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Sean!! We do a better class of black tie bash, and they like to go and be seen!

Hi Chad,
Interesting to read your well set-out comments. The "A" list situation has turned into something of a debacle - I am not going to try and argue that we have got it right!
On the EU - you say that Cameron has "banned anyone in favour of EU withdrawal from working for him". Well, if DC is so anti Eurosceptic, how come he is compelling our MEPs to withdraw from the EPP? A great deal of valuable time has been wasted on this issue and it has caused a good deal of rancour which we could well have done without.

The crazy thing is Ted, that 'trad cons' and 'prog cons' (like me) do get on as we share much the same core values but somehow, Cameron has isolated both groups; the former because he is not talking about the policies that concern them, and the latter because they can see the promise doesn't match the pledge.

So all that is left, is the blindly loyal ones who vote for a rosette and will accept anyhting to 'win'.

Hi Sally,

"Well, if DC is so anti Eurosceptic, how come he is compelling our MEPs to withdraw from the EPP?"

Well I've got a £100 bet with the Editor here concerning delivery of this pledge so I'll wait for delivery before commenting on that one!

Chad, I really hope you are right!!! ;-)


You're a better man than I am!

I felt embarrassed by the woman who commented an ethnic wouldn't do in her constituency but in no way came close to despising her or thought she was irredeemably beyond the pale. However I wasn't happy being in the same party as our "family values" candidate for Exeter a while back.

"People don't want windmills and solar panels - they want security on the streets and not to be held up at gunpoint in the Tesco car park..."

Hmm, I get the impression that most people want leaders who talk about windmills and solar panels (and trees and flowers and chirping birds) while quietly and efficiently providing security on the streets.
I guess I'm one - there aren't many issues where I actually disagree with the retired Majors who've been the object of derision here, yet I never joined the Tory party and I fely very uncomfortable with the Tory 2005 election campaign. I finally joined after Cameron was elected, - _even though_ the noises he makes mostly sound well to the left of me, I'm much more comfortable hearing those noises than I am hearing "It's not racist..." or "Are you thinking...?". As long as the left-media-complex controls what counts as acceptable political discourse in Britain, this disjunction will remain: people will actively vote against politicians who share those people's same 'right' values, whether on immigration, law & order or the EU. Hence the mood music _has_ to differ from the actual implementation, because the left-media-complex has created a schizophrenic culture where this is the only way to succeed.

I am pleased that Adrian Rogers has left.

I wasn't embarassed by that councillor in Greater Manchester, because it seemed to me that she was commenting more on the electability of a candidate from an ethnic minority, in an all-white seat, rather than objecting to the idea of a non-white Conservative candidate in principle.

It is a sad fact that there are members of all ethnic groups who will only vote for one of "their own" (as I know all too well in Brent). It's a factor one has to take into account in candidate selection.

Factual points on Heffer's article:

"…ought more fairly to have been 16 points ahead in the polls (a lead that would still put it way behind where Labour was in about 1995, as the Major government limped to its death)" He could perhaps more fairly inform his readers of the Labour position in the polls in the months following the Tories' own Black Wednesday - even in March 1993, Labour only had a five point lead with ICM.

"Let us just stand back and watch it do so." Aren't we always told that 'opposition's don't win elections, government's lose them'? And I don't remember much of Labour's '97 manifesto being available four years before that election.

"…the local election results were not by a long chalk so wonderful as under the leadership of William Hague" Well actually, the Conservatives haven't hit 40% in the projected national share since '92. This year the Tories gained 300 seats thereby improving significantly on Hague’s performance there in years gone by.

"(for many places did not have elections)" Indeed, these elections were supposedly fought in the toughest areas for the Tory party. I wonder why Heffer omitted any mention of this in his article?

"By the next election, Gordon Brown will probably be prime minister, and Labour will enjoy a recovery (however modest) in the public's esteem when he is." He could mention here the boost in Tory lead when Brown is posited as an alternative - it goes up to 10%, getting near his arbitrary 16 point lead (by the way, the Conservatives have never held a 16 point lead - or at least not in any ICM poll since June 1984, so I think he sets the bar a tad high.)

"…conspicuous failure to deliver on his promise to remove his party's MEPs from the EPP grouping in Brussels" There should be some good news on this front by the end of June, which will be less than a year since Cameron took over the leadership.

"to which there appears to be no impediment other than the prospective rage of old Europhiles of his acquaintance such as Ken Clarke and Lord Heseltine." There is the small task of persuading others to join the Conservative grouping. It wouldn’t be ideal for Tory MEPs to sit with Mussolini et al.

