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Wow, a big suprize. Please, please, please drop Maude. Hes a busted flush who alienates people rather attracting them.

Middle-ranking would suggest that the Shadow Cabinet will remain untouched. So Francis Maude would look to be safe, and anyway he is nowhere near as bad as many here would no doubt suggest.

Would this be a good point to discuss the ever increasing size of the front bench and the corresponding shadow front bench?


I think there will be some excellent appointments.

Yes

Sadly Maude received ringing endorsements from both DC and Michael Ashcroft at Saturday's 'Take your Seat' shindig. Besides Maude serves as a perfect lightning rod, taking the flak when things go wrong with the modernising agenda - for those reasons I think he will stay. After his botching of Energy Review wee Alan Duncan must be facing the chop. To have the Leader throw back in your face your biggest piece of work and tell you to re-write it is hardly a ringing endorsement. Andrew 'I don't eat babies really' Mitchell may also face the firing squad. He harks back the the DD leadership campaign and was only given his post as a sop to the right. If there is any justice then the re-shuffle will include Defence. With all that has been going on in Iraq, Afghanistan, lack of kit stories, under-manning etc Liam should have a higher profile. I know a lot of ConHome readers love Liam but if you are really honest with yourselves then you will admit he is letting the Party down. After all this is the man who could not land a punch of Frank Dobson, oversaw the financially catastrophic move to Victoria Street. Time for a spell on the back benches methinks. The real question is 'Who are the new high-flyers?'

"Middle-ranking would suggest that the Shadow Cabinet will remain untouched."

Oh I don't know, James. Quite a few of them are pretty "middle-ranking" if you ask me. ;-)

BTW, CCHQ (if you're watching) - that was a joke, OK?

"I think there will be some excellent appointments" sounds better in the original Russian.

Mark, a quick google reveals a 117 Ministers (which is itself is pretty astounding).

http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/page2988.asp

Assuming that the shadow cabinet is a direct reflection of this then we currently have the grand total of 234 various ministers and shadow ministers. Is this really necessary?


I think today will all be about the "new high-flyers" and it will be an ideal opportunity to identify some people who will play a big part in the future of the party.

Anon, thanks.

A couple of years back I realised that there was a Minister For Housing Benefit, at which stage I lost interest. Your 234 doesn't presumably include Lib Dem spokesmen and so on?

In answer to your question, no it is not necessary it is nuts, but this is how Prime Ministers stay in power.

"In answer to your question, no it is not necessary it is nuts, but this is how Prime Ministers stay in power."

cf David Cameron's policy groups and teams of "wise" men. Big tents need lots of sleeping bags.

James Maskell, in your usual haste to criticise anything and everything you have missed the important thing about Chairman Mao-udes' tenure. He may have some curious (and sometimes wrong-headed ideas) about ‘modernising’ the Conservatives, but he is extremely effective at taking flak away from David Cameron who is the national embodiment of the Conservative party. This can only be a good thing I think.

Mark, the 234 figure does not include Lib Dems. If you add them into the mix and I would assume an easy 250.

"David Cameron who is the national embodiment of the Conservative Party": do we really need another personality cult after nine years of messianic leadership by the current PM? I don't need a Messiah: I just want a competent cost-conscious liberal government rather than a spendthrift authoritarian incompetent one.

Michael, clearly you have not learnt from the past. I will first say that I agree with you in part. We do not need a cult of personality in David Cameron, like we have had with Mr Blair. However, surely you realise that by people attacking David Cameron, they are effectively attacking also the Conservative ideas which Mr Cameron embodies, and therefore this is at a detrement to our views though society as a whole. You cannot, in many ways, escape the fact that people associate the leader of a party with the party itself, and the ideas of that party. If the leader is damaged, then the ideas and suggestions made by that leader are also damaged, even if those ideas were completely correct.

Michael,
Are you suggesting Cameron is or is not proposing a " a competent cost-conscious liberal government rather than a spendthrift authoritarian incompetent one" or is it too early to judge

But Cameron's policies are out of step with the majority of existing Conservative voters. They may appeal to majority of the country but his high tax, higher tuition fees, soft on young criminals, etc. is not playing well with the party's core supporters.

