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I hate the way Cornerstone are ridiculed by many of this site. Their beliefs were mainstream just months ago. I hope the group prospers.

Indeed JW, the policies they advocate are very sensible. Those who brush them off as reactionaries betray their own bigotry in a way.

I am sure the Brown camp will have their eyes all over that blog - sure to bring up some good material to use at PMQs

Oliver Letwin provides all the material any Labour Prime Minister needs steppenwolff!

These are also the views of many of our lost northern voters - from canvassing experience in Leeds last month there are still many who would like to see more emphasis on some of the Cornerstone principles. I wish them well.

I'm glad to see the Cornerstone Group speaking out in favour of the environmental policy. It has been a policy concern of ours for years: Thatcher arguably led the agenda, but never one that we advertised. I think sometimes people just want to oppose it because it sounds different.

The Cornerstone Group are not always to my political taste, but I think they should be an important lobbying group to make sure we focus on a full policy agenda.

At this stage they need to stay on Cameron's side, as they did during the leadership campaign, and lobby from within. I think we need the Cornerstone group to promote tax and law and order. The alternative is people like those on here, no names mentioned, that get excited by the words someone is "right wing" without actually thinking about policy or ideology.

Cornerstone launches new blog - yes, it's called ConservativeHome!!!


His Grace welcomes this development, but there appears to be nowhere to post comments, just two women among a sea of men (a mere 5.7%), and curiously no Ann Widdecombe...

Graham Stuart was a member of the TRG and he recently voted for the Equalities Bill, so I don't know what he's doing on their list…

Can anyone shed some light?

I never quite figured out how lurching hard to the right wins us more voters in the north, John, but it takes all sorts I suppose...

I never quite figured out how lurching hard to the right wins us more voters in the north, John, but it takes all sorts I suppose...

You obviously terrify voters Cllr Lindley when you acr like Lurch.....Gomez and I have been wondering about you for some time !

Actually, I think this is a good development. Paradoxically Cameron needs to be seen to come into conflict with and prevail over the right to get the really big boost in trust he needs for outright power. Cornerstone are the perfect vehicle to do this. The real fight will begin, as I was suggesting in the platform piece, when detailed policy is announced. Until then, this is just limbering up prior to the bell on Cornerstone’s part. A big tussle is coming though.

I would find it hard to disagree with any of the aims of the cornerstone group and indeed as mentioned earlier, many are commonsense. My main concern would be that their membership is not representative of the nation at large (only one female and no ethnic diversity). Whilst all political parties need to have a core ideology, we must not fall into the trap of the Labour party in the eighties and been seen to be merely talking to ourselves rather than the electorate. I think that right wing policies do have a part to play in 21st century Britain and how we adapt these to todays climate rather than the 1980's will decide the next election. (as Thatcher rightly pointed out, her greatest legacy was Tony Blair and New Labour have not reversed any of our core policies since they came to power). It is positive to see Edward Leigh praising David Cameron's advances and we must never been seen as a divided party again.

Cornerstone launches new blog - yes, it's called ConservativeHome!!! - Justin Hinchcliffe.

Ha ha ha! Good point though - I doubt ConservativeHome would work up such enthusiasm if one of the more moderate pressure groups (TRG say) launched a new blog...

"My main concern would be that their membership is not representative of the nation at large (only one female and no ethnic diversity)" - Michael Hewlett

I think "hideously white" is the phrase you're looking for.

But seriously, when did the racial and gender categories of Marxism become absorbed into conservative thinking? I would have thought that we were above being 'concerned' about such banal issues.

I think in fairness, Tim has been conscious that for Conservativehome to be a success, it shouldn’t become a faction. I like CH because, although I am more centrist (I suppose more 'TRG' than Cornerstone as you mention), it’s stimulating to hear views from across the party in this environment. If CH became saturated with one view of the world and turned into a pressure group, I wouldn’t participate.

