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One of the funniest moments in Nottingham was when ConHome's Sam Coates asked a question from the back of the hall. Almost every face turned to see him when he said he was from ConservativeHome. People are fascinated by this site.

You must be doing somthing right,to get mentioned in "dispatches" keep on doing it!

For CH to work, you need to introduce a registration mechanism to weed out the nutters and trolls from other parties (esp. UKIP). This site is supposed to be for the "grassroots", but every Tom, Dick and Harry posts here espousing embarrassing comments. Come on, Ed, charge people to register and post here - I'll even send you a fiver!

Tim: I will criticise only one thing you said in your article:

"It'll give ConservativeHome's Sam and I..."

Perhaps you should send an email to the Times with your readership stats. To write a piece like that without checking them is scandalous. The 'other' Sam Coates should be ashamed of himself and the least he can do is pay for the lunch you're having!

If the party's own website wasn't so dire then perhaps we wouldn't resort to using this one.

"This site is supposed to be for the "grassroots", but every Tom, Dick and Harry posts here espousing embarrassing comments"

True although there are some on the "modernising" wing of the party who sometimes come across as OTT. *Cough* Jack Stone *cough*.

Constructive Comment.

Stop publishing lists of people to be interviewed for seats. By all means publish the lists of those in open primary finals, but the publishing of long lists does nothing except give the opportunity for our opponents to gain ammunition.

I heard that your deputy editor was slapped down on this at a meeting in Nottingham to the delight of the same self grassroots you profess to be representing.

This is a very strong site but its depressing whenever someone makes a critical comment on this site against a policy, one of the pro-Cameron faction kick up a stink on this site. You get the taunts, which ruins the debate and does the Party no good.

There is a point on the whole Party vs CH debate. Ch has been more open minded over policy and because of its being distant from CCO, its able to make its own mind about issues. We use "groupthink" which as we all know can work really well. CCo seems more insular.

An attack on this site is an attack on debate and openness. Imagine if CH ceased to exist tomorrow? I suspect it would be replaced by something much less responsible than that operated by Tim Montgomery.

The site, comment wise, used to be very good over a year ago. There used to be some informed and enjoyable debates on various topics between a core number of commentators.

Since that point however, the comments section has rapidly deteriorated - but then perhaps that is the price to be paid for increasing popularity and renown.

This is the only sensible forum for those of a conservative outlook and I think, Editor, that you do a splendid job by providing this platform. Pace the oft-repeated censorious ravings of Justin Hinchcliffe, the more open the debate the better for conservative democracy, of which there is precious little amongst the patrician autocrats at CCHQ.

The quality of debate on CH is more variable than a lot of comments above suggest, and it seems to vary by subject. On polling there tends to be a decent level of debate, when it came to gay adoption it was vicious. Registration might be the answer, or more pro-active moderation on contentious issues.

Thanks for the comments so far - please keep them coming. I tend to agree that the quality of comments has deteriorated although Robert M is right - there are still times when the quality of debate is high and we certainly never fall as low as sites like Comment is free. Any advice on platforms where moderation/ registration works best (of the kind Justin H suggests) would be gratefully received...

Just donated £35 so that I can get a mug with the shields. It is an inspired design.

This site definitely performs a useful function otherwise why would people "vote with their mouse"?

The threads on many topics though have deteriorated over the past year. People will always want to rant about politics, but we need more initiatives such as 100policies and broader agenda-setting Conservative philosophy type discussions.

Keep up the good work.

I don't mind the commentators from other parties posting here or those who disagree with the leadership on virtually every issue. Those I do object to however are those who seek time and again to be gratuitously offensive to those who disagree with them. These people generally don't have the courage to post under their real names either. Whether registration is a good idea or not I'm not sure, if it meant that far fewer people post that would be a shame.

This site " offers the most comprehensive account of developments in the Conservative Party. - --
At Nottingham I lost count of the number of people who came up to me to say how much they valued this website. 'It's the only way I find out what's really going on,' was the most frequently-made comment. "

Quite . This is a tremendous site . Perhaps not for the narrow minded control freaks present in all parties - though perhaps even for them ! It certainly expands the level of participation and connects the leadership with the grass roots .

If they are getting edgy about it you know it is working .

Editor, you are absolutely correct in your response. However, the idea from the "senior Tory close to Mr Cameron" that the site "represents a specific strand of thinking" is particularly risible, and no one who had spent more than five minutes on the site could possibly make such an absurd assertion. How ironical that this site is about the only platform in the Conservative sphere where if you disagree with something, you can say so right there and then.

I am pretty relaxed about dodgy commenters. You tend to see them more on the main thread and in Tory Diary but much less in 100policies, Your Platform, etc.


