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Mmmm, despite your glowing appraisal of Desmonds 'advice' Ed, I'm not so sure. SO... in the spirit of blog, here is the alternative view, albeit rather blunt:

1. The fact that the Right Wing press are up in arms about 'Hug-a-Hoodie' is a good thing. Camerons inner circle is deliberately excluding the small but very vocal set of activists etc. that lose us election after election. There is a big difference between policy and what Cameron is doing wrt media events, and we should be applauding the skill he employs here, not critisising it.

2. The EPP is not in my view a trust buster, and CHs poll contained a loaded question which distorts the issue. Our polls, we have to realise, are bombarded with responses by partisan persons, therefore issues such as this, esp, wrt internet polling are extremely dubious.

3. Many of our backbench MPs are doing a great job, reinvigourated by Cameron they are actively pursuing a get inot power agenda. Some others are cruising and treat politics as more of a spectator sport, we should not pander to them.

There, Ive said it. By the way, morning everyone!

ps, TIM was on the Today program this morning, talking about #2 above!

Well done Tim.

Oberon, a brave and controversial post so early in the morning. However, you are wrong on every point. I didn't vote for Dave C., so I do not feel betrayed as we are getting pretty much what I expected. True, the full frontal assault on Conservative values and traditions is more brutal than I was anticipating, but the concern I have is more about management competence. I thought that the Cameroons would be more effective, but there does seem to be an inner circle comprising London metropolitan types who wouldn't know the views of the genuine average voter if it hit them in the face. The leaking of these e-mails, the on-the-hoof policies and ludicrous announcements smack of incompetence and no little arrogance.

Still, I do agree with you on one point. The army of Right wing activists and councillors such as myself could lose the Conservative Party the next election. We shall probably all stay at home.

According to DS Edward Leigh considers DC to be the anti-Christ! Not sure Cornerstone should be using that type of language.

Surely the real issue is who is leaking these emails. Is it being done deliberately?

Oberon,I would agree with you that the EPP is not a particularly important issue in itself but I would vehemently disagree that its imprtance is not a 'trust buster'.After all,it is about the only concrete promise DC has made on anything.I fear that if he doesn't keep it he will not only be slaughtered by 'the small but very vocal set of activists' (who after all do a lot of the work for the Conservative party) but also by our friends in the media who can and will influence our party at large.
Even after all these ugly rumours I hope DC finds the courage to deliver on his pledge.

John Hayes was entitled to write openly to Cameron as the Cornerstoners, of which he is Chairman were being attacked publicly by Maude.

It sounds a bit worrying about Cameron becoming 'frazzled'. I had heard of a personal report that he looks very stressed. It is one of the problems of having a young leader. People under 50 usually haven't learned to let things wash over them, let alone under 40.

If Cameron had good advisers around him, he might be better off stress-wise, but with Hague making speeches about a barmy free trade area of the EU and NAFTA, Maude's ego rushing around the place, Osborne keen as mustard but lacking years, and with common-sense Fox pushed to the sidelines, there is no rock-like character to help him.

Swayne sounds like a voice of common sense, but is one step removed from Cameron.

When did Francis Maude publicly attack Cornerstone, William? I don't remember that.

It's a pity Desmond Swayne isn't our leader: his feet seem more steadily on the ground and aware of realities than Cameron's... Let's hope and pray that DC heeds his advice.

Excellent comments in regards to John.

When John was shadow housing minister he probably constructed one of the most sensible set of policies we've had towards housing in years.

Not only is John a rigerous campaigner (I should know as he helped me during my campaign) but he's one of the most approachable and most likeable MP's we have.

To echo the words of Tim - Swayney was quite correct to advise against sacking John.

Malcolm, wise words, as ever.....

Why are people always quick to brand those who are for a tough criminal justice policy as being "right wing"? On justice there are two sides: authoritarians and liberals. Cameron is moving towards the latter in order to appease some of the more liberal middle class which is a potentially risky strategy. The vast bulk of the population are on the latter. Mr Cameron might be winning over the Ms Guardian-reader but is losing Mr Sun-reader.

The outbreak of leaks and whinging that appears to be going on is to be expected, it seems to be emanating from the section of the party that cannot accept that we need to shift our position slightly in areas to pick up the votes to win. It seems that certain people were complaining prior to DC that we were behind in the polls, now that we are ahead in the polls various people complain that we are not staying true to a set of values that were bolted on to the party about 30 years ago. Certain people need to work out which they want, victory or ideological purity. I'd go for the former every single time!

