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Why on earth did he go on holiday in Crete?

Given that he has made global warming such a defining issue, her surely could have found a place to holiday in the UK?

Or is it only people who attend City Academies who have to give up their second annual overseas holiday?

Has anyone told him about the EU Constitution battle which will take place shortly when Gordon Brown tries to ram its ratification through Parliament?

England Expects. I'm sure Cameron won't flinch.

The Edward Heath Complex - he is right the others are wrong.

Time to think of leaving the country....it looks like another chapter in Britain's Great Disaster Story

He hasn't made serious changes to the Party. He has cut himself free from it. As he says, 'heir to Blair'.

Now we will see whether it is better for him to have had the Conservative Party behind him or the Liberal Democrat.

Choosing Crete as a holiday destination is IMO one of the few (I'm being generous) smart decisions Cameron has made whilst leader.

As for Cynical Voter's comment, I've already been thinking about leaving this country for quite some time. Cameron's leadership has not done nothing to make me think I'd be better off staying. The only trouble is where cam one go? Perhaps the Editor could provide a thread on this topic?

Well I'm glad to see that DC realises that he has 'to explain more to the party and country....' Never again will we see him react as petulantly as he did during the Grammar School debate nor should he again condemn debate as 'pointless' or his opponents as 'delusional'. In many ways his reaction to opposition was worse than the policy announced by Willetts. Let's hope a lesson has been learned.

Reading the above gobbets, Cameron is beginning to sound like a parody of himself being a parody of Blair.


Await comments now re "usual suspects", "trolls" etc etc.

I'm delighted that our leader is not flinching. Moderate voters will notice and like him more if the modernisation of the party involves a struggle.

Conservative voters might also notice, Felicity Mountjoy.

Never again will we see him react as petulantly as he did during the Grammar School debate "

I hope you're right, but I fear you're wrong.

Let's hope DC has learnt some important lessons from the last few weeks. That said, he must understand that the majority of members have no confidence in his education spokesman, No Brains. he should sack him.

Sean's right. Cameron has form. Anyone for a chocolate orange? I don't think they have them in the duty free in Crete, but they sometimes have massive Toblerone's to give him food for thought.

Maybe he can start off by giving Willets the boot.

I assume that this trip to Crete means there won't be any more holidays any more exotic than Devon for the coming year. Well that's good enough for the rest of us plebs apparently !

Tell me Felicity Mountjoy are you related to Peggy Mount ?

Let's keep focused on the fact we have a good lead in the polls. We'll get tax cuts thru the sharing the proceeds of growth. There will be grammar streams in schools. A new border police force. The end of ID cards. An exit from the Social Chapter. We won't get everything we wanted but this is good enough for me.

Can Cameron uncompromisingly confirm he will not be taking any more overseas holidays before his next one? Any chance of him buying a single ticket when he does go?

We'll get tax cuts thru the sharing the proceeds of growth..

Hogwash. There will be no growth - you've had it. You ever bought a contract on the future. what do you think has been going on these past years ?

The future has been mortgaged to the present boom.....the future brings a population whose pensions have been raided in need just as PFI leases kick in big time and the energy crunch comes

simply put the housing boom shows the excess liquidity from easy credit which has allowed the government to spend and create growth while not impoverishing the taxpaying public.....yet

I do not wish to "bang on" as Cameron would put it about the grammar school debate. I'd far rather discuss the relative merits of Toblerones and windmills. But if the vacuous term "modernisation" includes further restriction of grammar schools to the advantage of private schools with all the entrenching of social advantage that goes with private schools (e.g. over-representation at Oxbridge) isn't that intrinsically reactionary and the opposite of so called "modernisation".
If the Cameron thinks the A List is good enough for the Tory Party, how come the logic does not apply elsewhere.

The Edward Heath Complex - he is right the others are wrong.

To be fair this was also a rather telling character trait of both Churchill and Thatcher. Certainly Churchill's wilderness years were characterised by his belief in the correctness of his views!

To paraphrase Virgil, beware Tory leaders bearing nothing.

