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This is very much to be welcomed and it will be a forum for genuine hard-working Conservatives to have their input. A forum such as the CPC used to provide and although it was re-launched as the Conservative Policy Forum it seems never to have been quite the same again.

The CPC used to run superb Summer Schools which were held at Universities during the summer vacation - usually one year Oxford, one year Cambridge though I remember one year going to York. These were fantastic opportunities not only to hear superb speakers from both within the Party and outside experts, but also to make lifelong friends. I think these should be revived so that a new generation of Conservatives can benefit.

Well Sally, as a former Association CPC Chairman (or are we expected to say 'Chair' these days) I couldn't agree more.

Although the formal questions were always angled towards party policy everybody seemed to spend 60% of the time discussing the one at the end 'Wht are you most concerned about at the moment'

Call me cynical, however, but I have had a feeling for a long time that intelligent (or indeed unintelligent) grassroots discussion is not what the party wants to hear these days. What they actually want is carefully selected types of people telling them what they want to hear.

Do you suppose, for instance, that the 'centre' is going to announce 'We consulted the grassroots and association after association told us that their really big concerns are immigration, the EU, and the countryside being built over, so we're going to act decisively on those three things.'

Can't see that somehow.

The party has always been good at stage-management but nothing could have prepared anybody for the staggering de-democratisation of 21st century Tory conferences.

If I were you I would be prepared for a big disappointment.

Sorry to see you so cynical, Traditional Tory! I may be disappointed.. I may not - but I can't help wondering if your cynicism may be because you feel that the caravan has moved on and you are left running along behind?!

The Caravan may well have moved on but it seems to not only be moving in the wrong direction but also is in danger of losing it's way altogether, which is why so many are reluctant to follow it, let alone run along behind.

"he Caravan may well have moved on but it seems to not only be moving in the wrong direction but also is in danger of losing it's way altogether, which is why so many are reluctant to follow it, let alone run along behind."


Seems like a good idea to me. It may end in disappointment and these things may be quite difficult for the party to manage let alone stage manage but if all enter these discussions in a constructive manner then perhaps a number of good ideas can be gleaned. I wonder if some of the usual suspects are even capable of that?

"....any bright ideas that have been missed, and giving Team Cameron an idea of what is popular."

Looking good though I do share Traditional Tory's worry that the response to:
"..really big concerns are immigration, the EU and the countryside .." ( to which I would add the fragmention of UK without adequate post-devolution democratic provision for England) might be disregarded.

In politician-speak (any party), a policy that resonates with the people and the hierarchy like is called "popular". If it resonates but is not to the hierarchy's taste, it is dismissed as "populist"!

I so want the Tories to become electable again but to regain my vote they have first to stand up for the country at large, not just vociferous pressure groups or latest fashionable fads.

Good stuff, I like the sound of this, particularly if we get the internet closely involved - that's how we're going to get the under 25s on board.

This sounds a great idea, as long as it doesn't go the way of the big conversation.

It's a good idea, but I have to agree with Traditional Tory and his misgivings about the leadership implementing anything they don't agree with.

Let's face it, they've pre-empted some of the policy groups already so why should they be trusted to be genuine about this? We'll have to wait and see I suppose.

Andrew, for once you and I agree on something (hurrah!!!) - Until you mentioned it I'd completely forgotten about the Big Conversation!

Is this more of Cameron's hypocritical lip service to democracy? He told us 18 months ago that he was going to trust the people and decentralise - but he is not doing it.

For example, on St.George's Day the Party Board - with Cameron's backing - took away the Party members right to deselect incumbent MEPs.

Another important example is the question of state-funding of political parties. The overwhelming majority of the public are aginst this (including 70% of Conservative Party members) but Cameron is nevertheless still committed to doing it.

Is this 'new' policy going to mean an about-turn on the question of grammar schools?

Does it mean we now have permission to talk about Europe? (Where 80% of our government now is.)

Or is it just another insincere slice of spin?

IDEA number 1. Growth of the economy by increasing productivity and living standards, not by increasing the population.

Undo all the disincentives to work and support ourselves that Broon has enacted. Move taxation to its efficient level where it collects more money at lower rates.

IDEA 2. Stop encouraging divorce/idleness/excessive birth rate by giving single parents £487 a week for 16 hours work through tax credits - the same amount given to marrieds only at 116 hours a week of work....Gordon's cynical assault on marriage/work and self responsibility purely to manufacture a state dependent population guaranteed to vote Labour.

GET US OUT. Play Britain's Song for Europe every day on every TV channel and radio station 'Please Release Me. Let Me Go.'

This was intended to be a short post but.....

I, like many want lower taxes, withdrawal to the greater extent from Europe,decentralised government, controlled immigration, a return of our liberty, more democracy, better law and order and so forth but I also want a better NHS, better Education and a better society in general.

I have taken time since the grammar school debate to try and understand a lot more about the policies proposed. I did so because I was deciding whether to renew my party membership. I have not been convinced by Cameron. However, I have renewed it.

The fact is I cannot find a policy which actually conflicts with my conservative ideals. In fact they could be viewed as laying the foundations of a new conservative era. I am beginning to believe it is the only the start and that should Cameron be elected there will be more to come in subsequent governments should they be successful.

I'll agree that most of the policies do not go as far as I would want them to. However, what else can Cameron do?

Labour has wrecked this country and anyone who thinks that sweeping conservatism from the outset is going to put this country to rights is wrong! It will more likely make it worse!

Cameron would be a fool to promise us or the country the earth in his first two years. I expect any Conservative Government would need longer than that to sort out Blair's real legacy and get government working again.

Anyway I don't think the electorate would buy it.

So we will have to show some patience.

Is Cameron being honest with us? I don't know but I know this. I am only going to find out if he is elected Prime Minister.

