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Agreed. Cameron, blessed with good looks and an attractive personality, has the ability to articulate sound conservative principles without looking like Michael Howard or IDS or Hague.

Instead, he embarked on the left-leaning outreach strategy devised with Hilton and Maude, the danger of which is that it can simultaneously look dishonest to both left and right. To what extent this is due to a lack of intellectual integrity or moral courage, or both, I can't yet tell. The awful possibility exists that the three of them really are centre-left patrician whigs.

So Dave is pushing marriage. I hope he's got a licence!
Will he therefore cut off the single parents as being out the loop?, will he victimise the Vicky Pollards?, and serial mothers who manipulate the social services and support system?
Will he support Christianity and the family and deconstruct the socialist monolith that NuLab have built up? Is he following the Yankee NeoCon route?
Or is this yet more words and manouvering to gain votes. You can spread your margerine a bit too thinly you know.

Agreed, he needs to demonstrate that he possesses more steel. Whatever you think of Blair, it cannot be denied that he sounds prime ministerial when confronted with a sudden crisis.
Often nothing is heard from DC for days, when a prompt statement, appropriate to the occasion, from the leader of the opposition would do his reputation no end of good, quite apart from giving his supporters confidence that he will be up to the part when his turn comes.

This is tedious drivel.

Elections are won from the centre ground. Cameron's task now is to hold his nerve, ignore the people who want him to be more like IDS and stick to his core messages.

Sooner or later people here will get the message - either support DC or get out.

Marberry sounds rattled as well he might. Platitudinous crap such as "elections are won from the centre ground" does nothing to disguise the harsh fact that the Tory Party is learning (slowly and painfully) that it has no 1950's-style monopoly on the votes of those who lean centre-right. That isn't going to change and with good reason. Sorry, Marberry, old-fashioned deference has gone and isn't coming back. People know that when the Party was run in the past by seemingly well-meaning patricians, they routinely lied to their supporters; regularly shafted them; and presided over national decline while doing very nicely themselves thank you very much (think Heath). The tired old gimmicks of promising what you have no intention of delivering and implying what you have no intention of promising simply don't work any more.

I think Edward Heath's record stands up to any examination. He dealt with economic turmoil quite well (we shouldn't belioeve Labour's story on this - after all the Conservatives actually won more votes than Labour in February 74) and he got Britain into the EEC which has been fundamental to the successful restructuring of the British economy over the last thirty years by driving up competition and foreign investment.

Mr McGowan obviously hates the Conservative Party. If he's a member he should leave, if he's not, what is he doing here anyway?

"I think Edward Heath's record stands up to any examination"

That's a joke, surely?

He left office with inflation soaring, and the economy shrinking. He reversed his trade union reforms, and lost to the striking miners. He drove the Ulster Unionists out of the party, and abolished the historic counties.

As for the EEC, he substantially misled the public about the nature of what they were getting into.

"If he's a member he should leave, if he's not, what is he doing here anyway?"

This blog is not exclusive to party members. If you had your way, the Conservative Party would be less of a political movement than a table for one.

Sorry, EL Wisty, but I for one plan to stay and argue for centre-right principles in the centre-right party. If you are uncomfortable with the history of the party as centre-right and economically liberal, suggest you start a blog called hijacktheconservativepartyhome. I promise not to visit or post.

"guts", "steel"...you still don't get it! cameron is right to ignore the 'more of the same' crowd and I'm delighted he is sticking to his approach of reaching out in a positive way.

Populist right wing reactionary negative politics didn't work for Hague, IDS and Howard, there's no reason to assume it would work for Cameron.

Please, could we just have one day where we don't have to rehearse the "You're Not A Real Conservative" "debate". And don't say who started it, I don't care!

Michael, you wrote, I think in order to suggest something you don't like about DC:

The tired old gimmicks of promising what you have no intention of delivering and implying what you have no intention of promising simply don't work any more.

One of the many, many reasons I am v big fan of David Cameron is that he talks a *lot* about not pretending that government can provide every solution to every problem. And I don't think he's guilty of the second charge either, though I know there's the odd (ha ha) person out there who occasionally remarks that s/he believes that once in office Cameron will reveal himself to be a rabid rightwinger. I don't find myself convinced by that Labour party analysis at all though.

"person out there who occasionally remarks that s/he believes that once in office Cameron will reveal himself to be a rabid rightwinger"

Sadly, that's not likely to be true.

If i may comment re Heath:-
The man was a mendacious shit who mugged the electorate with a load of tosh regarding our entry into the EEC, and did so in partnership with that other arch shit Wilson.
Heath left the party broken and in disarray and thank god we had Maggie waiting in the wings to lead the party to sense and sensibility and ultimately victory in the elections. Her victory resulted in this country having to take some very unpalatable medecine, to right the economic wrongs that 40 odd years of socialist dogma and social ownership had wrought.
Whosoever wins the next election, will have to make the same unpalatable choices, to right the wrongs that have been wrought by Brown and his socialist dogma of tax and spend and mortgaging the future for short term gains......potentially we are looking at our economy having its "Enron" moment as the full impact and cost of PFI finally hits.
Will Dave be our new Maggie?, that is a question that requires further thought and proof.