To succeed Cameron needs both to enthuse his core supporters and convince the country - 36% (todays poll) against the mess that is this lame duck government is not impressive.

It may well be time to shoot Maude and a few of the less visible (I'll have some policies in 2008, promise) shadow cabinet members.

But I doubt if anything worthwhile will happen this time.

Primrose:

"But Cameron's policies are out of step with the majority of existing Conservative voters. They may appeal to majority of the country but his high tax, higher tuition fees, soft on young criminals, etc. is not playing well with the party's core supporters."

You are obviously hearing something different than I am from Cameron. What I hear is that he wants a lower tax burdon and is advocating tough love for criminals. Are you sure you are actually listening to David or the Labour party spin machine?

I would be very annoyed if Alan Duncan was dropped from the shadow cabinet. He is an extremely good media savvy spokesman for the shadow cabinet.
I thought he was excellent during the local election late night coverage. He was never going to get a round of applause on his last outing on QT in Glasgow, but he did very well and I think that the audience warmed to him which was amazing considering it was Glasgow and the socialists were out in force.

Well done Michael McGowan!

"I just want a competent cost-conscious liberal government rather than a spendthrift authoritarian incompetent one"

So do I!

RobD.
I agree with your sentiments. There is a similar discussion on what Cameron actually stands for going on on the "growing gender gap" thread

RobD - exactly. Where is the Conservative spin machine?

Last I heard Murdoch was unhappy about Cameron's new Iraq policy.

This is all Maude's fault.

About Maude, whilst it can be argued that Maude being a lightning rod is a good thing ultimately it will just breed mistrust between CCO and Associations, and thats bad when it comes to campaigning time because some campaigners just wont bother trying. We need a Party Chairman who is able to work with Associations not against them. Maude isnt the right man for the job.

David Jones - shadow Secretary of State for Wales apparently.
Cant have been much competition for the post!

"David Jones - shadow Secretary of State for Wales apparently.
Cant have been much competition for the post!"

Nigel Evans is the only other welshman I can think of but he doesn't seem to be in favour since he supported Davis last year.

Wales isnt a particularly important area, though the Tory website has been paying rather a lot of attention to Wales, so perhaps theres potential.

James, you are getting boring now. David Cameron, Francis Maude and CCHQ are not in some battle with associations across the country.
You and others may not agree with the direction being taken by the party and that is your right. Just don't keep turning everything into a non existent political war. Lets debate the issues while remembering that we are on the same team all fighting for the same outcome. We just disagree about how we will achieve those aims.

"David Jones - shadow Secretary of State for Wales apparently.
Cant have been much competition for the post!"

David Davies and Stephen Crabb were the other 2 MPs representing Welsh constituencies

"We need a Party Chairman who is able to work with Associations not against them. Maude isnt the right man for the job." - James Maskell

Any suggestions then, James - or is this just a complaint without an alternative?

"Lets debate the issues while remembering that we are on the same team all fighting for the same outcome. We just disagree about how we will achieve those aims"

Of course. The problem is that whenever we try to debate it we get slapped down for not supporting the leader. Following that we get told we shouldnt be in the Party as we dont back the leadership.

"David Cameron, Francis Maude and CCHQ are not in some battle with associations across the country.
You and others may not agree with the direction being taken by the party and that is your right. Just don't keep turning everything into a non existent political war. Lets debate the issues while remembering that we are on the same team all fighting for the same outcome."

Arch moderniser and hardline Cammunist John Bercow disagrees with you, based on the speech he gave at the Marquis of Granby on Wednesday last, in which he referred several times to those not fully paid up to the Cammunist agenda as "the Enemy".

Unfortunately for him, we are also "the Poor Bloody Infantry".

David Jones is Shadow Minister of State for Wales, not Shadow Secretary of State.
Wales is a particularly important area as the Assembly Elections in May will be the first elections fought on Westminster boundaries since Cameron became leader.

Congratulations to Robert Goodwill on being appointed to the Whips office

Liam Fox for Party Chairman perhaps? Hes needed in a bigger portfolio than Defence.

