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Michael Gove is a journalist so what he writes must be informed and based on reality.......even if reality doesn't conform

I thought about this yesterday when Michael Gove was on Today and said that the Tories would stay on the centre ground. Do voters really care if David Cameron is in the centre? If it reinforces an idea of moderation it might be helpful but it's probably more important to convey an image of strength rather than weakness and sincerity rather than spin. Cameron is in trouble because even his moderation is seen as focus-grouped.

What is Gove on? Has he been diagnosed with 'nottinghillitis'? I'm afraid i rest on the 'europeanisation' side of the argument regarding DC's leadership so far- and Fraser Nelson's analysis of the situation so far. Of course the 'battle of ideas' is being fought on the media's terms- as well as the PC Liberal establishment's idea of 'consensus politics'. I fear a Doctor may be required to cure the 'nottinghillitis' which is stealthily inflicting the Party so far.

I think "Flimsy" was a comment on the Guardian Gove article.

Dumping traditional tory policies is going to prove very expensive in terms of votes. He might attract a few liberal/lefty voters, but when it comes to the GE they will return to their natural home.

People do not want "Heir to Blair", they have had enough of Blairism and the sight of Dave urging his MPs to follow his lead and give Tone a standing ovation was enough to make most Tories feel nauseous.

You could say Europeanisation but I would say that Cameron has swallowed the BBC's worldview.

Is there nobody in this party who can bang heads together NOW before it really is too late?

Either the Party supports their elected leader wholeheartedly or it is going to face yet more years in Opposition- and we all know that there you cannot get much done other than continuing to argue and talk to ourselves.

Some of us don't want to follow our leader over a cliff michael.

I think Dave has been comprehensively outmaneouvred by Brown, whom he underestimated hugely. We are looking at another majority Labour Government. Once active Conservatives like me have no incentive to support Dave and his arrogant, remote clique. Guess I'll just have to stay at home.

Jennifer

Then I am afraid you are going to be stuck for many years in the wilderness, presumably on the clifftop, only dreaming of what might have been.

People who are now running for the door should really ask themselves if they want another 5 years plus of this Government.

We all need to hold our nerve. Michael Gove is right. Things are coming our way. Gordon Brown was so boring on Marr this morning. Once the novelty of the last week has worn off I am very confident that our opinion poll lead will be restored.

It's a pity Cameron's terms apparently include a ban on the use of the word "Islamist". I wonder what Michael Gove, author of 'Celsius 7/7', thinks about that.

"You could say Europeanisation but I would say that Cameron has swallowed the BBC's worldview."

I'm not sure that Cameron is really a committed cultural Marxist in the manner of the BBC, but he certainly talks the same language. He also calls this the 'centre ground' - it may be the centre of British political debate but outside Notting Hill I doubt it's anywhere near the centre of British public opinion.

There is a big difference between setting the political agenda and profiting from it. Too much of what is going on in the party today is "There go the people, we must find out where they are going so we can lead them."

Leadership means taking a lead, not just trying to fit in with people and not upset anyone. It feels all too often like we are trying to fit in with what we think people want. That is the route to disaster because the electorate will view it as opportunism and reject us.

If you have a principle and a vision then you should share it with people and explain why it is the right direction to take and why people will benefit from it.

When the policy groups report we need to see Cameron firmly advancing policies based on principles and a vision for improving the country after Labour's vandalism. The country is crying out for substance and something to support. This will be the one opportunity to offer it.

If we fail to deliver a vision and fail to give leadership then we will lose the next election.

As a footnote to that, we would deserve to lose it too.

Bad mistake waving for a standing ovation for Blair. I can see this on many election broadcasts to come.

I fear it will take another drubbing for many people to realise what went wrong in 2001 and 2005.

In a national party that strives to represent a majority of the electorate it is necessary for people to compromise. Those on the Right of the party can have opposition to the EU, defence of the Armed Forces and of our relationship with the USA, and support for the family; but will have to compromise on there being no specific talk of tax cuts and a more inclusive approach to education, the NHS and immigration.

You put it well, EML. Support for the family, a border police force and a campaign for a referendum should be enough for all reasonable right-wingers.

