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You have written an article in which you claim that David Cameron is partly to blame for Quentin Davies' defection. Is that what you believe? Seriously?

his same attitude partly explains Quentin Davies’ extraordinary defection. Mr Davies felt that noone in the Tory leader’s team was taking his concerns seriously

Davies defected to a party which shares not a single one of his attitudes because David Cameron, or his lieutenants, did ... what? Didn't put him in the shadow cabinet? (thank God). Didn't act on his views? You're saying that if we stick with the modernising agenda we risk losing more gay-hating practitioners of animal cruelty, straight out of Bufton-Tufton central casting? Oh goody.

Tim, an interesting piece, but I would say this:

I don't agree that this site is the 'home of the grassroots', it is fast becoming the home of the right within our party and a frequent stop-over for those who are so far right that they find our party too moderate for their tastes, or only get satisfaction from attacking our leadership.

Secondly, If you wish this party to become the home of the 'and theory', can you please dedicate a page to this subject. I personally find it hard to work my way through a piece only to find the punch line is another endorsement of this approach. I realise it is a thought close to your heart, but open debate is stifled sometimes when this subject is inserted into an otherwise inviting piece.

I'm sorry if this post comes across so negative, I really do appreciate your work here. You are to be congratulated for the success of Conservativehome.com, as one of the first bloggers on the site, and the very first 'Your platform' contributor, I think your efforts, and now of course that of Sam, are highly commendable. However, with great success comes great responsabilty!

I agree with Oberon.

Many of the Tory grassroots tend to read over the site and pass by on the commenting and the monthly survey. Party moderates struggle to keep their heads above water on here and some former regulars have simply stopped posting.

Neither does it help that now ConHome is so established it now gets quoted in the press and often provides rich pickings for those in the media wishing to add some substance to an anti-Cameron slant. It's a great site for news, and for informed articles but the more public input seems to attract trolls, the disgruntled and the selfish.

Oh, change the record O-bore-on. We get the message, you don't agree.

Now can you stop starting every whine, sorry post, in the same way?

Tim - an excellent tour d'horizon but you say you struggle to understand why the reaction to the grammar school's row was so heated.

"David Cameron also handled the row badly. Rather than seeking to reassure grassroots Tories and unhappy MPs he dismissed their concerns as “delusional” and the whole debate as “pointless”.

I have been involved with education for many years and regard it very highly, as do many people. I was vastly annoyed at the "delusional" comment and thought that Cameron should have apologised unreservedly - and promptly. Instead he let it go on.

Two reasons why he should not have said what he said when he said it (i) it pre-empts what the policy review group will come up with and (ii) I thought the tories were firmly in favour of localism. If they are, why can't the type of schools in a community be for that community to choose?

TomTom told me in answer to my specific question that there are over 3000 equivalents to grammar schools in Germany, teaching over 2,000,000 pupils.
The 164 existing schools do a marvellous job but there are always going to be problems with so few.

Let Cameron apologise to the activists and let us put this behind us and move on. I might even rejoin the party!

It may sound churlish in these sentimental days, but can we avoid mentioning members of Mr Cameron's family? Naturally one wishes them well but they have NO place in the discussion of policy.

As to grammar schools, in the first place nobody needed to refer to them. In the second, to shift education policy, the tories should have said the following: that selection is good and that the surviving grammars work; that reintroducing them to areas which abolished them long ago might prove cumbersome and impractical; that therefore a neater way of restoring selection would be to insist on setting and streaming in existing comps. That way a core tory principle - selection - would have been vindicated, the grammars reassured and the grassroots delighted.

Talk of "entrenching social privilege", meanwhile, suggests that the tories have succumbed to socialist assumptions about the role of education, which CANNOT make up for the effects of deprivation. Its role is to make the best of those talents which have not been blunted by forces more powerful than itself. To do this it HAS to select. The comprehensive policy, instead, turns schools into the blunt instruments of envious social levelling. Can any conservative, can anyone not in fact a Marxist ever support such a programme? Of course not.

