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Extraordinary. Spelman and Grayling strike me as decent, presentable people; The sort you would willingly welcome into your home - and yet thay come bottom.

I've detested Pickles since his YC days, and the two who top the poll are utterly beyond the pale.

Still, doesn't this disappointing poll give the lie to the 'Roons who claim that CH participation is 90% biased against them?

What exactly is the job required to do?

First decide what those aspects are and then measure them against the qualities of the candidates.

Personally I think the job is too big for a part time MP unless there is a full time CEO to take on the organisational aspects.

Hague and Osborne should be swapped but will Hague give up his directorships? I doubt it.

Have we all become disconnected from reality. Less than 2 months ago we stormed to victory in the local elections. There was a sense that we had been leading the debate on the family, the environment, social breakdown, and on devolving more power to ordinary people. Then we suddenly all turn into headless chickens calling for wholesale changes to the shadow cabinet; a return to a discredited core vote strategy and even conservative commentators like Janet Daley praising the leadership of Gordon Brown. Does the Conservative Party and the wider Conservative family really prefer tearing itself apart than getting on with the job of winning power so that we can get on and make a difference to a country so let down by Brown and Labour. Suddenly we all seem to be like rabbits trapped in the headlights. When will we wake up?

Eric Pickles has "dried out" completely since his YC days and would be an excellent choice.

Very good news that Francis Maude tops the poll.

His achievements are unarguable. Massive success in the polls since David's election, steering David's reforms, massive fundraising success, the only party with a serious web presence in WebCameron, and of course twin sets of far-above-expectation performances at local election level.

All of those are simple facts.

Whether David Cameron decides to keep or move Mr. Maude there is no question that objectively he has done extremely well.

"When will the Conservative party wake up?"

Is it sweepstake?

Hague and Osborne should definitely be swapped. I can't imagine Osborne getting too shirty about being "demoted" to Shadow Foreign Secretary, it's a plum job and he is only 36 for heaven's sake! Whether Hague will want to move is another matter, but Cameron should pressurise him into doing so, it would make the team look weightier without actually having to sack anyone. Having said that I still actually think Maude should go (Grayling was my choice) and Willetts should be moved back to Pensions (where he did well) and leave Gove to take over the Schools brief and Boris to take over Higher Education. I'd also love to see Sir Malcolm Rifkind back as Shadow Minister of Justice but don't think it'll happen, alas.

I remember Terence Kealey, Vice Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, tearing Grayling apart at Policy Exchange. Kealey attacked Grayling's policies on university funding and called him a "socialist".

I have met Grayling several times at local and national events. He has a huge ego and is very ambitious but, sadly, intellectually lightweight too (as Kealey proved all too easily).

Grayling's problem is that he gets bogged down in detail, tries to please his lobbyists and then produces a mess of a policy. He has failed to produce anything in his current brief.

His campaigning skills are poor. Grayling had the safest council ward in Wimbledon and then secured the safe Parliamentary seat in Epsom. His real test came when he was Liam Fox's leadership campaign manager. The result was a reflection of his abilities.

Tory T has a peculiar definition of "objective facts". On the contrary, Maude has alienated many many core supporters, presided over an over-centralised and superficial candidate selection process that emphasised race and gender over ability, and has seen the party achieve far worse poll and election results than it should have with such a discredited Labour leadership. The party needs a leader who can reconnect with the membership; how about Graham Brady?

The incompetence of the A-list and of the mayoral selection process also mean Francis Maude should go.

By keeping Francis Maude in position David Cameron will be communicating resolve in the face of right-wing tabloid pressures on him to change direction. He must stick with his modernisation programme or he really will be viewed as weak.

I can see the argument for Osborne having failed against Brown, but savaging Darling is hardly going to be difficult, surely?

On the other hand, pitching Hague against Milly Bland promises some decent theatre.

No change seems a reasonable plan.

David Cameron must keep Francis Maude in post, to communicate his resolve that we are going to keep on the same course and not demonstrate weakness. Only Francis Maude has the talent to lead the Light Brigade down the valley against those cannon.

John Hayes would bridge the gap between the modernisers and the traditionalists. He gets things right and knows how to get constituencies working. If we want to win elections, he'd be the best choice. Experienced in business,unlike nearly all modern day politicians, and respected by the majority of MPs. See his simple, common sense report on Further Education on CH today. If you want more of the same, and want to get the party's feet on the ground, back John Hayes - The Voice Of Common Sense.

