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hardly surprising

It's good to see our candidates able to express themselves as fluently as Louise. I always enjoy her articles.

However, on this, she's surely preaching a non Conservative line.

GPS in this country are overpaid and underworked. The Labour Party, to its credit, is taking them on and requiring them to offer service in return for our prepayments into the NHS (as these are what tax and NI really are).
Is it so surprising then that GPS are nervous of Brown? Have we anything to learn from his approach in terms of showing some guts and demanding more from our public services?


Louise, if Cameron and Lansley were right to make an issue of what is going on in the English NHS then they shouldn't let their campaign be just a one day wonder, but hammer the message home for the issue should be more important that an error in their facts.

( note I defined it as the English NHS for that is the service they have legislative powers over, and should be accurate and define it as such, in doing so highlighting Gordon Brown's 'anomalous' position)

But in the campaign I saw, I thought it was an error not to have directly linked Gordon Brown with the closures. For it Gordon Brown's fiscal mismanagement and the resulting financial pressures which are forcing the closures, just as it forced the need to stage the English nurses pay rise, ( though Nurses in Scotland don't ), just as it necessitated Gordon Brown having to slash the capital spending budget in the English NHS by one third (yet Gordon Brown has left Scottish budgets untouched).

Above all it is a massive error for the Conservatives to not challenge Gordon Brown's stewardship of the economy, for it is there in peoples everyday lives, when they see their A&E, Maternity, local hospital closures, there in the Nurses staged pay rise, there in the Prison Officers staged pay rise, all it needs is the Conservatives to show Gordon Brown's finger prints all over them, and so hang those problems where they belong, around Gordon Brown's neck!

Tony Makara

Labour's hypocracy over the NHS is staggering. Louise I'm not sure if you are old enough to remember the 'Battle of Jennifers ear' but basically Labour tried to pin the ill-health of a little girl on the Conservative government on the day by supplying 'False' information.

The fact that a decade after announcing that there was 'A week to save the NHS' Labour are now closing down hospital services on aweekly basis. The fact is Labour have given up on the NHS, after 'losing' an indeterminate amount of money in the NHS system they are now red-faced and are giving up on the project.


"Labour's hypocracy over the NHS is staggering."

Agreed, which is why it is hard to understand why the Conservatives haven't attacked Labour over the NHS more assiduously. Labour came to office denouncing the internal market, scrapped it, yet have spent the last 10 years reinstating the structures left by the last Conservative Government.

Liam Halligan did an excellent article on Labours tyranny of change at the NHS, which has resulted in 10 wasted years and £3billion wasted to get us nowhere.


The Conservatives should not be allowing Labour off the hook, with this, and the A&E, Maternity, local hospital closures, they should remorselessly bang on about it, and making sure people know about it, and know where the blame lies. Labour and Gordon Brown.

Not a traditional Tory

Iain, Gordon Brown "has left Scottish budgets untouched" only because allocation of the Scottish budget is a responsibility of the Scottish Executive, not the Chancellor/Prime Minister.

Please don't try to make out as though this is some situation where Gordon Brown is deliberately cutting English health spending but giving the Scots preferential treatment, because it's not so. If we can't rely on our own policies and proposals to win the election, but instead just gripe about how we don't like the idea of a Scottish Prime Minister, we simply won't deserve to win. Gordon Brown is ahead in the polls people!!! The public don't care about his "Scottishness", except for some narrow-minded sour little Englanders who really should just bog off to the English Dumbocrats if it bothers them that much. It's time to change the record.

James Maskell

Lansley has been very quiet again. It seems that as soon as we start a campaign on one issue, we lose our gaze on the other equally important issues.


Not a traditional Tory, well let me quote the article from the Financial Times...

"Prompted by the tightness of the public finances, the new prime minister, who has placed the NHS as his “immediate priority”, cut the capital budget of the English NHS for 2007-08 from £6.2bn to £4.2bn. The move could delay the government’s hospital building and reconfiguration programme in England.
However, Mr Brown avoided equivalent cuts to the Scottish and Welsh NHS budgets even though the funding formula for the UK nations suggests they should have shared the pain. That decision leaves him open to criticism that he favoured patients in his home country."


Not a traditional Tory, as for the 'sour faced little Englander' jibe, well we have every right to be bloody angry at what has happened, where our young sick and old people are being discriminated against, and above all made constitutionally second class citizens, which has made Cameron's response to this issue pretty weak, pathetic, and almost non existent.


I agree with you Louise - Andrew Lansley has been on fine form and along with DC's superb performance on Newsnight, and DC & DD at the weekend on social breakdown, the opinion polls should be showing a Cameron Bounce...


Lansley is great and should be promoted as against the daft no-marks like Grayling, whose expertise seems to be in producing the endless press release.


Why is DavisFan having a pop at Graying? Graying is the only member of the Shadow Cabinet to have the energy to take on our real enemies - Cherie Blair and the Bee Gees' letting agents. The man is a genius.


I don't know what Grayling4Leader is talking about.

Come back and talk to me when he has claimed a scalp (like DD has).

You know, people will say I'm too pro-DD, but it's suspicious how the Government makes its worst mistakes opposite DD.

Would Blunkett have sorted out visas for his nanny without DD breathing down his neck? I don't know.

Would there have been chaos in the visa issueing departmnet which let all those foreigners in if DD hadn't been applying the death grip somewhere else?