This is all Norman Tebbit's fault for closing down the FCS.

Its generation of powerful ideas, fierce debate and charismatic leaders would have brushed the Dear Leader and his friends aside or changed their minds as they did mine. Debate is a wonderfully positive force.

I remember the Oxford delegation sitting in the front row of the notorious FCS conference at Loughborough Uni in 1986, being ignored by everyone for the first time in their lives. They were weedy and dripping wet. Their politics had been imbibed unchanged from an older generation that had managed the decline of Britain. They were scared of the working class students arguing for freedom.

I am sure they became much more comfortable in the soviet-style successor: The Conservative Collegiate Forum, the no-idea zone focused on safe, Oxbridgey, CV-stuffing.

Of course, DC was so frightened of looking uncool engaging in political debate with grubby non-public school types he did not get involved at this time. His election to lead the Party, out of nowhere, un-debated by his own generation, is proving a bizarre throwback to the deference and failed political ideas of the 1950s and 60s.

There are years and years of this to go. We have seen the internal contradictions of the Education policy, unacknowledged by the leader of course, we have seen the contradictions of the Europe policy. That leaves Health, Crime, Immigration, the Economy and Tax still to come. As far as we know now, out-of-date or disproved policies are being developed in most of these areas.

Thanks Norman. Please don't moan about the Roons. They are your children.

To be fair. He was away on holiday when most of the mishandling happened - as was Hilton.

He has dealt with things now - brought in Coulson, demoted Eustice etc.

So lets give him a chance to get the show back on the road!

Willetts has come up with a bold education policy that really will deliver (vouchers) but instead numerous people on this site remain obsessed with a 1940s vision of education.

Today grammar schools are a relic. Less than 5% of children attend them and, as the evidence Willetts cited in his original speech showed, they no longer provide the opportunities to poorer children they were supposed to.

Willetts and Cameron are putting forward a vision where parents will drive the education system, forcing up standards for all not just the few. It's an idea as radical as letting people buy their council houses - it's a policy that can open up decent education to all.

And yet this site is full of people obsessed with a return to the days before Thatcher.

We should be shouting from the rooftops about having a radical, forward-looking and workable education policy instead the party seems happily staring at its navel. Carry on like that and you can look forward to many more years in opposition.

Although, Prentiz, Churchill and Thatcher were helped by the fact they were correct.

The FCS may be long gone, but factional infighting continues within individual branches. Considering how aggressive this years AGM and the fact that several people will never speak to one another again because of things that happened I'd say that on the whole it's a good thing the FCS can't have an annual brawl.

I agree that we need to find a better way of empowering the grassroots, but the FCS isn't it.

Yeah lets hope he has learnt the lessons of the last couple of weeks. The more he ignores the IDS fanclub here the better the polls. His only mistake - not sacking Brady immediately.


When I was at Oxford in the 80s the majority of students rightly had disdain for those involved with the established political parties.


Tory MPs gobbing off about grammar schools when so many of them have themselves been educated in or send their kids to educated in the private sector is rank hypocrisy. End of story.

Today grammar schools are a relic.

Public Schools certainly are....why not be truly radical and abolish them. Why not support alan Johnson and Suzie Leather and urge taxpayer subsidy be removed and that the Government stop paying £300 million a year to send children of civil servants and generals to fee-paying schools ?

The Academy System will be a failure so long as public schools cream off the children of politicians who have no interet in the State education system....where does Boris Johnson educate his children ?

When I was at Oxford in the 80s the majority of students rightly had disdain for those involved with the established political parties.

Do you recall The Magdalen Machine and the ballot-rigging ?

Or the antics of people ike Philip Oppenheim ?

No TomTom. Do you recall the Bernadistas?

Bill, as soon as he left Oxford he got a job with an established political party. The FCS was a revolutionary group. I agree with you about the rank hypocrisy. Sadly, it isn't end of story. Not even the beginning of the end or even the end of the beginning.

The nightmare has just begun.

