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Maude is certainly trying to keep up with this changing world, and he should be given credit for that, He should also be given credit for understanding that it cannot be owned by the Conservative Party but must be free and open, even if it does mean free and open criticism as well as support.

Very positive news.


You remove all debate from the Conference floor because it is divisive and looks bad in the media, and then move it into hyperspace... so it gets reported in the media and conveys a divided party...

Why not just go back to honest and open floor debates? At least then you knew that Fred was Fred, and not 'Jean', or 'CCHQ spy', or some other 'anon'. Politics was healthier when it consisted of real people, when people did not feel they had to hide behide pseudonyms, for fear of never getting on the A-list.

Perhaps all the quota fillers and (very) minor celebrities who make up a large minority of the A-List could get a spot too. We might have to put them behind a glass screen that is soundproof because the hatred they spout at and about normal activists would certainly cause a riot. Yes I mean you Adam Rickitt.

Nadim - not sure its as unhealthy a move as you suggest. Some of us arent that anonymous and have indeed spent more than half our lives in the party.

Nadim, you should do both.

David Walker, for heaven's sake why all this venom against the A-Listers? It's not THEIR fault they were chosen. THEY didn't do anything wrong. THEY didn't say the membership was stupid. They just put themselves forward and we should be glad they did. The more variety there is to choose from, the better for constituencies.

What was wrong was to have central imposition. What was wrong was that head office decided it knew better than the members - and then couldn't trust themselves to increase the membership so resorted to these methods.

I wish Adam Rickitt all the best, and I wish Maude well for this latest move, even though I remain implacably opposed to A-List imposition.

Remember, Maude is giving a platform to the very force that weakened his A-List. Now that's truly modern.

Jonathan, I'm not either, anyone can get my name from my email link, and people know what association I'm a member of, but we all know that we are the minority - there are dozens of pseudomnyms and false guises on here because 'it's about ideas not personalities'. Well, I'd rather know if I'm debating with a member of the BNP, so I needn't waste my time. Healthy, open debate was good for politics. Blogging is a bit like chatrooms, and we all know what sinister people pretend to be what they're not in those, and why.

That will always be a problem. I think the positive thing announced by Tim is that if I understand correctly - those who write blogs will have access to our representatives - which is certainly a very positive step.

But Jonathan, our representatives will have no idea who they actually talking to. Their time is precious as it is, without Omar, Jagdeep and Rishi pretending to be Tom, Dick and Harry.

Or 'CCHQ spy' trying to trick someone into saying something they don't want to. There are so many dangers of MPs blogging that the statements will for the most part only ever be meaningless platitudes or bland banalities. Why would any blogger be happy with this? It's much worse than receiving a personalised response by letter.

For a start those bloggers at conference will be party members - so that will narrow that one down. When I interview an MP they know who is interviewing them and can choose what or what not to say. What is the difference between talking to someone like me who actually wants the party to do well - and say someone from Radio 4 (well apart from a few million listeners more)who may be looking for our MPs to trip up?

Bloggers row will happen anyway. The confernce will be streamed and people will blog in real time, again. Its smart for the party to draw the bloggers in as an important contituency of opinion.

I'm not anti-blogging (wouldn't be on here if I were!), I'm just puzzled that all 'real' debate was removed from Conference because it looked bad in the media, and here's FM re-introducing it through blogging. Maybe he realises the battle is lost (and that's to his credit).

I think its a great idea. Most of the blogging will be reaction to debate on the floor, and anything that encourages that is all to the good. Those that weren't there can also get more detailed feedback from those that are etc..

Conservativehome.com should feature prominently at all events, its one of the most exiting things happening to Conservatism in Britain today.

So they ban bloggers altogether - how does that work ?

Maude is bowing to the inevitable since he cannot stop the bloggers

This is certainly an interesting development and I’d be fascinated to see what end the blogging is going to be used for. We desperately need to re-model the party conferences for the twenty first century if they are to have any effective meaning. Can blogging play a part in this? I don't know.

Henry, in a US conference I went to with a "blogger's row" the bloggers (who had to be fairly established/popular) all had Media passes. They were all busy live-blogging different parts of the conference from different perspectives - it's a great way to bring what goes on to more members than can attend.

Sam agree - Im hoping for example to do daily podcasts from party conference to give many people who are unable to go a flavour of what is going on.

Nadim @ 1811:
"Why not just go back to honest and open floor debates? "

-When exactly did this happen ? I must have been in the bar.

Nadim - I have been attending Party conference since 1980 and, apart from a motion encouraging the formation of Conservative Associations in Northern Ireland (opposed by the then National Union but forced onto the Conference agenda by a procedural advice long since abandoned), I do not recall any open floor debates whatsoever.

Just imagine ..... if we had "open floor debates" the rank and file might vote for lower taxes, selective education, EU accountability, an end to positive discrimination in candidate selection, tougher asylum policies.... whatever would people think !

They are hardly going to invite people that they don't know who they are to the conference.

The party organisation will also benefit by crowding out the second hand blogging in favour of the "official bloggers". As the "official bloggers" have an incentive to not be too critical, everyone wins.

They are hardly going to invite people that they don't know who they are to the conference.

They usually invite Labour observers - now they will probably sit on the platform

Is it a blogger's "row" (rh. w/ "bough") or a blogger's "row" (rh.
w/ "know") -- I thought it just meant there would be a row of seats for trendy youngish things like me to sit with apple powerbook, tapping with right hand fingers while holding soya latte in my left?

Row (rh. w/ "know"), Graeme. Your metropolitan image is pretty close to how I imagine - a row of seats with tables and plugs.
It all helps the "conservative e-movement" as the bloggers can network and share ideas, and the punters can chat to their favourite bloggers too.

Graeme - Ive heard talk of these latte things (Im sure we have just always called them milky coffee up here) but as Chesterfield has no Costas Starbucks or the like its just a regular coffee for me! :o)

Sounds a bit 'chichi' to me Graeme.Ever thought about applying for the Alist?!

Pies and dripping sandwichs up here Graeme!! Non of this soft southerner nonsense.

Thanks guys! I'm almost sorry that it's not row rhymes with bough though. I'm sure we'll do our best!

As to the soya latte, I almost wish I could pretend it was a chichi invention, but the only thing I made up was to call myself "youngish".

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