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I think human bio-engineering is actually a good thing if carried out by people with a personal interest in the new child's happiness, that is, the parents. It would be a major part of my answer to Stephen Hawking's recent query: the human species will survive because it will become genuinely diverse.

The nightmare of genetic engineering is when it's considered for use by an organization having no concern for the individual except as a cog, that is, the state. Only a government could make genetic choices converge and stagnate, rather than diverge according to preference and fashion.

If over the last 20years you had stopped any voter on the street and asked them "which political party favoured tax cuts?" would the answer have changed?
But on the grounds of one poll 18 months after our 3rd GE defeat and the assessment of Lynton Crosby we really still believe that we did not market our message of tax cuts correctly!
I think that if we go into the next GE with a manifesto which is simple the same as the last 3 elections but with a few bribes to the "poor" and a "charismatic leader" we won't win.
Labour might lose, but if we don't make a seriously attempt to woo the voter's in the centre ground we will be in hung parliament territory. And if you think a Labour government has been bad, try a Lab/libdem coalition.
I predict that although the economy is slowly being strangled by this government, it is not going to crash in the next 3 years. The electorate will be looking for an alternative government which is trustworthy, competent and can deliver sound management of the economy, public services, home security and foreign policy.
David Cameron's biggest challenge will be to persuade the electorate that his party has changed more than just their leader. That does not mean stifling internal policy debate, but it does mean being open and receptive to change rather than fight it all the way. If we don't recognise that the tory party has to look, feel and sound like the majority of the electorate then we have learnt nothing from our previous GE defeats.

We have a new leader, a BTL document which will tick all the right boxes in voter appeal if its turned into a well thought out and DELIVERABLE range of policies.
But IMHO our biggest negative with the electorate has been the constant diet of media coverage about the internal fighting between the right and the so called wets and modernisers over the ideological direction of the party. From the day we dispatched Mrs T we have watched leader after leader fail to engage with the public. WHY, because we continue to spend more time naval gazing and fighting among ourselves. We have changed our leader 5 times in 9 years! But still we continue to blindly push on with the arrogant assumption that our previous policies are right but we just had the wrong leader. Now we have a leader who is polling 38-40% by not focusing on our comfort blanket core issues. So he is wrong because we should be doing better because Labour are doing badly! We keep shooting the messenger rather than delivering a REAL message of change.
We are now where the Labour party was back in the 80's and early 90's, still expecting the leader to sell US to the public on our terms rather than understanding that to win a GE we have to broaden OUR appeal.

"If over the last 20years you had stopped any voter on the street and asked them "which political party favoured tax cuts?" would the answer have changed?"

I am by no means against broadening our message in the way advocated by the Cameronites, but this particular thought needs squishing.

Just because people like us - political anoraks - know that Tories are for tax cuts does not mean that the electorate as a whole does. Many times on the doorstep I have come across people who complained about taxes and had no idea that we wanted to cut them.

our biggest negative with the electorate has been the constant diet of media coverage about the internal fighting between the right and the so called wets and modernisers over the ideological direction of the party

So presumably the solution is for the 'right' to simply shut up and let the 'so-called wets and modernisers' get on and do as they please?

we really still believe that we did not market our message of tax cuts correctly!

What tax cuts!? We haven't offered tax cuts, we've offered small and poorly presented deferred tax rises.

"So presumably the solution is for the 'right' to simply shut up and let the 'so-called wets and modernisers' get on and do as they please?"

It would be nice - then we could get on and win the election.

"So presumably the solution is for the 'right' to simply shut up and let the 'so-called wets and modernisers' get on and do as they please?"
Well the right of the party seems to have either been in the driving seat, or trying to be a backseat driver for the last 10 years and we do seem to keep crashing......

I hate it when people simply copy Labour on a point. Weve changed our leader 4 times in 9 years, not five. Major-Hague, Hague-IDS, IDS-Howard, Howard-Cameron. I count four changes in 9 years...five in 16 if you include Thatcher-Major.

I also hate it when people simply say that the right are wrong and need to shut up and let the modernisers do their thing. The whole point of politics is that everyone argues their own case. If it goes along ideological lines then so be it.

I dont like to insult the public's intelligence like this but if you see a poll saying a six point lead for a particular person, the public will follow that to a point, that degree growing with the lead. People dont follow politics at the depth we do so we have to teach them. They tend to follow each other. Its the snowball effect.

we do seem to keep crashing......

....Presumably because of all those tax cuts we've supposedly been offering?

Well the right of the party seems to have either been in the driving seat, or trying to be a backseat driver for the last 10 years and we do seem to keep crashing......

Probably because the left of the party have been busy doing what they have always been really good at - stabbing the leadership in the back.

The public are instinctively conservative - always generally to the "right" of politcians on most issues such as immigrtion, crime and punishment and so forth. Always have been; always will be.

So there are two key issues for the next election. Tax cuts are the third essential leg of the triad.

In addition to the hard facts listed above, I would say that we must bring forward commonsensical and equitable policies on:
- taxation
- immigration
- Europe
We also need clear headed policies on Further Education with a view to offering top-quality vocational training and, possibly, giving independence to the universities.
Finally, although not a policy, the tories must convince the electorate of its managerial competence.

"So presumably the solution is for the 'right' to simply shut up and let the 'so-called wets and modernisers' get on and do as they please?"

It would be nice - then we could get on and win the election.

I assume you still want the right's votes and money though?

Look, I'm not at all unsympathetic to some of you modernisers' ideas and I get the point that we need to find ways of reaching beyond our core vote, but sometimes through your attitudes you make agreeing with you very difficult.

Am I the only longstanding member who finds the bitching and whining from the Wets (or "Cameronites", as they now style themselves) about "loyalty" highly ironic, given their activities throughout the 1980s and 1990s?

but sometimes through your attitudes you make agreeing with you very difficult.

