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This is code for: I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH ALL THAT CAMEROONIAN MODERNISING.

Mr O is getting his excuses in early.

Ships.... Deserting... Rats... Sinking...

Pathetic.

I don't see why we shouldn't take him at his word, and what he says is reasonable enough.

Alan S (Sept 26, 2007 at 14:16), in that case, could this be the spark and prelude to the big explosion? Watch the Black pool....

I wonder if George had anything to do with the nonsense that tax cuts endanger stability or was that all the fault of the ueber modernisers too?

Astonishing!!! This is a very significant interview just before our conference and, possibly, a general election with the Party 12 points behind in the latest polls.

George appears to be positioning himself for a leadership election. Have enough MPs sent or drafted letters, or planning to send them, to Michael Spicer?

Osborne is a senior member of the uber-modernising ship's crew, to use Alan S's metaphor. It's bit late to shout "watch out" when the ship is about to hit the proverbial iceberg.

Wasn't me, huh George?

Well Mr Osborne wasn't it you who hung the albatross of 'heir to Blair' around Cameron's neck?

And may I point out, for you to go on about immigration when your brief is Shadow Chancellor, a subject you have failed to get to grips with, suggests some desperation and will be met with cries of lurch to the right!

If anybody is going to make a comment about immigration it has to be the properly designated Shadow Minister, and an issue developed in such a way as to avoid the accusation of lurch to the right, an approach like I have suggested on this message board that raises the issue in the terms of environmental and population sustainability.

I really doubt that George Osborne feels the need to say anything in code Alan S. He is after all one of the primary architects of the modern Conservative party and will always be associated with it.
Personally I'm happy that he realises that the Conservative leadership realises that it will have to campaign (and try to provide solutions to) a wide range of issues that concern the electorate.


George,

As a long term Party member in an unsafe Tory seat (who voted for Cameron in 05), I have to tell you that you are doing terrible, possibly irreparable damage to our electoral prospects.

At this stage of your career you should be a shadow Transport spokesman at best.

Never mind a "balanced message", how about a more balanced Shadow Cabinet

IRJM: "I don't see why we shouldn't take him at his word, and what he says is reasonable enough."

Because he was the one loudly proclaiming that Cameron was the true "Heir to Blair", apparently thinking that this was a good thing to be.

But nice to see that the rats are leaving the sinking ship.

At last some sense! If there are dimwits in the Cameron camp who still think that they should not talk about crime, immigration and taxes then he should fire them before he loses his own position.

I welcome this 'lurch to the right'. :)

I can't stop laughing, although I think I should be crying. If Mr Osborne is not an uber-moderniser then what on earth is he? His fingerprints are all over the failing process of so-called modernisation and this interview in the Spectator will not change that. If the he thinks the party will believe this claptrap then he is very much mistaken. The Chief Officer has abandoned his Captain and is sailing off into the horizon...

Does anyone who is an expert political psychoanalyst believe that George Osborn 1. senses a GE, 2. is about to abandon a sinking ship and, worse of all, 3. is positioning for leadership, as some bloggers here surmise? Could this a Blair-Brown scenario again, and we are playing catch-up?

Intriguing indeed!

Malcolm, I appreciate that you are a loyalist but even you must admit that the Osborne quote is code for "don't blame me" for this mess.

Osborne was Cameron's leadership campaign manager. Suddenly, he starts to distance himself from the Cameron project just before conference.

The Money Quote, as Andrew Sullivan would put it "I have always argued for a more balanced message, and that is what I hope you would see at this party conference".

Osborne is responsible for the general election campaign strategy. There should be NO "hope" as he should be IN CONTROL of the conference message.

Has Osborne been sidelined? Is the Cameron team and the Project disintegrating? The loyal activists, like Malcolm, should be asking themselves what is going on.

George needs to be careful. If DC goes so does he. Last month his rating had fallen to 24% from 42% in May.

I expect that the continuing dismal performance of his shadow Treasury team will take his rating even lower (my rating for him went down to very dissatisfied).

George, just focus on doing your Treasury job, please.

Sometimes I wonder if people confuse modernization with making the party electable. The fact is the Conservative party has to appeal to Labour and Liberal voters if it is to win their votes and win the next election. We have to be pragmatic, and realistic. We won't agree with every single aspect of policy. However what matters is that we have a government in power that can deliver a Conservative programme. The party must be electable, otherwise Gordon Brown is going to destroy this country.

Teck, as I pointed out above, Osborne is responsible for the GE election strategy. If the Cameroon ship sinks, Osborne should go down with it as he has steered the course, especially on tax and spending. He cannot run for a lifeboat as that would be extreme cowardice.

