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Truly excellent work Editor. I shall certainly be buying the Indie today on my way to Bournemouth, albeit passless, to attend the MC reception and the Simon Heffer debate.

You and your team have proved what so many of us have been saying for months. There is an enormous and widening gulf between the mindset of the Cameron clique and the
ideals and expectations of ordinary Conservative members and voters.

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the issue, you can get away with “gesture” swipes at the Monday Club and the Carlton Club.. What you cannot do is to attack the very foundations of the modern Conservative Party, which are built upon the notion of a low-tax economy.

If the Cameron clique cannot promise a commitment to low tax the package they offer is worthless. It’s all very well to talk about improving education and the NHS. All parties promise exactly the same and their ability to deliver or not to deliver depends entirely upon the competence of civil servants who will be in place regardless of which party is in government.

There is nothing in this survey from which Cameron can take heart. Even his “dissatisfaction rating” is up 2%

And once he’s finished poring over the Indie there’s more bad news in the Telegraph in the form of a scathing article by Janet Daley headed “It's not 'Right-wing' to believe in tax cuts: it's just good sense”

The party leadership will be unwise to dismiss the results as the reflection of the old guard. For the first time in perhaps 20 years, the opinion of the grassroots reflects that of the man on the Clapham Omnibus.

Time and again I am asked why David Cameron obsessed with high public spending, when the public are clearly able to see that the Labour Government has wasted a large amount of taxpayers money - on bureaucracy and there is a sense that things will not change whoever gets into power.

Britain has slipped down the table in competitiveness and our Universities are shutting down Science and Engineering programmes in favour of soft subjects which are of little value in the real world.

The Conservative Party should raise the tax threshold for the basic rate to say £8000 and do away with tax credits. The higher rate should be raised to well above £40k and of course should introduce higher green taxes.

Tax relief on Health Insurance needs to be restored, which will take a substantial number of people outside the NHS, which can then become the safety net for the most disadvantaged and pensioners.

Cut funding to the soft degree programmes and divert them to more science and engineering courses - if need be, downgarde some of the new Universities to Polytech status.

Bring back apprenticeship scheme and provide tax incentives to companies which provide them.

Lastly, reverse the cutbacks introduced since 1997 to the armed forces and yes, exempt servicemen from income tax while they are serving abroad.

Mr Cameron, these are not right wing policies or a wish list from the marginal fringe but real sensible sugegstions and as conservatives we should think twice before jettisoning common sense.

'Yogi', the funding for soft courses wont be cut. Boris Johnson has already given his support to those courses. It was very early on.

Davis' ranking is very bad. Why do people think he is doing a good job? He is invisible - despite the massive wave of violent crime, when do you ever see him on TV going mad about police incompetence getting some new person killed?

When do you see him saying anything on terrorism other than "outflanking" Labour from the appeasement corner? Having Liberty at the Conference is unbelievable - they spend all their time defending terrorists.

Tory members should wake up to what a disaster Davis is.

Well done on the producing the first bad story of the conference. I laughed out load at Monday Clubber double standards. Horror that DC should advertise a job vacancy in the Guardian but delighted your working with The Independent to produce damaging headlines for the Party!! Why not put more thought into it Ed. Have you considered coordinating these damaging stories with Labour HQ? Why miss out the middle man?

Nice to see that Dave is making some ground, but 1500 odd out of total party membership is just a tad too small to be really representative and should not be relied upon.
Reid as a possible opponent is i believe a touch out of court. Reid has gone round government departments but has never really stayed long enough to be effective or stamp a mark. Jack of all, master of none is an apposite description.
Dave needs to remember that the duty of an opposition is to oppose everything and to give no praise but condemn. There are enough issues out there for the party to have a field day; pensions(£5bn robbery), armed forces(lack of investment/WMD), NHS, education, policing(lack of), CJS(non-existant), prisons(not enough),loans for peerages, Unity Bank/Co-op, etc etc.
To be electable is not just to have a piece a paper, with some policies which can be ignored in the future, but to show credibility, and that you are a force, are trustworthy and have the people's interests at heart.

The Conservative Party should raise the tax threshold for the basic rate to say £8000 and do away with tax credits.

Hilarious.........you raise the tax threshold from £5032 to £8000 which is only another £3000 x 22% = £660

and to pay for that extra £660 you will take up to £5000 in Tax Credits from such households...............wow you under-estimate Gordon's generosity.......

