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I agree with all of this but would add economy in there somewhere.

We need to dump the moving away from an econcentric focus crap.

One related problem is the weak political management of policy matters. Willetts and Swire should be locked away and Letwin replaced. All of these have let the party down.

HF makes a good point. CCO is still a shambles of an operation. Until it is 'fixed' our party will struggle to get its message across. Grant Shapps should be given a bigger role. He is doing a good job on the byelections.

No honest rebuttal is possible because Ms Daley is speaking the truth.

It is this article by Janet Daley that is risible. She writes 'it is their primary objective in the short and medium term to change the way they are percieved'. Yes Janet, and what is wrong with that? How many defeats exactly does it take before people like you realise that to change perception is very necessary if we are to win? With friends like that who needs enemies? Perhaps Janet and no doubt the usual suspects who will flood this thread would prefer it if we remained an utterly ineffectual pressure group like UKIP.

Very wise words Tim.

The Cameroons would be very wise to recruit you as a strategist Tim. it would also send a signal to us footsoldiers that we are at long last being heard.

Agree we should let Bartlet be Bartlet! But totally disagree with what that means.

The whole point of letting Bartlet be Bartlet is to let the candidate be his true self and remove the shackles of constantly having to think how this will play with others. I fear that David Cameron is starting to drift to the right because of his party. David needs to be himself - a modern, liberal Conservative. He needs to stick to the course he set out ruthlessly. His current difficulties are not a result of him being insufficiently right wing - they result from a real fear from the public that he is starting to cave in to the right of his party (which started when he caved in over the grammar school row). So I say "Let Cameron be Cameron"!

"We'll be tested. And challenged.

But we'll never give up. We'll never turn back."

What Bruce Anderson is saying is absolutely right- communication, communication, communication. Brown/Blair destroyed Major by a few soundbites repeated endlessly so that in the end the public believed them.The quicker Coulson gets to grips with this the better and we find someone in the party who can act as a credible spokesperson.Om last week's Question Time we allowed a failed newspaper hack make fun of us- this should never have happened.
As I have said before, the MPs should listen to Iain Macleod's record of speeches "In Pursuit of Excellence"( thy should re-issue it)- to see how he demolished Harold Wilson with the force of just a few words- and soundbites had never been heard of then.
But who is our present day Iain Macleod?- is there anyone in the party we can say is a good communicator- because that's half the problem. Heaven help us if the Lib Dems replace Ming with Clegg.

"Let Bartlet be Bartlet" is itself a reference to the old slogan "Let Reagan be Reagan". Are you somehow reluctant to compare DC with RR?

What changetowin says is absolutely right of course.But as I say, communication must be sorted as a priority

Thank you David Batt.

I did not know that.

It is the organisational stuff which is under the radar that is letting us down.

Using MPs who have already have other jobs, 1 (MP) or 2 (shadow cabinet) and often 3+ jobs(directorships etc) in organisational roles is just plain stupid and sets them and sets us, up for failure.

We are asking to much of them and spreading our valuable resources too thinly. Hence the problems at CCHQ (Maude), Policy co-ordination (Letwin), Northern organisation (Hague) etc.

We have the cash, hire some good Managers!

I feel it is unreasonable to judge Cameron's image until Coulson arrives.

Cameron has been saddled with a very poor press team (yes his fault) for fear of offending his other advisers with competing heavyweights. All that is going to change now with the demotion of his previous Press Sec and arrival of new direcor of Comms. This is a breath of fresh air!

they result from a real fear from the public that he is starting to cave in to the right of his party (which started when he caved in over the grammar school row). So I say "Let Cameron be Cameron"!

I recall that you agreed with the critics of Cameron over grammar schools.

Be that as it may, that is not what concerns the public. The public is concerned that our party leadership is neither as competent, nor as trustworthy, as they (currently) believe Gordon Brown to be.

