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I am not surprised. See local by-election in Ilford North- - -
This is a solidly middle class ward in Ilford North, where the BNP were standing for the first time.

Con 1014 (39.6;-13.1),
BNP 857 (33.4;+33.4),
Lab 299 (11.7;-7.2),
LD 245 (9.6;-5.9),
Green 147 (5.7;-7.1)

Who said BNP takes mainly from Labour

If the Boy Dave persists in spurning all Tory values and ignoring the eurosceptic nature of the majority of the party he'll win NO election. Wake up Dave. You're losing your core vote in pusuing the LibDems.

Christina, well said. The only point at which I take issue is you never know: maybe his strategy will attract more non-Tory voters than the Tories he loses and the lad Dave ends up in Downing Street. The only losers will be the British public who will have the choice of three centre-left parties.

That's why this Conservative councillor (as of this month, an Independent) and party member of 21 years has left the Party and will be staying at home at the next GE.

Christine what absolute rubbish. David Cameron is still the most popular leader and the Conservatives are still in the lead in the polls.
As for the BNP what are you suggesting. We adopt there racist policies. Send all blacks and asians home. We defeat the BNP by opposing them and pointing out to the public what they are, a bunch of hate filled bigots not by agreeing with them. In fact if we did that we wouldn`defeat them we would defeat ourselves.

It's a shame Cameron proposed rather opposed plans for extending state funding of political parties too, as I feel that is one issue that will grow in awareness (giving him an edge over Blair), when presented as the parties seeking to live off the state.

Only UKIP so far has officially opposed the state funding plans, but you would surely expect a conservative party to u-turn and do the same particulary considering the overwhelming opposition to it from members here.

In Cameron's Defense:
1: the hoodie speech was very badly spun.
2: the EPP delay was unforeseeable when he made the pledge - no polls predicted such a close result in the czech election.
2: Desmond Swayne may be right in what he says but the fact that it leeked was damaging.

I don't think the problems are with cameron but in the way he is being presented. He desperately needs some PR advisors who aren't in london.

Ed - Minute by minute analysis of polls does nothing for me.

However, I'm sure you could wax lyrical on exactly how Cameron should achieve your advice, but I don't see it. The stubborness of the purists on our 'right flank' never ceases to amaze me.

Cameron knows that elections are won by capturing the central, swinging, "what's in it for me" vote, as Thatcher herself understood, and has clearly calculated that he has to sacrifice the stubborn, right fringe who are too intrasigent to accept that the Country has moved on, in order to appeal to the election winning masses in the middle.

Far from castigating Labour for its current flip floppery, the Tories should smile for the cameras and claim credit for the panic in NuLab ranks that is causing the Govt to swerve all over the road.

Keep going, Dave, and never mind the eggs you break.

MH 16.27 - Case in point!

Sam, David Cameron knew that the "Hoodie" speech would be spun. That's why he said it - to shock people, to make an impact and to make people believe that the Conservative party is now different. It was just another calculated part of his change agenda. Nothing wrong with the PR, because he achieved exactly what he wanted.

MH.IF enough people follow your advice and stay at home at the next GE you'll ensure we have another Labour government.I trust that will make you feel very proud.

Yes, Richard, but as Ralph Nader said in the US Presidential Election of 200: "The lesser of two evils is still evil". I have a perfect right to hold to my principles even if Dave doesn't have any. What the hell is the point in staying with the Conservative Party when it merely becomes a mirror image of New Labour. They then get into power and nothing changes. I rarely agree with Michael Portillo, but he may have been right in the last Sunday Times: public apathy and principle-free politics could mean the death knell of political parties. State funding certainly will.

MH. Its also called 'cutting off you nose to spite your face' - painful.

"Nothing wrong with the PR, because he achieved exactly what he wanted"

A sharp drop in his approval rating?

1: the hoodie speech was very badly spun.
Remind me: who's spinning DC's speeches? Alistair Campbell? Who gave them the job? Tony Blair? Whoever would have thought that other parties might try to put out some spin about a Tory speech eh?

2: the EPP delay was unforeseeable when he made the pledge - no polls predicted such a close result in the czech election.
The delay was very foreseeable, and was widely predicted since Christmas - you've only got to look back at this blog it's about the only thing people have been arguing about. I didn't know Tory policy was being set by the Czech people. That makes it a whole lot better, does it?

