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The Iron Triangle should go last!

Still a Policy-Free Zone, then.

A key challenge for all Leaders is the effective management of their team.

It is quite clear that he needs to spend more effort on that. In my view he needs a Chief of Staff who works to ensure all key people are listened to and informed.

The Ken Clarke matter should be enough of a warning enough of that.

It is partly reflected under party unity but is as big a factor in success or failure as any other of the main factors.

Owen Paterson MP would make an excellent Chief of Staff.

Why should the iron triangle go last Mark?

Agree with Mark that the Iron Triangle should be judged after we've looked at the other factors - on which we can judge leadership, competence & unity.

I'd also say that Agenda isn't just about policies but about areas of concern, policies surely result from the Agenda we look to address?

1.Polls are good,better by far than we could have expected last year.
2.(A)Comes across as a good guy.(B)No idea (C)Seems good with a few well known exceptions.
3.Don't know.Membership and money up.Is it being spent wisely?
4.Getting a fairer hearing from the Murdoch press,but getting the usual treatment from the BBC.Not getting unqualified support from the Mail and Telegraph.
5.No idea.
6.(A)Exploited some of Labours problems well, have left others alone,(Immigration,Foreign Policy).Seem reluctant to attack the Lib Dems.(B)No idea.

Well look back to May 2005, there has been a major turn around and improvement.

However in terms of Tim's question, benchmarking, perhaps a question for non-party members of "What do the Tories stand for?"

Seeing the range and concentration of responses would give a good idea if the party's image really is changing, and what real progress Cameron is making with the public at large, giving a longer term foundation to the change rather than polls that obviously measure dissatisfaction with the current government as much as satisfaction with the opposition.

Add to the 'iron triangle' the Conservative Party's 'good for my neighbour' ratings (or similar), since this is one of the most robust statistical explanations for rejecting the Conservative Party prior to 97.

Good idea Chadus!

It worries me how little substance we have in Cameron. I voted for him with a degree of reticence because, frankly, Davies was no alternative and my MP is a firm Cameron supporter and backed him. I'm now questioning that decision.

I think the comment about him pandering to the pseuds and posers of London's chi-chi set was 100% bang on, and the last thing I want to relpace Blair with is the same with a different name and a Conservative rosette on him.

I read, with utter disbeleief, his nonesense about father being encouraged into the delivery room when their wives/partners give birth. Maybe they should, I agree with the principle, BUT what business is it of Government, and thus a potential PM to have an opinion on this? It is the kind of comment that onyl opens the man up to ridicule and exposes the current lack of coherent policy by evidencing the need to fill the sound-bite void with any old nonesense.

I urge you: shut up Cameron and say nothing when you have nothing to say. Once you have smoe substantial policy THEN open your mouth.

HF @ 09.19: "It is quite clear that he needs to spend more effort on that. In my view he needs a Chief of Staff who works to ensure all key people are listened to and informed".
I agree entirely. We see Nulab as a shambles, so we don't want failures in communication on our part to foul up so promising a start.
The second and even more crucial matter in my view is competence in management. Again Nulab is demonstrably a complete shambles in this respect (Home Office et al) but what confidence have we that DC's team will be significantly better in this respect (particularly as regards the NHS, the economy and the Home Office)?
I have a lot of respect for David Davis's performance over the last month or two and am sure he can sort out the Home Office. Who are the others of like calibre and what jobs will they do?

Iron Triangle should go last because the foregoing discussion will reveal how united we are.

Party organisation is a key question - and probably goes a long way to explaining a continually lacklustre performance outside of the South East. It's a more subtle issue than simple numbers - it's where those numbers are. Piling up members in Surrey Heath, whilst good for the party coffers and Surrey Heath, isn't much help to the need to deliver leaflets and canvass voters in Stockton-on-Tees or Bradford.

Question 3 re party organisation is the crucial one North of the Wash. In Colne Valley, our recently elected Chair has resigned. We cannot afford a party agent, but our agent that was in post before our most recent agent, who is now promoted far up north, is coming out of retirement to do a couple of days. We dont have another exec until August, as far as I can make out, no one seems unduly disturbed. Is not our situation one which should occupy the minds of CCO???

