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Good letter Tim. This is an issue which concerns many activists who are worried about the eroding away of party democracy.

Excellent letter. It is extremely important that Conservative MEPs remain dependent for their selection on grassroots members of the party. The list system itself for European elections is already something of a travesty.

Quite right. However, this latest threat is only part of a worrying trend that has already encompassed the destruction of constituency autonomy.

At least the anti-democrats were unable to take away the newly-granted right of members to choose the leader. What was utterly breathtaking, however, was the outrageous way in which that possibility was openly touted, apparently without any moral qualms whatsoever.

You'll have to watch this one.

BTW, what has happened to the Charter Movement? It's a sad mark of the decline of the party that their long-running campaign for Party Democracy have met with such failure.

Does anybody remember Eric Chalker's "Set the Party Free"? I have a copy of it somewhere in the loft.

Because the Euro MEPs are a slate and not an individual candidate (such as an MP), there needs to be a clearer programme/manifesto that they should be asked to sign up to. In turn that manifesto MUST be administered in a stricter manner than at present. We need Police/Judiciary and cannot have the MEPs policing themselves.

What Francis/William need to do is both set out these ground rules and conduct a review of the voting record of our present MEPs against the parties European policy.

Beasley and Kirkhope IMHO clearly fall short on that on just that education report and should be off the list. That action is one that Francis/William should take because it is the right thing to do.

Until Francis/William take on the police/judge role the party is inviting the Members to intervene and "dish out the justice". Lynch law is not the best way to do this and brings in its own problems with factions and splits.

I understand why Tim has written this. But the solution is actually to fix the system and have less "individual" MEPs and more "policy representatives". Is there any sign that Francis/William understand this? if they do nothing they just invite the factions to "dish out the justice"..... and that unfortunately makes our party less unified.

As a member I first want to see a slate of people that are signed up to our European policies, then I can vote on which order they ought to be on the list.

All sitting MEPs, MPs and Councillors should face compulsory, competitive re-selection, probably not for their first "re-run", but certainly thereafter.

If I ever get elected, you can hold me to this.

I second John Moss's suggestion.

In the USA, sitting congressmen can be challenged within the party. Such a system would get rid of bed blockers.

As John says, give them once free pass at reelection, but after that give the members a choice. Quality will have no problem.

There are certainly some councillors who are well past their sell by date blocking younger candidates who wish to contribute. All councillors should have to face competitive reselection.

The Party also needs to decide whether an A list will be operating for the MEP selections. This question was put at a meeting of the Candidates' association at the Spring Forum, but no decision had been reached then.

Personally I believe bringing up the subject of Europe on the eve of the party conferance is doing the party a disservice and playing into Labour`s hands.
We have to start reaching out and stop this constant naval gazing!

Jack, has it occurred to you that perhaps the party would be doing the country a grave disservice if the subject of "Europe", as you put it, did not come up?

Perhaps Jack Stone can say what's wrong in gazing at the Navy. There isn't much of it around so when one does turn up it's worth a gaze.

And his novel idea that with the party's annual conference imminent one should not discuss possibly the most important policy of all is novel in the extreme.

A large part of the trouble between some MEPs who are totally out-of-sympathy with the party at home is that they got first elected in a more europhile climate. By the ridiculous system of priority for existing MEPs ("Choose your candidates to go bottom of the list where they won't get elected") we have got a bunch of MEPs many of us deplore.

NONE of them should have any priority at all. Members should choose the order in which they appear to the voters. I personally would be glad to be rid of about half of them not least Kirkhope the leader and that one who is married to a Tory MP who turncoated into a Labour MP!!

All the MEPs who wrote to the papers deploring Cameron's leadership election promise to leave the EPP/ED should not be allowed to stand for the Conservatives at all. Again. Ever.

Of course the simple answer would be to pull this country out of Europe entirely.

"Personally I believe bringing up the subject of Europe on the eve of the party conferance is doing the party a disservice"

But it might just do the Country a favour!

AFAIC, anybody who wishes to stand as an MEP for the Conservative Party should be entitled to put forward europhile views (including sitting MEPs).

And we should be entitled to take those views into account, when deciding whether to nominate them.

Why are you giving so much coverage to MEP's they are the most powerless elected officials we have.