Most of my local activists regard Osborne as an electoral liability. He could not win a members' leadership ballot. But Howard and the MPs tried to take our votes away last time....

Osborne tells us "I don’t take the kind of über-modernising view that some have had, that you can’t talk about crime or immigration or lower taxes." Big deal. Is that meant to impress us?

His comment that "I have always argued for a more balanced message, and that is what I hope you would see at this party conference" is open to negative interpretation but I would think that he is well aware that a balanced pitch will more than likely get lost in the exlosion of "lurches to the right", "abandoning traditional conservatism", "leftward drift" and all sorts that will emanate from anyone and everyone. The crying shame is that it is guaranteed that a large number of these interpretations will be in the comments on this site and you can even predict the names attached.

Yes Tony, Cameron and Maude did confuse modernisation with making the party electable. Look at where we are now - 11 points behind and trying to defend Tory seats as well as win marginals.

We were told that more women candidates would deliver millions of women's votes. Those votes have gone to Dour Gordon. We are left with the albatross of Priority Listers in key target seats who have little or no experience in attracting swing voters.

The public sees the Gummer-Goldsmith policies as extreme not pragmatic or realistic. They will not get us elected. It seems that Osborne now agrees, albeit too late.

I am a loyalist,as I was to Margeret Thatcher, John Major ,IDS and Michael Howard because I actually want our party to win and believe that the endless division that has plagued our party since 1990 has benefitted nobody but our political enemies.
I do think George has made some mistakes the 'heir to Blair' speech being one but I hardly think that someone who has been made our election coordinator is likely to have been 'sidelined' as you laughably suggest.
I rather think that George Osborne was clarifying with this interview the message that will be made throughout the conference.

At last some sense from Osborne. Ditch the "modernising" guff and get back to the core issues that the sensible half (as opposed to the celebrity worshipping, shopaholic, deranged half) of the population are crying out for.

Brown has encouraged a debt culture which is now threatening recession, crime is out of control in many towns and cities immigration is a national scandal, NHS funds have gone into the pockets of PFI spivs while essential services are run down, etc etc

Attack Brown and New Labour for their appalling record over the past ten years, pledge strongly to work hard to stop the rot, and go on the offensive against this mendacious Government instead of internal backbiting.

Show some passion and fighting spirit and the decent sensible majority will back the Conservative Party once again.

It has to happen. Five more years of the repulsive, scheming Brown is too appalling a prospect to contemplate.

Completely agree with you James Burdett.

"Osborne is responsible for the GE election strategy."

And if anything suggests he is not equipped for that job, it is his interview in the Spectator, the language is all wrong...

"I don’t take the kind of über-modernising view that some have had"

In other words I am baling out.

"I have always argued for a more balanced message"

Suggesting that the current message is unbalanced, which even if he thinks it is , he shouldn't be implying it, not at this time, for he is implying the person responsible for this unbalanced message is Cameron.

"I don’t think we were ready for the impact on public services of a very large number of people coming to this country. Immigration..."

I am playing the overtly populist card.

Osborne is supposed to be the election co-ordinator, not the person trying to hole Cameron’s electoral boat below the water line!

Osborne is either being unbelievably Machiavellian, or else naive to an unheard of extreme.

Whats the point of giving interviews to the Spectator, whats it got, about a dozen readers!
Get the message into the mass daily's.

James Burdett, that quote is indeed open to interpretation and demonstrates Osborne's inexperience.

George Osborne only worked as a party researcher and adviser before entering Parliament. He has no experience in the public or private sectors, just the closeted and incestuous Westminster village.

I do not blame Osborne as he was promoted far too soon. Michael Howard must take the lion's share of the blame.

The Osborne '08 leadership campaign is a horrifying prospect. I wonder if there has been some kind of Granita deal which bought his acquiescence in 2005.

The Spectator is the Cameroon house journal. D'Ancona and Nelson are Cameroon insiders and are rewarded with "exclusives".

It too late to try to use next week's conference to change the message. As Lynton Crosby put it, you can't fatten the pig on market day.

Cheeky Gids. That is clearly an interview with one eye on the post-Cameron future.

Not a bad thing at all though, as balance is the key to success, and perhaps a wiser, more experienced Osborne will be closely involved in delivering just that.

Moral minority, on the question of womens votes, Labour has even failed on the fundamentals like equal pay as Theresa May has pointed out time and time again. Gordon Brown may now think that he is home and dry but once parliament returns he will be brought back to reality with a bump. The fact is that Brown has been extremely lucky with events falling in his favour but that sort of luck doesn't last forever. This week Labour are playing to a captive audience, when parliament returns they will have to play to a critical audience. They have many questions to answer. I refuse to accept that a fourth Labour term is done and dusted.