I agree with all those people who came up to you in Nottingham, this is a fantastic site and you should be congratulated for keeping it up. In contrast to some of those above, I think that having a wide range of views posted is a good thing and refreshing for politics these days. Who knows, there may be extremists or people who refuse to toe the party line who post on here, but the best way to take them on is in debate rather than to shut them out through a registration process.

I agree with much of what Cameron has done since he became leader and in fact it's the reason I recently joined the Conservatives having voted Labour in previous elections. However, I don't think the leadership should have a monopoly over ideas or debate - that's the situation in the Labour party. Open debate is a strength as it allows more people to contribute than a stifled process where the only people speaking are puppets being pulled by strings from above.

Well done Tim and keep it up!

I don't take too seriously an article like this in the Times....a newspaper whose loyalties are notoriously fickle and which has spent most of the last ten years supporting the Labour Party. Having said that, if the closed ingrown elite running the Tory Party is a bit rattled, that is a good sign. People are no longer prepared to pay up and shut up as they would have done in the fifties. Keep up the good work, Tim. There has always been a vocal section of the Tory modernising tendency whose approach amounts to Stalinism with aromatherapy. They see the Tory Party as a machine, to be seized by coup d'etat, for promoting their personal ambitions. Their mentality is authoritarian. Some of them seem to admire Blairite character assassination techniques. Hence we get standard Alastair Campbellesque abuse of dissenters: weird, talking to themselves, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, etc etc etc. We have heard it all before and it is all sounding distinctly passe. Besides, the more that these sort of people go on in this vein, you really do have to ask yourselves whether they would be an improvement on New Labour.

Michael McGowan: "There has always been a vocal section of the Tory modernising tendency whose approach amounts to Stalinism with aromatherapy." Very funny!

It would be quite simple for CCHQ to start its own discussion forum. Party members can apply for passwords to the conservatives.com extranet. Those passwords could be used to access such a forum.

So why does the Party not do it? It would be relatively cheap to set up, e.g. added on to the Conservative Policy Forum site. My guess is that CCHQ does not want discussion and debate. It really wants unquestioning support for whatever Cameron and team say.

Of course, CCHQ is hypocritical. Some posters have noted that some A listers only visit this site to post supportive comments when one of their fellow A listers has been selected. The romour mill says that the Candidates Department sent out instructions to post to its "trusted" email list.

Conservative Home is the only forum where those do not agree with Cameron agenda can engage with other.

It is the only site that tells us what is really going on inside the party. John Strafford of "Conservative One Person One Vote" used to be source of information and perceptive comment. But John has muted his criticism of CCHQ in recent months. That may be related to him participating, at the invitation of Francis Maude, in the meaningless review of candidate selection.

This is probably part of a CCHQ campaign to discredit and smear Conservative Home. It will be the Sunday Telegraph or the Spectator who will carry the next attack.

I would counsel against a restrictive "register to post" system as suggested by Justin Hinchcliffe. We all know that some posts can be discounted as soon as you see who has written them, but to require registration for all will stop the irregular poster inspired to post on a specific topic of interest to him from doing so. This would be a loss.

Also, this site shouldn't just be for party members and active supporters, it must be open to the wider constituent groups of the conservative coalition or risk becoming introspective. After all we do want UKIP voters and members to vote Conservative at elections don't we?

But here's a suggestion - why not have some public ConHome meetings, or conference fringe events (maybe you do already and I've missed them)?

Sadly any desire on the part of the Party's Leadershin to silence or tone down CH just goes to show how little they care about the views, hopes or motivations of their own membership. Very little shows more clearly how contemptuous they are becoming of the people they need to win elections.

Conservative Home is read with interest throughout the Party and contributed to by many MPs, Councillors and activists - not least from my own Hammersmith Association!
The problem arises in that there have been a number of highly unpleasant personal attacks on people and numerous incidences of "trolling" - mainly instigated it has to be said by people from other parties.
I don't think the "higher ups" regard CH with suspicion on the whole and believe that many of them regard it as a bellwether of opinion in the Party. As the personal attacks and trolling decreases, the regard in which CH is held will certainly increase.

There is no doubt the Conservative Party would be significantly the less were it not for the existence of this high quality site. The fact that it provides a much needed platform for discussion between different tendencies within the Party is to be applauded, especially when despite the efforts of some, constituency Parties often discourage such debate.

Despite the often fiercely expressed differences posted here, very few who use the site resort to the foul and inappropriate language frequently found on other blogs.