This term "being at the centre" is always taken at face value, but in fact it is a pretty meaningless phrase.

For the most part being at the centre is code for following the pack and not providing leadership and analysis.

The media and politicians have defined which policies are at "the centre", which are left wing and which are right wing. When the media call a policy right/left wing they are really saying unbalanced, but they do not recognise that most journalists and politicians live in a cosseted world.

On R4 "any answers" we had all these builders who were at the sharp end of the influx of cheap labour, they were not being extreme in wanting less immigration, they merely wanted stability in the job market. They were angry that none of the panel had stood up or understood what was happening to their livelyhoods.

The centre can be very extreme because the consensus about what is the centre ground is made by this narrow group; the media and career politicians. On the EU they promote un-democratic government as moderate view and wanting to take back democratic accountability as being right-wing (unbalanced). The EU is an impractical and utopian ideal, is not a balanced successful or democratically run club.

Cameron is completely driven by a wish to be in there with the media and is not providing leadership. It is noticeable that the most popular shadow ministers are the ones who do not belong to Cameron's Eton/Oxford gang, this is should worry the Conservative party because the gang have taken control and Hague, Fox and Davies are the only ones there on merit.

Cameron's Conservatives are not balanced or at "the centre", they are narrow, self opinionated and media obsessed, they are going no-where intersting and the public will in time work out what they represent. If Cameron wins the election he will find his gang become very unpopular very quickly and they will be more disliked than Major ever was.

Vacuous feel good tosh is not what this country needs, but that is what the modernisers are provideing.

The opinion polls and yr poll are already reflecting it as a failed idea.

Fink is lumping the TPA in with the old school Tory line on tax but they are manifestly different.

The TPA has answered them here...


It will be interesting to see the response.

Prediction: the Party and Fink will continue to pretend the TPA is Tebbit/Redwood, BECAUSE their argument is obviously different and much harder to answer...

Was this poll conducted before or after it was discovered that Francis Maude is a patron of the arts?

Good article in the Indie today, interesting that they are not that hot on things like the economy, get them going on a green agenda and the Indie seems to thaw somewhat, their front page today certainly suggested a more sympathetic hearing for tories.

Regarding the poll, I think that there is an a danger with these polls, as single issues such as the EU and Tax attract heavy polling and can skew results - results that get into the national press and can mislead the public into thinking that we are either using Cameron as a stalking horse or are divided.

ps, Tim your article was also verey interesting, but exactly what should be included is a more delicate question?

Davis certainly is NO disaster. I see him frequently on TV amd even more often in the press. He knows what a Conservative is and should be. He's no Notting Hill cliqueman. He's not one wading in money like Cameron and his friends - no wonder they don't want tax cuts - they don't need them.

I'd be happy if Cameron told it as it is that Brown "has left so many debts to pay that we - the tax-cutting party - will only be able to make a modest start. But when we've straightened Brown's mess out we WILL reduce taxes. That will be a priority"

But if he goes on like this denying the NEED for taxes many Tories will deny the NEED for Cameron.

I should have thought that "denying the need for taxes" might have found favour with you, Christina. I think we know what you meant to say.


When has he ever denied the NEED for taxes?

He often talks about taxes being too high, and the perils of increasing uncompetitiveness.

He basically says what you've just said you want, but with slightly different phrasing and doesn't say "priority":

'dont know what state public finances will be in, irresponsible years from election to promise unfunded tax cuts...over time will share proceeds...instinct is for lower taxes.'etc.

And bye-the-way, your stuff about upper-class cliques wading in money who dont care about the poor is the kind of class war garbage that would spew from the mouths of Old Labour.

It seems that the right think that to win elections the leadership have got got to appeal to them. Satisfy them and we are in number ten. What rubbish!
We have to appeal to those in the centre ground who either vote for other parties normally or do not vote at all. They have not supported the last two right-wing manifesto`s and clearly want us to do more than go on about tax cuts, europe and immigration all the time.
David Cameron is on the right track.By appealing to those Conservatives who have a liberal conscionse who care about the environment, public services and who believe you will only cut crime by reforming people not just jailing them he is widing the party`s appeal and giving us a better chance of winning. You will not win elections by appealing to the like of Monday clubber who should be living in the eightenth century not this and do what Mr Montgomery want`s us to do and do what the Liberals do and try to be all things to all men.

Jack The centre is a meaningless phrase, other than a general phrase as to what the hacks and career politicians generally want the world to be like. It is feel-good speak.