I'm not a member any more, thankfully, Marberry. With people like you in it, why should I want to join? My only interest is in seeing a new Government which reverses, rather than beds down, the failures of this one. In that respect, our goals clearly diverge. The reason I am on this site is because the Tory Party doesn't have a monopoly (did it ever?) of centre-right opinion and Tim recognises that. Sadly for you, he lives in the real pluralistic non-deferential world of 2006, not your fifties/sixties/early seventies fantasy world where people such as Ted Heath were such a conspicuous success. I thought Sean was quite charitable: remember the Barber Boom and the secondary banking crisis? Not the fault of the Labour Party were they?

Perhaps northern conservative can list some of those populist rightwing reactionary policies he/she dislikes so much. Controlling immigration? So NC wants uncontrolled immigration. Cutting crime? So NC wants crime to rise. Cutting taxes? So NC wants taxes to rise. Reforming and improving public services? So NC wants unreformed deteriorating public services. Well at least NC's true political affiliations are clear then..

Is this Wisty thing some sort of minor public schoolboy joke? Or something from when pater was a District Commissioner in the Gold Coast? Those of us from ordinary backgrounds don't get these things.

As for Mr McGowan, you and your fellow travellers will find a good home in UKIP, the natural base for the bitter and twisted.

This thread is way off subject and getting a bit personal. My finger is hovering over the delete button for further offenders...

Editor, fair point. My only response to the last comment is that I suspect that I am younger than E.L. Marberry. I also come from a northern grammar school background and a family with a history of voting Labour until the 1970's. So the rather ineffectual attempts to portray me as some kind of Colonel Blimp really don't work.

"Showing more steel" is hardly advice that is capable of being followed is it? It means nothing. I'm afraid it's the nebulousness of the 'advice' that leaves the arena opne for the sort of mudslinging we've seen here.

Editor, please allow me simply to explain about EL Wisty as Marberry has asked for enlightenment.

He was one of the most famous creations of the late Peter Cook. The first paragraph of "E L Wisty" in Wikipedia explains all.

I am with George, Michael, Sean and Og in this debate. Michael, you have been too kind to Heath. When people like Michael no longer have a place in the Tory Party, it is in deep proverbial, up to its head.

If "E L Marberry" doesn't remember E L Wisty he clearly can't wouldn't be able to remember Heath either.

A super-obvious troll.

Heard Cameron on R4 lunchtime before all the other stories pushed him into outer space. "Dave" was desperately trying to argue that his line on nuclear defence wasn't led by a focus group.

Well I wonder why not. All his other "policies" are the recycled opinions of these nauseating groups. Why the odd one out?

Lucky Dave wasn't advising Wilberforce when he started his campaign.

"William we've really got to get away from this anti-slavery comfort zone thing. Our focus group's telling us it's a bum steer. We're going to lose again if we don't listen to the voice of the people.

"We've got slaveowners, guys from pocket boroughs, scot and lot, potwallopers; you name it. We've got all these guys on board, celebrating their diversity, William. They're talking and we've got to listen.

"William, our focus group looks just like Modern Britain. We have to move to the centre ground. Let's change to win."

Can't you just imagine it?

I think we can some crossed lines on this one. Straight talking is fine if people want to listen to you in the first place and don't think you are inherently nasty. Think of different people you know and if you don't like someone, be honest how often do you diswmiss what they say before listening to it properly. DC had tic hange the image and reception first which he has done. Now he can tighten things up and that seems to be what is happenning. Give the guy a break,


You forget two things. Firstly "metrosexual yuppies" are totally unrepresentative of the country as a whole. Secondly they are even unrepresentative of temselvs, being constantly brainwashed by liberal elements in their own peer group.

As I listened to Dave on the radio yesterday I was on my way to a professional Christmas function within the M25 belt. At the party I soon got talking to a couple of 30-something chaps who pushed out a couple of identikit liberal feelers. 'We've always had workers from abroad here you know' was one of them. Another was 'I respected him for coming out as a transvestite'

I might have guessed they lived on another planet whe they both complained about the difficulty of catering for all their flatulently virtuous vegetarian friends. Like most normal Tories I don't have that problem.

So did we have a row? Not a bit of it. I said the south-east was being totally destroyed by the pressures of immigration and they nodded. After a few minutes of similarly robust talk they were falling over themselves to display their "right wing" credentials.

Moral - your yuppie is a spineless creature who bears the imprint of the last person who sat on him. It's time for the Conservative Party to LEAD by example - not follow the shallow and worthless views of others.

Well TL its actually a bit more complicated than that. Anyone can blindly lead but can easily end up walking alone into the desert or into the sea like King Canute. Of course it takes guts to go against the grain and have principles but they have to be rooted in some real trend. On some issues fundamnetal principles kick in but on other issues we do need to know what people are thinking. There is nothing wrong with using focus groups, industry was using them long before politicians were. They are there to inform not make decisions. Indeed a focus group is just a more systematic way of collecting the nuances of "what the bloke in the pub or on the Omnibus is saying",


"David Cameron must show more steel"

Would that Steel be as per the David who:

-frequently topped polls as Britain's favourite MP?

-led his party into the "Lib-Lab Pact" in 1977, thus keeping the Labour party in government?

- saw his party enjoying the highest share of the popular vote cast for a third party in over half a century?

If so, just the sort of precedent to make the Tories once again the first party ... er, well ...um

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