William, you keep repeating the claim that we have done badly in recent elections. I'm sorry, but this just isn't true. In May, we gained 911 councillors - way beyond our expectations. As for John Hayes, Tapestry, you must be kidding. This man is a liability to the party. The less we see of him, the better.

John Hayes is a great man

But on the issue of Osborne, the editor says that that DC will never move him because he managed his leadership campaign

That is exactly why he should move him -- Osborne is proven campaigner and v. close to DC. As we move into the run up to the general election it is essential that the leader and the chairman are as one

Very good news that Francis Maude tops the poll.
“His achievements are unarguable. Massive success in the polls since David's election, steering David's reforms, massive fundraising success, the only party with a serious web presence in WebCameron, and of course twin sets of far-above-expectation performances at local election level.
All of those are simple facts.”
Another commenter:
“ Then we suddenly all turn into headless chickens calling for wholesale changes to the shadow cabinet; a return to a discredited core vote strategy and even conservative commentators like Janet Daley praising the leadership of Gordon Brown”

Apparently the facts aren’t “simple”, certainly not to Janet Daley nor to the core vote.

These are the “simple” facts: The Tory Party can be compared to two people sharing a bed who do do not speak to each other.; they are continually turning their backs on each other and pulling the covers off.
Solution: Eventually they will have to get a bed of their own - after the next election (as apropos Peter Hitchens – not that I always agree with him).

Another “simple fact” is that only one in four want Maude.

Only Francis Maude has the talent to lead the Light Brigade down the valley against those cannon.

Posted by: Blueparrot | July 02, 2007 at 10:10

It was the "Valley of Death" and the Light Brigade was torn to pieces - caused by poor communications, lack of understanding of tactics and hubris.

Iain Dale has just posted a very good/excellent defence of Francis Maude which I totally support.
As I have said elsewhere, the priority is for the Party to sort out how it communicates- we hope Coulson is up to the task, because if we get that wrong....

But Janet Daley is a mouth-frothing loon on a par with the Hefferlump.

Has the Tory party hugely increased its funds? Yes.
Has the Tory party become the only major party with a real web presence? Yes.
Has the Tory party chairman effectively steered through the reforms desired by the new leader (whether you agree with them or not is beside the point, that was his task) - Yes.
Has the Tory party excelled all commentator expectations at local elections in 2006 and 2007? Yes it has.
Has the Tory party moved faster than the other parties in candidate selection? Yes, again.

You may hate Cameron's agenda. But you cannot rightly excoriate the Chairman of the Party for effectively implementing his brief. We are in far better organisational shape than Lab or the LDs. Francis Maude has factually achieved every one of the things I set out above.

What some commenters are saying is "I don't want those things achieved" but that was his brief and he fulfilled it.

I'd not considered Hayes. Inspired.

I met John Hayes ,Justin ,and found him a pleasant and thoughtful man. He certainly is not a Liability he is not on the other hand positioned well to be at the heart of the Party.
I also noticed Janet Daley’s silly article. She has been struggling to find something new to say for while now and I suspect this straying into Daily mail territory is out of laziness and intellectual exhaustion. She talks as if we were at war . If we were then I suppose it might be a good idea to be led by a 1940s style dictator. Many freedoms have to be suspended at such times and I think nothing would suit the lying Scotsman better than to have a small scale state of emergency.
I don`t thinknthere is any special need to bridge any gaps . The Labour Party agree on nothing. They have just learnt to keep it quiet and so should we.

A pretty nonsensical poll considering BJ was NOT one of the main contenders on the poll- i could not access the 'other' column and HAD to vote for someone else- so the results may not be accurate at all. If BJ won't take the position why does it have to go to an MP? It appears none of them want to touch the Chairman's role with a barge-pole, if the reports are to be believed...

"Massive success in the polls since David's election".

Our level of opinion poll support is now scarcely 2 points ahead of where it was when IDS was leader. What a stunning triumph for the "reformers".

With regard to the undeniable gains at local government level, it should be remembered that we also had large gains under the IDS leadership, as well as William Hague's, and so it is merely continuing a pre-existing trend. Nothing to do with so-called "modernisers".

Indeed, if you attempt a like-for-like comparison between the poll performances of IDS then and the current leadership, you have to take into account that IDS was opposing a much stronger Labour government then than exists now, as well as an administration which was not tainted by the situation which has since developed in Iraq.

You also have to take into account the fact the the IDS leadership was plagued by leaking and undermining to a far higher degree that Cameron has to endure now, orchestrated by disloyal elements like Michael Portillo and others.