I sympathise with CCTV's view. I've had enough of the modernisers pick and choose approach towards liberalism. If they are so wedded to social mobility as they suggest they are, let's see the colour of their money. Let's trade them the grammar schools for the entire private education sector. But then I guess they'd just send their kids overseas for a school education as some used to (still do?) for a university education. To paraphrase Orwell(?), all modernisers are modern but some are more modern than others.

Just abolish education - or at least the idea that it has to be centrally controlled. Exit the national curriculum. Close down Local Education Authorities. Let schools run themselves and have double the funds they currently have without any need for extra taxes.

It's not education that's the problem. It's governments interfering in it.

Glad Cameron is back. Let's hope we can all get back to what we are members of the party to do, namely to win the next election.

I hope that the grassroots can move on from the grammer debate as there are many more pressing issues that make a difference to ALL the electorate.

Let's hope too that the Tory blogosphere can vent their anger towards more deserving individuals, such as the invisible PM in waiting Brown.

can move on from the grammer debate

Not while you cannot spell G R A M M A R

We have 'moved on'. This is the Cameron debate.

Bill 15.44 - "usual suspects" is right. Why do you guys always want to undermine a decent and thoughtful leader?

Who are you talking about?

Perdix: because it's so easy!

Possibly I am over analysing this, but there is a significant statement from Cameron here:

“Sometimes that can mean you do have to explain more to your party….”

Cameron deliberately and very publicly allowed the Grammar debate to get heated. Initially I was puzzled as to why he would antagonise the, how can I put it, those most easily and commonly antagonised by the 'modernisation' agenda. But because it was so public, he can now say to the electorate “Well, I am on your side, and I won’t buckle to those who are not on-board yet with the modernisation agenda, but remember the Grammar row – so these ‘discussions’ you see me having with the party about policy z, are not compromises, but clarifications to keep everyone on-board”

I don’t think we should under-estimate the difficulty of the task he has going forward. Implementing policies that are popular with the country but unpopular with a significant section of his own party, dealing with a brutal and devious Brown, coping with a hostile popular press, a biased BBC and above all that crucially he needs to build trust with the electorate. The boundary commission are the least of his worries. The whole game is loaded against the Conservative Party gaining power right now, even if you ignore the damage that the core section of disaffected loonies on this site do. Given all that, I think he’s doing pretty good.

Is there any chance of someone publishing a Cameron Joke Book?

I am working on it.

'The whole game is loaded against the Conservative Party gaining power...'

Yes Oberon, even the voters are against him.

To be fair. He was away on holiday when most of the mishandling happened - as was Hilton.

In these days of instant communications that's a poor excuse indeed for lying low and sweating.

I thought it was Cameron who was supposed to be first with the latest on webcameras, podcasts etc.

So he's back and bristling with chippy nonsense about how he 'stood firm' etc.

Stuff and nonsense!

I will never like or support Cameron, but if he were honest, put up his hand and said 'I made a mistake, I had to do a U-turn, but I'll try not to put my foot in it again'; if he were to do that I would be the first to say 'Well done Dave!'

But it's not going to happen, is it? And that's why there's more trouble ahead.

Lately Cameron was parading an apparently new-found religious faith for the purposes of admitting one of his children to a Church school.

I commend to him the dire warning issued to those who:-

obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction. Jer. 17: 23

CCTV @ 16.52 expresses a point of view but it is neither accurate nor complete:

"Public Schools certainly are....why not be truly radical and abolish them. Why not support alan Johnson and Suzie Leather and urge taxpayer subsidy be removed and that the Government stop paying £300 million a year to send children of civil servants and generals to fee-paying schools ?"

Can you just remind us approximately how much the independent schools save taxpayers each year (who, of course, by paying their taxes, also contribute to the cost of educating other people's children)?

In addition, I also understand that for every £1.00 gained by charitable status, they give back £2.20 in bursaries to help parents who are unable to afford the full fees.

What has Cinamon,sory Cammeron got against grammer schools? I wento one and it hass helpd me a grate deal in life.

Tom Tom. 16.54 Oppenheim was at Oxford H1 of 1970's. Seems so respectable now!!!!