I congratulate Tim & (our) Sam on maintaining these high standards for us who use the site and for our Conservative Party. I'm confident that CCHQ monitors what goes on here and sometimes enters the discussion, usually under anonymity. Perhaps a paraphrase of Thomas Jefferson's statement will resonate with some, "When CCHQ fears the members, there is liberty. When the members fear CCHQ, there is tyranny"


"These people generally don't have the courage to post under their real names either."

Its good to know that both you and do, Malcolm!!

If it were technically possible I would support the following form of registration - you would have to register a profile on the site before you could post comments. This would have a very few mandatory fields - principally about party membership and voting habits/intentions, with other fields on things such as part of the country, age etc if people want to include them. Vitally it would not require the revelation of names and would just maintain the need for a link to a real email address - albeit that could be an anonymous one. The reason for this is that you get less inhibited comments from people involved in elective office in the Party, or with professional profiles in non-political fields, by allowing this.

This scheme would not prevent political opponents from contributing but would tell people where posters are coming from - you could introduce an ikon for party membership etc in due course and one could jump from any post to the poster's profile. You could also allow, say, 6 free posts a month but, if you wanted to do more than that you had to pay a modest min subscription. This might pay at least for the marginal cost of setting up what I propose. As paying this would usually require ones real name through a credit card etc, there would be an agreement whereby ConHome did not reveal subscribers' identities under Data Protection unless ever required to by law (criminal libel or whatever).

After all that, obviously I appreciate the site and I think I may donate £35 to get one of your mugs.

Sorry - I meant "that both you and I do..."!!

I certainly agree with much of what you say, Tim, and I do think that ConservativeHome provides an invaluable service to the Party and to grassroots Party members in particular as a conduit for information. However, your words might carry more weight in CCHQ if not quite so many threads were allowed to be commandeered by posters who are clearly Agents Provocateurs for other parties, here only to create havoc and have a go at David Cameron. Let them contribute here as often as they like if they want to discuss issues of substance in a reasoned manner, but too often they do nothing but post one attack after another and are rarely disciplined for it. This all feeds the media perception that Sam Coates writes about in The Times today.

This site is the best political site i've seen and may it long continue to be so,

i met sam coates at the cf party in the church hall on friday and had a bit of a chat about it and i tried to meet tim at the bbc reception but had to settle for a chat with the excellent jason mccartney and a picture with dave cameron!

keep up the good work and hopefully one day i will get to tell you in person how great this site is

I hope you know how much I love this site - this is in the spirit of the constructive thoughts requested - and some feedback. In contrast to your experience, I was struck by the number of people I talked to in Nottingham who are not fans of CH. NOT CCHQ people - activists from London mainly. They felt very strongly that it is wrong to publish longlists in the constituency candidate selection process. I said to one woman I couldn't see the problem with that, to which she responded "how would you feel if you applied for a job, and your name was posted on a public website?" -- I can definitely see her point. Maybe worth reconsidering?

I also agree with the introduction of either registration (Google do something like this I think) or, even better, more proactive editorial moderation of the comments posted. There is no doubt that the content of most TD "debates" has declined, and at times is downright harmful to the party's prospects. Anyone who wants complete freedom to write whatever they wish, regardless of the electoral damage it may cause, is free to start their own website, but this site is owned by someone who wants the best for the party. You should delete anything malicious, personal or non-thread oriented as soon as it appears, and bar the IP addresses of repeat offenders.

From the Times article "those close to Mr Cameron responded by pointing out that the Conservative membership was not representative of the country as a whole. A quarter of a million people are members of the Tory party."

That suggests that membership is still dropping. You would expect it, given the opinion polls, to be increasing as happened with New Labour.

The party members are either dying off or leaving. Perhaps they feel that they are not valued, especially non-members have a right to participate in open primaries. Membership benefits are non-existent - despite Francis Maude claiming on this site that he wanted to improve them.

In a private business, declining sales would lead to a change in management. Party politics is now different with the taxpayer being being asked to pick up the tab.

Several friends (with many years experience as activists, councillors and candidates) have walked away from the Party in disgust. I am considering joining the exodus. Enough is enough.

Prdeictably well said Michael McGowan at 10.44. I also agree with Regan Fan and Matt Davis. Tim (and Sam)continue to deserve our thanks for running this site which serves as an excellent place for conservative minded individuals to debate politics. Critics of this site would be mistaken to downplay views aired on here. FWIW the comments on the Telegraph website are also well worth reading for those of a conservative disposition.

Well done Tim, it shows you are doing it right. Free speech will always annoy someone, but it is essential for democracy, and to ensure politics does not become the sterile monoculture of ideas some would like. This site is a breath of fresh air, and the Cameroons should regard it is a vauable resource and sounding-board.

