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The "make poverty history" bit (including the phrase itself) seems to suggest that Cameron has bought into the Geldof "we-can-save-the-world-if-we-just-try" nonsense. The rest of it doesn't seem all that contentious.

Oh dear. Why pick a fight with the Right now?

This is an excellent bit of democracy. I like it.

Excellent stuff. Mark me down for an "aye", as I said on the other thread.

"Oh dear. Why pick a fight with the Right now?"

...because he knows there is nowhere else for us to go.

For those who don't know... this "statement" is to be approved by a ballot of all members.

It clearly will be approved but I wonder how many will vote?

"The "make poverty history" bit (including the phrase itself) seems to suggest that Cameron has bought into the Geldof "we-can-save-the-world-if-we-just-try" nonsense." - John Hustings

Either that, John, or he's jumping on the bandwagon, in the hope that the phrase might rub off some popularity on him.

I expect this statement to passed in a vote. It appears to have been well worded.

I understand we will be asked to vote for this document. I will vote for it with more passion than i've for for anything ever before.

Everytime I hear David Cameron speak I fall in love with him all over again.

"I understand we will be asked to vote for this document. I will vote for it with more passion than i've for for anything ever before.

Everytime I hear David Cameron speak I fall in love with him all over again."

Frank, do you love this document more than your spouse?

"I understand we will be asked to vote for this document. I will vote for it with more passion than i've for for anything ever before.

Everytime I hear David Cameron speak I fall in love with him all over again."

Frank really, pass the sick bag!

Cameron has proposed that the membership debate the statement of values, presumably with a view to amending some sections of it. Do we think this will actually happen, or is it more rhetoric designed to give the Tory Right the impression that they are still relevant to the leadership?

It looks like a good bit of promotion and will get the party in the papers 3 times: initial with the launch, the sending out of ballot papers and finally the result of the vote. Furthermore more it will be talked about and debated on Question Time and other such programs, so all in all a good image idea. Also I think this is one of the integral stages is the Camerons team plan to show the party has really changes and to give him credibility, this kind of does both.
However it’s a bit corny and cliché, and I am not sure about summing up our values on a page but I will end up voting for it.

Ha. Ann Widdecombe just gave an interesting response when questioned about this document. She said that it it mostly represented what the Conservatives have been saying for many years, and that what she most objected to was the notion that this statement of principles was in any way a "change".

For some reason, I get the feeling that this comment was what the Cameroons would least have wanted from Ann.

"But public services paid for by the state don't have to be run by the state"

As far as I was aware, the state doesnt pay for anything, it is all tax payers money.

"We will put economic stability and fiscal responsibility first. They must come before tax cuts."

This is effectively agreeing with the Labour spin that tax cuts threatern stability.

Apart from this, it seems to be a very carefully worded document with not much to take issue with. I think the bit on local democracy is suggesting we will be fighting the next election with Police Reform as our flagship policy.

Whether this will stop the Right worrying, I am not so sure.

I fully support these statements.....but I am really worried that the detail I'm reading doesn't support them.
David Cameron says "We will support the choices that women make about their work and home lives, not impose choices on them."
Today, Osborne used the same words, but then went on to say "Providing financial support for families who use childcare. Increasing the choice of childcare available to parents. Protecting women who want to be good mothers and have good careers. These are the principles that will guide our thinking in the months and years ahead."
That looks awfully like imposing a choice - staying at home to care for your own children doesn't seem to be an option they've considered.
I am unhappy that this particular issue hasn't been addressed.... but I'm REALLY concerned that the glossy headlines seem at odds with the smallprint. That really does worry me.

Stop the navel-gazing you fainthearts and go with the flow. Cameron has increased membership and sustained a lead in the opinion polls. nitpicking should come after we get into office.

It isn't navel-gazing to flag up the dangers of spin and the need for consistency..
Increasing membership and opinion polls are great - I really appreciate them - but what's the point in getting into office if the smallprint we're committed to undermines the values we believe in?
We've promised integrity and we need to show it to stay ahead. I like the gloss but I want the substance to back it up.

"We understand the limitations of government, but are not limited in our aspirations for government...

such as sport, the arts and culture."

Yikes. I can hardly imagine a more unholy mixture. Lets endow the arts council with more taxpayers funds to do whatever they do.

Nevertheless, people are dumb, they will like this wishy washy crap im sure.

Can we add that we believe ice cream is nice on a hot day, that sometimes it rains in April, that cows moo and that our leader has trendy shoes.

