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As far as one can tell, support for the Conservatives among men and women was virtually identical at the last election.

The key to winning elections lies with the female population. Put simply they bring in governments. The Conservatives lost the female vote in 1997 and until Cameron became leader that vote has continued to decline.

Currently only 17 out of 181 MPs are women. The Fawcett Society has predicted that at the current rate of progress it would take 300 years for the numbers to level out.

We all know that more female candidates alone will not win us the election. There is much more work to be done. We cannot just look like our nation we have to understand its primary concerns and problems.

James and Sean I can see how upset you two are about this but saying Associations are independent is a tautology. Associations are local branches of a national party. Maybe if, during the last election, more safe seats had had female candidates this would not be happening but at the last election there was only one female candidate in a safe seat.

If you think this is so unfair then prove them wrong. Stand for you seat and win it.

Sean Fear, I must repeat the charge. As to whether the whole site considers Mori's unweighted numbers worthless, here is the proof:

http://politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2006/04/26/calling-mr-betfair-what-about-the-locals/#comments

You will find within that column the explanation that Mori's eve of election poll used weighting on voting likelihood whereas these polls do not. Hence the wide difference.

Mori is excluded from the range pollsters precisely because it does not weight and shows wild and incredible swings in the numbers, not just for the Tories but for all parties.

Smithson in my quote above is only reporting numbers on the national polls. It is a fact that the question about a Cameron-led Tory party produces a large bump in the polls vs a straight Conservative question.

To repeat:

"Populus had a Cameron-Tory party scoring 40% compared with 35% for his party;
ICM had it at 37% when the same poll had the Tories on 34%;
YouGov’s Cameron figure was 39% - one point up on what that particular poll found for the Tories."

That is a more relevant question than the other in polling terms. Only one poll, YouGov, gives the figure you quote. On the main voting intention question the same firm offers a 1% bump for the party if Cameron's name is mentioned.

I will be happy to see what happens at the local elections and whether or not Cameron's revolution is working after them. I am confident.

"The key to winning elections lies with the female population. Put simply they bring in governments"

In 1997, the Conservative Party lost massively among men *and* women. That's why they lost.

That is a more relevant question than the other in polling terms."

The only relevant question is the one of straight voting intention. The trend in voting intention figures since the start of the year has been unambiguous.

Sean, we are referring here to the comparative loss of women in 2005, not 1997, and the rise in Tory support since Cameron's election, in women.

Also it is just not true that only the VI question is relevant. Leader questions are extremely relevant especially as Labour will change its leader before the next election.

More importantly for politicians and political analysts, Sean the differential is what counts. The Cameron-Tory brand, as evidenced by the major pollsters I have quoted, rates higher than the Tory brand alone. Resistance to the Tories is based on a fear that they have not changed, only the leadership.

And of course a big part of the Cameron brand is his commitment to make the Parliamentary Tory party not so wildly unrepresentative of the population it governs.

After these reforms, after the next election, the party will *at best* be 75% male. That shows how vital some small measure of redress is. It only gets us to one-quarter women even with a priority system.

40% of Tory candidates women at the last election, and almost all of them in unwinnable seats. That is not right, and to correct this, Cameron and team are bringing in very sensible measures that still leave plenty of room for the best Tory men to advance - as is right and proper.


Well, I've already pointed out that support for the Conservatives among men and women in 2005 was almost identical, if opinion polls to be believed.

I've also pointed out that placing 60% of women who apply, onto the A List, while failing 80% of men, is going to affect the quality of candidates adversely. Personally, I couldn't care less whether the Parliamentary Conservative is 75% male or 75% female, so long as they actually do an effective job in promoting Conservatism.

We've adopted a system in which people who are basically second-rate will be parachuted into safe seats.

Who actually is doing Cameron and the Conservatives the favour here? Someone like you who pretends that everything is rosy, and comes up with ever more elaborate reasons to explain away failure, or someone like me who is saying his strategy is flawed.

I want to see Cameron be a great Conservative Prime Minister; not a failed Conservative leader.

But Sean, in fairness, let me put it to you that you and those like you who have no problem with a 91-9% male PCP, and who don't think this contributed to our decline with women in the last election, are inventing elaborate excuses for failure, and proposing as a remedy more of the same.

You don't know if the women on the A list are worse or better than the men. Many have been headhunted and are new. The fact that more men than women applied is a hangover from more men than women candidates, which is a conseqence of the fact that a woman would have known she wasn't getting a fair shake. So what was the point in applying? The women candidates selected, in number, in 2005 - 40% of the total - were put into unwinnable seats only, for the most part.

But you and I both agree we want Cameron to be a great Conservtive PM. I think he is playing a long strategy, with brand change first and policy substance to follow - a delay is good, if only so Labour doesn't nick the lot like last time!

By the way, Sean, I would not dream of casting even the smallest aspersion on your good wishes for the party and the leader. You are a stalwart and your local election analysis on PB.com is a must-read. I certainly wish we had a million of you, then we would be in power already. We're two Tories debating methodology and tactics although we disagree on those.

