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I thought Cameron was against euro-regionalisation.

Agreed, Dennis. Who's next to have their own board, the South West?

Where is the diary entry on the very significant Irwin Stelzer article in the Daily Telegraph?


Denis, I know you express a lot of concerns on EU policy on this board, but could you tell me whether you think this is a constructive signal in bolstering our Party's campaigning capability in the north without reference to the EU?

I've written before in support of this kind of thing. It's a positive move, but we need to ensure that the individual project directors have sufficient resources to call on, and that the weaker associations that inevitably do exist in some of these areas can be given enough help and support by all of us to help pull them up to the required standard.

This has got to go further than just another set of board meetings, and I hope that we can use it to provide genuine support and resource to northern constituencies t help them play a bigger role in the life of the Party.

Francis Maude has admitted the dreadful state the party is in in the North, and it is probably marginally worse in Scotland - i see some idiot candidate is demanding the resignation of the leader of the Scottish party just as we go into an election.

So none of this is before time.

Where is the diary entry on the very significant Irwin Stelzer article in the Daily Telegraph?

It got pipped to the ToryDiary by the Friedland piece in the Guardian, as I recall, but was discussed a little on yesterday's news links and comments, I think.

I can't believe the negativity of some contributors to this site.

If Cameron did nothing different in the north, you'd all be going on about how he isn't changing Tory fortunes.

Now he's proposing some changes to the Party structure, he's "embracing euro-regionalism". Give us a break!

One of the main reasons we have not had the poll bounce in the north is because our organisation up here is weaker, and there are less people getting out the Conservative message on the doorsteps. If this helps to address that, then I'm all for it.

"Now he's proposing some changes to the Party structure..."

Iain, read the thread just before this one. Tinkering with party structure can have serious unforseen consequences.

Iain, I completely agree.

I'd argue that doing something like this is more important in the north of England than in Scotland, as realistically the vital background is places like West Yorkshire where there's loads of seats that we held until 1997 and should, at least in theory, be able to win back. I think I've got to stick up for Francis Maude here as he genuinely does seem to understand that we need to win up here to form the next government.

Excellent some real action and led by our best "face in the north". Well done William, Francis and Dave you will all get maximum marks from me in the next survey.

A party which intends to fight European elections certainly needs a euro-regional organisation for that purpose - but apart from that occasional purpose it's optional as there are still counties, which are said to be the preferred administrative units.

For a party that espouses decentralisation we have often been too slow to practice what we preach. The idea of CCHQ commanding campaigns in all the regions is frankly out-dated. This over-centralisation is not responsible for our decline in the north, but has surely contributed to it.

This modest reform is overdue and should be welcomed.

Graham Stuart has his head screwed on. He's an excellent campaigner and will work hard to improve our fortunes in the North.

Always nice to see former MPs who are willing to 'muck in' and help the Party after retirement/defeat.

Europe really does dominate every thread regardless of the issue. Give us a rest - please.

This is tremendous news for the North, I'm sure you won't mind me passing it on to the good people of South Shields. I simply have to, because the local Association are in no position to (they've lost the password to their Blogger account!)

So Curly's Corner Shop will have to be the bearer of the good news!

Unfortunately, even in 2001 while William Hague (the Chairman of the Northern Board), the Conservative Party made little headway in the North. In fact, according to http://politics.guardian.co.uk/election2001/seatswon/0,,-59,00.html there were no gains in the 3 Northern 'Euro regions' apart from George Osbourn regaining Tatton following Martin Bell's chicken-run to Brentford & Ongar! (Bell never quite made it, remember.)

At the next general election it looks as if the South and the Midlands will have scores of gains for the Conservative Party, but ultimately the election is going to be won or lost in the North. Cameron maybe needs to also think about putting in a tough Northerner (not Hague, please) into a prominent role, perhaps the Party Chairmanship when Maude has served his term?

I agree Richard. I know of a few northern associations that binned all CCHQ-made leaflet-templates/generic pamphlets etc at the last election because they were so blatantly drawn up by people from London.