"The crying shame is that it is guaranteed that a large number of these interpretations will be in the comments on this site and you can even predict the names attached. "

James Burdett, do you think if we don't mention it, no one else will notice? I like your flattery of the message board posters here, suggesting our greater insight will inform others, but I don't have such a high opinion of myself. What Osborne has said, and the language he has used is going heard loud and clear by everybody, there is no need of some special insight. And whether it is Machiavellian in the extreme, or criminally naive of him , the fact is the Conservative Election Co-ordinator should not be saying it just before a possible election!

Dunn: "because I actually want our party to win"

What you should be concerned about is not loyalty to the brand, but loyalty to certain ideas you believe in. You are not a sheep.

I'm beginning to feel sorry for poor old Cameron. He'd just weathered the storm after Ancram stuck in his oar and now his best friend starts positioning himself in case of a smash at the next election.

George is acquiring form for this sort of thing - didn't he discretely let the world know he disagreed with the 'hug a hoodie' speech also?

Along with the squeeky voice, Osborne has got a tin ear and a bad memory. Remind me which non-uber-moderniser made the Heir To Blair speech? Or told us that tax cuts threatened economic stability?

Conference is going to be interesting: I'm looking forward to Osborne's speech where he sets out how he disagrees with "the kind of über-modernising view that some have had, that you can’t talk about...lower taxes". I'm also looking forward to the massed ranks of Cameroonies who like to shout down MPs who make unhelpful comments.

Sound of hats being thrown into ring. Does he seriously think he has any chance of taking over when DC goes.

He says immigration is broadly beneficial than bangs on about the costs to the public services. I wish there was some convincing evidence to support his position which seems contradictory to me. Has there been a net benefit or not?

Skilled immigrants have been used throughout the economy to conceal the failures of the education and welfare systems. Million of benefit claimants and countless thousands of young people without basic skills doesn't really support Brown's claim that he has built a dynamic economy.

If "its the economy stupid" GO looks like he is an even bigger misfit that Darling.

I wish to distance myself from the uber-Osbornisers

What a pathetic non-story. Fraser Nelson is keen to set a hare running and (of course) the Mail is only too happy to try and push it out the gate.

The idea that there is any difference between, say, Gove and Boles is risible.

Tony, I also believe that Brown will be brought back to reality with a bump. The problem is that there might be a general election and a larger Labour majority in the meantime.

You have not challenged my view that the discrimination in favour of women candidates, via the Priority List, has not delivered more support from women.

We have no trouble in finding women to stand as council candidates. Yet women are more reluctant to apply for the candidates list. At the last election, the percentage of women PPC reflected the percentage of women on the candidates list. The problem lies with the Candidates Department not allegedly sexist local associations.

The key to winning women's votes is to communicate attractive policies effectively. My wife finds Theresa May a turn-off, our Harriet Harman. A new face, like Maria Miller, could do better.

RISQUE COMMENT OVERWRITTEN BY THE EDITOR.

Don't think I really want to take lectures from someone like Jorgen who follows an electoral joke called UKIP.

What is all the fuss about? His remarks are completely synonymous with what Cameron said in his last speech.

Grammar schools apart, I happen to think Cameron is doing an excellent job.

George Osborne: I'm no über-moderniser

Now he tells us!!!

the Shadow Chancellor distances himself from what he calls the über-modernisers and embraces 'the politics of and'

Yes I can see where all this is leading. The day after the next election there won't be any Modernisers anywhere.

But I must say Boy George is a fast worker.

'Wasn't me guv...'

"What is all the fuss about? His remarks are completely synonymous with what Cameron said in his last speech"

Yes, once the damage was done and huge imbalance had been created that looks likely to end the good run of Tory leaders reducing the Labour majority.

Many of us have been screaming for the fusion since day one, and the Cameroons, arrogant on an easy early poll lift, instead decided to insult those who hold different views, calling them 'dinosaurs', 'delusional' etc.

It looks like the message of balance, fusing the old with the new, giving the *equal* attention, is finally getting through.

It's too late for Cameron but hopefully if clearly applied next week, it might prevent electoral carnage.

This isn't a rift between Cameron and Osborne....Cameron is just as much a "Balancer" as he is. DC wouldn't have taken the lead on Crime and immigration that he has done recently if that were true...

"RISQUE COMMENT OVERWRITTEN BY THE EDITOR."

Yes Editor, on reflection, it probably was risque. But it was rather amusing, don't you think?

It is largely irrelevant what George says now.As pointed out above he would have noc chance in a furture leadership vote under the present rules.