I would just go for an effective government which serves ordinary people, not just the political elite.

I received a glossy brochure from the conservatives inviting me to become a "party patron" (ie pay some cash). What was particularly amusing is that the brochure contains a large quote from David Cameron pledging to bring in a more democratic style of leadership to end the "presidential style" of Blair.

That brought a smile to my face.

James,I read your posts with interest.We are not seeking to shift any position but merely thinking to keep DC to a promise he made to enable him to become our leader.Surely keeping a promise is a 'value' should be timeless and is as true today as it was '30 years ago'.
As regards the polls ,I'm delighted that we are ahead and am also delighted that David Cameron appears to be popular with the electorate.Do you really think that DCs popularity will continue if he breaks his promises? I don't.

I agree Malcolm. Those poll results in the Times were very interesting today.

David Cameron is clearly popular, but the two major challenges he faces (based on the misgivings reported in the Times today) are:

* Convincing people that the party itself has changed too.
* Convincing people that Cameron himself is genuine about this change.

There is still a lot of work to do on the first because clearly the party and Cameron's views are not (yet) in step (see the leaked email showing the party to be pro nuclear then contrast this with Cameron's 'last resort' approach) and the second is up to Cameron, to show he can be trusted.

Breaking a clear pledge would be disastrous.

Malcolm, I'm not so sure that renegading on the EPP pledge is a trust issue. As always with politics, positions change and so do views. To hang Cameron on this is possibly creating trouble for him when he has lots on his plate already.

Generally speaking the guy has a huge amount to cope with and many party members seem to spend more time shouting and undermining him than supporting him. No leader can be all thing to all people all the time, but to deliberately up the anti on this issue, I feel smells like indulgence. I don't actually have a strong view on EPP, so therefore my ambivalence to the issue is understandable, but I hope that if there was a single issue I did feel strongly about that didn't go my way that I could remain consistent and take the pragmatic big picture view. Lets see. Interesting discussion though!

Conservative activist and PA to one of the best M.P.s in the country.

Cameron is moving towards the latter in order to appease some of the more liberal middle class which is a potentially risky strategy.

Sean, I wouldn't say that talking about the causes of crime equals softening. The difference between David Cameron's "hoodies" speech and Tony Blair's "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime" was that, while Tony Blair identified the problem, his policies have failed to deliver and made matters worse. Cameron approach of empowering and trusting the "third sector" has a far better chance.

Sorry re previous stuff but on learning curve here.
Just wanted to say I would council caution to DC et al re the inclusive "Hug a hoody approach" because out on the street it really doesn't win us that many votes. I'm sorry but if you went out into Romford market,Clacton and many other places with a commonsense outlook on life they would give you short shrift.
What I am trying to say in my rather unsophisticated way is people like Andrew(Rosindell) and Douglas(Carswell) get it right at elections because they listen to the people out on the street. We would be wise to emulate them.

Michael McGowan | July 12, 2006 at 11:27: "I would just go for an effective government which serves ordinary people, not just the political elite".
That is devoutly to be wished but - practical - policies have to arise from all the ideas DC throws out an a daily basis.
But as MH said at 09.19: "The leaking of these e-mails, the on-the-hoof policies and ludicrous announcements smack of incompetence and no little arrogance".
DC will soon begin to lose credibility if these issues are not addressed fast.
We have pointed out that he needs a very good chief of staff and things must be thought through before they are aired in public.

Not Maude. My memory wrong again, but a former Conservative MP apparently wrote in harsh terms against the Cornerstoners in the Times, in support of Francis Maude.

A quick internet search didn't find it, and John Hayes is not in his office for a comment.

Hayes' letter was a considered opinion and supportive of the A-List, but he spoke of the dangers of parachuting in untested candidates, and he also very correctly pointed out the need to pick candidates early.

It was only the phrase 'posers of London's chi-chi set' which according to Swayne got a few upper lips trembling at Westminster - hardly the substance of John Hayes' letter.

As usual John Hayes' contribution was well thought through, and his advice noted.

Swayne sounds very common sense in amongst all the fur flying. Can Cameron use him a bit more?

Oberon wrote:
"As always with politics, positions change and so do views. "

If the government breaks a manifesto pledge, and Cameron has broken his leadership pledge, he will be compromised, and will not be able to hold the government to account.

He might try, but they'll be able to throw exactly what you have said back at Cameron; "things change".