Local people know what works with local people.

"Well done William, Francis and Dave you will all get maximum marks from me in the next survey."

OBN for HF then.

I strongly welcome the creation of a Northern Board giving more autonomy to set budgets and organise campaigns - albeit "within the Party’s overall national strategy".

As a Northener on missionary duty for many years in the deepest South East, there is a chasm of perception between North & South. I regret this has had a deleterious effect on our Party, with under-representation in the North because the Party has appeared (to Northeners) as too Southern orientated, and because the Labour Government has directed financial inducements to their strongest (Northern) areas.

If the Northern Board proves sensitive and responsive to the wishes of those living in their Region, it can only help our cause electorally in the North. I for one wish it well.

A Yorkshire campaign centre is going to be in based in Bradford by the way (the other two regions already have them in Salford and Newcastle).

Michael McGough you are too kind.

Shame that the Northern Board were not setup a year ago. It will not have much impact on this May's elections.

This is a good move, long overdue, and a necessary condition...it will also make life easier for London not having to do everything from one corner of England.

Cameron maybe needs to also think about putting in a tough Northerner (not Hague, please) into a prominent role,

I agree - Hague is not at all suitable. Frankly, it might be better to have a few people who are not TV personalities but can build their reputations in the North.

This is a very welcome development. It would be good to see if the Midlands could be extended into the decentralisation. Lots of key marginals here too.

Hip Hip Hooray! And local Northern candidates for northern seats please.


Hush, Jake.

All well and good, but if we can't boost membership significantly it will be akin to shifting deckchairs on the ship's deck.

You can have the best, most northern-inspired leaflets you like, if there's no-one to deliver them it won't do much good.

The North East voted NO to Regionalisation, so organisation CCHQ won't be popular with those who voted overwhelmingly against it.

Hey Ho, here we go, another chewing gum and string policy to keep the PARTY alive, It's about time you lot gave a thought to what's best for the country. The people will not be ignored, they will not be ruled by Scots intent on getting the best deal for their fellow countrymen, they will not stand for democratic largesse being dished out piecemeal, We will not be "regionalised". does noone at CCHQ understand this?. If you don't know that I refer to England you are part of the problem.

The Conservatives have little or no support in Scotland and Wales, and yet Mr Cameron believes the patriotic people of England to be'Sour Little Englanders'. How can the Conservatives continue to deny that England needs its own parliament....watch out Northern Regions the EU is after you and our politicians dont give a damn....(about England that is). One Nation...One Passion....England!

A positive development, although wouldn't further decentralisation to county level have been more beneficial?

European Parliament
The European Parliament's new President, Hans-Gert Pöttering has called for the EU assembly to boost its cooperation with regions and cities. "We need still better co-operation with national parliaments, and not only on the national level - our regions, cities and communities are Europe's foundation," said Mr Pöttering who is a key ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel

And a key ally of David Cameron through the EPP

I notice the Conservatives are still pointlessly and embaressingly still trying to 'Protitute' themselves for Scottish votes that will NEVER EVER come, and i also see thatt hey are fully in on the EU/McLabour agenda of regionalising England out of existence, also this week Cameron has come out and said he doesnt support an English Parliament.

Well they just lost my and my entire families votes this week.

One of the main reasons we have not had the poll bounce in the north is because our organisation up here is weaker, and there are less people getting out the Conservative message on the doorsteps.

More self-delusion but it's from Mr Lindley so that comes as no surprise.

For three years I have lived in a safe Conservative parliamentary seat on the south coast but my ward (one of the two most affluent) has three LibDem district councillors. They took the seats from the Tories some years ago over one of the usual obtuse local rows about damn all.

Should be an obvious Tory target then. I know the local association is still reasonably well populated so how often do you suppose Tories have stood on my doorstep over the past three years? You've guessed it. Not once.

Anyway, many Conservative associations seem to spend their time these days making nuisance phone calls rather than knocking on doors.

Sir David Trippier is a high ranking Freemason.

Is Cameron another funny handshake ride the goat man?