In reality I don't read this comment as a rift although it is a belated realisation that direction and policy have been wrong headed.If George and DC had come to acknowledge and be driven by the poilitics of "and" earlier we would have a credible and coherent policy agenda with which to confront Brown.

It is to be hoped that we build on George's sentiments at next week's conference.The ammunition is there following Brown's turgid performance Cameron must fire it!

I would strongly urge that we stay well away from the socially liberal agenda and hit hard on :Crime,Family ,the EU referendum ,Immigration and Asylum and the state of the union at home.We need also confront Brown's so called patriotism drawing upon the traditions of fairness and civilty demonstrated by our island Race whilst emphasising that our people do far better when freed from the heavy handed control of the state.

I'm not opposed to Osborne in the way that some are here, but this interview does rather remind me of those halcyon days of 2000 when the Iranian Ayatollahs attempted to portray themselves as moderate centrists compared to those nasty "extremist" Taleban chappies in Afganistan. Who are these über-modernisers with whom he is contrasting himself, for goodness' sake? Hilary Wainwright, perhaps? Nick Cohen? Polly Toynbee?

"It's too late for Cameron but hopefully if clearly applied next week, it might prevent electoral carnage."

Has Chad Noble abandoned UKIP and defected back to the Tories?!

Spot on MM. 25% of applicants to be Tory candidates are women and more-or-less the same % end up as candidates.

So obviously it's a great plan to introduce an immediate quota of 50% PPCs should eb women. Duh!!

The Heffer-ite "Right" has spent two years painting Cameron and Osborne as left-wing socialists, despite their actual policies (e.g. support for marriage, more prisons, repeal fox-hunting ban, limits on immigration (anounced last November by the way), the fact that sharing the proceeds of growth means tax cuts, opting out of the Social Chapter, etc....etc...)

Then, when George Osborne mentions that he's never been this uber-modernising cartoon character and is in favour of established party immigration policy (shock horror), it is interpreted as a "rift" and "distancing" and "abandoning a sinking ship" and trying to divine hidden 'meanings'.

The miracle of the modern media.

If it wasn't so important the dire state of the Right in this country would be laughable.

I am a strong supporter of the Cameron team and they rescued the party from a perilous position after the 2005 election.

A blip now ? Maybe, but do not panic.

The weakness in the message from Team Cameron is their fear of talking about tax, and not admitting and explaining that reducing taxes does produce more revenue

This is vital and must go hand in hand with a radical reduction of quango's and the civil service.

They must explain all this at the Party Conference if they wish to wrest the initiative from Labour.

If they do a lead in the polls by Xmas!!

What? Talk about blowing it all out of proportion!

Here we go again.First sniff a leader is in trouble and they all start to abandon ship.Started in November 1990 and nothing's changed since.No lessons have been learned.You only have to read posts on here to see that.What about putting your supporters and the country before your own ambitions? Ambitions of what? Leading a party permanently in opposition.
The Tories have a proud record in government.The dinosaurs that so many of you refer to did a pretty good job in my view.
We've not stood by our leaders before and where has it got us? Both William Hague and Michael Howard should have been persuaded to stay on despite electoral defeat.They were building the party back up slowly but surely instead of the mad rush away from Thatcherism we see now,so much so that the party's own supporters barely recognise it and don't know what it stands for.Mr Cameron needs to spell out the Tory message and be very clear about it.He needs to be proud of what Tory governments achieved not apologise for them.In the meantime,agree or disagree,he is our leader.On the whole we welcomed him with open arms.Let's get behind him and give him a chance but also hope that he does start listening to us.It's too late to change him now.

Chad Noble (Sept 26, 2007 at 15:58), democracy and unity seem to be unhappy bedfellows here in the Party at the moment. Maybe, as I have always believed, we should appeal to the entire membership so polarised into the Cameroons on the one hand and the Thatcherites and others on the other, to now move as one cohesive force.

Never mind social cohesion, we seem to squabble more in the face of growing adversity!

"What you should be concerned about is not loyalty to the brand, but loyalty to certain ideas you believe in"

Tell me, jorgen, do you know much about the history of the Conservative party? The party that supported the Corn Laws and then didn't, that opposed reform and then supported even more radical reform, that supported imperial preference then free trade, that supported tri-partism and then moneterism, that was pro Europe and then anti Europe?

The only common threads that run through the history of the party are pragmatism and loyalty. It worked for 200 years in a way that ideological purity never did, as the Labour Party found out in the 1980s. The Thatcher personality cult appears to have forgotten all this.

Loyalty as in stabbing Thatcher in the back?