The leadership's tin ear for these nuances does not bode well. They seem to dance too tamely to the siren songs of Michael Portillo, whose political prescription of imitating Labour is cynical, undemocratic and defeatist.

Briefly touching on the rest of your article, it is all very well having policy reviews, but a conviction politician should know what he and his party think from his first day in parliament.

The climate is not a political issue. Even if we in the west started the changes - and there are significant scientific voices which deny it - there is nothing we can do about it now. Pandering to Luddite prejudice and pretending that India and China will impoverish themselves to save our white Christmases is little short of stupid. The climate is a classic Libdem piece of tomfoolery. Everyone acknowledges that it is important and ignores it in the ballot box. Mr Cameron should heed Dr Johnson and CLEAR HIS MIND OF CANT.

He should also - and this is crucial - not confuse reaching out to Liberals with becoming one. The centre ground is not refuge, it is a trap - or why would the Liberal party have been out of office for more than eighty years?

"The Shadow Education Secretary’s remarks also came after a number of other tensions between the leadership and the grassroots.... ...David Willetts’ grammar schools row was the last straw for many Tories."

For me it was Cameron's newspaper article where he said we shouldn't use the word Islamist because it would encourage more suicide bombers - basically parroting standard Islamist taqiyya dialectic, apparently completely obliviously.

That left me in a foul mood, and Willetts then attacking grammar schools a few days later was indeed the last straw.

An excellent critique of the Cameron programme from an observer who still remains broadly friendly towards Cameron.

Because Tim is not implacably opposed to Cameron and all his works, his words carry great weight

Oberon Houston - I don't agree that this site is the 'home of the grassroots', it is fast becoming the home of the right within our party

Here we go again with the same repetitive whingeing bleat. Mr Houston should take a look at today's Cameron v Brown thread where about 90% of the posts are from excitable 'Roons, albeit in many cases the same authors.

I suppose the problem is that much of the pro-DC stuff is mere self-congratulatory froth. I have no idea whether, as alleged, some of this guff comes from CCHQ, but I have to say I find some of the one-liners from previously unknown posters extremely suspicious.

On the other hand the negative criticism of those of us who have been around rather longer than the Roon brigade is increasingly grounded upon PR disasters such as Grammargate and Hug-a-Hoodie.

Which is why our comments achieve palpable and painful hits.

Graeme: Quentin Davies is ultimately responsible for his selfish decision but I'm not convinced that Team Cameron did enough to listen to his concerns - on one or two occasions they went out of their way to be confrontational. That's all I'm saying.

Oberon: For reasons that'll become clear I hope you'll like what I'll be posting over the next few days...

Afleitch: I keep deleting the excesses of trolls and the Cameroons have every opportunity to out-argue the malcontents on threads and YourPlatform...

I enjoy your web blog, Tim and your contributions, however I think the piece above smacks a little of all things to all men. The touchy, touchy, feely attitude towards the environment seems as if has been hijacked from the BBC.

The comments by Oberon and similair I do not find helpful. Oberon forgets that the Tory party is a "broad church," so we are always being told, but he wants to lock the door and keep us true believers out.

Thanks for providing the platform of ConservativeHome - excellent.

Because Tim is not implacably opposed to Cameron and all his works, his words carry great weight

So your words carry little weight, Traditional Tory?

Traditional Tory: Firstly, I can put my hand on my heart and swear that I have never posted under anything other than my real name on this site, and tht has been for a number of years now.

Secondly, most of the anon posts on this site are not pro-tory party, but excessive abuse of the same. Until, if, CH requires identification for ech post we will never know who anyone is unless their real names are used. You are included in this?

Finally, I stand by my comments regarding the bias of this site towards the right. Despite a real turn around in our parties fortunes, the most damming commentary of Cameron's leadership has originated right here on Conservativehome.com. The 'real voice' of the grassroots was lost in the daily torrent of abuse.

Cameron was voted in by the members of our party by a massive majority, and by even the most partisan labour commentators opinion, he has done extremely well.