This is the kind of democracy I want in our party. Party members influencing key issues. Definitely our clause 4 moment.

all these aspirations are so much hooey - unless we exit the EPP and start saying what we believe. Inside the EPP, we have no voice. Outside we can give voice to our beliefs - and Europe just might make enough progress to be worth being a part of.

Words are cheap. Actions are what counts. By that yardstick Cameron is looking more and more a complete failure.

It is wishy-washy, but hard to disagree with too much. I would have prefered a stronger commitment to a meritocracy, and a statement of definate intent that we will give money back to those who earn it. That means tax cuts.

Make poverty history? Yes, a fine ideal. But some poverty is the fault of those who suffer it. Not very PC, I know, but sadly a fact.

Still, it's probably a vote winner, and right now, thats what we need!

Though I'm concerned about the policy ramifications of such a document, the stated aims are sufficiently bland and general that most Conservatives should be able to endorse it. For myself, I'll probably vote for it with the same enthusiasm that Polly Toynbee voted for Tony Blair (see her column ad nauseaum).

I like it - more media exposure for the right reasons.

Bring on the May elections

Oh please! This statement of principles is cringe inducing piece of flim flam. All it's done is take a list of things Conservatives have said for years anyway, add a few bits of Cameronian doublethink, and larded it all with his most banal slogans. And then they want to waste money balloting people on it, all in order to create a false impression of change.

Am I the only who thinks that the goal of a dynamic economy is contrary to the other stated goal of a stable economy?

As Rob Largan said, the idea that tax cuts cause economic instability is a piece of Gordon Brown economic idiocy.

I understand that there are strategic reasons to play down the idea of tax cuts, but accepting your opponents lies is not a good place to start.

I would like us to base our tax policy on simplification, highlighting the distortions and bureaucracy that result from Labour's anally retentive wish to control the rate at which we all breathe, with tax rebates, or increases.

That said, there is very little else to disagree with in this document, apart from silly little niggles (what the hell is fair trade if it isn't free trade?).

Its mostly a repackaged version of what most of us believe anyway.

Fair trade isn't free trade, as Cameron well knows. "Fair" trade means opening the Western world's markets, while allowing the developing world to institute protectionism.

If Cameron doesn't want us to assume that's what he means, he shouldn't use the language of the left.

For those saying that this is what Tories have always believed in, congratulations you are right. This is a reaffirmation of values, a procedure where we stand up and say to the public we believe in these principles. This is a brilliant document, because if Brown decides to go down the "They will cut public services! And eat your babies!" route at the next election DC will be able to sit tight whilst the media attack Brown on our behalf for playing dirty seeing as what he is claiming would contradict a document approved by the whole membership only a couple of years before the election.

In esscence the trick is to thnk of this a our equivalent of getting re-married, we are simply repeating the same old lines in order to reaffirm our pledge to our principles.

Being the sort of cynical chap I am when I first saw this I thought that Cameron wanted to ape Blair with his 'clause 4'moment and pick a fight with the right.
I'm quite pleased that that rightwing MPs and even members of this blog are largely not rising to the bait.A sensible strategy I think.

A lot of people in the country think that they disagree with the “Conservative line” on an issue, before they know what the “Conservative line” is. The only way that we can change the way people think about us is if they listen to our arguments, this can only be done once we have won the right to be listened to.

Shouting our beliefs won’t do it. Would you want to listen to a double-glazing salesman just because he was shouting through the letterbox? I didn’t think so.

In order to win the argument we have to be listened to, we have to be “invited in”. David Cameron is in the process of winning that right, our short-term battle is to show that we are not ogres and this set of values is about doing just that.

Little of the detail will be remembered by anyone, ourselves included, in 18 months time, what will be remembered is that the Tories are not the nasty bunch of head bangers that Labour portray us as.

An Australian advertising guru (whose name I can’t remember) once advised a client of his, “Don’t sell the sausage, sell the sizzle”. The policy detail can come only after the public image. I don’t like it any more than anyone else but it is the way of the world.

Couldn't agree more James, nor put it any better.

"As Rob Largan said, the idea that tax cuts cause economic instability is a piece of Gordon Brown economic idiocy. "

I agree - however the public believe this nonsense. Sharing the growth is easier for the public to swallow (you can see this in the way NuLAB has leapt to discredit it).

If we said "yay we're goning to cut tax" all the media would want to know how much and which taxes and we just cannot answer that at the moment - that leaves us just looking like we're giving more empty Tory policies.

