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"David Cameron’s greener conservatism was on full show in Bournemouth this week"

Yes indeed.

As in his disgraceful commitment to sacrifice Green Belt to housing land?

"This year’s conference goers didn’t just leave behind lots of empty wine and beer bottles… they’ve also turned an unused church into a community centre for the people of Bournemouth."

Most of the conferencegoers I met were not remotely aware of this gimmick. I mentioned it several times and was met by blank faces.

Still, it's heartwarming to hear that the socially deprived citizens of Tory Bournemouth will have a new venue for their bridge drives.

"an almost insultingly short reference to Darfur."

I'm afraid Darfur has clearly been relegated in the vote-winning stakes.

I met a number of former Cameron supporters who are already thoroughly disillusioned, together with some Cameron loyalists who were nevertheless as one in condemning the "A" List.

It's not a question of if, but when, this transparently empty bubble bursts.

Monday Clubber, if you are going to spend every day of David Cameron's leadership vapidly blogging against him, you are going to become very boring. You've got about 10 to 15 years to go.

Really Mark? You mean even more tedious than your own electronic fanmail?

Tell us. Are you already on the "A" List or just an enthusiastic aspirant?

Let's stop the personalisation of this debate immediately please.

A lot of people wonder if David Cameron is tough enough to lead the country, what with his green leanings and failure to announce his manifesto up front. This week shows that he is. He's challenging the party not just to show patience on tax but to face the prospect of higher environmental burdens AND greater house building in some of our most (politically) sensitive areas. His manifesto is brave, principled and resolute.

I may need to change my nom de plume (for fear of accusations of false advertising)but I'm inspired by Cameron's speech and by a growing belief that he has the stature to face down our own vested interests (eg Nimby's) and argue tough sells for the country's long term interests. Whether he is right on everything or not he is now showing the character to face up to critics head on, lead and take the tough decisions.

As a party let's move ahead and face down people like Monday Clubber who think it's "disgraceful" to make sure that we provide homes for people. We need to be a Party that governs in the national interest not our own interest - and that's exactly what David Cameron has set out to do.

Hear, hear, Editor. I thought your reflections provided an excellent summary of what, viewed from afar, seemed to be a "curate's egg" of a week. (Though with, on balance, more good bits than bad.)

It certainly brought home to me that, for us Conservatives, Cameron's the only show in town at the moment. Those of use who have nagging doubts about his small state/low tax credentials need to persevere in trying to influence the debate from within.

I'm particularly impressed with DC's collegiate approach, which is sensible because he has some excellent front-bench colleagues. I had a conversation with Liam Fox, some months ago, which suggested that this was a genuine feature of the Cameron leadership whichwas much welcomed by his Shadow team.

At this rate I really do need a new posting name. Perhaps Monday Clubber can suggest one!

"Still, it's heartwarming to hear that the socially deprived citizens of Tory Bournemouth will have a new venue for their bridge drives."

If you'd bothered to turn up you would have seen that the community centre was nestled between streets of terraced housing and that the first exhibits in there were from groups dedicated to helping the victims of family abuse and to people struggling to overcome substance abuse.

Still... never let the facts get in the way of a good prejudice, eh!

It was a momentous week. I think Dave now has the firm stamp of authority on the Party. However, the Party will still haemmorage members and funds as it fails to retain its previous core vote. The next year will see small leads over Labour perhaps, but 2006 was the year that the Conservative Party was finally killed off as a future, right of centre Party. For millions of voters, there's no choice any more other than two centre-left parties: New Labour and Blue Labour.

How can you describe Cameron's Tories as centre-left. He wants to empower people not the state. He will protect spending on public services but, over time, use economic growth also to lower rates of tax. This will make the economy more competitive and so create the "positive feedback" at the core of Conservative economics ie lower rates of tax leading to higher takes of tax.

This isn't a "centre-left" agenda at all. He has rejected the harsh language of Thatcherism and redefined why he believes in the prescription - but the prescription is still there and anyone who wants to see a competitive economy coupled with decent social and actual infrastructure should stop carping and start working for a Cameron government.

Jonathan Sheppard mentioned to me that businesses are also starting to come back to the Conservative conference. Apparently, in the past when the party was in opposition, many advertisers and business stall owners stayed away. Now they are coming back. Surely a good sign too?

As a P.S. to my previous post and if (as Sandbagger has suggested on another thread) CCHQ really are monitoring posts on CH, I should add that I still think the A-list is an entirely stupid and divisive scheme. (Wouldn't want to pick up too many Brownie Points!)

Is David Cameron genuinely about to start an official conservative campaign to prevent the NHS cuts caused by budget overspend?

If so, does that not mean that Cameron is giving the NHS a blank cheque?

I think the editor is for the most part correct.Cons Home can also take credit for maintaining the pressure on project Cameron to broaden out and include strong conservative themes. CCO and a number of those who criticised CHome for its negativity in this blog missed the point, the Cons don't need cheerleaders, they need constructive criticism.

However, that said, I thought the conference and the speech was a 'pudding without a theme.' A number of bits cobbled together to satisfy different audiences. What was missing was any guiding philosophy. What kind of a country do we want to see. Photo ops and hjeadlines should be the result of good coherent strategy, not a replacement for it.Much of the commentary reflects that with different people grasping on to different parts. There is so much wrong with Britain today as a result of New Labours casual destruction of our institutions. We are a society more ill at ease with ourselves than ever before. The Conservatives should offer up hope that this remarkeable nation could repair so much of what has gone wrong. The failure to do that is why we have a disjointed debate about single issues like tax. Without the theme they become meaningless and divide.

Gadfly

Gadfly

Chad - You've put your finger on the crucial point of yesterday's "cloudy, lukewarm soup" (The Sun). The answer to your question is - Yes!

