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Your points are essentially always the same Editor. It's your And Theory. Conservatives must occupy the whole of the political stage. Talking about economics AND society. Eager to lead the debate on every major topic.

What no one really knows is whether the country wants a repeat of Blair in the form of Cameron, or whether they've tired of that and instead want something different.

How well Brown performs in the opinion polls once he takes over may answer that question.

Recapture the future. Do you remember in the 1980s it was all about "don't go back to the bad old days" with Labour and positioning ourselves as the future?

In the post '95 period Labour captured the future and made us the past - "same old Tories".

David Cameron grasped this when he used the "he was the future once" line at PMQs against Blair. More of this upbeat Reaganesque attitude please when describing policies please....

A man about thirty miles from the UK just won an election, with both ideas and a command of the media. In so doing he managed to trump the left. We do not need to learn from Blair.

I was there on Sunday night to watch Sarkozy win - with only one Tory MP there (on a personal visit). I do no understand this love of Blair and the incapacity to deal with and learn from successful conservatives abroad. Asking what we can learn from a man who screwed this country seems to sum up the state of the Tory party.

Where are the Tory's today to counteract the media love-in and fawning over Blair?

The Tories need to look forward, not back, to other conservatives not to Tony Blair.

PS Anyone reckon Brown could call an election June 28?

I really can't see Brown calling a snap election after he's waited ten years to get into No 10

It really is pathetic for the rich boys around Mr Cameron to be saying that economics matter less than before. Not all of us have a job at a merchant bank (Letwin), married well (Cameron), inherited a wallpaper fortune (Osborne) or are part-time in the shad cab because of £100,000s of outside interests (Hague).

In an episode of Seinfeld called The Opposite, George Costanza decided to do the exact opposite of his every instinct and found it changed his life immeasurably for the better.

The Tories have nothing to learn from Blair, who has taken Britain back to the dark days. Now, by doing the OPPOSITE of everything Blair and his cronies have done in 10 years of wreaking havoc on Britain, they may well have found the key...

Could Brown call an election on 28 June? Yes.

Should Brown call an election on 28 June?
3 months ago I would have said Yes. Now I think he's been too damaged by Blair's selfish clinging to office. He needs a summer of good news stories.

Will Brown call an election on 28 June?

"What can Conservatives learn from Blair?"

That even the slickest spin machine will not deliver a real and lasting legacy if you aren't competent in implementing and managing the delivery!
Think Mrs T, she won 3 GE's and created Thatcherism. She is without doubt one of the two greatest PM's of the last century and she did by combining a good press office with good management. 20 years from now what will Blair be remembered for?
3 GE's because he looked and sounded good, spin, Iraq and ...............

Brown can't call an election on 28th June. The Labour party is virtually bankrupt. He has no money to fight an election.

But if Brown pushed the Unions would stump up the funds (though there would be a price to pay).

Its in Browns interests to hang on. He wants to be PM for a while. What can we learn from Blair. Well we can learn how he made his party electable - but that was a while ago. We should start to think about how we learn from his many many mistakes.

After the Letwin article perhaps they could learn 'endogenous growth theory'?

Blair has been a disaster - a week ago voters gave a verdict. The BBC shows how a State broadcaster should behave - Vladimir Putin would approve.

We are all extras in Blair's play. That is the purpose of the voters, just to be there during his performance. Voters perform for politicians.

The system is a game, it is run for interest groups and promoted by ad men. There is no problem that a politician cannot make much worse.

As Will Rogers said:

Thank God we don't get all the government we pay for !.

Just a few suggestions about lessons to be leaned from Blair.

Talk about what interests voters. Some Tories still burble on about tax cuts when voters clearly have not been interested for a long time. But are interested in public services.

The party, more or less, needs to sing from the same hymn sheet. Major knew voters were interested ib public sevices but large numbers of Tory M.P.s didn't recognise this, so whatever he and the official party line was, voters took notice of loud tax cutters with the well known result.