Result? Manifestos no longer mean a thing. Complete trust breakdown. Of course it is an issue of trust. It was a leadership pledge, not a throwaway opinion.

Nice idea to use Swayne more, although I am sure Dave's inner circle will ban him as a white, middle class heterosexual from appearing public.

Link: HERE
"David Cameron will tomorrow call on politicians to stop making "incredible promises" that the public do not believe they will keep.

The Tory leader will warn that trust in politics is "draining away" and there has been a "progressive and debilitating alienation" of people from politics. Most voters think politicians are "all the same" and "break promises", he will say.

MH, you describe D Swayne as a heterosexual. What information on his sex life is there?


the failure to consult beyond the 'Notting Hill Gated Community' produced the 'hug-a-hoodie' idea."

"Hug a hoodie" must be one of the most successful Labour sound-bites of recent years. A perfectly sensible speech about how to "get to grips with the causes of crime.

Family breakdown, drugs, children in care, educational underachievement - these provide the backdrop to too many lives and can become the seed bed of crime...

...The Bluewater shopping centre banned them, and the Prime Minister said he backed the ban.

I actually think it's quite right for politicians to debate these matters.

But debating the symptoms rather than the causes won't get us very far.

Because the fact is that the hoodie is a response to a problem, not a problem in itself."

Has been turned into a laughing stock and PR disaster by that one phrase by Tony McNulty. Now even websites like this one appear to repeat it as if it were the actual policy (or even a real Cameron quote).

Read the bloody speech:

And while i'm in an irritable frame of mind:


"True, the full frontal assault on Conservative values and traditions is more brutal than I was anticipating"

Examples please.

Adherence to capitalism, patriotism, tradition, family, monarchy, law & order, free markets, all seem to be intact to me. Even moderate tax cuts (sharing proceeds of growth between public services and TAX CUTS). Unless you environmentalism is dangerously anti-conservative?


Surely the fault was clearly Cameron's for framing hoodies as a symbol of family breakdown (referencing the Bluewater ban) when they are simply the uniform of today's youth.

Cameron made the hoodie link, but you are right, Labour framed it perfectly and so much more effective than their last attempt.

Have a look at Iain Dales blog which reproduces the entire speech.Seems good sense to me.Not impressed by our spin machine 'though.Why not in future just deliver speeches with no spin at all beforehand and see what happens.We are after all seeking to portray the Conservative party as an alternative government rather than worrying about newspaper headlines.Perhaps I'm being naive (again).

Jon - not sure what Cameroonian glue you havebeen sniffing. Let's see where we start. Free markets: criticisms of big business, consumer choice (Terry's chocolate oranges) and the lack of an explicit recignition that the only wealth generated is by private sector individuals and companies. Education: grammar schools out (we feel strongly about that in Kent). Tax cuts: hmmm, why not just admit that we are overtaxed anyway, that some should be removed (IHT, CGT) as a matter of moral principle. The A List: let's remove local democracy, introduce a politically correct list of metropolitan people who simply tick boxes. And on law and order from 'flog 'em to snog 'em. He has cost the Party my vote, which as a serving Councillor and member of 20 years is a dreadful shame.

I thought Cameron and his accolytes if initially policy light were nevertheless meant to be clever communicators. Now his defenders are claiming his message is the victim of counter spin or (even worse?) people are no listening to him or reading his speech. Perhaps they are not such good communicators after; but the maybe hey have nothing to worth communicating.

Apologies for my typing. Last line should of course have read "Perhaps they are not such good communicators after all; but then maybe they have nothing worth communicating."

The Guardian has sanitised Dessie Swayne's robust advice in a culpable way. They report him, in relation to John Hayes, as saying:

"I hope the colonels will be taking a stroll over to him shortly, if they have not already done so."

He proposed nothing so anaemic. In fact he said "I hope the colonels will be taking a stroll OVER HIM".

As an occasional traditionalist, I am delighted that the Whips are being urged to return to tried and trusted methods. As a friend of John Hayes and co-Lincolnshire resident, I hope he survives.

There are two colonels in the parliamentary party, I believe - Mates & Mercer. Neither is a lightweight. Although Dessie may have been referring to the Chief Whip of course. He is not a lightweight either. And as a Derbyshire man he will have a stout pair of hiking boots for going strolling.

A more serious contribution on "hugging hoodies" - a phrase which we are definitely stuck with. We need to make it work for us not against us.

