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Obviously a candidate for a Shaun Woodward Travelling Fellowship

There are some things that should never be done by members of the party, especially those fortunate enough to be candidates or MPs.

Vicious personal attacks on the leader (or any other leading Conservative) are just not on. Ther are ways of expressing doubts about David Cameron's approach that do not give Gordon Brown so much ammo.

Why the piece was published on this site is another matter?

""The Conservative leader is right to say that the fundamental failures of Labour will eventually kill the Brown bounce but there must be worries that Brown will still be bouncing high if he chooses an early election. As recommended last week we need a guerilla war against Brown over the summer to prevent an autumn election. Every month we can now buy will give the party an opportunity to bring Brown's ratings back to earth.""

There is a significant risk developing which we need to prepare the ground for, since the outcome could be disastrous. I think it is becoming increasingly likely that Brown will hold the line on the new EU treaty for long enough to build substantial pressure in the media - he will continue to say, as he has so far, that he will not sign it if it breaches his 'red lines', which is his reason for not putting it to a referendum.

When the time is right, he will declare that he intends not to sign the treaty since he has determined that it does, indeed, breach the 'red lines', and he will hold a general election shortly afterwards, Either late this year or early next.

The EU backlash from this will be negligible - he can, after all, simply agree to go back into negotiations until he is in a position to say the 'red lines' are now ok - but I believe the bounce he will get from the electorate, and our target middle ground (not to mention a sizeable chunk of core supporters) in the run up to an election could be huge - "Sticking up for Britain", "Brown tells the EU where to get off", "Brown draws the line" - you can write the headlines now.

How to minimise the damage? A tough call, but I can only see two ways to address this.
First, we have to be seen to keep the pressure on for a referendum, and when he backs away we can reasonably claim credit. Second we absolutely must make sure that the EU treaty and family breakdown are not seen as our main thrust, which is the way it's developing at present. The IDS/family breakdown theme is valid but does not, IMO, have the same level of sensitivity with the electorate as the economy - a point made by a number of commentators ecently (DC has already implied that folk should be concerned about families instead of the economy, which I have said elsewhere on this site I think may well be an error.)

Ali Miraj was expected to be a team player. A team player in a very important programme. A programme to govern our country. Ali Miraj let David Cameron down badly. Those who want to see a Conservative government need to think very carefully about their actions. If they have criticisms they ought to address David Cameron privately. Every fifteen minutes of fame bought by public criticism of the leader in the long run means the party will pay at the next election with a loss of votes.

"Why the piece was published on this site is another matter?"

Indeed, and one which rather undermines the apparent disappointment expressed by

"The last few days' noise from Brady, Kalms, Miraj and Saatchi hid some solid announcements over the last week."

The behaviour of many members of the Conservative party during recent weeks has been shameful. Have we really learned nothing during the past 10 years? Even now after so long in government the Labour party show far more discipline than we do.
We now have a mountain to climb to have any hopes in the next GE. The media are writing us off at the moment which is why Brown is being given such an easy ride and a nonentity like Miraj is able to find a platform right across the media including very sadly on this blog.

The thing that makes me so contemptuous of the anti-Cameron brigade is that while some of them may make valid points not one of them has a coherent alternative strategy, other than the emotionally self-indulgent 'core vote' one that was tried in '01 and '05.

Miraj, Saatchi, Brady, Field, Kalms, Leigh - some are embittered at being marginalised, some are 1980s nostalgics, some are right wing infantalists, some are attention seeking egotists - they all have one thing in common.

None of them could summon up the basic loyalty to say 'no comment' when the media came calling at a difficult time for the Conservative Party.

It won't be forgotten.

I'm with Malcolm here. The lack of discipline my certain members of this party is astonishing, and really winds you up when you're putting hours of work in every week for this party. I just hope the Cameron index has bottomed out and we can start gaining some positive momentum now.

I'm also not sure that publishing Miraj's ramblings were wise based on his past form.