It's not just what you say, it's how you say it. The party must stop talking like Sir Humphrey. (On the other hand it's worth pointing out that by using a dollop of Sir Humphrey Letwin got his message publicity.)

Whatever you are saying, keep saying it. At times of a big issue, every other party, Labour, Lib/Dems, UKIP, provides speeches, articles and letters to papers, the Conservative party rarely bothers to explain itself.

Somehow get all those Tory M.P.s who seem to think only of themselves to pitch in with the party messages. (Although I sometimes wonder if they know anything about politics.)

Talk about what interests voters. Some Tories still burble on about tax cuts when voters clearly have not been interested for a long time. But are interested in public services.
Cutting taxes can be used as a substitute for some spending especially welfare spending, also people talk about public services but there are a wide range of things referred to as public services - government though can find extra money for a number of public services and find new way of financing them and still cut back overall spending on such services - it's all a matter of what is considered useful public services and what is not.

"What can Conservatives learn from Blair?"

A good war is always useful for diverting attention from domestic issues?!

I'm increasingly warming to what Cameron is saying recently. All this talk about fraternity and localism, I like it very much indeed. But they haven't set out how they're going to get there. Create a responsible society, absolutely...but how?

That, and something even more important is still putting me off. And that is Cameron himself.

Policies and principles are fundamental to any success, but so too is the character of the leader. So far, Cameron has shown himself to be, frankly, wet. He doesn't speak with passion (saying 'I'm passionate about...' before you speak doesn't make it so); in fact, what he says sounds practiced and false - he's a pause for effect politician.

All this rubbish about not wearing ties, riding bikes, hugging hoodies, voting blue to go green, crime and grime, sharing the proceeds of growth, cleaner streets are safer streets, shoving the word change in my face every two seconds and sticking it on giant posters, pretending to wash dishes, fiddling with logos, furthering the ridiculous idea that women can't succeed in politics without special help, and not seeming to have any opinions of his own until they've been checked by Alistair Hilton or recommended by a policy group is, however, thoroughly getting my goat.

People respond to conviction and openness. Say what you believe passionately and honestly, and you're halfway there. Blair was able, in the short term, to manipulate the media machine, and Cameron is trying to do the same. He's right to change the image of the party - I even like the new logo now - but for every superficial change, there should be a substantial declaration of principle too. The leaders that say what they mean and do what they say are the ones that go down in history, and, though I am pleased by Cameron's success in the polls so far, I am equally worried that we have yet another Call Me Tony on our hands.

Who said this today:

"We're incredibly fortunate, we've got the English language, we've got a successful economy."

Championing our successful economy? Was it Tony Blair, or Gordon Brown? Nope, David Cameron as posted on his own site in his interview with CitizenSteve.

I bet Labour will be saving that quote. Gordo can hardly be bad (or that's how he can quote it) if the leader of the opposition is praising our successful economy after 10 years of Labour.

An own goal from the bald one?

If the Conservatives do not learn from Blair they will repeat his mistakes.

There is so little trust left in the political system and the elites that further corrosion may well lead to destruction of the elites.

When societies decay to the point that trust is destroyed and the elite tries repeatedly to cheat the public, there comes a time when events lead to destruction of that system and new parties, new politics, new order.

I can't believe Cameron is so foolish as to be praising Brown's stewardship of the economy. Growth has largely been an illusion of rampant consumer spending primarily on imports leaving us with a debt hangover and trade deficit that we will be paying for for years to come. Once the housing bubble bursts (not long now) the party is well and truly over.

Government spending has also been profligate in the extreme and will require massive tax increases and/or huge cuts in public services.

The end result for the UK economy will be stagflation, and financial misery IMO within 2 years the blame for which should be laid firmly at Brown's door.

How about these lessons:

1) If the choice is between
well-spoken nice pragmatists and harsh-sounding nasty pragmatists, voters will choose the first.

2) Oppositions can win elections even when the economy is doing well and people are getting rich.

3) Oppositions can win general elections with a projection of their goals and values, unpacked by a small number of iconic policies - they do not need a fully-developed policy programme.