Cameron's nailed his colours to the mast of a failing NHS. That's one place that CHANGE is taboo! And it's one place where change is essential if it's to survive.

He majored on the NHS but his only proposal is to do more of what is failing under Labour - throw even more money at it! We have a lower number of doctors per head than 23 out of 27 OECD nations, and a worse survival rate from cancer, heart disease and strokes than most developed nations. . He ruled out reforms. Which means he's against CHANGE! Ooooh!

The NHS is failing again and again and the supply of doctors is threatened by incompetent management ensuring that there are not enough places for young post-training doctors Such doctors as do get through will lack experience because - me banging on again - EU rules prevent them from learning from a wide variety of cases.

This will not improve until the system is CHANGED. But change in the NHS is anathema to the Tory leader who is wedded to a failing system.

The "Not-the-Conservative-Party" is in danger of being another failing system.

Seeing a focus group of students on TV going from a few saying they'd vote Tory before Cameron's speech, to all of them saying they'd consider it after hearing the speech- is good enough for me. After all presumably we are all in the business of winning elections aren't we ?

I'm continually amazed at the apparent lack of historical perspective from so many people on this forum (not just today on this thread).

Far from being some modern PR-obsessed concoction Cameron's conservatism (if that's not already too trite a phrase) is completely in tune with a long noble tradition in the Conservative party, namely that of one-nation paternalism. It stretches back as far as Disraeli legislating for union rights and public health projects at the end of the last 19th century.

When are we going to collectively acknowledge the breadth of opinion and outlook this party has always had? We all have different views on the Thatcher years and they certainly represented a distinctive strand of conservatism but it was just that - one strand. No more true or core than everything Cameron set out yesterday...

"After all presumably we are all in the business of winning elections aren't we ?
"

So you are happy to give the NHS a blank cheque, and outspend Labour's already high spending to win office?

Fair enough if that's what you are after, but I never thought I'd first see a Labour govt getting the NHS to stop overspend then secondly see a Tory leader endorse and support the overspend.

It is us the taxpayer who has to pay for all of this you know.

The bit about the Green Belt wont go down with Thanet residents, where there is a campaign to stop a development directly next to a busy shopping centre. The proposal is for a thousand houses. Announcements like the ones Cameron are making arent helping us and other South Eastern districts up for election in May, where we are having houses thrown at us, instead of doing a better thing and trying to get people to move up North.

Students will go for anything. They are impressionable and if you give platitudes which no one can really object to, unless you look at whats behind them, its no suprize the student vote is sucking it up.

The NHS support is very risky. Unions are very defensive of the NHS and we cant keep giving huge amounts of tax payers money because the NHS provides a service for the public. The NHS announcement basically kills off any hopes that there will be anything close to radical tax cuts. What happens if we have a recession. We will have to cut spending and in that case, the entire strategy goes up in smoke and we lose the unions as well as any other public worker who feels they could be next. We would be out on our asses

Didn't DC rule out unnecessary structural changes rather than change at all? Presumably that leaves the door open for very necessary fundamental changes.

Does the Working Time Directive mean that no EU country produces suitably trained and experienced doctors?

As for the Nimbys or indeed those who don't want more housebuilding, where did you think Mrs Thatcher's aim of creating a homeowning democracy would lead? If there isn't enough housing in the places that it is needed then how can that big picture ideology be continued? Then again, a solution might be to regenerate brownfield sites outside the South East so that there is less need for internal migration to the London commuter belt. However, Labour seem to have put more into that strategy than us (using RDAs and other state investment of a sort that would be anathema to many Tories), at least since discovering the pain of how long it took to build up Docklands.

"Students will go for anything. They are impressionable and if you give platitudes which no one can really object to, unless you look at whats behind them, its no suprize the student vote is sucking it up."

...but James as I said we need to win the election to be in a position to make changes. So we need people to vote Tory & if Cameron does this, great.

But at what cost Alison?

"we need to win the election to be in a position to make changes."

..but those changes appear to be stopping Labour's attempt to finally control NHS spending and prevent budget overspend.

How will a blank cheque for the NHS do anything but bleed taxpayers of more money?

James,
Not winning and having 5 years of Gordon Brown.

Really?

Give the NHS and blank cheque, bleeding the taxpayer dry just to achieve some tribalist victory?

"..but those changes appear to be stopping Labour's attempt to finally control NHS spending and prevent budget overspend."
Chad,
Labour control NHS spending ? They spend it on admin not health care, I don't see this as controlling spending but as misuse of Government funds.

The speech was full of the references that you would expect to keep the faithful on side but I am disappointed that there was an absence of vision. The question remains where are we going? As posted yesterday the NHS faces critical choices on its supply/demand cycle that are only going to get harder. As many have already suggested the strategy seems to be to throw more money at it without considering the reforms that are necessary to bring the organisation into the 21st century.

The statement on housing was interesting. There is an assumption that we have a housing crisis in the UK. This is not strictly correct. We have a housing crisis in the South East. To alleviate this a sensible strategy might be to offer suitable tax incentives for business (say for example 10% corporation tax in the North East and North West) to generate growth. This would serve the purpose of easing pressure in the south whilst offering the opportunity of social mobility for children and individuals living in areas of high unemployment, rather than the benefits trap that currently exists.

The environmental statements have been over-hyped. As a country we contribute only a fractional amount to the total global CO2 emissions, and our efforts are best placed on pressurising the United States to step up to Kyoto, and look to place ourselves in a position of competitive advantage by offering support for the development of green technology (again incentivising business). The beans and sandals approach concerns me.