Even when we are supposed to be on the same side I find myself wholeheartedly disagreeing with you Changetowin.
On Grammar schools Cameron has not in any sense caved in. He set out his stall and stuck to it and managed through very crass use of language to offend many activists and parliamentarians. I think some of the problems from the way Cameron handled that debate are directly responsible for the problems he is facing now.
Regarding the rest of your post I find what you write as bad as some of the headbangers who populate this site.In order for us to win we need to try and unite all wings of the party which is why I find Montgomeries 'politics of and' so very convincing.I hope that Cameron gets this too otherwise we will go down to defeat just as surely following your line of thinking as we would if we exclusively spent our time talking only about the EU and taxation.

Sean,

You're right - as a Conservative I have great admiration for the incredible social mobility engendered by grammar schools over the years. As such, I would prefer that the emphasis was placed on "grammar streams" and trying to emulate their success, rather than attacking the concept.

But David Cameron chose to make this into a fight. He staked his authority on it - saying "I lead my party and don't follow it". To back down made him look weak and unprincipled. It also played to the public's very real fear that while the leadership has changed for the better, the same old Tories are still waiting in the wings.

Malcolm - remember Dominic Grieve?!

Rosario and Michael, yes Coulson is hopefully the start of a cadre of professional Managers.

Any chance of a full time CEO for CCHQ?

As a contrast with the Lib Dems in Ealing Southall they are deploying the full time (non MP) Lord Rennard and we have Grant Schapps (MP) as "campaign head". Grant has made a good start but yet again we have an MP in a role that other parties use a full time person without MP commitments.

The problem with that ChangetoWin is that one should only pick fights one is likely to win, and one should only pick fights that are likely to enhance your standing with the public.

If Cameron had stuck to his guns and said there would be no more grammar schools anywhere, regardless of the wishes of the inhabitants, he would almost certainly have provoked a very serious revolt within the Party, and most likely seen his authority destroyed. Equally pertinently, he would not have had the mass of public opinion on his side either. He would definitely have become a lame duck leader.

But in general, I don't think the public are that concerned about whether the Conservative MPs and members have "changed". Their concern is whether they can trust them with the economy and the machinery of government.

I'm reminded of that quote...

"The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made."

Yes I do. That was a clarification rather than a climbdown. I'm rather suprised as a supposed supporter of Grammar schools you would be happy to see those areas that still have them lose them.
Your reference to the 'same old Tories' I think could have been written by a Labour spin doctor.I think the difference between us is that I usually like and admire many of the Conservative activists and voters I meet, you seem rather ashamed of them. Are you really sure you're in the right party?

Are we still changing or have we finished doing so? Part of the problem with the invariable banging-on about our newness is that it has started to get a little bit old.

Once again those Conservatives who support the party leadership are having their loyalties to the party questioned. I am totally committed to this party. But I ache for this party to WIN so we can actually get something done. There is no point being in politics if we constantly lose. If we are to win we have to attract a broad coalition of people, including former Lib Dem voters and former Labour voters. We also need to remember the fundamental essence of British Conservatism: that as circumstances change, so must we. As Disraeli had it, "Change is inevitable. In a progressive country change is constant."

Absolutely agree Changetowin. But your consistent and in my opinion completely unjustified attacks 'on the same old Tories' is hardly the way to attract a 'broad coalition' of people.

Changetowin, Sean and Malcolm have said it all, better than I can do, but I will still risk adding a word or two. Almost no-one diagrees with you that the agenda of Cornerstone is not an effective platform to win an election. But nor is reheating the failures of the left and serving them up as the "manifesto" of yet another centre-left party.

Who is suggesting serving a centre-left manifesto?

The person suggesting

- greater localism
- sharing the proceeds of growth
- support for the family
- social responsibility
- grammar streams in schools
- trusting professionals/fewer central targets
- market mechanisms to conserve our environment?

None of this could be described as centre-left by anyone left of Nick Griffen! David Cameron is accepting that New Labour has happened and that not everything that went on in the last ten years should be axed. This is entirely sensible. He also realises that Conservatives need to be able to talk convincingly about health care, society and social justice. No great Conservative government has ever conceded that "elevating the condition of the people" is a left-wing concern!

Good god, I've agreed with a statement of changetowins. Must go for a lie down.

I can be very persuasve! ;-)

Have a nice nap!

I too, Andrew.