1) DC emphasised the importance of bringing love to unloved and loveless lives. How do we do that? He seemed only to focus on the voluntary sector. But, as we now all know by now, we are all in it together. Schools have a role too.

I have had the fortune to visit Greig City Academy several times recently. Twice in the company of a teacher who knew it in its previous incarnation before it became an Academy. He said that then it was the only school in which he had ever felt physically frightened. But now it has changed. The school is an inspirational place. It is founded on the values of love and mutual respect that stem from its Christian ethos & the pupils there are responding to that. Measured by the value added tables, it is amongst the top schools in the country. Two of its school teams are national basketball champions.

Loving, stable familes have a role as well & the most vital of all. DC knows this, & has said so in the past. If he wants to get serious about "big love" he now needs to get serious about family & marriage. Hoodies need home hugs.

The evidence is now so overwhelming that any politician who does not take family & marriage policy seriously cannot be said to take social justice issues seriously either.

2) Alice Thompson was on to something in today's Telegraph when she made the point that most people wear a hoodie some of the time. I certainly do - & so do my children. Time for some hoodie solidarity - Ed why don't you set up a website which we can all post pictures of our hoodie-wearing selves on?

I confess to buying a hooded top twenty odd years ago to keep the sun off my head in the Maldives. I threw it away recently and will not be replacing it the more so after reading the link above to the Mail.

"Free markets: criticisms of big business, consumer choice (Terry's chocolate oranges)"

So what? Criticisng the placement of cocolate oranges is a "Brutal assualt on conservative values"? You've never criticised a company in your life? He did not suggest that the govt should regulate chocolate orange placement, or ban chocolate, or that chocolate manufacurers and newsagents should be state-run, or anything remotely socialist, or anything other than the free market. In you want a more valid criticism, you could say it was empty PR babble.

"Education: grammar schools out (we feel strongly about that in Kent)."

Yes, a bad policy with which I disagree. But not an assualt on conservative values (what value would it be exactly?). And I must've missed the massive Grammar school building programme under Thatcher and Major! Grammar schools are not a prerequisite of conservatism

"Tax cuts: hmmm, why not just admit that we are overtaxed anyway"

He has, repatedly. Normally when attacking Gordon Brown.

"that some should be removed (IHT, CGT) as a matter of moral principle."

A) Its got nothing to do with morals, its about practicalities. Low taxes = stronger economy. B) Lets wait and see what the policy groups come back with and what DC adopts as policy. Lets not slash our wrists in despair when we dont know what the policy is yet.

"The A List: let's remove local democracy, introduce a politically correct list of metropolitan people who simply tick boxes."

Except associations can still choose non-A listers if they want. And most A listers are not like that anyway. The previous system obviously didn't provide many women MPs.

"And on law and order from 'flog 'em to snog 'em."

Which he didn't say, try reading his speech I linked to above.

In fact, there are several policies on which i disagree with Cameron, but what I object to in your comment is the sheer hyperbolic melodrama of saying he has lead a "Brutal assualt on conservative values" just because he doesn't agree with you on policy details and tone. Conservatism is a broad church. Charles de Gaulle was in favour of large state (and presumably the taxes to pay for it) but was still a conservative. Churchill accepted the Atlee welfare state. Thatcher introduced several rights for prisoners and suspects that ended the kind of police behaviour shown in "Life on Mars" and was probably criticised as soft on criminals by people like yourself. Major introduced the child support agency. Bush has created a massive deficit. Are they still conervatives to you?

Nice defence of Dave, Jon. I am sure that if your gender, ethnicity and sexual preferences fit the bill, he'll parachute you into a nice safe seat somewhere. The plain fact of the matter is that his tone, attitude and approach is proving a serious turn off to many of us who worked hard and stood by the party through thick and thin. It also fails materially to resonate with many people in this country who want a decent alternative to the present Government.

Fear not, though, I shall not contaminate your nice new shiny Blue Labour Party. I step down from my local council next May and leave the Conservative Party very firmly behind.

John Hayes' letter did not attack the A-List. He stated that it was dangerous to parachute in untested candidates, and it was important to appoint candidates early.

The Cornerstone were being publicly belittled in the Times on their position, so Hayes was entitled to give a bit back. It seems like there are some around who can give it, but cannot take it.

Desmond Swayne sounds like the voice of common sense. Let's hope Cameron listens to him. Maybe he'd be a good person to bring into the small clique that is said to be running the party. It sounds as if there is a vacancy for some common sense here and there.


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