"Not while you cannot spell G R A M M A R"

I recall there was a debate about this ages ago when it was revealed (I think) that grammer is an old-fashioned way of spelling it, although to be on the safe side I use grammar.

As for the private school issue, much as I detest attacks on them it would be interesting to see Willetts & co defending them while criticising grammar schools for supposedly encouraging social segregation.

He ought to take a leaf out of their book and give all schools the autonomy that private schools have (minus the government regulations that they are increasingly having to abide by) and promise a voucher system. Then we would be some way towards a free market in schools.

Notwithstanding the entrenching of social advantage attributable to private schools and which renders the Tory approach to grammar schools hideously hypocritical, I believe Labour's approach to private education is also
hypocritical. If they don't want private education, abolish it. But to be weasly about it and play around with the charity laws is a disgrace. But that's Labour for you.

"Can you just remind us approximately how much the independent schools save taxpayers each year (who, of course, by paying their taxes, also contribute to the cost of educating other people's children)?"

I think the point he was trying to make was that prviate schools encourage social segregation yet Willetts doesn't have a problem with them. Personally I'm not bothered if they encourage social segregation because a)I'm not a utopian socialist who thinks you can cure inequality, c)I don't like government interference with private property rights and freedom of choice and c)I'd have been quite happy to have been segregated from certain elements at the school I went to.

I remember the "grammar" "grammer" debate. FWIW at the one I attended founded in the reign of Edward IV it was spelt "grammar". Does anyone know whether the chocolate orange inspector's old school was ever a grammer or even a grammar.

My school (public day school) was called a 'Grammar School' from the date of its foundation, also several centuries ago.

I don't think anybody ever spelt 'grammar' incorrectly after the age of 8 or so, but if they did they got a sharp whack on the hand with an ebony ruler.

And quite right too.

Thanks TT. But was Eton one?

I think any school which originally taught Latin grammar counted as a 'grammar school'

So, yes, looks like Eton was a 'Grammar'.

Incidentally many fee-paying schools (mine included and I think Eton also) were originally set up as establishments for so many 'poor scholars'.

How things have changed.


I have to go to a parents' evening now but there is just one thing I wanted to say.

Help me help you.

I am joe average tory headbanger. I believe in freedom and dignity as an aspiration for my people. So do you. That's great.

We have the Web as an incredible, truly ground-breaking opportunity for debate and development of policy.

Please consider how you could use it to bring us onboard earlier. Post up policy reports and proposals and allow us to comment on them. Have your shadow ministers comment on posts. Have them take part in the debate to the bitter end. We can move at your speed towards consensus if we can have some input to the process and see your guys taking part on the same level. Check out John Redwood and Nadine Dorries' websites.

At the moment our dislocation from you and your experts has taken away our sense of ownership. You and yours are all too easily seen as hostile, alien, occupiers. (No, I am not a sci-fi fan).

Bring us in. Pat us on the head for our contribution. Try to take some notice of online opinion surveys once you think the debate has been had. If you don't like the answer go back to the drawing board at least once. Get the whole country involved. Get some PR as a modern, trendy, inclusive leader who has taken his party with him.

Let us go forward..er... how does it go again? Believe me, you and your team require our input. We are offering it and our support if you work with us. We are not all bad people, neither are we against change. Many of us employ people, trade internationally and know what is going on here and abroad.

Please think it over because you can't make it with our active opposition and neither you nor we are losers. We are conservatives and we can win.

Toodle pip,

Your Friend

Seriously, as Cameron and Osborne want to be the heirs to Blair by taking his policies further, would not the logical step be to join Labour and fight for that subtle reform to existing policy?

Why all the upheaval of change of govt to achieve such minor changes, that are just extending existing policies?

The only arguments against such a move are tribalist or ego-driven, which of course are not in Britain's best interests.

Thanks for that Traditional Tory. Food for thought if Eton was a grammar.

I'd love a break down on Tory MPs showing where they went and where their kids go.