This is the kind of positive message that we need to focus on, that can remind us of what we all have in common, rather than the bickering we all love to do.

I feel it is unreasonable to judge Cameron's image until Coulson arrives.

Says it all.

That image is a totally artificial creation now overdue to be 'tweaked' by the obligatory spin doctor.

Roll on the 'relaunch'!

I agree that Cornerstone is too sour a taste for the general public. However, Cornerstone doubtless represent a significant percentage of voters on the Right and the Conservative Party either have their votes, or are within easy reach of them.

If Cameron continues to display the same distaste as Changetowin for anyone right-of-centre, the next election is lost. The "politics of AND" is the way to cater for both wings of the party, and I am astonished that Cameron, with his easy charm and attractive manner, has ballsed it up so badly. The sheer goodwill towards him, following his leadership victory, was as much visible outside the party as within it; this has been squandered by headline-chasing antics and the glacial pace of policy development.

Voting IS about competence and trust, even if one doesn't buy all the rhetoric. Cameron clearly needs to get his own party squared, and soon.

about health care, society and social justice.

What is society ? You have a blueprint for everyone to live by and attain social justice ?

I think you are getting carried away with government in a democracy. There are very few things that government can do, and even fewer it can do well - all this blue-sky rhetoric may be fun - but is not government.

Government is not about moulding Society to fit your template, nor about interfering in every conractual relationship to ensure one party gains at the expense of the other.

Much of the injustice in the nation today is caused by government action and interference. Government is the problem, it is destroying the social fabric and imposing its ideological structures on people who do not want them.

The Brown plan, no doubt conceived in minute detail whilst waiting for the end of the Tony farewell world tour, is to throw us of balance.

To launch his planned spin such as Ed Ball's comments recently - meme's - which allow their supporters in the media to create a story.

The official grasp of executive power by Gordon Brown was always going to be a rough spot for us, as you predicted. Everyone needs to keep their eyes forward and start taking on the Labour party as the opportunity presents itself.

I believe the leadership has listened and learned over the last few months - and now they need our support.

The alternative is Gordon Brown with an election mandate for a further 5 years.

Let Cameron Be Cameron.

What a brilliant analogy Ed. Think I'll have to watch all seven series again!

I don't think there is much dispute that the party needs to change to broaden its appeal and strengthen its involvement in issues such as the environment, overseas development, and social justice in which it has for too long allowed the left to make the running. Janet Dalet's criticism is that the party has been too explicit and self-conscious in making these changes, laying itself open to the charge of being only concerned about image. It has also let to unnecessary friction within the party, by trying to marginalise and alienate those (usually unspecified) who are depicted as 'enemies of change'. The answer is to focus on the issues and policies themselves, without the continual running commentary 'look at us - we've changed'. Margaret Thatcher radically changed the Conservative Party but that tended to be other people's observation, not her own.

Og is correct. As has been noted before there are already two other mainstream (left of) centre parties. If the Cameroons think trying to occupy their ground is the only game in town, fair enough but they should not expect right of centre Tories to vote for the standing ovation giving heir to Blair.

Janet Daley is spot on. So is the correspondent who has asked when the transformation of the conservative party will be considered complete? At the moment this modernisation process appears to have no set goal. It rambles on and on in the forlorn hope that the changes will be popular. This, even though the public's concerns, as registered in opinion polls, are essentially right wing. This, even though we may well be poised on the brink of an election. We should be attacking the left, not wringing our hands over our own shortcomings. In brief, Project Cameron is about as constructive as Maoist self-criticism, aimed obscurely at the total breakdown of our confidence. It seems - and I'm quite serious - to involve and element of self-hatred.

The fact is, it is not the right which is costing the tories their support. It is the modernisers who are strenuously snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, undoing all the excellent work of Michael Howard. They allowed an unbalanced electoral system to mask the real extent of the 2005 recovery in conservative fortunes. Howard himself bears much of the responsibility for this, sullenly stepping down when he should have continued the fight. We were never going to win outright in one go, but we were at least making progress.