2: Desmond Swayne may be right in what he says but the fact that it leeked was damaging.
Actually, Sam, I think "3" comes after "2". Not sure I get the thinking here: is it right to be right, so long as it doesn't leak, or are leaks only damaging if they're wrong? Still looks an own goal from here however you look at it.

DC's personally had a bad month, but can still come back from it, especially if NuLab nosedive. The problems start if the only reason to vote Tory is DC personally and NuLab convince voters he's a clown. Some stunts will go well, some will be indifferent (the glacier thing was a bit naff) and some will bomb like the hoodie thing. If he gets the mix right he wins and if he doesn't he gets a visit from the men in the suits.

I really think you are wrong Richard (1645).

I despaired at Michael Howard's last campaign - all immigration and toughness but we're now in danger of a new lopsidedness.

What do you mean by stubborn, right fringe? Let's not forget that the vast majority of people always liked our policies on Europe, crime and immigration - they just weren't that keen on us. That isn't a reason to junk the underlying policies (or to neglect their importance).

I agree with you on the dangers of over-reading minute-by-minute polling but the value of the daily tracker is that it shows what events are powering the change in our ratings and the recent uplift wasn't a result of the huskies trip - it was Labour's troubles and then doing well on May 4th!

It's vital we give people positive reasons to vote Tory, too. David Cameron has the time to produce those reasons but they have to appeal to the breadth of the Conservative coalition - not just any faction of it.

Of course you do, MH.
Why is it so hard, however, to comprehend the strategy and to be patient, without throwing your toys out of the pram.

Winning the right to be heard MUST be achieved before you start saying the important things that you want them to hear.
For two decades, the Tories have been perceived as shouty, arrogant, opinionated, bullish autocrats.
Cameron is changing that.
Sure, he hasn't shown us his policy book yet - So what? That comes next. You can't say he doesn't have any policies yet. You can only say that you haven't seen any.

I had 40 or 50 of your sort who stayed at home in May's local elections and refused to vote for me despite being lifelong Tories (even told me to my face that I was soft and stupid).

I won with a 20% swing. Fancy that!

Sadly, we simply have to lose people like you in order to appeal to AND REPRESENT a wider, modern-living audience.

Malcolm, Anon. I thought you would be pleased: I am leaving your Party to you and causing no further trouble by staying in and complaining. Frankly, I see no point in voting for Cameron's Conservatives when they offer me nothing to vote for. As such, I am content with waiting and seeing whether I vote or not.

"A sharp drop in his approval rating?" - Sean Fear

Sean, David Cameron knows full well that it won't be a permanent drop of approval within the party - but amongst the wider public, the change agenda will have made ground and a distinct impression. Like I said - the "Hoodie" speech achieved exactly what it was set out to achieve.

"Sadly, we simply have to lose people like you in order to appeal to AND REPRESENT a wider, modern-living audience"

The 25% strategy?

For all those who are too impatient to wait for the policy programme, there are three people who are listening again.
Young people, people who haven't really focussed on politics before.
The only risk Cameron is taking is that he has time to complete this long term strategy before the next election is called, and the way Blair is behaving, his gamble is paying off.

Once again, you can't claim that he is ditching popular policies - he is just saying some interesting things about a range of policy areas.
He understands more than anyone that it is us the public didn't like, rather than the policies, and he has found the right way to comabt it.

Chris, this is a poll among the voters as a whole, not Conservative Party members.

His rating has fallen from +28% to +12%, which is not particularly encouraging.

Sean, the speech may have a short-term impact on his rating, but what I am trying to say is that in the long term, the public will believe the party has changed and the ratings will go up again. I don't think I worded my last post particularly well.

I agree with watchdog, especially since he/she did such a good job of demolishing my last post. (with the eception of the czech election, a 5% lead on the morning of election day is not close)

The point I was trying to make is that he needs PR from people who don't live and think entirely inside the westminster bubble. - The education bill for an example Inside "westminster" we voted for the bill and against the motion to rush it through the house. Outside the bubble, we just voted for and against the same thing. It took the edge off what should have been a crushing victory.

There's a bit of confusion here. Opposition to the EU has nothing to do with being left or right, it's to do with believing that we should govern our own country. Once that's accepted as common ground, there can be widely divergent views on what policies which the government should then adopt. See the railway letters in the Guardian today - the third is from "Brian Denny Trade Unionists Against the EU Constitution". Putting it another way, when we leave the EU, as we will, "normal politics can be resumed", but until then the EU is the over-arching issue.