Explaining why changes are "important" is one thing, but there's also the small matter of explaining why they are "right". I don't think Willetts and Cameron are right in their blanket opposition to academic selection between state schools (save for the surviving grammar schools, plus maybe a few more, and the 10%
of pupils allowed for specialist schools as I understand). I think they're probably right about the 11-plus no longer being a good method of selection, but there could be other methods - in fact there must be, because otherwise there be no way to tell that "clever" working class children aren't passing the 11-plus, and getting into grammar schools, when they should. I'm sure Willetts is right that "the middle classes entrench their advantage at a much younger age" than 11, but that's a problem which occurs long before 11 and so has to be addressed long before 11 - which is what the government is trying to do with Sure Start -
and the solution cannot be to deliberately disadvantage middle class children after 11. I don't think "a grammar stream in every school" is any more realistic
or dependable than Harold Wilson's claim that comprehensive schools would mean "a grammar school education for all". They have also completely ignored the fact that even some advocates of the comprehensive principle admit that many of the existing comprehensive schools are far too large (and Academies
will be even larger, as I understand) and it would be better to split them into
two or even three smaller schools. Considering that the Tory party has been
free from the burden of government for the last decade it's a poor commentary that the level of thought about why the state education system is in such a
mess, and what should be done to reform it, has been and remains so low.


You are right.

Schools are too big. They should be smaller.

Selection on any basis (except ability) is illogical and hypocritical.

Special needs exist across the spectrum.

And why how can the Tories adopt a policy hostile to grammars when they appear so often to be products of and / or use the private sector for their kids.

What about a grammar in every county if not every town?

"Cameron back from Crete and uncompromising"

That's good. Hague and/or Davis are waiting patiently.

Or what about just empowering parents by giving them the 5k education voucher to be spent at the educational institution of their choice, and then free the schools to choose their own structure.

Clearly, with that vital combination, only schools that are popular with parents will survive.

That's it. Simple. No need for government to impose structures, teaching methods, racial mixes etc, etc as parents will be making this decision for themselves.

Or doesn't Dave trust parents to decide what is best for their kids?

Very clever to play the lurching left card, they should make a big song and dance about it.

I disagree, Ash. The lurching left stuff just seems silly to me. Who is going to believe it?

Food for thought if Eton was a grammar.

No it was always a fee-paying school - Grammar schools were not fee-paying which is why William Shakespeare went to ne.

I wonder how many centuries it took before Etonians read anything by the grammar school boy, William Shakespeare ? and how much longer it took before they understood it ?

CCTV - in fact, no. Eton was originally a school for 70 King's Scholars. I think that all or almost all of the nine "public" schools were originally charitable schools for poor scholars.

Question 1.
Which government introduced the 11-plus selection, when was this?
Question 2.
In which country did the idea of comprehensives originate?
Question 3.
When did the 11-plus first become widely unpopular ?
Question 4.
Which government first brought in comprehensives to counteract this?
Question 5.
Which Education Secretary has signed the most number of grammar schools over?
Question 6.
When did the number of landmark of more than 50% of children attend comprehensives occur
Question 7.
Why are 75% of comprehensives not truly so?

1. Labour in 1945-51 session
2. USA
3. 1950s
4. Conservative
5. Margaret Thatcher
6. 1972 under a conservative government
7. Because of the impact of grammars

What exam Oberon did my mother pass and my father fail in the 1930s to determine which of them went to a grammar?

The school Shakespeare went to has remained a Grammar school.

I think Andrew is right. My belief was always that the grammars had their origins in schools founded by the church and wealthy benefactors and were for the worthy poor (most people then) and as such were intrinsically more democratic than the public schools many if not most of which were a 19th century invention for the burgeoning middle classes.

I am heartened to see the discussion dominated by the Conservatives this evening. The Cameroons seem to be almost conspicuous by their, not quite absence, but scarcity.

Long may it continue !

It's good to see so many loyal Tories now on this site to attack Cameron and his bunch of socialist clowns. I left this site giving ip hope but now I am given real hope again for the future

Together we can rebuild the party and make it strong again after all the damage Cameron and his "team" have wreaked.

Presumably "Oberon" Houston is another Socialist judging by the drive; he posted above.