What the modernisers forget is that there are no magic bullets in democracy. You have to propound your message repeatedly and with confident conviction. By all means make adjustments - civil partnerships are an example of properly liberal, piecemeal reform. Likewise, as Ferdinand Mount has pointed out, a conservative government has no duty to offer impossible or incredible tax cuts the moment it blunders into office. It does, however, have a duty to all those who have been or who are conservatives. It should not stigmatise them as the "nasty" party. It should above all sustain those policies which are intellectually justified, such as reestablishing academic selection.

When Blair was making the Labour party look oh so centrist he was canny and ruthless enough to flatter its membership and to denigrate the conservatives. This is one part - the most ruthless and effective part - of Blair's achievement that our "modernisers" have completely neglected. He also kept a whole raft of policy options open so as to be able to placate his core supporters - fox-hunting, assisted places, votes to destroy grammar schools etcetera.

Finally, he had the media egging him on. The conservatives have no such luck, so to take Blair's risks is incredibly foolish. The first thing to do is to survive as a political force. It is this which makes Portillo's admission that Cameron might "die" in the attempt to modernise - in other words, fail more completely than his predecessors - so chilling. He seems content to foresee the extinction of the tory part as the result of a bad gamble. Who dares wins, he once observed. But he didn't dare, did he? And he didn't win, so I suggest we ditch his advice.

Are you quite serious?

You claim that d. cameron is committed to "the family" because of a family portrait at his son's christening?

My dear, the Tory party in the UK is clearly far more dead than I could have ever imagined...

Continue to grasp at such short straws...

Simon Denis's post at 13.09 is an excellent one. Well done.

The problem with those like malcolm who say we should not push too hard on the EU and tax position is that all the while the Conservatives choose to bury their heads in the sand and ignore these matters as a party the situation gets progressively worse to the point at which it really doesn't matter who is in givernment as they are no longer running the party.

The Bruges group today released a news item which showed that in the last 10 days of June the EU passed 109 new laws which impact directly upon British business and British people in their daily lives. The EU also produced a whole series of proposals for unfying and increasing taxes on items as diverse as petrol and postal services - in the last case we will not be able to stop this one as it is decided to end our opt out on VAT on post.

The Cameroons can sit and pretend that the EU is not important in peoples daily lives and all the while the ability of any elected party to govern the country is disappearing.

Cameron has a Blair strategy. It worked. Now he needs a Brown one.

Richard

With the benefit of hindsight the Tories gave up when they got rid of Maggie.

Thankyou, Bill. It's nice to know that one's remarks are appreciated.

What, Tapestry, was this famous Blair strategy of Mr Cameron's? Sitting on his hands until corruption cost the PM his job? Rather more of a fluke than a strategy, surely.

Yes, changetowin at 12.04 - I agree with your very persuasive list.

Perhaps we all need a lie down!

The problem with the analogy is that it invites more of the same from Cameron.

Cameron has been Cameron and it ain't working, at least at present.

The reshuffle is the key to change emphasis.

Brown has signaled a more corporate style of government and we need a more inclusive style of leadership that pays more heed to the shadow cabinet and shelves the Notting Hill kitchen cabinet.

We should put younger people into CCHQ who want to win rather than score points or pad up their income. Hence the Grant Shapps etc rather than these sad old front bench has-beens like Maude, Browning etc.

The Bruges group has been outstandingly successful hasn't it? It dominates the news agenda and the huge numbers of the electorate hang on it's every word don't they?
Well back in the real world,people are getting on with their lives and today are probably more worried about terrorism than anything else.
I have never said the EU is not important and it is a bit dishonest of you Richard to pretend otherwise.FYI I do veer toward a BOO position but recognise that the EU is nowhere near the top of voters concerns.
Had a chance to read the Telegraph in its entirety and am delighted that the leader article contrasted totally with that ridiculous column from Janet Daley which looks even worse on second reading than it did originally.

Editor,

I knew you'd come round to the "right" way of thinking eventually!!! ;-)

The problem with the analogy is that it invites more of the same from Cameron.

Cameron has been Cameron and it ain't working, at least at present.

The reshuffle is the key to change emphasis.