Cameron may get a few backs up for a time and strain loyalties over hugging hoodies, but the betrayal over the EPP is different - that's made him enemies.

The EPP thing can be excused possibly, but Hague threatening Helmer Hannan and the rest with deselection for speaking openly about the issue of corruption is criminal. I am finding it far harder to support Cameron after seeing this piece of cowardice.

No surprise there. With no real policy on anything, abandonment of those few issues which made us different from Blair, and an increasingly personality-based appeal, all he had to prop this up was his aura of honesty and "new-broom-ness". The EPP betrayal showed he is just another empty promising politician, and it showed he prefers supporting the old tired EU-establishment to the radical modern re-invigoration of the EU which leaving the EU would have signalled. Bye bye Dave, we're wise to you now.

We adopt there racist policies.

So Jack Stone you think the BNP has policies ? That is an interesting observation..........does the Conservative Party ?

I can entirely empathise with MH's position. Someone who has worked for the Party for over 20 years (through some really tough times) and who now feels let down by someone with little to say on policy and such as there is sounding distinctly over-liberal.

That said, it is still early days. The government is doing a good job at imploding. We are taking our time formulating policy. At some stage we will have (must have) specific policy commitments and I think we could (in fact should) afford to be somewhat radical in some of these to present an effective alternative.

Yes we need as a Party to sound less 'preachy' but as the Editor said, there is actually a lot of support for a lot of the policies we have announced in the past.

To be honest, as things stand I have to say I'm not totally convinced by Project Cameron and have serious doubts about some of the overly PC things he is saying; but it has to be said that by sounding more reasonable and even liberal, this does have the effect of making news in itself and helps neutralise the Lib Dems (who let's face it, have taken votes off us for years where they shouldn't have).

I'm prepared to give him time. It's madness to alienate huge sections of support and I hope and believe that Cameron will realise this (if he doesn't already) in time. Fingers crossed!

Plus I agree, he could do with having more advisers based outside London (and the South).

The BNP version of racist is more subtle than Jack Stone thinks. They claim that the racism is the result of positive discrimination against the indigenous population based on Political Correctness.

I find BNP writing a bit sinister on occasions in its implications and its lack of inclusiveness, but it is intelligently argued and far from being blatant racism against coloured people.

They are now targeting UKIP supporters and claim to be the 'new' BNP projecting a more respectable image. Accordingly they were able to pull votes from all parties in Ilford/Redbridge including Conservative.

They are not proposing a bid for power at Westminster which they see as irrelevant, but they are going to fight the European elections in 2009, and build position in all the regions.

I can imagine many Conservatives preferring to send BNP MEP's to the Euro Parliament rather than Kirkhope-clones, now our own eurosceptic MEP's have been knifed in the back. Unless we get our act together and select a good crew of eurosceptics, BNP will pose strong competition.

Individual polls or trackers shouldn't be taken out of context. It's the trend that's important and whilst the Cameron trend here is disappointing the wider picture is more encouraging - solid if not winning poll lead and the Lib Dems and Labour flatlining.

There are dangers for the Tories in this period though. This policy development period is being used by their opponents to portray the party as devoid of policy and/or flip flopping but also has allowed the Lib Dem to fill the void left by the Tories on economic matters. Note todays further Lib Dem news on tax cuts.

So all to play for .... not doom and gloom but not Tory milk and honey either.

I find it highly unlikely that "Hug and hoodie" has made his polls slide, I just think his Honeymoon may be over.

This poll is veing badly spun by DC haters, one poll, showing DC has a huge favourite does not make him a failure.

I hope that David Cameron's policy makers are keeping an eye on the opposition, when thinking of the floating voters.

Labour's troubles on various fronts the last few weeks have been monumental, and as yet they haven't found any answers. More increases in child rape and other crimes on children have come out in the media today. So Mr. Reid has been out and about, been interviewed, and visibly lost for words for a nano-moment, by a quiet question put by the ITV reporter, and then he answers the question quite bravely I thought.

To get back to DC and his advisors, while undoubtedly conservatives need a wider appeal, if everybody or even a majority of people in the country are made aware of the need for better crime control, this will also affect both youth and the floating voter, so we have had talk of more prisons already in the last few days, we are surely going to see a lot more of Mr. Reid in the coming days and lots of APPARENT movement on changing sentences, and tightening up generally. Then I would be prepared to bet that gentle appeals to youth and floaters, will be lost with the summer haze that has turned to harsher more down-to-earth autumn.