As for "UKIP trolls", of which I am one, those (normally cravenly anonymous) who grumble should ask themselves why we are no longer in Dave's Party. Many of us are life-long grass-roots tories, who can no longer accept what is being done to the Party. Many are conservatives, although no longer Conservatives of the Cameroon kind.

The Times' Sam Coates quotes one "senior Tory close to Mr Cameron" as saying about ConservativeHome that “it’s 30 people talking to 30 people."

Well there's another one I know who I reckon would say the site is on the cutting edge. So what?

I don't go looking for New Labour sites, but it seems to me Conservatives are leading the debate within new media at the moment, (unless someone tells me otherwise) and CH is a key part of that.

Tim, your lengthy post suggests you feel a need to perhaps apologise or explain your actions.

Don't. People vote with their mouse as suggested, your clearly doing a lot right and the thinking behind the site ('and theory', 'crowd wisdom' etc) as well as some of the great writing shows it has depth as well as the breadth that is obvious from the front page.

The parts of the site that encourage new and serious ideas are the best.

As for changes, registration could be good, but probably not necessary yet

I never put my real E-Mail address on posts not because I'm a coward, but that I get enough spam.

Londoner should donate to this site. If you donate £35 to Conservative Home you receive a mug. If you donate to the Party, you are treated like a mug.

Bill Melotti makes a valid point. I know several posters that have experienced significant increases in spam after posting on this site.

"Stand Up For Conservative Home" makes a good point. CCO should consider setting up its own discusion forum. At present, the official website is all proclamation and no interaction. One of the great advantages of the internet is that it creates a community. This is not something we've run away from in other areas: open primaries for candidate selection as a case in point.

I can understand that the leadership might be concerned about the allegiance of some of those who post on the site, swivel-eyed europhile trolls being the prime example. But let them speak!

Good point, Paul Oakley at 11.21. Just like the old media, the extant political are still having to come to terms with the internet and the freeing up of debate. Of course there will always be those who wat to narrow debate for one reason or another.

"Without the right to criticise, there can be no flattering praise".
ConHome does a marvellous job, though I agree that it can deteriorate occasionally into a personal vendetta that is a waste of everybody's time.
I welcome visitors from other political persuasions, as long as they put forward a genuinely held point of view and do not merely try to disrupt the thread.
Items such as the 100 Policies are very valuable but I would like to suggest that we occasionally try to formulate positive suggestions towards the end of a particular topic e.g. specific proposals for improving state schools or the management of NHS hospitals or the funding of the NHS to avoid the farcical situation that confronts us at the moment.
I tend to believe that much of government is really about process and I would like to see more thought given to how we as a party can improve on what has become a quite disastrous legacy from the Blair/Brown duo.

I thank Paul Oakley for his kind remark. CCHQ does not engage with the members directly. We do not even get a magazine like we used to. My constituency, a target seat, does not even have a Conservative Political Forum group. The Deputy Chairman (Political) is hopeless.

I remain, however, opposed to open primaries. Jonathan Isaby (I think) commented that Richmond Park turned away applicants for seats at the open primary because the venue was full. This meant that party members were disenfranchised because non-members had taken up valuable places. (The organisers shoud have booked a bigger venue though.)

The right of members to select the Parliamentary candidate is a membership right or benefit that should be protected. There are other ways of engaging with the local community.

I find ConHome invaluable. I get about three communications a year from CCHQ, in my role as Constituency Chairman, and this is the best way of finding out what's going on in, and around, the Conservative Party.

Bring it on, Dave. Bring it on.

Sean Fear says that constituency chairmen receive three communications a year. If that is typical, it is an utter disgrace.

I used to receive the Campaign Bulletin and other emails and electronic documents from CCHQ. They seem to have stopped or perhaps I have removed from the email lists.

City Region

Now that William Hague is in charge of revitalising Conservatives in the North does he or the Conservative Party have anything to say on this latest bit of Anti-democratic Corporatism by the New Gulag Party in Westminster ?

"Sean Fear says that constituency chairmen receive three communications a year"

As a Constituency Chairman, I receive a regular update from Jeremy Middleton (National Convention), Francis Maude (Party Chairman), the Campaign Bulletin, press releases from our MEPs and countless emails from other bodies - such as the Candidates' Deaprtment and Assn. of Con Cllrs. That said, I don not receive anything from the "Area" - the first I know about its officers is when they post here on ConHome. My counterpart in the neighbouring constituency pointed out to me that no Area officer has visited the borough in three years - not even for AGMs. No doubt I'll get some abused for writing this post, but it's absolutely true! What should are Area 'Management Teams' do - should they keep in touch with the local Assns? Are they actually even worth having?

Conservativehome is an excellent website. Tim and Sam do an excellent job and should be commended for their hard work.

