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michael m

Andrew

I was not getting at you
What I am saying is that a lot of us loyal Conservative members in a highly marginal Labour seat are fed up with the almost complete invisibilty of the Conservative Front Bench and the MPs. They are the only ones who can get our messages out via the TV/radio

Why do we keep hearing and reading that they seem to prefer Board Rooms?

Who can us ordinary members complain to about the very apparant complacency of most of the lot who represent us?

I ask again and will continue to do so,where are our Front Bench today when yet again today Brown has seized the agenda following the Liverpool tragedy?

We can just imagine what Blair and the New Labour machine would be saying had all this happened in 1996!

Andrew Lilico

It *is* mid-summer [email protected]:50. My guess is that most civilised people, other than workoholic/blogoholics like us are sitting on the beach or in their gardens enjoying the pouring rain, wondering when the global warming is going to start (or is more rain all part of it?), watching the cricket and enjoying the start of the footie season. I'm not sure that inflicting too much politics on them is going to get anywhere for now. Come September I'm sure we'll see our Frontbenchers back from holiday, tanned and ready...

michael m

Andrew

They are welcome to this "summer"

But surely we are entitled to expect to see today of all days one Front Bench spokesman on the media angrily denouncing this Geovernment's Law and Order shambles?

Where is he or she?

michael m

The first law of winning elections is that firstly you have to destroy a Governemnt's credibility and competance.

Second you have to look trustworthy

Then people may listen to you

Think about it

An excellent description of today's soft careerist politicians Andrew, for whom this is just a job like any other.

Oh for politicians with an all-consuming passion and determination to bring positive change to Britain, like obsessive entrepreneurs, blocking out everything else to achieve that single goal, even if that means banging on doors when everyone is making sandcastles.

Instead we have a Shadow front bench is 100% committed, so long as it doesn't interfere with their holidays or their business interests, or their golf days etc etc.

Ellesmere Dragge

Who'd a thunk it!

Lilico @2.11pm almost making sense.

However:

Is it not that Tories are merely promising to manage the NHS better? Admit: there are no NHS cuts: health expenditure will continue to rise, and the only issue is how to finance that. Are we afraid to specify root-and-branch reform, including private insurance? Or is the real message about not frightening the horses?

Why is the Grand Old Duke of York marching his troops to the top of the European hill, when there is no alternative view therefrom on offer? What is the Cameron policy on Europe? Spell out what "repatriation" means, and it might not seem quite such an unmixed blessing.

Why do I hear Cameron's "British Bill of Rights" and think "Jim Hacker saving the British sausage"?

IHT, CGT, stamp duty, "business taxation": and all from sharing those elastic proceeds of growth. Oh, and from "environmental taxes" (we all want some of those!). Heaven help us in the next recession (arriving shortly?)

Short of hang'em and flog'em, what additional penalties can be imposed? Have judges shown much inclination to apply the full force of the existing laws? Where do we build all those prisons (obviously not in any Tory marginals)? How do we finance them: those "proceeds of growth" again?

"Vote Blue, Go Green"? Huh: watch the LibDims exploit that one.

The immigration/emigration argument is losing its sting: unless one is talking racist code, of course. Control of intra-EU migration just ain't gonna happen, especially as devolution creeps on, short of border controls at the Severn Crossing, Carlisle, and anywhere Little England doesn't cover.

"Quality of life" Yeah, sure, with a cherry on top.

"Grade inflation". Strewth! Look: it's this simple. As long as we have criteria-referenced assessment (i.e. the National Curriculum), the teacher and the taught work to the check-list. Therefore, measured attainment will progressively "improve". The alternative is "norm-referenced": in other words 60% pass/40% fail (or whatever figures you set). Now, sell that to Mrs Jones whose wee Wayne was 1% short. That's the same reason Tories can't promise grammar schools: got it?


Victor, NW Kent

Louise - did you really say that the Conservatives would reform the railways? I thought we did that last time round!