Shouting our beliefs won’t do it.

I don't think anybody is actually advocating doing this. We should however say what our beliefs are - something the party hasn't done in a coherent and considered way since 1997.

Both Hague and Howard fought elections on fringe issues where we were considered to have the advantage, and seemed afraid of the "common ground" that comprises issues like the economy, education and health. As a result we appeared extreme and irrelevant.

Still avoiding those issues will not change that perception.

Paul said:

If we said "yay we're goning to cut tax" all the media would want to know how much and which taxes and we just cannot answer that at the moment

He is of course right, that is the problem with talking about tax cuts.

That is why I would like us to focus on two tax related issues, Complexity and Waste. These can be part of the "Sharing the proceeds of Growth" agenda, but would strengthen our arguement of being different and paint Gordon "Brownfield", into a corner.

If this had been produced by an American party, it would have been MUCH shorter: "We believe in Motherhood and Apple Pie".

I can't imagine many Tories voting against this. But the things that REALLY matter (both to Party members and to the voters outside) are the POLICIES which result. This statement certainly won't provide a framework that offers a cast-iron guarantee that our policies will be sufficiently different from those of New Labour to make it worthwhile for "floating voters" (and, more importantly, those who couldn't be bothered to vote at all in 2005) to support us.

I hope the ballot doesn't divert Party resources from the essential exercise of consultation that we've been promised.

I remember not long ago Michael Howard put out a list of his beliefs, but the members were not asked to vote for them. When the Party is so short of money that not long ago we were told that having a leadership contest was too costly, it seems a waste of money to put these principles to a ballot of the entire membership.

Why is he so concerned at getting the members to approve this when, in respect of candidate selection, for example, we are being told that the members are not representative enough, and we have to either have primary elections, or form panels which include non-members?

when do we get to vote on this?

"Why is he so concerned at getting the members to approve this when, in respect of candidate selection, for example, we are being told that the members are not representative enough, and we have to either have primary elections, or form panels which include non-members?"

Because they're serving different functions.

Part of examining how we've got to change is to look from the outside.

The vote on "we believe" is an internal agreement - the members believe...

The cost implication isn't an issue. When members feel involved, they dig deeper - and I think this was demonstrated in the recent leadership race.

I do wish we would not just abandon our core voters in the search for the middle ground. While I can appreciate the merit in sounding fluffy and appealing and being optimistic, does this really have to be done in the context of ditching conservative policies on Europe, immigration, law and order and tax/public spending. Lots of people want a political party that voices their concerns on these issues - if we Tories fail to do this, either those voters will vote BNP or UKIP or they will not vote at all. There is surely a way in keeping in touch with our core voters while at the same time sounding fluffy and appealing and campaigning on issues that have hitherto been ignored. I am not sure if it is the Editor's "And Strategy" but I am sure it must be possible on an ideological basis?

This statement positions the Party correctly. It gains a media platform for Tory change and moderation and it makes Brown's job of misrepresenting us harder.

As for tax cuts v stability, they are not incompatible IF the public finances are in order but it's gross irresponsibility to borrow money you haven't earned to give to taxpayers. Budget deficits cause instability.

It's a way of getting those core issues and ideas into the mainstream, Donal. At the moment if we pushed them they would die electorally.

So we will be sneaky and dishonest and will only enact Conservative policies on law and order, taxes, immigration etc? I am being asked to "trust the Leadership, old boy - don't worry, we will do the right thing once we take power"?

I would expect Cameron, were he to win the election, to stand on the steps of Number 10 and to say: "We won as Compassionate Conservatives. We will govern as Compassionate Conservatives" and to gently tell those of us who are inspired by Reagan and Thatcher to take a hike.

That is my fear and as far as I can tell, other than leaving the EPP, there is no sop being thrown to those of us who are proud of Thatcherism or to the many electors, lots of whom are Old Labour C2s, who would like us to have some Conservative policies to campaign on proudly.

Nonetheless it seems as though I am in a minority and in these intolerant days I guess I will be banned because NuPolitix no longer allows dissent or nonconformity to exist...

On a superficial level, I broadly welcome this statement. However it is so vague that it is impossible to draw any deep conclusions from it.

Donal - I'm a core voter but I'm happy to sign up for this statement however fluffy. I'm sure there are many other core voters happy to see the Party take a more direct interest in quality of life, in helping the disadvantaged, improving public services etc. The right wing core issues weren't necessarily why we voted Tory.