In this context, the current performance of the party is inferior to that which prevailed under the IDS leadership.

Our position in the polls is about 20 points behind where Blair was at the same stage as opposition leader.

To forestall the inevitable response, I am not advocating the removal of David Cameron as leader now, and giving IDS another go. I am simply trying to put our current situation into a proper context, and rebut some of the more delusional posts this morning. The Conservative Party has never won an election in modern times by lurching to the left. It is not going to start doing so now.

Iain Dale is supporting Maude. He puts a cogent case for supporting on his blog today.
I have my reservations about Maude but these are based on his media appearances. If, as Iain suggests Mude has been succesful with his CCHQ reforms (of which I have no knowledge) then he should stay.

But Janet Daley is a mouth-frothing loon on a par with the Hefferlump.

You seem Tory T to specialise in ad hominem remarks and fail to address the arguments at all....I can only surmise that you are unable to structure an argument or to engage in a civil manner with anyone you disagree with.....a real failing.

Your personalised comments about Heffer or Janet Daley are uncalled for and inappropriate - they must be right - because you attack them personally and cannot even address their points.

So,Malcolm,not surprising to see you sitting this one out by sitting on the fence and waiting to see which way it goes?

Maude must go because he is not a democrat.

We saw that when, on St. George's Day, the Board decided - with his support - to prevent the Party members from democratically deselecting sitting MEPs.

He is also responsible for discontinuing the Winter Ball at a net cost of more than £1,000,000 a year to our revenues.

Well that brought a smile to my face. Francis Maude the not-so-clear-winner of a poll? On Conservative Home? You Right-wingers split your vote unnecessarily ...

And I didn't even get chance to vote because the survey site was screwed up when I tried to access it.

Firstly the cannon at which the Light brigade charged were the wrong target (Lord Raglan being senile and chippy about not being as good as Wellington, was concerned about the Russians making off with some of our cannon that we had abandoned). Secondly only a strategic moron attacks cannon from in front rather than the side.

As an analogy for Francis Maude, however, its priceless.

No clear winner?

Maude was well ahead of the rest! If this website - which represents the right of the party - recommends that Maude is kept I think he should be a safe bet.

In addition to all Maude's achievements with fundraising and election sucess, moving him would send the wrong message.

Francis is someone who engages with this website a great deal, despite the bile heaped upon him by a few posters.

The message is clear: don't move Francis Maude.

I think it was all the UKIP supporters that voted for Maude, as they are most likely to benefit from him continuing in place. :-)

So very true Will and well put.

Iain Dale has what he presents as definitive intelligence that it will be Carolone Spellman. He will have major egg on face if it is not.

Or maybe even Caroline Spelman!! This exciting prospect must have got the better of me.

For goodness' sake, don't keep crediting the kill-joy defeatist Maude with recent Tory successes. They are the result of local activism on the part of people whom Mr Maude appears to despise. They are also the result of serial blundering by our Labour government and the whiff of scandal which clung to Tony Blair. A real Tory party would surely be reaping the reward of large scale popular disaffection by now. We should in particular have distanced ourselves decisively from the Iraq war the moment it became clear that the House of Commons had been suckered into voting for it. Labour managed exactly this trick over Suez because they believed in themselves. Our half hearted tories are for ever finding reasons for not advancing arguments of one kind or another. Advance the lot and do so vigorously. Seize opportunities. Shout. Complain. Campaign. Now!

CH readers need a sanity test. Alan Duncan is probably the one person less respected by his colleagues than Francis Maude.

We need someone hard working as party chairman. Maude is not a hard worker. We also need someone whom is taken seriously by the media and parliamentary colleagues. Alan Duncan is not.

Londoner, can't you spell, man?

"Very good news that Francis Maude tops the poll."


Very predictable.

Iain dale knows a lot but does he know what really matters?

Blair has gone.

The whole Cameron gameplan to date was a play-Blair strategy, of which Maude was a major part. In essence, no content or detail was to be allowed to show its face where superficiality and image-play would do.

And, all credit to Cameron, against Blair, this strategy has worked - even if it has driven Conservative MPs and activists half mad with despair on occasions. Cameron made us look OK in a Blair-dominated era in the easygoing cultural environment, where nothing could be taken all that seriously without one's 'cool' being diminished. Maude fitted in well.

Blair has gone, I repeat.

Brown is here now. And he's another sport altogether. Intensity of effort, serious reciting of school mottos and almost religious adherence to a script is being demanded throughout the Labour Party machine. No longer will reality be redefined on a daily basis by Blair, rendering any effort to present policy an almost hopeless task. Blair lived by the day, shooting from the hip. Brown professes to live by principles - the exact opposite of what went before, and he's digging into well prepared positions.

