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David Cameron as said that he believes in all those things he as been putting forward since being elected, the family, the NHS, the environment etc.The move to the centre is part of the strategy but its also where we should be if we want to solve the problems the country has.
We should all be getting behind the party leader and backing him not forever trying to stab him in the back!

I've been a Conservative member for over 40 years and held office in the party etc. over that time, but now I'm beginning to wonder what it is all for. If we can't have lower taxes, green countryside, quality/selection in education. less government, more individual liberty, proper punishment for criminals, less immigration etc., what's the point?

If the leader doesn't believe in anything, then we're no better off than under Blair.
Not just me, fewer and fewer people support any political party, abstention gees up and up, 'others' get more and more support in the polls. All three main political parties are pushing exactly the same message, the 'centre ground' which isn't really there, the whole thing is totally uninspiring.

Let's have a Conservative Party that supports Britain and Conservative values.

Editor - I couldn't agree more. Its not good enought to say where you want to be and leave it at that. He needs to explain, not only how, but why. WE NEED TO KNOW WHAT MAKES HIM TICK - WHY IS HE A CONSERVATIVE

Editor - I couldn't agree more. Its not good enought to say where you want to be and leave it at that. He needs to explain, not only how, but why. WE NEED TO KNOW WHAT MAKES HIM TICK - WHY IS HE A CONSERVATIVE

clive, I for one couldn't agree more!

DC doesn't get it.

He fails to recognise that the problems of the Conservative party in the past lie with a number of MP's who have brought the party into disrepute and not the grass roots who he has gone out of his way to irritate.

The choice of candidate for Ealing was questionable.

Having met Tony Lit, he came across as a likeable guy, but was he that much better than any other candidate who has done their time working loyally for the party over, sometimes, many years? I'm not sure.

Certainly whoever imposed TL on Ealing was extremely foolish, if for no other reason, for trampling on the local people who actually do the work on the ground.

I'm not sure what DC means by the comfort zone. If anything it is DC who is in the comfort zone of mid stream amorphous bland and politically correct politics. The tepid drink that people spit out of their mouths because it is neither hot nor cold.

"That's a political strategist talking - not a conviction politician"

Good. Tony Benn was a conviction politician-look how he fared.

Did the poll lead we had enjoyed since last March or thereabouts flow from a distinct and proclaimed moving away from “the comfort zone”? Debatable. Arguably more attributable to the triple whammy that beset Charles Clarke, John Prescott and Patricia Hewitt together within the space of a few days.

In context, it is all very well to say Listen to us, We’ve changed, We’re so nice and so in touch nowadays – but it does not in its own right answer the question “what would you do differently?” That’s where the substance and the conviction is needed – to come out with a clear message as to what will be done under a Tory government, how, and when, rather than leave the impression that the government’s ineptitude simply needs a change of management.

As I have mentioned on another recent thread, the fact that we were able to win by elections in an impoverished inner city seat (Birmingham Stechford) and a mining seat (Ashfield) in the late 70s ought to refute any belief that the two comparable constituencies this time around were inherently hopeless. Could it be that conviction politics was the missing element here?

I am truly confused about what Mr Cameron is trying to project. Yes, the Conservative party did need to change to appeal to a changed electorate, but did core Conservative values need to be so completely ditched? Right now I am sick as mud that I voted in the local elections for the Conservative candidate, who turned up on my doorstep and categorically assured me that weekly bin collections would be restored. The Conservatives took control of the Council, but did they keep the promise I was given on my doorstep? Did they, hell no! "There will be no return to weekly bin collections". So did I have one errant lying prospective councillor on my doorstep, or was it Conservative policy to lie to the electorate?

That is my feeling right now. Mr Cameron probably does espouse Conservative values, but is willing to do anything at all to get elected and then implement them. Do I want to vote for that kind of duplicity? Honourable exception for IDS, who produced a FINE report, silliness about increasing taxes on alcohol notwithstanding, which I have yet to see championed as Conservative policy.

Well if that is a political strategist talking then he wants to rethink his strategy. Give me a conviction politician any day.
Will he never learn that things are not going the way he sees it going. After 41 years as Cllr and 20 years as a Group Leader,I have been able to overcome all sorts of attacks on my position and retired in May 07 undefeated.I have always advised young politicians that in policy matters,they should never take a step foward until they have thought about where the next step is likely to lead them. That way you do not take a knee jerk reaction but think it out.

"He describes the move to the centre ground as essential to ensure that voters listen to the Tories again. That's a political strategist talking - not a conviction politician. He should be explaining that his deepest beliefs are the reasons for the changes the party is making. He should be connecting everything he has done - not to some political marketing plan - but to his commitment to the family, the NHS and to a Britain able to govern itself."

I am sorry but I think that he is both a strategist and a conviction politician which is what we need. I also think that comment is extremely unfair and unwarranted because I think that he has been connecting everything he does to the family, NHS and small government.
One comment on Brown's first few weeks as PM, those that think he the anecdote to the Blair years should sit back and reflect on what we have actually been seeing from him.
Has there been any signs of improvement in some of the area's causing the most concern like the NHS, the situation with the armed forces or the response to the flooding and the terrorist threat????
No, No, No there is nothing new or improved just an extremely slick media operation from one of the main architects of the New Labour project. This is the man that has squandered billions in the NHS and who has starved our armed forces to third world proportions while his colleague ran around writing cheques with neither the men, equipment or money in the bank for his foreign policy.
This is the man who froze the Home Office budget and now we are struggling against a real terrorist threat and watching criminals go free because we don't have the room to house them.
But the best example was last night when he talked % increases in help for councils struggling with the effects of the flooding.
What does an increase from 85% to 100% mean, is it a £5 or £100,000, he is banking on the fact that you won't be bothered to find out because that might actually reveal just how much this government has failed to do in maintaining the basic flood defences in some areas like looking after and maintaining the drains!!!!
Some on here criticise Cameron for being a PR politician, well he is up against a man who will use that tool effectively to hide his lack of courage, conviction and any real new answers to the problems facing our country.

