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I'm not answering your question, but the point about Clause 4 was that it was unpopular and no one in the Labour Party really believed in it anyway. Grammar schools are popular, and lots of Conservatives believe they work, so it's a foolish issue on which to have a "Clause 4 moment."

Britain's close relationship with the USA is our Clause IV. We need to assert ourselves as an independent nation.

I'd also say opposition to FULL gay equality.

"Britain's close relationship with the USA is our Clause IV. We need to assert ourselves as an independent nation.
Posted by: Felicity Mountjoy May 18,at 16:26"

That would be "independent" as in Euroregion, would it?

No major party is giving us an option between continuing the remorseless de facto absorption into a Eurostate and reversion to being truly independent.

Faced with an either/or choice, I'd rather become a State of the USA, much as I like the ordinary populace of mainland Europe.

The point about Labour's Clause IV is that it was regarded as embodying a particular socio-economic system (socialism) which had been seen to have failed. Because it was part of a constitutional document it locked them into the past but could be amended and hence Blair could be seen to have "won" and "changed" his party.

None of this applies to the Tories - until 1998/9 we didn't even have a constitution - there is nothing which is (a) emotionally totemic; AND (b) tied to a demonstrably failed past; AND (c) part of a document which is capable of being changed.

However, there is a near-exact equivalent. At present the Party is contractually bound to include its MEPs in the EPP until 2009, and the EPP is emotionally bound to a demonstrably failing totemic model of the EU.

David Cameron has displayed courage, shrewdness and strategic genius in repudiating this facet of our party. I would argue, then, that he has already had his Clause IV moment.

(PS - and this is why party members ought to be able to deselect pro-EPP European candidates, so that we can support our leader and consolidate his successful change.)

The whole point is Clause 4 wasn't a policy just a set of rather outdated values, meaning labour could dump something which was pretty meaningless and at the same time look like they were taking radical action to modernise themselves.

We neither have a clause 4 moment nor do we need one.

Yes - the Conservative Party no longer supports or advocates privatisation. Under Cameron, it now wants to throw more taxpayers' money at failing public sector industries such as health and education.

Policies such as the patients' passports (that would have allowed us to escape the Nationalised Hospital System) and school choice have ditched.

Conservative councils will not even be allowed to build new grammar schools. Comprehensive conscription is now mandatory unless parents can afford public school fees.

That is Cameron's Clause IV - entrenched health and education nationalisation!

"I'd also say opposition to FULL gay equality."

Here we go again. There really are some things you lot will never get over!

Call me Daaaave Clause 4 moments... er...

Tax Cuts
Inheritance tax
"Big" Government
Speed cameras
Public Spending
Grammar Skools

I don’t believe we ether have or need a Clause IV moment for us to demonstrate to the electorate that we are both fit for office and trustworthy. What we do need is either to come to a consensus on policy and be seen and heard to be comfortable with it. This would mean the right of the party agreeing to a modernisation agenda, but possibly with some policy concessions to make this workable. or the dissenters are seen to be out of favour and unable to change the agenda.

As a committed moderniser of the TRG ilk, I would much rather have a stable consensus on policy for a 1st term in Government and would be willing to reach a compromise to do so. The day that respected leading figures from across the party openly confirm this agreement would be my ‘moment’. The reality is that once all the policy is on the table the discussion can begin in earnest. At the moment, every side is raising the stakes on every issue as it is released to keep their position as strong as possible. That is a worry and counter-productive. Cameron needs to find a way to reach a consensus on how to manage this.

I'd also say opposition to FULL gay equality? WTF you talking about?

Justin: I think Planet Zorg has made contact with earthlings.

I think Cameron needs to be careful. He may find that his clause 4 moment turns into a 'Gang Of Four' moment.

I doubt some of the product of bog standard comprehensives would know what IV represents.Never mind City Academies will 'sort it'.

As for other clause 4 topics

- Committment to a revived EU Consitution without referendum.

- Joining the Euro

Justin and Oberon: My point was that our Clause IV moment is the need to renounce our traditional opposition to FULL gay equality.

The key thing about Clause 4 for Labour was that it marked the abandonment of ideology for pragmatism in pursuit of power.

We Tories have always been more pragmatic than Labour.

Our change is more about a new generation leading the party rather than a fundemental shift in ideology.