I am also slightly concerned by the road to Damascus conversion that has taken place. The fact that David Cameron was responsible for the 2005 manifesto will at some point be subjected to critical analysis by the Government. This coupled with the current policy-lite approach runs a risk of reinforcing the all style no substance tag that is starting to gain some traction.

The luke warm response from newspapers like the Sun also causes some concern. As the newspaper with the largest readership it is read by a significant number of voters who we need to be converting to the cause. Reports such as these do not help to win hearts and minds.

My guess is that if this was a school report it would read C-. Must try harder.

I would also like to pose a question which to many may sound strange, but strategically do we want to win the next election given that it is at that point that all of New Labours problems are likely to come to a head? Does it not put us in the position of being in charge of the ship at the point it hits the iceberg? What do people think the publics reaction to this would be?

The sole sour note of the week was the A list. I have never been a friend of the A list, and I would like to think I would have disliked it even if I were on it. What is adding injury to the insult is the attitude of some of the women A listers, in a word: arrogance. It would seem that this arrogance is coming right from the top and being far too enthusiastically embraced by a number of the women benefiting from preference (or hoping to benefit). Phrases like “it’s our turn”, or “see how it feels” were repeated often and are both offensive to those of us who have long supported and encouraged women (and anyone else talented) to apply for seats, as well as run completely counter any sort party camaraderie.

Cameron hasn't offered a blank cheque to the NHS, let alone ruled out reform. What he has ruled out are more structural changes for their own sake. In other words a Conservative government will work with existing SHAs and PCTs rather than abolishing them for change's sake. As the Labour government has basically now returned to both the structures and philosophy that informed us in 1997 he is promising to continue along a path which uses greater patient and GP power to get improved services offering better value for money. Like Labour we will take a neutral view on whether a service is provided by a state organisation or the private sector - we will just ask commissioners to find the best outcome for patients.

Labour have made a hash because they spent so many years going in the wrong direction (Frank Dobson, remember him?) and, even now, have ministers of breathtaking stupidity and incompetence (Yes Rosie I mean you).

So long as Labour's left (and union dependency) doesn't get control of health policy again it should be possible to get some sort of broad consensus on improving the NHS and getting value for money from a system which, for now, is bleeding the taxpayer dry and delivering too little.

One "hidden hand" of co-ordination at the Conference was in the choice and use of the speakers.

To have people like Shami Chakrabati say things that resonated with most of the audience (using historical rights), left me impressed by
1. The bravery in choosing such independent speakers.
2. The professional co-ordination of what was said.

Shami was just one example amongst many.

Whoever did the co-ordination of speakers and their content did a brilliant job.

Maybe my doubts over Oliver Letwin's policy co-ordination are unfounded? If they can co-ordinate speeches of so many independent people in such a brilliant way, then our policy review should be equally as good.

So Cameron has left the door open for a fundamental change that could involve large job losses?

How can you campaign against Labour's cuts whilst simulateously leaving the door open for even bigger cuts yourself?

..and plus that is not true anyway as Cameron has personally pledged never to cut funding to the NHS

"A long and noble tradition in the Conservative Party - that of one-nation paternalism." With that one phrase, Cassilis sums up just how backward-looking the Cameron approach is. Disraeli lived in the mid-nineteenth century. Many of us grew up in the 1960's, not the 1860's. We don't do uncritical deference and forelock-tugging. We do do meritocracy and social mobility and are quite comfortable making key decisions about all aspects of our own and our families' lives. We don't want to be "looked after" and patronised by Harold MacMillan washing the dishes on webcam in an open-necked shirt. We want to see Government use its vast resources to give ordinary people the opportunities to shape their own lives on their own terms, free from incessant paranoid interference from know-all politicians, bureaucrats and judges. It's called liberalism.

The NHS moaners really need a reality check. The majority of real voters don't want structural reform of the NHS and every time we've suggested it it has scared a goodly number of them into the arms of Labour and the Liberals. Cameron isn't saying he won't reform the system - just that at the end of the day, it will still be an NHS system. I realise that to some swivel-eyed wonks, the failure to call for social insurance, or opt out funding, or some other politically correct system, is a terrible sin - but in the eyes of the public it is exactly the right thing to do.

Fantastic conference. There will be no turning back to the days of right wing irrelevance. The extremists on this blog can scream until they are blue in the face. But this is an agenda that is right for our country and our party. It has been endorsed at every opportunity by our members. It will result in a Britain is better run, has stronger communities, more local power and is greener.

Cameron has made an unequivocal, cast-iron pledge that he will never cut NHS funding.

Whatever you think of that pledge, it couldn't be any clearer.

You're missing my point Michael. I was merely pointing out that there is a historical basis to Cameron's outlook - not necessarily endorsing or rejecting it. I just get frustrated when people get all fundamentalist about Thatcherism as though it's the one true Tory creed - it's only one of many and to my mind far from the best.

On the point of substance (the buzz word of the week I guess) we're probably quite close - I share your reservations about an out & out return to MacMillan paternalism and would happily subscribe to the liberalism tag.

My own view is that Cameron is aiming at a synthesis of the best parts of several Tory traditions...

I wonder Changetowin.From the outside it looked good but was far from being fantastic. Despite the best efforts of the media there was no huge fight on tax cuts but the fact that the conference was so policy lite left the media a bit bored in my opinion.
That is going to have to change soon and it is then and only then will we see how good the leadership is and how good we as a party are.

I accept that there is a historical basis for Cameron's outlook: it's one of its biggest weaknesses and it is why he has so much quiet support from the closed circle of old-fashioned Tory paternalists such as Hurd, Patten, Clarke and Heseltine. I have just been enjoying Anatole Kaletsky's article in the "Times": "This speech [i.e. Cameron's] was the longest shopping list in history (and it'll cost you dear)". It says all that needs to be said about yesterday. To be fair to Cameron, Kaletsky has a habit of siding with New Labour in print but not obviously so here. Cameron's spinners are presumably working on an official DVD of Bournemouth called "The Triumph of the Will"?