That's not surprising, Gildas.

For supposed "tolerant liberals" some of these wets are surprisingly intemperate and unpleasant.

As for some of the more offensive ones who come on here snarling strangely-similar messages of barely-concealed hatred I have recently made it my business to send "test" emails to the addresses they provide.

Yesterday and today no fewer than three of the addresses of recent posters turned out to be non-existent.

In other words we are dealing with a small platoon of "moderniser" sockpuppets.

But no surprise there.

Old Chesnut warning!

Elections are won on "the centre ground". This mythical place is often defined by media comment as where politicians propose moderate policies in tune with their own narrow view of what is acceptable to "right-thinking people", namely them.

Thus, for ten years, our immigration policies were painted as racist, our tax policies, reckless and our approach to Europe, extreme.

However, the centre ground is not the policy, it is the issue. Thus Thatcher won and kept winning on national security, the unions and the economy, because, in the late 70s and 80s, those were the centre ground issues.

Unfortunately, since we fixed the economy, beat the Argies and defeated communism, we've seemed a bit lost and haven't approached the new centre ground issues, namely health, education and welfare, transport and crime, intelligently or in a way which has seemed committed to making things better for everybody.

The good news is that the people actually liked our policies in these areas, they just mistrusted us so much that we couldn't sell them to anybody, probably because of the poisoned brand syndrome, caused by the media image created of us. First ID-S, then Howard and now Cameron have managed to stop the in-fighting over Europe and, particularly under ID-S, a more concerted focus on the issues which matter to the electorate has taken hold.

The good news is that Cameron has largely managed to erase that mistrust and there might well now be an opening to talk about more radical change in these areas. Reform and others have proposed things and with the likes of Nick Herbert, Greg Clark and David Gaulke pushing for a more radical agenda from the inside, we might just go into the next GE with a worked out programme for change AND the ability to talk about it.

What worries me is that we are drifting back to immigration and tax cuts etc, led by Labour and I smell a rat.

We should stick to the issues which matter and campaign on them. We've got better ideas than Labour and we now have a chance to have a debate about them without being shouted down by the media as nasty, evil, service-slashing tories. That these ideas if implimented will lead to better services should be our first pitch to the electorate. That they will also reduce waste and lead to tax cuts should be presented as a happy side-effect to be cashed in as and when it happens, lest we allow the left and the media to go back to the stereoytpe and destroy that very fragile trust that we are just starting to establish with the electorate.

Actually John "elections are always won on the centre ground" is utter nonsense.

Thatcher didn't win elections on the centre ground.

And moving away from the sanity of Thatcherism, elections around the world have frequently been won by extremists of every possible type.

I'm not advocating extremism, you'll understand. Just pointing out the error of your position.

So it's just another "Big Lie" liberal mantra, rather like that piece of nonsense about "democracies never going to war with one another"

And of course it's always trundled out by those whose personal self-interest is served by such phooey.

I suppose "the right" really means those who are committed to the continued existence of the UK as a sovereign state and our national homeland, and the restoration of full democratic self-government? As opposed to the out and out traitors who favour the division, subjugation and absorption of the UK in some kind of European federation. Traitors who shouldn't even be in the Conservative Party, because they should be serving long sentences in prison.

My God, Dennis! That's telling them!

But seriously, I believe that Eurofanatics have no place in our party.

That's why "Better off out" is the way forward.

Three times more people claim Incapacity Benefit than did in 1980 – nearly three million people.
All 3 main parties and UKIP want to see this number reduced as do most of the other parties.

I imagine the Economy, Public services, levels of taxation, Defence, National Security, Policing, Crime and Punishment will all be issues - other than that it could be anything, I imagine that mostly unemployment and disability will be small issues as other than people who are involved few people really care all that much.

I would hope the EU would be a major issue although I think UKIP would be the most likely to highlight this issue.

The fighting between modernisers and "older"/Right Tories seems to be masked behind the current stageshow of Cameron's PR announcements.

Given all that we know about the fluidity of British politics over the years, the support for UKIP amongst "traditional c/Conservatives", and the way NewLabour has trespasses onto Conservative policies, I cannot escape the feeling that in time, maybe not soon after the next election, the Conservative party may split - a faction forms a "traditional" party or joins UKIP; maybe some switching to the LibDems... Or could the LibDem/Conservative merger be on the cards? Anyone for Liberal Unionism....

If we are to win the next election we must soon start to focus on radical policies to tackle the big issues, one of which is the rise of welfare dependency. Today's Businessonline article highlighting the reforms carried out in the USA make compelling reading. To access it click here

Margaret Thatcher had radical policies in her second and third general election victories but in 1979 the party`s platform was very moderate.
If you are trying to unseat a sitting governemnt I don`t think you will ever win if you try to put forward radical policies.
People are nervous of change and worry about the intentions of a new leadership so we have to reassure them that we will make change from the centre not from the right and that we will make public services better without making them private.
With the increasing prvatisation of the public servises I think there is room for the Conservatives to actually turn things around and be the defender of public services not the cutter as labour always portray us.
One thing supporters have got to get out of there mind is that opposing Europe, calling for tax cuts and proposing far tougther immigration policys will win the election.
Unity, a language of moderation and hope and an image of efficiency and compassion will.

Jack,

You're got a point. I imagine that the debate on this site is similar to the one which the Labour modernisers must have have against the Bennites in the 1980s and 1990s. The Labour Left argued that they kept losing because they weren't left wing enough! Similarly, the Tombstone Tories argue that we need to stop ALL immigration, slash taxes even more than we promised before etc.

These people may sometimes shout loudest, but last December our members opted for change by a margin of 2-1. We'd be letting them and the British public down if we returned to the dark days of Hague, IDS and Howard.