It's not enough for Grayling to just stick out loads of press releases. You've got to force the error.


Calm down, DavisFan. I'm not criticising DD. I think most of us on this site would have loved it if he'd become leader. I mean, given that he gets rid of Home Office ministers for fun, imagine how many prime ministers he could have brought down? And think of the tax cuts we'd be promising.

I just wanted to defend Grayling. I think most Conservative Home readers will agree that he is the DD of the next generation. Tireless, brilliant, and never scared to describe other people's work as his own.

I fully expect Brown to have a nightmare trying to get Labour MPs to agree to become the next Home Sec and W&P Secretary. With Davis and Grayling shadowing them, ministers' life expectancy can only be a matter of weeks.

Patricia Wilcock

When the "Battle of Jennifer's Ear" was raging, wasn't Louise Bagshaw a member of the Labour Party? Or was that later?
Patricia Wilcock


Patricia Wilcock is right. We should be suspicious of people who change their minds.

I for one think that CF membership and activist activity should give candidates points in selection meetings.

I would never vote for someone who had not been a lifelong Conservative. I go to Constituency events and there are fairweather party members turning up. Where were they in 1997?

That's part of the reason why I am such a fan of DD: I think most of our support would be made up of lifelong Conservatives.

Philip Collinson

Patricia Wilcock, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia states that Louise Bagshawe joined the Conservatives aged 14, but later joined the Labour Party under Tony Blair in 1996, believing Blair would be "socially liberal but an economic Tory". She said that "she never stopped being a conservative", but "thought Blair was one too". Inspired by the picture of Margaret Thatcher pinned to her monitor, and saying that she was disappointed in Blair, she opted to rejoin the Conservatives, and campaigned for the Conservatives in the 1997 and 2001 elections.

Matthew Dear

DavisFan - can we assume therefore that you wouldn't have voted for Churchill?

Tony Makara

It is sad that some people are being critical of Louise for being member of anoter party. Its worth bearing in mind that Tory icon Sir winston Churchill was at one time a member of the Liberal party.

In a democracy people have to right to change their opinion, their vote and their affiliation in line with circumstances. Louise is putting in a lot of time, work and no doubt money to ensure that Britain has a Conservative government after the next general election. For that she deserves respect rather than brickbats.


Matthew Dear - that's a tough question, but you shouldn't make a rule on the basis that the next traitor might happen to be a naitonal saviour.

There's a deeper issue at stake.

The Party is not just a machine for 'winning elections' or 'changing the country' - it is an activist organisation and it will achieve nothing if it does not respect its activists.

That is where my 'years of service' rule comes from. Imagine it: a Parliament of Graham Bradys, Roger Helmers, David Davises... fabulous.


No more comments about Louise's past please. Let's focus on the topic of the day. Louise briefly supported Labour but her columns and commitment to work for the party now are, I think, very, very persuasive.


DavisFan, I believe there are other and better candidates from the Conservative front benches to put the spot light on rather than Grayling, for my self I would be putting Osborne in pole position for boot up the backside. As you rightly say David Davis has made the Home Office a disaster area for Labour, which is not just a matter of them being particularly inept in that area, it has been the result of DD's single minded determination to hold them to account. Compare that with the Shadow Chancellor, who has been awol from his position and not laid a glove on Brown, letting him go to his coronation with 'best chancellor ever' ringing in his ears, might suggest that much of this Brown bounce has been the result of Osborne not doing his job. Eg the reason why Nurses and Prison Officers in England are having their wage rise staged is because to the economic mismanagement by Gordon Brown. Osborne should be out there nailing that issue on Gordon Brown, and these people knowing who to direct their blame on when they open their wage packets and not find their salary increases. But where is Osborne? I haven't seen sight nor sound of him for months, and when he has been around I haven't heard him make on reasoned argument or challenge of Gordon Brown’s stewardship of the economy, when there is much to go on.

Tony Makara

Editor, you are right. We are all guilty of straying too far off topic at times. It probably is better to let wayward comments go rather than chasing them up. Louise writes very well, we should let her theme of the day develop rather than bickering over other items.


"Louise writes very well, we should let her theme of the day develop rather than bickering over other items."

Louise also speaks and argues her point very well, for I heard her on Any Questions and was quite impressed.

David Sergeant

The theme is Andrew Lansley. I am sure he would make a great Secretary Of State for Health. Trouble is he is in the oposition. His campaign on closures, whatever Louise says ended up a minus. It is no good complaining now that Bellingham said something diferent than was reported at the time it was up to Lansley and CCHQ to imediately put the perception right. If I can voice a suspicion, the Conservative party seems to have a system where a shadow minister does, and controls, all aspects of an issue and no little "press officer" is going to take the limelight. Labour uses many people to handle issues, nearly all the time you read "number 10 dismissed the Tory claims" etc. There should be more control over issues besides a shadow minister so maybe they won't get exhausted. Remember there are many Tory MPs as naive and foolish as Bellingham.

David Sergeant

Just to rub it in, in yesterday's Telegraph a rather twisted American columist wrote an article saying Brown doesn't need to have a referendum on the EU. To-day one, very comprehensive, letter is published demolishing that argument. From a Tory front bench spokesman or MP? No, from, so help me, an Independent Labour peer.

As far as I know Lansley, or any other Conservative luminary, has not written anything to put the record straight. Immediate would have been best but even now would do.

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