Tony Sharp is absolutely right, but it would be nice if we could see DC taking a lead NOW over homeland security. He should be demanding tougher action etc. What will happen though is that Brown will bring forward his ideas- they are already being floated in today's press- and we will be just reacting to them.

DC called the agenda on the environment - please call it again now on this issue that is so important to people's lives and security.

All we need is for DC to come out with 5 or 6 bullet points that he wants to see actioned immediately and which everyone can relate to. What we must not be doing is sitting on our hands and merely sympathise etc with those affected.

So I assume EML that your wish to have no specific talk of tax cuts has more to do with presentation, than a reluctance to lift people out of their dependence on the state and remove the bureaucracy of tax credits? Are we to avoid engaging with the electorate on any matter of substance?

We just have to keep talking like normal people - no ranting. The narrative has to suit the situation, which at the moment is comfortable for most people. If we keep warning of disaster it just makes us disconnected from the majority.
Now we know there are some very fundamental problems: uncontrolled immigration, creeping socialisation, neutering via Europe - but these aren't everyday problems. We have to be trusted with the mundane before we'll be believed on the deeper issues.

[email protected]:07. By God- if we're to be trusted with the 'mundane' before we are taken seriously over 'higher issues' we are truly in the Brown stuff! What do you mean immigration, creeping socialisation ( what? Socialism or Orwellism?), neutering via the EC are not EVERYDAY problems! They ARE everyday problems. Some of which have resonance right now ( with regard to the terrorist outrages). And all this talk about 'holding our nerve' is nonsence too. If a vehicle is going to go off a cliff, best to get off it before it does- or you turn the bloomin thing around!

Editor, I think you have gone a bit off track with this piece,

Support for the family, a border police force and a campaign for a referendum

That is now official Conservative Party policy and will be in a Manifesto ?

Campaign for a Referendum is a bit vague - we have a Constitution by December 2007 so when will this campaign get started ?

Why, Oberon?

The number of 'purity before power' people here (and the media) is extremely depressing.

Would you really have Gordon Brown in power until 2014, than support what you regard as pale-blue conservative?

Cameron needs to beter control the media, and needs to counter accusations of being lightweight, but the only real cliff is the one being currently excavated by the so-called Right.

Does Michael Gove live on the same planet as ther rest of us, he certainly could have fooled me " Mr Cameron was leading the way"......where? or that he is setting the political agenda...perhaps on green issues but how many people will put that at the top of the list of their priorities come election time.
Michael I am afraid is starting to sound more and more like Euriah Heep, which is a shame as he is a very intelligent young man but if he is not careful he will be placed in the same bracket as Mr Willets, all brains but not an iota of common sense which is not so common.
I hope his feet start to get planted firmly and squarely on the ground soon.

Ed, I agree with Oberon. Busy day today, but to sum up why, I'd say consider the source. The source is Michael Gove. I think you know well Michael's ideological provenance. If even he is saying this, consider that it might be correct.

Michael is absolutely right in every respect.

Jennifer

Some of us don't want to follow our leader over a cliff michael.

You did that with Major in 1997, Hague in 2001 and Howard in 2005. Why not take a risk for someone who actually moved you guys ahead in the polls until an inevitable new-PM bounce?

I'll tell you why. Because all those guys had the same, tired conservative ideas that traditionalist Tories like. It isn't actually about winning power, it's about keeping prejudices and set ways of thinking. Labour had this problem in the 1980s, and they stayed in Opposition. When parties get hijacked by people stuck-in-a-rut they never do as well as they can.

bluepatriot

Where are you going to find the money for the border Police force without raising taxes? Slash NHS funding? Slash social security?

This is the second problem in the Tories - putting grand ideas ahead of spending plans. I see a lot of "spend more money on this" suggestions on this blog, with never a single realistic idea as to how to raise the money apart from "reduce waste" or "reform spending".

that reads poorly - I mean no disrespect to Mr. Gove by "even he". I mean only that he is a robust Conservative. You cannot put the proverbial cigarette paper between his views and mine on just about anything. Gove is no Portillo.