And guess which opportunist will be ahead then!!

Steve, at 18:46 you said, "Yes we need as a Party to sound less 'preachy' but as the Editor said, there is actually a lot of support for a lot of the policies we have announced in the past."

If there is a lot of support for our policies, why were we thrashed at the next General Election?

I agree with Patsy that John Reid has been a consumate politician in recent days, deploying the strategy of accepting fault (thouh not personally), distancing himself from any bad news for months by re-organising and changing specific policies that have driven headlines.

DC & Shadow Cabinet have not been as good. There was no big fight back against the hug a hoodie spin - though the mix of social justice and criminal justice he presented in his to speeches was strong compassionate conservatism. We had the EVoEL farago where Duncan spun it as anti-Scots so it was clamped down on and then further weakened over leaks that Ulster MPs would still have vote on English matters. Bill of Rights suggested but no follow through or defence to Ken Clarkes embarassing intervention.

I am quite willing to wait for thought out strategy (and in view of above ill thought out indications we need time to really go through these) but also expect the party to respond to events. The Government has been close to meltdown and the Cameron Project still seems to be following a game plan set out in December.

Blair, like Clinton, seems still to have teflon left. His party operation is still professional. We saw signs in last PMQs that there was the beginning of a realisation that to cement our position we needed to get tough with the government - this doesn't mean we need to provide policies in detail but we can oppose, we can attack, we can make them squirm.

Jack Stone - You really are impossible. I give you factual results of an election where the BNP come from nowhere with about 40% of their votes coming from the Tories. And what do you say? You pooh-pooh the whole thing

People - not just Conservatives - are fed to the back teeth with being ignored. The BNP are listening and responding and they will grow in strength until - in the Conservative case - the Boy Dave LISTENS ANSD ACTS.

63% of Conservatives want -Out of the EU - {poll this week}; they also want lower taxes (we might not be able to get them but at least we should say we want them}; they are fed up with immigrants being given special treatment and priority.

I won't vote for a Cameron-led party unless he's the one leopard that CAN change his spots. I am sick of being betrayed and now by my chosen party.

First of all there are three years to go and a change of PM before the next GE, all these polls are academic.

There is cause for worry for the Conservative party, they should be doing much better! Nine years into a Labour government, and on their 5th party leader since TB took over the Labour Party, about to pass a landmark, the longest period in opposition in 200 years, something aint' right.

The Hoodie thing did hit DC hard, try asking a Tory supporting, Daily Mail reading voter, about it, watch their reaction, embarrassment, eyes glassing over etc. The Hitchens/Heffer reaction to that speech is all you need to know.

What a load of old tosh!

Which principles have been betrayed?

Membership of the EU? Can't be that, the Tories have wanted Britain to be part of the EU ever since Macmillan.

Perhap's it's European integration? Nope. Cameron's announced he wants Britain to focus on getting out of EU employment law.

Support for the family? No, Cameron wants tax relief for couples with children to help with childcare.

Law & Order? Cameron wants to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace with a British Bill of Rights.

Fiscal discipline? No. Cameron is more of a deficit hawk than the Tory right.

Education? Cameron backed the return of grant-maintained schools.

Environment? Cameron may be more green, but Tories invented the greenbelt, the fuel escalator and signed Kyoto.

So, what are people complaining about? Tory popularity?

We are complaining because no one on the Right of the Party believes a word of what Dave says. In this respect the EPP betrayal was critical. We have sat through Blair's government and seen the disappointment and discomfort of Labour activists as they realise that they have laboured 18 yrs in the wilderness for a government they cannot believe in; that does nothing that they want; that is merely an ego trip for one man and a gravy train for 100 of his closest friends. We have the distinct impression that the next government is going to be the same play with a different cast. If you are a Conservative activist it is better to have labour policies enacted by Labour people than by Conservatives. Conservative government and Labour measures benefits only a few people in Notting Hill

The A list is a further betrayal of the party's activists. By purging the candidate's list he is saying that hundreds of activists have no possibility of office. They never did, of course but they always had hope. And now they don't. Psychologically, its about as inept as it gets.

Why would one work for a Party which spurns your efforts and which you strongly suspect setting itself up to betray you as soon as your efforts put it in office.