There's a good piece by Anatole Kaletsky
in The Times today (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,6-2389003,00.html) which identifies the problems Cameron is storing up for himself by trying to go after various groups of voters. As far as the NHS is concerned we can all say we love the NHS especially when we are lying in a hospital being treated in an emergency but that doesn't mean that it isn't desperately in need of reform and accountability. At what point do we agree to stop throwing money at it and ask for better value - never according to Cameron.

New hospitals have been bulit by PFI schemes over the past 10 years and we have to wonder where all the investment has gone and why is there such a black hole in NHS finances. The NHS is in urgent need of reform and we shouldn't be afraid to say so.

Chad "U" can "KIP" barking on about "how bad you think the Tory party is" but you'll never be in power!

The conference was a success, lets hope we can get the benefit from this next May at the local elections. Then we can really have a go at correcting Labour's dreadfull spending policy locally

I thought Kaletskys' piece today was hyperbolic rubbish.So typical of a journalist whose only consistency is that he's always inconsistent.

I thought the conference was a success and Cameron displayed courage to reject the easy option of returning to core issues.

Kaletsky does have a point though, there have been a lot of uncosted commitments made in the last week, which come on the back of a pledge to reduce public spending as a share of GDP.

Similarly, the party simultaneously (rightly imo) refused to offer upfront tax cut promises and (wrongly imo) offered an upfront tax cut for couples with children (or was it married couples?)

There's plenty of time before the election to sort these inconsistencies out, but if I worked for Brown I'd be sticking this all in a file marked "Tory sums don't add up" and waiting until about 6-12 months before the election to start asking difficult questions.

Malcolm, you know you can do better than taking refuge in ad hominem abuse......fashionable though it undoubtedly is in a Party with no credible policies.

Changetowin: are you paid by the Conservative Party by any chance? Thank you for clarifying the Cameroon objection to right-wing irrelevance. I thought the Conservative Party was of the right: sorry, obviosuly, my mistake. You are all Balirites now.

For me, this was a fairly good conference but friends of mine were stuck waiting for police clearance for days, in one case, from 1pm Sunday to 3pm Tuesday despite obviously not being a terrorist and despite handing her form in mid-July with others that were cleared in time.

It meant that everyone who turned up arrived in a foul mood.

CCO seem to blame the police for not processing the forms. The police seem to blame CCO for not getting the forms to them.

Whatever happened, those waiting had an agreement with CCO and so CCO MUST refund the conference fee to ALL ATTENDEES who did not get their pass through the post and had to collect it from late accreditation. They must then refund every night's hotel accomodation for those kept back for security checks - such as my friend who paid for 3 nights when she was only allowed in the secure zone for 12 hours (she had to leave first thing Wednesday). Those people should also be given an subsistence allowance - no security pass meant no free food and drink - £20 a day should be fine.

In short, CCO must pay up without argument.

And for those who say it wasn't CCO's fault, that is irrelevant. It is CCO's problem to sort it out with the police and CCOCL and not the members, many of whom will probably never return.

Why isn't conservativehome already campaigning for this?

Alison - "Not winning and having 5 years of Gordon Brown."
You haven't got the message yet. The choice at the election is nearing Yellow Labour, Red Labour and Blue Labour with only the colour of their rosettes being different. Since these policies are leading to an almost certain disaster we might as well let Gordon Brlwn take the blame (see Anon above) while the Not-The-Conservative-Party drops the "Not" and gets itself a proper leader (instead of a 2nd rate preacher) and preferably a Conservative leader.

Given that scenario Brown for PM seems a good idea. I think I'll vote UKIP. That should help stop Cameron.

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Housing in the S.East. Well those 600,000 immigrants have got to live somewhere and if they take run-down inner-city ptoperties those there now will turn up somewhere else in the SE pushing up house prices. Since there is already a shortage of water in the SE where will all these new homes get their water from. Since Cameron didn't deal with immigration and want to build on Green Belt land [resumably he has a secret water source.
=-=-=-=-=
As for the "A" list it's an insult. The fact is that a majority of women do not WANT to be MPs - most regard politics with distaste. To push for more women than can get there on merit demeans us all - especially in the light of some of the remarks made.
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Prentiz - "The NHS moaners really need a reality check." You clearly have not been, or been close to, someone very ill lately. And Cameron HAS said he doesn't want reorganisation. Well without it and some system similar to many abroad the NHS is doomed to become a Third World service.
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changetowin - Who in CCHQ wrote that for you?
=-=-=-=-=-

I'm still at a loss as to why the Dorset Police had to carry out stringent checks, why in fact they had to carry out any checks at all, all seems a bit like a police state to me and the Conservative Party were happy to go along with it.

First question the Committee needs to be asking is why the police were involved to such a level in the first place.

The A List (7) was certainly one of the key undercurrents around the fringe and at the main hotel.

Even during the bloody leadership battles or election defeats of the past, I've never seen so much bitterness and anger.

Not just from the forgotten white males who have been excluded because of sex discrimination not ability, but also from mainstream activists

Every time the leadership tried to justify it, or, paraded the new people as being the brightest and best (proven beyond doubt not to be true at the Dragon's Den part of the conference), their anger rose another notch.

Current MP's were constantly being collared at meetings or the hotels and could only express their 'sympathy'.

Many of the Z-list said this was their last-ever conference because they were giving up on a party that selected people because of the gender and colour, not ability.

