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Let me get this right, Cameroon reforms are not the answer. Social liberalism is not the answer. Full-blooded Thatcherism, loud and proud, is not the answer. Majorite conservatism lost massively in 1997. Empahsis on core voters lost massively in 2001 and in 2005.

Erm, TT old chap, what IS your answer to what we need to do to win again? All I am seeing from you is railing against civil partnerships.

TomTom, not that is it any of your business, but I am Mancunian born and bred. Keep your anti-southern prejudices targetted at those who might actually warrant them.

Gareth - I'm sorry to say is guilty of a "terminological inexcatitude" when he says - "Lest anyone get too carried away with Christina's musings. This is the woman, you will recall who regards John Major as being 'very evil' and thinks Mr Brown has a secret plan for taking us out of the EU."

I DO regard JM: as evil as he was entirely responsible for alienating a large section of the Party's memmbership by dirty tricks and lies and for the Party being in the wilderness for almost 10 years (so far) The anti-EU members were not right wing necessarily. (Otherwise you'd not have a Labour anti-EU body - LESC - chaired by Austin Mitchell MP and including 14 other MPs and 7 Labour peers)

I have NEVER said that Brown would take us out of the EU If Gareth wasn't so foaming at the mouth as usual he would have noticed that I was quoting someone else. It remains an interesting speculation nevertheless.

The moral of this is don't bother with Gareth's misleading rants.

Jon Gale - Please don't quibble. Forming another group was never part of the promise that Cameron made to get elected. He said it would be not days or months but weeks. (no mention of years!) He also made great play of how dreadful it was to have The Party saying one thing in Britain and another in Brussels.

This is what he actually wrote BEFORE he made his promise:- - -

"Would you leave the EPP?
I believe it is important that we are consistent in our statements and actions. This means that the Conservative Party should espouse views in the European Parliament which are consistent with the views we espouse in the UK Parliament. This, in turn, leads me to believe that we should not be part of the EPP – a group that holds views inconsistent with our own. I believe that we can cooperate with our sister-parties in the European Parliament on a wide range of issues about which we agree, without being part of the EPP."

Mike Christie - "we lost three elections in a row" Yeah I had noticed. You forget that 2.6 million people like UKIP enough to vote for them if they have a chance. In Westminster elections - nb Bromley - they just don't vote! Hadn't YOU noticed?

Maasstricht enraged the core vote. Black Wednesday turned off many other, though BW: was the best possible outcome of the ERM which all EXCEPT the anti-EU factions enthusiastically supported.

There wasn't a recession AFTER BW: - the economy boomed once we were free and Gordon Brown has lived on the proceeds ever since.
Angelo - Switzerland prospers mightily and saves a fortune (SW:FR 2843m a year as their government states) by having bilateral agreements which it seems to find no difficulty in managing.
ReaganFan Who - apart from YOU - is suggesting "full-blooded Thatcherism " ? There ain't no such animal anyway. She was essentially a highly-principled pragmatist.
Jason - I'd say that "those MPs who voted against 'gay rights legislation'" did so because they didn't approve of 'gay rights legislation'. There's no point in trying to hang labels on them. It shows paucity of thought.
Anon - There's no point in pursuing the floating voter if you alienate your core vote. This is especially true when the core vote is bitter and is quite likely to bite the people who kicked them in the teeth.

Christina, re Switzerland, it is in the odd position of having a government which does whatever it can to align itself with the EU although it has a strong majority against actually joining the EU or EEA. Any UK government which decided to withdraw from the EU would have a strong mandate to behave in the absolute opposite way and indeed would be incredibly dishonest were they to do anything other than to commit to removing large tranches of EU-inspired legislation and replacing it with substantially different UK legislation.

This isn't the forum for it, but there must be a difference between the economics of retaining the status quo to not join the EU and the economics of leaving the EU. While Switzerland is undoubtedly prosperous, the case is not so clear cut as to whether they would have been more or less prosperous had they been part of the EU (eg while in the 10 years after rejecting EEA membership their per capita GNP increased by much more than the EU average, it actually increased in % terms by a lot less than that of the UK).

Given the black hole that the UK leaving the EU would leave in EU accounts, I would be very surprised if the EU did not put immense pressure on the EFTA states to reject us joining unless there was a renegotiation of the EFTA/EU relationship which led to our cost of EFTA membership (even outside the EEA which would not be appropriate for an exiting country- after all the EEA is informally the waiting room for EU membership) being much higher than for any of the existing members. This might involve a saving compared to EU membership, but not the immense one that some seem to predict.

It is also interestingish that it took Switzerland 8 years to agree the two sets of bilateral agreements with the EU. Would it be any quicker to do it for a larger and more complex country like the UK, particularly in circumstances where we would be leaving rather than, as with the Swiss, where there was a hope that at some point they might still be joining?

Angelo - There would be every incentive for the "rest of the EU" to meet Britain more than halfway. Firstly the hole in the EU budget would be so immense that unless they kept us in a willing and mutually beneficial relationship the EU would collapse. That would suit us because we wsnt good trading arrangements.

Secondly they have such a favourable balance of trade that it would be cutting off their nose to turn nasty. Quite a lot of our imports from the continent are divertable elsewhere.

So it's just a question of getting the terms right And that's where the snag comes. I don't trust the FCO to get anything right ever - much less where trade is concerned.

Christina! We agree! The Foreign Office, or as Norman Tebbit puts it, the Office for Foreigners. So true...

That's the xenophobic Little-Europeaner approach for you.

Even by your standards that’s creative misrepresentation!

It's strange isn't it!? There is a strand of "right wingers" who would prefer that we were utterly ideaologically pure and lose the election than be pragmatic and win it!! It sums them up really. They semm to totally miss the point that Conservatives have always been pragmatic including Margaret Thatcher. There is nothing wrong with this, this is what life is about. Life is not some pure ideological totally rational process. It was this obsession that got us stuck with a negative label that saw us pigeonholed (unfairly) as bean counting and uncaring. The longer Conservative tradition is far more pragmatic and one nation. DC is closer to that tradition,


As someone in the "North", I just dont agree with the wild statement that TomTom says as follows - "I don't notice the Tory Party at all round here - it has taken its name off Conservative Clubs to stave off bankruptcy, Conservatives are a strange species down in Southern England who have absolutely nothing to say up here.

They have no members, no activists, one MP, and are barely relevant. The way this site operates I can see why. It is clearly a private club in Southern England and has absolutely no interest in issues that affect voters, it is inward-looking, and culturally alien to most voters in this part of the world".

Well in my part of the North people are interested in the same things most voters are interested in eg Health, education, crime, pensions. DC has put health centre stage and is focusing on social responsibility (the root of many problems and the solution to them). Seems to me this is very relevant to voters up here,


"Even by your standards that’s creative misrepresentation!"

Why Mark? Did you support Morocco's bid to join in 1987?

Why Mark?

Because your response was unrelated to what I wrote.

As for Morocco: would you believe that I didn't pay much attention to this issue when I was 17? However, I suspect that Morocco failed to meet the accession criteria.

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