I only ask because I want to know.

This is potentially a very good idea and therefore Cameron's to be congratulated on introducing it. That said, and without singling out the worst two 'northern' names, there are some real duds involved. Right structure, wrong people.

What a depressing set of responses. No wonder most ordinary activists are giving the debate on this site a miss nowadays.

It didn't have to be done like this, but probably Cameron has been led into it by the same hand that co-signed the Maastricht Treaty which originally set up the EU Committee of the Regions, website here and worth a quick look:


More self-delusion but it's from Mr Lindley so that comes as no surprise.

I'm interested, Ian. Isn't there a contradiction in your post, in that you seem to deny Iain's point that we need to improve our campaigning organisation in the north of the country. Yet in the next paragraph, you imply that we could take back up to three local government seats in your own ward with a greater investment in basic local campaigning. Surely that shows that political organisation on the ground is important?

Your point regarding increased use of telephone canvassing is interesting too. It is a more efficient use of limited resources for the Associations involved, I am sure, especially when it is done sensitively and politely. I do worry that its effectiveness will get blunted in time as it gets lost within mass telemarketing and increased TPS registration, and we need to keep an open mind on new tools for engaging with people as well as just collecting voting intentions.

As for getting more bodies on the doorstep in your neck of the woods, why not volunteer yourself? At the very least you'll probably come away with some good stories...

Trustafarians Dave and Gideon don't translate up North, that's the problem.

The Regional Centre should be Leeds not Bradford. Bradford is not the regional centre. Leeds is as close to the key marginals.

I thought you said you lived in the Highlands Ian. Have you moved recently to the South coast? I would have thought living in Scotland you would have a good appreciation of the party needing to be better organized there.
David Ford Lane you have clearly been completely misinformed about the Conservatives chances in Wales. We will gain seats there for sure.

Will anyone at CCHQ notice?

Sir David Trippier is a high ranking Freemason.

Is Cameron another funny handshake ride the goat man?

I only ask because I want to know.

Posted by: masonwatch | January 18, 2007 at 19:21

Don't worry there is a District Judge in the same region who is not only a Mason but in charge of a Committee recommending judicial appointments to the Lord Chancellor

How shamefully disappointing.

We shouldn't try to resussitate the party in the north of England because that might look like regionalisation, which kindof sounds a bit like something the EU might be keen on.

Is that supposed to be a genuine argument? Really?


These tories are as bad as New Labour and the Lib Dems.

I see trouble brewing for all of you. England is a nation. Regionalise her at your peril. Be warned - England is rising.

Yorkie are you saying you'd prefer Central Office to run it all from London? Yes I know you are English and proud, and good for you, but what's your problem with a northern base for a political party to operate from? Blimey.


AS I recall Edward Heath abolished the Ridings and dumped Metropolitan Councils for West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and South Yorkshire on an unwilling population; then West Yorkshire County Council was abolished............so Yorkshire is long long ago.

As for "Regions" you would do better to complain about RDAs and the Learning & Skills Councils than about a political party with a lot of work to do in areas North of The Wash with limited resources

It looks like the Conservatives are to adopt a similar regional structure to that of UKIP .

"Yorkie are you saying you'd prefer Central Office to run it all from London?"

I shouldn't think so, but were the only possible alternatives a) run it all from London or b) run some of it through a regional structure? That was the false choice presented by the "Yes" campaign during the north east referendum.

Regionalisation. Hmmm. If the Northern areas are getting more freedoms, can Associations down South be treated similarly, without the Mace of Maude above our heads?

Without grit in our policies its going to be difficult to get votes up North. Grit isnt state funding for charities...

I think this is a hugely positive development, particularly for the North East. I cannot believe that some people are linking this to the Euro-regions agenda. I am just as opposed to regionalisation as virtually everyone else in the party, but this is about party organisation, not government, European or national.
Francis Maude should be congratulated on at least recognising that we have a problem-our improving national opinion poll ratings are not being reflected in the North. We need a mature discussion on the reasons for this.
This initiative is obviously not going to solve the problem overnight, but at least we have made a start.
Also really pleased that Michael Bates is heading up the operation in the North East as he originated the process in the first place.I look forward to working with the new Northern board to help make it happen on the ground, where it counts.