On a perhaps purist note it is worthwhile noting that climate change has been with us forever. Whether present trends are necessarily harmful and whether they are indeed due to human agency is a debate which dare not speak its name.

If you had said that the police have lost control of the streets, most would agree. How, very exactly, will the Conservatives cure that? By lecturing parents, by tax breaks or by working non-stop for effective policing?

Iain

"Vote Conservative, if you want English votes for English laws."

This is a limp response to the outrageous discriminatory constitutional arrangement where Labour has made us English people constitutionally second class citizens.

Do I hear any passion from the Conservatives where English pensioners are driven to penury yet Scottish pensioners have their bills paid for them, and this can take place in the same old peoples homes along the Scottish / English border ? No

Do I hear any passion from the Conservatives where English students are indebted yet Scots have their fees paid for them? No

Do I hear any passion from the Conservatives when English students studying in Scotland are singled for penalty payments, a measure brought in by the Scottish Libdem MSP Jim Wallace? No

Do I hear any passion from the Conservatives where English patients are considered not worth spending money on for the drugs to keep them alive, drugs which are available elsewhere in the UK? No

Do I hear any passion from the Conservatives when Gordon Brown staged English nurses wage rise, but not in his own country? No

Do I hear any passion from the Conservatives at the last act of Gordon Brown as Chancellor was to slash the capital spending in the English NHS by one third yet leave his own countries budgets untouched? No, they haven't even bothered to raise the issue.

But I did hear Cameron get passionate when he boasted about all the Scottish blood in his veins and called us ‘sour faced little Englanders’ when he went back to visit his homeland of Scotland!

And you expect us to be grateful at being condescendingly fobbed off with a half hearted measure of ‘English votes for English Laws’ when the reason English people have found themselves in this second class status is because our complacent so called ‘representatives’ have allowed this situation to develop, and you can be demanded sure the lobby fodder in Westminster will continue to do their masters bidding under ‘English votes for English Laws’ , so this half hearted measure will not solve any of the issues. We need the institution of an English Parliament to force our useless MP’s and useless opposition to put English peoples interest first.

jonathan

@Ellesmere Drage

Norm-Referenced isn't the alternative at all, that's what we moved away from. The alternative is actual marks and a centile score. This provides a much wider gradation and allows Universities and employers to pick from the top 2% percent, instead of the top 25%. Cambridge is already asking for this specifically, although I understand it can't demand it at present.

The real problem is the exams are too structured with marks gained only for making specific points. Make 100 specified points and get 100 marks. There is no scope for brilliance, no possibility of gaining extra marks for extra work. Learn the 100 points for each exam and you can take as many as you please. Learning 105 facts is 5 wasted, which is why people are now able to get 10 A grades, when only the tiniest percentage got 3 A grades 30 years ago.

Think about it

Any chance of that clarification on point 4 Louise?

You've written an article to convince people to vote tory that contains the firm committment to scrap IHT and yet no-one else seems aware that this is firm Tory policy.

Like Cameron's hospital list, if you slip in inaccurate or false info, people will lose trust in you and discard the rest.

Tony Makara

I think the next election has to have the future of our country as its main theme. Our nation has taken a seismic shift under Labour. Britain is becoming like a foreign country, a different land. The next five to ten years are going to be crucial in deciding which direction our country takes. The next election is a chance for the Conservative party to 'Bring Britain Back'

Matt Wright

Another menu. We need to demonstrate what we stand for with a coherent message and a few bold practical ideas that serve only to highlight that coherent stance. Then we have to repeat it over and over and over again until we have music emerging and not just a lot of white noise,

Matt

Edward

Sadly, yet again, it seems many of the posters on here and Louise herself do not understand what the HRA does.

We signed up to the ECHR back in the 50s. The British courts have always used it as guidance. Litigants have had the right to refer their case to the Strasbourg court when they had exhausted all domestic remedies since before the HRA. If it was repealed they would do again.