I thoroughly despair at the dated, myopic and ultimately ideologically peurile stance taken by some on this forum.

The political centre of gravity has moved. We are a broadly social democractic country now and Cameron (wherever you put him on the left-right spectrum) is as right-wing a PM as this country will ever elect in the near future. For every strop and threat to go to UKIP from supposedly 'real' conservatives Cameron is adding 10 more who are only now prepared to consider ejecting the Labour party. It's almost as though we Tories now have our own 'loony' fringe whose only purpose is to act as a useful foil to demonstrate who far the rest of us have come. Christina, Chad et al can continue to moan and decry the direction the party is taking but they are fast becoming the militant fringe who we can afford to ignore.

Press on David....

Wasn't it interesting how Cameron felt the need to drop some hint about people with shall we say certain sexual problems.

It makes you wonder whether, the Tory Party has been taken over by that type of person nowadays.

They seem to be manipulating just about everywhere else.

I post as I see it Michael. I did not agree with any of the conclusions that Kaletsky draws. He is certainly you must admit unpredictable. If you read him regularly I'm sure you would also agree that he is often like his colleague Rees-Mogg......wrong.

As with all Conferences the immediate aftermath is way too soon to judge the overall outcome.

That said, my best guess is that this was the easy conference for DC & Co. How much significant progress was made is harder to say.

1 conference down, 2 or 3 to go...


Michael/Malcolm, Kaletsky was complimentary by comparison with Matthew Parris "Was that spineless blue creature that I spotted by the sea a Tory jellyfish?"

CCassa Cassilis hasn't got the hang of Cassilis hasn't got the hang of this Left-Right thingie.

Is it right wing to deplore vacuous empty-headed sloganeering politicians?

Is it Right wing to want as a top priority to slash income tax only for the poor thus ending the welfare state dependency of the least affluent?

Because I'm right-wing and I founded the Bow Group in 1950 (?) precisely to prove that Tories had the best policies for ALL our society.
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And Malcolm - I'm just about to turn to Kaletsky since you recommend him so highly but first I must turn to Parris whose article has the intriguing title "Was that spineless blue creature that I spotted by the sea a Tory jellyfish?"

Don't think Kaletskys piece could be thought of as complimentary in any way Sean.Absolutely jam-packed with hyperbole.But you're right about Parris 'though.He wasn't complimentary either. Until we commit ourselves to some hard and fast policies I have some sympathy with Parris' view.

Only a fundamentally dishonest (or illiterate) person could possibly construe the following as a blank cheque:

"We will serve and support the National Health Service. We will always support the NHS with the funding it needs. But we will make sure that money is well spent...
...No more pointless reorganisations. Yes, change is necessary in the NHS. But the changes we want to make are based on our idea, social responsibility. We want to see far greater professional responsibility in the NHS.
(emphasis added for yjose with comprehension difficulties).

Cameron is entirely right to support the NHS. I live in a thoroughly Tory area (Wealden) and the big thing in the local paper week after week is "save the hospital". No-one wants NHS cuts and it is a sign of just how strange some of you minarchists have become that labour's incompetance-produced cuts are to be spoken of approvingly as in "I never thought I'd first see a Labour govt getting the NHS to stop overspend then secondly see a Tory leader endorse and support the overspend." (10:54).

And if you think supporting state public services is somehow un-conservative or (hilariously) "Centre-Left" then i give you some quotes from the Iron Lady:

"For Conservatives, sound economic policies and the protection of the social services go together-always have done, and always will....
...There are now 56,000 more nurses and midwives and 7,000 more doctors and dentists in Great Britain working in the NHS than when we came to office. And the extra staff help to make it possible to treat two million more patients a year. Two million more patients treated every year.
Is that dismantling the Health Service?
I said it last year. "The Health Service is safe with us". ...
....And if you look at our public expenditure plans for the next three years, there it is in black and white. These are the figures: £700 million more for the NHS this year-another £800 million more for the NHS next year, and another £700 million the year after that." (31/5/1983)

Just imagine the screams of "blue Labour" and "centre-left".

And a quote with nothing to do with the NHS, but particularly interesting and strangely familiar after yesterday:

"We shall judge those policies by one simple test: Do they make life better for individuals and their families?" (1984)

"Is it Right wing to want as a top priority to slash income tax only for the poor thus ending the welfare state dependency of the least affluent?"

If it did that - no. Believing it will do that in the face of all the evidence - yes. Look, I'm probably not making my own case very well Christina. In essence all I'm saying is that Blair and Cameron between them are taking us to a place where the very labels left & right have very little meaning. I'm as p***ed off as anyone that this means politics has descended into some sort of vacuous managerialism but we are where we are.

The choice is Cameron or Brown - all else is white noise. I know who I choose...

Malcolm, I am not invariably a fan of Kaletsky. For much of the last nine years, he has deployed a lot of sophistry in defence of Gordon Brown. Much of the time, his flaw has been perverse consistency! However, he has been a consistent critic of the Euro (correctly in my view) and a consistent critic of Labour's prejudiced attacks on elite universities and the private school sector (again, correctly in my view). I happen to think his article today makes a lot of sense. You disagree. Fair enough.

As for Jon Gale's post, it reminds me of something Paddy Pantsdown said a few years back: you cannot will the end if you are not prepared to will the means. Cameron, Letwin and Willetts have told us that health and education will continue to be run on a centralised basis from Whitehall/by distant quangos such as NICE, paid for out of (unlimited?) general taxation with minimal patient or parent say in how money is directed. That is the Nye Bevan vision of public services, shared by the so-called Conservative, Jack Stone. No doubt a vision conscientiously held but an unashamedly statist and dirigiste one. If these are the means, then how do the Tories propose to deliver the more liberal decentralised ends which I had assumed we all desire?