That should be "drivel"

Stephen Tolkinghorne is 100% right. The Cameroons are lying low after a severe thrashing.

Oberon - Do catch up.

This is a discussion between real modernisers (ie extend the schools' freedom fully and combine with parent power vouchers) and the fake modernisers who want to maintain central control and interference by imposing educational structures, teaching methods, racial quotas etc.

Nobody gives a fark what previous Tory leaders did or did not do, we're thinking about the future free from previous administrations.

We say trust parents. The Cameroons say, no, don't trust parents, trust politicians.

So please stop looking back at what did or didn't happen before and open your eyes to ideas that are something more substantial than a subtle nuance of existing Labour policy.

There is much debate on this site about who is a moderniser and who is reactionary. The reactionaries argue that the policies of the past have given this country almost complete dominance of the political agenda for the past 150 years, i.e. a Conservative government. The modernisers argue that New Labour has changed the tone of the political debate, and that the zeitgeist is a left of centre consensus which does not upset the applecart. I remember in the 1970s, the zeitgeist was of state control, union power, wage and price regulation. Yes, that's what the British people had become accustomed to. Then came a politician who begged to differ, saw the zeitgeist as a roadblock to what our country could become. I don't have to mention her name, but if David Cameron had an ounce of the guts that she had to take on the vested interests of the state, to empower the individual, then he would deserve our support. Unfortunately, his bid is to be Prime Minister, come what may. Love her or not, Margaret Thatcher took huge risks to complete her vision. Call me Dave is Mr Zeitgeist.

Not so - most Conservatives don't even know this site exists, most that know it exists don't comment, most of those that comment are performing the job of doing Chad Noble's work for him and turning this site into UKIPHome.

Keep it up; it seems to be what Tim wants for his blog as he doesn't seem very interested in a Conservative government being elected.

Wasnt there a guy in Shakespeare called Oberon who was away with the fairies? This one's no exception.

These guys crease me up. Marching in obedient lockstep with Shameron and Blu-Labour all the way to the cliff edge and right over.

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee - splat!!!!!

These guys are incapable of original thought.

"Not so - most Conservatives don't even know this site exists, most that know it exists don't comment"

OK pal. Where are they then. All these loyal Cameroonie "Conservatives"?

I think they're fading away. Shameron has come out in his true colours and they dont like it.


You are right.

"Dave" (along with his privileged Etonian, and subsequent Oxbridge and Bullingdon chums) was probably enjoying his gap year when I first met Lady Thatcher. I never knew who the chocolate orange inspector was until I heard a BBC report headlining by reference to Maggie. Whatever he or anyone else thinks, Thatcher changed our history for the better. Trying to compare him with Maggie is IMO a complete watse of time.

Presumably "Oberon" Houston is another Socialist judging by the drive; he posted above.

Aged 36 and raised on a small upland farm in the North of Scotland. I went to the local state school where I did moderately well academically, but only excelled at middle-distance running. I initially worked on a local construction yard that made large oil rigs for the North Sea. After a few years there, I went to university to study Civil Engineering. After graduating I returned to the company that owned the construction yard in Scotland, but now worked as a Structural Engineer designing North Sea oil platforms in Wimbledon.

In 1999 I obtained a Masters Degree in “Petroleum Engineering” from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, and after working for a number of years for BP, I moved to London to work for an American Oil Company called ‘Amerada Hess’ where I work as a Senior Reservoir Engineer. I am married with one son who is 16.

Stephen Tolkinghorne is 100% right.

That would, in my experience here, be a first...

John, why are you continuing to try and make this a fight?

It's good to see so many loyal Tories now on this site to attack Cameron

I think, with respect, that you're slightly confused as to what you should be "attacking". As well as, presumably, about the meaning of the word "loyal". Although admittedly, as we're all Conservatives, you might historically be part of a pretty big club!!

I want to focus our fire on beating our political opponents in Labour, the LibDems and the minority parties, not on our own Party. You don't?