"there are not even general statements of purpose that might recruit people to the cause." There are general statements of purpose aplenty on conservatives.com.

"The entirely respectable UKIP." Ah.

"Above all, the abstention party goes from strength to strength." It would be worth mentioning here that turnout in the local elections previously fought in 2002 was up significantly. Because that would clearly support Heffer's argument.

Aside from these minor irrelevancies, a balanced, fair-minded and generous piece.

You are a race obsessive. Who cares about the BNP ? Clearly 27.5% voters do - did you know in some wards they outpolled the Conservatives ?

TomTom @16:37, You must be relying on the same psychic ability that so cleverly gave away my exact geographical coordinates!

Otherwise how else could you deduce that I was a race obsessive.

I've noticed that you seem to keep losing track of the thread. My comment on ethnic minorities, was a response to your comment at 12:40
Tough on the causes of Crime - causes being unrestricted, uncontrolled, undocumented immigration.

If you really think the root to solving law and order issues, is controlled immigration (which oddly enough I am in favour of, but is a red herring here) then you are the one who is a race obsessive. Not I.

All evidence points to you being functionally illiterate as well.

Chad @ 16.19: "So the background music is good, Built To Last, on the whole sounds good, so all Cameron has to do is to ensure the policies match.

Unfortunately, even at this (planned) policy-lite stage, the proposals that have emerged seem a stark contradiction to this popular mood music".

Tom Tom @16.28: "Can you get off your high horse and engage with voters ? {People don't want windmills and solar panels - they want security on the streets and not to be held up at gunpoint in the Tesco car park - or to find the police have vanished and when they see a girl being baten up at 6am on a Sunday morning they end up in call centre in Scotland as they report it.

Jules @ 16.37: "So, if voting Tory would yield a new Labour-lite governemnt I don't
think I'll bother to vote. I'd rather give time and energy to an institution which does attempt to maintain its principles over time - the Catholic Church".

All saying something similar really: please may we now hear something more solid to satisfy a sufficient number of thinking voters eventually to replace this present shambolic gevernment?
It doesn't have to be fully-fledged policies but a statement of principles on which later policies will be based would be good.

Well Chad,that's where we disagree.Because unless we 'win' we can achieve sweet f.a.I'd rather have half of my beliefs put into action (or even a quarter) than virtually nothing at all, as I've had to put up with for the past nine years.The question,how do we win? I have a little sympathy for the views of people like Helen but think that if we campaign on 'traditional ' values we will get hammered yet again.Not something I'm prepared to put up with under any circumstances.
As regards the discussion between Ted and Sean I guess I can only talk from personal experience but the vast majority of Conservative members I've met are some of the most decent,fairminded and public spirited people in this country.We are not and in my opinion never have been the caricatures that our enemies have successfully portrayed us as.

Basically I think *most* people who work for our party are good-hearted, if old-fashioned. But then I would expect Conservatives, of all people, to find much to value in the past.

When people talk of finding them embarassing I'm reminded of Mark Twain's comment that went something like this "When I was 18 I thought my father was insufferably ignorant; by the time I reached 21 I discovered the Old Man had learned quite a lot."

malcolm - I agree the vast majority are great people and I am proud to be associated with them and I agree on whole with Sean that it's not about despising people who have a differing set of values (with those few exceptions who IMHO have a value set that isn't acceptable).

But I was embarrassed for rather than by that woman councillor - she was so obviously not what the presentation of her comment made her out to be. It raised the spectre of Cheltenham and seemed to say the prime judgement of a candidate was skin colour.

Is censorship already in place because two of mine once on this thread have disappeared ????
Few of the neo-LibDems who are here seem to have grasped the point that it is not only the East End workng class who feel disenfranchised but we Tories who left the party at Maastricht do too.

I came back with Michael Howard but this limp-wristed apology for a leader will drive me away again. I hear repeatedly "They're not Tories; they won't listen. If I vote BNP that might shake them up until they get a Conservative to lead them"

And Henry Cook - Don't apply for a post as a literary reviewer. A grosser misrepresentation of what Heffer - bless him - actually wrote it would be hard to find.

EG" - Labour having "only a 5 point lead in 1994 after Black Wednesday" .. That was 3 years before polling and as we all know "a week is a long time in politics".

There's no point in comparing one local election with the next. They are often in different places with different demographics.

The fact is the Labour party trip over themselves every day [not that Cameron has noticed] and they ought to be wallowing down in the 20s . BUT what has happened is that the great army of don't knows has been fed from Labour ranks and when the bugle sounds they'll return. The public on almost every issue think Labour are better than Tory. And you're complacent about that?