I do have some criticisms of the website; including my desire for a strictly neutral editoral line, the fact that anonymous commenting is permitted on candidate selection boards "in-play" and the scepticism displayed towards "project cameron", but ConservativeHomes positives far outweigh the negatives.

For me, ConservativeHome has many strengths. But it's main strength is that it is considered important enough to be taken seriously by the parliamentary party - and, yes, even some of the posted comments are too.

There is always an outside chance that an MP, or shadow cabinet member, will read your post, maybe take heed of your argument and might, just might, be influenced by it enough to change their minds.

A fantastic feature which just simply isn't possible anywhere else.

Apart from a few angry emails from Christina Speight I've never had any spams from posting on Conhome as far as I'm aware. Generally I think it much better to post under a real name.

What ever the criticism of this site, compare it to dry as dust Labourhome. Labourhome is poor in every respect, badly designed, a pointless exercise in every way. I am not a Tory, but I congratulate all those involved in this site, for making it an enjoyable visit, I find it invaluable: thank you.

I think this site would benefit from a section which has a daily update of Dave's hairstyle.

This story is utter rubbish. While SC does write well, over the last couple of years the Times' political coverage has gone completely downhill. I'll never forget them describing Karen Bradley as a part-time policy officer at GCHQ in Cheltenham. Someone at the Times had simply mistranscribed (or even worse, misunderstood) the reference to her working for 'CCHQ' on the first iteration of the A list.

This is a great site. I also agree with Graeme that more active moderation would help to reduce the unpleasantness (although that would surely require another fulltime assistant for Tim and Sam!). I love this site although my partner worries that sometmes the comments on the Candidates thread basically write other parties' leaflets for them.

James, I have yet to see an example of another party's literature that carries an anti-Conservative comment from this site.

You are right about that pathetic Karen Bradley piece in the New Labour Times.

"30 people talking to 30 people" - ha ha!

It's so good, with such a variety of content that even my part-time staff have taken to reading this site on the shop's computer during those lean spells at mid-morning!

Keep it up chaps.

Personally I'm happy with the site the way it is although I do agree that there does seem to have been an increase in trolling. I don't mind registering but I can sympathise with the view that it might put off some people who might only comment on threads where they have a particular interest.

"Sean Fear says that constituency chairmen receive three communications a year"

That's what I receive. I can't comment about other constituencies.

As a Conservative, I am proud that we have this resource. I want to be associated with a party/movement where freedom of ideas and friendly but open debate are encouraged. I am sure that your work has recruited and energised many members. Keep it up - and yes, some at CCHQ don't like it. Welcome to reality.

Graeme Archer makes an interesting point about London activists who seemingly aren't enamoured by ConservativeHome. I think the point is, they, being in London, are very much near the centre of political happenings. It is all practically on their doorstep. However, for myself and others ConservativeHome is perhaps one of the only ways of accessing information and events that those people in London take very much for granted.

I suspect that had it not been for ConservativeHome, I and others would not be as involved with the Conservative party as we are now.

I would really very much like to thank Tim and Sam for all the work they have done. I began commenting on this website back in August 2005 - and have enjoyed writing and contributing here. It is one of the few websites that I visit every single day (practically anyway), and I can't see that changing in the foreseeable future. Tim and Sam do not have to get up early every morning to update the site - but they do, and they have my thanks for that.

ConservativeHome has opened up so many opportunities for myself and others. I only hope that the site continues and improves yet further. Here's to another successful year for ConservativeHome!

I havent failed to notice that this website gets more popular by the day amongst us activists, as the posts seem to be getting longer and longer with more people contributing.

I think this is a great site, despite what the minority of the pen pushers in CCHQ think.

I’m in complete agreement with Peter Hatchet’s excellent post and, like Malcolm, the only spam I’ve received as a result of CH was from Christina Speight.

I don’t think that anonymity matters in itself. It’s the substance of the argument that counts and some of the most reasoned comments come anonymously. I’m not sure those comments could be made otherwise. We also shouldn’t believe that a name is real just because it looks real. There are various real sounding names I wonder about.

However, the ability to post anonymously does mean that the site can easily be hijacked to misrepresent Conservative opinion to the media. To help protect against this, I think ConservativeHome could be improved by adding optional registration and an eBay-style measure of trust. To register you simply text your e-mail address to Tim’s premium rate text number. Tim gets some cash, you remain anonymous and it becomes much harder to create sock-puppets. A trust icon next to each comment would immediately show which should be treated with caution.

Thanks Mark - as Mr Software guru - do you have advice on converting your recommendations into action?