The Times (and others) deals with Mr. Miraj’s conduct here:


The facts may now be summarized as follows:

1. Mr. Miraj was a candidate for the Conservative party in 2001 and 2005. In 2001 he performed adequately at Aberavon. In 2005 he stood at Watford which was and is a seat which Conservatives must expect to win if they are to form a Government. Here his singular achievement was to see the Conservative share of the vote actually decline and the LibDems share increase so much that the Conservatives were pushed, humiliatingly, into third place;

2. Notwithstanding this, he was allowed to remain on the candidates list and in due course put himself forward for selection as the candidate for Witham. In due course he made a grave, but otherwise wholly unsupported, allegation that Bernard Jenkin, in the presence of two other Tory MPs, told him that he would be surprised if this seat selected anything other than a white middle class male. Neither Mr Jenkin nor anyone else apart from Mr. Miraj had any recollection of making such a comment and in the event Witham selected a lady of Asian origin, Priti Patel as its candidate;

3. Sometime before Thursday of last week Mr. Miraj prepared an article highly critical of Mr. Cameron which, rather than offer for publication, he showed to members of ‘Team Cameron’. As a result he was called for a meeting with Mr. Cameron on Monday. At this meeting he several times asked Mr. Cameron to give him a Peerage;

4. Mr. Cameron, quite properly, given the circumstances, refused, not least because such things are not in his gift. This was Mr. Cameron's "Publish and be damned!" moment;

5. Having been refused Mr. Miraj then offered his ;article’ for publication and it was published;

6. The fact of his criticisms of Mr. Cameron becomes an important news item, particularly in those corners of the media which are deeply hostile to the Conservative party;

7. Mr. Miraj has been suspended from the candidates list;

8. Mr Miraj also made clear his disappointment that Sayeeda Warsi, a fellow British Muslim, had been promoted to the Shadow Cabinet and given a peerage.

What, then, are the proper and reasonable inferences to be drawn from these facts?

1. Mr. Miraj prepared his article with the deliberate intention of getting a face to face meeting with Mr. Cameron: otherwise, why show it first to team Cameron?;

2. Having got his meeting, it is clear that a central feature of that meeting, called in response to his threat to publish an article highly critical of Mr. Cameron personally, was Mr. Miraj’s desire to be made a peer at Mr. Cameron’s instance;

3. There was, therefore, a clear link in Mr. Miraj’s mind between the article and the request for a peerage;

4. This was, it is reasonable to conclude, an unsubtle attempt to blackmail Mr. Cameron into recommending him for a peerage or face publication of the articl;
5. Mr. Miraj knew or believed that his article would cause damage to the party’s leader and to the party;

6. The real motivation behind all this is Mr. Miraj’s own careerist ambitions and his bitterness that another Muslim, Sayeeda Warsi, was preferred to him for advancement to the House of Lords.

What are we to make of these matters?

Mr. Miraj comes out very badly from any rational analysis of this story.

We have a picture of an individual who has become frustrated at the extraordinary failure of Selection Committees to recognize his vast talent and superior qualities as a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate who has come to the conclusion that he is, to his own astonishment, unlikely to be selected for a safe conservative seat. Thereupon he engages in what can only be described as a grubby piece of attempted blackmail of his party leader which was rightly rebuffed. Having been rejected he then published the article which has potentially damaged both the leader and the party. Not very attractive, is it?

What should now be done?

Mr. Cameron must, given this individual’s conduct, move not just to make his suspension from the candidate’s list permanent but also to have him expelled from the party after giving him an appropriate opportunity to explain his conduct and make a case for his continued membership. This should be done this week so that the party can move on to the much more important business of preparing for the next general election, which the Times and others warn us today, may come as soon as October.

If expelling him drives him to the Labour Party, so be it. One doubts very much that they will want to pick up this particular snake-in-the-grass given the climate that exists concerning people who are alleged to link the awarding of peerages to the doing or not doing of some act: in other words, Post-“cash for peerages”, they won’t want to touch him with a bargepole.

Mr. Miraj’s political career is, therefore, at an end.

Let us move on.

Conservatives have looked into the abyss and decided that it is less advantageous than the centre ground modernising strategy that is hated by many.

Curiously, this move towards acceptance of Cameron, and the laying down of knives and cudgels (even Hefferlump sounds as if he's relaxing his year long assault), permits him to revisit areas of policy which have not been touched for a long time with more confidence.