Jon Gale, the ability to opt out of the Social Chapter disappeared with the Amsterdam Treaty. Cameron's "policy" was out of date. He failed to deliver his key pledge to leave the EPP and lost the trust of many members.

Wonder when Osbourne will joim nu labour?

"Has Chad Noble abandoned UKIP and defected back to the Tories?!"

LoL, no (I am not a member of any party). I couldn't support any party that supports the extension to state funding of political parties as I believe that will complete the disconnect between politicians and the people and seriously undermine our remaining democracy.

However, I have high hopes that the next Tory leader Qmight just oppose Lab and the LibDems on this, and want to give them a fighting chance of winning by preventing total meltdown in the upcoming election.

I quite agree that Osborne is far too young. In fact, he looks about twelve. I also agree that his latest intervention is unconvincing and inopportune, but there is more joy in heaven, and all that. So, now that he's decided he's no moderniser, let's see a bit of the repentance, shall we? How about a statement of support for academic selection? Or a speech urging Mr Cameron to withdraw from the EPP forthwith? We've been waiting for that one for some time, now. Most importantly, given that he is the shadow Chancellor, why doesn't withdraw from that silly pledge to match Labour's spending plans? It is a promise stiff with intimations of even higher taxes. This is where the "green" fits in, of course. Presumably Master Georgie is hoping to fund Gordon's extravagant state with revenues from plasma tvs and formerly cheap flights, which suggests in turn a deep strategy at work: Go green to woo the lid dems; spend the resulting funds on the vast government pay roll and you take a big bite into the centrist and socialist vote. The problems with this are that the green, state funded left-centre can get all it needs from Labour; they fear that they won't get it from the Tories and meanwhile the conservative core abandons ship. Hence the drooping polls. Nice try. Time to stop it now, though.

Teck, as a poster commented on a thread recently, the polarising started when Maude purged the Candidates List of Thatcherites.

In my constituency, a target seat, one of the finalists in the Primary was a thity-something woman with less than a year's party membership! She was very confident but clearly out of her depth when answering even simple questions on policy. An outstanding local councillor, a young Cameroon man, was barred from applying. The standards for women candidates are far lower than men.

I admired Margaret Thatcher for her policies and for giving this country a kick up the backside when it needed it not her personality and am not part of a cult.

This is a non-story. It's so lame no amount of help can get it over the stile. I cannot see any difference between what Osborne said and recent speeches by Cameron. I take it that the 'source close to Mr Osborne' is effectively refuting the suggestion that there is a rift.

Anne Widdecombe in today's Express on why she is not going to Blackpool -

"...I am not sorry to be missing it. Like so much else the nature of all the party conferences has changed and not for the better. Some changes are trivial and some substantial but all are irritating.

It is worth packing up and travelling to the other end of the country for five days of good debate, good entertainment and a chance to talk to people you see only once a year. It is most emphatically not worth doing for three days of indifferent public relations, plastic applause and parties you would pay to avoid."

The bubble has well and truly burst.

Loyalty used to be the Party's secret weapon. Some on the Right would cry their eyes out if DC did well.

Tell me, jorgen, do you know much about the history of the Conservative party?

Do you, David?

The party that supported the Corn Laws and then didn't

Peel didn't, amd the party split, disastrously

that opposed reform and then supported even more radical reform

Disraeli's cynical 'Leap into the dark' designed to attract working-class reactionaries, failed dismally.

that supported imperial preference then free trade

Only after a monumental election defeat for the Protectionists.

As for tri-partism/monetarism and pro Europe/anti Europe these were major conflicts which threatened to pull the party apart within my own memory.

The only common threads that run through the history of the party are pragmatism and loyalty

Pragmatism, sometime. Loyalty...don't make me laugh.

One leader after another stabbed in the back and you call that 'loyalty'!

"It is most emphatically not worth doing for three days of indifferent public relations, plastic applause and parties"

Historically, that's been the case of almost all Conservative party conferences. They were seen as general rubber stamps, with parties, for the leadership, as opposed to the chaos of Labour conferences where the leadership was challenged constantly.

Hmmm... Chad Noble?? Wanting to be taken seriously????

I don't think so!

Osbourne, like most of the Cameroons, has blown any chance of working in a Conservative government. The rot can be traced back to the grammar schools debacle. Thousands of volunteer activists have been politically spat on by an elite of pithy little men who were privileged to receive everything they seek to deny the rest of us.

With the volunteer base thoroughly de-motivated I will be surprised whether the election can be fought in anything other than a perfunctory capacity.

Loyalty used to be the Party's secret weapon.

But slavish 'loyalty' - as in totalitarian states -was always strictly for the serfs.

At the elite level the code of the Borgias prevailed.

Some on the Right would cry their eyes out if DC did well.