Well said Editor.

From where I am standing as a life long conservative Cameron has nothing to offer me or my family.

"Well said Editor.

From where I am standing as a life long conservative Cameron has nothing to offer me or my family."

This is self indulgent naval gazing at its worst, so your happy with a Labour government and right wing debating sitting opposite????
We are past the stage of being able to afford to be able to sit having these debates, but Brown & Co are banking on us running true to form and doing so while they romp home to a 4th victory in the next GE.
I remember a Labour MP saying that he could not believe Labour's luck at the way we behaved to IDS and it almost meant that they were left unopposed for months while our party indulged in more infighting!!!!!!
Every time we have a leader who tries to improve things we have a group who see their job as attacking him rather than the government benches.

Scotty

At least I could support IDS; Cameron IMO stands for nothing.

And BTW Scotty, if Cameron's purpose is to ensure the electorate cannot put a fag paper between the Tories and Labour, a plague on both their houses.

Great to see David Cameron fighting back against his detractors. If the Conservative party is to win the next election it must stay in the middle ground and reflect the mainstream. Faliure to do this will see the party marginalized yet again. David's critics need to understand that its not about what we want, our personal portfolio of policies, but rather what will work for our nation as a whole. We all think we are right. Thats natural. We are all egocentric. However we need to be pragmatic and realistic. David is trying to make the party electable, to do that he needs to appeal to the broadest base of people. While at the same time creating policy that is right for the country. Its a difficult task. He has done well so far.

Tony Makara - “This is not about what we want…”

I think that says it all really!

If the Conservative party is to win the next election it must stay in the middle ground and reflect the mainstream.

What a banal comment....."reflect"...so it has no purpose other than passively reflecting the views of others ?

David's critics need to understand that its not about what we want, our personal portfolio of policies, but rather what will work for our nation as a whole.

So it is bloc votes not OMOV ?

PS

If Cameron cannot be bothered to wear a tie, why bother with the shirt? His shirts IMO look so untidy without a tie. I realise as a former pupil at Eton, an undergraduate at Oxford, and a member of the Bullingdon he may be tired of dress codes. (I dumped my dining society jacket some time ago). Nevertheless whilst he may consider my offer otiose I am more than happy to give him sartorial lessons if he wants them.

I think Mr Makara we can all take it as read that we don't get everything we want in the portfolio of policies offered by politicians from differing groups and parties. The problem with the Cameron is he not only appears to offer traditional/natural conservatives very little (from my perspective almost nothing) and seems pleased with himself for so doing. I won't vote for that.

The centre ground is crowded with lefty, lib/dems. What is the point of being the same as them. Oh I forgot, this is the new Liberal/Conservative Party!!!

I was told by my MP that they had to attract the Lib/dems if they are to get into Government. No wonder most of those who have been supporters of the Party are disillusioned.

Tony Makara

Good points.

Personally I would like to see amongst other things:

*Lower taxes for people on low and middle incomes
*Higher defence spending
*An elected House of Lords with more powers

However, I know I can't get my way on point 2 and point 1 is not easy if you can't find the money through cutting specific things.

Democracy is about compromise - you can't impose your will on others. So if you are democratic, you have to recognise that in politics. To say "I want tax cuts" is to ignore what other people want. If you want to win an election, you have to look at what voters want to see.

If, however, you refuse to change and offer what people want to see then you have only two options available to you:

1. Stay in Opposition
2. Launch a coup to impose autocratic rule

If you're happy with #1, bully for you - but don't complain because you're always behind in the polls.

Raj

I cannot see you getting any of you wish list with the Tories apart perhaps from an elected Lords which whilst admirable won't affect the condition of the people as much as the other two.

CCTV

so it has no purpose other than passively reflecting the views of others ?

What are you suggesting - that the Tories ignore what a majority of people want? That they say "we know what's best for you so do as we say?"

Sounds like Labour's centralist way of governing much more than Cameron's approach. Torygirl seems to have the same ideas.

But you can't win elections by appealing to a minority of voters - you need to reach out to people in the middle too.

If that results in some right-wing Conservatives throwing a temper-tantrum because they're not dominating the party's agenda and not voting, that's their problem.

You should thoroughly be ashamed of yourselves if you can't stand the heat of a short term and expected Brown bounce. If you can't keep your heads during periods of crisis and draw daggers against your leader at the first opportunity (and yes it happened to IDS too) you're not fit to remain members of this party and we're not fit to govern.

Bill, you didn't read my post preoperly - I said I knew I won't get my way on those points. I mean that for any of the main parties, not just the Conservatives.

The whole point is that despite what I want, I am merely one voter and cannot expect to have more influence than one voter can. I can make a case for what I believe, but I have to respect the majority if I believe in democracy.

Throwing a temper-tantrum because I didn't get my way would not be mature.

For someone like me who is not into all these PR / marketing talk:

How can Cameron claim to be "centre grund"? Isn't the "centre ground" supposed to be in the centre? Why is most of it to the left of Labour?

What does "retreat to the comfort zone" mean?

To clarify one important thing - I do believe David Cameron has core convictions but these convictions must be at the heart of how he talks to the nation. Talking about how he intends to reconnect with voters is the wrong way of framing his appeal.

Why is most of it to the left of Labour?

That is not a good way to think about politial parties. They are rarely fixed in one position. Some Labour policies - like ID cards - are right-wing; others are more left.

Tories can be to the left of Labour on something ID cards and in the centre ground.

What does "retreat to the comfort zone" mean?

I guess that would be to bring up the old policies like cut taxes regardless of how the economy does, limit immigration, rant & rave about Europe, etc.

"but now I'm beginning to wonder what it is all for. If we can't have lower taxes, green countryside, quality/selection in education. less government, more individual liberty, proper punishment for criminals, less immigration etc., what's the point?"