The abandonment of the Conservatives by many old fogeys to join UKIP has meant more space and comfort for younger members to join and participate who are less obsessive about the past, have a more tolerant attitude to morality and are renewing the party.

The shame of all this is that nobody in CCHQ either 'gets' this or wants to foster the renewal of a mass membership party with thriving and well organised Associations that might one day challenge the centre for power it has acquired largely by stealth.

The danger is that by neglecting the grassroots now in a few years time we will face the same meltdown that is happening to New Labour.

I'm with Oberon on this one. I see the Clause 4 moment being one where the party united around a new policy (regulation rather than state ownership) to achieve its aims. I don't see it as the Leader forcing the party to submit to his will, rather, the willingness of the party to stick together and collectively accept change.

The contrast to the Conservatives, who were indulging in their Maastricht moment where the party split, led the Electorate to vote for the unified party and its Leader.

I think our Clause 4 moment was the election of David Cameron by such a wide margin. The unity of the party contrasted with the splits in Labour over Iraq and Blair, and has subsequently been reflected in the opinion polls and the amazing local election results.

For me, the message is clear, we need to build consensus throughout the party for the changes that are to come, and avoid a repetition of the appalling headlines of the last 2 days over our education policy.

We've always had a free vote on such issues, Felicity.

I think many of you are over-complicating this "Clause IV moment" business. Surely it's quite straightforward. If what we are really after is a Clause IV moment for the Conservative Party, then that's what we should have - we should adopt Clause IV - "To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service." If we could just make this one modernising change, then at a stroke everyone would really *know* that the Conservative Party was different...

Come out in full support of an increased minimum wage ,support the 48 hour week, holiday pay and admit you were wrong over these things.

Kick out Cornerstone and the Wintertons and let them join UKIP (if they will have em!)

Stop fawning over Mrs T- that was 20 years ago.

And ditto Felicitiy's remark over gay equality.

I'll not hold me breath, eh?

I assume that advice is given tongue-in-cheek Comstock. We could always have joined the Labour Party, after all, if that's where our sympathies lay.

I assume that advice is given tongue-in-cheek Comstock

I was actually half serious. I would say it would be a less dramatic policy shift than took place in the Labour party between say 1987 and 1997. Blair and Kinnock had to do much, much more to make their party electable again.

What about a pledge to renationalise the railways? It might even get popular support.

Clause IV was slipped into the Labour Constitution at the 1918 Party Conference and simply brought it in line with Continental Socialist Parties like the SPD.

The Germans dropped their commitment to nationalisation at the Bad Godesberg Conference in 1959 and Hugh Gaitskell thought he would try the same within the Labour Party. He simply stirred a hornets nest because of the Bevanite opposition to Gaitskell from his time as Chancellor of the Exchequer when he introduced Prescription Charges to pay for military spending during the Korean War.

Harold Wilson simply ignored Clause IV but the Bennites went mad on it. Blair made it a great totem to put down a dead and mangy dog.

The first major nationalisation in Britain took place under Disraeli when he nationalised the undersea Atlantic telegraph cable; Winston Churchill nationalised Anglo-Iranian Oil.

If the Tories want silly totems they will have to go for merging the British Armed Forces into the European Union and ending all opposition to a European Superstate.

No doubt that will happen anyway if the Conservatives ever form a government.

There isn't a clause 4 moment and shouldn't be one. That is flawed thinking. The Conservative party has not got a fundamental fault line in its conceptual basis. Blair had to have a clause 4 moment because his party was based on taking over the means of production and had people who still believed in that to varying degrees. Trying to generate a clause 4 moment in our party today would be a mistake and only lead to unecessary division. At the moment we are doing well, ahead in the polls, more councillors and running more councils than anyone etc. What we need to do as a party is look fowrad and offer a fresh exciting direction as to where we are leading this great nation. We have begun to form the basis of that but now need more grit and much more meat,

Matt Wright

"Blair and Kinnock had to do much, much more to make their party electable again."

Agree with you there comstock, unfortunately they did not have as big a mountain to climb seat wise to win a working majority.

You know what Comstock, if everyone were prepared to pay the true cost of your NMW, increased holidays, shorter weeks for more pay etc. employers could afford this wonderful deal. There is a part of me that wishes Employers would just put up the rates on services and products and pay the extra wages that is your desire just to see what happens but they’re too afraid of the black economy.