All the HRA does is mean that British courts *had* to take into account the ECHR in making their decisions and assume that British legislation was read as compatible in so far as possible. Repealing the Act would mean they no longer *had* to, although as one commentor above states case law as to its application has already been established.

Practically, there is such a massive backlog of cases at the ECHR in Strasbourg that repeal of the HRA would mean many fewer "human rights cases" would get decided in anything approaching realistic time. Moreover, the backlog would increase because the UK courts would stop doing some of the Strasbourg court's job for it.

I would be firmly in favour of getting rid of it - and in an alternative which expressly made reference to the responsibilities we all have - but I don't think it should be glibly dismissed. Like it or lump it, it is an important symbolic document and pulling out of the ECHR hardly sets a shining example (at least on base levels) to the rest of the world. My own view is that so far as practicable Parliament should be sovereign under the rule of law.

Edward

And Tony Makara; didn't the winner of the last election have as their slogan "forward not back"?

Think about it

OK, well I assume that Louise is not going to clarify her unilateral 100% pledge on IHT, so let's look at the Tory 'NHyes' campaign to 'save the NHS'. Honest aim or dishonest propaganda?

I decided to look online for recent comparisons of international healthcare systems, from countries outside of the UK (to prevent Labour's own propaganda replacing objective analysis). - and I found the Commonwealth Fund's analysis (May 2007) and comparison of the healthcare systems in the US, UK, Canada, NZ, Germany and Oz.

Link to report:http://tinyurl.com/23yn5q

Look at the ppt presentation - it's 130 slides long so skip to the last few pages.

Guess which country on a whole series of measures and overall is ranked with the best healthcare system?

My intention was to find a poor result for the UK to press the Tories to pledge to improve on it.

However, the report shows that in the past 3 years, UK healthcare has leapt from 3rd to 1st place on the second lowest expenditure!

I detest the statism of Labour, but based on this international report, Cameron is deliberately deceiving the UK population over the state of the NHS for political purposes.

That is disgusting. Comment Louise?

Matthew Dear

As always, I love your optimism - and it is that optimism and hopefulness (and its manifestation in policy) which will distinguish us from the rest.

Ellesmere Dragge

jonathan at 04:29 PM:
I don't immediately see the difference between that and what I was trying to say.

As long as a specific prior list of skills/knowledge is established (i.e. the criteria), all that is necessary is to evidence them in a test situation. As the teacher/taught gain experience in how the system works, the "success" rate will improve. That's OK by me; but don't call it grade-inflation.

The reason why so few achieved 3As thirty years ago is because the Arts subjects, at least, had results rebalanced by norm-referencing. I know: I was there. And in those days credit was awardable for being able to relate to that 106th fact. It was called a "liberal education", which might be interpreted as being not sufficiently "structured".

Somewhere in there is the difference between being a teacher and merely instructing. Again, I was there.

Michael Davidson

Hardly an inspiring list is it Louise? Especially considering half of it is a load of rubbish.

Vote Blue go Green? It means nothing to nobody - people still rate Labour more environmentally conscious than us.

Scrap IHT? Never going to happen.

Stop Brown's NHS cuts? Why exactly? Aren't we conservatives? We should be supporting reforms of the NHS, not fighting against them.

Buliding new prisons costs money - where is this going to come from Louise?

Repatriate powers from Europe? How exactly?

Only the Conservatives have a quality of life agenda - What when Redwood proposed the other day to scrap holiday rights and worker legislation? Don't think the public will fall for that one.

Let's face it - it's a shoddy list at best. Hardly any of us believe in these things and it comes across as desperately trying to copy Labour's agenda rather than write our own.

Ten years in opposition and this is the best we can come up with? Pathetic.

TomTom

We signed up to the ECHR back in the 50s

NO Edward - we did not sign up to it.