Then what are you moaning about?

lower taxes = sharing proceeds of growth between public services and Tax Cuts
green contryside = environmentalism (although i'd prefer less houses to be built)
quality/selection in education = city academies, streaming/setting, move to vouchers, support for faith schools, special scholls, etc.
less government = independences for nhs, scrapping regulations, replacing Human Rights act
more individual liberty = scrapping id cards
proper punishment of criminals = more prisons, border police
less immigration = cap on immigration from non-eu countries

Not "less" but "fewer".

All you hang and flog types forget that Mrs T only really showed her 'convictions' after
being elected.

The alternative to DC is the coming Brown Terror. Brown is in my view an evil man.

Thankfully he has in my judgement little political capital (unlike Blair in 97 or 91)and is vulnerable to the first big problem.

DC is doing well in my book. Ahead of Mrs T after 18 months.

His current position was very predictable ( as was so many of the reactions on this board) and he'll come out of it stronger.

Thanks, Raj, CCHQ couldn't have explained it better than you. :)

Since we after ten years of Labour of course can afford tax cuts if we believe in a small state and must curb immigration plus curb the EU (to zero if I am to choose), I will sit and dream about the soon to come time when the Conservative Party again retreats to the "comfort zone".

What are you suggesting - that the Tories ignore what a majority of people want? That they say "we know what's best for you so do as we say?"

Sounds like Labour's centralist way of governing much more than Cameron's approach.

A Majority ? What is one of those ?

Labour beat the Conservatives hollow in 2005 by getting 21.6% voters to put them in power.

Is that a Majority ?

78.4% voters are ruled by those who got 21.6% voters to support them....the famous 80/20 Rule.

The Conservatives could not get 22% voters to go for their policies.

39% voters voted Abstention. That is almost as many as voted for Conservative + Labour combined.

The Majority abstained. So why doesn't Cameron reflect the majority who refused to vote for the putrid policies on offer and urge more people not to vote ?

The whole point is that despite what I want, I am merely one voter and cannot expect to have more influence than one voter can. I can make a case for what I believe, but I have to respect the majority if I believe in democracy.

So settle down and accept Labour gets more votes than Conservatives on a regular basis......why do you need the Conservative Party at all ?

Since we after ten years of Labour of course can afford tax cuts if we believe in a small state

How are you going to make the State small without cutting services? Please, no more rubbish about efficiency or bureaucracy - state SPECIFIC programmes to cut and how much you well get from it.

I will sit and dream about the soon to come time when the Conservative Party again retreats to the "comfort zone"

I don't think it will be soon. However, if it does, then you will be signing over rule to the Labour Party for another decade at least. In which case you won't get your agenda fulfilled anyway.

What would you prefer - ten more years of Labour rule that would certainly not do anything you want, or a Conservative administration that may do some of the things you want?

I think one problem is caused by Tories that act as if they're still in power. They need to remember they're not and won't get back into power until they do what the public wants, rather than hoping they might come around (even after they failed to come around at the previous 3 elections).

"Some Labour policies - like ID cards - are right-wing" - Raj

So clearly, all the authoritarian regimes like Communist Russia, China, Vietnam, Cuba, etc. are, or were, all pursuing Right-Wing agenda.

ID cards in peace time are a tool of totalitarian regimes - it is neither left- nor right-wing.

David (1515) says, “Tony Benn was a conviction politician-look how he fared.”

Mrs T was a conviction politician. Look how she fared for Britain!

Mr Cameron says his changes are “to get us back into the centre ground, to get us into a position where people listen to what we were saying”. (I wonder who the people are who he wants to listen? The BBC and the metropolitan left/liberals?) Yes, we need to be on the centre-ground on things like the environment and public services, and also need to demonstrate we care for ‘general well-being’, and not just financial well-being and profit. But what about issues where voters want ‘right-wing’ messages? Things like proper punishments for violent and dangerous criminals, enabling Britain to be able govern itself rather than by Brussels, maintaining and restoring freedom of those who do what is right, protecting the countryside from development…

However I add that as we have seen or been threatened with ward and A&E closures and redundancies amongst nurses despite the extra billions of money spent, I wonder if voters might now be more open to a message that says we can improve public services while still cutting waste and taxes.

It is good DC backs traditional marriage and family as the key to mending our broken society, and it seems voters are aware there is something deeply wrong in our society. Gordon Brown’s apparent social conservatism, which is shown in appearing to reverse decisions on super casinos and down-grading of cannabis, might be going down well. But he refuses to back marriage in the tax and benefit system, so strong is Labour’s advocacy of every other lifestyle choice.

With backing for marriage, the promises to scrap ID cards, to scrap the Human Rights Act, and to leave the EPP (eventually), DC is still worth backing. The IDS report is the sort of substance we need. Better than all the Blair-style celebrity, glitz and spin, do and say anything to get votes culture, (which we tried at Ealing?) which must make voters more cynical. Surely with all the parties on the “centre ground”, the reaction can be “they’re all the same”.

Agree with editor's comment.

Problem with one of the two major parties chasing the centre ground is that as you tack left, the centre ground will shift left also; in the end you have moved all of British politics leftwards. The British public want a Prime Minister
(a) they like, and
(b) who seems competent, but also
(c) who has integrity

They will settle for two of these - Thatcher had competence and integrity, though widely disliked; and integrity is not sufficient - Michael Foot had integrity, but not competence - but it is vital. This means a leader who believes in something and is prepared to articulate it.
(b)

Labour beat the Conservatives hollow in 2005 by getting 21.6% voters to put them in power.

That's the first-past-the-post system. Tories didn't change it when it was benefiting them.

The only alternative is something based on PR, etc. If one of those systems was brought in, the Tories might get more seats but chances are Labour and the Lib Dems would always have enough to keep them out of government (or deny them a majority). So unless you think you could get 51% of the vote or such - which even Maggie never could do - I wouldn't criticise the current system too much, even if the seats could be redrawn better.