I know, some people are ridiculously over-sensitive about this. Maybe it's to do with standing in the rain/wind/cold/heat outside successive regional assembly meetings over the last eight years, while Tory councillors were inside conniving at the balkanisation of England and pretending that it had nothing whatsoever to do with the EU. Or trying to prevent our county police forces and fire brigades and ambulance services being swallowed up into euro-regional organisations.

It would be easier to deflect the comments if the Conservative Party simply stopped referring to English areas as Regions. That is my simple solution as an activist, and I walked the miles during the referendum and continue to write letters against North East Assembly in local papers.

I do not know of one party member in these parts that agrees with the regional agenda, or indeed the EU...but hey, that's my view.

That said, I and others that carry out much hard and often thankless work on the ground in the North East are certainly very encouraged by this action. It can't possibly be seen as anything but positive.

It is now the task of Associations (my view) to rise to this opportunity and work together with the new structure towards a common goal and not see this as some CCHQ plan to take away our autonomy, which on the whole (an honest view from the streets) meant we talked to ourselves and failed to advance Conservatism enough to ensure we win more council wards, more councils etc.

I look forward to learning new ideas and implementing what we believe to be best practice. We need a boost, a kick-start, call it what you wish, I just hope the more positive people grasp the opportunity on offer.

Bishop Auckland Conservatives

This is what I mean about resisting the "Unitary Agenda" for it merely affords legitimacy to the (unelected) North East Assembly.



STRAW: I'm explaining to you the problems thatwe now face which have intervened. There was an expectation that as a result
of a Conservative change there would be unitary system of government right
across the country - in all thirty nine shire counties as well as the six
metropolitan areas and in London. Now, that's not going to be the case now and
the one thing we've all been clear about in England is that you could not
conceivably establish elected regional assemblies as well as having a tier of
shire counties and districts underneath that.

(The plan across the North East is to now remove the District Councils and to have large Unitaries - Durham and Northumberland, plus the urban area unitaries - so the Refrendum for the Assembly is a sham, they get there wish by the back door!)

STRAW: There is never going to be - even once we have achieved a situation of English regional assemblies - never going to
be complete symmetry between those assemblies and a Scottish parliament.

Only where clear popular consent is established will arrangements be made for elected regional assemblies. This would require a predominantly unitary system of local government as presently exists in Scotland and Wales, and confirmation by independent auditors that no additional public expenditureoverall would be involved. Our plans will not mean adding a new tier of government to the existing English system.

In 1997 we said that provision should be made for directly elected regional government to go ahead in regions where people decided in a referendum to support it and where predominantly unitary local government is established. This remains our commitment.

And we will devolve further responsibility to existing regional bodies in relation to planning, housing, economic development and transport.

Of course, you could play politics and suggest Labour members are dishonourable when viewed against the comments of the Government Minister at the time of the Referendum.

From the Northern Echo, first published Saturday 6th Nov 2004.

LOCAL Government Minister Nick Raynsford yesterday ruled out the abolition of district councils in County Durham in the wake of the No vote.

However, Mr Raynsford insisted that it had been made clear beforehand that local government reorganisation would only be triggered by a Yes vote.

Yesterday, he said: "When politicians give pledges, it is right that they honour those pledges and we pledged not to carry through those changes unless there was a Yes vote."


Just like in Scotland and Wales, the Cons are sinking fast and come up with half baked ideas to try and brush over the cracks.
David ' I DON'T want an English Parliament ' Cameron is further destroying your party - no ideas, no direction and no vision.
Politics is changing, the next election will be fought between Nationalists and Unionists.

68% of people in England WANT AN ENGLISH Parliament - Perhaps you people might want to join a party that actually cares about it's people. The English Democrats Party is the future of England and we have hundreds of EX-BLUES flocking to us every day.

