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Was Iain Dale right about job losses and closing Victoria Street>

There may a very few job losses at the margins, Rob G, but Francis insisted that CCHQ would be maintained and there is certainly no indication of a move away from Victoria Street.

"Francis Maude... has just phoned me to go through the main changes"

It's very good news that FM communicates directly with this site. Many of us have been quite critical of him, many times... But I do think he probably means well and when my annoyance at some of his strange moves subsides, I do feel we should give him the benefit of the doubt...

I don't agree Buxtehude. There's a reason why he's consistently at the bottom of the opinion poll on this site.

Yes but whilst I can't argue with the opinion poll, I think it is slightly unfair.

FM got a kicking over the planned leadership electoral reform, and for the A list too - but he has done positive work as well, particularly in working with ConHome and seeing the potential the internet has.

I'm going to stick my neck out a bit - I think Maude is doing a good job of trying to modernise the party. He has been in communication with this website before. Well done

Let's not turn this thread into a discussion about Francis Maude please. Breaking my own rule, however, I agree with Bux. Informing ConservativeHome (and therefore its many Tory member readers) about what is happening at CCHQ is a very forward-thinking thing for a Tory Chairman to be doing.

I remember chatting to a member from the HoC library who suggested that Brown in particular used the HoC research facilities much more than the Tories ever have when Labour were in opposition.

As a party we need to face up to the fact that we dont have the resources a Government has, and we need to use every advantage to its full. Its the old "work smarter" phrase - and if re-jigging CCO helps us to do this - then it has to be a good move.

Slightly off topic,why haven't we heard from so many Conservative Home regulars recently ie James Hellyer,Frank Young &Selsdon Man.I'm amazed that that they have not sought to comment on recent developments.

It sounds like a missed opportunity to me. One of the biggest problem with CCHQ is that is operates as a series of silos. Campaigning, Press, CRD, Fundraising and Candidates all get on with doing their own thing with virtually no co-ordination between the two. You talk to people there and they can't tell you who is sitting 3 desks away because they are in a different department. Unsurprisingly, the co-ordination between the different elements is fairly poor.

A shame also not to see more relocation of non westminster vital staff out of London and reinvigorate the Areas again.

This is clearly not being done to improve performance.

Anybody who has ever worked in Westminster can see that this is a backward step. Hence why morale is so low today.

This is clearly being done for financial reasons and i presume they will emerge in the next day or so.

Just to take Malcolm up on his last point, albeit I don’t think I qualify as a regular contributor, personally I am a signed up member of the Denis Thatcher philosophy – I try I try only to spout when I think I have something to add to the debate, and in particular if it affects my native Scotland. Some of the contributions on a variety of topics in the last few weeks have been, let’s just say below par for cch.com
However changes at CCHQ are of interest and my overview is that anything that makes us sharper and smarter is to be welcomed. My understanding is that there is a wealth of information available at the commons library and if we are to become more focused on scrutiny of the Blair musical chairs team then that’s a big plus.
If I have a disappointment it is simply that FM did not extend his streamlining to the Scottish outpost. Dare I remind him that we have parliamentary elections in May 2007?
We have just emerged from a by election in Moray which on any analysis was a disaster for us--- we simply flat lined yet again, and this followed our equally poor showing in the Dunfermline West by election. We face the electorate in Scotland in just twelve months, yet we adopt the man yana approach to policy and organization and just about everything else. If CCHQ has caught a disease called urgency could FM please arrange for someone to send the infection north --- before it is literally too late.

Scottish Tories need to sort themselves out and do it from Edinburgh. Best kept well away from CCHQ.

Did he offer you a job, Mr Editor?

No, Mike. My first commitment is to ConservativeHome and there's no compromise on that. I would, however, like to find a way of applying what I have learnt about the internet to helping the Tory party. I can say no more at this time but I expect it will be an advisory thing.

Huntarian, as a fellow Scot I would just like to agree with your comments. The Moray and Dunfermline byelection campaigns were a PR disaster. I had hoped to see some work being done to organise and prepare the Scottish tories for the Holyrood elections.
It's really important that we raise our profile and are seen to be serious about being a real presence in Scottish politics again.

I think there is no real practical coordination between CCHQ and the Areas. The culture is very London focused and doesn't draw on the skills of people in the North. There have been some recenmt signs that this is realised with meetings hosted in the North, even shadow cabinet meetings. Still hell of a lot to do,


Nobody seems to have picked up on the news that Gavin Barwell has effectively gone from his post as Chief Agent and that the Regional Directors are now directly line-managed by Angela Browning MP.

I gather Gavin now works with Lord Ashcroft on marginal seats. Whilst he never worked as or qualified as an old-school Agent he was well respected in the field.

Mrs Browning's installation in effect as the most senior professional in the Conservative Party is a further sign of the creeping politicisation of what was once a highly professional and world reknowned campaign machine. Is this really the way to win the next election?

Malcolm, after being kicked off the candidates list, I am leaving voluntary politics to concentrate on a setting up a new business.

I visit the site to catch up with events and post about once or twice a week if that. I also go to the odd think tank event but nothing like before. So it's goodbye!

Sorry to hear that Selsdon.The best of luck to you!

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