So why doesn't Cameron reflect the majority who refused to vote for the putrid policies on offer and urge more people not to vote ?

Maybe he should look at what they want, but I doubt they want a tax-cutting agenda.

So settle down and accept Labour gets more votes than Conservatives on a regular basis......

I do - that doesn't mean I wouldn't prefer to see the Conservatives try to win. Respecting democracy does not mean I have to like the result. I have a right to vote, but once I have voted that's it, and I have to respect the overall result, unless there has been deliberate fraud.

why do you need the Conservative Party at all ?

To get rid of Labour and things like ID cards, ever longer detention for suspects without trial/reduction of our freedoms, bloated spending that isn't working, etc. I still trust your party to do a better job overall at the moment.

Stephen

ID cards in peace time are a tool of totalitarian regimes - it is neither left- nor right-wing

If you want to be like that it's inaccurate to talk about political wings at all. Terms like "liberal" and "conservative" are probably better.

Maybe it would help if someone who believes the Tories are more left-wing than Labour could say for which policies that is the case.

As far as PR goes, I doubt it would lead to a permanent Lib-Lab government; most likely it would lead to increased fracturing of parties though - eg a large mainstream right-of-centre party, a small libertarian free trade party, a nationalist-populist party, and so on. The total % of votes cast for right of centre parties might actually go up.

Stephen Tolkinghorne at 1736.

True, ID cards are a tool of any totalitarian regime, but in our context, I would see them as an example of left-wing authoritarianism, which in seeking solutions, oppresses the law abiding and those who do what is right. Labour's attempts to curtail religious freedom and to live peacefully according to conscience are another example.

Right-wing authoritarianism, on the other hand is tough on the criminal and terrorist.

This might be an over-simplification, but I just find this a helpful way of looking at the different types of authoritarianism.

Labour beat the Conservatives hollow in 2005 by getting 21.6% voters to put them in power.

That's the first-past-the-post system. Tories didn't change it when it was benefiting them.

but Tories could not gain 22%....that is the point.

They could not persuade any of the 39% who did not vote to choose them....and if you read Electoral Calculus things look worse as some 2005 gains become losses and Labour emerges with an 84 seat majority

New Labour and New Conservatives. Same policies,same out off touch political elite, same destruction of all that our forefathers (and mothers - don't want to upset woman2win!)died for to protect in the last two world wars. The only winners in all this will be the Fedralist EU and Islamists.

There is certainly going to be no comfort zone whaile we permit this loon to carry on as so-called leader.

I've heard from a reliable source that more requests for a ballot have been lodged with the 1922 committee today. A lot of people are emboldened by Cameron's problems.

The sooner we get that vote the better and when Cameron goes I hope his fan club will go with him.

I don't accept that its wrong to talk about moving to popular ground, New Labour do it constantly when facing down the left in the party there. It reassures the electorate that it is their preferences that are being considered - not evangelical theorists in the party. I am still convinced that we just need to be patient and wait six months. If we can learn the lessons of the last week and the grammar fiasco and apply that to the strategy going forward I'm convinced we can face down Brown - but people will give him a chance first. We need to keep our nerve and focus on getting policy sorted out.

Finally we need some discipline: If business behaved like people in our party they would fold in a year. Its amazing to me how destructive some in and outside the conservative party can be. Only a madman would vote for an unstable political party. Why risk it when Labour are much better control of themselves. Folks would rather have poor predicability than a loose cannon running the show. The electorate deserve better from us.

The popular ground is the so-called right wing ground like stopping immigration and bringing back capital punishment.

Thats what the people want to hear from us. Not all this wishy-wasy Cameron eyewash about hugging hoodies.

Take it from me sunshine. Ive got a better idea of what ordinary people want than you.

I agree with first post - the party should be getting behind David Cameron, not sniping on this site.

I do wonder how much dammage is being done by a small handful of posters on this site - are they all retired? Labour aparatchiks? Bored UKIPers? - do they have anything else to do but endlessly post anti-Cameron, andti-modernisation comments on here?

It's getting to the stage where Conservative Home is becoming part of the problem.

Re "It's getting to the stage where Conservative Home is becoming part of the problem" LOL.

"Finally we need some discipline: If business behaved like people in our party they would fold in a year. Its amazing to me how destructive some in and outside the conservative party can be."

I agree with you Oberon.

Al Hamilton, I can't be bothered replying to such unpleasant trolling rubbish.

If business behaved like people in our party they would fold in a year.

You are of course right Oberon.....successful businesses dump unsuccessful CEOs with a payoff - like Richard Baker at Boots.....where you don't cut out the deadwood quickly it gets gruesome at at GEC/Marconi where Simpson and Mayo were not ejected and they destroyed the company

Well DC had to say what he said. Politically he'd be a fool not to. But what he actually DOES is more important.

That's where he will either get out of the 'dip' D'Ancona describes today in the Telegraph or buries himself as he digs deeper.

We'll have to wait and see....

Cameron is quite obviously the only person in the Parliamentary Party who is able to win the next election. Those who wish to sit in opposition and snipe from the sidelines should bugger off to UKIP.

We cannot continually change leader. Someone must eventually realise that to implement any sort of Conservative policy we must have a Conservative government. We won't get a Conservative government with the likes of Tombstone in charge.

Reselection is coming up. Maybe our rebellious MPs should remember that.

'Cameron is quite obviously the only person in the Parliamentary Party who is able to win the next election.'

And when he loses and loses big what will you say then?

Message to all these very new Labour and UKIP trolls, can you change the record and jazz the comments up with a bit of humour because they are getting boringly monotonous and clogging up real debate.


Ben Redsell says "Cameron is quite obviously the only person in the Parliamentary Party who is able to win the next election." Really. If that is the case it does not say much about the current batch in the Parliamentary Party, does it? Is there really no one in the current Parliamentary Party you think is "able to win the next election". If the pool is that bad why vote for any of them? I think you've got a bit to learn.