The calm absorption by Cameron of the withering fire of the last month has provided him with an aura of authority, and a grudging respect. The baying media are like a pack of hounds who have run themselves to their limits, but are still deprived of their kill.

The longer they try to finish Cameron off, the stronger he gets, and the more secure they make him.

It is not for nothing that they say 'my enemy is my helper'.

Tim - I agree very much with what you have written here and am glad to see you adopting a very balanced position.

The longer the attacks on Cameron go on, and he is not finished off by them, the stronger he starts to look. He becomes a natural comeback story. Teflon Tony has become Goretex Gordon. Prepare for Durable Dave.

Excellent summary of events, Huntsman. In Opposition, you have to reach out and you have take risks. Miraj was just such a risk. Sadly, behind his pleasant and plausible demeanour (to which I can testify)he turned out to be an emotionally unstable and duplicitous egotist. C'est la vie.

Cameron comes out of this looking good because he didn't give in to the blackmail of such a loser.

If Cameron can weather this storm he will be much the better for it.

David Cameron showed Miraj that he can't be blackmailed, he can't be bought, he won't invite corruption. Exactly the sort of character traits we need for a prime minister.

Editor it is a little rich for you to call on DC to "enforce some discipline" now.
Where was your self dicipline when you choose to give this very bitter man the airspace that started this whole business in the first place?
This incident, taken with the whole grammersgate business that you went to town with for day upon day, gives the impression that the main function of this site is to provide the liberal media with negative stories to run against the party.
DC has earned the right to lead this party. He will lead it into the next election. He deserves the support of all loyal Tories.

I certainly agree that David Cameron was right to assert his authority.

Spencer Wisdom et al: given that everyone here is agreed that Ali Miraj is unworthy of our party, I'm rather grateful that the Editor gave him the opportunity to clarify this matter beyond all doubt before it was too late. Would anyone have preferred Miraj's character to have become clear after some hard-working association had slaved away to get him elected?

Miraj sadly has played to peoples prejudices.

Miraj was a poor candidate at the last GE and rightly did not get the support that he thought his target seat deserved.He was the the reason for the collapse in our vote

Had Miraj not been of an ethnic group he would not have been a candidate or on the A list

So much has the Cameron 'leadership' deteriorated that he spends his time a. selecting in a hamfisted way the candidate for Southall who has gone in a few days from a masterstroke to being rubbished by all b. suspending candidates from the list because of a row
So the questions are
Does the leader and the leader alone select candidates and remove them?
Whats happened to the local parties in the 'new localism'?
Has Cameron got the time ,nous and experience to add this selection and deselection of candidates to his role?

It is so sad to see the sycophants and Cameroons spewing their bile on this thread this morning.

Put very simply, for hundreds of thousands of traditional Tory supporters like myself who have worked all our adult lives to support the party and maintain it in power, every day which sees Cameron strengthened in his position is another which prevents us doing anything further to support the party.

Cameron will NOT win the next election. He has no core support with the public and has no philosophy which can help generate such support.

The Tories have already lost the next election and it is Cameron and his idiotic blind supporters who place party before principle who are entirely responsible.

'One doubts very much that they will want to pick up this particular snake-in-the-grass given'

If the Labour party can stomach Woodward anything is possible...

When are we going to learn that only unity will win us back power. All I ever see on this site is criticism of stratergy, the leader and people in the party, not only from those running this site but also those posting on it.
I have said this before and I am going to sya it again. Either pull together and get some momentum behind us or leave the party and join those that you are more comfortable with, those that will give you a safe seat or peerage, those that will pull us out of europe lock stock and barrel, will build grammer schools, etc etc

Spencer Wisdom 09.57 - well said.

Well said, Spencer. The editors of this website should come clean. Are you fearless journalists eager for stories, however damaging to the Party? If so, actlvists will know to give you a wide berth. Or are you committed Tories? In which case stop doing down David Cameron at every turn.

Do you want to dump him, IDS style, before the next election? lf so, say so. lf not, your behaviour is very strange.

No one objects to constructive criticism - like your excellent point about part-timers in the Shadow Cabinet - but too often this site provides a friendly home for the most virulent and extreme members of the anti-Cameron brigade whose hostility and sneering is profovndly unpleasant to witness. Some use multiple identities to create the perception of widespread grassroots disaffection. Others are members of opposing partles.