Don't hold on to a yester-year and outdated party. England needs YOU

Conservative Unionists commit hara kiri on the sword of "Regionalism", you heard it here first.

I expect Rifkind would also applaud defections to the English Democrats ...

It's Class or Nation...You Decide.

The bonds of British nationhood which bonded together the "working", "middle" and "upper" class are being intentionally destroyed and class is now replacing nation as the prime means of self and collective identification.

When we finally repeal devolution and introduce equal representation in our Union Parliament we will be uniting our nation in more ways than one.

Tom Tom,

You clearly do not understand the difference between administrative counties and ceremonial counties.

The ceremonial county of the East Riding of Yorkshire still exists as does the ceremonical counties of North and West Yorkshire hence the countries still exist and are represented by High Sheriffs!

Hmmm Ed Abrams,

So hundreds of ex blues are flocking to the, what was it again, Democrats of England or something. So hundreds every days, lets say 300 then, that makes 2100 every week which makes 8400 every month. That means that by the end of a year you will have over 100,000 members and yet no one has ever heard of you. And, that's just the ex-blues. Lets take it that there are a corresponding numbers of ex other parties joinging you too. So, I am wondering with up to 200,000 members on their way, why the party does not register at all in the opinion polls. Funny that!
There are no significant donations lodged with the Electoral COmmission and these thousands of ex Tories that are leaving miraculously don't seem to be affect the Tory Party membership numbers.

I think you are maybe ever so slightly deluding yourself. Nice to have a hobby though isnt it.

So William Hague is to be the Chairman of the Northern Board for the Conservative Party.
He would do better if he got his own public relations right first.
I'm still waiting for a reply to my letters to him of many months ago!

"I would have thought living in Scotland you would have a good appreciation of the party needing to be better organized there."

I am still a member of the party both in England and in Scotland, Malcom.

However, I regret to say that I am inactive in both and likely to remain so as long as Cameron is in charge.

In England I still pay dues to the constituency I moved out of three years ago. In Scotland I have the impression that there is very little left to reorganise.

A good start in the right direction. Northern organisation important. I just can't believe the negative comments from the usual minority of headbangers. I suppose the many companies that have northern HQs are also engaged in some sinister EU plot as well. For Gods sake it is precisely this sort of obsessive nonsense that gives the anti-federal EU cause (which I share) a bad name,


However, I regret to say that I am inactive in both and likely to remain so as long as Cameron is in charge.

In England I still pay dues to the constituency I moved out of three years ago. In Scotland I have the impression that there is very little left to reorganise.

It's small wonder we're in trouble is it when attitudes like this are respectable within the party. I joined the Conservative party because I felt that they had the right policies to regenerate areas of the North East (Labour heartlands where GE's are a mere formality) and help the poorest amongst us. When I lived in Durham I was aghast at Labour taking credit for regeneration projects paid for by tax revenues from the Tory dominated south as a result of Tory economic policy.

I didn't join just so that I could stay at home and fulminate against the EU and DC from the comfort of my armchair.

The North East has been going down quicker than the titanic. It is due in my opinion that it is the Londoncentric effect. Too often here in the North East we have had merchent bankers (take this as rhyming slang or as a job they may do) cutting there political teeth at a cost to us in the North.
Hopefully this board will be enabled to get good local candidates in place.

As for may elections some of us are in it to fight, view our ward website.
www.pierremontfuture.co.uk and Town website

David Davies

As for may elections some of us are in it to fight, view our ward website.

I had a minor epihany while reading your website, David - I happened to spot a minor typo, then realised it really didn't matter. It's a good quality site, but its real appeal is that its not a slick, centrally promoted site, but the voice on the web of three Conservatives who obviously care deeply about their community. Exactly what we need.

I'd like to wish the very best of luck to you and your two fellow candidates in Pierremont Ward in May!

"I'm still waiting for a reply to my letters to him of many months ago!"

You should know that's quite unlike him.

Sounds very like another try at Regional Assemblies,shame on you all.

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