Brown has signaled a more corporate style of government and we need a more inclusive style of leadership that pays more heed to the shadow cabinet and shelves the Notting Hill kitchen cabinet.

We should put younger people into CCHQ who want to win rather than score points or pad up their income. Hence the Grant Shapps etc rather than these sad old front bench has-beens like Maude, Browning etc.

One of the most interesting threads I've read for a while.
Is ConHome moving from being a fermentor of dissent within the party into starting to build the new consensus?

And now, let us all pray.

Having C J Cregg as his press secretary might be the best thing for Cameron to steal from Bartlet!!!!!

Malcolm

You dismissively talk about "back in the real world". We all live in the real world and in the real world which I inhabit people are sick and tired of the left liberal consensus between politicians, lawyers and human rightsters, the (mainly broadcast) media, and the new establishment generally. In the real world people realise that half our problems (like more than half our laws) derive from the EU with its internationalist
stance which is used as a front to advance a
pc cultural Marxist agenda.

Bill, I'm very anti EU but I must defend Malcolm's statement. The British people (sounding like Gordon Brown but bear with me) are very conservative, and although they don't like the EU, they are nowhere near the stage where they are prepared to go along with withdrawal. In my experience, people are bothered but not bothered enough.

Bill, yeah right.

Quite right, Bill. The real establishment of today is a soft left cartel. With growing arrogance, it stifles debate and limits expression. It does what even Elizabeth Ist foreswore, making "windows into men's souls." Look at the way that courts now punish not just an action but the rationale behind it.

The greatest asset the establishment has in this project is the BBC. Its pervasive presence, with slanted news and propagandistic drama, is the primary obstacle in the way of a conservative renaissance.

I believe that many modernisers privately acknowledge this situation, but they have chosen collaboration as a way of ameliorating its ill effects. In an age when varieties of broadcast media are proliferating and improving this seems stupid as well as cowardly.

I fear that ever since his nerve was shattered in 97, Mr Portillo is simply one of the most persuasive collaborators, pressing his luminous intellect and past prestige into the service of a needless, grubby compromise. Well done, Edward Leigh. Mr Cameron, take note.

Unlike certain commenters here, I have no dounts that Cameron's instincts are largely in the right place. I had some concerns early on, because I prefer to take people at their word initially, and he spent a lot of time and energy claiming that he was actually a Blairite. But over time it has become clear that Cameron is anything but Blairite, and that in office he would run an administration that would do many things we would approve of considerably - he would significantly reform public services, introducing a "little platoons" agenda of a sort not seen since the 19th century; he would operate a highly interventionist international relations policy, probably involving military action in future in situations such as Zimbabwe, and perhaps even Sudan and Iran; he would strive to reconstitute the family and exhalt the role of fathers; he would encourage elitism in education; he would reduce the influence of the EU in our lives; he would stop the destruction of our Constitution and might even rebuild it in certain respects.

Over time my confidence in his person has increased. And at the same time I have become more and more frustrated by the errors in his strategy. For at least if he were really a Blairite one could understand his desire to appear like Blair - it would reflect authenticity. But to pretend to be Blairite when actually being a fairly right-wing Conservative represents to me a failure of self-confidence that I find extremely disappointing. He believes in Conservatism. We believe in Conservatism. If we want Conservatism to be elected, we need to *argue* *for* *it*. So, "Let Cameron be Cameron" - absolutely! The Socialists will, of course, hate that. To which I say: Bring it on.

Richard Tyndall said

"The Bruges group today released a news item which showed that in the last 10 days of June the EU passed 109 new laws which impact directly upon British business and British people in their daily lives"

Richard - please could you justify this statement? We just sound obsessed with Europe (and sound like we ought to be in UKIP) when we jump up and down over items such as (quoting from the Bruges Group):

"Commission Regulation (EC) No 702/2007 amending Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2568/91 on the characteristics of olive oil and olive-residue oil and on the relevant methods of analysis"

Can you explain to us (and explain to the voters!!) how this "will directly affect British business and the British people"??!

How many olive trees grow in the U.K. for goodness sake?

We just sound like a broken record if we parrot this anti-EU stuff without actually reading it...