If the Conservatives lose the next GE would it disband ? Out of power for 20 years and geographically restricted to Southern England would make it a bit like the SNP or Plaid Cymru or DUP being a non-national party.

It is worth considering the outcome if Labour does win again or form a coalition with the LibDems..............a turnout say c. 54% with a huge 46% of voters looking for some new kind of party altogether.

All the comments seem so focused on parties which the voters do not in essence like very much - none of them - noone believes in the policies such as they are, and it is rather like petrol - the product is the same just the labels are different........in which case do I care if petrol comes from Q8 or Shell or Asda - since I know it wasn't cracked to a special Shell recipe in Rotterdam.

In short, a lot of people will vote for a local MP with local character and local loyalty - the party is dead and only the apparatchiki obsess about party - time to realise elections are local.....local....local

Those "dark days of Hague, IDS and Howard" during which the Tory poll ratings very slowly recovered from the catastrophic collapse caused by the ERM fiasco, while the standing of Labour was gradually eroded, so that Cameron now has the privilege of running the last stage of the relay with a chance of winning.

http://www.ipsos-mori.com/polls/trends/voting_files/image004.gif

Those "dark days of Hague, IDS and Howard"

This may be slightly off topic, but I would not call those dark days in terms of either policy or presentation. We were right about this Labour government, about Blair and about the mire of spin which was to so damage our political process. Whether the voters cared to listen then, they are beginning to realise that this party had a point.

I joined this party not only because I agreed with its broad aims but because those aims had not changed. The charge "same old tories" didn't put me off, it attracted me. I didn't want to join a party which could sell out its core supporters and beliefs with barely a backward glance.

I hope there is never a "New Conservatives," if there is then I want no part in it.

Denis Cooper@20:23 " so that Cameron now has the privilege of running the last stage of the relay with a chance of winning."

Considering the electoral mountain the conservative party have to climb to win the next GE, I take it you won't be handing out any plaudits to the current team if they succeed.

As ever the issues which frame the next GE will be those which the media pick up on , whether trashy emotional bilge - 'Gemma's ear op drama on NHS'etc - or quasi fascist immigration sloganeering "Send 'em all packin' , instead of shelf stackin'".
Lets not forget - the media runs this country.

If the Conservatives lose the next GE would it disband ? Out of power for 20 years and geographically restricted to Southern England would make it a bit like the SNP or Plaid Cymru or DUP being a non-national party.
Not unless it actually went backwards in terms of votes and seats which seems highly improbable, there will remain a leading party that roughly fits the description whether it is the Conservative Party or UKIP, if they were to go I imagine the DUP or Ulster Unionist Party would start organising candidates on the mainland. Labour in the 1980's had been pretty much destroyed in the South of England and yet even there made a comeback.

It is worth considering the outcome if Labour does win again or form a coalition with the LibDems..............a turnout say c. 54% with a huge 46% of voters looking for some new kind of party altogether.
This ignores the fact that people aim for different things and this includes partys and factions within partys and people voting for them - a combination of the Liberal Democrats and Conservative Party could end up being rejected in the same way Kadima is being in Israel, Kadima was supposed to unite similar strands of thought in Likud and Labour and instead it's produced a party mainly from Likud members that is weaker than either and still had to form a coalition in just the same way as earlier ones had been formed - the probable result would be in addition to the remaining Liberal Party which still takes votes off the Liberal Democrats, there would be the new Liberal Conservative Party, in addition another grouping probably with a few MP's calling itself the Liberal Democrats and another group calling itself the Conservative Party with support dividing between those and the result would be that it would be easier for Labour to win, with the Conservative and Liberal Democrat vote further split Labour could win an overall majority with less than 30% of the vote.

I agree with John Moss but John G seems to miss the point JM is making. To reemphasise what he says - when Thatcher came to power things were so bad that what she was proposing WAS the centre ground. We have a different situation now. I also agree with Jack Stome although we do need to keep our eye on the harder issues. On the issue of what policy areas will be key, my survey work consistently shows that the following are by a large margin the main things respondents mention - Crime, health, education, pensions. Interestingly and a poke in the eye for the wets and trads, they rarely mention the EU or the Environment. Unfortunately (and I am anti EU) the European issue does tend to pigeon-hole us as not having changed. This is all about getting the balance right and focusing on what the voters are interested in,

Matt

i predict the environment will not be an election issue. David Cameron has already shown (or will have done in time) that he is on side with the left wing propaganda on climate change. The election will be based on disagreements between the parties, if they emerge, and rightly so.

Unthinking kneejerk loyalists such as "changetowin" do little to help resolve this debate. With such a level of sycophancy, I would have thought he might as well go the whole hog, use his real name and get given a safe seat!

This canard that we campaigned in 1997, 2001 and 2005 on right wing policies and those policies (and therefore the right) were rejected by the electorate is a dangerous and simply wrong piece of revisionism from the Year Zero tendency who use Cameron's victory in December last year as a justification for doing whatever he wants and dismissing the views of millions of longstanding Tory voters and supporters.

This does not have to be an either/or choice. We can surely offer enough to traditional Tory supporters on core issues while presenting a public face and positive outlook (and even some policies) that appeal to centrists and waverers.

In an era of spiralling crime, Islamofascism, ever higher taxes and impotent public services we surely MUST have something to say rather than that we are a jolly nice bunch of chaps and we can do a marginally better job at reversing our nation's decline than Labour?

A good indicator of the joke state of modern Britain.

Daley's useless column shows she didnt see the tpa/icm poll on front of sunday times.

Mogg's useless column shows he did see it - but misread it then ballsed up the data.

Republicans have George Will etc - we have these clowns...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,6-2331375,00.html

"Elections are won on "the centre ground"."

To paraphrase Mark Steyn, the best politicians, and the best political parties, do not move to the centre ground: they move the centre ground to them.

