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I think someone at CCHQ (Maybe Andy Coulson)believes Francis Maude isn't our most effective attack dog. Duncan did well last night and Grayling has a good record doing so. Makes sense.

Davies is whoring himself around the media. He better make the most of it because he'll back with the sheep soon.

Au contraire, I thought Alan Duncan's performance was pathetic.

QD is a 24 hour phenomenon. He'll be soon forgotten.

Oh dear, being a trusting sort of chap and a bit naive I thought Brown would be a moral improvement on Blair.Will I be proved wrong so soon?

"Where was the Party Chairman? Absent from the grammar schools row, Francis Maude is absent again now. Extraordinary."

Speaking of long overdue P45s... we are going to have an effective party chairman in the run up to the general election, aren't we? Chris Grayling would be a brilliant in the post-Brown shadow shuffle.

A while back you complained that we saw too little of the Shadow Cabinet and too much of the leadership. Yesterday Alan Duncan was on media duty and, while the Contrary Squad may disagree, did a good job and raised his profile. Today Grayling gets good exposure.

Both are briefed and prepared - if this is Coulson's work then he's been a good appointment.

I understand that Francis Maude was on holiday during the grammar schools row. Everyone deserves a break.

I agree with Andrew's comments on this. Sorry but Maude just does not have that attack dog mentality needed in a situation like this.
Duncan and Grayling both have it and I want the most effective operators appearing in the media just now rather than the guy with the title Chairman.

Who is this Davies clap, sorry chap. And QD? You've lost me.

Amazing what 24 hrs can do, and I haven't even been drinking for all of it.

I was drinking at about 1.45pm today though when I raised a glass to there not being a Labour Prime Minister. If I got the timing right, the Queen was in sole command at around that moment. What a pity we didn't stop the clocks.

Ted: Coulson hasn't arrived yet. I agree that it's good to see other shadow cabinet members on the box sharing the burden with the Chairman but it should be sharing - not replacing the Chairman.

PS Great to have you back commenting.

Can we please stop it with the silly "sleaze" allegations? They just make all politicians look bad. Why are we trying to smear Brown? Does anyone serious believe that he is even the slightest bit corrupt? No. So why are we making stupid insinuations. There's plenty of real weaknesses in his policies without us engaging in small-minded attempts to drag him down into the gutter with us.

Looking at Iain Dale and Guido's blog, defection fever abounds after boastful comments from Ed Balls.
I like Dizzy's take on the fact that operation gobble seems to have been taken out of mothballs by Brown.
operation gobble resurrected

Coulson isn't around yet but he is helping behind the scenes.

But agree day to day media operation is still inept and needs shaking up. I hope Coulson knows what awaits him.

Last couple of days have been back foot, reactive and object lesson in how not to handle bad news.

Whose trying to 'smear' Brown Andrew? If politicians of any party behave badly they deserve all they get.
As regards Brown and corruption, who knows? He was heavily implicated in the Ecclestone affair and his involvement with the Smith institute is being investigated by the Charity Commissioners at the moment.

Andrew Lilico is right. Has Brown done something illegal? If not this 'initiative' is pitiful and liable to backfire.

After all, have we not heard rumours of some questionable donors to Conservative Party funds since Cameron became leader?

What donors, what funds Traditional Tory? Perhaps you'd like to put up or shut up for a change.
You spend most of your days trying to damage the Conservative party in any way you can but defending questionable behaviour from Gordon Brown is a new low even for you.

Gordon Brown has today tried to bury details of over £100,000 of political donations to his leadership campaign from a raft of rich businessmen and trade unions.

I suppose mud sticks....

Four businessmen, including private equity chiefs, handed over £500,000 in recent weeks to help the party with its huge debts and start building a pre-election war chest. One gave £250,000.

The four are Sir Ronald Cohen, venture capitalist Nigel Doughty, former Goldman Sachs partner Jon Aisbitt and internet betting tycoon Peter Coates.

to both parties......

The Tories are attracting large funds from their backers. Michael Spencer, City entrepreneur and new Tory treasurer, has won backing from hedge-fund managers. Individual donors have given £3.7 million in the first three months of this year.

Should we be keeping an eye out tomorrow for a surprise in the list of government members, perhaps a businessman or a member of the Smith Institute being rewarded with a nice little post?


I think he meant this Malcolm

David Cameron was rebuked by parliamentary watchdogs yesterday for using his Commons office to raise money for the Conservatives.

Funds 2

The party has also set up a series of discreet donors' clubs such as the Shadow Chancellor's Club, for those who give £25,000, and the Leader's Club, whose members each donate £50,000 a year for the chance to have dinner with George Osborne or Mr Cameron respectively.