Niallster, my point is that nobody else would get close - he is more popular than the party is!

I remain amazed at our ability to be sidetracked by a wobble! Especially when it was a widely predicted wobble! Everyone who knows anything about psephology expected a Labour bounce when Brown took over. It's happening. Doesn't mean it will last. I will be worried if Brown is still ahead after Conference. I will also be surprised if he is still ahead after Conference. After all this is the man who cut £200million from the DEFRA budget, 7% of it coming from the Flood Defences...

"After all this is the man who cut £200million from the DEFRA budget, 7% of it coming from the Flood Defences.."

So my suspicions were correct when I saw Brown talking % increases to help effected area's rather than real cash numbers. He should have quite a lot to spend having slashed the budget previously to such an extent.
I hope that CCHQ are also monitoring all the cuts Brown has made since the last GE and that they will watch to see if some of this money has been stashed in Brown government savings account at the treasury.

Because if it transpires that people have lost out on flood defence spending when a warm wet winter which was well advertised has been followed by this freak weather I will feel angry. What if our armed forces have been left starved of money and equipment either in Iraq/Afghanistan which is not only dangerous but has hindered the emergency operation at home?

DC was asking about the cuts to the Flood Defences on ITV News earlier this evening. But I wouldn't expect trolls on here to give him any credit for that...

Ben Redsell - "DC was asking about the cuts to the Flood Defences on ITV News earlier this evening. But I wouldn't expect trolls on here to give him any credit for that... " should read my blog which is possible by clicking on my name below - but in summary it reveals that DC knows exactly why the flood funds were cut but as part of the EU conspiracy kept himself and his party silent.

This quote from MM in the 'Sunday Times' today seems well put to me:

"Even worse is the Rwanda stunt. A gaggle of Conservatives, including Cameron, are flying off to Rwanda tomorrow to launch their global poverty action plan, or whatever they call it. Admittedly they seem mostly to be paying their own air fares, but this has all the integrity of Blair’s own constant picking at “the scar that is Africa”, to display his own humanity. The Conservatives should not be doing it.

Hardly anybody is impressed any more by pictures of politicians pressing starving flesh, or posing with amputees, or priming village pumps. Hardly anybody believes it means anything at all, even though good things may in fact be going on. Like obscenely expensive international humanitarian gabfests, the spectacular failures in Africa of pop star philanthropists, as well as of self-serving politicians, have bred deep cynicism. Such PR jaunts do still arouse powerful emotions, but these days they are the wrong ones – distrust and contempt. Perhaps this helps to explain why the Conservatives are now seven points behind Labour in the opinion polls."

Is it really true that DC has flown to Rwanda when those nearby his constituents seem faced with days of lack of drinking water

"Is it really true that DC has flown to Rwanda when those nearby his constituents seem faced with days of lack of drinking water"

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/oxfordshire/6910542.stm

"Conservative Leader David Cameron visited Whitney, the main town in his Oxfordshire constituency, to survey the flooding."

OK David, I have read that - so as I asked on my blog earlier today has DC broken with tradition and done some politics on a Sunday.... or is he en route to Rwanda.

If not the latter why no live TV????

"OK David, I have read that - so as I asked on my blog earlier today has DC broken with tradition and done some politics on a Sunday.... or is he en route to Rwanda."

David Cameron is doing both as I understand it, but hey what about Brown has he ventured from his bunker at Checquers yet and where is Ming???

Having read your unpleasant rant and remembering the last time that we forgot Rwanda and left them to it, I think your comments are tasteless and unfair but with an attitude like that I don't you will understand.

Of course Cameron should not go but he has to do something to connect with the British people. A people who are rejecting spin and want a boring politician in charge of the country - a decade of celebrity politics had more than turned people off politicians and voting.

This debate is not being about left or right, centre ground etc but we do have to reflect, represent and connect with the British people, the reason for this is that today in society people think on an issue basis not a left, right or centre.

The trick is policies! Policies on issues that the British people (all of them not just in the south and London Liberal set) want addressing. Tough stance on criminals but preventative measures, a country that is free to govern itself, a health service that is free at the point of use but efficient and not bogged down by centralisation and targets, education that is producing rounded young people that are interested in society and doing well rather than a conveyor belt of education dedicated to tests and certificates because of a stifling national curriculum, social issues that focus on people (particularly children) rather than institutions (even marriage). A welfare system that is safety net not a way of life but more support for people who help themselves get out of the system rather than withdrawing support, a tax system that supports those who work, is more streamlined and is beneficial to pensioners…The list could go on.

We have to have a realisation that we are still a Victorian country – our infrastructure 100 years ago was the best in the world but now it is shot to pieces but we still insist that we have to help the rest of the world out with their problems – how many countries will offer us help during our floods. We are like a Rolls Royce that was shiny and new just off the production line that has not had a, service, oil change, tyre change or wash etc for 50 years.

Mrs T sorted out the economy of this country, that was the urgent issue at the time and she did it well. The next Conservative government has to continue that revolution of reform (very different to the change that Labour Talk about)

Finally, and apologies for a long entry, but if Mr Cameron wants to govern THIS country he should spend the summer touring the pubs, Working Men’s Clubs, sports events, coffee shops, supermarkets, leisure centres, pensioners clubs, curry houses, mosques, churches, Gurdwaras, temples etc and travel on public transport across the country, in all parts of the north, the Midlands (that is not just Brum), Wales, Scotland, EVERYWHERE and listen to the real people, the real voters. He should not be going off to Rawanda just make the Tory party look nicer – he should be making the Tory Party look like a British Government.

Sorry Scotty - unpleasant rant???? - I was quoting from an article in today's 'Sunday Times' titled - "An unlovely display of Tory cynicism" by Minette Marrin

Good assessment Editor, but when did conviction politics come back into fashion? For the last 10 years New Labour have been all about spin, falsification, creeping and leaping.