They're not mutually exclusive, Dave J. "The Centre Ground" means potential swinging voters in marginal seats. Do what is necessary to lock them in, and THEN you can worry about fighting ideological battles from the vantage point of incumbency.

Does this approach give some the feel-good factor they want, by having the Party win on their terms? No. Does it work? Yes.

It cost the Trades Unions £200 million to sustain the Labour Party in its year of opposition - they had no alternative..........it is hard to see who would stump up a similar amount to keep the opposition Conservative Party warm in case Labour faltered.

Kadima was a party built around one man - Ariel Sharon - he did not front the election campaign. He created a party, set out a policy, and another man was substituted for him by election time. Ariel Sharon is no longer a front line politician, nor is Olmert, and Kadima is finished. The danger of putting all your eggs in one basket - Sharon is out of it, Blair will be out of it................Kadima's policy ? withdrawal from the West Bank ? Withdrawal from Gaza and Lebanon gave Israel morec security ? !

Now Yet Another Anon...........do you have better examples ? BTW The DUP does not have a programme for England..........and without the Conservatives it would be a two-party system

Who is afraid of Tax Cuts?

1 All those working in the Public Sector:

Broadcasting, Fire Service, Health, Police, Education

2 All those who receive money from the state:

Pensioners and all those on various benefits.

Make tax collecting more efficient but do not mention Tax Cutting.

Anybody who states "We'd be letting them and the British public down if we returned to the dark days of Hague, IDS and Howard." seems to me to be a traitor to our party.

Presumably this idiot "changetowin" spent the last decade backstabbing every Tory leader who didn't suit him, or maybe he wasn't in the party at all?

Alternatively maybe he never has been a party member, and has his own anti-Tory agenda.

These leftists who hide behind silly nicknames must have a reason for it.

Huge number in county 'thinking of emigrating'
Robert Sutcliffe

Yorkshire is fed up with politicians and the political process generally, and about 15 per cent of its people are thinking about leaving the country, a new poll says.
However, the poll also reveals that Yorkshire people are enthusiastic about the prospect of genuine, substantial political change – including lower taxes and constitutional reform.
Nearly 15 per cent of people in the area are seriously thinking about emigrating or are planning to emigrate says the survey by ICM Direct for the TaxPayers' Alliance.
Not surprisingly, people overwhelmingly want a reduction in tax bills, 89 per cent wanting council tax cut and 77 per cent want inheritance tax cut.
Eighty-four per cent want the threshold at which people start paying the top rate of tax raised significantly.
Nearly two thirds believe "that if Britain reformed public services and cut waste it could lower taxes without having to cut spending on vital services".
They are enthusiastic about the idea of allowing non-MPs to run Government Departments. By 76 to 20 per cent people agree that "Britain needs to get people with different backgrounds and talents at the top level of politics. The Prime Minister should be able to appoint non-MPs as Ministers if they're the best person for the job".
They are also keen taking away powers over policing from MPs and giving them to locally elected officials.
The campaign director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, James Frayne, said: "People in Yorkshire are fed up with high taxes and with the whole political process. They don't want to hear politicians offering the same old answers to their concerns."
28 August 2006

http://www.ypn.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=55&ArticleID=1724889

Blair's Britain is a sleazy, dirty, thoroughly unpleasant place, and this news comes as no surprise.

Some "Cool Britannia"! Nulabour should be sued for misepresentation.

The more experienced among us can remember a better, decent, more honourable Britain and surprise! surprise! it was a Tory Britain with a Tory government.

We need to look to the shining example of our Tory past for our vision of a family-friendly future.

Anybody who states "We'd be letting them and the British public down if we returned to the dark days of Hague, IDS and Howard." seems to me to be a traitor to our party.

We'd be fulfilling our promises to them and the British public if we returned to the bright days of Hague, IDS and Howard.

Is that better?

Some people have very short memories. 1997-2005 was a miserable time to be a Conservative. We were losers. Some were even beginning to question if we could ever win again. I think it is being eminently loyal to my party to want it to return to winning ways and not return to losing ways. I believe that DC has transformed my party and I am proud of it. I believe that our members voted for change in December by a margin of 2-1. Only on this blog could a Conservative who is proud of his party and its direction be attacked!

There is no proof yet that the election of Cameron has decisively broken the previous long-running trend, which was very slowly and irregularly upwards for the Tories and rather more quickly downwards for Labour, starting from the relative positions they were in a couple of years after the ERM disaster. There is no proof yet that the rise since Cameron took over is anything more than a brief upswing based on his fresh young face and winning manner and a willingness on the part of the public to give him the benefit of the doubt. There is certainly no proof of any miraculously beneficial transformation either in the Tory party or in its popularity.

The three previous leaders constructed the solid foundation of improving support upon which David's current success rests.

Contrary to much opinion Davis Cameron is NOT a Wet. John Major was, and it was under his mismanagement that the party went to blazes.

For one who is so touchy about colleagues allegedly insulting you, ctw, you have some very strange words of support for our last three, excellent, leaders.

I believe that our members voted for change in December by a margin of 2-1

Care to remind us what we are supposed to have voted for?

I'm sure you'll remember, even if nobody else does.

Compared with the 100% support obtained when similar exercises were undertaken out by Saddam and Stalin 2 to 1 sounds like a vote of no confidence.

http://www.conservatives.com/tile.do?def=news.show.article.page&obj_id=125299

John,

The above link gives a pretty good summary of David's leadership campaign which the members backed 2-1.

Here's a highlight:-

Under my leadership, the Conservative party will look, feel, think and behave like a completely new party. And we will stay the course, not retreating to our comfort zone at the first sign of pressure.

He was elected on this platform and he is delivering.

What issues might frame next General Election?

