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Party is ahead in the polls, cranky members of incestuous internet blog are annoyed about the methods that brought them those results.

I'm sure the party chairman is deeply hurt, but then again, maybe he feels he's onto a good thing.

That graph isn't the easiest of reads. Couldn't the names on the right at least be in the right order?

I completely disagree with Andrew Young. His comments are an amazing attack on his fellow "cranky" bloggers. The party is ahead in the polls thanks to David Cameron and the brilliant Steve Hilton.

No amount of support from any number of full time Westminster hacks who've never had a proper job in their lives will disguise the fact that for most of the membership Francis Maude is a force of division and disharmony. In fact he's probably the worst party chairman we have ever had.

Never has CCHQ been more in need of reform, never have the associations been more shabbily treated and never has the party chairman been a more factional and divisive character.

So I agree with the message from this poll - it's time for change at the top in CCHQ, to lance the puss filled boil and for CCHQ to be reformed and made a more effective organisation.

The problem is that the Tory leadership is seen as just too wet. Led by Cameron insulting the membership, going off abroad when he should have been at the CBI and only concerned in side issues.

Is it any wonder the party is fed up with them.

The only good houses are built on strong foundations and the leadership is undermining theirs.

What are the things we should judge Francis on? Here are a few which I judge him as rating an overall C grade.

1. Campaigning organisation. D-

The B&C by election was a near disaster. Few signs that he has fixed it.

2. Candidate selection. B-

He has done better than predecessors in selecting earlier. We have doubled the selection of female candidates but we have squandered talent that should have been re-directed to helping the party in other ways. Fill CCHQ with experience not teenagers.

3. CCHQ D-
For the reasons above.

4. Plan for target seats A-
It is more coherent and focused than ever before.

5. Party discipline C-
Generally works well apart from the MEP leadership which is a boil that needs to be lanced.

6. Party Finance B
Looks in better shape than before with realistic plan to overcome the problem he inherited.

7. Communication with Members and Constituencies. B-
Probably better than the past, but well behind what it needs to be.

Francis has always had a bad press since his role in the downfall of IDS which rather prejudiced me against him. However I have enjoyed listening to him in his interviews on Tory radio where he comes across as both honest and straightfoward.
CCHQ has not covered itself in glory during his tenure however with the botched attempt to keep the A list secret, a poor campaign in Bromley and the early leaking of the logo and the tax commission reports being the highlights.
Francis might not be personally responsible for that but he has to carry the can for those mistakes.

The biggest problem is that Maude is all Southern, Oxbridge, City and Public School. The modernisers are a small clique of clones who replicate themselves so efficiently that the Party is becoming a robotic middle class parody of itself.

Cameron has to bust open the Party and fill it with regional and working class accents. I know Maude's trying and putting adverts in West Midlands Press asking for local talent to come forward, but the modernisers are as stuck in the Tory past as Alec Douglas Home.

Talking to lower (in their view) social animals than themselves is offensive to the modernising tendency. From Portillo and on, they just cannot do it.

The problem with these polls is that they offer little analysis of performance, and for the most part reflect long-held opinions which are unlikely to change.

May, Letwin and Maude will be propping up this table regardless of their performance, because a significant wedge of the right of the Party (which is, I suspect, over-represented on this panel, if the comments section is anything to go by) will say they have a negative view of those shadow ministers regardless of their performance. I suspect the same applies (but for different reasons) for the left of the Party towards avowed social conservatives like Liam Fox.

The fluctuations are worth analysing. The topline figure reflects popularity rather than performance.

There is nothing worse than well educated (private)posh spoken people trying to dumb themselves down with trendy haircuts, no ties and making out with soft left attitudes.

Sounds just like the Tory leadership.

They need some real world sbout them.

It's not just Francis Maude that is in trouble. Theresa May should also be sacked. After all the damage she did to this party by a crass choice of words has been incalculable. Indeed that phrase probably cost us the last election.

We cannot go on with senior people who do not have to confidence of the party especially not those with a track record of disloyalty and plotting such as FM.