Indeed. And if wishes were horses then beggars would ride.

Gideon actually made a statement saying that we are the Heirs to Tony Blair. He is a Kremlin insider.

However, if suddenly common sense breaks out within team Cameron and the conference is used to signal 'lurch to the right' then he should be given the benefit of the doubt.

What dismays me is that the BBC and the rest never question Brown's xenophobic pronouncements as right wing extremist views which says something, i.e. the Beb and the rest of the Liberal media know that what brown says are just weasle words.

Lets us give cameron a chance to prove his credentials at Blackpool.

"What is all the fuss about? His remarks are completely synonymous with what Cameron said in his last speech."

I agree, what is the story??
The media hype is almost as hysterical as some on here, conference next week and lets not hold our breathe that the likes of Brogan wouldn't like to pile the pressure on us even more.
Osborne gives an interview, journalist interprets it, story gets legs, politician clarifies position but press print story that will make a headline!
Unedifying to see the usual suspects on this site behaving in such an hysterical manner.

Gordon Brown is getting away with murder while the Tories continue to navel gaze. The latest pronouncement from George Osborne illustrates perfectly what Lord Tebbit and others have said about the current bunch: no experience, no underlying philosophy, no ideas (apart from those gleaned from focus groups); and, when the polls go pear shaped ... not my fault, guv.
Does anyone think that the electorate will vote for a Tony Blair Mk 1.5? If it is a choice between Labour and Tory Lite, the 38% that bother to turn out will probably vote to preserve the status quo.

The more I think about this, the more I start to laugh.
George Osborne was not an Uuber moderniser 2 years ago, a year ago or yesterday and nothing I have read or heard from him every suggested that he was.
This really is getting a bit hysterical, why? Because we have conference next week and the media want an exciting Tory split theme, they have got used them, end of.

Moral minority (Sept 26, 2007 at 16:43), I was disappointed to find that when Grantham and Stamford selected, not only was a safe seat open to A-listers exclusively, but to A-listers who had not fought a General Election before!

Moral Minority:

I've read Anne Widdecombe's article too.

Anne Widdecombe's Column

Nice spin (obviously from the Nelson/ Brogan book of spin) but why don't you quote the end of the piece? Some context might be in order. Anne Widdecombe was as much discussing the Libdem and Labour conferences as the Conservative one.

As for the Liberal Democrats, I almost yearn for the days when they wore beards and sandals and advocated the legalisation of pot. At least they were interesting and different; now they are led by a very decent old man who looks like everybody’s favourite grandfather. Zzzzzz! You could almost be lulled into forgetting that he wants to tax us to death and take us even further into Europe.

Last in the conference line-up come the Conservatives. I can remember when Cabinet ministers were howled down and conference argued vigorously about Rhodesia (we might do well to argue a bit more about its modern incarnation as Zimbabwe), incomes policy and free collective bargaining. These days we cheer on initiatives to replace lightbulbs in order to help a polar bear or two and if anyone disagrees it will only be in the deepest privacy of a broom cupboard which has been swept for bugs.

I hope that next week, while I am fussing with menus, cake candles and seating plans, my colleagues give the public something seriously different by way of policy: that we promise to slash the size of the State, do away with the compensation culture, restore rights to free expression of opinion however much it may contravene perceived orthodoxy, ditch targets for police, teachers and doctors, let us keep more of our own money, stop taxing death, crack down on abuse of our immigration system and introduce zero-tolerance policing in inner cities.

That might just shake Britain out of its 10-year doze.

Widdecombe's advice is sound and there is a hint in the recent statements including George Osborne's that David Cameron might be following it.

Unfortunately it looks like Fraser Nelson and Ben Brogan will be hanging around in the broom cupboard next week!

Oh and the reason she is not going is because she is arranging her 60th birthday party which follows the day after the conference. A fair reason for declining the conference especially as she intends to stand down at the next General Election don't you think?

Chad may have abandoned the Party (UKIP) but I certainly haven't. As far as I can see you are all now coming to your senses about the farce of a party you support.

It took a bit of time after it was obvious to me but you are welcome to come and join. Mr Osborne can't come though, however much he has changed.

Editor:

Either the Evening Standard link is wrong or the Standard has yanked it? Anyway its currently coming up not found....

As expected the BBc is making capital out of Lord Tebbit

Thank you Lord T- you would never have tolerated the sort of talk you now espouse when you were Party Chairman

With friends like Lord T what hope?

The dinosaurs should remain in their Lost World

I was going to use the line about rats and sinking ships but Alan S has beaten me to it. Now I shall have to think of another metaphor. I'll consult my proctologist on the matter and get back to you.