4) If you sling around enough mud, everyone gets dirty.

5) As the governing party, you can win a general election even if everyone hates you. You just need the voters to believe that you are predictable to them and that you are better than the other lot.

What can we learn from Blair? That the dominant British media emtities are either left-leaning or pro-Government and can be relied on to promote Socialist governments to the citizens and oppose free market economics. This created the circumstances under which Spin worked.

Look at the success of the "triumphal entry to Downing Street" in 1997 - it was just a bunch of Labour activists, coordinated and choreographed by Campbell, but reported as a spontaneous outpouring of popular joy by the media ever since. Even today, the media are reporting Blair's resignation as some kind of selfless sacrifice.

So what we should learn is that the first priority of a Tory government should be to neutralise those media entities and prevent them from promoting Labour in future.

David Cameron has reopened many people's minds to the possibility of a Conservative Government being elected at the next election. But as mentioned by others this guarantees nothing.

After the local council elections its quite clear that the country has little interest in the Labour Government.

The reason is quite simple - for years Labour has been more concerned about maintaining it's position of power than it has about its affect on the country. The country is leaderless.

People have been totally demoralised by the deceit, incompetence and waste of a Government that just doesn't care. Combine this with its insidious attempts to remould our national character, undermine our unwritten constitution and destroy our international reputation and its hardly surprising that people have lost faith in politicians.

'Cool Britannia' has become 'Fool Britannia' under Labour.

In such a climate of dissillusionment David Cameron should be knocking on the door of 10 Downing Street.

But he isn't and the reason I believe is that the Conservatives have not drummmed home a clear consistent message that they are truly in touch with and represent the interests of individuals and the country as a whole. They have yet to convince the country that , unlike the Labour Party, they can be trusted. They must demonstrate they genuinely care.

To do this they have to provide a clear cohesive alternative vision of what they want 21st Century Britain to become that captures the country's imagination. Until they do are they any better an option than the other parties?

We see a bit of a policy statement here, a commitment there, focus group over there - but how does it all fit together? Its a bit reminiscent of the last ten years.

While Blair has been in power it has probably been prudent not to disclose where the Conservatives want to lead the country but once he is finally gone and Brown is enthroned the vision must be made clear.

It will soon be time for David Cameron to prove once and for all whether he has the character and integrity to persuade voters that he can lead the country and provide a better alternative to a Labour regime.

I only hope for the country's sake he can!

1) Cameron never said that low taxation and stability are opposed (or incompatible). He says that stability is the priority. You are repeating a Hefferism.
2) "Islamic facism" - your neocon tendency is showing again. What we need is not a lot of rhetoric (a la Sun)but ACTION in our own land. Blair's weakness was that for many years he appeased the extremists (for electoral advantage?)

I wouldn't have thought Anarcho-syndicalism was Letwinish, it's a very quaint political ideology but not that obscure.

Blair had a talent and a weakness. He had an actor's skill, and a moral vacuum, which enabled him to play different charcaters and beliefs to suit the news requirements of the day.

He moved all responsibility taking on to others - Prescott, Campbell, Brown, Bush, the EU and so on - so he could act out whatever prime ministerial image would look significant on the day. By divorcing himself from the realities of power, he was free to play his game. But now we are lumbered with the Blair image infrastructure which over ten years has permeated all areas of government.

Even nurses and teachers feel they are employed to provide stastistical evidence of the government's competence. The needs of pupils and patients are off the agenda thanks to Blair's overriding need to look good. No wonder he achieved precisely nothing, and millions of public sector workers feel they have had enough of being used.

Do we want David Cameron to be the same? Hardly. Cameron is interested in moral issues, it appears, and is not nearly such a good actor as Blair.

The public appetite for a change from the Conservatives in 1997 was big. It was easy to portray us as arrogant and privileged, and sleazy with so many egos parading themselves in the glory of Thatcher's successes.