Cameron should appoint a Chairman who can weld the Party together. He needs to be trusted by the Right, and yet be on board with the 'and theory' and modernising. Again I recommend John Hayes.

Editor - this really is not the time for sniping. I think that you and I - and Michael Gove - all want broadly similar things in terms of a good society but this incessant carping at an absolutely key moment is playing right into Brown's hands.

There are things the leadership could have done better but I would say that 80% of the decisions have been right. DC is now even rolling out the "And" theory but reading your introduction to this thread one gets no sense of real enthusiasm or support for him. Your tone is, at best, agnostic.

Ultimately, it's up to you. But you can't keep on like this and expect to be taken seriously as someone who wishes David Cameron well.

That Osborne was on Sunday AM, and he really is so inadequate as a communicator. Any reshuffle - get Hague or somebody who can impress as a communicator up front.
Time Jeremy Hunt was in the front line for us.

Editor - this really is not the time for sniping. I think that you and I - and Michael Gove - all want broadly similar things in terms of a good society but this incessant carping at an absolutely key moment is playing right into Brown's hands.

There are things the leadership could have done better but I would say that 80% of the decisions have been right. DC is now even rolling out the "And" theory but reading your introduction to this thread one gets no sense of real enthusiasm or support for him. Your tone is, at best, agnostic.

Ultimately, it's up to you. But you can't keep on like this and expect to be taken seriously as someone who wishes David Cameron well.

Posted by: Fraser | July 01, 2007 at 14:53

Some of us were agnostics but now we are atheists we do not believe in Dave's sermons - we hope to bring him around to the paths of Tory righteousness even for his own sake. There will be much rejoicing in the constituencies when a political sinner repenteth (but it wont be till after the next election).
With regard to Michael Gove, a man of whom I had great hopes, isn't it sad to see how promotion can turn a head.
If anyone had watched and listened to Sean Gabb on D/Street during the week you would come to the conclusion that he (Gabb) wasn't far wrong.

The News of the World says today:
"Nationalism and immigration are powerful political weapons. The Tories have left them abandoned, for Gordon Brown to use. A man with an election to win couldn't ask for a better present."

Also today William Hague in an interview:
"Towards the end of the interview Mr Hague rejected calls from Edward Leigh for a greater emphasis on issues like....stronger immigration controls".

Surely these Cameroons are just Labour plants within the Tory party, we're doomed.

Sorry Michael, nice try. But the idea that Cameron is setting the political agenda is laughable considering he hasn't actually come up with any policies or substance so far.

A good start for him would be to demote Osborne as quick as possible.

Fraser: For the record I am 100% committed to David Cameron staying as Conservative leader but I have been honest about my reservations about the strategy from very early on. As I wrote the other day - my hope is for a more authentic, broader and more courteous Project.

I so agree with Umbrella man at 11.10:

"I thought about this yesterday when Michael Gove was on Today and said that the Tories would stay on the centre ground. Do voters really care if David Cameron is in the centre?"

Do these terms - left, right, centre - still have meanings of any real relevance?

What the nation wants at the moment is effective action to deal with some very crucial problems: terrorism in our country, ever increasing knife and gun crime, real education, an efficient NHS (that includes treatment for teeth and eyes), proper support for the military, a viable exit strategy for Iraq, a Defra that actually helps our rural economy, a simpler and fairer tax system and a restoration of the separation of the civil service and government among other things.

Blair certainly leaves quite a legacy. Brown was at the heart of the government that left us in that position; why is it only now that he wants to put things right?

As the tories do not have too many policies at the moment by which to compare, let us now be very demanding as we judge their performance as the loyal opposition.

I would say that 80% of the decisions have been right.

Care to list them....and the 20% that weren't ?

I find the term "decisions" to be somewhat inappropriate. As David Belchamber rightly notes Blair has left a mess behind him and only Brown is putting forward solutions while the Conservatives engage in semantics of "and" and other abstruse irrelevancies

"That Osborne was on Sunday AM, and he really is so inadequate as a communicator. Any reshuffle - get Hague or somebody who can impress as a communicator up front.
Time Jeremy Hunt was in the front line for us."