We have an incoming Labour leadership to oppose, we've had good local election results, and mutiny is the best you can come up with as your contribution to move us forward? Forgive me if I don't think you've just done much to favour the "the grassroots members should be listened to" argument. Henry Mayhew's post above about contributions to policy development (although he and I have frequently disagreed!) was far more thoughtful in that regard.

This is a discussion between real modernisers ...and the fake modernisers

That's funny, "Chelloveck" (a.k.a. Chad Noble?). I thought you'd just turned it into a conversation between one mad UKIP supporter (frequently banned, but can't quite seem to get the message) and a bunch of Conservatives!

Trying to compare him with Maggie is IMO a complete watse of time.

Oh I don't know. She was the grocer's daughter in Lincolnshire and his father-in-law, boyfriend of his chief adviser's girlfriend, is lord of the Manor in Lincolnshire

Upstairs Downstairs in 21st Century England

"Chelloveck" is "Человек"

...and to summarise;

Labour sets schools targets,Cameroons want to set schools structures but modernisers want to set schools free.

I'm sorry Tim, but you're right, it wouldn't be a Conservative government elected. If you drove a cortina with a capri badge on it, would it make it a capri? To drive the point home, shall I accept anything that Dave tells me to accept? After all he's the leader of the "conservative" party, so if I disagree with him, I'm not a tory? Tim, I'm not that desperate for power, that I would dump my principles for a "SDP" tory party. From what you've said is that you would accept any policies as long as it gives you power. Tim, you're not a tory, you don't like Labour, and you want power. Terrific.

The trouble was that for the past two weeks we have not had an effective opposition and we have let the pending Scottish Prime Minister make all the running. We should remember how merciless Brown and Blair were in destroying the credibility of John Major day in and day out- we should be doing the same no to them. You destoy the Government first and then people listen. From the recent comments by the "old guard" in the party I begin to wonder whether they really want the Tories to win.Either follow Cameron or loose.

From the recent comments by the "old guard" in the party I begin to wonder whether they really want the Tories to win.

You're only just beginning to wonder that, Michael? I've been thinking that for quite a while regarding some of our fellow contributors here!

Fortunately, back in the off-line world, I'm reassured that that will to win is far higher among my Conservative Association colleagues!

Re "We should remember how merciless Brown and Blair were in destroying the credibility of John Major day in and day out": it wasn't that difficult.

Anti-Cameron sentiments are largely devalued by their argument that Cameron is 'SDP' and 'socialist'.

Laughable! He is clearly not. Infact, he's pretty much the embodiment of the pragmatic Toryism of old.

Any school political history textbook would show you that.

Most of the posters on here are ideological Thatcherite Neo-Liberals, froffing at the mouth to privatise the NHS and cut taxes to a minimum. I contend that rather than liberal conservatives being 'fake Tories', it is this loony right that are in the wrong place.

Actually Edison, the chocolate orange inspector sets off waves of nostalgia for my 80s Oxford days when in my experience ex-Etonians were falling over themselves to associate themselves with the then latest modernisers the SDP having tired of the real thing, Labour.

I refuse to believe that some of the commentators here are in any way representative of mainstream Conservative opinion. I never come across people like John Irvine and Stephen Tolkinghorne at any Conservative events I've attended. Thank God for that!
I wouldn't really describe them as 'old guard' either, more neanderthal really.
Has the 'pending Scottish prime minister' really made any running in the last two weeks Michael?
I've seen or heard very little from him at all. For that we can take much comfort.

If you drove a cortina with a capri badge on it, would it make it a capri?

Actually the Capri was one of Ford's neat pieces of packaging because on performance it was actually inferior to the Cortina until they developed souped models.

I really think they did themselves damage by getting rid of Cortina, Granada, Capri - they were a better series than modern Fords.

I refuse to believe that some of the commentators here are in any way representative of mainstream Conservative opinion. I never come across people like John Irvine and Stephen Tolkinghorne at any Conservative events I've attended.

That is a shocking admission. Surely inclusivity and diversity should mean that such views are represented in Conservative events.