Getting back to the thread, I don't actually have major issues with the majority of the views of Cornerstone as a vision, where I come into conflict with them is when they start demanding to turn the vision into a manifesto for the next General Election. There is clear evidence that this strategy is flawed, and I believe that a measured aproach is needed. If we take the electorate with us then we will succeed. If we simply stand on our island waiting for them then we deserve to fail for a fourth time in a row, to be self focused in politics is a crazy strategy.

The more negative postings I read from so called modernisers on this website the less inclined I am to like or vote for the Conservatives. I therefore think Cornerstone do a good in reminding me that there are still a few conservative Conservatives left.

What exactly is it about Cornerstone's beliefs that the modernisers find so objectionable?

I have read the previous discussion about British Muslims before I read this discussion. I actually think that Cornerstone's faith, flag and family will appeal to the more traditional beliefs of minority communities. Edward Leigh's opposition to the war in Iraq (from day one) won't hurt either.

Richard: Remember the slogan Cameron chosen for his leadership election: 'Change to win'. Not 'Change to put Britain back on track' or something focused on the nation. Project Cameron is all about winning. Full stop.

We know the Editor disagrees with Cameron on many things. Can he tell us if he disagrees with Cornerstone about anything?

I'm not sure that Cornerstone has corporate policies Felicity but here are three examples where there is some clear blue water between them and me...

(1) I disagree with Edward Leigh's opposition to the Iraq war;
(2) I distance myself from John Hayes' protectionist instincts and dislike of supermarkets;
(3) I oppose the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia whilst Gerald Howarth is a leading supporter of the trade to the desert kingdom.

Actually, Umbrella Man, the full phrase on the logo was "change to win, win for Britain"... which seems to be exactly what you are asking for...

Richard: As a ‘moderniser’, I find losing election after election after election objectionable. Then being forced to watch in the sidelines for over a decade and more as Labour and, now, Gordon Brown govern our country, yes I find that objectionable. The Conservative party, by adhering itself rigidly to the right of politics has been a disaster for our party, and, if this continues, it will be a disaster for the country.
We must listen to the electorate. After three terrible election defeats we were on our knees, then Cameron came along, despite the obstacles, and handed us a real opportunity to get going again, and I mean an opportunity we should recognise as great and rare. His performance as leader has been way above, my, our, the electorates, and the government’s expectations – and still the guns from within are firing on him, I find that both bewildering and alarming….which gets me onto ‘bill’, if your not a Labour activist then the alternative, if I write it down now, will mean Tim removing this post from the thread, which by the form so far, will be welcomed by a number of you.

It's obviously good that there is a place for people who support the ideas Cornerstone espouses to be heard. However, their politics are a reminder of why the Conservatives got themselves into the mess they started to wade into from the late 80s until pretty recently (until Cameron became Leader in fact, even if his immediate predecessor was an improvement over his disastrous predecessor). As Oberon has written, Conservatives need to be in touch with a wider segment of the voting population, not get side-tracked into the cul de sac, politically-speaking, that Cornerstone represents.

Cornerstone is most welcome, though I fear the battle is lost. Concentrating on winning the centre was of course necessary, but not at any price; current policy is now as bad as Labour on most issues and worse on a number (especially on the environment).

A good example of the problem is the incredible suggestion here by some supposedly Tory supporters that it is in any way relevent to discuss how many women and minorities are in the Cornerstone group.


Well, i wholeheartedly welcome the fact that 'Cornerstone' are stepping up a gear. Should have been done ages ago. I wonder if the polling firms (yougov, etc.) will start to analyse which policies are more popular between official Party Policy, and Cornerstone's. This should get interesting.

Simon, as soon as you tell them where the policy comes from Cameron will win hands down. Why on earth would that be? The answer to that question is the key to all of this.