If Dave's old Etonian charm is so compelling, If the electorate is so stupid that they fall for charm alone a second time, then he will become PM without our efforts. But we don't have to respect him.

Adam seems to inhabit a parallel universe! - Amen to Jonathan's piece

==Adam -"Which principles have been betrayed?"

1. The Tories have always been sceptical of the EEC and the EU. It's the damned leaders like Major, Howe, Hurd, Heseltine and Clarke who sold us out. A majority of Tory voters want us out of the EU. But NOT our leaders - oh no!

2. Individual liberty has been sold down the river too

3. Low Taxation which WAS better under the Conservatives is not even a target now.

4. "Tories invented - - - the fuel escalator and signed Kyoto."

5. "Tory popularity? . Sliding fast in the main polls and in today's. With Labour is such enormous disarray there should be AT LEAST at 10% Tory lead. Bah!

Let's assume that Dave's not bad. and we can work with him. but he's got Hague on one side and David Davis on the other. He's getting sensible emails from Dessie (Swayne) telling him common sense, but he's a step removed from the inner circle.

If Hague was replaced with someone able to take a decision, and not just cave in to whoever threatens to kick his arse the hardest, Dave might have more of a chance.

For God's sake, do we really want to elect BNP MEP's? No, we don't Christina Spite. We want Helmers by the 100, Hannans and Van Ordens. With Hague blocking the Party, we are shit. If we could get Hague binned and Dessie Swayne in his place, we'd be on a roll. Come on, Dave. Do the necessary.

Jonathan it's not just you, voters like me to who feel the same as to were the Conservatives are heading right now and it don't fill me with promise either as a voting choice!, ten years of Blair has been ten years to long, but I am damned if I'm going to elect in to power another cloned version of it!

We defeat the BNP by opposing them and pointing out to the public what they are, a bunch of hate filled bigots not by agreeing with them.

I think this is the wrong way to go about it. People vote for them because they are sick of mainstream parties, despite knowing that they are dodgy. Telling people that the BNP is racist is about as effective as telling them that Socialist Workers are left wing.

The BNP is only a threat at local elections. However, in general, BNP councillors are completely incompetent and fail to live up to their promises. That is the message we should send out. In other elections we should completely ignore them.

Jumping up and down and shouting racist, strengthens the BNP's self described "Party that dares to be different" image.

CDM at 20.07:

If there is a lot of support for our policies, why were we thrashed at the next General Election?

I assume you mean last election unless that was a Freudian slip?!

At any rate, it was prtty clear, again as the Editor noted, that on a range of policies last time around (crime, immigration, Europe etc) we had appeal. The problem is that we fixated on these policies almost to the exclusion of all others and there was still a significant residual concern about "Tory arrogance" "Nasty Tories" etc etc.

We shouldn't just abandon every policy we've ever committed to before in the naive belief that the electorate opposed every one.

As I say, I'm more than prepared to give Cameron time and hope that he appreciates the broad church (horrible cliche but true) that is the Conservative Party. Naturally, we need to appeal to new voters and non-voters, but we can't also ignore the core. There are too many other places for them to drift (UKIP, BNP etc etc).

In 2001 the Tory fixation with "Europe" mainly consisted of Hague saying "Only X days to save the pound", when everybody and his dog knew that there would have to be a separate referendum before we scrapped the pound. It didn't extend to any critique of the Nice Treaty, which was ratified after the election. At the time I assumed that Hague had been poorly advised; now I'm more inclined to think that he knew exactly what he was doing.

So christian you would vote for the BNP if they said they would withraw us from the EU but ignore the fact they would also deport all non-white citizens out of the country and turn us into a South African type apartheid country.
I suspect if you were around in Hitlers day you would support Hitler if he said he would withdraw the country from the EU but conviently ignore the fact that he would also exterminate the entire jewish race.
The BNP are our modern day eqvalient of the Nazi Party. The sooner you learn that fact the better because what you are saying at present you should be ashamed of yourself.

Jack, I really don't believe a single contributor has suggested either voting for BNP, merging with them or in any other way supporting their policies. What concerns us is that, in the absence of any firm policy commitments from DC - not only on immigration, but also on Europe and housing - we are losing voters to them.
I agree that they are unlikely to be a real problem at the next GE but we should have a party that has sound and defensible policies on Europe (I am not convinced, Ed, that our policies on Europe had such great appeal last time), immigration and housing, so that voters will decide in favour of the mainstream party, not BNP.