"What is all the fuss about? His remarks are completely synonymous with what Cameron said in his last speech."

Scotty - "I agree"

You would.

As far as I am aware Osborne has always been one of the now-discredited
'Modernisers'.

He may not have called for all-gay shortlists or the legalisation of LSD, but he was at least as much of a Moderniser as Cameron, if not more so.

The good news about this story is that 'Moderniser' has already become a dirty word.

And we haven't even lost the election...yet.

I can't take seriously anything that Ann Widdecombe says when she caricatures herself on reality TV shows. Ann Widdecombe should stop being grateful for little morsels of publicity and instead get behind the Conservative party initiatives to improve the environment.

I see Brian Jenner, who used to post here is now trumpeting his praises of Brown on TV news.

I think I remember Jenner in the YCs, but possibly I am confusing him with someone else. Don't tell me I am the only person who didn't know he'd jumped ship?

Well, I follow this party every day and I'm still confused - so what chance a floating voter has of understanding what's going on I don't know.

My observations are this -

1. Low tax. Why talk about it? Nobody seriously expects the Conservative Party to have taxation higher than Labour, so what is the point we are trying to make? We know it's an issue that Labour uses to frighten floating voters. Again and again the right bang on about this needing to be a commitment - and then will hang out to dry anyone that needs to raise taxation in the future. Why Cameron appointed Forsyth, of all people, to look at this is beyond me.

2. EU: Nobody expects the Conservatives to be in overall favour of increased integration, and the vast majority don't want full exit, just a sceptical stance. So why bang on about it? It won't do any good, but can and will do lot's of harm to our election chances. Yes, again the right again pressured Cameron into make a hasty EPP pledge, when it was nonsense to do so. Affiliate ourselves with the basket cases on the far right - all after Hague sorted it all out - what a stupid move.

Immigration: Yes immigration needs controlled, but it's a much more complex issue than soundbites can capture. The dark implication is that we are racists, and we don't have the opportunity to convey our intentions to the public easily on this - so again make policy, stuff it in the manifesto and shut up.

Public Services: Wholesale change may see people migrate into other employment, but nobody wants this to happen because the upheval will be terrible. The last time it was done by Thatcher it was really necessary (not now), and the economy was a basket case for years, with massive unemployment as a result. Don't talk about it!

The fact is that the party is infested with people who have far more extreme views than the majority of the electorate. Thats why we cannot win an election. The majority of members want this to change, but as we all know, those with the biggest mouths get their way, thats why with a 2/3 majority as elected leader, Cameron is being both pressured into making mistakes and being slated on sites like this who largely represent the right-wing of the party, not moderates. Thats why we are doing so badly in the poll's, the right are putting us back onto the previous stance.

Nope, sorry, don't know what George is trying to do here at all.

"Do you, David?"

Clearly, since you've just backed up everything I said. Well done. Perhaps we can, like the Tory party of the past, learn the lessons of catastrophic defeat, and not become slaves to ideology.

Update on Benedict Brogan's blog! I do wonder what he calls the hotline to Downing Street that swings into action when ever someone like Ed Balls allows his arrogance to run away with him!

"UPDATE at 16.15: I've just emerged from listening to Gordon Brown send Labour to sleep, to find my phone filled with outraged messages from Cameron Central about the interpretation being put on the Osborne interview. For the record, I think he's tweaked the leadership's position deliberately, but he's done it with David Cameron's agreement. My point is that Gordon Brown wants to provoke a reaction - panic, treachery, idiocy, all of the above - so great care should be taken to avoid helping his dirty work. Thank you Norman Tebbit.

Get behind Cameron or get five more years of Brown.

Hasn't Brown done enough damage to Britain over these past 10 years without us self-indulgently squabbling while this damaged and destructive pesonality schemes his way to victory.

Will Britain have changed irrevocably for the worse after 5 more years of Brown? Will the Conservative Party ever be forgiven if it indulges in infighting and backbiting which allows this psychologically flawed charlatan and control freak to stay in power?

I think the stirrers on here should get a sense of perspective though I suspect most of you are UKIPers and Brownite trolls rather than Tories.

"Tell me, jorgen, do you know much about the history of the Conservative party?"

Enough not to turn my back to a wet Tory, if that is what you mean. :)

Some here seems to be UKIP-phobic. I have yet to vote for UKIP, but will certainly take a good look a this party at the next election; the alternative is to abstain. The only thing I do know is that I will under no circumstances vote for the "Heir to Blair's Conservatives".

What is Osbourne trying to achieve by saying this? The only way forward is to unite behind Cameron and fight to win the election on people's priorities. Unite or die.