[email protected]:37- that would be the image of Cornerstone as a bunch of headcases! What is needed is that MP's with a predeliction towards Cornerstone should stop trying to climb the 'greasy pole' and start putting policy forward and to take the group out of the hands of the 'nutcases'. You said that you find losing elections objectionable- so do i , but there's no point winning an election if you are not going to do much with power ( ie) sorting out the disgraceful lack of housing for people, significantly reducing illegal immigration, making parliament more powerful, leaving the EU, bringing back standards in education, amongst other things). I note you said as soon as people find out WHERE the policy originates Cambo would win hands down...But you didn't necessarily state that Cambo's policy would be the best!

I don't have a problem with Cornerstone as so many on this blog seem to do. It is a useful forum for ideas and Conservative thinking so which I agree with and some not. If the leadership of Cornerstone is clever they will try to sell their ideas bot in private and public in a friendly and cooperative manner. Both Edward Leigh and John Hayes have made speeches rather bitterly attacking the leadership which I hope they both regret as they were wholly counterproductive both to the Conservative party and Cornerstone itself.

Malcolm - agreed.

Simon - it is not the policy of the Conservative Party to leave the EU; otherwise Cemeron has said quite clearly that he supports better managed immigration, significantly reducing illegal immigration; he has raised the issue of shortage of housing and ways of supporting more people in getting their own homes and that those homes should be quality homes; he has said he supports stregthening parliament; he puts better education for all (not just a few gifted pupils) at core of his social policy along with support for marriage and families.

Malcolm, you raise an interesting point. Its the destructive tendencies that are the problem... the, "this is what I want, and if I dont get it I'll make trouble." ... the public watch this going on and it simply reinforces their negative perceptions of us. Beligerent disloyalty has gone too long unpunished within the party.

I won't repeat my views on Edward Leigh, but once again I find your decision to give a platform to this individual disappointing.

If he's [i] really [/i] serious about reform Cameron would do better to let this guy and some of the other Cornerstoners defect to UKIP (assuming they will have him!!!).

It might lose him a few votes (although some of that support would come back towards a GE I suspect), but it would leave him in a stronger position to take on the LibDems in the mainstream of British politics.......

Ted writes "Cameron has said quite clearly that he supports better managed immigration". Well actually he hasn't. Tory policy is to be very nasty to Australians, Russians and Nigerians, but to let 25 million Romanians and 80 million Turks in without any hindrance whatsoever. As long as the party supports EU membership with still wider expansion of the EU any policy of "managed immigration" is a fraud. It would be better to be honest and say the party supports free immigration.

comstock: Redwood & Leigh were delusional in the mid 90s about their prospects of governing, and their importance within the party. IDS voted against his own government 40 times, that’s some record for a man who campaigned for election under the Tory banner. Leigh is only one of a core group of neocon europhobes within the Party hell-bent on campaigning on that platform, regardless of the consequences. Their evangelical approach to politics has held the Conservatives, and their own cause back. In the meantime, Labour run the country, the similarity to the Trotskyites faction in the Labour party during the 70's, and the fatal effect that had on their electoral chances then is remarkable.

Oberon - Leigh is not a neo-con, he voted against the Iraq war. I'm not aware that he or John Hayes have ever given speeches "bitterly attacking the leadership" as Malcolm suggests either. Interesting to know what that is based on.

I think they've every right to give their points of view and, in general, they do that responsibly and with proper respect for the leader. The worst you can say is that they exaggerate their influence and, as Justin commented, claim as members people who certainly aren't - such as David Mundell or Graham Stuart.

I too would like to know when hayes or Leigh have "bitterly attacked" the leadership. Leigh's a catholic not an evangelical- or is it just being used as an insult with no content whatsover?

Leigh is as far from being a neocon as can be seen- he is very small state under the old definition and very anti iraq war under the new one.

When did we lose Oberon by adopting leigh/ IDS's policies-as opposed to through the ERM, not looking like we cared about services, internal division ect? and how much did the former play compared to the latter?

As for MacDougal I see entirely what you're say ing but the fact is having some workable restricions on immigration from the rest of the world is a big improvement!

Off message: You make a fair point regarding Leigh and the neocon accusation, and I accept you have a point regarding your other points.