"Only a fundamentally dishonest (or illiterate) person could possibly construe the following as a blank cheque:"

Perhaps, but that wasn't the point I was referring to. I was referring to Cameron's unequivocal pledge never to cut funding, ie, it will never be lower than the current total levels.

This is a clear point. Cameron has confirmed that the NHS spending will never be lower than now.

..or the level that Labour leaves it in in 2009.

This would be so easy for Labour to "set-up" Cameron by setting an unrealistically high funding figure in their next manifesto, and Cameron by his clear pledge, could never spend less.

That still isn't a "blank cheque" Chad. Saying 'we will not cut funding' is not the same as 'we will spend more and more and more, no questions asked'

John,

Are you saying that Cameron *would* cut funding if the NHS overspends?

Because if you are, then he is supporting the cuts that Labour is being forced to impose whilst simultaneously opposing them.

If no, then that sounds very much like a blank cheque to me.

Michael McGowan,

I still dont see how from:
"change is necessary in the NHS. But the changes we want to make are based on our idea, social responsibility. We want to see far greater professional responsibility"

you get:
"run on a centralised basis from Whitehall/by distant quangos"

John,
Would Cameron cut NHS funding if it overspends?

Chad,

I dont know what DC is going to do, but imo No you dont cut funding. If a hospital overspends you could take it out of next years budget or sack bureacrats - It is insane to close A&E departments or maternity services (my local situation)because of overspending one year. Short termism at its worst. Cutting off your nose to spte your face (because you've run out of hankies.)

Scrap the rigid regulations and red tape and "trust prpfessionals" to coin a phrase. Sack some of the thousands of managers at whitehall and cover the deficit with that. There are many things you can do whithout cuting the NHS budget.

Urgh my spelling went downhill there.

Was it only 7 short and glorious days ago that Chad promised to leave this site never to return?

And a quote with nothing to do with the NHS, but particularly interesting and strangely familiar after yesterday:

"We shall judge those policies by one simple test: Do they make life better for individuals and their families?" (1984)

Exactly, and I'd add :-

"Social reform, producing direct and immediate benefit to the Commons - that must be our cry... Apply this test to every legislative proposal, to every political movement, to every combination of circumstances and phenomena" - Lord Randolph Churchill, 1884

Do we see a recurring theme? A Conservative principle streching back well over a century? The notion of ensuring that the welfare of 'the common man' is the crucial test of everything we do is not new, it is at the very heart of Conservatism.

Reading all the above it wasn't the Party's finest hour / conference was it? The Meejah don't think so anyway!

Kaletsky has been mentioned here but not quoted. How about - - -
"If this is what Mr Cameron sounds like before he even gets stuck into “substance”, heaven knows how much a Tory government would cost once his “policy commissions” have done their work. Instead of meaningless semantic arguments about Tory promises to “share the proceeds of economic growth between improved public services and lower taxes”, British businesses and taxpayers had better prepare themselves for a very different prospect: If the Tories keep their lead in the polls, large tax increases will be inevitable whoever wins the next election.

The real danger is not a Tory victory; that remains unlikely. But with Mr Cameron campaigning stridently against “Labour health cuts” and for more “government leadership” in every aspect of British life, how can we expect Gordon Brown to show the necessary self-restraint?"

That's my point, Jon. You had probably better direct your question to Messrs Cameron, Letwin and Willetts. They seem to think that you can achieve these things while maintaining large structural roadblocks in the path of achieving them. Now what was that comment that the Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition made about pie in the sky....?

It's still much more likely that Labour will retain control over the Government than Cameron producing an upset win on an uphill electoral map.

So, let's say Cameron wins about 30 seats, but Labour retains its majority.

Then what is he going to do. "Change" even more? Call for the nationalization of key industries? Promise tax increases? Promise to get rid of Trident?

I can tell you that this thing is going to end very badly. I don't know whether the Conservative Party will, in fact, manage to survive the Cameron leadership.

The thing Christine and others on the right need to ansewer is do they believe the public should pay for health treatment when they need it. If they seriously believe the party should stand for that one they do believe it should commit suicide.
Also I do not beleive that anyone listening to Cameron`s quite brilliant sppech could seriously believe he is weak and some sort of pinko left-wing socialist. A lot of what he said could have easily been said by every Conservative leader since the war.
The trouble with Christine and others on the right is that they have this obsession with tax cuts and Europe and believe that every policy should begin with tax cuts and every problem is a result of us belonging to the European Union.
All David Cameron is trying to do is to make the party look and sound like a party of today not one trapped in the language of the nineteen eighties.

This is meant to be a "Home" for Conservatives, but in reality it is a cold house for anyone who supports the Conservative Party. People here are so out of touch with the country and the party that they find it unbelievable that I could possibly passionately support the leadership. Thus I am accused of being from CCHQ etc.

2/3 of our voting members voted for David Cameron who was clear about his change agenda from the start. There have been no big surprises - the direction was in his manifesto. A month ago members had another chance to register disapproval. But over 90% of those who voted backed the agenda.

The vast majority of those who post on this website are completely out of touch - not just with the country, but also with the mainstream majority in our party.

I passionately believe in what David Cameron is doing. I argued for it long before he became leader. I believe in protecting our environment, in strong communities, in social justice, in more choice in health and education, in social liberalism, in opportunity for all. I think our Conservatism should be broad and open to all in our country. I think that if we are ever to win we must decontaminate our brand.

This agenda is not some cover. People out there REALLY believe it. The fact that so many of you find this so hard to believe shows how out of touch you are.

'The vast majority of those who post on this website are completely out of touch - not just with the country, but also with the mainstream majority in our party.'