If you are attending such monochromatic events where everone nods in synchronised agreement you are certainly not reaching out to the electorate; maybe that is the problem

Perhaps Tomtom although to describe any Conservative event as 'monochromatic' is as I'm sure you are aware if you've been to any completely inaccurate.
The level of debate is usually of a much higher level than people like Irvine or Tolkinghorne are seemingly capable of.

Obviously any light-tough-moderated internet web-site like this is going to have some comments from people trying to stir up trouble. But that doesn't mean that the overall sentiments don't tell us something worth knowing.

Personally, I'm of the opinion that Cameron is an good leader and would make a fine prime minister if we were privileged enough to win. I also think that his instinct that simply digging in and waiting for Labour to self-destruct was inadequate was clearly correct. Furthermore, he obviously doesn't want to be aiming to pander to "core-vote-Tory" concerns. Any leader worth his salt was going to have to do some things that might irritate parts of the Party.

I make suggestions here in the aspiration to assist us in thinking how to make an already-good pitch even better, to avoid some of the current weaknesses in our pitch becoming exposed, and to try to encourage us all to believe that we can sell Conservatism to the voters. In many ways it is on this last point that I think there is the largest difference between Cameron and some others. I actually believe in Conservative ideas, and I believe that when we pursue them with prudent vigour, then the public will believe in them, also, and we will achieve important incremental improvements in people's lives. That's an objective worth aiming at.

Now of *course* it is true that we must take proper account of what is feasible. But it seems to me that the leadership of our Party, for the past ten years, has ceased to believe that Conservative ideas can be sold. It seems to me that they honestly believe that people voted for Tony Blair in 1997 because they wanted a bit more Socialism; because they wanted a bit more spent on health and education; because they didn't want anything else privatised; and a host of related ideas. I think that the leadership of our Party has believed this (to me bizarre) analysis for the past ten years (with the possible exception of the period 2001-2003), and as a consequence has felt that it could not argue for Conservative remedies in health and education and welfare. At the same time the debate among policy practitioners has come to be so overwhelmingly dominated by Conservative ideas that New Labour has found itself (not of its own choosing) unable, in practice, to do anything other than try to implement the weakest forms of Conservative solution available. The great irony of the past ten years is that the only significant group of people that doesn't believe that Conservative ideas are sellable has been the leadership of the Conservative Party.

I think Cameron and Osborne really do believe in Conservatism. And even if they don't, if they were to be elected their lack of belief would be irrelevant in health and education, since all the policies their civil servants and consultants would offer them would be Conservative ideas.

And when I say Conservative ideas, I don't mean "privatise the lot" or something potty like that. Conservative thinkers aren't daft. They've been devising solutions to these problems for decades. They have solutions that will work and will serve the interests of the poor and the middle classes (Gordon Brown's "hard working families").

We are right. Believe it. Then argue for it. Otherwise what you will find is that other people that believe in these things will argue against you, and you will continuously and unnecessarily face attack from people on your own side that just want to make the world a better place.

Perhaps Tomtom although to describe any Conservative event as 'monochromatic'

As a veteran of 25 or so Party Conferences I would indeed describe 80% of the activity as refreshingly 'monochromatic'

OTOH I have met plenty of wild and wacky people who make John Irvine and Stephen Tolkinghorne look extremely boring.

One of the best was the kilt-wearing YC who well and truly proved that nothing is worn out or indeed worn at all under 'The garb of auld Gaul' in full view of John and Norma Major.

I think that was the same year another YC in a union jack waistcoat lurched across to Major and told him exactly what he thought of him in various 4-letter words.

I fear that our Malcolm has lived a sheltered life.

The level of debate is usually of a much higher level than people like Irvine or Tolkinghorne are seemingly capable of.

Indeed, Malcolm has clearly not attended a conference for some years.

The old style debates - at one of which I was once privileged to propose a resolution - have now mostly been superseded by carefully stage-managed 'theme sessions'

Not an improvement in my opinion.

kingbongo, 21:56, your right, this is becoming a bad joke, think I need to take another extended leave. Pity, I enjoy contributing to this site, but not like this.

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