The Conservative party has always been a broad church and when we get back into government, we will have to govern in the best interests of the country as a whole. That means on behalf of Labour, Lib Dems and supporters of other parties - indeed for substantially more people than our own supporters number.
As we are basically a centre-right party, surely we can define issues for the next GE in such a way as to command broad support from all tory minded people (whether right, centre or left leaning) and, if we make our welfare policies workable, from not a few on the left as well.
Three key issues will not go away, however much we would like to ignore them:
- taxation
- Europe
- immigration
All three issues are bound to come up at the GE.
Can we not now have a well-behaved, clear-minded debate on each with the aim of arriving at a consensus to offer to the party?

Now Yet Another Anon...........do you have better examples ? BTW The DUP does not have a programme for England..........and without the Conservatives it would be a two-party system
It wouldn't be a 2 party system because if the Conservative Party was to go people would want something to replace it and either another party would come up from obscurity or a party from one part of the UK would see the opportunity to spread their influence more nationwide, if the Conservative Party simply disappeared before the next election the probability is that it would be UKIP getting a third of the vote or even winning perhaps, support would transfer elsewhere, on the whole though things happen far more slowly than that - it took a couple of decades for Labour to replace the Liberal Party as the 2nd largest party and a further 20 years before between them the Conservative Party and Labour had captured nearly all previous Liberal support.

Kadima wasn't just Ariel Sharon's vision - Ehud Olmert as well was a major factor behind the creation of the party, Ariel Sharon was the frontman because he was most trusted of those leading the move - usually when a new party is formed there is someone leading it's formation - in the case of the SDP it was Roy Jenkins, Reform came about largely because of Ross Perot, Labour really was formed by Keir Hardie, in the case of the Liberal Democrats it was David Steel who after the 1987 General Election took the step to say that the Alliance was causing confusion and there had to be a merger.

Any party coming forward is likely to be one that either already has seats or is close to having seats, and certainly has a party organisation already.

Both the Conservatives and Labour have a sizeable core support that is not going to go for the Liberal Democrats, especially not on the Conservative side whereas the Liberal Democrats don't have really much of any core support at all although the Liberals and Alliance before them and since they've built up more since the low point of the Liberals in the early/mid 1950's but it's still much lower and mostly their support is from disenchanted people from the other 2 main partys - building a core support and a coherent philosophical basis to minimise how much they fall back in bad times has been the aim of every Liberal Democrat leader since their formation, if the Liberal Democrats were to dissolve now their support would split between Labour, Conservative, Liberal, Plaid Cymru and Green.

It's funny you think 1997-2005 was a miserable time to be a Tory, "changetowin", and that we were all losers. During that period the number of Tory councillors grew massively and local conservative councillors have started doing some great things locally (as well as rebuilding the local Tory activist base). Snearing at their efforts is not helpful.

Well that could simply mean that the party should be efficient, pro-active, non-sleazy, unselfish and so forth.

If you had served in my regiment and listened to one of the Colonel's pep talks, I think you'd realise that morale-boosting "flannel", beneficial as it certainly can be, needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

As far as I can recall I think I voted for this myself.

My last post refers to changetowin's of 12.06

Snearing at their efforts is not helpful.

Donal,

Sorry you thought I was sneering. Meant nothing of the sort. Of course there were achievements from 1997-2005 and many Conservatives worked to deliver leaflets etc. myself included.

I know it is contentious to say so here BUT I do think that things are much better for our party now though!!!

Changetowin: I agree that the electoral outlook is more positive now than it has been in the past decade. But that is not all entirely down to David Cameron. Your denigration of Hague, IDS and Howard is misplaced as much of the groundwork was done by them during 1997-2005 and it is paying dividends today. I also think you ought to recognise that a lot of activists worked bloody hard during the past decade and we resent the way that a bunch of Johnny-come-latelys parachute themselves in to save the day and to claim all the credit.

On the subject of electoral successes, many conservatives were elected during 1997-2005 by running on a vigorous conservative platform. They did not have to appease the BBC/Guardian to win. You can advance conservatism in a positive way to win - you do not, in my opinion, have to throw out principles to win power. Reading your posts it is almost as though you welcome the abandonment of principle!

It's funny you think 1997-2005 was a miserable time to be a Tory, "changetowin", and that we were all losers. During that period the number of Tory councillors grew massively and local conservative councillors have started doing some great things locally (as well as rebuilding the local Tory activist base).
There were mixed fortunes, sure the Conservative Party gained councillors, Labour even did this in the 1980's - unfortunately the election of councillors actually brings little power with it and almost all the partys make things worse by campaigning on national issues usually in fact things that the Local Authority can do nothing about, the Labour campaign here in the 2006 Local Elections actually seemed the most focused on things that if elected the candidate could actually try to do something about. The Liberal Democrats definitely have been the most hypocritical campaigning on the War in Iraq and for abolition of Council Tax in recent years both of which are Central Government matters, or about hospitals - Local Authorities have little to do with hospitals these days and a Local Councillor probably has less influence over whether a trust closes one or not then a Local Newspaper does.

Anyway certainly the 1999 European Elections were a success, the 2004 European Elections were a disaster for all 3 main partys, the Conservatives percentage vote was down back to where it was in 1994 and Labour's was the lowest national vote it had had in an election since 1910.

Then there were the General Elections and in 2001 while the percentage vote of the Conservatives rose slightly, their actual total vote slipped back so that they actually got fewer votes than Labour got in 1983 and in the last General Election they still weren't quite up to the level in 1997 and yet that was the first one since Labour came to power in which there was actually a prospect of Labour losing it's majority.

Reading your posts it is almost as though you welcome the abandonment of principle!

On the contrary. It may be in some instances that we have different principles. For example, I certainly differ in principle to those who are anti-immigrant, find minority groups distasteful, think the poll tax was a great idea etc. (Hi John!)