However, too many people want the £10 per hour NMW but still be able to buy two pair of jeans in ASDA for £10, pay £1 for a china mug or £4.99 for a t-shirt and these same people moan when it costs £40 for a haircut.

The NMW was not kept in line with state pension increases, so they have been getting poorer in relation. It isn't all as rosy as you make out.

Of course the idiots who talk about the fabled 'Clause 4 moment' are (or were) Cameroons to a man.

However, since they believe that 'banging on about Europe' is popular with the party and unpopular with the public (like hell!) why don't they 'come out' as the Eurofanatics they are and propose that the UK adopt the Euro-constitution, Euro-army, whatever.

The wackier the better, as long as it helps us get rid of this bunch of creepy socialist public schoolboys and Bullingdon Club luminaries.

Doesn't anyone see how stupid all this is ? The Labour party had been on the wrong side of every major policy decision since 1945 - they needed to bury a whole load of bodies - hence all the spin.

The dumping of clause 4 was spin. There new policies were spin (as Railtrack showed) - they, and especially Gordon Brown, have tried to carry out redistribution and socialism by stealth.

Where, apart from the left wing press and the BBC, does it say all parties must have a clause 4 moment before they get elected ?

If you must look for a Clause 4 moment it would be stopping arguing for policies we believe in in exchange for popularity and the chance of ministerial limousine's.

I think it would be a moment of shame.

Cameron and his ilk most certainly need a metaphorical Clause 4 moment. However I fear they are fear too weak to give the statist socialist internationalist illiberal post-war settlement the kick in the teeth it needs.

Well I support Cameron but I am not keen on the EU at all ! Also as I have said above, I don't think there is, or should be, a clause 4 moment for our party. That would be sheer folly,


If the party has a Clause IV it's less about policy and more about who we are. Labour had to change their foolish policies on nationalisation. We need to look like people who are in touch with the real world. Less pinstriped barristers who have never had to worry about money - more small businesspeople, GPs and mothers.

Jennifer I couldn't agree more but unless you were referring to unmarried mothers you're wildly off message.

The Bluelabour Mafia want more gays, lesbians, soap stars, blockbuster novelists &c &c.

They don't want nybody who appears remotely normal.

Nor do they want anybody with less than six figure earnings, so dustmen and dinner-ladies don't get a look in either.

The Labour party had been on the wrong side of every major policy decision since 1945

Wrong: they built the Atom Bomb; they kept us out of Vietnam; they opposed the EEC

Something of an obsession with the Stock Exchange and Private Limited Companies that was especially intense in the Thatcher and Major years, but for most of the years from 1945 on arguments about how infrastructural, transport, communications, schools, hospitals, industry etc.... in both main parties seemed to be entirely to be between whether they would be run as Public Corporations, Private Limited Companies, Public Limited Companies or Executive Agencies - always it seemed models using the Stock Exchange or big government were used when of course there are a variety of other systems such as Trusts and Charities Limited by Guarantee, Housing Associations and Co-operatives that could have actually been used to transfer far more of the state at a far faster rate out of the Public Sector and into not for profit companies either owned by their members or not actually owned by anyone - using such a method I am sure that along with sales of state assets then the Thatcher government could have dismantled most of the socio-economic apparatus of the state in a couple of years, indeed it might even have picked up a lot of supporters among the Trade Union & Co-operative movements. But certainly a lot of the state could be abolished, floated on the Stock Exchange or transferred to private charities, equally I'm hoping for an end to the hugely bureaucratic PFI's and PPP's which full transfer out of the public sector would achieve.

Also I don't think the armaments factories or companies for manufacturing or repairing military equipment should have been sold, for national security reasons they should have been under direct military control. In addition the military should be responsible for Air Traffic Control, although all consumer related parts of the airline industry could have been deregulated and privatised or closed.

Felicity, thanks for clearing that up, sorry missing your point. Not sure its a clause 4, but anyway, some other interesting comments, some alarming ones from Lilico, and the usual bile from the usual people... nice to see the negativity meter is bouncing around on red as usual!

Hmm I don't really think so. Cameron and Co are right when they say that Clause IV was a huge, albeit generally symbolic show of the Labour Party abandoning socialism. There is no comparative thing for the Conservatives.