Jim

You want more interventions, Mr Lilico? After Iraq? And do you really consider that the electorate or the poor, bloody infantry will stand it? Zimbabwe? Possibly - although the whole monstrous regiment of anti-racists would be against you because Mugabe happens to be black. The Sudan? Expect more in the way of car bombs. Iran? Expect the third world war. In any case, mr Cameron, were he by some fluke to attain office, would most probably be dealing with an effectively isolationist America. They have too many debts and too many wounded to risk another imperial adventure. For Britain to intervene unilaterally in those circumstances, well... If Mr Cameron is THAT conservative - which I doubt - he makes Ken Livingstone look like Enoch Powell.

Simon [email protected]:41

Yes, I do. It was never to be expected or hoped that all military interventions would go smoothly. We were fortunate to go into Sierra Leone, Kosovo, and Serbia with as little difficulty as there was. Afganistan has been trickier, and Iraq certainly problematic. Everyone faces challenges or does things that, with the benefit of hindsight, might have been done better. But the true leader must not allow his errors to unman him from acting again. That has been the great failing of Blair and Bush. They were happy enough to engage in military ventures when these involved adulation, but less so when they attracted opprobrium. That we have made errors in Iraq does not excuse us from our duty to help the oppressed in Sudan or Zimbabwe. If our leaders wanted to be loved, rather than to do the Right Thing, they should have eschewed politics and stuck to organising Diana Memorial concerts. Politics involves making tough calls and sometimes getting them wrong.

"That image is a totally artificial creation now overdue to be 'tweaked' by the obligatory spin doctor."

----------

An unfair charge. If anything he has deliberately forsaken spin by downgrading Howard's press operation and employing a low level functionary as his press secretary.

The appointment of Coulson is a step in the right direction in terms of profesionalism and communication.

Mr Lilico speaks of these several interventions as though they had been successes and as though they were all the same. There was some justification for attacking Serbia as it was the aggressor, but simply letting the Bosnian government aquire arms enough to establish a balance of power would have been wiser. Mr Lilico's proposition that Iraq has been "problematic" is priceless. Understatement as buffoonery. In short, his position is nothing better than imperialism. It involves the deaths of British service men and women for ends which are generally unattainable and woefully irrelevant to the interests of Great Britain. It seeks to impose by force what can only arise through the playing out of conflict. It retards the ultimate sound development of the regions it infects. In sum, it is Utopian.

Finally, his assumption that such interventions depend on the decisions of Downing Street is crazily delusional - to coin a phrase. America is the one western power in any position to call the shots. Soon, it will be reckoning with China, so all bets are off as regards do-gooding adventures. Not only China but India, Russia and a nuclear Iran will be squaring up to stop it.

Focusing this discussion back onto the topic, Cameron and his team (like myself, and, as it happens, the Editor) do not agree with you. I suspect that quite a lot of people would share your view, rather than mine. So if Cameron and his team want to be credible, they need to argue for the position that they (and I) believe in.

Afganistan has been trickier, and Iraq certainly problematic

Possibly the understatement of the year!!!

I have no doubt that Brown is already planning our withdrawal from both theatres, which will prove hugely popular.

Cameron can go along with it (as I imagine he will) or follow Andrew's advice and guarantee a Labour victory at the next election.

'Can you explain to us (and explain to the voters!!) how this "will directly affect British business and the British people"??!'

I have just, for my sins, read Commission Regulation (EC) No 702/2007 amending Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2568/91 on the characteristics of olive oil and olive-residue oil and on the relevant methods of analysis.

On the basis of the opinion of chemical experts, and the International Olive Oil Council, it will from 1st Jan 2008 be necessary to quantify the percentage of 2-glyceryl monopalmitate for all olive oil products in order to better detect esterified oils, and decrease the limit value for stigmasatdiene in virgin olive oils to make a clearer distinction between virgin and refined olive oils.

This regulation would therefore seem to apply to all UK importers and vendors of olive oil products, in that the product labelling should be in conformance with the new regulations from the regulation application date of 1st Jan 2008.