Before that we cannot keep maligning him. If we do we will only ensure that Labour wins.

If Cameron is replaced before the election it will also ensure a Labour victory.

Cameron has enough to worry about with the media and the public without constant muttering from within the party.

The problem I think is in the language and perspective that some of policies are being presented.

What Cameron does need to do is deal with this presentation problem and deal with it now. In particular as Ken Stevens(13:15)points out he needs to stop the faddism and also Blairite references. Hopefully Coulson can make a difference here.

So finally to the original thread. I welcome the plan but fear that if not framed properly it will just end up as another squabbling shop.

Prior to that I would like to see a summary produced, outlining all the major policy positions as they stand so that I and others have a basis on which to contribute further.

I believe that providing the bigger picture might help alleviate some of the concerns that are so apparent.

Now, to more entertaining considerations.....

What should we do with Blair when we get to power if he signs that damn treaty?

Is the Tower Of London taking guests at the moment? Is Elba for hire?

Re: 601's Response "WTF!"
Because it's the difference between having a Conservative Party standing at the next election as a clone of New Labour and losing or, standing with it's own clear identity and policies, such as those mentioned by "tapestry" and those the majority of the grassroots want to see in place and winning.

Please, not like Labour's "Big Conversation" where only carefully selected "members of the public" were invited to the meetings. And, please, don't use taxpayers' money, directly or indirectly, either - try passing buckets round the audience and asking for donations to defray the cost of the hall, publicity etc.

Policies? Dunno, you tell me what they should be - Leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party

stand up,SPEAK OUT
SPEAK UP Europe--------------pro EU
SPEAK OUT--------------------pro EU reform

Could be confusing.

Ken Stevens @ 13.15:

"I so want the Tories to become electable again but to regain my vote they have first to stand up for the country at large, not just vociferous pressure groups or latest fashionable fads".

My view entirely; I have just decided not to renew my membership (before I saw this post, so I am happy to be persuaded by the forthcoming debates to take it up again.

This time, my vote will have to be earned and if I do not like the eventual manifesto, I will not vote for the tories.

If however the party turns to iberal conservativism, as promoted by Tim (and Sam?), then I will have no difficulty in voting for them.

I hope we will get some idea soon where we are really heading on education, taxation, immigration, civil liberties, Europe, localisation etc.

I am at present a CPF Chairman and, long ago, attended a really wizzing CPC group. The differences are huge, somehow people, even party members, seem far less interested in policies these days. Looking for reasons I wonder if Labour's treck from socialism has reduced government/politics to less interesting technical issues.

ALSO, it seems to me that politics is at least about presentation as policies and Central Office havn't or won't come to terms with consulting the party over that. We are still behind on presentation even though much improved under Cameron, remember at the last election - people liked our policies until they found out they were ours! It is no good having a thunping meeting over, say, Europe without part of the issue being taking electors along with you. Too many party members see the party as a vehicle to push their policies without the responsibility of selling the policies to electors that don't like or trust us.

On the other hand, getting the CPF/CPC going again requires some big push like that proposed, so, maybe, that's the idea.

David Belchamber. You will renew your membership if the party supports the Liberal Conservatism of Tim and Sam.Do you actually read what they and the people who support them on this site actually write. Its about as far away from Liberal Conservatism as you can get.
This site says its the voice of the Conservative rank and file. If it is its a stain on the reputation of the Conservative Party.
Follow the policies put forward by the people on this site and the party will be still out of power when Leo Blair is drawing his pension.

I think this is a brilliant idea. And something I would really, really like to get through to David Cameron is - please, please can we have LESS emphasis on statistics in the next conservative administration, in fact do away with 'TARGETS' altogether. I think that these two policies are the most pernicious to have been advanced by this government. They may not have been started by this government, but they have certainly been given more emphasis and applied to more areas of society. And the main function of statistics and 'targets' is to enable Blair and his ministers like Hewitt to stand at the Despatch Box, and reel off platitudes of how well the statistics show that they have done, although anybody who knows anything, KNOWS that statistics can be 'organised' to say anything!

Quite right, Patsy! As Disraeli once said; "lies, damned lies and statistics"! Nulab loves them all!!!

In principle this sounds like an excellent idea - anything that contributes to a meaningful break with the idea of simply seeking office in order to manage what Blair has left behind (aka "heir to Blair", "accepting the Blairite settlement" etc) has to be encouraged. In context John @ 16.22 has made one of the best points of all - this is not going to be something to achieve in a single Big Bang but it is going to take a while, so let's see the conviction to make it happen. (Possible chance for a cross-reference to 100 Policies here?)

Have missed most of the last 2 weeks' debate thanks to a California holiday (from where I'm posting at present - how sad!) - perhaps this development will deter any thought of asking Arnie for political asylum?

One of the most refreshing notes I have seen from DC so far and sounds extremely promising. Perhaps the power of the blog has now been recognised....

Once this reaches the Constituencies, I just hope that it successfully radiates out to those who feel most detached from the Parliamentary Party; that may actually mean going beyond the paid-up Membership.

I hope that this is a serious turning point, as engaging with the grassroots in such a way AND acting upon the information provided will be a giant step in the direction towards Government.

Jack Stone @ 19.32:

"David Belchamber. You will renew your membership if the party supports the Liberal Conservatism of Tim and Sam.Do you actually read what they and the people who support them on this site actually write".

Yes, Jack, I read very carefully what Tim said when he outlined his political manifesto and I found that his view coincided very substantially with my own.

Read his post today on Progressive Conservatism.

I do not like the centrism of the Blair/Brown government, nor do I like the bureaucracy, the nanny state, the lies, and above all the sheer incompetence of most things they do.

I would just add to "Progessive Conservatism" the thought that it should be underpinned by "compassionate efficiency".

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