I am not saying that they ARE why most of us vote Tory. However we should not abandon core principles or the concerns of some such core voters for whom these are the reason for them voting for us. I am saying we can surely devise a strategy that keeps them happy while also being fluffy and cuddly in other ways?

I would agree with that DVA.It is superficial but as Tory T states it will be harder for our enemies to misrepresent us if it's passed with the minimum of dissent.
Hopefully it will give us a bunch of favourable headlines and the perception from the electorate that we have really changed and that we are worth listening to once again.Then the hard part starts.....

and I'm proud of what Thatcher achieved but it's 27 years since she won her first election. Its a very different world with a lot changed politically, in world economic terms and socially. What Thatcher did is past and its time we looked forward rather than always seeking past glories.

One Nation Conservatism rides again....

Donal, I agree we need to have a clear strategy based around core principles (and the ones we are being asked to sign up to are OK). I hope the policies we develop around these are conservative ones.

There is enough in the words to see such an agenda develop - I'd have preferred in No 1 to see an outright statement about in the long term decreasing the share of govt expenditure as proportion of national income but there is room for that within the statement.

Despite being highly agnostic about the whole Cameron personality cult, if this is the statement of beliefs to be put to the membership, then it could be a lot worse. The real test of whether it means anything will come if and when Cameron ever summons up the courage to challenge the left ... In the meantime, with two children to educate and my local NHS Trust in disarray, I am opting out, with pride, because I don't have 10-20 years to wait for politicians to honour their promises.

I think that this is an issue that Cameron-sceptics need to box a little clever on.

First up - this is going to pass when the Party votes on it. That is an absolute lock, for reasons outlined below.

What, therefore absolutely mustn't happen is for Heffer, Lord Tebbit et al, great men as they are, to rush into the media accusing Cameron of being a latter day Edward Heath, however strongly they might feel that. That would give him the opportunity spin the line that he had faced down the right-wingers, spent force, tiny minority, members have spoken, blah blah blah, when the stuff inevitably gets voted through by the membership at large.

Anne Widdecombe has the right idea. The line from Cameron-sceptics needs to be that this really doesn't represent much change at all.

For example I don't think anyone on the right has ever advocated tax cuts that would destroy the stability of the economy? Nigel Lawson certainly never did. Of course, we all know that tax cuts nearly always strengthen economies, but in the cases where that wouldn't happen, we should be against them. Equally, we've always been in favour of free trade and fair trade. In fact, they're the same thing. And we've always wanted women to have complete control over their lives. In fact, we provided Britain's first and only female Prime Minister. You get the picture.

Cameron's doing what he did in the leadership election - being vague, and then letting the target audience believe what they'd like to about him. That's why it will get voted through. However, the very fact that he's abdicated any attempt at serious definition provides an opening.

When the Party votes on this, it will pass. Why then get into a fight with the leadership when you know for sure you aren't going to win? There will be other, better times to "gently" remind CCHQ that you haven't gone away.

Nicely done, and a wise move by Cameron..

-Firstly the members will vote for this, if they don't the tories will not get to government in the forseeable future.
-A victory gives Cameron a mandate.
-Free PR.
-Win, Win..positive outlook.

All is for the best in the best of all Notting Hill worlds. I love the cheerful optimism of this statement with its impression that all the world's ills can be cured with a wave of the Cameronian magic wand. That is the impression that successful politicians have to give. But in the real world we have mounting taxes, increasing bankruptcies, economic stagnation, failing schools, filthy hospitals, rising crime, soaring utility bills and a sustained assault on civil liberties. For those crippled by mounting debt, the pensions crisis or the failure of salaries to keep pace with the rise in the cost of living the quantity of money is the only concern they have, and unfortunately they do not have the luxury to be concerned about the quality of life. What is lacking in this statement is any sense of anger or concern about the results of the misgovernment of this country for the past 8 years and its effect on those struggling to survive. Cameron will only be successful if he can show that he is able despite his wealthy and privileged background to genuinely share the concerns and anxieties of ordinary people. Mrs Thatcher managed it. I am doubtful if he can.

"If we said "yay we're goning to cut tax" all the media would want to know how much and which taxes and we just cannot answer that at the moment - that leaves us just looking like we're giving more empty Tory policies."