Are Europhiles no longer Tory?

This site is daft sometimes.

Unlike some on this site I want to see the Conservative Party return to power at the next election and as far as I am concerned one of the ways that will not happen is if there are stories in the press yet again especially at Conferance time of the ike Tories at War on Europe again
I am afraid with certain people I suspect that there idea of a perfect party would be no Conservatives at all who believed in Britain being part of the European Union let alone have some MEP`s who do.
If you really want a party that is obessed with Europe and wants everyone to have the same opinions I suggest you join UKIP. That`s where all the disaffected Tory nutters usually end up!

Jack Stone - IF all the Tory eurosceptics joined UKIP that would be the end of the Tory party which is why some of us don't. But UKIP is a lot better than it was, so I shouldn't be complacent! It's gone for a low tax policy for a start which is not just playing to the gallery it is vital if our economy is to survive.

UKIP??? Maybe? I couldn't vote for a Cameroonian Tory party. Maybe I'll abstain like many others are planning to do. (This is not the ONLY blog around!)

Jack, I share some of your concern but the solution is not to ignore the cause of the problem (unsuitable MEPs), it is to tackle the cause.

What Francis/William need to do is ensure that the slate has to pass "work" and policy comparisons.

That is why I urge Francis/William to sort that out rather than having the Membership HAVE TO DO THEIR JOBS FOR THEM. Which will be messy and divisive.

Not much to ask as we are not in Government .....yet.

Personally I believe bringing up the subject of Europe on the eve of the party conference is doing the party a disservice and playing into Labour`s hands.

Jack does have a point, in that the press usually tries to write a "party controversy" story in the Sunday papers to coincide with the start of Conference, and CH does tend to be a rich source of "Tory activists think" quotes (leaving to one side whether the people they quote actually are). He's right to be cautious and suggest we watch the tone, but it doesn't mean we should have to stifle reasoned and moderate debate in the run-up.

Back on-topic, I do wonder about the difficulty of removing under-performing MEPs, if that situation should arise. Nobody's job performance should be immune from scrutiny. However, I have my concerns about the closed list system in its entirety - not least it's complexity. When I was a local agent for the Euro elections in 2004, I'm sure it's the only count at which I've needed a few minutes with pencil and paper doing the d'Hondt arithmetic to work out who actually won! Equally, have you ever tried to explain to a voter on the doorstep how they have to vote for a party list for their MEPs and cast three votes for councillors in an all-out local election at the same time...

If an issue as fundamanetal as the rights of members to select those that represent them cannot be taken up then there is even less point to holding a Party Conference than there already is. As Richard carey rightly points out the closed list system is unexplainable and the only thin that makes it palatable (and distinguishes the Conservative Party from the others) is the fact that the members determine the list position of the MEP's.

Tim's letter hits a very important nail on the head. If Francis Maude re affirms the members rights it will encourage me to renew my membership. Unfortunatly, the sickly sweet smell of Euro fudge is in the air and as Francis Maude interprets his role as being to impose his one sided views on the members rather than being a chairman representing the broad range of Conservative opinion, I suspect you'll see the MEP's further protected.

We could have won the last General Election if the Grass Root’s desire had been stuck to.

Instead we obtained a Jewish leader at exactly the wrong moment in time.

Not only that, what did those who overthrew IDS have in common? Davis, Howard, Bercow and Rupert Murdoch are implicated.

The wishes of 155,933 Grass Root electors, overthrown for Labour to get an incredible 3rd term of office.

Maybe the idea was to keep out one who may have come out and said that the Iraq War was not such a good idea?

What the hell does Howard's religion have to do with anything.

"Are Europhiles no longer Tory?

This site is daft sometimes"

Were they ever Tory? In my view all Tories should sign up to a code of conduct that includes a belief that the government of this country is and remains answerable to the electorate. Individuals with totalitarian leanings should not hijack a party which at it's heart has a belief in democracy.

These people who believe in the EU also believe that the "democratic deficit" (the EU's official word for totalitarian) is a trivial matter.It is not, it is an extreme belief that has not place in a party that believes in the democratic process.

Extremists are free to form ther own parties and free to peddle their daft (your word) anti-democratic beliefs to the public in an honest way.