Britain drew up The Charter and it was signed on 4 Nov 1950

But for the first fifty years or so the only access UK citizens had to their own human rights was through an appeal to the European Court in Strasbourg. UK Courts were not allowed to take the ECHR into account when reaching decisions. Even when judges knew that their judgement, based solely on current UK law, clearly involved a breach of the European Convention, they still had to make a decision which they knew was wrong, and which they knew an appeal to the ECtHR in Strasbourg would probably overturn.

The appeal to Strasbourg was not an easy process. However good someone's case, they had to fight it right through the entire UK Courts system, including the House of Lords---an immensely long, unfair and expensive process. It was all very frustrating when all the Courts could see there were ECHR principles involved, but none of the Courts, not even the House of Lords, was allowed to take these principles into account

Teck

Britain is becoming like a foreign country, a different land. - Tony Makara, August 23, at 05:29 PM

Political correctness gags all, so we are unable to say that the flights of the whites out of urban areas is now added to by flights of the whites abroad, with replacements from foreign lands. Have Tory votes emigrated, do we need a balanced approach to reassure would-be emigres and new arrivals, and do British citizens not deserve a sound immigration policy?

Opinicus

10 Reasons to vote Conservative: -

1) They will offer a referendum on withdrawing from the EU
2) They will offer a federal parliament
3) They will implement school choice through vouchers and restore intellectual rigor to A levels and reform teacher training
4) They will implement patient choice through health vouchers
5) They will privatise the BBC
6) They will close 50% of the Quangos by the end of a parliament saving £85B and 50% of the jobs advertised on Thursdays in the Guardian from 1997 - 2007 saving even more. 7) They will use the money saved in 6 and the end of the Barnet formula and with luck the money paid to the EU (see 1 and 2 above) to move to a flat rate 15% income tax.
8) If 1 goes through, they will replace the HRA and EHRC with a BBR and end the payment of compensation in HR cases
9) If 1 goes through they will create a Citizen's register based on birth certificates and nationalisation papers and refuse all benefits, free housing, free education and free healthcare to those not on the register. All convicted criminals not on the rgister will be deported as soon as they have served their sentence.
10) If 1 goes through, they will offer a referendum on restoring the death penalty

and then I woke up.

Yet Another Anon

But for the first fifty years or so the only access UK citizens had to their own human rights was through an appeal to the European Court in Strasbourg.
An absurd copout - there was a choice either to agree that the ECHR was right or that it was wrong and so either to continue to recognise decisions of the European Court or withdraw completely.

Observer

An absurd copout - there was a choice either to agree that the ECHR was right or that it was wrong and so either to continue to recognise decisions of the European Court or withdraw completely.

What does that mean ?

I am using the ECHR because I was refused leave to appeal in a case where the judge breached CPR and caused a shambles through his own prejudice.

The Head of the British Section in the ECHR is a British Judge

James Maskell

Because of the boundary changes I will be voting in South Thanet, not the North.

Edward

@ Yet Another Anon.

Well, it wasn't a cop-out. The idea was that the common law would safeguard "human rights" anyway, so there was no need to think about the ECHR in detail as the UK would be sure not to breach it.

@TomTom. You can write "NO" in ever bigger and more capital letters but it doesn't make you any more right. We did sign up to it, as you yourself admit, although we did not directly incorporate it into domestic law.

For evidence that the UK courts *did*, when appropriate, have recourse to the ECHR before the HRA, as I said, read Lord Denning in R v Chief Immigration Officer of Heathrow ex parte Bibi, for example. That was in 1976.

[Lord Denning did of course make the very valid point in that case that the ECHR was so wide as to be almost meaningless in terms of practical application. I rather agree. The result of such wide terms is effectively a legislative function for the judiciary where it doesn't have to consider the responsibilities of individuals - compare and contrast, for example, the ECHR and the UN Declaration on Human Rights, an earlier document.]

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