Malcolm is right - Maude can be very charming on a superficial level. But it is superficial only. Judge him by his deeds:

- The fiasco at B&C was on his watch, and there is no sign campaigning has improved since.

- It was his decision to destroy the credibility of our best mayoral candidate in Nick Boles (he may not light up London, but there probably won't be anyone better and Francis really damaged poor Nick).

- The way the A List has been handled has been massively divisive and has put off many of our best campaign organisers to the betterment of a whole load of Central Office insiders, other Tammany Hall hangers on and the posh friends of chief harpy Shireen Ritchie in a list to which meritocracy is a stranger (I know this is well documented). Insult is added to injury with the disgusting and offhand way that Candidates Dept treats people - for which Ritchie is responsible and also must go.

- Communication with the associations has been a disaster. CCHQ fails to consult meaningfully and Maude is always late arriving to just about any event which is just rude and it is therefore perhaps unsurprising that his personal lack of organisation seeps into CCHQ as a whole.

- The control freak tendency arises from Maude's own character flaws. We know that people perform best when they have choice and resposibility. It's why we are Tories after all. So why does CCHQ practice a bizarre form of command control socialism? A new chairman could turn this around and give more leeway back to the associations.

The prescription is tough, but we must act. The boil must be lanced. The puss must be extracted.

Said it before, will keep saying it:

the Party Chairman should not be an MP
the Party Chairman should not be an MP
the Party Chairman should not be an MP

got it?

the Party Chairman should not be an MP

Should be elected by Constituency Parties

"Francis has always had a bad press since his role in the downfall of IDS which rather prejudiced me against him"

The guy should be knighted for this alone!

"- It was his decision to destroy the credibility of our best mayoral candidate in Nick Boles (he may not light up London, but there probably won't be anyone better and Francis really damaged poor Nick)."

Actually, it was David Cameron's decision to delay the close of nominations, after no heavyweight candidates put their names forward. He actually over-ruled the party chairman who did not want to do this.

This appears to be off-topic, as it's not knocking Francis Maude, but:

A new chairman could turn this around and give more leeway back to the associations.

As Conservatives, I'm sure we all believe in the balance between rights and responsibilities.

There are some great Associations out there, and by law of averages some that are not so great. Before all constituencies have access to a form of "earned autonomy" (is that a New Lab phrase? apologies...), what can we do in terms of a programme to pull all up to the level of the best?

The Connections programme that ran ahead of the 2005 election was excellent in shaping up some target seats and sharing best practice to help us all "level up". Any ideas for something similar over all Associations, target or not? The ConHome community should make a great think-tank (if more privately) for this kind of thing.

Personally, in terms of the party funding debate that's been so prominent lately, I'm interested in exploring raising and spending a greater proportion of money locally, but we would have to professionalise and show that we're all up to the task first.

Well better still,should Francis not stand down in his seat and seek a reselection against his preferences for more women and take his chances againt a few women taken from his A List. Now that is what I call a good solution to what we all seem to see as a problem. Big Dave for instance could do the same! Now that would make the rest of us believe that they are trying to do things for the better. Easy to say if you don't have to face the music.

Well better still,should Francis not stand down in his seat and seek a reselection against his preferences for more women and take his chances againt a few women taken from his A List. Now that is what I call a good solution to what we all seem to see as a problem. Big Dave for instance could do the same! Now that would make the rest of us believe that they are trying to do things for the better. Easy to say if you don't have to face the music.

Well better still,should Francis not stand down in his seat and seek a reselection against his preferences for more women and take his chances againt a few women taken from his A List. Now that is what I call a good solution to what we all seem to see as a problem. Big Dave for instance could do the same! Now that would make the rest of us believe that they are trying to do things for the better. Easy to say if you don't have to face the music.

"Party is ahead in the polls, cranky members of incestuous internet blog are annoyed about the methods that brought them those results." - Andrew Young

Yes, I'm not quite sure how you came to the analogy that internet blogs run by critics of the Cameron project are 'incestuous' - but there we go.