In order 'to avoid disturbance to commercial transactions', stocks which have been legally manufactured and labelled before 1st Jan 2008 may continue to be marketed until they are used up. But technically UK business selling or marketing olive oil products manufactured after 1st Jan 2008 which are incorrectly labelled would be in breach of the regulation.

I hope this answers your question.

The problem with changetowin's analysis of "let Cameron be Cameron" is that it assumes his Green/hug a hoodie schtik is entirely sincere, and based on his own deepest intepretations of what it is to be a modern Tory.

But having known what he was prepared to go along with in the 2005 manifesto, and what he campaigned on in the 1997 and 2001 elections (in the latter he championed keeping Section 28, a view he wouldn't be seen dead with now) this doesn't seem to me a wholly realistic view of him or his motivations. More realistic would be to say that he is the epithomy of the Blairite politician - prepared to say or do anything to get elected. This might bode well for the Conservative party; whether it bodes well for conservatives is a different question.

JohnC wrote:

"On the basis of the opinion of chemical experts, and the International Olive Oil Council, it will from 1st Jan 2008 be necessary to quantify the percentage of 2-glyceryl monopalmitate for all olive oil products in order to better detect esterified oils, and decrease the limit value for stigmasatdiene in virgin olive oils to make a clearer distinction between virgin and refined olive oils."

1: Do we oppose this because it comes from the EU, or do we oppose this because we think it's a bad idea per se? Does the Conservative Party officially oppose recommendations from the International Olive Oil Council? Why should we care if we don't have any olive trees in the UK ?

2. Is olive oil labelling really a major issue for (potential) Tory voters? [My feeling is that we simply make ourselves look stupid by campaigning on issues such as this one]

3: In any case, this sounds like a labelling issue that the *producer* will have to deal with. How does this regulation directly affect the UK if it affects all EU countries and therefore all olive oil producers have to test and label their oil at source? Is this really an extra burden on importers... or actually a burden on producers?

I don't think we have a party stance on olive oil (perhaps one of the policy review groups should take it on), but we are certainly opposed to unnecessary and pedantic EC bureaucratic intervention in our commercial life and its attendant costs.

Tory Jim @ 16.39 - speak for yourself. My Popeye is very partial to Olives.

JohnC wrote:

"We are certainly opposed to unnecessary and pedantic EC bureaucratic intervention in our commercial life and its attendant costs."

If this actually comes from the International Olive Oil Council what has it got to do with EU (over-)regulation?

IMHO this kind of issue makes us look like our anti-EU stance knows no bounds. The UK doesn't have one single olive tree (as far as I know) so should we really pick this as an issue to campaign on?

Traditional [email protected]:19

At some point it will of course be appropriate for us to change the status of our presence in Iraq - perhaps withdrawing our troops into the Kurdish zone (from which presumably the Americans will not even contemplate leaving), or (if the Americans no longer find us useful) moving out altogether. Perhaps that will happen between now and the next election. In which case of course Cameron should argue for it. We aren't in Iraq merely for the sake of being there.

But it is abundantly clear that Cameron (and especially Osborne, and even more so Gove) are committed interventionists. It is also abundantly clear that this is, to say the least, a controversial position to maintain at the moment. So if they are not to be exposed on this point, they need to argue their case. Gove does, of course, at every opportunity. Osborne does a little more rarely. But neither of them holds the relevant brief. We need to hear Cameron and Hague and Fox arguing for our position.

'so should we really pick this as an issue to campaign on?'

Well it's not quite up there with the maximum curvature of cucumbers (10mm per 10cm of length in case you've forgotten),
I'll give you that.

But you asked what possible relevance it had for British business and I told you.

We were fortunate to go into Sierra Leone, Kosovo, and Serbia with as little difficulty as there was. Afganistan has been trickier, and Iraq certainly problematic.

So just slip a National Service act into the manifesto so the nation's youth can be volunteered for this great new dawn of Neo-Imperialism

Jim,

we don't grow bananas but we are still affected by the regulations. Of course you might be a meat and two veg man who woulnd't touch any of that 'foriegn muck' but the rest of us who are a little more cosmopolitan in our outlook and tastes do actually know that olive oil exists and can even have a fari fo at describing the differences between varieties.