There are NOT "general statements of purpose " anywhere unless you count the waffle from a man as rich as Croesus that money is unimportant. Also also his "green" statements have turned out to be false spin.

NO! If you want a proper Conservative government again you'll have to find someone with fire in his belly to lead the party - Simon Heffer perhaps?

"And Henry Cook - Don't apply for a post as a literary reviewer. A grosser misrepresentation of what Heffer - bless him - actually wrote it would be hard to find."

Er... no actually. I used direct quotations, check them all. And I rebutted each quotation very specifically. And you can check my rebuttals too. You see, I like to use facts in arguments, Heffer doesn't.

I gave very specific points in response to Heffer's arguments, and was not attempting to look at the article as a whole - I was not giving a representation at all, let alone a misrepresentation. When faced with such bluster it is best to go on specifics, because then the whole argument falls apart.

"That was 3 years before polling and as we all know" Well yes, and we are about three years from polling day now. Thank you for emphasising my point. Labour were doing about the same in the aftermath of the Tories' Black Wednesday as we are now in tha aftermath of Labour's Black Wednesday.

"There's no point in comparing one local election with the next. They are often in different places with different demographics." So therefore you will also agree with me that Heffer's point about Hague's local election results is irrelevant. It is also inaccurate.

"The public on almost every issue think Labour are better than Tory." Wrong again. It was 9 each last time I looked.

"And you're complacent about that." I'm about as complacent as Francis Maude. ie not at all.

Example of 'general statement of purpose': "The more we trust people, the stronger they and society become." A more Conservative sentiment you will be hard-pressed to find.

torylady, I think we should both take your excellent advice and not engage Tomtom in debate. You see he simply ignores any post that either challenges him or requests that he clarifies his ridiculous blather, then launches ridiculous personal attacks.

Quite how the person who claimed that immigration was the cause of crime can keep a straight face while saying someone else was obsessed with race is beyond me.

Chris D @ 10.45. In your post analysing balance within the party, losing 4 leaders since 1997, breaking the cycle and 'issues', you overlook the dominating factor during this period! That has been someone whose geatest skill (and asset to HIS party) - until recently has been to ridicule, undermine and demolish each opposition leader in succession, and make no mistake about it he has been brilliant at it. But IT DON'T WORK NO MORE! Why because David Cameron decided wisely not to give him the amunition he needed - ideas, policies, anything that the man can ridicule and rubbish!

It is very difficult to trust that DC and his team ARE debating and formulating policies, when one hears very little that is concrete. BUT AT LEAST HE DOESN'T JUMP LIKE A PUPPET in reponse to each media sound bite, and make another piece of useless, ill-thought out legislation!!!!!!


Your's is the first Cameroon apologia that I 've read that praises him for doing NOTHING

I am afraid when you do what some have done on this thread and condone rather then condem the BNP you get the situation you have in Barking at present where people are being stabbed and beaten up by young thugs for no other reason than the colour of there skin.
There are some things more important than if the Conservative Party are leading in the latest opinion polls or who`s on the A List or not and racism is one of those things. We must condem it without any if`s but`s or maybe`s not because it may damage the party we support if we don`t but because it is morally wrong not to do so.

I am so glad that Christina came back to the Tories with Michael Howard. Unfortunately, not many of the electorate followed which is why Cameron is quite rightly engaging with the electorate on other issues.

Of course people are concerned about law and order but people shouldn't sneer at the emphasis on green issues. I am 27 years old and would like to think that the planet will outlive me. And before anyone says this is green hysteria, really it's not. I do a lot of (fact-based, rather than propaganda) research for a member of the Parliamentary Science and Technology Select Committee. Green issues are incredibly important to my generation - although perhaps not to those more mature in age than I who may not live to see the results of our carbon emissions.

For once, the endless hectoring about how "things were so much better in my day" could prove to be chillingly accurate for future generations.

I should imagine that I am unlike many on this forum in that my day job is policy formulation - and therefore I do have some practical experience of the process and the dynamics that drive it.

Quintessentially, the process is (or should be) event-driven as it is real-world events that show you where the shoe pinches and, with research, where the solutions lie.

Elsewhere, I have written of some recent events which could drive policy forward in an imaginative and constructive way, to some considerable political advantage. But what you do not see from the current Conservative group is any recognition of these events or of how lessons from them can be applied.

Yet, if the Conservatives took on real world issues, as they occurred, and developed responses to them, building from a sound philosophical base, then the cumulative effect would be a comprehensive policy base, rooted in reality.