Cameron is saying making enviromentally friendly tax policies is centrist and wanting to leave the EU is right wing and Fruit Cake politics. This is humbug

The EU is not a liberal institution, it has propaganda budgets, is centralised and unaccountable and corrupted. So who is the illiberal fruit cake?

Cameron is saying he is caring compassionate and looks after the weak, but when it comes to making political cases against a bad chancellor he tells us he laughs at him for his personal weaknesses, but then fails to get to grips with the political case. This is the spiteful behaviour of someone who does not see humanity in his opponents. This compassion is in fact a political ploy, it is not in his heart.

He tells us he is broad and open, but when we look at the shadow cabinet we see all his Eton and Oxford chums have been promoted and the others, with exception of Hague, Fox and Davis are left out in the cold. (BTW I am ex top-public school, it does not threaten me, but it offends my sensibilities).

The Conservatives (and Cameron)are being very foolish in taking the media's initial warmth to Cameron at face value. The media enjoys to build up and then pull down it's idols. They are setting this twit up, when they become bored they will be ruthless.

This is not about centralist versus rightwing.

"Davis' ranking is very bad. Why do people think he is doing a good job?"

Uncle Mac had his night of the long knives. This is just what Cameron needs to do to establish his credentials.

Davis will always be linked to Howard, the flagship of disaster, launched by Davis. They would both be better off out of politics. I am not too happy with Liam Fox either.

Too many Davids causes confusion, so eliminate all other Davids. There is still plenty of talent on the back benches to choose from.

@Fred baker
Davis will always be linked to Howard, the flagship of disaster, launched by Davis. They would both be better off out of politics. I am not too happy with Liam Fox either.

Now remind me who it was who "masterminded" Michael Howard's campaign. Dave someone or other?

I wonder how many people would have filled in the survey had they known it was going to be splashed negatively across a left-leaning newspaper. Bravo, Tim!

Does anyone have a link to the No Turning Back tax pamphlet? There must be a copy online somewhere!

That was not a launch. He may well have licked a few envelopes back in 2003. It was DD and MH who stole the headlines at the defeat of IDS.

"When Michael Howard was elected Tory leader in October 2003, his campaign chief, Liam Fox, said: "I am absolutely delighted. I think it is the beginning of the real resurgence in Conservative fortunes." Huh

You know Jack Stone odd as your arguments are it is nevertheless worth noting that the election-winning team at NuLab raised £14 million by nefarious means to win an Election in May 2005 with 21.6% voters choosing them......................

That is an amazing feat..............now just what bits do the Tories need to copy to get 21.6% voters to think they are worth putting in office ?

78.4% voters can then look on in astonishment

Please stop trying to shoot the messenger.

Shoot the people largly responsible for making that message vitle for any type of Conservative victory.

Which is the BBC.

As it seems no leader of the Conservative party has the balls to simply close down the BBC, perhaps a compromise solution could be found. So that at least the damage to the correct functioning of party political government can be limited.

Why not divide the BBC into two. One half proportionately divided between the Opposition and one half to the current government?

We could call them BBC 1 and BBC 2. The liecence fee to be reduced by 50% over 5 years. This to be accommodated by the scraping of light entertainment sport and films.

Just think the BBC might even like the idear. Because lets face it this has bugger all chance of happening unless the BBC do like it. The BBC would have more money to spend on its own national and international statist propergander. More independance than it currently has. No need to carry on pretending to be unbias anymore, and the Bias BBC blog and me, would have very little to say.

The liecence fee would still be a disgracefull poll tax on the poorest people in sociaty, but what the hell, no political party cares about those people anymore, least of all the BBC Party.

As the BBC thinks it is the voice of the British people and loved and respected by so many, how could it possibly lose?

Although I believe it would have less viewers than Scunthorp United within two years, the BBC is made up of selfdellusional intellectual morons so they might just go for it.

Also; this helps the problem of the state funding of political parties. No need to pay for leaflets and advertising when you have your own TV station.

The Telegraph debate at the huge hall at the Royal Bath (on tax) was absolutely fantastic. Norman Tebbit was cheered to the echo when he advocated pulling out of Europe in order to enjoy huge savings that can be returned to the taxpayer.

Speaking for the Cameron no-change high-tax agenda The Villiers girl - thoroughly unimpressive IMHO - was hissed by delegates at one stage.

And the end result? A whopping majority for the tax cuts all true Tories demand.