I wouldn't really agree with that. Just because half a dozen people post regular messages, it doesn't mean the site is full of people who hate Cameron. It's just that you notice them more.

Jack Stone sets up a false suggestion (that anyone here has suggested that health treatment should have to be paid for) and then proceeds to lambast some of us for doing just that.

As for Cameron's "quite brilliant speech " well an awful lot of people here and most journalists thought of other quite different adjectives.

=-=-=-=-=-
Changetowin - "2/3 of our voting members voted for David Cameron". Yes on the basisd of a promise wshich he has broken (no wonder he didn't mention the EU!) He says "People out there REALLY believe it". I am sure some neo-Liberals DO. But if the party was behind Cameron why are so many OFFICERS resigning and some not so far from C:'s seat in Witney.

Pity he has joined the group that backs Cameron blindly and kicks in the teeth all those who do not worship Cameron.

changewin - "The vast majority of those who post on this website are completely out of touch - not just with the country, but also with the mainstream majority in our party."

Forgive me if I'm misquoting from memory but I think you said the conference would be "fizzing with ideas".

In fact there were precious few ideas on show and the only "fizzing" I encountered was the fizzing resentment from various 40-something Tories (including some Cameron supporters) over the so-called "A" list.

As for the verdict of the media, once you struggle past the vapid gushings of one or two inexperienced hackettes and the likes of Nick "TRG" Robinson, it's pretty damning.

The comments in the Times today were particularly splendid.

Matthew Parris "Was that spineless blue Creature that I spotted by the sea a Tory jellyfish?"

Times Leader "The only item to which the Tory leader was strongly opposed was the sofa in the Prime Minister's Office".

Anatole Kaletsky "Cameron is trying to turn the Tories into an anti-enterprise, high tax, statist party".

Peter Riddell "Close your eyes and it could have been Blair".

BTW wasn't it curious that Cameron neglected to remind representatives that in 2003 he proudly voted to retain Section 28 in 2003?

Goldie,your last predictions at the local elections were ludicrously wrong.Are you going to make a fool of yourself again?

Christina, Chad et al can continue to moan and decry the direction the party is taking but they are fast becoming the militant fringe who we can afford to ignore.

Well excuse me Cassilis, but do I gather from your personal website that the length of your membership of OUR party can be measured in weeks rather than months?

Seems it was a bit of a toss-up whether you opted for Cameron or Blair. Well there I do have some sympathy for you. It's difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins.

However I think those of us who have given many years of service to the party can well afford to ignore your self-important advice.

Let's take it that the "we" in this instance is a Royal one.

Off Message - "At this rate I really do need a new posting name. Perhaps Monday Clubber can suggest one!"

Yes I could.

But not on a family-friendly blog.

Many of the Z-list said this was their last-ever conference because they were giving up on a party that selected people because of the gender and colour, not ability.

What do these Z-listers think happened before now and how many women gave up on us as a result?

There were large numbers of women on the Z-list. Having served on no fewer than four parliamentary selection committees I ought to know. I helped a number of talented women get through to the final selections.

In a democratic party the choice of candidate should be down to the association. If they want to choose 100% women that's fine by me.

Take local democracy away and the party becomes Stalinist.

In years of campaigning and canvassing for the party I never received one complaint - NOT ONE! - that there weren't enough female Tory MPs.

I do recall reading some tosh by Polly Toynbee to that effect though, and I'm only too aware that Cameron gets his gimmicks from that quarter of the media world.

Aren't we all?

Watchin the Party Congress in Bournemouth this week, one thought kept running through my head.

"We staked these people through the heart 20 years ago."

It looked like the night of the Heathite Living Dead!

One thing that a Tory has finally admitted to publically Ive just come across. Lansley's comments on children leaving care. Finally someones realised that kids leaving care are completely unprepared for the real world. It wasnt much but it was a recognition. With Lansley criticisng the States role in that, I do wonder what the Conservatives will propose instead...

Thats one good thing to have come from this Conference.

Watchin the Party Congress in Bournemouth this week, one thought kept running through my head. "We staked these people through the heart 20 years ago."

Presumably, that was the only thought that there was room for in there...

What do you mean by "these people"? People who want to put the Party in the centre ground of British politics? People who want to paint a picture of a better Britain? People who want us to win?

For all the good it will do you, would you like to try again with that stake?

As DC said this week: "I think that when some people talk about substance, what they mean is they want the old policies back. Well they're not coming back. We're not going back."

Stick that in your pipe...

Lansley's comments on children leaving care. Finally someone's realised that kids leaving care are completely unprepared for the real world.

Apologies for the double post, but I thought this deserved a reply.

I quite agree - the way that we have failed children of all ages in "care" has been lamentable. How can we be surprised that they set themselves against the world in later life when they feel the world has abandoned them in their childhood?

I don't have many answers on this, but I think, James, that you might have an insight that was shared by Shaun Bailey when he told Conference that "the state can't administer a hug from Whitehall".

I applaud anything that can be done to support families of all shapes and sizes to ensure that children never have to end up in the last resort of state care. And I will certainly welcome suggestions from those wiser than I for policy proposals to help improve the lot of those that do.

A deeply uninspiring conference.
I didn't expect much but for a "green" leader to turn his back on the green belt and throw his lot in with property developers wanting to concrete over the SE of England is beneath contempt. This atavism strikes at the very heart of Tory England. What is the Conservative Party for? What does it seek to conserve?
Could Chad email me details about UKIP in Westminster area? I have quit the Party after 30 years.