Edmund: The evangelical word was not intended to refer to Leigh's religous persuasion, but rather the type approach to politics, i.e. pretty hard line. The ERM debacle was a problem for Major, but the consequences were difficult to predict, and as a result the right saw a mistaken opportunity to drive knives home again and again. This had a detrimental effect on the party without serving any purpose as the euro issue was decided in the end by Murdoch.

Offmessage,Edmund. Regarding Leighs speeches look at Conhome Diary Feb 12th 2007.
John Hayes attacked Cameron in May last year, the speech recieved wide publicity on Conhome and elsewhere.

Oberon, I thought that "this is what I want and if I don't get it I'll make trouble" was the guiding principle of Francis Maude, Michael Portillo, John Bercow and their hangers-on for most of the last ten years?

Ted, Paddy Ashdown once said that you can only claim to will the end if you are prepared to will the means. On this basis, David Cameron lacks credibility on a whole range of issues. Immigration and education are but two.

Indeed. Trouble-making has not been confined to the Right of the Party over the past 15 years, but has been found among all factions.

The ERM fiasco and ramming through the Maastrict treaty annoyed many Conservatives (and did huge electoral damage) - not just the hard right.

Michael: It's widely accepted that pandering to the demands of the 'right' have cost the party in electoral terms over the last 15 years. To suggest that those who were the focus of attck from the right were in-fact responsible is a bit back to front. You statement that Cameron lacks credability on a number of issues do not stand up to scrutiny when compared to the views of the wider electorate, as opposed to those on the 'right' - which underlines my point that it is they who are lacking credability, and are become a liability if the public percieve that they will get their way on policy. This is the trust issue Cameeron has to deal with and why he has to expose himself to rectify it. This is the irony of the situation, you are attacking him for actions he has to take only because of what the right have done to damage our credability with the people that really matter - the electorate!

Oberon, it's only "widely accepted" in a closed circle populated by the BBC, the Tory left and those who write op eds for the Guardian. On issue after issue, David Cameron lacks credibility. Education and immigration are too good examples. He is simply trying to play the Ken Livingstone game of pandering to various special interest groups who have historically voted Labour. If and when he gets to power, he will be hamstrung by the various pledges he has given these people in order to buy their votes.

Michael: Its much more widely accepted than that, infact outside the core right-wing support. Cameron hasn't detailed his Education or Immigration, so you are jumping the gun there, and I would rather have a measured manifesto designed to win over the electorate that win's us power than a fourth Labour term in office. In your post you seem to be agreeing that he needs to move to the centre to wim power, but calling him a turncoat for doing it. This is type behaviour for those on the right that would rather we stayed in opposition than conceed a bit on policy in return for a Conservative Govt. That kind of ambition most serious parties can do without surely.

Oberon I see what you're saying but I think "evangelical" is very much the wrong word if it's about convering peopel to toryism i'm not sure mr leigh is particularly like that!

Why wouldt use the term "islamic" in the same way would one?

Surely if you mean "hardline" or "confrontational" why not just say them?
I do think many mistakes were made against John Major- but europe was a Ocental issue and insofar as it was principled disageeement rather than petty hatred it helpedm ove the whole country towards defending our independence (including mr Major!)

Also Oberon (and to some degree those who disagree with him!) i think it's not very helfpull to talk in terms of "right" and left" could you name two poliices of the tories since 97 which have been attrociously unpopular. Indeed insofar as policies have bene responsible the biggest problem has been a long dropped "moderate" policy -the ERM! The problems have rather laid with branding eg that we only care about the rich, that we lie, and I think most importantly of all that we can't be trusted to implement our attractive policies.

Hence the famous polls which found not that our policies say restricing immigration or cutting taxes slightly at the last election were massivley unpopular-but our policies were much less popular when people learned they were tory!

Malcolm i have to say that I cannot see how Edward Leigh's comments in Febary last year could be seen as "attacking bitterly" what'sy our defintion of "attacing bitterly" any criticism at all? All he said was we risked forgettng the core vote without some extra rightwing policies!

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