I do believe that to win the level of support we need to gain power we need to be pragmatic. Obviously there is no point in having the best principles in the world if you never have a chance of putting a single one into practice! I think we are now much closer to having Conservative principles put into practice. That's why we should all get behind the party, in my opinion.

Are we allowed to criticise ANYTHING, changetowin?

Or is doing so "disloyal and doing Labour's work for them - and Cameron was elected with a clear mandate and the flat-earthers who oppose him want perpetual opposition...yadi yadi yada..."

Well, among other things Hague helped to keep us out the euro, and during his brief period as leader before he was brought down by the europhiles IDS was instrumental in blocking the EU Constitution. Two issues of great importance, both of which helped to enhance the standing of the Tory party. Unfortunately Hague did not campaign against the Nice Treaty and EU enlargement as he should have done, and by failing to do so he bequeathed a series of difficult political problems for his successors including Cameron. Howard can claim that he was the first national politician to insist that immigration could and should be debated without accusations of "racism", which caused him trouble at the time but is now being echoed by the same kind of people who attacked him then.

However it was always obvious that the voters were unlikely to turf out Labour just on the two issues of the EU and mass immigration, especially while it was fresh in their memories that in office the alternative had shown itself to be disastrously incompetent at managing the economy, and that remains the case even now.

On the contrary. It may be in some instances that we have different principles. For example, I certainly differ in principle to those who are anti-immigrant, find minority groups distasteful, think the poll tax was a great idea etc. (Hi John!)

I am anti-immigration, not anti individual immigrants, and I certainly do not find other races ("minorities" in this country) distasteful. I have posted repeatedly on the need to allay the fears and suspicions of Muslim Britons, but possibly it didn't suit you to read those posts.

It seems you're quite happy to misrepresent others, while bleating loudly if you think someone has misrepresented you.

I don't doubt that your opinions are genuine and it is precisely because of this I don't believe that you have changed at all. You seem very happy to be a Wet and I'm sure you always were a Wet.

For you "change" simply means that you expect everybody else to agree with you, or at any rate to pretend to agree with you.

I admire your tenacity changetowin, like me you think that the views of the majority should decide the direction of the conservative party rather than those who shout loudest.
They really seem to think that having lost the argument about the direction of the party they can still control the agenda because, we and the voting public are gullible enough to accept a few scrapes of policy to placate us.
Donal Blaney@22:47"This does not have to be an either/or choice. We can surely offer enough to traditional Tory supporters on core issues while presenting a public face and positive outlook (and even some policies) that appeal to centrists and waverers."

But their ability to heap praise on previous leaders successes, while vocally undermining any advance the present leadership might make in either the polls or at a GE is most telling and beginning to sound positively resentful.
Donal Blaney@"I also think you ought to recognise that a lot of activists worked bloody hard during the past decade and we resent the way that a bunch of Johnny-come-latelys parachute themselves in to save the day and to claim all the credit.

Last post on Conhom.

If you read what I have written, Chris D, I for one recognise some of Cameron's progress as being good for the Party. I am simply not adopting the knee-jerk idolatory that many (such as changetowin and you) want us all to adopt.

By posting our personal opinions here, Chris D, we're hardly "controlling the agenda".

The real problem for the Tories at the moment is that there's very little agenda and far too many lightweight soundbites.

Donal Blaney is a key Tory of the future who is making some of the very best posts on this blog. Whether you agree with him or not, he also writes intelligable English.

With respect, about 50% of what you have written above makes no sense whatsoever.

'"other races" ("minorities" in this country)'

I thought all of the bigots had died out or joined UKIP or worse.

Quit embarrassing our party.

Considering this thread was meant to be about issues at the next election, it is all getting a little personal. I think that everyone needs to calm down a little and we to get back to discussing the issues.
Personally I think the issues at the next election will be:
1) The economy - I think economic growth based on buy to let mortgages is something truly worrying.
2) Crime/War on Terror/Civil Liberties - This is going to be a contentious battleground, and I am very interested to see what The Bill of Rights group comes up with.
3) The NHS - Hospital closures NHS IT system waste etc
4) Flexible working/Work-Life Balance.

I do however agree that the media and polls will decide what in the end is important.

Ms. Roberts

What I said was:

I certainly do not find other races ("minorities" in this country) distasteful.

Will you kindly explain why you consider that statement:

1) To be "bigoted"

2) To "embarrass our party"

I am assuming that the party to which you refer is the Conservative Party, although judging from the off-colour ton of your post that isn't 100% obvious.

If 'changetowin', 'Chris D' and anybody else who thinks like them want some really useful advice I suggest they read Janet Daley's magnificent article in today's Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/08/28/do2801.xml

Essential reading for all "modernisers"

Thank you voreas06 - you are indeed one of the few people to address the subject of the thread. Thank you!

Good point Editor. I accept voreas06's list to which I would add Immigration, the EU, and the necessity for tax cuts.

I'm nogt certain why he/she is focusing on buy-to-let mortgages. While these could in theory cause unwanted inflation in the houseing market, there has in fact been remarkable little house price inflation over the past two years.

My impression was that the fizz had gone out of buy-to-let. Rents have not increased. Some are falling.

On Terror/Civil Liberties we need to build bridges with the Muslim population and to stop alienating them as we have been doing.

This may require a shift in foreign policy.

Chris D

Please re-consider - those who shout loudest win if the majority do not make any sound.

Donal

thanks for sticking through the tough years and carrying the torch but we actually do want the Johnny come Latelys - the Conservative Party needs to grow and attract them. Hague, IDS and Howard did move the Party forward and David Davis as Chairman cutting links with the Monday Club was a big step.

I mention the Monday Club because a few posters sound exactly like they did - it was founded because Macmillan was 'taking us to the left', it was virulently anti-immigration and Europhobic. Lord Salisbury its President said it was "expressing true Conservatism."