This is the big issue on which Cameron has decided to confront true Tories. It's good to see that so many are determined not to let him get away with it.

Amid that terrific audience of true-blue Conservatives I felt proud to be a Tory again.

Somewhat ironically the Chingford Skinhead was lobbied against going into Europe in 1970 by the Chingford Communist Party (all two of them, husband and wife). About the only thing the Commies got right!

"when we look at the shadow cabinet we see all his Eton and Oxford chums have been promoted and the others, with exception of Hague, Fox and Davis are left out in the cold"

Aren't Dave + the shadow-cabinet + hangers-on now up to fifteen ex-Eton?

I've got nothing against Eton. It's a fine school.

I'd be just as concerned if the leader had attended a comprehensive and installed fourteen of his former schoolmates.

There's a stench of blatant nepotism in the air.

Hello, hooray what a nice day for The Eton Rifles....Eton Rifles

Parliamentry Democrats are all Independent MP's. They need public money if any do.

I am a european investor in the UK. Over the last 20 years my family's companies have invested £75 million. We provide employment with decent (european style) conditions to our 328 employees. In recent years (particularly when the UK didn't set a course to join the euro) we stopped our investment as we now perceive the UK economy as a lopsided bet on a japan-circa-early-90es-style property bubble.

Accordingly we have divested any real estate in the UK which we feel is "irrationally exuberant" and is very likely to crash. We feel that this is true even with the stimulus of running a very aggressively competitive tax and worker rights regime within the single market in effect taking investment which would otherwise be in other european countries to the UK.

Given this fact we are alarmed by the hysterical quality in British euroscepticism. We feel there is a public hysteria whipped up by the Murdoch press which may sell newspapers but its not in the interests of this country. The influence R Murdoch has over Britain via the Times the Sun and Sky over Britain is of Berlusconian proportions.

We have already drawn plans to reduce our exposure to the UK for purely economic reasons, we may well relocate entirely in Bratislava, Slovakia if the same nationalistic rhetoric persists in making us feel that there is a risk of withdrawal. So far we have found that new europe has much better educated and productive people and policies that are in line with reality.

The UK is becoming bureaucratic not due to Brussels, its the unresponsive overpriced and low quality services and property but also there is widespread dishonesty in Banking and insurance and business services, it is generally bad value for money. Banks in particular are a law on to themselves. The personal loan bubble is likely to burst along with the housing one.

The fact that UK employees have much less security and rights than the rest of the EU has made up for the currency risk so far, but if this overpriced and overconfident country continues its direction in pulling out of the EU project this will give us reasons to pull out our investments from the UK altogether to avoid the dangerous direction to anti-eu-populism that is now prevalent.

Well Mr Sykes, we are supposed to be a democracy so the view of the majority should prevail. We will not be forced by your actions or threats (or those of any UK traitors) to be dragged further into a Europe which is not to our liking. We did not give in to Old Adolf and we will not give in to the likes of you. We have good friends across the Atlantic in the USA and in the Commonwealth such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada. So who needs you anyway?? Certainly not I!!

It is unbelievable that the Tories can ever win an election with just the right wing of the party. Maggie Thatcher certainly didn't, she already had a party that occupied the centre ground and it was the assistance of the right that put her into power and kept her there. The Tories then mistakenly believed it was the right wing vote that kept John Major in power but failed to notice how the middle ground was being lost to Labour. The Tories must retake this middle ground if they ever want to get back into office and the right wing must provide the support, however if they want to run off to UKIP then good riddance I say, but that is unlikely. So David Cameron has us on track to win the next election and it is up to us, and that includes the Tebbitts of this world, to support him, He will have enough critics outside the Tory party.

Forget the Green Issues, let's get todays home problems sorted first.
Policing (lack of)
Lenient Judges (too Many)
Prisons (Small Holiday Camps for Junkies)
NHS - Breeding ground for incompetent Middle Management
Border Policing - What happened to Michael Howards promises re, action, I'm sure they were not just his own.
Stop robbing the old, they've paid their dues.
Stop paying out to promote large families with parents have have no incentive to work, claiming benefits is not regarded a profession, although we seem to lead the world as they all come here to collect.
Re-nationise the Energy Industries and fix the salaries of the "Fat Cats" after all foreign investors wouldn't be interested if it wasn't many pots of money.
Get out of Brussels Politics and start making a stand, while we still got some dignity left.
I think you'll find the British people don't give a tinkers cusswho the next Robber Baron in the Labour Party is, but they would like a honest answer as to why we have troops in Iraq & Afganistan, I bet no one has the guts in any party to own up.