I have to say that there are some very smart people on here. Can I just say that maybe project Dave will work, but it's just not for me. I was elected 10 years ago for a LibDem ward that had not seen a Tory councillor for 30 years. What saddens me is that I know that the people that I represent (a large council estate in the UK's second wealthiest town) want a decent, principled Government that does not leave them behind - not a clone of New Labour. Becoming an Independent this month was a very hard decision, but it was the only one I could take to be true to my conscience.

I find it extremely sad that MH has felt it necessary to do what he has but I do understand it.

For someone to say, as earlier, that "sadly, we need to lose people like MH" is breathtaking in its arrogance.

People like MH (MANY people) have worked hard for years for the party at grassroots level - in many cases keeping things afloat. When such workers feel the need to resign or step back from their support, we need to question why.

I doubt anyone on here objects to the need to connect with voters (old and new) but we need people on the ground to allow it to happen. We are a broad church and we all need to remember that.

At the risk of appearing as the Editor's groupie, he's spot on when he says: Protect your right flank whilst appealing to the centre ground!

Don't get wound up by Jack Stone, he's trolling around as usual.

Jonathan's post at 22.38 yesterday evening says it all. Perhaps the Richard Baileys of this world should remember that some of us are sufficiently ambitious for our country and our fellow citizens that we think politics should be about more than which political crime family grabs the spoils of office.

But the ICM poll for the BBC said that 41% thought he had the qualities to be prime minister, with brown on 37%, So its not all bad, we got a long summer to go through yet and Prescott is going to be in charge for some of it!!!!!

Jack Stone. The modern day equivalent of the Nazi Party? Take a look in the mirror sometime....

Oh dear. I had thought people might come back with examples of the great betrayals of Conservative principles. Only Christina's had a go, and that wasn't particularly great, as she manages to conveniently forget that Conservatives didn't start wanting to members of the EU/EC/EEC in 1990, they've been in favour ever since the thing was invented. It was Margaret Thatcher don't forget who enacted the Single Market.

No idea what selling individual liberty down the river means when Cameron wants his British Bill of Rights. Perhaps Christina objects to all the anti-terror legislation? Who knows?

As for tax - not stoking inflation has always been the priority. Hence in the early 80s spending was slashed while taxes remained high, and in the early 90s taxes were raised to stop the economy overheating (paving the way for the golden legacy of 97). That said, Cameron seems to want cut business taxes and wants government to take a smaller slice of economic pie. But hey, why let the truth get in the way of a good rant?

Amusingly your objection on the environment seems to be that Cameron hasn't betrayed what's been part of Conservatism for over 20 years. Bizarre.

Adam, I thin you are in danger of junking truth for a good rant. Taxes were raised in the early 1990's because spending was out of control and the PSBR was snowballing, not to curb inflation. In fact inflation had already nosedived because of our ill-fated membership of the ERM (supported of course by Clarke and Heseltine, who then set up Norman Lamont as the fall guy when it all went pear-shaped). Tax has little to do with managing inflation because tax rises are a very blunt instrument for curbing inflation. The key weapon in controlling inflation now, as then, is interest rates. If taxes were cut, any inflationary surge could be contained via interest rates. Not that there would necessarily be such a surge.

Your history is so partial.
The Conservative Party has proabbly never been in favour of the EU. It might be said that it was in favour of the Common Market in the 60s but that was a very different organisation. Ever since the EU arrived the Conservative grass roots have been firmly opposed. A few quislings in the Cabinet don't constitute a popular vote - not even of the Cabinet. In fairness to Lady T., I think even she would now accept that the Single Market Act was a cock up of unintended consequences.
A bill of rights doesn't constitute Liberty. Englishmen have never had to have their rights codified because they had a right to do anything that wasnt forbidden. That is now changing to the continental model. A Bill of rights is a diminution of freedom and a payday for lawyers and chancers.
Not stoking inflation is so last century. In the new global economy low taxes are what will make people work and invest in England. Clarke's tax rises didnt lead to the golden legacy of 1997 - they lead to the poisonous legacy of blair's government. What gave us the golden legacy was a 5 yrs of a low pound and low interest rates after breaking free fromm the ERM and the preceding Lawson shadowing.

If Cameron is keen on green why has he made no comment about the centralisation of the planning process under Prescott and Livingstone.

Cameron can't betray us because he has no power. What we need to work out is whether it's going to be worth working to give him any.