I am pleased Hague, IDS and Howard moved us away from the party which gave a welcome and a home to these extremists - they actually did the "Clause 4" bit for the party in cutting off the rabid right. IDS in particular is under-appeciated for the work he did to re-positon the party and lay down the basis for a 21st century approach. It's a shame it took until 2001 for the Party to recognise that the Monday Club was to Conservatism what Militant was to Labour.

Katherine Roberts - well said.

Interesting comments about the Monday Club, Ted. I once thought of joining years ago but never did. They were rather too pro-American for my liking.

I believe all members of the Monday Club have to belong to the Conservative Party so are you able to tell us whether any have been expelled? I certainly haven't heard of any.

The problem is, if they're all still party members, whatever it was that Dave Davis said about the Monday Club is rather cosmetic, isn't it?

To some extent it's up to the politicians to set the agenda, more than ever during a General Election the media focus is on the positions of the frontbenches of the 3 main national parties (especially Labour and the Conservatives) and what they decide to go with will be the major issues however they are received and the victor(s) story of what happened will probably be what goes into the history books the same as in wars and revolutions, what the main parties leave out as an issue would take a huge media campaign to be raised aside from the normal economic, crime and defence issues.

O/T but I believe the few remaining Monday Club members support alternative parties.

On thread - difficult to know the issues for next election as we do not know what the Brown agenda will be. It looks from today the biggest issues in next election will be 'time for a change' from Conservatives (failure to deliver/incompetence/ tax & public spending) versus public safety/war on terror, tory public spending cuts from Labour.

Labour are already responding to DC's generalties so we are about to get Reid countering on Immigration & Crime, Hewitt bringing forward initatives on part time work etc to go directly against GWB in attempt to expose us through adding additional burdens on industry which we oppose so "it's all talk - only Labour takes action".

John G @ 16:01 I'm nogt certain why he/she is focusing on buy-to-let mortgages.

http://money.guardian.co.uk/weekly/story/0,,1858221,00.html

This article is what concerned me although I have not been on the ONS website to check how true the it is but if the main force behind our "Growth" rate is an increase in rent then it is a worry as it is probably making the true state of the economy.

p.s I am a he

I utterly resent "Ted's" implication that Lord Salisbury was an extremist.

Salisbury was a staunch, true, Tory and a dedicated opponent of the pre-war "Tory" appeasers of Hitler.

If they were alive today many of these cowardly appeasers - people like Butler - would be in the "moderniser" camp with the likes of Ted.

Clearly a man who knows nothing about the history of the party he claims to support.

Amusing vegetables with bumps that like like penises will be the main flashpoint of the coming GE. Everyone will have a vegetable in their parties color and will have to present it in as many amusing ways as possible.

Amusing vegetables with bumps that like like penises will be the main flashpoint of the coming GE.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Don't tell the handful of males on the "A list". We wouldn't want any of those particular "vegetables" to end up being arrested for indecent exposure.

voreas06, I'll read the Guardian article, but I would have said that buy-to-let is hardly likely to push up rents. If anything, by increasing the pol of rented property, it would tend to push rents down.

However, the effect on capital values could act in the opposite direction.

voreas06 @ 16:39 - I shouldn't worry too much about that as £45 bn is still only about 4% of total GDP, so by increasing by 120% over 14 years the "buy-to-let" sector of the economy has only flattered the economic growth rate by 0.16% pa on average, compared to a total trend growth rate of about 2.5% pa.

However this does illustrate how misleading GDP has become with an economy which is dominated by services rather the production of goods. The way GDP is calculated is described here:

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=56

There are misleading and potentially damaging consequences to reliance on GDP as an indicator of progress. For example, take a hypothetical case of neighbours A and B, both with gardens to tend and houses to clean.

If A and B each tend their own gardens and clean their own houses then no money changes hands and their labour contributes nothing to GDP. Equally if A who likes gardening agrees to tend both gardens, while in return B who prefers cleaning agrees to clean both houses, provided that is an informal arrangement and no money changes hands their labour still adds nothing to GDP.

But if A listens to Gordon Brown saying that everybody should be in employment and sets up as a gardener, and B pays him to tend his garden, while similarly B sets up as cleaner and A pays him to clean his house, then assuming that those payments come to the attention of the government suddenly their work becomes productive and contributes to GDP, and Brown can boast of economic growth.

Funnily enough I've just been chucking out some old newspapers and noticed an article in the FT in September 1995:

"Economy growing, but still feeling down?"

"This may be the reason - Conventional GDP statistics fail to show real economic well-being"

One alternative mentioned in the article is the Genuine Progress Indicator, see eg: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genuine_Progress_Indicator

There seems to be some assumption by many of you that the "right of the party" and "the modernisers" are mutually exclusive. This could not be further from the truth. DC needs, however, to prove to a cynical, wider and generally non-Tory voting electorate (at least in the last decade) that the party has the people and the attitude they can relate to. Of course they all want lower taxes and better public services - whatever they tell pollsters. Those two are also not mutually exclusive - but we have lost the PR battle for a decade, so most people still believe they are.

So, until they can trust the messenger they will not trust the message. And even if DC & Co start to bring firmer policies along these lines closer to polling day you can bet that Labour and the media will just start howling about same old Tories. This will only fall on deaf ears if we have won the hearts and minds battle first.

We do not need any contentious issues now that allows opponents to drive divisions between the party along old perceived lines.

But bet your bottom dollar that come election day we will be able to talk again to the country with authority and conviction about tax, Europe, immigration, crime and all our other natural areas of competence that have been so badly neglected for a decade. DC and his team are not going to let a crack appear that allows any succor to LibDems or Labour.

Lets play to our strengths. DC's new generation team needs to be replicated across the country to show we have the ability, enthusiasm and desire to build a new era of Tory government. And that means across the spectrum of the party's public face - including PPC's, councillors and Associations.