Is Gordon Brown any different to Blair? No sign of it yet. If anything Brown shows a determination to build political position over and above attachment to any political principle, even more than Blair. Blair had a few confused principles somewhere, but he was hopelessly lost in the quagmires of his own making.

Conviction political leaders in the Conservative Party have been sent packing by their own MPs with total regularity from IDS, Thatcher onwards. Can you blame Cameron for choosing to opt for a certain amount of superficiality, given the party's recent history?

Even now he is facing a Murdoch-inspired mini-putsch which will no doubt peter out in five minutes, but is indicative of the treacherous environment in which Cameron is asked to function.

The attempted putsch is happening probably because he stood firm against the EU Constitution, and the usual anti-eurosceptic Tory leader tactics are being played out. They are dytermined to push Cameron's conviction about the EU up his [email protected]@@[email protected]@@.

As his survival looks more assured, and his leadership strengthens, he is gradually revealing a few firmly held convictions as for example about the family. He could move a lot faster with these, if there were less europhile MPs openly disloyal, and if the media wan not staffed 100% by eurofanatics and Tory principle-haters.

Cameron has so many hurdles to negotiate, you are asking the impossible for him to reveal his convictions all at this stage. Keep up your support, and you will eventually be rewarded.

The age is spin cannot be called over yet - much as we would all love that to be the case. Convictions are a luxury right now, and Cameron cannot afford too many of them. But he is still building and holds firm despite all the froth of the first Brown weeks.

David at 2029, that would be Witney rather than Whitney!

Martin Cole, I think you are probably a European Conspiracy to destroy the Conservative party therefore I will from now on treat you like a troll.

After all Europe is at the bottom of everything isn't it. In fact it is probably why it is raining (personally I'd rather blame Gordon Brown)

"Sorry Scotty - unpleasant rant???? - I was quoting from an article in today's 'Sunday Times' titled - "An unlovely display of Tory cynicism" by Minette Marrin"
"Is it really true that DC has flown to Rwanda when those nearby his constituents seem faced with days of lack of drinking water"

I see you forgot to mention that it is the Anniversary of the Rwanda genocide or that Brown cut spending in flood defences last year despite being well warned of a warm wet winter never mind this freak summer???
You were trying to take a cheap shot at David Cameron and I think that it was tasteless to use Rwanda and the fact that many people at home tonight will be without drinking water!
You used that particular extract from an article and my previous comment still stands.

A very good comment, editor. I think it is not a good idea to try to explain what you are tryig to do in such strategy speak. If you want to occupy the centre ground then occupy it and occupy it hard with definite policies. Don't go on abouot where you are - after all it is up to the electorate to decide that.

And you are right; this is the sort of language that might make sense in a strategy meeting (where to we want to be? the centre ground) but then you need to decide what this means in practice and sell THAT to people.

Tapestry - sadly wrong as usual - tell me simply why there is such a political disconnect? Simply, no substance, leadership, opposition, politics is as much about persuasion and leadership and simply not telling people what they want to hear, yes, listen and digest but don't simply regurgitate! Persuade, argue and debate, be consistent to core values and people will eventually give you credit. Do not chase the 'tail' , i.e. fight yesterday's battle and please show some true conviction. Life is too short to be all things to all men. Please note most people are turned off by politics we need to turn then on! Being all in the centre has turned the majority off! Any answer to that ?

Robert Winterton at 2145. Isn't it wonderful how the "majority" always agree with you...

Ben, an immature comment!I am sure you know that between 70- 75% of our laws eminate from Europe. Maybe there is such a big political disconnect not just because of spin, but because who cares about Westminster! They, the political establishment (all political parties)seem to have been happy enough to give/sign away the right to govern ourselves so that is why maybe at least 50% of the electorate can't be bothered to vote in elections for consensus middle ground politics that has no real impact on their lives. Any thoughts?

Ben , they don't with you! And as someone who has canvassed in 7 general elections in NW seats I feel I have got some feel and experience. Have you?

"Please note most people are turned off by politics we need to turn then on! Being all in the centre has turned the majority off! Any answer to that ?"

I actually disagree strongly with that comment. In fact I think that people were turned off by politics and did not bother to vote in such great numbers in the last couple of elections because there was only ONE choice in the centre ground of politics rather than the two main parties fighting it out in the same place as the majority of the voters.
We were seen to be far too right leaning and the Libdems although more to the left of Labour still managed to appear more moderate in their views.
I am sorry but we have had 3 parties sitting in different parts of the electoral compass for the last 10 years and it has left us with one party in power with an overwhelming majority which has been very unhealthy for democracy.
I would also ask why it is that the Conservative has not managed to recover more than a few seats in 10 years while offering a choice which is away from the centre ground???
Could the problem be that we spent too much time naval gazing while trying to to tack right during that period.
The polls over the last 18 months have shown that normal politics have returned and that what people want is a choice of party in the mainstream of politics.

Hey Scotty when you say "I see you forgot to mention.... that Brown cut spending in flood defences last year despite being well warned of a warm wet winter never mind this freak summer???" you overlook the link to my blog
in my first post on this topic.

I have been on this case for months and the links I provide from 'Ironies Too' more than prove that point, as does my blog UKIP Uncovered more than refute the nonsense from Ben at 2128.

My first post to Teetering Tories in early August 2003 was the following:

"Iain Duncan Smith's Prague Speech

This blog, created by those responsible for UKIP Uncovered and Ironies, will explore in detail the critical question for Eurorealists of whether or not the Tories, under the leadership of IDS, can be trusted to disregard the strong euro-federalist instincts of many within their party, and restore sovereignty to the Westminster Parliament and its democratic accountability to the people of the United Kingdom."

Beneath this was linked the entire IDS Prague speech from The Daily Telegraph 11th July 2003.

Read the whole blog and quote where I did not correctly predict each disastrous Tory 'mistake' or further step towards EU-federalism.