Therefore, my central reservation about the Cameron experiment is that it seems to be founded on shifting sands, with little relevance to current events and concerns - building policy in vacuo, so to speak.

This also seems to be at the heart of the Heffer crie de coeur, in that he seems to perceive the same thing, and recognises that the experiment is doomed.

However, such is the power of the "Westminister bubble" that one sees no end of otherwise sane, generally intelligent people afflicted by a form of collective psychosis, believing their strategy will win, simply because they so desperately want it to win - and for no other reason.

That psychosis is manifestly evident on this comment board and, because it is so shallowly rooted, triggers hostility to anyone who dissents. You need to worry, therefore, that there is such hostility to Heffer... in a Biblical sense, there is a touch of mote and beam here.

I don't think I'm a pschotic (but would I know if I was?) but I wasn't a fan of Heffers when I didn't think we could win and nothing since has made me change my mind- he has spent time in every column since Cameron said he wasn't looking for his support making infantile and ill thought out attacks.

We are one year into a parliament and to formulate policies might make the wonks among us happy but they would make NuLab even happier. We should have learnt from our destruction of the shadow budget in 1992 that it's often better to say less but indicate more. Patsy is right to glory in the mood music rather than demand a script. I'm looking forward to the policies hardening up but lets make Brown give out his policy platform before we expose ours.

is inability to spell psychotic another indication I am?

torylady: I see someone has resurrected the ghost of James Hellyer in the form of "Yawn".

I see somebody is passing themselves off as a lady, when they're probably just female. Unless of course mudlslinging and unpleasantness are key elements of feminine deporttment...

I usually quite like Simon Heffer's columns and diary pieces, but this article seems strangely flawed. It's silly of him to protest that the CamCons have no policies, when a more accurate observation would be that they do have policies and a focus, but that these are not in line with the agenda many Conservatives would prefer.

His comments about the "A" list seem rather more well founded though, as the front page newslinks attest.

Henry Cook

The problem was that your "rebuttals" to the wonderful Heffer were off target and therefore irrelevant. AND I thinik you're wrong about your 9 each claim but I'll check (if the Torygraph hasn't gone to salvage yet.)

Heffer told it as it is and you and the other neo-LibDems don't like it!

I was dreading (well not dreading but concerned) as to see how this thread went. Well, having read it - I'm delighted. Heffer writes nonsense and is a trouble maker, the Telegraphs circulation would 'jump in the ratings' if he walked. The last thing the Conservative Party needs is 'supporters' like him.

I'd be interested to see where you thought Henry's rebuttals were off target Christina.He was very specific you are just making generalisations .

Ted at 19:35 asks: "is inability to spell psychotic another indication I am?"

Dr North writes: Ted, it depends whether you are truly psychotic or merely pschotic. As a general principle though, if you think you are mad, you probably are not and if you think you are sane, you most definitely are not. Unless, of course, you are... or not.

"Well Chad,that's where we disagree.Because unless we 'win' we can achieve sweet f.a."

Hi Malcolm, no I completely agree with you on this, I am also a pragmatist and like you would prefer to get half or quarter of what I want rather than nothing.

My point is that the mood music is clearly appealing to the public at large, it is the noises in that, that is helping the party's popularity grow. As I noted, I agree with almost all of B2L.

But, and it is the big 'but' is that I smell the noise does not meet the reality, it is simply superficial, and that there will be a backlash as there will need to be a full manifesto before the election, so mood music cannot carry us through.

When the reality does not match the promises, the public will not vote conservatives into power.

I really want the reality to match the mood music that has led to this rise in popularity so we can have a conservative government, but I sense this is not going to happen.

Look at the proposals I have opposed, all of them contravene Built To Last. That's the point. I support the change, I like the change, but I bloody expect it to be delivered and not just a pr exercise.

All I have called for it for the proposals to match the promises. I like the promises. I voted for Cameron on the promises. But I want delivery of those promises. Right now, there is no sign that Cameron intends to deliver the fine words of Built To Last.

My 'radical' stance is simply asking for Cameron to be honest and deliver the very pledges that he has made, not change everything to fit what I want.

That's not too much to ask surely, or are you suggesting that you are happy for the promise and delivery not to match as long as you can dupe the public into voting for you?

That might, and most likely would please quite a few here, but I want a conservative government that will government for many parliaments not just one, and I think that will be no harder to achieve than to take Built To Last and ensure the policies actually fit it.

christina, TomTom et al.: As interesting as your theories might be, the simple fact is that the polls show Cameron some 4-8% ahead of Labour, a margin expecting to grow if and when Brown takes over as Prime Minister. Hague and Howard both fought their respective elections on traditional right-wing platforms, focusing on Europe and immigration respectively. Both were roundly defeated.