"Of course. The problem is that whenever we try to debate it we get slapped down for not supporting the leader. Following that we get told we shouldnt be in the Party as we dont back the leadership." - James Maskell

This is untrue I think. I often complain (if that is the right word - take issue perhaps?) with David Cameron. However, there is a huge difference between just criticising for (seemingly) the sake of it, and having an alternative point of view and putting that opinion across.

It all sounds very NuLabour. Criticism of a system (the House of Lords with Labour in 1997 being a prime example - and their subsequent 'reforms') without any actual real alternative and reason.

Do you have anyone in mind, James, as who you wish to be party Chairman? Or is it a case of anyone but Mao-aude? The grass is not always greener on the other side you know.

"Liam Fox for Party Chairman perhaps? Hes needed in a bigger portfolio than Defence." - James Maskell

Okay, so now we have another opinion (why did you not say this in the first place?) However, I fail to see how Mr Fox supposedly needing a bigger portfolio is the solution to your criticisms of Francis Mao-aude.

I disagree James, I think that the Defence brief is very important in light of the situation in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I have been very impressed with Liam Fox and his grasp of the situation facing troops, particularly the difficulties which a lack of resources have compounded when it comes to them receiving the correct equipment.
He made an excellent speech at conference and he seems very forward thinking about the role/needs of the armed forces in the future.

Its important but its something that can be covered by the umbrella of Foreign Affairs.

I disagree, With Blair, Brown and Des Brown in charge of our troops it is vital that we have someone like Liam Fox holding them to account.
I also think that the deterioration in both Iraq and Afghanistan over the last few months has meant that Defence is now quite a prominent role. We need someone who is on top of their brief already and doing an excellent job, not someone who will needs months to get to that position.

Patrick Mercer impresses.An independently minded spirit who should have been moved up.

James, Wales is going to be a very important area. We now have a number of marginals and these will be tested in the Assembly elections (Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies are the same). Seats that are won from Labour in the Assembly will be very vulnerable in the general election. Even those that are not won will have been usefully softened up by the camapign in preperation for the general election.

Matt

Seats that are won from Labour in the Assembly will be very vulnerable in the general election.
Maybe, it wouldn't be the first time that an opposition had perceived it was sweeping to power when it wasn't - what actual substance is there, without substance support could evaporate very rapidly, it is a mistake to suppose that spin can substitute for substance, in 1997 John Smith might well have actually done far better than Tony Blair, equally no one really liked Peter Mandelson who actually did little else most of the time except spin, people didn't trust Neil Kinnock because he had ditched everything he believed in, his policies as expressed were shallow because he had little commitment to them - I am sure that people would prefer someone with clear opinions from a radical standpoint to someone who is vague and goes for soundbites, if they want someone with a middle of the road view then they are always going to prefer someone who holds those views vigorously and unambiguosly and strongly - I don't believe in the left, centre and right analysis or that there is somehow a single political spectrum but there was an appeal of what was known as the Hard Centre (as Dennis Healey called it) that David Owen and Dennis Healey stood for in that it had an ideological substance, obviously if there is anything that could be described as a Hard Centre these days it will have shifted, but ultimately wherever people come from it will always be most solid if it is ideas based rather than mere marketing as seems to have taken over the main parties - where have all the intellectuals gone?

Whoever wins surely needs to blast their opponents out of their way with savage intellectual argument presenting a clear vision whether Social Democrat, Liberal, Neo-Liberal, Neo-Conservative, Syndicalist - it worked for the Old Testament Prophets and Communists don't have a monopoly on revolutionary thinking.

David Jones is Shadow Minister of State for Wales, not Shadow Secretary of State.
It's absurd that Scotland, Wales and Ulster is still represented in Cabinet roles - given that there are now assemblies having ministers for such is just needless bureacracy, does there really need to be a "Communities Minister", it's ridiculous that Culture should be a state role, everything is culture so how can there be a minister for it and mostly the best arts is done by individuals or freely associating individuals especially now in the Information Age.

I think today will all be about the "new high-flyers" and it will be an ideal opportunity to identify some people who will play a big part in the future of the party.

What about Greg Hands then? Or is he considered too "right wing" for proposing flatter taxes with his steam-roller?

SHADOW FRONT BENCH SHUFFLE IN THE AIR?
MAUDE IS THE BIGGEST LIABILITY AND SHOULD BE THE FIRST TO GO.

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