The party might be ahead in the newspaper polls, but it's winning the General Election that really counts. People can say whatever they want for surveys - so I would take them with a pinch of salt if I were you.

Richard Carey is absolutely right. We do need to share best practice and level up. That is exactly where CCHQ could be at its best - as a facilitator, enabler and sharer of ideas. This is why reform is needed to change CCHQ in order that we win the next election.

The key objection for many on all sides of the party is that Maude & Co seem stuck in a 1997 prompted orgy of mid life crises. We need a party fit for 2006 and more importantly for 2009 - we need to change to win. That means looking forward and not back.

Maude is also too divisive and this now threatens the project. His bickering with the excellent Steve Hilton is a real problem. True, he has been useful taking the flack for some of the things that needed to be done. That time is past and I think we can now let him go. He would be suitable for a seat in the Lords and his seat would be ideal for a progressive woman - further proof of how much we have changed away from being the party of middle aged investment bankers etc.

Tim how about including Steve Hilton in the satisfaction ratings in future please. If the recent media coverage is to be believed he has more to do with where and how the Party is moving now than anyone else does.

Maude is a poisonous liberal. As the betrayer of the party's choice, IDS, he represents everything that is thoroughly despicable about the pappetmasters of today's party.

The sooner Maude is removed and dumped the better.

Why does everybody hate Francis Maude so much?

No need to reply, just read the comment directly above!

Is the real reason Francis does not seem to be on top of things and has problems with communications and arriving late etc that the man just has too many jobs?

He has various outside business interests, is an MP and also Chairman of the party. The end result of all this is that he is unlikely to perform all of them well.

We need someone who is able to focus 100% on running the party organisation without distraction.

An alternative is that we have a full time CEO who tackles all the issues and then the Chairman can be a part time figure head.

Time to run the party in a business like manner?

I and many others are very upset at the terrible things people are saying about Francis. I am not going to dignify these dreadful slurs with a response.

However, HF makes a good point about a CEO. Mark Macgregor was an excellent Chief Executive of the party. Mark and Francis are very close, see the World in the same way and would make a really effective team tackling all of the difficult people out there and modernising the party. It would be a really popular and positive double act that would do so much good for the party.

For how many more months do we have to put up with this ridiculous poll being paraded as some kind of scientific finding? This poll is probably less accurate than those phone in polls on tv. The fact that it is so widely reported shows that the Editor has good pr, but doe snot confirm the accuracy of the poll.

And of course you guys hate Francis. He's trying to drag the party into the future. The only shame is that he has tried so hard to engage with this site - all to be slapped in the face...

changetowin, the question you are posing has been answered before. He has shown the accuracy of the poll. Why dont you read the posts you dont want to read as well as the ones by your Cameroon buddies?

When you say "you guys", it includes a number of Tory MPs who think Maude has been a poor Party Chairman. A Party Chairman is supposed to help keep the Party united. Maude isnt doing that and is just alienating Associations and older members. We need a better Chairman.

He has shown the accuracy of the poll.

In no way is this a scientific poll. At best it is indicative of the point of view of people on a website populated by anti-Cameroons and UKIP supporters... As such, as I said, it is unsurprising that a passionate supporter of modern compassionate Conservatism should be so hated

Could you please suggest a system where we could have a scientific poll instead of just criticising the poll when its not positive with no suggesting improvements?

Its not him thats hated, its his decisions. He is responsible for the Party machinery. If he cant run the organisation in a way that makes members feel welcome and Associations feel listened to, polls like this are to be expected. There are only so many people who fill these polls in the way you suggest. If it was being filled with UKIP and anti-Cameroons than why is it his poll rating went back up?

We could have a scientific poll by a polling company and approved by the polling agency. Then we could truly say it represented Tory grassroot opinion. As it is this poll is interesting, but should not be misrepresented...

Yougov have polled Conservative Party members successfully, but I've no reason to believe that this site's panel of party members is any less representative.

If anything, you might expect regular internet users to be younger, more affluent, more socially liberal than most Conservatives, and, in theory at least, more sympathetic to the Cameron project.