I am afraid I am not a UKIP supporter. As I have said before I regard them as nothing more than a bunch of nutters and personally I think any member of the party who does speak up in favour of them should be kicked out.
I may lack a sense of humour but I don`t believe the unrepresentaion of minorites and particularly the discrimination disabled face even in there every day life not just in politics a suitable subject to make stupied jokes about.

One thing I've noticed is that the modernisers can't quite make up their mind why we're unelectable.

Is it because the public doesn't trust us with public services?

Is it because the public thinks we're only interested in the rich?

Is it because they think we're seen as "old-fashioned" on sexual issues, such as gay-marriage or on single mothers?

Is it because we're not PC enough on race, gender and the rest of it?

Is it because the public thinks we focus too much on "nasty" issues like crime and immigration and not enough on "nice" issues like the environment and African poverty?

The modernisers haven't even thought through in a coherent way which of these is the problem. In a sort of muddled fashion, they've assumed that they're *all* the problem.

So their answer is to go into headlong retreat on every issue. They're desperate to surrender on anything they can find. It's much easier than defending what you believe in.

Rebranding is the lazy thing to do. It is much harder to coherently explain conservative principles in an attractive manner which people can understand.

If you've really lost faith in the possibility that conservative values could be attractive to the public then you might as well give up now. Otherwise, politics is just a career pursuit and nothing more.

I think people should question why they take an interest in politics. Is it to see their "team" win at all costs like in football? Or is it because they passionately believe that the country needs and deserves the right ideas which will improve it and make all our lives better?

I personally don't care if the Tories never win another election if it means that conservative ideas are implemented. I'm partisan towards ideas, not parties.

In the 1980's Mrs Thatcher successfully shifted the centre ground. What were deeply divisive issues in the 1980's are now widely accepted by virtually the entire political spectrum. This is a victory in my view, and something to be glad about. We moved Labour rightwards, and in so doing, improved our country's prospects.

But we didn't move them enough. There is still plenty of ground to fight over. Anyone who thinks all the important ideological battles are over ought not to bother with party politics. There's no point.

Unfortunately Labour are currently winning the ideological war in this country. In virtually the whole of Europe, "selection" in education is taken for granted. It is a given. Yet in our country, we now have all three of the main parties in agreement that selection of any serious kind is beyond the pale. This is bad for social mobility and bad for the conservative belief that those at the bottom should be free as possible to help themselves to rise to the top. It is an ideological victory for the left which seeks to control as much as possible the lives of people (especially those at the bottom).

Or to take another issue, Europe. There is no instrinsic reason why withdrawal from the European Union should be an "extreme" point of view. It is only seen as "extreme" because mainstream politicians are not currently advocating it.

The point being: we're allowing our opponents to determine what is mainstream and what isn't.

Surely the whole *point* of politics is to define the mainstream (or the centre ground). I want the centre ground to be filled more with my own ideas, not those of my opponents. The point of entering politics is to define the centre ground to your own ends, not surrender your own principles in order to reach it.

I'm partisan towards ideas, not parties.
There speaks the wise man.

Question for Suggestion:
Just say the Tory appeal for more women and ethnic minorities is embraced so fully that we get to the stage where 90% of the best candidates are Asian women.

Would you ration this number down to 50% women (to reflect the country mix), or factor the %Total of the population that are Asian. Or would you be happy for the candidate mix to stay at 90% female etc?

How would your positive discrimination approach handle this?

Can you not see how ludicrous and counter productive positive discrimination is?

Yes, you have issues with your associations. Built to Last quotes the basis of equal opportunity to be to empower communities to choose. Why espouse that then seek to ignore the aim and impose central ersatz diversity?

Jack, I could not agree more and could not have put it more succinctly myself. Your comments certainly cut through most of the inane 'drivel' that I have read on this subject.The modernisers concept/philipsophy of reverting to the mean/'centre ground' in itself means that there will be no real progress in improving the lives of all Britons, from whatever background,. As I have mentioned in several other contributions, Conservatives of a certain 'ilk' have lost their nerve and fail to understand that it is spractical 'ideas' and persuasive arguement consistently and robustly articulated that will eventually convince the electorate that they can trust us to form a government.But first we have to win the battle of ideas of what will be right for our country and shift people out what has been their 'comfort zone' of perceived 'centre ground'. We have allowed both the media and other parties to set the agenda of what is the ' mainstream', we have to have the courage of our convictions and continue the to set the agenda of opportunity for all, liberty , reponsibility(not rights - the Human Rights Act has become one of the most corrosive and damaging pieces of legislation that this corrupt government has brought in!)and get government out of people's lives so that they can again take reponsibility for much more of what they do and hopefully as result live more fulfilled lives. Since the reality of competition and selection have been eradicated from our education system combined with the growth of welfare, has dramatically reduced social mobility. We deceive the youth of today both with the standands we demand academically and with the fact that they perceive that going to university will guarantee a job. It is not the numbers or percentages that matter that go to university but the quality of achievement. The current Welfare state entraps the poor and gives limited hope, our beloved NHS, a cash consuming dinosaur, will never provide in its current structure and method of financing the best healthcare for all in this country. People should be encouraged to take reponsiblity for many more aspects of their lives and it will surprise many that how positively people will respond. Anyway enough of my diatribe!