The voters we need to recapture are those who abandoned us between 1992 and 1997. The ones who voted for John Major, who was by all accounts less Eurosceptic and less concerned about immigration than even the present party. It should be further noted that more people voted for Major than even did for Thatcher - the reduced majority was merely due to the falling Lib Dem vote allowing Labour to triumph where previously the vote had been split. It is these centrist voters that need to be recaptured. I was fairly sceptical that Cameron's approach was the way to do it, but the recent gains in the local elections and the rising poll figures have reaffirmed my confidence.

As an aside, william, I feel that repealing the HRA but remaining in the ECHR is a pragmatic and sensible way forward. Having to go all the way to Strasbourgh (rather than relying on the HRA in local courts) is expensive and time-consuming and prevents spurious claimants, whilst allowing the most serious and sensible complaints to go ahead. The problem is allowing a single national judge very great discretion in interpreting "human rights" when he does not have experience in dealing with such matters. The ECHR is generally pragmatic and sensible in such matters and the impact of judicial activism is reduced by having a panel - can you cite an example of a judgment which is clearly wrong?

Those of you that are sayiny we are comprimising with Cameron...Could you explain to me what is 'un-conservative' about Cameron, and what are Conservative principles? Please also state whether you are a 'neo-con' (love Fox) 'Tory-anarchist' (love reading Private Eye'), a neo-liberal (free marketeer), or a Radical Tory (Cornerstone), or, possibly - amazing as it may sound, you are like me, and 'just' a Traditional Tory, who -celebrates our past-, -distrusts radical change, in any direction-, -is pragmatic-, -respects the need for hierarchy&authority-, -respects the rights of propery- and is -realistic about human behaviour-.

At least DC's visit to the Arctic and 'green talk' is going to pay off now - he got there first. This evening on ITV 6.30 news there was Green Glastonbury, and for last few weeks an ITV reporter (I can't remember his name off-hand) has been going round the world discovering evidence to support climate change. This evening, what do we have? David Milliband getting in on the act, and being quizzed about what the government is going to do. BUT DC GOT THERE FIRST and that must really p... a certain person off!

"AND I thinik you're wrong about your 9 each claim but I'll check (if the Torygraph hasn't gone to salvage yet.)"

Latest ICM poll: http://www.icmresearch.co.uk/reviews/2006/Guardian%20-%20May/The%20Guardian%20Poll%20-%20May.asp

Latest Yougov poll:

Its 5-3 in our favour on policy issues with ICM. Its 9 each with yougov.

Therefore your statement: "the public on almost every issue think Labour are better than Tory" is inaccurate. Its more than inaccurate, its just plain wrong.

Oberon you are too sane (see Dr North's diagnoses) for today's blogging session. Of course I agree with you but it's just too much fun sticking it up Heffer and his acolytes. It's one of the things that makes the WWW so fantastic. For all our life we had only the zero option: read a columnist or ignore them. Now thanks to all this we get the chance to vent our spleens all over the offender. And sorry James H/Sean - I think you're good guys & I know from reading you that you're intelligent and clear thinkers - but you can't expect people who feel like they've been on the receiving end of the invective of Heffer's poison pen for decades to pass up the chance to jump up and down on his every utterance, crying "you're so over, goodnight". What makes it even more delicious is to realise that there's a whole community of Tories out there - at my reckoning north/south, older/younger, male/female - who all feel the same cold horror at his columns. It's good to write down how much he disgusts you, if you've been silently seething for years that he and his ilk have been allowed to populate the general public's psychology with the impression that his ungenerous world view is representative of Tory opinion.

Reading this thread and others lately has been quite thought provoking. I really have been struck by the intemperance and rudeness of many posts. It is a shame that we cannot agree to disagree on some issues without making things worse.

I agree with Cameron's focus on green issues, his desire to 'share the proceeds of growth' and his commitment to improving public services. I am generally content with his leadership and think he is becoming a better speaker and more confident at PMQ's.

That said, when you analyse his speeches there is a lot of Blairite waffle. (The 'third way of government encouragement' to make companies nice. Capitalism works because it makes companies deliver (to a large extent), what people want. Where this fails the government takes over as a (poorer) substitute. The idea we can make capitalism some kind of fluffy loveable bunny is nonsense.

There is also a lot of Blairite spin. Read his 'Cameron to scrap HRA' comments for example. What he ACTUALLY says is (to paraphrase) 'if current arrangements regarding extradition orders do not work and cannot be made to work we may scrap the HRA'. So no clear promise is made, but there were some damn good headlines in the Sun that day.