Well said Alan. Let's have no more of this 'lets hug a hoody' nonsence and get back to basics.

Forget increased local taxes, road charging, ID cards etc and get the country running smmothly again. Lets do away with all the quango's, speed camera partnerships and the thousands of unecessarycivil servants. The money saved will go a long way to help strighten out the 'mess' the labour party have made of this once great country.

City Regions

Last week the HBOS in Halifax hosted a gathering to launch the new Leeds City Region which would not only include Leeds and Bradford, but Calderdale, Kirklees, Wakefield and YORK

I am strongly opposed to this new creeping regionalisation
And after the millions wasted on Regional Assemblies and failed Police Mergers we cannot allow these ideas to spread.

It is ironic of course that soon after the launch, which highlighted transport proposals, there was no funding for Yorkshire in the latest government awards.

What concerns me is the lack of opposition from our Conservative Leaders in Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale. No doubt Leeds see some benefit from us all being included in THEIR City Region, and Liberal York will grab at anything.

I have been a member of the party for over 40 years.a London Borough Councillor for 26 years.----------a former chairman of the Y.C's-(They need to be brought back as the current Conservative Future membership is pitiful in comparison).
This "hug a hoodie" and "more love" nonsence has got to stop.
Whereas I agree that we have to look at the causes of crime as well, we have to start shouting from the rooftops that this nonsensical political correctness has got to stop.David Cameron's approach is "wet" to the extreme and far from attracting voters, it is alienating more people than we are attracting.
There has been a collapse of respect in society due to society pandering to the minority of "do gooders".
The Conservative party I joined should stand for ,quality and choice in Education,tough law and order policies including more prisons,tough immigration
policies like Australia,having OUR OWN Human Rights Act,lower taxes by cutting wasteful jobs,scrapping or amending Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax,ensuring that the main residence should be exempt from sale to pay for nursing home es.That the Local authority should decide on Planning Issues with the Government intervening only if the views of local people are not listened to.We need to strenghten our armed forces and border controls.We need more hospitals, doctors and nurses ,with far less administrators.We need to tighten up on postal voting to prevent fraud.The police should not be so ridiculously politically correct and NOT be answerable to local or regional politicians but just the Home Secretary.I am fed up with the back slapping that currently goes on between the local Chief Superintendant and our Lib Dem Council Administration.We should be attacking Labour on their continual sleaze.(One of the reasons why we lost control of Government after the "Major" years )and the Lib Dems for continually being "all things to all men" and more to the left than Labour.
For these and many other reasons-----is why I have fought year in and year out for the Conservative party.
I fear that unless we reverse Mr Cameron's
direction, many of our loyalest members will either not vote at the next General Election or vote UKIP--------which would "God help us" ,land us with a 4th term Labour Government.
Lets not kid ourselves--------we are not ahead in the polls because of David Cameron--but because Labour are getting more and more unpopular by the minute.
It is be true to say that "Governments lose elections,Oppositions dont win them ".
I would like us to win the next election for "Positive" reasons.
David Cameron has a head start in winning the vote of the young-----------.With sensible hard hitting policies also aiming at the "grey" vote with a change of tack,he should be home and dry well before the next election.
Sad to say, that unless David Cameron starts to listen to the people and not his advisors ,we might need to look for another leader to take us through to win the next General Election when it comes.

"ensuring that the main residence should be exempt from sale to pay for nursing home"

Isn't that a very unconservative attitude. Why should a young family struggling to get on the property ladder, pay tax, raise children etc. have to pay for the care of someone who has benefited handsomely from the huge rise in property prices that see them having to mortgage themselves to the hilt.

What is wrong with selling a house you no longer need, to pay for the accomodation that you do need?

Agree totally, Peter.

There's nothing remotely Conservative about Cameron's copycat Nulabour policies.

Attempting to copy Blair when his star is waning is bad for our party and bad for the country. It also makes very bad sense electorally.

crime, stinking europe, tax, rubbish nhs, poxy east germany id cards,.........all things that make 21st century britain stink. if you think that pathetic knobjockey cameron is going to cure any of it youre dreaming. my votes going to ukip ,only british party left in britain.

i`m sorry but cameron has got to go or we are dead in the water. hug an ice berg? hug a hoody?.....heres one david...take a running jump.

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