Changetowinbutwhatsthepoint, the last thing Francis Maude is trying to do is to drag the Tory Party into the future. He is trying to drag it back to the fifties when self-selecting left-leaning patricians "looked after" the rest of us who tugged our forelocks and were grateful for what we were given. What else would you expect from Maude who is a classic insider: white male upper middle class public school Oxbridge the Bar Dad a Tory minister parachuted into safe seat by his mates. If that is your idea of modernisation, it says an awful lot about you.....

"modern compassionate Conservatism" No it isn't Changetowin, it is simply New Labour with a blue rosette and that is what is upsetting so very many genuine conservatives. Now go back to work please, CCHQ aren't paying you to engage in idle debate with the actual membership of the party, after all they don't bother to.

I agree that it is the relative movements rather than the overall scores which are probably most indicative. For instance, I don't understand why Fox comes out so high other than that he had a good leadership campaign, but that's not his present job and was over a year ago. He seems to have said and done little of interest since (quite possibly because he has been concentrating on his newly married bliss, which is fine).

If anything his association with neo-Con american interests is counter-productive to getting us off this dreadful curse, left to us principally by IDS, of having continued to support the war after WMD were shown to be fictional.

I also find it impossible to see how people rate Theresa May, either positive or negative. I quite like her but in her role as Shadow Leader of the House (if I have got that right) she is largely invisible even to political obsessives such as us on this site. Ot is it just still resentment at her famous "nasty" speech?

To those who say this site is anti-Cameron: where do the grassroot Cameroons post then? I don't think there's a notably different tone on Iain Dale, the only other one I regularly look at.

We should be doing much better, Labour is in a terrible mess, effectively leaderless, Ukip has imploded, and here we are looking at whom to blame, well my friends this is a party,lets think of it as a franchise, and one bad apple, or chicken nugget to follow the franchise analogy, and we lose votes, so lets just hammer the opposition at the Locals in May and everybody just project the Conservative message, and if you have to borrow the Au Pairs Citroen 2CV to attend a Green energy conference do it. Oh and while we are at it the Lads in Solihul make the worlds best 4X4Xfar, if you cant be green be patriotic.

The Conservative party is in the lead in the polls for various reasons:

"Midterm blues".

Boredom with the Labour party (and especially Mr Blair) as they have been in office for almost ten years.

No victory in sight in the Afghan war.

No victory in sight in the Iraq war.

Really both wars are the same war - the war against radical Islam (both Sunni and Shia).

Ever more taxes.

Ever more regulations.

The Prime Minister and those close to him being, quite rightly, seen as corrupt. With the interview by the police being only one of many incidents.

None of the above has anything to do with Mr Cameron, his friends, or their antics.

Given the above (and the utter uselessness of the Liberal Democrats - who have nothing to say about how to reduce out of control government spending and taxes, and nothing to say about how to get regulatory powers back from the E.U.), the Conservative party should be about 20 points ahead in the polls.

As the party is nothing like that far ahead in the polls (and a lot of the antiLabour feeling being antiBlair feeling - which will not transfer to Mr Brown), the next election will not be won by the Conservative party (as it should be).

Mr Cameron, Mr Maude, and company have failed.

I am amused at repeated references by Reform CCHQ to the 'brilliant' Steve Hilton. Is this the man best known for creating the ineffectual evil eyed posters demonising Blair a couple of elections ago? Or perhaps he's the one that slavishly follows dated polling techniques and meaningless 'consultations' instead of trying to focus on cerebral conviction and padding? Or maybe I'm thinking of the one who meanders around the Leader's Office dressed as an urban warrior with no socks or shoes on? To call this Svengali 'brilliant' is ludicrous, except in terms the sinister influence he wealds.

How many other Conservative supporters are thinking of switching to the BNP or UKIP?

Cameron is a disaster,his appeasement of Muslims and his contempt of Israel is abhorent.Methinks the leftie idiot is trying to emulate Ken Livingstone!