Yes we can. We can point to the £82 billion pounds of Government waste highlighted by the Taxpayers Alliance. If this source is accused of being biased, we can point to the ECB, which has estimated waste at £83 billion. Why the Tories haven't leapt on these figures yet I really don't know.

I agree with those who say that there is nothing much in this to disagree with, but I do wonder whether the public at large will be hugely enthused with it. They know as we all do that the devil is in the detail. Many of these statements leave more questions than answers.

Well, this clarifies things. This is not Conservatism. I don't adhere to this. I disagree with it. If this is conservatism and this is the ideologue and political philosophy of the Cameron government, I couldn't care less whether there ever is one.

I also think he will never get elected on such a platform.

It's time to push back. I continue to want to accept Cameron as the person to lead the party, and I continue to accept the need for some modernisation, but not this. He must be forced back into the fold.

From now on, I will go in open opposition and urge all to do the same.

I hereby Rebel.

Compare and contrast Cameron's statement with Michael Howard - here's the link to how the BBC reported Howard's statement.


To me they are worlds apart.

Goldie - how will we tell? I'd always thought you were anti-DC anyway.
So what's not conservative in your view?

What a suprise Goldie!I think you're just doing what the leadership expects.You've got about as much chance of forcing Cameron 'back into the fold'as I have of winning Wimbledon!
This is merely a statement of values and certainly not a 'platform' on which to be elected.

"If this is conservatism and this is the ideologue and political philosophy of the Cameron government..."

Goldie, what statements would have made you happy?

I preferred Michael Howard's version.

"We can point to the £82 billion pounds of Government waste highlighted by the Taxpayers Alliance"

But which taxes to cut and by how much? Please answer based on state of the economy in mid 2009.

"We want to make the devolved institutions in Scotland and Wales work"

I've just clocked this from the list above.

Making devolution work in Wales is not going to be easy or cheap, and it probably won't be popular either.

That's the trouble I'm having with the whole Cameron's Conservatives™ project - it all looks good on paper, but cold, hard practical reality is another matter entirely.

This document is a shrewd move to tell those on the right that if they dont agree with the document (which is basically quotes from his recent speeches), you arent a Tory. While its a lovely document (is it really a document...documents tend to be somewhat thicker than 3 pages!), its lacking in substance. I also disagree with some of those "values" and some of them are in contradiction with what has already been announced by the Party. I will be voting against this, not that its a big suprize.

I noticed a while back your site was still Howard era :-) but irrespective of presentation I think each bit in Michael Howard's list can map to Cameron's. Maybe different emphasis and Howard's list is about his beliefs whereas DCs is about our principles.
Editor's AND theory - I like DCs exposition about our party's purpose AND Howards personal beliefs/disbeliefs.

It does seem ironic that the day after the Power Enquiry identified ‘vanilla politics’ as one of the reasons for the increasing disenchantment with organised politics, the Conservative Party should issue this completely inoffensive and banal document: a PR man’s idea of political philosophy.

I dont have a site Ted. I think you are thinking of James Hellyer not me. Easy mistake.

James - apologies for mix up

Which of the values don't you believe - in trusting people or in shared responsibility? or that we are an open & inclusive party?

In the "what we are fighting for" section the red bits are close to party objectives - and the explanations below don't define policies. I agree for example that we should seek " a long-term cross-party consensus on sustainable development and climate change - instead of short-term thinking and surrender to vested interests" thats a good thing surely? I won't agree however with a policy of setting up a quango to enforce fixed targets - so can sign up to the objective but that doesn't mean I'll necessarily agree the means.

realised it wasn't a mix up - I was responding to JHs short "I prefer Michael Howards post" but delay in refresh meant my reply followed JMs message. Need numbered posts!

lol...fair enough then Ted.

"We want to see more local democracy, instead of more centralisation "

"Communities should have more say over their own futures."

Great. But the party is ignoring local communities and instead increasing centralistion with its candidate a-list.

"and we want to make the devolved institutions in Scotland and Wales work."

With so many people quite rightly complaining about the imbalance, and prejudice against the English, this statement will anger many.

I would want this statement of value to aim for equality of devolution across the union. By ignoring England completely in this statement, I cannot vote yes, even though I am in agreement with most of the rest.

To be able to vote on these values, I would want to see a set of policy direction (not detailed policy) to add weight to the value. Why? Because the party's actions do not seem to be matching their values they want us to vote on, and is therefore so ambiguous that we will never be able to effectively hold them to account if they break the values.