Any challenge I might have as to the direction he has taken our party has been smothered by the extreme abuse he has recieved right here on CH.

The longer the idiots camp out on 'Comhome Common' the longer the rest of us have to mark time on quality debate and stand firm on the need to defend our party and it's leadership.

Thanks, Tim - I really do appreciate the glimmer of hope.

But O-bore-ron, you forget what really happened.

Cameron actually out 'right-winged' Davis during the leadership campaign in one crucial area, that has torn the Tory Party apart previously, and thus won the support of the 'right' with his unequivocal pledge for immediate EPP withdrawal.

Even you would admit that the 'right-wingers' would have naturally felt more comfortable voting for Fox or Davis over Cameron, but as Hannan noted, Cameron's bold and unequivocal immediate withdrawal pledge won them over the wishy-washy more splits and arguments for years withdrawal in 2009 promise of Davis.

What is built on a lie, is built on sand.

It's that straight-forward, unless the MEP's and MP's who openly admit to hearing and supporting Cameron because of the pledge are all lying.

If you believe that, then please avoid any ambiguity and say so.

Bullingdon Bertie: I'll delete future comments by you that include childish name-calling.

I have to say Tim I agree completely with Graeme Archer. What concerns did Quentin Davies raise that Cameron or his team ignored? I really, really hope that you were not refering to Davies' shameful behaviour during the enquiry to Iraq debate.
I assume both his resignation letter and the interview he gave to the New Statesman he allowed to be dictated by Labour spin doctors, which indicate that Quinten Davies is a man utterly devoid of personal honour. We are as a result better off without him.
The rest of your piece rings true though.


There is no doubt that Cameron faced a severe challenge during the Leadership Campaign, even after he was torpedoed by David Davis, on the MP vote, which was overturned.

But it was Liam Fox that first made the EPP pull-out pledge in this MP vote context, and given the close call of MP votes, Cameron had no choice but to match this or run away. Now with hindsight Fox would have gone through with his promise and we would now look like unelectable extremists, but the members vote won through (unexpected) and THIS is Camerons real mandate.

I no longer sit awake contemplating why a truly rubbish Labour Party are in power. Five minutes on this site tells me why,



Oberon, enough of your usual arrogant cant.The EPP pull-out would not mean that we are unelectable extremists, it would resonate with a majority of conservative( small c) minded people. I find the Conservative party's view not much different from all the political parties.In a nutshell they are all in denial over the European project and they have consistently deceived both the electorate and their own party members over the truth.

Really, Oberon Houston seems to object to debate per se. He cannot dismiss the objections to current conservative tactics by abusing all those who make them. The plea for unity, meanwhile, is surely irrelevant to a site which takes as its "raison d'etre" the vigorous exploration of alternatives. We are all conservatives but since we are many of us neither MPs, nor councillors, nor party members we are entitled to express ourselves as passionately as we like. Needless to say, this does not and should not allow for mindless abuse. Nor should it allow for pointless suggestions that contributors are "trolls" or stooges or plants. Even were this so, the points raised still have to be answered. If Mr Houston is dismayed by the prevalence of voices opposed to his own then he must quite simply argue his case all the more vigorously and persuasively. He is an articulate fellow; it is surely not beyond him.

Mr Editor, I must say I am sorry to have countered Mr Houston's arguments in company with Bullingdon Bertie. You suppressed one of his comments and then let an equally puerile piece of abuse come through. I imagine that this was an oversight.

If withdrawal from the EPP, i.e. not supporting a United States of Europe is an extremist position, then we will all be extremists in 2009 when Cameron pulls us out as this is *official* Tory Party policy.

How can you support a position you personally define as extremist Oberon?

Simon Denis (22:29) - I've overwritten it now - I don't always spot things immediately!

"How can you support a position you personally define as extremist Oberon?"

:) This made me laugh, I have to say. Obviously Oberon supports the policy of promising to withdraw, but not actually withdrawing...

Oberon Houston: "I don't agree that this site is the 'home of the grassroots', it is fast becoming the home of the right within our party"

Oberon, has it ever struck you that maybe, just maybe, the grassroots genuinely are more to the right than you are?