Ofcourse hoodwinkers who know their beliefs are extreme and unsustainable do not want to talk about the EU, they never did and they will never change, they want to keep all discussion about the EU out of politics/elections/party conferences/ the media because as ever they want to go on hiding under the cloak of the Tory party (and other party) respectabilty.

Oh dear, Fred Baker's anti-semticsm rears it's ugly head again. Editor: no-one with a thick skin can truly object to personal abuse on a web-site where political views are expressed, but really shouldn't you consider banning this poster? You would if his anti-semetic comments were anti-Islamic, or anti-gay. Why should we have to put up with the purile anti-semetic rants of this idiot? Please consider if he should be allowed to continue posting. (BTW, I am NOT Jewish)

Fred Baker, please elaborate on your interesting Jewish theory. I do like to have a good laugh on Fridays. (And let us not forget that laughter is an excellent way to undermine extremist nutters.)

Well, here's "The d'Hondt system explained":


and in my view any electoral system which needs an explanation from a senior lecturer in politics is too complicated. That's unless we're going to restrict the franchise to people with IQ's above say 110. One of the advantages of first past the post is that even people with IQ's down at 70 can understand a simple race.

However I would extend the principle, and put those who come second in a fully elected second chamber, which would provide broader and fairer representation in Parliament without the harmful effects of conventional PR systems.

Denis Cooper - Like your 2nd chamber for runners-up idea. I came up with another one which also gets round the disasters of PR.

My system is to carry on as now tweaking the boundaries from time to time but that an MP, when voting in parliament, votes the number of constituents (OR the total number voting ?? nb: NOT the total votes for the MP).

This means that the IoWight MP gets 109K votes while the two MPs for the 2 Islington seats get 58k EACH. Each MP would have a swipe card OR a PIN when voting and it would be totally fair.

It would, however, make the Pollsters life difficult which would cripple the blog and other entrail-students would do their nut.

"Oh dear, Fred Baker's anti-semticsm rears it's ugly head again."

You cannot get away from the fact that Howards General Election was the most embarrassing campaign we have ever witnessed.

"He tells Lawley how his grandmother died in the Polish camp and how his aunt
had managed to escape the gas chamber three times - once because the gas ran out" !!!!!


Mr Howard's father, Bernard Hecht, who came here in the 1930s, falsified details about his parents when he applied for British citizenship in 1947.

The Tory leader's grandmother died in Auschwitz but at the time his grandfather was living in London.

However his father, who anglicised the family name after settling in Britain, claimed they both died in his native Romania. In an interview with the Daily Mail newspaper, he [Michael Howard] said: "I have speculated on the reason and I suppose one possibility is that my grandfather might have entered Britain unlawfully."

Public opinion polls in the UK had already revealed that the overwhelming majority of the British electorate (67 percent) have stated that they will never vote for a Zionist prime minister of England.

Now I am not quoting from some anti-Semitic broad sheet but the BBC, The Telegraph and the Jewish Chronicle!

This guy should have been sent to a psychologist, not put up as leader of the Conservative Party. And certainly not a leader campaigning on Illegal Immigration!!!

Jon White - If you do not have a counter argument do not cry anti-Semitic. The phrase is so overused that it has now ceased to have any meaning.

The fact remains though Fred that your anti Jewish comments are disgrace whether you think they are overused or not.

And just where is an anti-Jewish comment?

Fred Baker - Well I for one thought he was the best Tory leader since Maggie T: and I was totally uninfluenced by his Jewishness which NEVER came up while campaigning.

I find your attitude and the way you have squirrelled away these quotes nauseating. The English voted for him anyway!

Jack Stone - IF all the Tory eurosceptics joined UKIP that would be the end of the Tory party which is why some of us don't.

Christina - as one of the earliest deserters to UKIP, I can hardly believe you wrote that!

“I was totally uninfluenced by his Jewishness which NEVER came up while campaigning.”

Well it came up in the Jewish Chronicle, the Telegraph and on the BBC!

The whole point of my posting was that:-

"We could have won the last General Election if the Grass Root’s desire had been stuck to."

The fact is the leading Jews in the party seem to have been guilty of gross opportunism or perhaps wanted a leader who was going to support the Iraq War at all cost!