Michael, why do people worry so much about a PSBR? Because it stokes inflation.

Jonathan, if no Conservative government or leadership has ever contemplated withdrawal, does that not suggest that EU withdrawal (putting to one side whether it's a good idea or not) is not a Conservative principle which you can betray?

As for the codified rights issue, you're talking as if the ECHR had only come about under Blair. It hadn't. We'd signed up to it decades ago.

Oh, and thankyou the casual indifference to inflation and interest rates that seem to characterise the hardline taxcutters in the party. I doubt I could have done it better.

The Conservative principle that is sacrosanct for me and open to betrayal is that Britain is a sovereign nation, which must determine its own laws and destiny. As the EU evolves into a nation the threat it poses changes and the time comes when withdrawal must be considered an option. The thing is a spectrum. There is no on/off answer to the problem. Absolutely no one minds a common market, only Clarke, Heseltine and Gummer want a nation, the USE. Everyone else is somewhere in between.

Again, the ECHR was a woolly piety, which could make almost anyone feel warm, self-righteous and better than the Soviets. As it has gradually been interpreted by the Courts, it has become a vicious attack on middle England and all it stands for - so much so that even Cherie Blair's husband has begun to gag at it. Somewhere along this descent into madness it is time to call a halt.

I care deeply about interest rates. Using them to joust at windmill's of inflation is a sure way to finally undermine the industrial base of this country - such as we have left. Inflation is the wrong target for the Bank of England. It should set interest rates to produce a real increase in GNP i.e at constant prices. I have never understood how the bank is allowed to make interest rate pronouncements that are openly aimed at the Housing market when its given measure of inflation expressly excludes house prices.

Margaret Thatchcher was fully in favour of the EU for most of the time she was in frontline politics. She campaigned for the yes camp in the referendum and more powers were transfered to Brussels while she was in power then have ever been since.
These are facts that the right-wingers just don`t like to remember.

Jack, that was 1975. There have been a few changes to the EU and our relationship with it since then. Remember love Europe - hate the EU.

P.S You keep using this term 'the right wingers'. How exactly would you describe yourself bearing in mind this is a centre right party?

The A list is a further betrayal of the party's activists. By purging the candidate's list he is saying that hundreds of activists have no possibility of office. They never did, of course but they always had hope.

The Candidates' List has not been "purged", to the best of my belief - people were asked to re-apply after the last election. In fact, I think the wider list needed sorting out a bit, I was getting one or two anecdotes about variability in quality, so this was probably wise.

Regarding having "no possibility of office" (not true), Jonathan's assertion that this is all that motivates our activists is manifestly false. I am presently seeking no elected office (despite regular arm-twisting from colleagues!) but am proud to work hard for the Party as a campaigner and stick to what I'm good at. Even in this cynical age, I can't be alone, surely?

Jonathan at 23.54: "I care deeply about interest rates". I think this is an important point that needs ammplification.
As you suggest, Jonathan, there is a problem with the Bank controlling inflation through manipulation of interest rates.
Would you not agree that (i) in an ideal world, we need at least three different interest rates in this country (a) a low one for manufacturing, (b) one in the middle for most things and (c) a higher one for property to keep house inflation within reasonable bounds?
If you agree that, you would probably also agree that it is an economic nonsense to believe that one single interest rate in the EU can possibly control or harmonise the rate of inflation in 25 very disparate countries satisfactorily.

The A list is a purging of the candidates list or it has no purpose. It is sorting candidates into those CCHQ will back and those it wont. Of course one can still stand for Don Valley or Peckham but one's chances of something in Berkshire are officially zero. That is demotivating for several hundred of the Party's former keenest activists - those who would travel to Birmingham or GENEVA for mutual aid - playing the game for a whiff of a chance of glory. Call me cynical but I dont think that not having Adam Rickets six pack should disqualify from a chance of office and I don't much fancy continuing to work for anyone who does.


I think we should not attempt to set interest rates but let people borrow money on the money market.

As to the EU and the Euro, you are mistaking me for someone who cares. I am for getting out.

Jonathan, I am against the single interest rate for all 25 EU countries, not for it. But although I am not in favour of the EU as it now is (having agreed with its founding principles of avoiding WW3 and the common market), I favour a determined effort first of all from within to try and cut down on the bureaucracy and corruption. If that fails (and I think it would), then I would go along with you.

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