I used to use an email address solely for posting on this site. I started to get spam on "investment opportunities" etc and stopped using that email address. It appears that robots collected my email address from CH.

"Christina Speight" did not think I was worth the effort. This is not a criticism of the editor, just a problem that he should be aware of.

This excellent site is visited not only by Conservative supporters but by those who once were Conservative supporters and would still like to be such, if Cameron were not so appallingly shallow and PC. Those who clicked "Conservative supporter" in your recent poll are simply those who are still within the circle of "supporters" (and even amongst THOSE the poll showed a good measure of disquiet). But in addition there is a torrent of people, like myself, who can no longer in conscience bring themselves to support or vote for a Conservative Party with its present ethos - and they were OUTSIDE the 100% on which the perecentages of your recent poll were calculated. They have gone already, and more are likely to follow them. That they are very numerous should not be doubted, as witness the recent Daily Telegraph sounding of opinion - about 300 angry posts in reply, and the vast majority of them from people who would love to have a real alternative to NuLabour but who do not find it in the present Conservative Party. Will Central Office, as it now is, never learn?

CH is an invaluable site. Some of the posts are beyond parody and it is certainly a sounding board for a particular brand of Conservatism.

The posts from the trolls and the perpetually angry can be ignored or treated as pearls of wisdom. There is too much concern over not frightening away UKIP supporters when UKIP don't register in any serious way in polling and not enough on how we are to continue winning Orange Book LDs and middle class Blair voters.

I wish there was more moderation of threads as some exchanges are too hostile but overall I give CH 8/10.

As has been said this site is interesting unlike the dire Labourhome and I think CCHQ know this - Francis Maude seems to have been supportive of the site in his actions if not his words.

Interesting to read the comments that talk about how CH brings people in that are geographically distant from London and provides something they just don't get from elsewhere.

If CH is a serious tool for them, then that highlights one very real reason why it exists and will need to exist if we are to widen our appeal beyond the South

Once you start taking compulsory subscriptions (as opposed to donations) I think you are opening a whole can of worms.
Presumably you would need to register as either a business or a charity? Anyone know for sure? Either way I hope you like paperwork :D

Look, for many people Con Home simply IS the Conservative Party - not those MPs in London or the wonks in CCHQ who think they are the Party.

A party is a political movement motivated by a set of principles and ideals. Many politicians find principles and ideals to an inconvenience - including some Conservatives.

Con Home is the site for the Conservative Party movement which is also the greater Conservative Party. No wonder there's briefing against the site from those whose positions and authority it threatens, I'm only surprised there's not more.

Although as a Liberal I am in many ways to the right of the Cameron Conservative Party I enjoy visiting CH, reading the views expressed, and occasionally making my own contribution.

Unfortunately the Conservative Party has too much in common with the Labour Party for me to join it.

I hope CH remains open to all and that The Editor will ignore those calling for limited access.

The first sign that an organisation is in trouble is when its members start arguing among themselves about who is "good enough" to be allowed to join them.

ConHome isn't a ruddy Mayfair club and it doesn't need compulsory registration.

Forgive my ignorance but does using Typekey disclose the e-mail address? And whilst I agree with commentators who deprecate abusive language, those seeking more moderation (aka shutting down debate) strike me as generally ultra Cameron supporters.

"A trust icon next to each comment would immediately show which should be treated with caution."

A good idea in theory but there's also the risk that it's open to abuse.

...those seeking more moderation (aka shutting down debate) strike me as generally ultra Cameron supporters.

To "some of the most reasoned comments come anonymously" I should have added ", and so do some of the least".

This site has changed almost beyond recognition since I first stumbled upon it (via the Editor's bete noire the BBC strangely enough!) in the early days of the 2005 leadership marathon.

Has it changed for the better? Yes and no.

As an information source, it is arguably unparalleled in terms of serving as a one-stop-shop for Conservative news and other relevant items of interest.

However, the growth in popularity and influence of ConservativeHome and its sister sites has also had some unfortunate effects too, in my opinion.

In the good ol' days, the site provided much more balanced coverage of Conservative news, but on occasions these days, there is a sense of self-importance and a tendency to post items where the distinction between news, commentary and opinion is blurred somewhat with a tangible Montgomerie-Shakespeare (Stephan, not William!) editorial streak running through such stories. (I believe Mike Smithson at PoliticalBetting has alluded to this in his frequent references to this site as CONtinuityIDS...)

The other unfortunate trend, as Chris Palmer noted above, has been a marked decline in the quality of debate, although in fairness, that's beyond the control of the editorial team (registration would undoubtedly stifle debate) and things have improved somewhat since the nadir of the Noble-Speight axis of obsession! The cranks and oddballs (myself included) are the price to pay for the site's popularity and openness I suppose...