And I see you pick up on one small area whilst completely ignoring the rest including the tax proposals.

Typical Europhile trick really.

Andrew,

if you udnerstand anything at all about the EU then please explain to me exactly how Mr Camerron is going to be able to do ANYTHING about rducing the effect of the EU on our lives.

I wouold be fascinated to hear how he will do this given that, even if and when he becomes PM, he cannot repeal nor alter one single law deriving from the EU.

They simply won't let him.

So how will he bring about this miracle?

I think we would be very, very foolish to go off now on a tangent believing that what DC has done, in terms of taking us more into the centre ground, is wrong. However we have somehow not got the balance right. Earlier in the year the party was saying it would be more gritty and I think this statement was right. We don't need to start thinking we need radical change or that something is fundamentally wrong BUT I think we do need to put our finger on a more practical approach. Some of the spin became dangerous and needs dumping. I think we need to focus on 3 or 4 things relentlessly until the public "get it". DC was right to pick the NHS, to that I would add Law & Order; education and economy. Whenever we make any statement on these issues we should always emphasise what we stand for (at the moment the key principle we appear to be rallying around is social responsibility). Everey single PR and every statement should include practical examples that ram home and illustrate the social responsibility agenda and bring it to life. We have got to demonstrate loud and clear what Conservatives are for in the 21st Century. We need a relentless positive, clear agenda focused on what people are concerned about - NHS; Law & Order; Education and Economy. In addition wherever possible key statements/news should come from 2 or 3 senior shadows around Cameron so we look like a Govt in waiting. Much of what Brown is doing will unravel as surely as his big state attitude already has done (as he was the prime mover while Blair was off abroad fighting battles). We actually have a great opportunity,

Matt

Richard Tyndall wrote:

"And I see you pick up on one small area whilst completely ignoring the rest including the tax proposals."

Our *real* position on the EU will get distorted and misrepresented if all we can do is keep banging on about bent cucumbers and olive oil testing. The manufacturers proposed it - don't you think the electorate are going to think it's whacky if we say we object despite us not having any UK olive oil producers?

If the Bruges Group can't help themselves from getting worked up over this stuff, that's fine, but this kind of stuff has no place in the party - unless we want to repeat the "24 hours left to save the pound" experiment... and we know how well *that* worked :-(

Toryjim,

it was the EUrophiles here - or at least those too timid to ever believe in criticising the EU - who raised the issue of olive oil amongst all the other regulations. I wonder how long it took them to track that one down.

And they still refuse to discuss the two substantive points - why are the EU imposing 109 new laws in 10 days and why are they proposing to bring in taxes on post and increase taxes on fuel?

If the Tory party is too scared or stupid to discuss these matters openly then they do not deserve to be anywhere near the reins of power.

Again I ask, exactly how is Cameron proposing to get back any control from the EU when that runs counter to the basic principles and rules of that organisation? It is a catch all that the Cameroons love to wheel out whenever the question of the EU is raised but we should treat it exactly as it is intended - as a lie.

Quite so, Mr Tyndall. We have disagreed over the role of a member of parliament, but on this issue you are unanswerably right. Broadening out from your point, do you not feel that there is a profound, coherent, relevant tory view of much that is currently amiss in Great Britain which is being ignored by the leadership, essentially because of its radicalism and its magnitude? To be specific, we know that academic selection works; that working class aptitudes are blunted not by grammar schools but by crime and drugs and endless mass immigration; that tax dulls the economy and handouts pauperise their recipients; that the communist health service is naturally filthy and inefficient and that "Europe" effectively blocks the urgently needed process of reform. This being so, it is only a matter of time before these truths are made manifest to a majority. Should the tory party fail to give them voice, it will be cast aside by the groundswell of public opinion.

I agree that that is a great problem - all the more so because Brown will pick certain high profile parts of these concerns and give the appearence of acting to deal with them whilst leaving the core problems unresolved.

I am tempted to say this is also a policy being persued by Cameron but I honestly don't know if he really is that shallow and coniving or if he genuinely fails to understand both how important these issues are and how much his failure to address them properly is damaging the party.

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