Funds 3

The other innovation was the creation of patrons' clubs. The Tories have supporters' clubs at £10,000, £25,000 and £50,000 a head. Pay £50,000 and you can join the Leader's Club and dine with David Cameron; pay £25,000 a head and dine with the shadow chancellor, George Osborne, or pay £10,000 and join the Renaissance Club and meet the rest of the shadow cabinet. There are also £5,000 and £2,000 a year clubs and you become a party patron for just £1,200. There have no shortage of takers.

I very much doubt it Tomtom.Traditional Tory refers to questionable donors. Who?
The Patrons club and the Shadow Chancellors club are perfectly above board as I'm sure with your immense knowledge about everything you'll know already. But thank you for googling this as always.

Just to be clear. I'm not wanting to associate myself with any suggestion that Cameron has been involved in any actually questionable donations. But in a way this further discussion makes my point: using nudge-nudge-wink-wink innuendo about Labour Party donations just legitimizes similarly malign smears against our own (perfectly upright and honourable) leaders.

I don't believe that Gordon Brown (any more than Tony Blair) is corrupt. I don't even think he is particularly ill-intentioned. I just think his policies and approach and political philosophy are (on many issues - enough to place me in a different Party, but not so many that we couldn't agree on, say, Iraq or the BNP) wrong.

Well let's hope that Yates of the yard doesn't disagree with you Andrew. I suppose you think the Smith Institutes activities at 11 Downing Street are OK too?

Unless and until it is proven otherwise beyond reasonable doubt, I shall choose to assume that none of the significant figures in any of the major political parties is corrupt.

Insofar as any issues of corruption did arise, they would seem to me to be criminal matters, not political matters, and it would not be honourable to make political comment on them - for to do so would suggest that there was some difference between the political parties; that, say, the Labour Party were "whiter than white" whilst the Conservative Party was "sleazy". That was a lie when Blair and Campbell and Mandelson alleged it (and was amongst their lowest hours), and it would be a lie for us to suggest it now. The Labour Party is not corrupt. It is just wrong.

Well said, Andrew.

No one is suggesting that the Labour party is corrupt just certain individuals within it probably are.
Nothing has been proved yet but I do very much hope that Yates and his team and the Charity Commissioners if they find wrong doing bring charges.

One of the guardians against corruption is questioning and comment. That sceptical view of the ties of money with influence has kept the UK's politics relatively uncorrupted.

It may be that there is no connection between the appointment of people to public offices, whether paid or unpaid, and their previous donations to a private campaign or a political party.

But oppositions and media need to highlight and question so we can be assured of that innocence. Corruption is a crime where the evidence accepted is of a connection between a gift or offer and a subsequent action.

I've not suggested that the media should not report on these matters. And perhaps backbench questions have a role, also. But I don't think we should be putting out CCHQ-sponsored statements insinuating that Brown is corrupt unless we really believe it and have evidence to back it up. Otherwise we will just drag politics down to the level of slanging.

We can win the arguments. Our philosophy is better than theirs and our policy solutions work and theirs don't. We should conduct the debate at that level. *They* want to conduct the debate at the level of personalities, because they believe that people will think "Nice cuddly Socialist with good intentions good; Nasty Tory who says good intentions not enough bad". We need to keep the focus where our strength lies - on our having the right answers to the real challenges.

You spend most of your days trying to damage the Conservative party in any way you can but defending questionable behaviour from Gordon Brown is a new low even for you.

It's no surprise at all, Malcolm. I think Traditional Tory's gearing up to defect...

If he did Richard, our gain would be anyone who took him great loss! Some people are just not worth having!

I shall choose to assume that none of the significant figures in any of the major political parties is corrupt.

Somewhat akin to Pollyanna but that is your choice....personally I prefer to lookfor corrupt practices in the area of property development and planning consents and overrides....


Blair was a bad PM Dr Gabb but it's wrong to wish him a long and suffering death.

What donors, what funds Traditional Tory? Perhaps you'd like to put up or shut up for a change

Well Malcolm I suppose we can't blame Cameron for Ashcroft, but personally I would have distanced the party from him years ago. Then we have Christopher Moran, who was expelled from Lloyds for 'discreditable conduct' in 1982. Meanwhile the property mogul Firoz Kassam, made some of his fortune providing accommodation to asylum seekers.

Not to mention the fact that Cameron was forced to make a highly embarrassing apology to MPs after he was rebuked by the parliamentary anti-sleaze watchdog for hosting fundraising lunches in his Commons office.

The Commons Committee on Standards and Privileges criticised the Tory leader, saying he had been 'ill-advised' in entertaining members of a £50,000 a year Tory donors' club.

Mr Cameron apologised 'unreservedly' for breaking the MPs' code of conduct. He confirmed that he had hosted seven meetings of the Conservative 'Leaders' Group" in his office suite in the House of Commons, and pledged that the lunches 'will not happen again'.

Nobody is suggesting that Cameron and his pals have done anything criminal, but when it comes to criticising Brown because some moneybags funded his leadership campaign (what campaign?) loyal 'Roons should remember that old adage about glass houses.

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