You can't vote 'yes' to more local power when the party has already stated that it has no intention of trusting local communities to pick their own candidates.

Ted (at 14:44): One thing that struck me about Michael Howard's list was that it seemed to focus entirely on the individual and the state. DC's values are explicit that there is also a role for society--and he mentions businesses, the voluntary sector, families and communities. I am not sure to what extent this a difference of belief or more one of presentation. Either way I think DCs emphasis on an "us" which isn't the state is actually very important and a key to reducing the role of the state without fostering a selfish and harmful individualism.

Regarding the members' ballot - will it be a single ballot to approve/reject the whole document or will each of the 8 'what we're fighting for' bits be subject to ballot?

I would guess its a vote for the whole caboodle DV-A.

"and we want to make the devolved institutions in Scotland and Wales work."
Does this mean we dont want devolution to work in Northern Ireland or just another tiresome example of some jumped up London policy wonk forgetting about Northern Ireland?
I think any committment to devolution should be accomanpied by a committment to the Integrity of the Union of Eng, Scot, Wales and NI and a committment to protect the sovereignty of the UK

"or just another tiresome example of some jumped up London policy wonk forgetting about Northern Ireland?"

Nope, they've missed off England too.

We need a clear statement of equality for all countries in the Union, or we will have no ground for complaint later when the current mess is preserved by a conservative government.

I am finding it very hard to believe that the "Conservative and Unionist" party would make a statement of values that only covers two of the four members, ignoring over 80% of the population.

How any unionist could vote for such blatant inequality, I do not know. A yes vote, would be a betrayal of England and NI imho.

This document says nothing, just accepts the Labour spin/lies that tax cuts threaten stability etc. Other than that it's all acceptable to everyone from every party really. It is a poor attempt at creating a 'Clause 4' moment, that takes the public for stupid.

I would have prefered a few radical ideas that could get Labour seriously on the back foot, like a flat tax with huge personal allowance to lift the poor entirely out of income taxation. We could 'believe that it is a travesty that the poorest third pay a bigger percentage of their wealth than the richest third' and that 'this means cutting tax for them, not increasing it on anyone'. I think innovation is what's needed, not pandering to this 'Curtis Land' nonesense. I want a Peel/Dissraeli/Churchill/Thatcher for PM not Hugh Grant.

"Regarding the members' ballot - will it be a single ballot to approve/reject the whole document or will each of the 8 'what we're fighting for' bits be subject to ballot?"

I think it will clearly be a ballot on the whole document alone, there is no way they would risk defeat on a single clause, which is far more likely.

"We need a clear statement of equality for all countries in the Union, or we will have no ground for complaint later when the current mess is preserved by a conservative government."

It's because of this issue that I'm coming round to the idea of a formal written constitution.

The devolution mess has opened a Pandora's Box of constitutional issues which Magna Carta, Act of Union and so on won't resolve.

I can only assume from the oversight about Northern Ireland devolution that the Shadow Secretary for Northern Ireland has never seen this document.
Presidential leadership anyone?

Making devolution work in Scotland & Wales could include resolving Scots or Welsh MPs votes in English matters. We don't necessarily want a devolved parliament for England, just fairness.

As for NI assembly agree it should say Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland.

It doesn't say that Ted, it says:

" devolved INSTITUTIONS IN Scotland and Wales work"
(apologies for caps, didn't want to try bold)

It only refers to the devolved institutions (the parliament and assembly) in Scotland and Wales, not devolution in general.

"We don't necessarily want a devolved parliament for England, just fairness."

Agreed. Fairness comes from equality. A statement of equality for the Union surely should mention all four countries? I was always told not to assume anything and that the devil is in the detail, hence my worry.

Hopefully it is an oversight that will be corrected to state an aim of equality for all four countries in the union.

DavidB it's not "Labour spin/lies that tax cuts threaten stability" - in certain circumstances, it's a fact.

Bribing taypayers (albeit with their own money) when the Exchequer is running a substantial defecit is grossly irresponsible. It's President Bush's biggest error of judgement. Fiscal priority no. 1 for any serious Conservative government - balance the books. Then we can think about tax cuts.

Chad: I think you are reading too much into this devolution point. "Equality of outcome" is the Labour idea of fairness--it is quite possible to have a fair situation in which there are different institutions in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. All the statement says is that we won't abolish the Scottish Parliament or Welsh Assembly but will make any changes necessary to make them work. Personally, I think that should include changes to prevent Scottish and Welsh MPs from voting on purely English matters. But there could be other ways of achieving fariness and I don't think this statement is the place to expect a detailed policy on that issue.