One final point to be made is that he sometimes seems to have gone too far in jettisoning crime and immigration stands. When he attacks the government (as do the Shad Cab) it is from the right. But then we are told we are not to be 'nasty' any more and we are 'liberal Conservatives' - so what would a Cameron lead Government actually do different? That said, he can't pre-empt the policy groups too much.

Overall, for the first time in ages, we do have a lead in the polls. But UKIP and the BNP have a combined total of 8%.

Cameron has said a lot about 'life satisfaction'. The problem is, will he back it up - or is it just part of a chattering class Blairite comment.

The following survey by the LSE showed various things - that homeowners were happier than renters (particularly council renters), more than even income indicated, that people who lived in crime ridden areas were severely depressed by this, that people who were single parents were 20 times (!!!) more likely to be in the unhappy group rather than the happy group, and that people who lived in ethnically diverse areas were less trusting of their neighbours than ethnically homogenous areas, even when income is accounted for. (Personally, I think that this is more cultural than skin colour. I have friends of all different skin colours but I still feel uncomfortable when, in London, someone in a full length burqa gets on the bus in a way that someone from the Indian subcontinent wearing an Ipod gets on. I just don't believe someone clad in a burqa has a relatively similiar view of the world to me...)


Of course, many of the problems this raises require value judgements and action which makes liberals squirm. But if Cameron is serious about the issue of happiness rather than glibly throwing off comments, he might take note of such surveys. Despite my general vague approval of Cameron, I don't hold my breath.

Thank you Graeme - Ungenerous is one of the words I've been trying to find - been trying to think today why there are some critics whose opinons I respect while disagreeing on many occasions ( for example James H) and others that I wish would go to another more suitable home.

Well Tim,you certainly called it right today.I'd thought that as poor old Heffer had been discussed on this blog several times in recent months that this thread would generate only 20-30 comments.How wrong I was!
Another hack who might be worth discussing in greater detail is Fraser Nelson who has had some very interesting things to say recently.Unfortunately much of his work appears in The Business which hardly anybody reads.

Alexw, politics is the art of the possible, and Cameron is gifted at the art.

The HRA is son of the ECHR. From the interpretation given to these by judges, it is considered by many that we have lost many options as to how we deal with criminals of one variety of another.

The electorate is not of a mood to be judicious in these matters, and say that going half way sounds reasonable. Those who advocate complete withdrawal from both the HRA and ECHR are more likely to get voters excited, as our problems with criminality and social breakdown escalate.

We need to start from scratch if we are to stem the tide, it might be said. I have no examples for you, other than what appears in the papers daily.

The point I am making is political rather than legal. As every day goes by, we are closer to the point where the ECHR will become vulnerable to demands for its demise in this country.

Cameron need not move today, but he is obviously aware that events are moving - and might move to a point where he has to make adjustments to his policies to satisfy popular opinion.

Well said 1AM.

O/T http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/5035506.stm

Prescott has given up his croquet set and decided he doesn't need Dorneywood anymore


The problem is not just the HRA (which was predicted to cause problems) or the ECHR (which was already making problems) but also an activist legal and judicial profession supported by a politically correct political and media establishment. Hence there is a long way to go.


Perhaps that is something we can all agree is to be welcomed.

" Those who advocate complete withdrawal from both the HRA and ECHR are more likely to get voters excited, as our problems with criminality and social breakdown escalate."

So there is in fact no objectively sound reason for withdrawing from the ECHR other than a nebulous link between increased crime and human rights that ought be exploited for political gain?

"I have no examples for you, other than what appears in the papers daily."

Most of these cases pertain to domestic actions under the HRA, not those which reach Strasbourg.

I am prepared to go as far as altering or repealing the HRA, but not withdrawing from the ECHR. The chief problems with the HRA seem to be threefold:

1) Domestic judges, particularly those at first instance, are inexperienced with dealing with human rights legislation and therefore apt to make dubious judgments.

2) The large discretion afforded to a single judge allows huge scope for judicial activism.

3) Litigants are able to raise a "human rights" claim at the drop of a hat with little cost or inconvenience to themselves, leading to spurious claims.

None of these three objections apply to actions in the Strasbourg court.

""Firstly, the notion of the BNP as a drain on a Conservative support is nonsense"
According to the Joseph Rowntree survey that's where they got the majority of their support from, although that is not to deny the significant support they get from Old Labour voters."

To be honest, I set little store by the Rowntree Report, given that it was co-authored by a Labour MP and the Liberal Democrat chief whip in the House of Lords (with, guess what, no Conservative representative) and continues to perpetrate the myth that the BNP, because it is anti-immigration, represents the far-right.

