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Donal Blaney: Keep your eye on the main chance and don't stop to kick every barking dog

This Rule is particularly relevant to student activists or those heavily involved in local Conservative associations. All too often, university branches or local associations become embroiled in intrigue, back-biting and infighting. Instead of focussing on the damage being done to their fellow students' education, the waste of taxpayers' money or the decline in local services in their area, too many activists (both students and more experienced campaigners) will find themselves caught up in irrelevant arguments that do nothing to advance the cause.

It is, of course, easy to encourage fellow conservatives to follow this Rule from the comfort of my living room. All of us, if we are honest, have found ourselves caught up in such intrigues at one time or other, rather than focussing on "the main chance".

ScargillThis Rule also encourages us not to pick fights unnecessarily. If you are not going to win a vote on a particular matter, and it is not an issue worth dying in the ditch over, don't waste time, money and energy arguing over it. Save your energies and resources for another day. It is often forgotten that before she beat the miners in 1985, Lady Thatcher had given in to their demands in 1981 so as to avoid a strike for which she was not then prepared. Learning from the lessons of Ted Heath's defeat in 1974, during the next 3 years Thatcher stockpiled coal such that when the NUM went on strike, the effects of that strike were less serious than would have been the case otherwise.

Next Law: An ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness.


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