Miraj would have struggled to find a platform for his bile had you not given him a cyber-springboard into the mainstream media. He used you to make good on his blackmail threat.

This is a good site but you are now teetering on the brlnk of bad faith.

Excellent post from Richard Tyndall.
Loyalty cuts both ways and David Cameron has shown precious little loyalty to conservative principles.I'll not be bending the knee to him or his sycophantic camp followers anytime soon.

Jeez, I agree with Common Sense. Cameron has enhanced his reputation amongst the travellers on the Clapham omnibus and I also concur with the view that Cameron will be stronger for this incident.

What we now have to do is to offer the suburbanites an agenda and a clear choice so that he will turn up on election day to vote for us.

Well done Richard Tyndall,you said it all so I can add absolutely nothing.

We have a zero to nil chance of winning any General election,this year,next year or any time with this easily manipulated and blown up buffoon as our Leader.

Get him out asap.

OK Malcolm,you can start your snivelling support of him anytime now, as usual.

i'm not sycophantic. i'm an ex-ukipper, previous IDS-supporter, Cornerstone-fan, at first sceptical but now solid supporter of Cameron.

The problem is the one-dimensional thinking as above which says tomorrow's success must be exactly the same as our successes in the past. The political game has changed. Some people need to wise up.

I have a funny feeling that DC actually reached the end of his teather with recent events. The Miraj slur was probably a gut reaction to what happened and not related to what the softly, softly approach his 'advisors' would have him adopt.

If this was the real David Cameron, stamping his fist of authority over the pathetic whinger, then I would love to see some more over the next weeks and months.

Who said that calls for a referendum on the new EU Treaty are:
"crackpot, dotty and frankly absurd"?

Ken Clarke.

Why is it that a heavyweight like Ken Clarke gets no discipline from the Conservative Party leader, even though he is quoted by Gordon Brown to attack the Tory position, while lighterweight politicians get stamped on?

If Cameron stamped on Clarke in the same way he did with Brady and Miraj, I would start having some respect for him.

Having been active of late in criticising, for example, our failure properly to go after the enemy, I can properly pretend to be neither a sycophant nor a Cameroon. Shots having been fired, however, across Mr. Cameron's bows, it is time for all of us to buckle down with one thought in mind which is getting rid of this Socialist administration.

If Miraj now has ruthlessly to be shot on the poop deck of his own ship after the manner of Admiral Byng, so much the better.

It will remind all and sundry that we are not, as I have put it before, taking part in a 'Best Apple Pie' contest at the Church Fete but competing for the prize of governing a G8 country with a permanent seat at the UN that aspires to punch above its weight, whose independence is threatened by the overweening ambitions of The EU to become itself a nation State.

On any view those are high stakes.

I resile not a bit from my criticisms but I for one,am prepared to put them behind us and allow Mr. Cameron to lead.

Let us await the hopefully soon-to-be-published series of policy proposals and when they come make the very best of them we can, not moaning too much or too publicly if our pet policy gets overlooked (within reason: treating Europe, for example on The Basil Fawlty basis of not mentioning it will not do at all!). If those policies have something in them for everyone's tastes, so much the better.

Meanwhile we all expect the Shadow Cabinet and the Parliamentary Party to be doing their bit, not sloping off to yet another extra-mural Board meeting. Now is not the time for shirkers.

Whatever deficiencies may exist, remember they are as nothing compared with the destruction being wrought on our way of life, our independence and our pockets by Macavity and his Scots Junta.

I am delighted that David Cameron has suspended this bloke's membership of the
Candidate's list - he is clearly not suited

However Miraj's comments attracted attention because of his membership of the elitist and divisive 'A' list - and his rapid promotion by the leaders team.

Since he is clearly a self-serving egotist what does this say about the judgement of everyone from the leader down, especially in the light of the Tony Lit fiasco? (where, as I understand it, they were told that Lit had 'previous' but thought they knew best and ignored it)

The contempt from Team Cameron for the views of the voluntary party has cut him off from a lot of sensible advice. The buck has to stop at the top.

"It is so sad to see the sycophants and Cameroons spewing their bile on this thread this morning.