I think perhaps outruling withdrawal from the EU or outruling joining the euro would have a similar effect on the right of the party as Clause IV did on the left of Labour, but it's unlikley because I've heard Cameron is more eurosceptic than he appears, and was particularly affected by White Wednesday.

In any case, even if the leadership did do that, opposing withdrawal from the EU isn't necessarily key to conservatism in the way that nationalisation was to socialism. Though I'd aruge that the nation-state is, so outright supporting federalism would perhaps be Clause IVish.

Sorry for the double post, but Andrew Lilico, great idea. We'll call it popular capitalism. Wouldn't it be great if we could make Labour's dream a reality, but through our methods, not theirs?

Hmm I don't really think so. Cameron and Co are right when they say that Clause IV was a huge, albeit generally symbolic show of the Labour Party abandoning socialism.
Every single Labour leader though whatever their views ignored resolutions passed at party conferences and made policy on whatever lines they considered best at the time completely ignoring Clause IV. Clause IV was something that actually did not change Labour Party policy an iota and without it every single Labour government and opposition would have been exactly the same because it didn't specify method and so could be interpreted in any way the person reading it wanted it to be.

I concur with the above suggestions that Labour's Clause 4 moment was all smoke and mirrors and no substance. By then they'd permanently lost the argument on privatisation. Given that The Project involved building up a client state and introducing socialism through the back door (stealth tax rather than overt tax, regulation rather than nationalisation, etc), Clause 4's demise could be flagged up as a mountain rather than a molehill.

Anyway, to answer the original question "Does the Conservative Party have a Clause 4", I suggest: belief that membership of the Common Market, the European Economic Community, the EC and the EU is and always has been in the country's best interest. Repudiating this particular Clause 4 before the said institution became the Union of European Socialist Republics might not appeal to the current leadership, of course.

You mean this ?


I think Puffy has an impertinent tone and should certainly change his attitude. Voters might decide to bite him. Mr Brown starts to look far more sure-footed than the somewhat hysterical and out-of-touch counterpart the Conservative Party has screaming at it.

I think the difference between now and before is the focus on social conservatism.
We won the argument on the economy after Thatcher turned the country around. We neglected the early cracks in society, and didn't really deal with it until Cameron highlighted "breakdown Britain". We also didn't give sufficient focus to using the common sense Tory approach to sorting out public services.
The clause IV is to use Conservative values, but being relevant the problems of modern Britain - not to that of the past.

Matt.We DO have a fundamental faultline in our conceptual basis. Its called the Individual versus the Collective. Everytime the individual comes up with a bright idea, or tries to lead us, the Collective shoots them down, pronto. It happens at CCHQ, H of C, In the constituencies, and bless us all, on this blog!Its affected every Leader we have ever had, from 1867 onwards.
Our Clause 4 moment would be when we decide to disagree in a more productive way, and produce a workable consensus that would be good for the country, and good for us.

If the Bluelabour clique believed in the individual rather than the collective they would allow associations to select the candidates of their choice rather than foisting tenth rate members of fashionable minorities on them.

Some of us have principles; others don't.

I don't think there are any substantive issues on which the Conservative position (past or future) is fundamentally estranged from British public opinion, so I don't think there is a Clause 4 issue.

"Wrong: they built the Atom Bomb; they kept us out of Vietnam; they opposed the EEC"

TomTom: I suspect a Conservative party would have done the first, the second perhaps the KGB deserve the credit for, but I'll give you the last one !

Matt Wright is entirely correct to say that the Tories don't need to have a Clause IV moment and that it would be needlessly divisive. If Cameron chooses to provoke such a clash with the majority of his own party I am very much afraid that he will split the party, and so make it unelectable, for some considerable time. If he and his acolytes think that the Tory membership are as supine and desperate for power as the Labour membership were in opposition under Blair then he is making a very serious miscalculation.Having seen what Blair did it is highly questionable that the Tories will sit still and take the repositioning of their party at a point that most of them don't agree with just so that some old Etonians can settle themselves comfortably upon the publicly funded gravy train.

Clause 4 was totemic but in practice meaningless to the Labour party. It was utterly meaningless to the electorate.Blair achieved nothing of value by abolishing it, only the perception that the Labour party had changed. Have we really learned nothing from more than 10 years of a party manipulating perception and achieving nothing practical?
There is nothing comparable for the Conservative party to abandon unless we abandon our core values. Those I hope will remain unchanged.