Before I address the important point about where the BNP extract their support from, I'll remind everyone that the BNP opposes free-market economics and favours worker co-operatives - hardly policies that have 'right-wing' stamped all over them.

I stand by my earlier comment about where support for the BNP is sourced - and electoral performance statistics back me up.

The BNP currently has 55 councillors - in Barking and Dagenham, Birmingham, Bradford, Broxbourne, Burnley, Calderdale, Epping Forest, Havering, Keighley, Kirklees, Leeds, Pendle, Redbridge, Redditch, South Holland, Sandwell, Solihull, Stoke-on-Trent, to name the places I could find with a quick internet search, and few of those could be described as bedrocks of Conservative support, and neither can the places that saw the strongest BNP support in 2005 (Barking, Dewsbury, Burnley, Keighley, Rotherham, Oldham and Sunderland).

As every day goes by, we are closer to the point where the ECHR will become vulnerable to demands for its demise in this country.

A quick multiple choice on the ECHR:

1. How many cases involving the UK have been judged in the last 12 months?

A. 1,022
B. 272
C. 68
D. 17


2. In how many of those cases did the court find against the UK?

A. 640
B. 144
C. 36
D. 9


3. From those judgements, what was the greatest amount of damages awarded?

A. £1,250,000
B. £125,000
C. £12,500
D. £1,250

Answers: D, D and D. Is the ECHR really a Big Issue?

New campaign launched to help us out of the EPP.

Adieu EPP


Does every bloody thread have to end up talking about Europe?

Does every bloody thread have to end up talking about Europe?

Sorry Malcolm, you're right. I hang my head in shame for defacing a thread which, until the EU posts, was a rich seam of enjoyment - with some great gems from Graeme.


Yes every thread SHOULD end up with Europe. THAT's where 80% of our laws are made and if you don't care about foreigners ruling us then you're no Tory - not even a Bloody one [since you like swearing]
Henry C. Yes I was wrong- Apologies. The YouGov poll did find 9 topics each where the 2 parties were ahead. BUT with a [piffling] 6% lead which Blair has given him Cameron ought to be romping away on all 18. Labour is still seen as better on the economy, the NHS [yes really!], Europe, Childcare, unemployment, inflation/ /prices, Interest rates, economic growth and housing. The Tories are just ahead on ~Asylum. immigration, law and order, Education [they think of grammer schools], Environment. council tax and pensions [ + 1 where I can't read my own writing]

And to him wot praised Henry C"'s response I would say that he took phrases out of context and made replies which were only marginally relevant.

Heffer was giving a needed warning - Ignore it at your peril. .

AND AS A POSTSCRIPT - The last 3 Tory manifestos promised to repatriate the Fisheries policy. but it now seems that that policy has without notice or fanfare been dropped. There'll be no Tory gains in Scotland now.

My God you guys keep going on! Do you lot ever take a break? Ive just been to a chess tournament (got my first ever win in competitive chess!) and I come back to see another flipping ruddy b'ching argument about Europe. Get over it! Europe is not the biggest issue in Britain today. People want to be able to feel safe on their streets...they want to be able to go to a hospital and not have to spend hours on the floor. Christ on a motorbike...get over it!

People want money in their pockets to be able to pay the bills and send their kids to a good quality school. Domestic policy is much more important than foreign affairs, I assure you all.

I'm glad were all friends, I'd be petrified if you lot were my enemies.

That's exactly the problem, James Maskell. Our domestic problems are now foreign affairs. Christina wants to bring them home....and she's quite right.

Keep going Christina. Don't allow them to shout your hymns down. It's always the same chorus from the choir. At least your lines vary a bit.

Mark F.

Most Laws result in no cases being brought. But they nonetheless control and dictate the behaviour and thinking of us all. I know you like things you can count and measure.

In the case of the ECHR you're measuring the length of the fins on the atom bomb, and saying it cannot possibly make a big bang!

It only prevents us from running an effective criminal justice system - or might we now call it victim justice system, to hep get the mesage across.

Alexw - if you repeal the HRA but not the ECHR, you kill the chicken but leave the egg.

esbonio - that's an interesting slant. It seems that human beings will always make use of powerful laws to meet their own ends, and not those of the victims of crime.

This is clearly not a reason for keeping the laws, but a reflection of the misplaced thinking that permits laws to be passed which assume that human beings are even capable of possessing ultimate wisdom.

The old Common laws allowed judges little leeway, and were built on the wisdom of the ages which only moved ahead gradually. Can we go back there please? The electorate are wishing so.