This is what it is about. Labour is full of communicators who couldn't run anything much. The Tories have clever fellows who can't communicate much. Politics is about communication first, good ideas and policies are not very good if you don't communicate. Remember at the last election they liked our policies till they realised they were ours. For some reason being good at communicating has never scored much in the Tory party, MPs seem to think they don't have to do anything but wait for an expensive advertising campaign. Where were they when they could have been tearing in to Davies and Brown at the same time? ( I exclude Nigel Evans from this critisism, he seems to have committed the sin of being good at communicating.) Perhaps we need to wait for the A listers to arrive before we have real MPs in a real parliamentary party prepare to be counted and fight.

Good ammunition for lib dems (and labour) for their by election campaigns in these comments - well done people, you can always rely on the so called grassroots to give succour to our enemies.*

Of course, these same people will also swear blind that their bile is having absolutely no effect on support.

People don't like a divided party - get that into your thick little heads. If you can't cope with the pressure go and support another party (those that don't already that is).

* At least one lib dem website is using quotes from comments here as ammunition already.

Of course, these same people will also swear blind that their bile is having absolutely no effect on support.

Well, at least some of us think that a party, whatever it might be called, with no discernable Tory policies or principles doesn't actually deserve to win elections.

My non-Tory friends don't need me to tell them that Cameron lacks depth, or that he's cynical and self-serving, because they can see that for themselves. Reasonable people can, at least, respect a party with which they disagree - but few people I know seem to have any respect for the Conservative Party at the moment, because it is all about 'change' with precious little else except a general conviction that we've been wrong about everything in the past and need a total overhaul. And who'd want to vote for that?

Bearing in mind that Cameron has chosen to fight all battles on New Labour's terms then it is at the very least serious spin for Gove to suggest that the battle of ideas is being fought on Cameron's terms. That is only true in that Cameron has completely abandoned conservative ideas and principles in favour of Labour's. So the truth is that he is simply tinkering with Labour's ideas, not producing anything that is actually conservative.

Bearing in mind that Cameron has chosen to fight all battles on New Labour's terms then it is at the very least serious spin for Gove to suggest that the battle of ideas is being fought on Cameron's terms. That is only true in that Cameron has completely abandoned conservative ideas and principles in favour of Labour's. So the truth is that he is simply tinkering with Labour's ideas, not producing anything that is actually conservative.

Bearing in mind that Cameron has chosen to fight all battles on New Labour's terms then it is at the very least serious spin for Gove to suggest that the battle of ideas is being fought on Cameron's terms. That is only true in that Cameron has completely abandoned conservative ideas and principles in favour of Labour's. So the truth is that he is simply tinkering with Labour's ideas, not producing anything that is actually conservative.

Cameron *was* setting the political agenda.

Not at the moment, however.

Editor, the reason I think you are going off track is that you have focused your piece away from the points Gove was making about, why the Tories on the centre ground are different to Labour, back to the Cornerstone or "and theory" message... i.e. that we sould be complimenting a sociocentric focus with a much more right-wing agenda.

This was the basic thrust of David Davis' leadership campaign and the overwhelming majority of members rejected it for Camerons change agenda. Now the right are using Gordons bounce to * bounce * the leadership off track back onto the agenda of the right again. The benefits of this are continually preached in an evangelical fashion that suggests to me that it's exponents are blind to the current reality of politics today.

Max Hastings recently wrote an article in which he said that Britain is quite social democrat in nature today, but many right wing Tories refuse to accept this. Your piece above would seem to support his arguement.

I have said this many times, I am willing to adapt to gain power, this is the only viable position for a major opposition party to have. A small but vocal group in our party however are thinking and talking like a pressure group. I think these people would be better focusing on an important issue that is not at odds with gaining power and in return will accept and support the populist agenda Cameron realises we must offer. This comprimise will lead to the many benefits Gove is talking about above, something much prefered by myself for one, to Gordon Brown as PM.

Thanks Oberon. Two quick reactions:

I do think the party needs to change. We need a less Hefferesque tone. We need to recognise same-sex partnerships. We need to be much more willing to invest in overseas development. Overall we must be a greener and gentler party.