I have to say that this is the most platitudinous drivel that I have read for a very long time. It sounds exactly like the CSR statements written by corporate PR people (whoops, forgot that DC was a corporate PR person).

It just does not say what a future Conservative government will do about the problems which we face.

Take climate change - sustainable development means lifestyle changes which would take us back to the pre-industrial era. That's not politically acceptable. Climate change is going to be a fact of life. The question is how can we adapt to it.

Take society. "We will stand up for the victims of state failure and ensure that social justice and equal opportunity are achieved by empowering people and communities". What is DC going to do about the people who tell their kids not to bother to go to school because they don't need education to live on benefits?

Take democracy. Is DC going to abolish the "unwanted" regional assemblies? How does he square "We want to see more local democracy, instead of more centralisation." with central office control over candidate selection?

You can't disagree with this document but I would be very surprised if the British public don't see it for what it is - platitudinous drivel

Anyone who has ever worked in a large organisation has come across mission statements that are vacuous and meaningless. This one is gloriously vacuous, in the sense of having Cameron's stamp all over it. Sadly, it's far from meaningless.

To avoid RSI, I want to concentrate on the statement about government being a "force for good". The less ideologically muddled of us would point out that government isn't supposed to be a force for good or for evil. Rather it is to step back from people's lives, on the basis that people can order their time on this world better than the state. Good government is small government. There, I've said it. Why can't Cameron?

As for the pap about a "moral obligation to make poverty history", since when has a credible Conservatism so buried itself in soft emotive sentimentality?

I suspect many Tories will echo Charles Moore and plead the "Baldrick defence", that's it's all part of a Dave Cunning Plan. Sorry, I don't buy that. All we've had from Cameron is a series of ideological retreats: no to more grammar schools, not understanding the relationship of tax cuts to economic growth, no interest in reversing Labour's growing public sector payroll vote, and so on. From the first time I heard Cameron I thought his project would eschew ideology for vapid PR.

I constantly read that Cameron and the Notting Hillbillies who surround him are gagging for a confrontation with the Right. Rather than trying to depict old Tebbit as a Bennite loony-bin, they should be more concerned that a party needs to retain its voting base as well as recruit new followers if it is to win an election.

Well, as of now, my vote is lost because I am simply not interested in propping up a "Conservative" Party that is simply a vehicle for careerists. I doubt I'm alone.

I'm just sick of it. No more comments from me. I'm waiting till the post-May election disaster bust-up. And I won't vote Conservative!

Goldie! I never thought you would actually rebel. You were once one of Cameron's biggest fans. I take issue with a few points of this document, but most of it is just superficial. What specific sentence turned you?

Reading on Conservatives.com it sounds like the membership will be able to ammend the document before a final version is put to vote.

That cant be right can it?

I thought exactly the same thing Rob re. amending it. Well, our values change all the time! It seemed very clear on that site, amendment then a vote is done on the final version. So in fact this isnt the full thing...its a draft!

Hi Rob,

I hope you are right. What I found frustrating is that when so many of the statements are so vague as to be meaningless, I found the absence of a general statement of "fair parliament for the whole of the UK" telling in its absence.

A small statement of this nature, or actions like withdrawing from the EPP could have a massive positive impact on many people who are being drawn away from the Conservative Party to the small right-wing alternatives.
They may be small in numbers, but their impact on vote-splitting has been serious.

As has been shown, many UKIP supporters are regular ex-Tory voters, and many of the small centre-right parties are campaigning for a solution to the current devolution mess.

These are sensible people want to vote Tory (most were hoping for Liam Fox or David Davis to win the leadership), but just feel they can't. They are generally focussed on just a few core issues of the eu, low taxation and a fair parliament which has become the blueprint for these small centre-right parties.

With David Cameron successfully turning the party into more popular waters, we still should not ignore these ex-Tory voters in the scramble for the centre-ground, as it really wouldn't take too much effort to woo them back. They want hope on their core issues which are essentially conservative ones anyway.

If the Party would just give us a little ammunition to fight the opposition, it would make our job a hell of a lot easier.

I have had a fair amount of contact with some members of the CEP (Campaign for an English Parliament) and support is rapidly growing online. The Tories could easily tap into this by making fair parliament a core value, so why not just do it?

I will find it hard to argue that fair parliament for England really is a Tory core aim with the current values listed above.