Whether Brown's principles stand up to scrutiny is now the name of the game. Even ugly people can play now. The idea with Blair was that looking good and sounding good came higher than policy or anything else. Seducing the audience was quick and easy for Blair, and it required little effort from him.

Brown has now condemned the culture of celebrity - of easy pickings for good-looking and talented folk. No more froth will be tolerated on his watch. Poliics is now serious business once more, and only serious players are invited to participate.

The way to fight Brown is say goodbye to the image soundbite-skilled operators like Osborne and Maude, and replace them with equally serious as Brown policy folk, who can think through to the detail, and show that Brown's entrenched positions are wrong.

If you play Blair-like frothy soundbites at Brown, he'll bat them away with contempt. Solid detailed and well thought through policy statements that resonate with voters are now not only permissible but required. Brown, aware that Cameron is in danger of continuing with his anti-Blair strategies is inviting the forum of debate to be reconquered by common sense, claiming that his brand is best.

Cameron must now play Brown on his own terms as he played Blair on his. That means getting the Party's feet back on the ground, healing the rifts which are in danger of dividing modernisers from traditionalists. Common sense and detail must become the only games in town...a little dull maybe after the dizzy flights and superficiality of the Blair years. Brown dullness has to be scuppered on its own terms.

We have in the Party people ideally suited to take on Gordon Brown - who operate on another level of determination and commitment to getting policy right, and less inclined to shoot off slightly preposterous slogans like 'heir to Blair' and the like.

I propose again John Hayes for Chairman. The Party needs to demonstrate it's moved to meet the new challenge. There's no point in rearranging the same mugs around the table in different chairs. Brown represents a totally diffeent cultural environment to Blair. Cameron must match his play.

A good post from Tapestry with which I largely agree. However if we are now in a post-spin Brown era, your logic suggests to me that we would be better off without the Chocolate Orange Inspecting Hoogie Hugging Bullingdon Boy Heir to Blair as leader.

Iain Dale wrote about Spelman -

'She needs to develop a much harder edge and media presence. Her Shadow Cabinet place is safe and she should stay in the same job.' Local Housing - that is - doing well fighting Council tax rises.

Cameron could adapt his act to suit the new environment. He doesn't have much choice about it. If he carries on as he was, Brown will make hay. Against Blair Cameron did well overall. But now the game's changed. I'm sure he'll now get the measure of Brown after a fortnight to rebalance things.

"Maude was well ahead of the rest!".

Maude got a 25% endorsement as the incumbent, 3.1% ahead of Duncan, in a packed field. Hardly decisive.

"this website - which represents the right of the party..."

As we have told ourselves hundreds of times now, at the time of David Cameron's leadership campaign, this website endorsed DC by an even bigger landslide than the party as a whole. There is no reason to suspect that its composition has changed. This website is widely recognised as a reliable barometer of general opinion within the party as a whole.

So you can't have it both ways, my nameless friend "changetowin". Ignoring inconvenient truths has long been the preserve of the Left. Let's keep it that way.

Whose troll are you anyway?

As IDs was voted in by some 158,000 grass roots for the Leadership and you have only 25 votes in your poll for Chairman. Something is very wrong somehow. I know many left the party on his deselection, but not in the thousands surely?

You're right, Chris Williams. IDS steadily improved the Party's poll ratings when Blair was still riding high. He was undermined constantly by members of his own party but showed enormous dignity throughout. The measure of the man is his contribution to the Conservative Party since he was uncermoniously booted out. His work on social justice is what marks him out as a man of conviction and substance. The Party Members recognised this. Unfortunately, for them and their party their MPs did not. What a wasted four years!

Not so. Owen Paterson, IDS' campaign manager and european envoy is back in At Northern Ireland..

In 2003 he was sent round Europe by IDS to recruit countries to back an anti-federalism coalition. If IDS hadn't fallen, this might have pulled us from the EPP four years ago.

Oewen also ran the campaign to bring the plight of the fishing industry to notice, which led IDS' cabinet to commit to quitting the CFP. Also tried to get the government to act on TB in cattle caught from protected badgers. Costing billions.

Recently pointed out the problems with labour's road policies.

A frequent mention in Christopher Booker in the ST, Paterson represents a more managerial competent streak in the Conservative Party. Wish Cameron had added John Hayes as well, but paterson is a step in the right direction.

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