Is Felicity Mountjoy (1626, 1630 and 1725) conservative? If we want to assert ourselves as an independent nation, Felicity, it’s our relationship with the EU that needs looking at, not that with the USA!

If we need our Clause 4, perhaps it could be to demonstrate that we value more than just profit and making money, that quality of life is important too. While making the economy more efficient was essential in Mrs T’s reforms, I think we were perceived as caring only for profits and making money even at the expense of society. I recall DC making the point that if damaged families are the price of economic progress, then it’s a price not worth paying. And concern for quality of life must also include resisting pressure for development at the expense of gardens and open spaces in towns, and our countryside.

But I sympathise with Malcolm and Matt Davies seeking a Clause 4 issue might be needlessly divisive and could only mean abandoning core values. Does DC think that to copy Mr Blair, who ditched traditional socialism (which had its focus on Clause 4), and embraced the market economy, we must ditch some traditional conservative beliefs and embrace some socialism in order to occupy the nebulous centre ground? But there is a difference. Unlike traditional socialism, traditional Conservatism works. Mrs T transformed the economy from being the “Sick man of Europe” into one of the world’s strongest economies. Now IDS’s social justice work has pointed to answers within politicians’ sphere of influence - tax and law-making - that can help mend our sick and broken society, for example supporting marriage as children are most likely to do best when brought up by a married mother and father.

We certainly don’t need to ditch conservative values (defence, family, a small state, the nation state, law and order i.e. tough on the criminal, and so on). We do not need to surrender to socialist egalitarian thinking on such things as selection and grammar schools, nor to a liberalism that has no sense of right and wrong.

Matt Davis @ 21:01. I agree with you 100%. That is why I resigned my membership of the Conservative Party some weeks ago. I am still a Tory and have priciples; the leadership of the Conservative Party no longer are and don't.

There is nothing comparable for the Conservative party to abandon unless we abandon our core values

We haven't abandoned them.

Cameron has.

Pondering further, I think it's clear that my proposal of adopting Clause IV would tick lots of other Cameroon boxes, also. It would...

be popular with the BBC
be popular with the old luvvie set
Be hated by the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph
Be seen to place ideological distance between us and George Bush
create scope for us to engage in surprising coalitions in the event of a hung Parliament.

Seems more attractive all the time!

On a more serious note, why is it that, although adopting Clause IV, or favouring abolishing the Monarchy, or joining the Single European State, or any of the other major suggestions above, all tick these boxes, that they would be just plain stupid? The answer is obvious: because they would involve deserting key things that the Conservative Party has always favoured/opposed.

And that brings us to the point. The *objective* of Blair's Clause IV debate was that it gave him the opportunity to signal to the public that the Labour Party now recognised that times had changed, so that the key things it had always favoured/opposed were no longer relevant to the policy debate, and if the Labour Party wanted to preserve even its underlying values then they needed to be stripped of their now-irrelevant ideological baggage and repackaged for a new world as a New and completely different Labour Party. He wasn't just moving away from Labour in the 1980s. He was changing what Labour had always been from long before that.

But in the case of the Conservative Party, people don't want us to change what we've *always* been. They just want us to change what we've been for the past twelve years! And *that's* what Cameron's people don't understand. The main (and for them inescapable) reason being that *Cameron's* position *isn't particularly different* from what we've been doing for the past twelve years! His approach consists in distancing himself from his main intellectuals (a few party apparatchiks aside); emphasizing his pragmatism; insulting his members; trying to move the debate away from core issues such as health and education and the economy onto "new" topics (in his case green issues, as opposed to immigration - and green issues are much better - but the underlying strategem is the same); forming a cult of personality; focusing on presentation; and various other lessons that the Party thought it learned from Blair in 1997. His people are doing it with much more skill and panache than did Hague or Howard, they've learned over time how to do it better (e.g. they pick better topics), and they may even win, but it's the same basic (flawed) approach.

It's the Conservative Party since 1995 that we need to move away from, not what the Conservative Party has always been. And no Clause IV moment is going to be appropriate for that purpose...

Oberon@18:55 (and perhaps Ash@19:03?)