No one is answering the question. The Race Card opt out is being played.

Why was it embarrassing that Howard's relatives survived the gas chamber because the gas ran out? It would only be embarrassing to the Nazi henchmen. You'd be better off in UKIP with views like that - if you're not already a member.

So Fred Baker turns a debate on party democracy into an allegation that a jewish conspiracy subverted it - GOOD GRIEF!!

Editor, can we please ban Fred Baker from this board - I really can't be bothered accepting his invitation to analyse his grossly offensive racist comments as there's no point - the rest of us see exactly where he's coming from. I can suggest you free up his time from this blog so he can get himself over to the BNP websites or maybe those run by some of the more unpleasant Islamist organisations.

Yes Howard's Jewishness (he is as much a 'lapsed' jew as one can imagine - not practicing, married a non-jewish divorcee, son training to be a christian minister etc) WAS brought up in the election, by disgraceful Labour posters characturing him as first a pig and then Fagin/Shylock. It was constantly brought up by Respect Party candidates to their muslim target-voters and knowing how the Lib Dems like to fight dirty I'm inclined to believe anecdotal evidence that it was mentioned by Lib activists to on the doorstep to muslim voters they were chasing.

Why should Jews be intimidated out of public life because it might lose some muslim votes?

That Fred is stuck in the 1930s and should be ashamed of himself.

If there are no standards on this blog it will continue to be quoted in slighting reports in the media as evidence of dissent and extremism in the Conservative Party (obviously ANYONE can post ANYTHING here) and reasonable and rational posters will stay away.

The quality of debate will decline - issues will not be discussed
rationally or courteously and all threads will descend to backbiting and recrimination.

Some of the chat on here is plain barmy. Freedom of speech shouldnt always extend to being able to scream 'FIRE' in a packed theatre.

"Why was it embarrassing that Howard's relatives survived the gas chamber because the gas ran out?"

The problem with the Fairy Tail is this:

“Alice Lok Cahana (American, b. in Hungary)
Cahana is a Houston artist and a survivor of Auschwitz from Hungary.

Cahana was in the gas chamber at Birkenau in October, 1944 when the uprising took place that blew up a gas chamber. Cahana and the others present were told to dress and leave the gas chamber, the only such incident recorded during the Holocaust.”

But Howard’s aunt taken inside three times and survived because the Nazis had no gas?

You cannot seriously believe this?

You need to be sectioned!

"So Fred Baker turns a debate on party democracy into an allegation that a jewish conspiracy subverted it"

Well what did subvert it?

To throw away the chance of winning a General Election by putting up a leader, already seriously injured was pure folly.

Howard’s General Election Campaign was dismal and absurd. They were going to cut taxes, yet not cut spending. They were not were able to explain how they were going to do this!

Immigration was a mega Election Issue and he must have known before hand that he was the son of illegal immigrants!

Grass Roots have a better idea of what the electorate want and that is what this blog is about.

Mark F: quotes my " IF all the Tory eurosceptics joined UKIP that would be the end of the Tory party which is why some of us don't."

I joined UKIP for a short time after Majoir had betrayed his country. After that I was a Tory leaning D/K. Michael Howard gave me hope and now I find it was a false dawn. All perfectly logical

You, Mark, seem wedded to any rubbish that THE PARTY dishes out. You my disagree with bits but essentially they can do what they like and you'll follow - A Cameroon stance, in fact.

Far better to let the odious Fred Baker write here and condemn himself by his own writings. Banning him would be a defeatist response

It is just 3 years since John Maples was chosen to assassinate Iain Duncan Smith. Those involved should be offering him their full apologies at the Tory Conference this week.
No leader in the history of the Conservative Party has had to undergo such low down underhand plotting. This assassination led to yet another four years in power of what must be the worse Labour led Parliaments of all time.

Blair not only messed up the UK but managed to mess up Serbia and Iraq as well! What we are doing in Afghanistan heaven knows, even the Russians gave up there!

It is ironic that Sweden has swept away 12 years of centre-left government, in favour of the Conservative Fredrik Reinfeldt a conservative candidate who bears a remarkable resemblance to Iain Duncan Smith! He has pledged to revise the Swedish welfare state. Sounds like IDS even!

Now that’s where we should have been a year ago.

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