examples of our party being called the Nasty Party before Theresa May's excellent Conference Speech.

EXAMPLE ONE FROM 1988

Crime will be discussed at the Tory Party conference.
389 words
30 September 1988
Financial Times
25
English
(c) 1988 Financial Times Limited. All Rights Reserved

This "Politics Today" article, by Joe Rogaly, looks ahead to the Conservative Party conference in Brighton, and in detail at the part played by the "Ugly Right" in demanding action on Law and Order.

The dark side of the Tories will be made manifest in atavistic attitudes to crime and punishment.

Britain's opposition parties should be grateful. For they are finding it increasingly difficult to pin the Conservatives down as the nasty party.

Labour and the Democrats can thank the permanent Tory demons for the fact that the Brighton conference agenda includes 166 law-and-order motions. Perhaps the nearest thing to a thoughtful motion on the subject is "This conference has no confidence in the current Home Office response to the grave public concern in the field of law and order."

Unfortunately what lies behind the no confidence motion is all too likely to be gut-reaction rather than reason. The Ugly Right stops at emotion. It does not think. Lock them up for longer, it says. Flog them. Hang them.

(c) The Financial Times Limited 1988.

EXAMPLE 2 FROM 1995

NOW FOR THE HARD PART - JOHN MAJOR - CONSERVATIVE PARTY LEADERSHIP.
By Simon Jenkins.
1434 words
5 July 1995
The Times
English
Copyright Times Newspapers Ltd, 1995

John Major's gamble has paid off, but can he glue the party back together?

Two weeks ago I suggested that Mr Major was mad to call this contest. There was no maverick challenge as in 1989 and 1990, only the likelihood of one in November. The contest would draw poison to the surface of the "nasty party".

Many more examples if you'd like!

Quite clear that Theresa May has been horribly treated for voicing an uncomfortable truth!

Theresa May was quite right to suggest that we were seen as the nasty party - in some quarters we still are. Like many areas of life, demonstrating that we have changed is much harder than changing. That candidates with excellent credentials can get selected is important: making it happen as often as it would if we lived in a colour/gender (etc) blind world is vital. The nasty party image can be used to compare us in 2009/10 with what we were seen to be ten years earlier, a comparison which will be entirely positive.

Changetowin parrots the propaganda of the fingerwagging inverted Puritans (sorry, "social liberals") on the leftwing of the Conservative Party.....most of whom have a lot in common with Labour.

Who does changetowin quote? The FT: bill board of New Labour for many a year and the overpromoted and hugely self-important Simon Jenkins. So Theresa May must be right because the left says so.

Tory Loyalist, you think that:

(i) members and MPs moralising about how people should lead their private lives, and

(ii) Cameron telling members that they shouldn't moralise,

are the same thing? How bizarre.

And you think that the "nasty party" speech was the gift of our opponents' dreams? It was a call for the Party to change, and thank God, despite your best efforts, we are changing.

Michael,

I quoted a couple of articles which came up in my press search. I can quote more if you'd like. The point I was refuting was the notion introduced by Tory "Loyalist" that Theresa May introduced the term "Nasty Party". The fact that these articles come from papers or writers you disapprove of actually proves Theresa's point that our opponents called us the Nasty Party. Theresa (and I) as a Conservative thought this was unfair and wanted to make sure that this could never be thought of us.

So which bit of her analysis do you disagree with?

1. That our opponents called us the Nasty Party?

2. That is unfair?

3. That we should avoid behaviour that plays into our opponents hands by appearing moralising and hypocritical?

4. That we need to reach out to all sections of society?

Exactly, Michael. The obscure asides of two self-important journalists in 1988 and 1995 are hardly relevant to public opinion in 2002 or whenever it was that May made her ridiculous speech.

"The Loser Party" I could well believe. Under the stewardship of people like Theresa May it was plain that the party was no longer to be taken seriously let alone regarded as some kind of sinister menace.

So Mrs May expected us to "change", a bit like giving up something for Lent, did she?

How have you changed, Patrick?

I can suggest a great change for the party.

It's a changetowin even.

Get rid of the Eurofanatics.


The problem with the "change agenda" is the acceptance that the basic assumptions which the Left had about us were, in fact, correct.

I joined the Conservative Party in 1986, and was pretty comfortable with what the party stood for then, and still am. I for one, feel no desperate urge to repent for the opinions which I and my fellow Conservatives held then.

I was born in a country (France) where most of the Parliamentarians have had experience in local government - even the most talented and ambitious aspiring politician would start his career by being elected Mayor or regional councillor - and where many of them keep these responsibilities while MP (which I would admit could be a distraction from their legislative duties)

Such a background probably explains why I'm amazed by the whole process here: the A- or whatever-lister complaining not to have been selecting in a constituency he or she has got no links with (and sometimes can't even pronounce the name correctly)and implying that if he or she is not selected sooner rather than later the British people will live to regret it; or, as well, the new-born PPC taking over his new constituency's association as the long awaited - and only available - saviour... but also what a system is it that forces its most talented ones to lie right from the beginning by forcing them to swear in front of each selection committee what a dream it would be to represent the hereby constituency: ''Eltham or I die', 'I owuld kill for Thurrock', 'Ohh, north Glasgow'...