We're fighting for a conservative government, and it would be helpful if we could do it with the Party instead of in spite of it!

@Rob Largan:

Yes, I was a pronounced May Cameroon, but quite frankly I was always of the Right. I just wanted to win elections! I thought DC is very different from advertised, and I simply cannot stomach this anymore. Sorry.

According to the Guardian, at least one shadow cabinet member has opposed the idea of putting this document ut to ballot of the membership...anyone wanna place bets...I dibsy Francis Maude!

And here is the link to the speech for tonight on the document.


If this is supposed to be a high level statement of our values, it needs to devote space specifically to the general principles of democracy and liberty which we may be tempted to take for granted but which are under threat from various quarters: freedom of speech, association etc. I’d like to see the document refer to our inherited liberties and traditions.

Also, I will not be able to vote for the document if mention of England (and Northern Ireland) is omitted from the paragraph on devolution. To leave England out of the equation when discussing the constitution is to precisely duplicate the behaviour of Labour, and is not acceptable.

Let me rephrase, it's pretty simple. When I read this "We Believe"-statement and when I combine it with the things this statement does NOT say, on which topics and issues it is too afraid to say a word (islam, immigration, Europe, crime, bureaucracy, overregulation, overtaxation, abortion, euthanasia, cloning, marriage crisis etc. etc.) then I can only conclude that if this is what "modern compassionate conservatism" means, I am not a "modern compassionate conservative".

I think this is just social democracy, New Labour, neo-whet toryism whatever you want to call it. It's left-wing. I'm not, I'm right-wing. So enough with this.

I have to agree with Chad on the fairness for England issue. The chaps at The Campaign for an English Parliament are a decent bunch of people, of a conservative nature. Their cause is gaining in popularity and by the time of the next election they will have a huge army of supporters. Question is which way do we want them to swing.

On a related issue, they want to hear a defence of English Votes on English matters from an Conservative Blogger. If anyone wants to take the challenge, please let me know.

Regaridng the Shadow team member who opposed balloting us, I don't think James Maskell would get any worthwhile odds (if any at all) if he tried to bet on his guess. I fear Mr M is one of the (if not THE) most malign influences on DC. Why he's (seemingly) so determined to have a bust-up with the Party's Right-wing, I really can't imagine. As many of the foregoing posts say, we need to keep our core voters AS WELL AS attracting back those who deserted us in '97.

I believe there's lots of goodwill towards DC from the Right; we all want to win, for goodness' sake! But we can do without the machinations of Maude & those of his ilk who seem to think that the ONLY views worth listening to are those of the "Notting Hill Set". It's difficult to believe that he represented a "working class Tory" seat (Nth Warwicks) for 9 years. I fear his (much loved & lamented) father must be positively spinning in his grave.

"According to the Guardian, at least one shadow cabinet member has opposed the idea of putting this document ut to ballot of the membership...anyone wanna place bets...I dibsy Francis Maude!"

Alan Duncan?

Last night I attended the Built to Last roadshow at the Peter Chalk Centre in Exeter with Oliver Letwin. I was grateful for the opportunity to discuss the document and appreciated Oliver's presentation of the thinking behind it.

During the period for questions and comment I made the following observation about point 7 under the heading “What we’re fighting for”. I said that I wanted to endorse the sentence “We believe in the role of government as a force for good”. My line of reasoning was as follows:

i) My sister-in-law says that she never votes. Her reason is that, “The two main parties are the same. There’s nothing to choose between them.”

ii) I reply to this that in fact this may be taken as the sign of a healthy democracy with a free press and broadcasting media. This promotes vigorous debate and it is to be expected that arguments will converge towards pragmatic solutions to many issues.

iii) Given this situation, one of the strongest cards the Conservatives have in presenting themselves to (in some respects) an increasingly thoughtful and well-informed electorate is this: Conservative MPs are less doctrinaire than many Labour and some Lib Dem MPs. This does not mean that they lack conviction but that they are wary of dogma. Therefore the Conservative Party is best equipped to arrive at good, well-thought out pragmatic solutions to problems including the unexpected ones that Governments have to tackle. So the Conservative should indeed be proud to stand on a platform of limited but good government.

Oliver replied by saying that he totally agreed with me and went on to say that there was a time that the Tories had a well-deserved reputation for economic competence and good (but limited) government. This had been lost partly as a result of the ERM debacle. There was now some evidence from the polls that we could win back this reputation.

What do others think?

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