Chris D,

Very sorry to see that it's your last post on ConHome. I understand that many are being driven away by the extremism and anti-leadership nature of many of those who post. But I do hope you might reconsider. It's important for those who stumble on this site to realise that the embittered few do not represent the many.

Interesting comments about the Monday Club, Ted. I once thought of joining years ago but never did. They were rather too pro-American for my liking.

John,

This is almost as good as your "I really loved Pim Fortuyn apart from the fact he was gay" comment! Or should I say your comment about the poll tax being a great idea? So many to choose from!

And since it needs to be said - the Monday Club are a disgrace that have NOTHING to do with modern Conservatism.

And let us not forget that it was IDS who made Monday Club membership impossible for Conservatives.

I haven't forgotten, Editor. He also took a bold stand against the Carlton Club's segregation policy towards women. Good for him.

Changetowin: can you set out ANYTHING that David Cameron has done that you are NOT utterly in awe of, that you might want to constructively criticise? Or have you abdicated all judgment in favour of swallowing whatever is decreed from on high?

I take the view that Cameron has done an outstanding job in presenting himself and the Party positively in the media. I would dearly love him to capitalise on that by promoting conservative solutions to today's problems in a proactive, confident and positive manner, rather than seemingly appeasing the BBC/Guardian tendency. You and your fellow sycophants may take the view that that is reactionary or nasty but I and many others take the view that this approach is both constructive, positive, realistic and most likely to appeal to the broadest possible selection of voters.

And since it needs to be said - the Monday Club are a disgrace that have NOTHING to do with modern Conservatism.

Yeah right changetowin. One could say exactly the same about one or two of our anonymous Wet friends. The type who keep slagging off past Tory leaders, you'll understand.

Since this somewhat irrelevant issue was raised I had a word last night with a member of our CPF committee who belongs to the Monday Club.

He tells me that it is now officially designated the "Conservative Monday Club", that only paid-up Tories are allowed to join and that any member of UKIP or the BNP would be expelled.

He also tells me that their membership increased last year and that their meetings in the Palace of Westminster have recently been addressed by several Tory MPs.

So it seems that any "action" taken against the Monday Club was of a somewhat ineffectual nature. Probably that was the intention. Another "soundbite".

Will I be joining? Fraid not. It seems they still do indeed adhere to a pro-war policy worthy of your very good friend Senator McCain.

BTW, chngetowin, may I remind you that the editor has specifically asked people not to go off-thread and discuss homosexuality. I am always very happy to argue the Christian view of this problem, but it will have to be on another forum of your choice.

Very sorry to see that it's your last post on ConHome. I understand that many are being driven away by the extremism and anti-leadership nature of many of those who post.

That's a good one ctw. Given your pro-Neocon extremism and rabid antagonism to our past three party leaders I should rightly be fleeing the scene like a bat out of hell.

Seems some can't stand the heat. That's a bad sign in politics.

Actually your own wringing Wet views do not reflect anything beyond the miniscule TRG minority of Tory activists. As a member of the party for 36 years and a former area officer of the Party I think I should know rather better than you do.

Incidentally, the party's future is not with the slightly ridiculous Monday Club but with the really dynamic non-racist Conservative Way Forward, several of whose fantastic functions I have been delighted to attend.

Well said Donal Blaney. There speaks the authentic future of our great party.

I warned you about your tendency to personalise every thread John G and am disappointed you chose to ignore me.

"BTW, chngetowin, may I remind you that the editor has specifically asked people not to go off-thread and discuss homosexuality. I am always very happy to argue the Christian view of this problem, but it will have to be on another forum of your choice."

Posted by: John G | August 29, 2006 at 08:44
(my bold)

Editor,

Does this last post not constitute a breach of the comment policy?

"Homophobic, racist or other hateful posts will also result in permanent bans."

The question we were asked to consider was: "What issues might frame the next GE"?
An important question but, as seems more often than not to be the case, it provoked more heat than light and not a little personal vituperation.
It would be instructive to trawl through all the postings and count how many (or rather how few) actually addressed the question posed.
Maybe there is some other site that is more interested in constructive debate.

changetowin, are you by any chance "anonmouse" posting under another name?

My attention has been drawn to a number of ill-informed posts made here about the Conservative Monday Club, which remains very much at the heart of the Conservative Party, indeed we will be hosting meetings at the Bournemouth Conference this year.

It is true that the somewhat hapless Iain Duncan Smith caused certain ill-advised comments to be made about the Club, but this was just one among the many errors which cost him the leadership of the party.

Suffice it to say that Duncan-Smith is gone and we remain.

We have never been part of the Conservative Party so the Party in fact has no control whatsoever over the Club. However we do require all our members to produce evidence that they are paid-up members of either the Conservative Party or the DUP. Supporters of other parties are not permitted to belong to the Conservative Monday Club which does now indeed incorporate the word "Conservative" in its name and rightly so.

To the best of our knowledge, no member of the Monday Club has been excluded from the Conservative Party for holding extreme views. Your Editor's view that Conservative Party members cannot belong to the Club is therefore incorrect.

Under the leadership of David Cameron we have enjoyed a warm and constructive relationship with the leadership and with CCO. We have a respectable number of members on the parliamentary candidates' lists including at least three known to us who have reached the elite "A list".

We do not discriminate either against ethnic minorities or the gay community, indeed our 2006 AGM was attended by several members of Asian and Afro-Caribbean stock.

I hope that this post will correct any false impressions perpetuated by ill-informed posters.

Thanks for that.
Back to the amusing vegatables...does anyone else think that Changetowin probably has a saucy carrot lurking away somewhere?
I've got a massive marrow.. but i did promise myself i wouldn't do any more posts about the gay issue so i'll leave it there.

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