On the whole, I still feel this site performs a hugely valuable function as a conduit between the party establishment and the grassroots but there is room for slightly more balance and a wider focus than an anti-BBC, pro-Republican, manmade climate change-denial agenda.

One final thing, I miss James Hellyer and Selsdon Man!

"A good idea in theory..."

My suggestion is probably vapourware. It would be nice, but probably not possible without developing a complete application for the site. Tim's time and money is better spent elsewhere.

I have tried several times just now to donate money but it keeps saying I have put in the wrong security code. This seems to happen if you do not get everything right first time and you then have to correct any details. Seems a pity as ones inclination is to give up. I may try again tomorrow but perhaps this explains why donations are not higher.

-er. That's the sort of slip that stops one donating

I, at 73, voted Conservative from reaching the voting age until some 2/3 years ago. I was a member for a time but resigned when the subscription was hiked and we were left without any real representation at either local or national level. The local offices were scaled down and no one appeared to care, as a result we have a dreadful Lib-Dem tyrany and wasteful with it. Unfortunately while Cameron is in charge nothing is going to change, empty promises just like Blair. We are over taxed, over regulated and at the mercy of vandals, to which he has no answer. Give us back a true Conservative party and I will vote for them again.

Why the attacks on Christina Speight, who has (had) as much right to post here as anybody else as far as I could see. And bring back Francois the Frog as well.

"The first sign that an organisation is in trouble is when its members start arguing among themselves about who is "good enough" to be allowed to join them.

ConHome isn't a ruddy Mayfair club and it doesn't need compulsory registration".

I find myself in complete agreement with William Norton.

Keep the site open to all, free and consequently vibrant.

"Why the attacks on Christina Speight, who has (had) as much right to post here as anybody else as far as I could see."

Probably because she started to sound like a broken record and came across as a ranter. Even though I thought she had a good point on some issues she could be rather offputting even if she didn't mean to be.

Personally I find the idea of "any Tom Dick or Harry" participating in candidate selections much more disturbing than them posting on Conservative Home

I think that secretly David Cameron loves ConservativeHome. After all he IS a democrat, isn't he.

Justin, now don't start getting me all riled up. Your claim that you only knew who your Area Officers were when they posted on CH is blatantly untrue and you know it. You stood for Area, didn't get elected to it for whatever reason and so were presnt at the meeting where the election took place and at the piss up in the pub afterwards where you cried on my shoulder for one.

On another note the phrase "30 people talking to 30 people" is actually a pretty accurate description of the Cameroonies and their left wing dinner party mates in posh west London who seem to be just about the only people being listened to by CCHQ anymore.

"disgusting" DVA - agree with you on James Hellyer and Selsdon (though I think he may post under a nom de plume). I've had mails from Christina and replied, not spam but discussions better suited off thread.

Personally I enjoy constructive argument with posters of opposing or more sceptical views - though they might bore the pants off the other posters. Last weeks discussion with Richard Tyndall on Climate Change made me visit a lot more sources to double check my views - and I might have ended up a little more sceptical.

What does wreck debate are the few spoiler posters and sock puppets - more of them as CH has become more popular. But I remain against registration as CH would lose its vitality. The few who have put up profiles I tend to trust more, and was pleased that our regular Labour poster Comstock had done so.

After I joined up to vote for the leader it was a long time before I nerved myself to post, then I did on a factual basis to do with the pensions grab. At that time there seemed to be a more tolerant attitude to posters, disagreement there might have been but never, it seems to me, ruined by the level of vitriol that so often appears now. Of course one can be passionate about a particular view, but good debate, good manners I suppose, suggest that even though you might think your opponant is a cretin, the thing to do is to think of a good refutation that at the least is civilised. This is a good site, I think dear Editor and co., that to an extent, due perhaps to the birth pangs of Doughty St., the eye has been taken off the ball a bit here and it is good to feel you in charge again. As to non-Cons it is interesting to contrast what happens on the PB site, where all the party colours go head to head, sometimes it gets very rude and heated, but they all usually end up apologising to one another. But of course there is an external force in terms of the betting factor which tends to balance it. Can't think what external force could join us all together, but one thing strikes me, it's some time since we had a play from William Norton, and I think we need a bit of comic relief. How about it William?