The problem now is that the public are confused. They know Blair has been a lemon, but they don't have any idea why, and they have no more love of southern conservative public school accents than they had in 1997.

The weakness of the Cameron/Maude regime is that the party has been hijacked by the southern/public school/oxbridge network even more than it was in the past.

The task of declassing the Conservatives has been messed up with all the emphasis going on to recruiting ethnic and female candidates.

The reason appears to be that the few people who hold power inside the Conservative Party are still dedicated to the Europeanisation of Britain, while the average working class COnservative with a regional accent is patriotic and does not want to be subsumed into the Beuroracy.

Cameron is a hybrid - possibly a lot more eurosceptic than he admits - and in thrall to Hague who undoubtedly is trying to prevent the Conservative Party from becoming confidently eurosceptic, and also to maude who is a key europhile.

Cameron knows he can only win power with media support. The BBC is europhile, as is Murdoch, as he depends on EU support to maintain his privileges. Cameron knows he has no choice but to play along with the powers that hold Britain and the Conservative Party in its grip.

As for his electability, he is making good progress, and needs only to not provide his enemies with sticks with which to beat him. I think he'll make it to PM after Brown. And he can then hopefully set about redesigning the Conservative Party from a position of strength, and undo the knot of control that hague, maude and the europhiles have established.

"What can Conservatives learn from Blair?"

Presentation > policy

They know Blair has been a lemon, but they don't have any idea why

Oh yes they do...and they see the Conservatives going down the same path. Most people see their payslips - some know that Tax Credits are bolstering their pay-packets and others see the huge tax increases on theirs to pay for it.

They know how often taxis are used by PCTs and hospital trusts - just talk to ordinary people and find out about waste - but then how there is no money for essentials.

It is ordinary people who work in these agencies and public bodies - they know exactly what is going on. They have no illusions about Blair & Co. It is only the journalists, PR types and bureaucrats who have lived well on Blair & Co that are clueless about public mood.

I agree with something implicit in one of the posters above.

We use the terms Thatcherite and Blairite, but in different senses. Thatcherite means support for a raft of policies and an ideological view of the world. Blairite means a supporter of Blair personally (as opposed to Brownite). We have a ThatcherISM but no Blairism.

In fact Blairism would describe an (albeit it tremendously successful) method of presentation rather than a system of governance.

I think Brown will be very similar to Blair in policy terms. However, it is the presentation that has been so key to Labour success, and without that, people should see straight through what Labour has done. I don't suggest Brown is any less wedded to spin and presentation than Blair - only that he's far less good at it!!

Cameron needs to bide his time a little now, and, as others have suggested, use the short period out of the limelight to get the reporting of the policy commissions right plus do some deep thinking about the reshuffle.

There is a lot at stake during the next six months.

If the Conservatives do not learn from Blair they will repeat his mistakes
Tony Blair's inspiration was Ramsay MacDonald - another man who the rank and file of Labour were never really easy with and who was expelled from the Labour Party (in circumstances which it would have been conceivable happening to Tony Blair as well if it hadn'tve been for the comfortable majorities), despite also leading Labour to better things, although in his case it was actually the first times Labour had been in government.

Ramsay MacDonald did what he thought was right at the time, he was quite prepared to ignore his own party and be quite ruthless in taking decisions in government in the national interest.

The same was true of Clement Attlee, these were people who were not interested in spin but rather in efficent administration.

People talk as if the way that Tony Blair ran the Labour Party was somehow new but actually all Labour Prime Ministers have had something of a ruthless streak, if anything Harold Wilson was far more ruthless and autocratic than any of them and the most successful Prime Ministers have all known their own mind and been prepared to walk over anyone in the way to get things done - Robert Peel, William Gladstone, David Lloyd George, Ramsay MacDonald, Stanley Baldwin, Clement Attlee, Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, and I think even more so Gordon Brown all sort to make the agenda rather than let the agenda make them and people respected them for that. Where you have a vision it is better to fight for that vision and convert or suppress others who disagree with that vision than have an inferior vision or no vision be in it's place.

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