Do you think it might be just possible that my proposal of adopting a commitment to widescale nationalisation and the use of a command economy for the benefit of the working classes could have been intended to be a teensy bit ironic...?

Have to agree with Annabel @ 19:42. Getting some discipline on sticking to our message would be Clause IV enough for me!

I did think to myself this week that if the New Labour equivalent of the likes of Leigh & co had had the audacity to describe their own Party's policy as "ridiculous" and "absurd" in the national media about 11 years ago, Alistair Campbell would have been swiftly dispatched to bite their b*****ks off!

To take that topical example, the education speech this week had a lot to recommend it - and after a local party meeting last night a couple of people started to drop their hostility towards it remarkably easily when I quickly laid out some of the real points and the key drivers behind them. (It was over a pint, that might have helped too...)

A point may come when the leadership has to "throw an elbow" on one of these issues, and they shouldn't be too afraid of doing so as they would probably only need to do it once to make their point, but I hope that like those local colleauges last night we can win people round in argument if we make the effort to move the internal discussion beyond the level of a hysterical Daily Mail headline. We have to move the Party forward, and drive the debate in the country, but I want us to work hard to do this by bringing people along with us.

Andrew Lilico | May 19, 2007 at 01:02

Don't worry Andrew, the irony wasn't lost... actually, reading that does bring home just how big the jump was for Labour. Not too long ago it was enshrined in the Labour constitution, today that statement is absurd, the world today is very different (think about tht).

I would say that there is nothing so radically wrong with the Conservative party direction that needs fixed. Nice problem to have I suppose. I would just repeat, we don't need a Clause 4, we need to unite, or at least agree to bide our time; both the wets and drys and the modernisers and the old right. If we can do that and feel comfortable then nothing Brown does will stop us winning and succeeding in Government.

Andrew Lilico | May 19, 2007 at 01:02

Don't worry Andrew, the irony wasn't lost... actually, reading that does bring home just how big the jump was for Labour. Not too long ago it was enshrined in the Labour constitution, today that statement is absurd, the world today is very different (think about tht).

I would say that there is nothing so radically wrong with the Conservative party direction that needs fixed. Nice problem to have I suppose. I would just repeat, we don't need a Clause 4, we need to unite, or at least agree to bide our time; both the wets and drys and the modernisers and the old right. If we can do that and feel comfortable then nothing Brown does will stop us winning and succeeding in Government.

Oddball writes
"Call me Daaaave Clause 4 moments... er...

Tax Cuts
Inheritance tax
"Big" Government
Speed cameras
Public Spending
Grammar Skools"

Positive discrimination
Green extremism
Progressive Travel Tax
Breaking promise to leave EPP

Is there ANY policy where the party is still right of centre? Any policy worth working for? Is it anything other than the Get-Dave-a-Job Party?

Oliver Letwin said on the BBC some time ago that we had offered the electorate alternatives to the "public services model" epitomised by the NHS and comprehensive schools, but they had been rejected and that we had to accept this and present new policies within this context.

The Grammar Schools speech includes lots of references to what we might do with other schools, but this was, predictably, buried under the uproar over the Grammars. This fits with that sentiment.

Unfortunately, I don't agree with Letwin. We never offered an alternative to the NHS and state schools, we offered escape routes and tax breaks to avoid having to use the state funded services. We never, for example, offered to switch from state funding of healthcare providers through the NHS, to state funding of patientS through a German style social insurance system.

The one exception to this was our education policy at the last election, which would have funded parents on a Swedish style voucher system, though this was also limited by cost and, if I read the 2005 parliamentary candidate's campaign guide correctly, would not have allowed new selective schools to open either.

That said, we never really campaigned on this so can we truly say we offered an alternative? I don't think so.

Clause 4 moment, no, we don't need one. Honesty moment - ie. the point at which we admit the NHS and the comprehensive state school model are failures and need to be replaced completely, for everybody - yes. Can we have one of those please.

Personally I would like an undertaking by the leadership that we support now and forever British membership of the European Union. Then perhaps we will get rid of many of these awful right-wingers who post on this site with there racist, homophobic rubbish who want this country to go back to the the fifties when in there eyes only this country was all milk and honey and cricket on the village green, homosexuality would land you in prison and there wasn`t a black face in site!

The Conservative's Clause 4 was the loss of the Empire. We don't need another.