"I think the stirrers on here should get a sense of perspective though I suspect most of you are UKIPers and Brownite trolls rather than Tories."

I'm afraid they're ringing down the curtain on the Cameron show, FT. Looks like this turkey laid an egg.

As a proud supporter of our Prime Minister I can only say that I am gratified that so many Tories have now seen the light.

No Cleo. It's time for you as a floating voter to get off the fence and support our Prime Minister, who is increasingly regarded as a stateman of world stature.

You've seen the Tories and they stink. Time for you to join the human race.

It's looking good!

Cleo I'm sure Osborne is not trying to undermine Cameron.If he were ,he (Osborne) would be finished. It is just the interpretation of the usual suspects here. Although I admit he could have chosen his words much more carefully.
The conference will I hope provide clear messages that will appeal to the more traditional Conservatives as well as those of the modernising persusion. You're right though, a disunited party will be defeated. Nothing more sure.

He's not distancing himself from Cameron at all. Some of you can't read, or are suffering from a terrible need to project your own thoughts onto what someone else is saying rather than listen and try to understand. Stop trying to create problems where there are none.

"Stop trying to create problems where there are none."

But that's their job. They're New Labour apparatchiks. When they're not on here posing as disaffected Tories they're writing to local newspapers posing as local residents and slagging off the Tories or LibDems.

That's democracy for you, New Labour style.

I was interested to see the BBC run with the story of Tebbit sticking the knife into yet another Conservative leader on the news tonight.
Out of interest, what is the chances of the BBC 6pm news running a story on Tebbit praising his party and the leadership reaching a similar news spot on the Beeb?
Did Tony Benn ever get this treatment even when he was still an MP when he launched an attack on Blair and the New Labour project, just curious?

I agree with the other recent posters, the idea that there is a rift between Osborne and Cameron is nonsense created by a media bored to death after the Labour conference.
After three days of no news they are so desperate they are turning to fantasy. The Times is at it as well!

"My interview with George Osborne in tomorrow's Spectator has caused much interest, particularly his contrasting of himself with the "uber modernisers". This phrase has travelled so fast that a Cabinet member I just met for coffee in Bournemouth had already heard it. "A split story right before conference," he grinned. "Just what they need. Osborne doesn't just acknowledge a faction, but christens one". Not quite fair. It was hardly a coded attack on Cameron, whom he heaped praise on. George was just stating the obvious, making it refreshingly clear where he personally stands in a party which is openly in the middle of a policy debate. Such candour isn't heard very often in politics. Perhaps this is why. " Fraser Nelson, Spectator Coffee House.

Scotty, did you read the story about Benn's granddaughter standing for parliament at the age of 18. I think this is far too young for such ademanding job. If they find her asafe seat and she gets into parliament it will make a mockery of our political system. The whole thing sounds like nepotism to me. I know we can vote at 18 but at that age our political understanding is at a passive level. At 18 we are not ready for active politics.

You are right about the way the George Osborne story is being played. It certainly always amazed me why Tony Benn was ever a member of the Labour party because he had absolutely nothing in common with them, especially during the Blair years. Tony Benn likes to present himself as a great sage, he is more of a Bertrand Russell than a politican though.

David Cameron, George Osborne etc... seem to have a far clearer idea of what they aren't than what they are - is everyone supposed to decide what they are by some process of elimination, maybe they are hoping that if they say enough of what they aren't that someone may well be able to tell
David Cameron and George Osborne what they really are? If there is actually anything left.

Dave Bartlett, I pointed this out further up the thread earlier. Interesting to see how this kind of hysteria is so readily embraced by parts of the media when it comes to their *balanced* ( heavy dose of sarcasm) view of the Conservative party.
Meanwhile nearly 3 days after Brown's speech they are now noticing how much of it was plagirised
.
The media were running away with a Tory split before the article was even published, and yet it has taken some journalists 3 days to realise that we have heard all Brown's rhetoric before from other politicians both at home and abroad.
I don't know what the answer is any more, but I feel more and more disillusioned with the British press who with the advent of the internet have a much faster way of checking out their facts. Instead they choose to lift stories without checking at all.
Be interesting to see if the Beeb pick this story up and run with it, I mean they did with the Norman Tebbit criticism of the Conservative party.....

As the wind blows...

Out of interest, what is the chances of the BBC 6pm news running a story on Tebbit praising his party and the leadership reaching a similar news spot on the Beeb?
The BBC whether politically motivated or more likely merely in order for a bit of cheap sensationalism actually said that Norman Tebbit praised Gordon Brown. In fact he was complimentary towards Gordon Brown's focus and style, but from the report you'd have thought Norman Tebbit was about to defect to Labour.

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