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'most people that erect big tents do so to accommodate a circus.'

Erecting a circus tent ? I knew there would be a policy group that John Major could lead. Now all we need are some clowns.....

Clowns? Easy - Oliver Leftwing, Hezza, John "BSE burger" Gummer, Zac "windmill" Goldsmith.

I think a post by him would be a good idea. An article explaining to us who he is and why he chose to leave Labour and join the Conservatives. It may well be a trial by ordeal but does he expect anything less by the press? Writing a post for us would be a lesser ordeal than an interview with a major newspaper IMO.

Some of these recent threads about defections have made me have a wry smile to myself, rather like the post recently on one thread where I think I saw the word "electable" used as a derogatory term!

Why should we not issue a cry of "come and join us!", having presented an attractive vision? If people like what a modern, compassionate Conservative Party is offering, want to help us win and are willing to work hard with us, whatever their previous allegiance, we should welcome them without reservation.

Our Party rules have a bar on people holding membership or campaigning on behalf of another party while members, and of course very rightly so. But I don't feel that potential new members, wherever they are previously from politically, should be seen as "less worthy" than any of the rest of us, or have to face some kind of ideological trial. They should be appreciated and asked to serve according to their talents, as should any member.

Of course the Party has discretionary control over its own membership, to be used in rare cases where a particular individual causes concern, but generally...

Come and join us!

"Why should we not issue a cry of "come and join us!", having presented an attractive vision?"

Because we're a serious political party, not a sort of Salvation Army for political opportunists whose careers have stalled elsewhere.

If people want to join the Conservatives because they genuinely believe in (and are willing to fight for) the Conservative cause, that's fantastic, but if these people are joining the party due to naked opportunism on their part and a desire for the loin-cloth of inclusiveness on our part, that's a trend I'd rather we didn't encourage thank you very much.

DVA: "If people want to join the Conservatives because they genuinely believe in (and are willing to fight for) the Conservative cause, that's fantastic, but if these people are joining the party due to naked opportunism on their part and a desire for the loin-cloth of inclusiveness on our part..."

In principle, I would probably be forced to agree. In practice, I am unable to envisage a practical form of "screening" that I would be comfortable with to distinguish the latter without discouraging the former group.

I am, however, absolutely on board with the point ably made by a number of contributors that any positions offered, whether to a long-term member of the Party, a recent defector or a recent new member with no previous alignment, should be simply on the basis of ability to do the job.

Well done Maude, I think he's quite well on track to get a single-figure approval rating in the next poll.

I'm not particulary worried about this new bloke being offered a seat (a list or otherwise) because I'm sure if he's close enough to Maude he will have far more influence than our MP's anyway.

This is completely laughable. My faith in the Party's "great & the good" has finally gone.

and has worked for some politicians, including Benazir Bhutto the former PM of Pakistan.

Never heard of his name in Pakistani Political Circles.

I think but not sure he is the same person who sought Labour party nomination for Brent South in 2005 as well.

Regards

Ray was an excellend campaigner in Horsham- Francis Maude has verified this and saw huge talent. Having people like RC on board will be vital in winning the next general election. We should welcome quality calibre candidates to the party.

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