Keith @ 11.35

Why shouldn't Cameron have an opinion on everything? He's a person just like us, and obviously his opinions tell us what sort of person he is. And just because he has an opinion on something, it doesn't mean he has to produce a Bill to that effect.

I think we have to take the polls with a pinch of salt really. Particularly You Gov which is self selecting. The government has had a disastrous year as too have the liberals. That has impacted on their poll figures making ours look exceptional. Fair is fair DC has captured the public imagination though.

In my view we would have been ahead in the polls regardless of the leadership at the moment.

I still think he has surrounded himself with the wrong people and is listening too much to those with an agenda - Maude et al.

The policy lite part isn't so important I don't believe. Labour was elected on time for a change and sleave and not on their policy agenda, which as I recall amounted to 5 vague pledges and devolution.

I looked up "The Iron Triangle" (it makes people disappear, the iron triangle, don't go too near, don't go too near). Struggling to see in what sense three column headings make up a "triangle", but I guess that "The Iron Group of Three Column Headings That Sound Good Without There Being Any Link on the 2D plane Between Them" doesn't have the same ring to it. When oh when oh when are we going to read about the Polysterene Octagon?

The headline opinion polls is a good indicator but its real votes that count (sounds familiar ?). Is there some way of using actual votes cast in local elections, maybe by tracking swings, as another 'objective' indicator ?

Party management is tremendously important but unfortunately tremendously boring to MPs. If we don't get in more agents and more IT-proficient staff on the ground, we're in trouble, no matter how impossibly glittering, glamorous and saintly our candidates are.

The Party organisation question is very appropriate following the abysmal performance at B&C.

1. The headline opinion polls provide a degree of comfort, nothing more as the cold douche from Bromley shows (and Nulab went up a point after an even more disastrous pair of results than ours). The GE could be many months in the future (Rupert Murdoch has commanded Brown to govern for 18 months, so he can decide at leisure before committing his battalions to either DC or GB).
2.i Leader image is fine but appearance and reality are two very different matters.
ii. The polls do suggest that confidence in the tories to run the economy is returning gradually. I believe we need a more heavyweight shadow chancellor (and of course some real policies).
iii.Part unity has been dealt some severe and unnecessary blows by the recent EPP and HRA debacles. DC simply must not announce policies that clearly have not been thought through first and the lack of internal communication was a terrible own goal.
3. Clearly not, as Bromley demonstrates and the policy groups are nowhere near ready to report.
4. DC is clearly winning allies and Rupert Murdoch is perhaps the key.
5. No, see 3. above.
6. To its credit, the party appears to be setting a lot of the current political agenda, to which the others are reacting, but it all remains a mirage until backed up by real substance.

"Why shouldn't Cameron have an opinion on everything? He's a person just like us, and obviously his opinions tell us what sort of person he is. And just because he has an opinion on something, it doesn't mean he has to produce a Bill to that effect."

EML: having opinions is one thing, I don't begrudge him that. I would suggest the starting point for the decision on whether to give those opinions a public airing should be "is this a realm in which politics should be active, or is it a matter in which politics really has no part?" If the answer is the latter then the less said the better frankly. I like many people, feel that Government both national and local takes too much of my money in order to involve itself in too many aspects of my life. Government should be about providing a social framework by means of law and order at the lowest possible level to prevent anarchy and the provision of necessary services and infrastructure (such as defence), and beyond that it should not have a role, a voice, or an opinion.

The more Cameron says about issues that are not "core" politics the more he opens himself to criticism and ridicule. Blair likes to dictate to us all how we should live our lives, and it was a very apt depiction of him by Harry Enfield as a trendy vicar because Blair preaches his "virtues" as if we should all share them. I reject Blair's principles, I reject Blair, all his empty works and all his empty promises (sic!), and equally I would wish to reject a Cameron if he were to fall into the same trap or mold.

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