I do not think the party needs to abandon our Euroscepticism or a tough approach to immigration or crime. Most of the policies we fought the last election on were very popular. We do not need to abandon them.

Editor

"Most of the policies we fought the last election on were very popular. We do not need to abandon them."

This is where the Cameroons fall down, big time. Instead of focussing on the cultural issues which needed to change (anti-gay for example) which are like dirty water, they have thrown out the baby (good and popular policies).

Change the water (cultural) and keep the baby (policies)

Ye Gods! How many voters will be won by'recognizing same sex partnerships'. What does 'investment in overseas development mean'? Surely you must have cottoned onto the fact that China did not get any foreign aid and India minuscule amounts and they are charging ahead. Giving overseas aid politicises and regresses any economy-it goes to governments and politicians. Tory policy should be to cut overseas aid including to the EU which administers most of Britian's 'aid'.As for being seen as a gentler party-you are talking in Westminster
nonsense language.
Voters will vote for a party which has analysed and prioritized issues, offers clear and sensible solutions and exhibits a robust and indeed ruthless willpower to carry them out.

People don't like a divided party - get that into your thick little heads.

5) The Party should be organized along the principle of democratic centralism, with single statutes and with an equal discipline for all and "with a single leadership organ at its head, to be known as the Party congress. And in the intervals between the congress and the central committee's congress, with the submission of the minority to the majority, of the district organizations to the central organisms, and of the inferior organizations to the superior."

To maintain unity in its ranks the Party requires a single discipline applicable to all,


So Cardinal Pirelli you prefer the Leninist Party to the Conservative Party...which will mean you will need to find a new membership

the fact that China did not get any foreign aid

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/projects/asia/china_en.htm

The EC-China National Indicative Programme (NIP) 2005-2006 provides for grants for € 150 million, the priorities are: Higher education, Intellectual respects, Rights co-operation, Governance Capacity Building and Support for Sectoral Dialogues. There are currently some 40 on-going EC-China co-operation projects, financed through the EuropeAid- managed budget, with an overall budget of around €270 Mio.

TomTom, you are the one with authoritarian sensibilities, it comes as no surprise that you could quote that sort of thing.

You address precisely nothing regarding the arrogant fools who are going around saying how terribly they've been treated and the party is not the same etc. etc. For years I was ignored in terms of the parties direction because I believe in something that is total anathema to you called loyalty. If you can't cope with that concept then you need to leave.

Okay thats 15 euro cents for every Chinese which may or may not be dispersed in the future and is irrelevant to China's growth to now. It raises a further question. Since China has almost a trillion in foreign exchange reserves -about 20 times the Uk's -why are the pensioners and other hard pressed taxpayers of the Uk giving money to China through the EU?
Does the Editor think this is a good idea?for the UK? for China? It is certainly a lucrative idea for the Brussels bureaucrats who get a large part of the UK's 'investment
in overseas development ' and who then have absolute discretion as to where to chuck it-as you so convincingly show.

Francis Maude MUST GO and be replaced by someone impressive who has excelled at their brief.

It seems to me that what this series of comments (and many like them on Tory blogs recently) demonstrates is that the Conservative party can no longer stand the impossible tensions between the different philosophies espoused by its followers. It needs an SDP moment to ease the tension (and restore real choice in politics), before it implodes, even if that means sacrificing the next election.

I'm not a Tory - I'm looking for a political home and not seeing anywhere, as a classical liberal (libertarian, if you prefer), that is remotely suitable. But if EML's carve-up (1/7 11:58) of right- and left-wing issues is even vaguely accurate, home will never be the Tory party. Do the left of the party not also believe in defence of the Armed Forces, our relationship with the USA and support for the family? And when did those become more important right-wing issues than smaller government in the shape of tax-cuts, and moving away from state-provision and -control of services? What EML identified as "right-wing" issues were (broadly) conservative issues, not libertarian issues, though many people would view libertarianism as right-wing. EML's list offered absolutely no compromise to a libertarian - it was a bit of old fashioned conservatism mixed up with a bit of social democracy. The words "a more inclusive approach" (to whatever) reek so badly, to a libertarian, of PR, spin and empty ideas that it makes one gag. No one (to my knowledge) was promoting an exclusive approach, they just had different ideas of what worked best.