Believe you me I am not happy having been so correct.

Dump 'Dave' and the sooner the better.

"David at 2029, that would be Witney rather than Whitney!"

Is this where you'd find Prat(t) and Whitney?

The "comfort zone" of traditional Tory principles was more attractive to the English electorate in its 2005 manifesto form than any other party's. I'm not a One Last Heave man, and I allow that one subtly changes the party's position to stay relevant. But Cameron failed to see that the pendulum was swinging towards us, albeit slowly.

Since 2005, the Labour party has become less popular, and their record of failure in Iraq, the NHS, the MoD, immigration, etc has become more firmly entrenched in the public mind.

All the fellow had to do was use his undoubted charm and advocacy to firm up the 2005 position, which was fronted by the decent and competent, but unattractive Howard, whose Thatcherite ministerial "form" was exploited, predictably, by Labour. The freshness and attraction of Dave, remember, had the party improving in the polls before we had an inkling of his beliefs(beyond "modernisation").

Even Dave's greatest supporters on this site cannot claim that he has not swung to the Left, though they prefer to call it a move towards the centre. Regardless of the poll leads that the party enjoyed until recently, they were never of a size that an opposition party has historically held in the 2-3 year run up to a change of government. Now they have disappeared, and not even Conservatives know exactly what the party Stands For, given that the policy groups are still feeding their results into the Letwin computer.

Should Cameron go? Not yet. But after the autumn conference, when we are to be told just what it is that we Stand For, if it looks like Lib Demmery, walks like Lib Demmery, and wears the sandals of Lib Demmery, I for one am off. No more raffle ticket sales, no more summer drinks parties to organise, no more local party finances to manage.

If my pessimism comes about, there'll be another Conservative Party to support in a few years time, but only after schism.

Martin Cole, I am a Conservative member and I want a Conservative government end of.
When we have one you can blame our leader David Cameron, but until then I suggest that your turn your fire on the man responsible for most of your angst, his name is Gordon Brown and he is leader of the Labour party.

Personally, I thought that Cameron came across pretty well in the interview. He sounded cool under fire, uninterested in bowing to passing trouble, resolute in keeping to his line. He lacks any very good account of what the Conservative Party is really *for*, except a patrician ("compassionate") concern for the poor - but that's the core of his pitch, hence inevitable. I agree with the Editor that he needs to focus on saying what he believes in and why he thinks he's right, rather than on tactical issues, but I didn't have a tactical-issues impression from the interview. It seemed more like another of those times where a wedge is set up between the Party and Cameron. For the truth is that most of us are not "compassionate Conservatives" and have no interest in being such. Neither are we pragmatists, just interested in what works. (Would you favour renationalizing BT on the basis of some study that said that would improve telecoms efficiency and equity? How about if a study said that putting up taxes on the rich to 70% would raise more revenue without damaging enterprise - would you do it? And if it turned out that introducing compulsory carrying and showing of ID cards really would help to cut down on the number of asylum - persuaded to be in favour? Didn't think so...)

Cameron's entire pitch contains this tension at his heart: what he wants to offer is not what the modern Conservative Party believes in. Many of us would be all in favour of offering positionings and policies that would appeal to compassionate Conservatives, but *being* one... Now that's a different thing altogether.

Cameron Mk II (not this year - perhaps after 2009, one way or another) will hopefully learn this lesson and offer a pitch that the rest of us can feel is *ours*, rather than the pitch of a Party that perhaps looks a little like the Conservative Party from a certain angle with the lights down, but on closer inspection turns out to be something else entirely... I'm optimistic that he will learn this, and I would urge the rest of you to hold on to that hope yourselves.

"If my pessimism comes about, there'll be another Conservative Party to support in a few years time, but only after schism."

I am sorry Og, but if you believe that then you will be left with a rump of a party which dominates only one area of the country that starts about Birmingham Southwards.

Scotty

Your wrong there - South of Birmingham would be dominated by the Lib Dems, that version "the Conservative & UKIP Party" would be a joke party supported by grumpy old men.

I disagree profoundly, Scotty. Huge swathes of England supported the 2005 effort. Look at the map.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/vote2005/flash_map/html/map05.stm

I know of no science that estimates a worse showing next time round, given an attractive and optimistic leader advocating principles which - and I'll say it again - the electorate of England were more ready to vote for than the alternatives when last given their say.

I cannot for the life of me understand why or how a Conservative party aping Blairite policies benefits you, or me, or the country.

Andrew Lilico "Neither are we pragmatists, just interested in what works. (Would you favour renationalizing BT on the basis of some study that said that would improve telecoms efficiency and equity? How about if a study said that putting up taxes on the rich to 70% would raise more revenue without damaging enterprise - would you do it? And if it turned out that introducing compulsory carrying and showing of ID cards really would help to cut down on the number of asylum - persuaded to be in favour? Didn't think so...)"

I probably would put up taxes on the rich if it didn't damage enterprise. I may renationalise BT if it meant my phone service was better and cheaper. If I didn't do either of these things I would expect to be called dogmatic and frankly stupid, I would be cutting off my nose to spite my face. What I wouldn't do is accept ID cards to cut down asylum seekers, because it doesn't make sense and because ID cards are symbolic of a fundamental change between the government and people and should only ever be a solution in times of extreme national emergency like Total war(i.e second world war not "War on terror")

"I cannot for the life of me understand why or how a Conservative party aping Blairite policies benefits you, or me, or the country."

That is just it Og, thanks to the behaviour of the party right up till the last GE that is what I have had for 10 years a Blairite government with their policies and incompetence.
I don't know where you live but there are parts of the UK who have almost forgotten what it is to have a Conservative MP and I want that to change, but to do so we need to appeal to more than one group in one area.

I no longer understand the point of Cameron. Why ?