I agree with all the last 3 excellent threads. The modernisers are essentially lazy. They cannot be bothered with studying the boring details of public service reforms, welfare reforms, tax and public spending reforms, constitutional reforms or reform of the European Union, all of which are needed for the Tory party to build a credible and relevant platform for government. It is so much easier to adopt the caricatures of our opponents and depict the party as a bunch of narrow-minded reactionaries. Then all is needed is a cosmetic makeover and pathetic appeals for the party to 'change'. By 'change' they mean surrender to the politically correct, egalitarian agenda of our political opponents.

The Built to Last pamphlet (its not substantial enough to be a document) is really important and is something that when you really delve into what it means behind the facade it promotes, I realise this Party is going in a tangent from what it was. Cameron is definitely changing the Party, but as to whether I can support it...no, I cant. I wont leave the Party this week, however I will be having a serious think during the weekend about whether I can continue to be a member of the Party as the implications for me locally will be very serious.

James

I was one who voted for David Cameron with my eyes open, knowing that he was honest in his intent and would change the Party. I believe that as Labour says he is at heart a Conservative and that the new Conservative Party would still be one I could support.

I am aware that he has made some changes that are disturbing to many of us who at heart are euro-sceptic Thatcherites. However I would be dismayed if someone as dedicated as you have shown yourself to be thought that the party was not one you could remain a member of.

I have read the Built to Last pamphlet and am myself not 100% behind everything it says

James

I was one who voted for David Cameron with my eyes open, knowing that he was honest in his intent and would change the Party. I believe that as Labour says he is at heart a Conservative and that the new Conservative Party would still be one I could support.

I am aware that he has made some changes that are disturbing to many of us who at heart are euro-sceptic Thatcherites. However I would be dismayed if someone as dedicated as you have shown yourself to be thought that the party was not one you could remain a member of.

I have read the Built to Last pamphlet and am myself not 100% behind everything it says (think wording should be reconsidered in a few places) the underlying philosophy of placing policy on the basis of helping the many, of a smaller part for government, of widening the party to be more welcoming to a diverse group of people, of localism and the environment is one that I recognise.

Cameron has heaved some policy committments overboard so that the core message of conservatism is not obscured by what are means not ends. We do not yet know what our new committments will be but I am sure they will be conservative not Blue Labour. Stick with us, argue with us, get mad with us, try to change our decisions, shout at us but most of all stick with us we need people like you.

Not sure why the post appeared (at least in part) twice - only pressed post once?

I understand what you mean Ted, but with so much policy changing away from what I would like to see, I cant sell it. If I cant sell or believe in it, then what use am I in this Conservative Party? The main sticking point I have is with the Priority List, which is in my opinion, indefensible. I feel it is sexual discrimination, irrelevant of whether it legally is. Morally it is wrong.

My view on what conservatism is differs widely from Camerons view. His policy announcements are ones I dont like and they are on the things that matter like education and the economy. Similarly the Built to Last pamphlet which is too far removed from what I believe in. Being essentially a bastard within may be fun, but ultimately I want the Conservative Party to be successful and I cannot stand here and just moan like some old git angry about the way young people are these days...

As I have said, Ill have a long think about it over the weekend. If there is anyone reading this involved with North Thanet Conservative Association, I have no problems with the Association and support it. That said, I do not support the Party's new policies on important issues and unfortunately thats crucial to me.

I think we all largely accept the need to reconnect with the electorate through more representative candidates. But that does not mean more women candidates, it means more candidates who have direct experience of the issues and challenges facing the mainstream.

My real concern with the A List is the effect it will have on those candidates not on that list. It is an absolute open goal for our opponents to question why anyone should vote for a B list candidate when our own party doesn't rate them highly enough, or think them effective enough to be an MP.

There will be mayhem when this is announced. I have personnally stood twice, in 2001 and 2005, and if I fail to be appointed to the A list it will feel like a right kick in the teeth for all the loyalty, time, money and effort I have provided the party.

I know of other former candidates who have indicated to me that they will resign from the Party if they are not on the list. We really are heading for some choppy water here.

Well I would of course urge them to join Imagine and forge a small c conservative agenda that sits neatly between the Tory Party and UKIP.

I resigned over the positive discrimination issue (along with the B2L ersate mandate vote) and it is more productive to fight for your values than just resign and sit on your hands.

Just the act of resigning and joining could spark a change of direction before the next election and thus be a very proactive and positive act.

Chad while I respect your work towards forging this small c conservative group, I will not be joining the Imagine team as a full member. I would gladly debate with you your policies, were it not for the fact they broadly match my own...

Well, the move is over and Ive just found out that I have a wireless internet signal...consider me rather pleasantly suprized!

Well, the sad death of Eric Forth ceraintly puts into place a chance to see the A list stars at their best...

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