William: please do not feel obligated to respond to everyone's comments in multiple posts!

I was inspired by Just Another Anon who writes chapters in series. I was only doing verses!

James Maskell -with his blinkers firmly in place writes- - -
1. "Europe is not the biggest issue in Britain today."
2. "Domestic policy is much more important than foreign affairs"
1. Since 80% of all our laws are made in Brussels it ought to be "the biggest issue in Britain today.". Have all the Tory governments you want but it won't make a blind bit of difference because Merkel and Prodi, and Zapatero and Chirac have more say in our laws than any MP here.

2. The EU is NOT foreign affairs - it is VAT, it is waste disposal, it is airline rules, it is 101 other things like that.

You ought to be ashamed to be talking politics and not know this.

Christina, did a local steal your money-wallet on your last European holiday? I cannot understand where you get the energy to rant ad nauseam about the EU.

We all know the problems that the EU has caused, but it has minimal effect on the two biggest issues any canvasser hears on the doorsteps. HEALTH and EDUCATION.

I'd much rather read sane, measured and properly researched comments from EU-Serf than the broken record that is Christina's Spite's "THE EU CREATES 80% OF OUR LAWS BUT I HAVE NO FACTS TO BACK THIS UP"

"I'd much rather read sane, measured and properly researched comments from EU-Serf than the broken record that is Christina's Spite's "THE EU CREATES 80% OF OUR LAWS BUT I HAVE NO FACTS TO BACK THIS UP""

Well I teach law (not EU law) and easily 80% of what I teach is Regulations based off EU Directives...
I believe the 80% figure is correct in that 80% of new UK law comes from EU Directives.

'Europe' is important to UK politics in the same way that in the USA the Federal government is important to Tennessee politics; a bit moreso in that the EU is more legislatively active. The question whether the constitutional position of the UK vis-a-vis the EU is important, or uncontroversial, is another matter.

I'd much rather read sane, measured and properly researched comments from EU-Serf than the broken record that is Christina's Spite's...

I'd rather you kept your temper under some form of control. It's bad enough wading through pages of repetitive posts about the BNP/UKIP/Imagine, without them being peppered with abuse.


The 80% figure was published on the Cabinet Office website in April 2004.

Sad to day Torylady, Health and Education are heavily affected by Human Rights legislation, Employment legislation and similar - all EU-derived programmes which prevent those in responsibility for schools and hospitals and police from doing their jobs.

There is a shortage of Head Teachers and applicants to become Head Teachers. Hospitals have to search all over the world for staff and police morale is rock bottom.

Many in hospitals and schools (and police) feel that they cannot really care any more -they're all there to tick boxes, not to promote health, teach children or protect society.

And the EU has nothing to do with any of it of course.

I try not to respond to the EU interuptions but William, Christina et al the EU isn't some distant demon imposing these things on us - the UK Government and UK MEPs in EU Parliament actively support much of this legislation. Our representatives (including our comissioners) are actively involved in getting it on the table, in amending and defining the EU directives (they boast about it sometimes).

Its truer to state that 80% (by volume rather than importance or effect) of legislation is created in concert with our EU partners.

I don't happen to believe that the EU should be involved in many of the areas for which EU directives are agreed and think throwing out this government and getting a Conservative eurosceptic one is the first and best step foward.

No matter how important the EU might be we have to accept that the electorate just aren't as interested in it as we are. They may be Eurosceptic but repeated statistics regarding how many laws are made by the EU aren't enough to turn swing voters. Such stories may anger them but if it was enough to win an election then UKIP would be running the show. You can decry that as unfortunate and a result of ignorance but it won't stop people being more concerned with other issues.

Well said Richard

Its truer to state that 80%

80% is the figure from the German Bundestag research department

The public do understand that the Human Rights Act is the reason we cannot deport foreign criminals, and many also understand that the HRA is an EU-approved Law.

There is genuine anger at the collapse in our public services - and most of the public know that it is bureaucracy that has stifled the willingness of public servants to serve.

There is far more appreciation of where the trouble comes from than there used to be. What puzzles the public is not that UKIP did not win the election, but why Conservatives are not offering an alternative view to Labour when they know that things are going badly wrong.

If we don't explain a convincing narrative as to what has happened to our country, others will. UKIP are less of a threat than other parties.

Cameron is maintaining silence on the EU, so he can get media support. The price could be loss of trust in our Party, as people hear the truth from others. John Major could be assured of public ignorance while he sold us down the river at Maastricht. Cameron can not be sure that the public will remain as ignorant as they were. He and we may pay a price for that.

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