But, [email protected]:14, I don't believe that you, any more than I, would *believe* studies purporting to show that renationalizing BT would make your phone service better and cheaper (for example). We have ideological commitments that mould how we interpret empirical evidence. Perhaps circumstances could be imagined in which, even with our ideological commitments, we would favour renationalizing BT. I don't deny that. But we are not, at heart, pragmatists, prepared to accept the prevailing consensus wisdom on matters. No, modern Conservatives look at matters through the prism of our political philosophy, and in many areas we feel that we know - at least to a high degree of certainty - what the optimal answer is before we begin.

David (15:15):

""That's a political strategist talking - not a conviction politician"

Good. Tony Benn was a conviction politician-look how he fared."

So was Margaret Thatcher. Of course conviction alone is not enough - we don't want a devout Marxist leading the party. But conviction is a long way down the road to success - from it springs honesty, purpose and vision.

I think, above ideological matters (and we are, once again, in a time of consensus...Blameronism, perhaps), the public want to see those above three qualities. In fact, they're crying out for them - and for coming on twenty years they've been denied them.

And then came Gordon Brown. And that is why we are in trouble.

Andrew Lilico "But, [email protected]3:14, I don't believe that you, any more than I, would *believe* studies purporting to show that renationalizing BT would make your phone service better and cheaper (for example). We have ideological commitments that mould how we interpret empirical evidence. Perhaps circumstances could be imagined in which, even with our ideological commitments, we would favour renationalizing BT. I don't deny that. But we are not, at heart, pragmatists"

I completely agree that I would take an awful lot of convincing that re-nationalising BT would be a good thing or that returning to a 70s style tax system would increase revenue. I disagree in that I am at heart a pragmatist and am idealogically wedded to very little if I am convinced of the sense of an argument then I like to think I am open-minded enough to accept it even if it might not come naturally to me. I think this party has survived by not being too dogmatic on policy and effectively finding the best solution at the time.

"but to do so we need to appeal to more than one group in one area." So you didn't look at the map, then.

Are you suggesting robbing Peter to pay Paul, or painting lemons green and trying to pass them off as limes, Scotty?

Or do you believe in something and have the energy and fortitude to put it across to the electorate? (In the knowledge that at least one third of the voters have demonstrated they will go along with you, even when you are not doing the job very well)

Ash Faulkener "And then came Gordon Brown. And that is why we are in trouble."

Brown has nothing whatsoever to do with honesty, his only purpose is to win elections, and the only vision he has is one where india and china become our lords and masters or Europe does or America does whichever way it is not great.
We are in trouble because we don't have a well defined narrative and we don't have a slick enough media machine to put it across correctly.

[email protected]:45

You are surely correct that pragmatism was for a long time a key feature of Conservatism, and indeed an important reason for its success. Conservative pragmatism was to be contrasted with the ideological commitments of the left.

But pragmatism has not characterized the Conservative Party for at least the past twenty years (and perhaps a little longer - 1983 might be a natural changeover point, but I propose a small lag). We are a party of swivel-eyed ideologues, led for much of the past 17 years by pragmatists or those in thrall to pragmatism. At one level this might seem natural: Why should we be other, when our ideology has been so succesful? But on the other hand, at some point we started to think that being ideological itself was the the thing, rather than its representing a disciplining principle that might lead us to provide useful solutions.

At some level this was perhaps inevitable. We bear the doom of having lived through the age of one of the great political leaders of history. What hope can today's politicians have of matching up? Even their excellence, their splendidly useful efforts, the important incremental measures they propose to better the lives of others, seem shallow - for by comparison, the truth is that they are!

We must learn to judge our age a different way. Not every military leader can be Alexander; not every political strategist can be Ceasar Augustus. If we were to judge our moderns by these standards then they, too, would seem shallow. But one need not be Augustus to be useful - or indeed very good.

"Are you suggesting robbing Peter to pay Paul, or painting lemons green and trying to pass them off as limes, Scotty?"

Og no, in fact I hoping that the party has the courage to move out of its comfort zone and try and appeal to the other 2/3rds of the electorate as well!

"Og no, in fact I hoping that the party has the courage to move out of its comfort zone and try and appeal to the other 2/3rds of the electorate as well!"

I take it you are joking. Do you have a masterplan to appeal to 100% of voters? If not joking, you are sadly demented and I suspect have little experience of politics. I'd guess you are not yet 30, and that's being generous.

Andrew Lilico @00:00

I agree entirely Thatcher came at a time when idealogy was necessary to justify a dramatic shift in British society, but she herself was not born a Thatcherite or monetarist she just used that ideaology to solve society's problems. As of today Cameron doesn't face such a dramatic shift but as can be seen by breakdown Britain, globalisation and indeed terrorism he faces substantial world challenges that cannot be answered by Thatcherism alone if at all.

"I'd guess you are not yet 30, and that's being generous."

Og, a bit insulting but then again not unexpected in light of the fact that I am an optimist and you have a very pessimistic view of Cameron and what he is trying to do.
I just think that a desire to win a GE and have a majority to implement your policies is a basic requirement of any mainstream party, and after the last 15 years getting more people out to vote is vital too.
If you only set out to appeal to a few then that is all you will get, hence our core vote box and less than 200 MP's!

By the way I am in my 40's with a good experience of life's ups and downs, and as for political experience you don't get a rougher ride than leafleting for the party in 97' in Scotland!

Cameron is right & will be the next tory Prime Minister. You'll see soon.

I wonder where all these lefties will be when Cameron goes.

Working for our opponents I expect. Did you notice all those lefties who defected to the other side when Thatcher and Hague were in charge?

These people cannot be trusted.

"David at 2029, that would be Witney rather than Whitney!"

Is this where you'd find Prat(t) and Whitney?

Of course not - that's United Technologies....Witney is where you would find thick blankets

"David at 2029, that would be Witney rather than Whitney!"

Is this where you'd find Prat(t) and Whitney?

Of course not - that's United Technologies....Witney is where you would find thick blankets

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