No, we do not need a 'Clause 4' moment. What we do need is good policy, with namby-pambyless leadership. No more pointless pc acts. More blunt speaking. Labour's 'C4' moment was , i suspect, more a 'we support Tony and want to win the next general election' statement than any over-riding of previous political belief.

I think the British electorate will vote for a party that talks softly left-wing (thus creating warm fuzzy feelings and getting BBC support) and acts right-wing (since the public mostly favour right-wing policies). Blair's genius was to deliver this, or at least the appearance of this. The Conservative party, being out of office, can only talk, not act. I guess we can hope that the leadership aims to match left-wing rhetoric with right-wing action, but it's not something I'm happy with. I joined the Conservatives at the end of 2005 because I thought they were the best chance to repair some of the damage New Labour has done. Cameron's rhetoric has been careful to insist he doesn't intend to repair any of that damage, from what I can see. I think it was the "don't call Islamist terrorists Islamist, it will only make them terrorists" pronouncement that really lost me, though. *sigh* I do hope the negative reaction to the Grammar Schools thing will prompt a reappraisal of the PR, at least.

The worst thing about Willets' appalling speech was not the ruling out of more selection, as bad as that is, but his making a strong case against Grammar schools, thus undermining the survival of the remaining schools. Why couldn't he have just said "we have no plans to increase selection, that is not our policy" and leave it at that?

I can understand putting off desirable policies (flat tax for instance) for years in order to win the centre. But why does the party have to go further and actually argue the left wing case?

Blair abandoned an ignored commitment to nationalisation; he didn't adopt a commitment to privatisation let alone one of ending all state regulation.

Britain's close relationship with the USA is our Clause IV. We need to assert ourselves as an independent nation.
Posted by: Felicity Mountjoy May 18,at 16:26"

You must be joking !! Most of our independence went to the EU years ago and the rest will follow very soon,

Mrs T summed it up perfectly " All our problems have come from mainland Europe - the solutions have come from the English speaking Nations across the world"

The greatest change we could make in the interests of small government is to agree not to have policies on absolutely everything.

William MacDougall at 16:21...

You have an interesting point to make, i.e. why did Willett's make so much of the fact that we weren't going to support more grammar schools?

For over a year now, opponents of Project Cameron within the party have been accusing him of being superficial.

Yet we very recently had Oliver Letwin saying in 'cerebral' terms (personally I got it without being brainy)... he said in a detailed way how and why we are changing and those same accusers (inc. you Tim I'm afraid) who instantly were implying he was being ridiculous. Then Willetts makes a speech, which mentions a statement Cameron gave months ago. Yet this time he is more in-depth about the reasons why, and the people who threw stones at the Cameorn camp for being airey and light on policy are NOW saying he should shut up with 'the sophisticated answers'. The implications are disturbing, is the enemy really within? Does this mean Cameron has to find a fight with a core group within his own party?

I just hope the guys on 'the project' have tough skins, as Brown is the least of their concerns.

ps, William: this isn't a direct response to your valid point, rather a lament of the current state of our party.

Oberon, we all know this is an extrapolation of a statement made a year and a half ago, albeit a single sentence. We object to the explanation for the policy. If there had been a real policy which actually worked then I suspect more of us would understand. However the speech was confused and attacked a system which does nothing but give a strong education to strionger pupils. If Grammar Schools are so bad, then why doesnt he go the whole hog and simply call for their abolition? He clearly thinks hes right...

The more policy comes out, the more attractive Brown is becoming. Better the devil you know...


Thank you for your comments. My own complaint about Project Cameron has never been that it was superficial. It has been all too clear about left wing policies such as no longer advocating selection in education, higher taxes, breaking the promise to leave the EPP, environmental extremism, positive discrimination etc. It has only been superficial in things which you might call conservative, anything different from Labour, or anything which might inspire me to do work for the Party. That is the worry.

Oberon, that is exactly what I meant in my post. The individual VERSUS not "against" the collective. Or the collective versus the individual as it is happening now. We are making our "versus" acrimonious instead of having an intelligent debate. The media picks up on the acrimonious racket, and the true meaning of the debate is lost - perhaps disasterously for the future of our success. We have lost our ability to read the small print if you like the message behind the headlines which are probably carefully designed by the left to set Tory against Tories -in fact the individual versus the collective.

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