Lord! There are some spiteful posters on this site! St Marys is now a true community centre. I now have a nice case of RSI due to painting from 9.39 ish to 1 oclock ish! Well worth it. It is in a deprived area of Bournemouth, I spotted that as soon as I got there. health Visiting teaches you to size up an area and its needs pretty quickly. I was there on Sunday, so detoured on the way home, to have a look see, and the make over is truly spectacular. Conference goers put in around 700 hours of work between us.
If the whingers got off their backsides and did something as well, they may even find it a rewarding experience, but I shall not hold my breath.

I now have a nice case of RSI due to painting from 9.39 ish to 1 oclock ish! Well worth it. It is in a deprived area of Bournemouth, I spotted that as soon as I got there.

You've put me to shame, I'm afraid, Annabel! By the way, sure I spotted you in the video presentation, come to think of it. I personally didn't visit St Mary's this time - but you've inspired me to ensure that I have room to include the overalls and work boots in the suitcase when I go to Spring Forum. I'm assuming that we'll be running some kind of social action project in Nottingham as we did in Manchester this year... having so many people together in one place, it makes great sense to use them to do something worthwhile for the local community, and you've all helped show what can be achieved.

I liked the speech and the direction. I do think we need to appeal to the "centre ground". Also we cannot get our messages to be listened to if our image is poor and out of date. Cameron is trying and generally succeeding in changing the image to make it more appealing to a wider cross section of voters. I very much like the key theme of social responsibility. It answers my requests in previous posts for the Party to map out a route about what we stand for in the 21st Century. It is also consistent, being an update of the individual responsibility theme. I think stressing our support for the NHS was necessary, it doesn't mean it can't be improved, of course it can but people need to understand we care. I like the way we are saying that we want opportunities for all and want to look forward positively. Really you know this change by DC was bound to happen for our Party one way or another. Organisations that stay the same just die. I'm not a blind Cameroon or anything, I do have reservations in some areas. I would like to see a little less gimmickyness as ironically it is sometimes diluting our messages.

"Lord! There are some spiteful posters on this site! St Marys is now a true community centre."

This no doubt worthy work would have been a good deal more commendable had the participants not blatantly sought to link it to a cynical bid for political publicity.

Many traditional Conservatives - myself included - have spent years doing similar work through our churches, fraternal societies etc and we have never once sought to gain personal or political advantage from our efforts.

Which efforts, incidentally, have tended to last rather longer than three or four days.

"It is in a deprived area of Bournemouth"

Where next? a deprived area of Mayfair?

I'll be more impressed when I see our colleagues deploying their artistic talents in a truly deprived area, such as Brixton or Tower Hamlets.

"Could Chad email me details about UKIP in Westminster area? I have quit the Party after 30 years. "

Hi Jonathan, please drop me a line [email protected].com and I'll do my best to put you in contact with the right person.

The point has been well made that under Cameron the party is becoming a fertile recruiting ground for UKIP.

While I have much sympathy for the departees my personal advice is to stay in the party and fight back.

Judging by the letters column in today's Telegraph it is plainly evident that the rank-and-file share our anger at the Cameroon hi-jacking of our party.

Come off it, Mr Cameron.

Sir - I have always supported the Conservative Party and voted for it in every election in which I was entitled to participate. After Mr Cameron's speech, there is no longer the option to do so. The choice is now between New Labour and Newer Labour.

John Sorrell, Paris

Sir - The late financier Sir James Goldsmith once mused: "When you've spotted a bandwagon, it's already too late." As a disillusioned Tory, I believe David Cameron is making a similar error in buying into "Blairism", just as it's going out of fashion.

Adrian Sherman, London SE22

Sir - Speakers at political conferences should wear proper clothes. Mr Cameron ought to have donned a black cap before pronouncing the death sentence on the Conservative Party.

Dr Donald Stevens, Bournemouth

Sir - I was thinking of visiting Mr Cameron at Westminster. I wonder if there is anything he'd like me to bring from Planet Earth.

Avril King, Poole, Dorset

Monday Clubber, if you need any help filling out your UKIP application, you will let me know won't you?

Chad - you're boycotting this site remember?

Gareth, when Tim pays up the £100 he owes me from the Cameron-EPP-lie bet and publishes the promised photo of him handing it over to the TPA, then I'll happily disappear.

"If the whingers got off their backsides and did something as well"

Some of us "whingers" cant afford to take the train to Bournemouth just to do some DIY... A lot of people do help local schemes and communities without making a big song nand dance about it. If Cameron wanted to do this, why didnt he just do it without bringing the press pack with him. Its a cynical ploy to get votes. Its desperate.

I'm going to hold you to that, Chad. I'll give the TPA the cheque when I see them on Monday.

"why didnt he just do it without bringing the press pack with him."

Because its about bloody time someone stood up and made the point that this is what Conservatism is all about. For too long we have allowed (and in some cases actively encouraged) our opponents and the media to portray us as hard-faced B'stards and I'm glad Cameron is standing up to destroy that myth.

Conservatives have always been heavily involved in their local communities, working in charity shops, sitting as school governors, acting as charity patrons and many, many other ways.

However, whilst we've hidden our light under a bushel and allowed only the (sometimes necessary) hard-nosed attitudes to be our public face it has skewed our image in the wider world.

A key theme of our future policies is letting communities help themselves and encouraging people to get involved to make their world a better place rather than waiting for a government handout. We need to be seen to be putting our money, time and effort where our mouths are.

If Cameron & Co. were cynical in undertaking this work, I'm afraid his critics on here are being disingenuous in expressing any shock and disgust about it. It's simply yet another opportunity for them to attack him about something or other.

"Politicians in bid to get votes shock!" Do me a favour.


Ed,

I fear you'll pay the £100 in vain. Chad's initial boycott was not conditional upon the £100 being coughed up and I strongly suspect he'll wriggle out of this one too.

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