Sycophantic tripe from Gove, whose 'centre ground' past history includes some curious friendships with individuals generally regarded as being on the 'far right'.

However, the worst thing about Gove - and electoral poison - is his fanatical support for the Iraq War, 'regime change' etc.

Necons like Gove should be shunned as the dangerous warmongers they are.

Cardinal Pirelli - I believe in something that is total anathema to you called loyalty.

How quaintly 1950-ish. Is your real name Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe?

Loyalty to what and why?

My only loyalties are to my country, family and friends. Parties are mere tools we use to help us achieve political ends, and if you believe otherwise you are deluding yourself.

Posted by: anthony scholefield | July 01, 2007 at 19:37

i have always found it strange to give economic aid to nations with a space programme or engaged in heavy expenditure on arms......

China's real ace is MFN status with duty-free access to the EU and US markets - something Britain had to join the EU to get.

So The Single Market in the EU for which Britain pays real money and sovereignty, is available to China without fee and with subsidy.

China, the country that subsidises kerosene and petrol then exports cheap goods to an EU which levies the world's highest taxes on both....

The EU subsidy to China is the huge trade deficit which brings no tariff revenues and relies upon VAT to cover the shortfall

TomTom, you are the one with authoritarian sensibilities, it comes as no surprise that you could quote that sort of thing.

You address precisely nothing regarding the arrogant fools who are going around saying how terribly they've been treated and the party is not the same etc. etc. For years I was ignored in terms of the parties direction because I believe in something that is total anathema to you called loyalty. If you can't cope with that concept then you need to leave.

Posted by: Cardinal Pirelli |

You are most odd engaging in projection onto others of your own deficiencies. I am so authoritarian I believe in open discussion in political parties, differing viewpoints, and a rejection of the Fuehrerprinzip and Gleichschaltung those with feeble minds from student politics seem to have brought with them when moving up to the big school and long trousers.

You are quite preposterous but highly amusing. For years I was ignored a sound arrangement, can it be reinstituted ?

the Fuehrerprinzip and Gleichschaltung

Precisely the two principles which have been imposed upon the Conservative Party since the Cameron Machtergreifung

'For years I was ignored'

Can we sort this one out? Half the 'Roons tell us they were ignored under Maggie, Hague etc. The other half tell us they were all enthusiastic Thatcherites.

Who's telling the truth?

Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph had a less complacent view of Tories' current standing.

Mr B is already on to stronger border control and, according to 'Scotsman on Sunday', his constitutional review is looking at the West Lothian Question and the Barnett Formula. Assuming that these result in an acceptable outcome, then all he then needs to do is offer referendum on EU Constitution (or some equivalent masterstroke)and the rug will be pulled out from under your feet. In that circumstance, expect an early election during your confused hiatus.

Michael Gove writes in the Observer that "The battle of ideas is being fought on Cameron's terms". What a laugh. Does he really expect us to believe that?

Maybe Gove had better read this morning's Telegraph.

One article screams 'Osborne's job on the line as Tories fret over polls', while Janet Daley writes 'Brown's response to terrorism leaves Cameron looking hollow'

What was that Neville Chamberlain said about somebody 'missing the bus'?

David Belchamber @ 15.41 yesterday. I absolutely agree with your middle paragraph beginning - 'What the nation wants at the moment is effective action to deal with some very crucial problems....'

In answer to your question at the end of this paragraph... 'Blair certainly leaves quite a legacy. Brown was at the heart of the government that left us in that position, why is it only now that he wants to put things right?' The answer --- Mr. Brown was in THE crucial position to be able to facilitate Blair's various projects throughout his leadership, but time and again Brown refused the cash that was needed. WHY? So that HE could come to power and be the leader and saviour. Why the various speeches that he has made so far all contain phrases that indicate that it will be a government of ONE voice - HIS!

COMMENT OVERWRITTEN BY THE EDITOR BECAUSE OF BAD LANGUAGE.

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