Cameron is a nice little fellow but we do not want to be led by Svengali or Steve Hilton or the equally slimy Rachel Whetstone, we want to be led by people we have elected to bring us to one NATION. Let us select people who will set UK Free from Europe, Free from Russian murderers, and establish a Britain rightly distrustful of China, rightly distrustful of the UN too. This will cost money but if 80% of Civil Servants were investigated and then sacked for idleness, we would have the manpower and money. Quitting Europe will give us much of the money any way.

I look upon Francis Maude for the disastrous Party Conference, I quit after not being able to get in after 2 days.

The Assistant Chief Constable told me that the police were ready in May to pass attendees,

David Fletcher Rogers

Previous messages seem not to mention "Built to Last", which I took to be a joint initiative of Mr Maude and Mr Letwin. The whole thing was a dismal mixture of "modernising" and of the denial of responsibility for 1997. It must have taken the entire loyalist vote, of which we can still be proud, to prevent it being a huge PR disaster.

"Built to Last" sounds so wooden it could have been used as an advertising strap line for the
the Austin Allegro which some of our posters who can remember the bad old days of Heath may also recall was so modern its state owned manufacturers gave it steering wheel whose shape strongly resembled a square.

I had an Austin Allegro once. It served me well, even when going backwards over the central reservation on the A74, many years ago. Rather how I feel at the moment with the Tories; 'going forward but not always facing the front!'

Lets not forget how bad things were for the Conservatives before David Cameron. Lets also keep our focus on what should be everyones objective at the next general election, when ever that comes - to make that pointless horde called the Labour backbenches spend more time with their families (both deserve one another). Only DC can achieve that. THERE IS NO OTHER LEADER WHO CAN DO IT - EVER!

- Oh and by the way, I have fought and mostly won elections both as a candidate and as a campaign manager for the Conservatives for nearly 20 years in an area where we have to fight for our votes.
It may interest those other bloggers who hide their intellect under a bushell that under David Cameron we have been making better headway with floating voters than under anyone else since Margaret Thatchers heyday. These are votes we need to gain to win. Watch this space next May!!

(and by the way - I am a convinced centre-right believer, not a leftie)

Apart from a couple of digs at UKIP and why not, this is politics, there is only one mention here of the European Union. Why on earth can the Tories not _see_ that this country is about to cease to exist, that all they, you, we, our ancestors have fought for politically and martially is rapidly becoming a great surrender to Germany and the Reich it's been trying to set up since the 1840s?

Cameron broke the only EU-related promise he made, to withdraw the MEPs from the EPP. Then perhaps it might happen about 2009! Meanwhile he subsequently said that no anti-EU MPs would get to the front bench.

At present there isn't a gnat's crochet between any of the major parties on anything. If the Conservative Party were to unequivocally state that they'd pull us out of the EU they would have a massive landslide victory and never ever look back. Especially if they were to apologise for lying and taking us in in the fiorst place!

Then again, pigs may fly...

What we now need is good tax reducing policies.
We also need a stand on emigration - before we have no green space left in the country.
Once green policies bite, we will be importing less and relying on our farmers more to feed us. How can we do this if the best farmland has been built on?



Well it's going to be a pretty bleak future for the Tory Party when Cameron pops his clogs isn't it?

AndrewL refers to "those other bloggers who hide their intellect under a bushell" to which I say tell us what you really mean.

Garry Bushell maybe?

When I knew him some years ago he was a fully paid up Tory. He has since defected, not I think to UKIP, but to some other minor party.

Maybe AndrewL believes anybody who doesn't think the sun shines out of Cameron's orifice is a sockpuppet operated by Mr Bushell.

Election campaigns, particularly in marginal constituencies, must begin now! Local party organisations must quickly recognise that the election of an MP requires sacrifice and adoption of policies and positions which they may not only oppose but my comprimise their own reelction. Mps must have local credability but embrace forward thinking agenda; they should not be discredited local faces, but people who can claim to have some connection to the local community not those imposed by central office. Health, environment and impact of underclass on local communities are key policy platforms and must be exploited by forward thinking compassionate policy initiatives and expounded by candidates who have credability with local electorates. If we cant beat New Labour this election, when will we ever?

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