From personal experience of party members around the country, a lot of the concerns they have about PC, the EU, taxation, left wing paternalism and so on are in the majority.

If it is the case that commenters on this site are disproportionately from the Right (and there is no evidence to suggest so), surely the only way to change the balance is for the Left to get involved in the discussion as well? As a freedom-loving party, surely you aren't suggesting the site be centrally planned or censored to enforce your personal view of balance?

ok, I need to clarify something, the 'extreme' comment was related to who we would have been beside after EPP withdrawl and not related to the actual EPP withdrawl.

Simon Denis, I take your point, I am often too defensive on this site and need to be more objective, but I am loyal to, and support the party leadership and want them to succeed and often worry that we are our own worst enemy sometimes.

Nick, you are right, in my constituency and amongst many friends and colleagues there are always a significant number of folks who are to the right of the party, are anti-EU and low taxers. This is natural within any party activist group, but I don't accept that they are the majority of members. Would it be fair to say that the most vocal are those who are most, whats the word, further from the current consensus. I think that is true for constituency meetings, conference fringe meetings, and true for ConHome? Who knows, but I admit I am to the centre of the party and possibly too pragmatic about what we need to do to gain power.

Fair points from Mr Houston. We cannot reject the whole modernising agenda. First, some of it represents genuine progress. A minimum wage, for example, is a civilised measure. Who, hand on heart, could really stand up for sweat shops? Second, if we back into the yah-boo far-right nursery, nobody will want to know us - with some justice. Not only the comments but the tone of some contributors is nothing but repulsive hysteria. My point has usually been that whilst we must rejoin the political consensus where we can, there are some areas where we have always been on the side of the angels. Academic selection is one such issue. I am deeply sorry that Mr Houston should have felt hounded or alienated by fellow conservatives. Toryism at its best involves generosity and courtesy. Anger is part and parcel of debate but hatred and bitterness are not.

Cameronite or not. Vote YES to Free Europe Constitution at www.FreeEurope.info - and avoid brownmailing yourself.

I honestly don't mean to stoke flames. But I agree with Oberon regarding the perception of Conservative Home. Tim has successfully marketed it as "the voice of the grassroots" to the extent that it is quoted as such in mainstream media. I think this is untrue as the comment pages are dominated by posters who simply loathe the party leadership. I am not omniscient, so I can't tell whether they are opposition activists (though I think this is increasingly likely for some), disgruntled ultras from the unelectable right, and of course there are mixed in there those nice people who just happen to be on the right of the Tory distribution (where I usually am, believe it or not). The point is that my perception of this site is that it is dominated by those voices. I am as much a valid Tory activist as anyone else; so while I cannot claim that my existence means that my view of Toryism is the only correct one (and nor would I wish to), I can deduce that the claim that this site is "the voice of the grassroots" is untrue.

I also agree with Oberon that the energy required to counterbalance the leadership slagging that goes on is getting in the way of a serious conversation within the Tory family. We used to be able to discuss things like civil partnerships in relative good humour. I cannot conceive that this would be possible here now. The personal attack on Sayeeda Warsi I think is a genuine low. There are heaps of things that it would be *fascinating* to discuss with her. No chance of that now.

I strongly urge Tim to reconsider the comment policy, or to stop referring to this site as that which it is demonstrably not, the "voice" of the grassroots. Anonymous posting is ridiculous, particularly if it is posting which can be used to damage the reputation of the party.

It is tempting to use the cloak of anonymity to release your inner id. "Hope Nott" may have stood in for me in the past once or twice, to my shame. I can't believe that some of the people who use pseudonyms would be so vicious were they to be asked to reveal their name. I really can't believe it, or I'd despair, and that is far too much the default Tory emotion to be indulged in this way (remember Margaret Drabble).

I've said several times that if the blogosphere is to mature into something genuinely beneficial to democracy it needs to be more accountable. I think the time is long overdue that this site required posts to carry peoples names,


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