This is a brilliant site. Only recently discovered it. I have been a member of the Con party for nearly 40 years and am on the verge of leaving if they don't come to their senses. I don't like green, I want lower taxes, I think that before DC goes on about the social breakdown of society he wants to have a good think about whether he needs to employ an ex-sex party organiser as a speechwriter. DC and crew are too metropolitan liberal for a countryman like me. I've probably delivered more leaflets than DC. I have given a huge amount of time to the party, yet now it lets me down by refusing to talk about Europe, immigration and tax cuts. In hate the idea of UKIP (though it would be dangerous to dismiss them as nutters as DC does) and I would rather go into a nut house before I voted BNP. But I could sit on my backside, refuse to leaflet, cancel my membership and do no more for the party. The disturbing thing about this is the number of people who think like me. The fact that only 4 people applied for 3 acitivist jobs at the conference proves that the rank and file Tory party are feeling pretty disillusioned. DC is going to have to throw us some serious meat or will not be going out on the streets for him.

Gwendolyn: it's some time since we had a play from William Norton, and I think we need a bit of comic relief. How about it William?

Gwendolyn, thank you for your kind words. However, as I'm sure my good friend Justin would confirm, most people regard all of my contributions here as 'laughable'....

I would also sign up for the "Bring Back Hellyer" campaign. Whatever happened to Devon's finest?

Thanks Ted,

nice to get a name check :-)

I am not a member of the Conservative Party although I was an officer of the Cardiff University COnservative Association 20 years ago when it was (I think) the only Conservative controlled Union in the country. SInce then my view of parties has developed into one of then being a necessary evil whose power should be curtailed at every opportunity. Also I am too bloody minded to bite the bullet and follow a party line.

But I have campaigned actively for my local Conservative MP (Pat Mercer) and would consider myself at heart a Conservative although with strong Libertarian leanings. I am sure there are thousands - probably tens of thousands - of people like me who would want to participate in influencing the future direction of the party and for whom places like CH are a vital link for both giving and receiving opinion.

Those of us for whom the party is now too left wing for us to support - and to be fair those on the left for whom the party has not drifted far enough - are just as important as those in the middle who are content with the position of the leadership. Parties are fluid, ynamic things and it si important that a place like CH is there with an open policy on posting that allows those on both fringes of the party and beyond to debate the direction and policies.

What I would perhaps agree with is that people should have to paste under their own names. On those groups where I am known I post under my nickname but here I believe it is important that the debate is as open as posisble and that includes knowing who it is who is making contributions.

Ed, I think to get a positive and constructive level of debate there should be some rules. To this end I believe there needs to be some form of registration with real names and then some fairly close monitoring of posts to delete those which are just personal attacks on people rather than quality "articles"of debate. Sadly there are a few who post here whose only purpose is to damage the party and who clearly are merely advancing the cause of another party rather than seriously debating,


This is a very good site, as a card carrying member, activist and soon to be Deputy Chairman - Political of my local association.....and who knows maybe after May 3rd a Councillor, I find it an invaluable source of information. I don't post on it as often as I would like due to posting on the Warrington Worldwide Forum, which tends to have more broader based topic rather than all political, and where I can build up some sort of local following and influence as such.

Gentleman keep up the good work, remember sand in an oyster produces a pearl......or so I understand. ;)

Whilst ostenibly objecting to anonymity on the basis that it would prevent obnoxious ad hominem attacks, I suspect proponents of (complete) transparency would not be disappointed if it had resulted in the moderation and exclusion of opinions with which they disagree. If that is the case and transpareny had that effect, it would negate the purpose of this site and Tim might as well give up.

I agree Bill,

I only suggest that the use of real names would make it easier for the site managers and other posters to be aware of particular bias or party affiliations rather than that there should be any form of direct censorship.

Mark Fulford

Res ipsa loquitur.

Tim: ConservativeHome tells me what is going on. I value it and.

Trouble is that if changes are now made to this site, the critics will say that CH has given into the Cameroons and that the changes are the result of Cameron's control freakery. Best to leave alone.

You are absolutely right dog biter but i am afraid DC and his inner circle's attitude to us is simply that we've nowhere else to go and they can win without us anyway.

I am just wondering at the significance of the fact that it was a Murdoch paper which raised all this.

BTW Mark Fulford, I thought your observations and proposals in your post at 1302 were fair and unobjectionable. It is a shame you had to spoil it and IMO prove my point at 1448.

Whatever side of the political spectrum we all come from, can anyone (other than the most crazed CCHQ control freak) seriously deny that this site is an enormous breath of fresh air and has filled a huge gap in the marketplace for topical political debate? What did we all do before - contribute to the bland discussion papers published by the CPC or whatever it is called now, in the full knowledge that the ministers receiving the answers would quietly bin them? Wait for a rare opportunity to speak at party conference? Or just carry on putting the world to rights over a pint of best bitter or two?

And would Iain Duncan Smith not only confirm the site to be daily "must read" material, but also contribute to a thread on at least one occasion, if ConHome was more harm than good?

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