It seems that, whether they vote or not, a majority among - or around - us tends to consider its representatives as more and more distant, cut from day to day concerns, from the so-called 'real life'. There are calls for a move from strictly speaking representative democracy to a more participative one - as certainly proves the rise of 'local', single-issue, parties or movements... these calls have to be heard.

And more than a A-list, more than anything, the real revolutionary change, the most adequate answer would have been to decide that all PPC should be local candidates. It doesn't imply that the one currently selected would not be selected - the ones who deserve to be on the A-list would have risen from the ranks in a deconcentrate system -, it means that choices would be made, risks taken, that strong bonds with local associations and that serving as councillor would probably better considered - instead of the actual, I'm told, 'Run for local elections, CCHQ likes it, reduce the majority but make sure you're not elected'.

If the writing may seem un-English, I'm not sure that the idea would be so un-British - and the fact that so many local candidates have beaten rising stars of all sorts (cf. statistics somewhere on CH) imply that grassroots would have welcomed such a move.

Totally agree Sean.

I joined in 1970 or 1971 (at this advanced age I can't recall)because I believed in traditional Tory "flag and empire" views.

Later I had no difficulty whatsoever in adapting my ideals to Thatcherite economic liberalism.

I don't find anything remotely appealing in Political Correctness and until recently I understood that the Conservative Party stood foursquare against this pernicious left-wing ideology.

If the party is now to become Nulabour Mk II I can see no reason whatsoever to continue my support.

Patrick Imber, how has David Cameron's grand strategy made us (the Conservative party) electable? There has been no General Election to prove you theory, and only one set of local elections - where the Conservatives would have done as well as they did regardless of who led the party and in what direction.

Are you in fact just looking at useless opinion polling? David Cameron and the Conservative party may be up in the polls, but anything can happen in the next three years - and probably will.

Also, I would agree with Louise Bagshawe's parrot above.

Franck,in many ways I prefer the cut-and-thrust of French politics. I'm not at all sure that in France it would be possible to maintain the control freakery that we now see here at its very worst in both main parties. Parties would simply split on ideological or regional lines.

I agree with what you say about political localism. When Conservative Associations select candidates we are faced with the ridiculous charade of wanabees driving madly round the streets to gain local knowledge and packing into the local library or newspaper offices to ransack back numbers of the local rag for stories that may help to give credibility to their supposed links with the constituency.

One hopeful who got to the final 20-odd candidates in a well-known southern town blew it all in the first line of his speech by blithely mispronouncing the name of the town before proceeding to air his newly acquired "local knowledge" before a stunned selection committee.

He might as well have saved his breath.

Talking about taking grass roots for granted there was that little matter of Duncan Smith was voted in by 155,933 of us and being ousted by just 8 (15 votes).
And the Primary Ouster, David Davis has still not answered our questions.

The so-called Conservative idiots who continue to slag off the grass roots obviously know nothing about us because they never do a scrap of work at constituency level.

The only thing we can be criticised for is to continue to permit these people to lord it over us as MPs etc.

Maybe a little deselection is called for?

On the editorial itself, the same paragraph noted the acceptance by Party grassroots of Priti Patel, Shailesh Vara and Adam Afriyie, as well as that of “openly gay” Nick Herbert, David Gold and Alan Duncan. Although not the point the Ed was making, this could lead to the impression CH thinks homosexuality is exactly the same type of issue as race and gender. Whatever one’s views on homosexuality, it must be admitted that this is more to do with choice than race and gender are! I recall it was reported on CH recently that Matthew Parris (whose views I think differ from mine and the Christian and Muslim viewpoints) wrote that homosexuality is a choice - which he gladly chooses. I view the Party as the Party of small ‘state’, the nation state, law & order and the family – where would Messrs Herbert, Gold and Duncan stand on the latter? Marriage and the traditional family are now thought to be vital for the health of society. It’s great Priti Patel and Joanne Cash – reported to be two Eurosceptic candidates, were selected! But I hope that Philippa gets an alternative safe seat.

I would agree with Realconservative and I think it behoves the current leadership of the party to recognise that many party members resent the current "line" on homosexuals.

Admittedly we may belong to an older generation when such things were seldom talked about let alone approved, but most of our colleagues are greyheads these days, in my association at any rate.

I for one am far more tolerant of these things than I would have been even 10 years ago, but there are many aspects of it that I do not accept. "gay marriage" for a start. Also, as a practising Christian, I tend to take a scriptural view on the matter.

There has been no attempt whatsoever by Mr Cameron to take ordinary party members along with him on this issue. I know that it is sometimes pragmatic to say things in which one does not really believe in order to maximise votes but I believe that long-serving members have been treated with contempt on this and other issues.

Charles Roberts

You may be encouraged that I am younger and do not belong yet to what might be regarded as the older generation, although I wouldn’t be classified as young! (50!). I think we can be encouraged there are younger people who would not approve of what we are being told to believe by the media and many politicians and would instead keep to the Christian stance.

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