Put very simply, for hundreds of thousands of traditional Tory supporters like myself who have worked all our adult lives to support the party and maintain it in power, every day which sees Cameron strengthened in his position is another which prevents us doing anything further to support the party.

Cameron will NOT win the next election. He has no core support with the public and has no philosophy which can help generate such support.

The Tories have already lost the next election and it is Cameron and his idiotic blind supporters who place party before principle who are entirely responsible"

Here, Here, HERE!

Mr Tyndall what a shame it is - that we do not have someone with your clarity of thought at the helm of our party.

Cameron is being manipulated by Ken Clarke and Michael Howard,and thats for sure.

As has been mentioned many times elsewhere, David Cameron is now entitled to expect 100% elbow grease from his entire Shadow Cabinet between now and the Election. Personally I would have replaced Osborne with Davis at the last reshuffle, as G.O lacks gravitas and would be better off at this stage of his career in a backroom role. Spelman is also a mistake and I suspect her lack of nous will be exposed during a long Election campaign.
We have manifestly NOT lost the Election, there is still all to play for but I would suggest that the entire Shadow Cabinet read the Alistair Campbell diaries and learn the lessons in terms of staying on message, and displaying a concerted will-to-win.

If Frank Dobson could stay on message in 1997, it is little short of disgraceful that ten years later Alan Duncan's "strategic concerns" about Cameron become public knowledge.

No Tapestry it is by no means one dimensional thinking. It is simple recognition that Cameron has changed the Tory party so much that it no longer reflects any of my core beliefs and as such is no longer worthy of support.

Christina, Cameron does the right thing with all these little nuisances. As with all great strategists, he allows his enemies to attack him. He then holds his fire. He waits til they think they're getting away with it, and they begin to overextend themselves, and then smack, he takes them out with one well-timed thrust of the rapier.

It's like a fly buzzing around you while you're reading. Let the little shit think you're dozing and then take it out with a well-aimed swat.

Ken Clarke should really be dealt with by his own Constituents in Rushcliffe, and deselected for gross disloyalty to the Party - never mind his past illustrious record. Cameron's authority builds as he survives with relative ease these daily pinpricks in the media , and he will one day be ready to knife Ken Clarke. Just let Ken Clarke open his gob once or twice more and make himself a little more vulnerable.

It's the greatest strength of apparently gentle folk like Cameron. Their enemies underestimate them, think they are weak and that they'll be easy meat. Gentleness though does not invariably correspond with weakness.

I am sure that a lot of Cameron's modernising play is done to confuse opponents, and get them to start manoevres against him which he knows he will be able to deal with. It's always far easier to take out opponents who are over-confident. Gordon Brown, are you listening?

You may be right, Tap, but Cameron looks like a heavy weight boxer who is only prepared to enter the ring against light weights, to me right now.

If unity is key, then Clarke should be dealt with regarding his brutal attacks against policy regarding an EU referendum, IMO.

"Cameron is being manipulated by Ken Clarke and Michael Howard,and thats for sure.

Posted by: R.Baker. | August 01, 2007 at 11:22 "

I just love how insane this site gets.

Ali Miraj playing the ethnic sympathy card really makes me sick. It reminds me of Lord Taylor of Warwick whingeing when he lost Cheltenham to the Lib Dems.

When will CCO wake up to the fact that you have to have the right candidate for the right area. IMHO forcing constituencies to choose from Cameron's A list was always going to cause friction. Replacing a local well thought of Tory Councillor with someone chosen by a group of "spotty yoofs" in CCO is a recipe for disaster.

Ken Clarke is the power behind the throne, ably supported by Heseltine, Hurd, Curry, Taylor etc. This group has been responsible for stabbing Margaret Thatcher in the back, manipulating John Major,and now they are pulling Cameron's strings. When will the Tory front bench wake up and gag them, particularly when they start spouting on the EU?

Christina "Cameron looks like a heavy weight boxer".

Not too me. If we explore the boxing analogy.

Cameron is like Amir Khan - a very talented novice who needs to learn the ringcraft to become a champion. Spangly shorts and a trendy haircut aren't going to be enough

Sadly, the party was desperate and gave him his world title shot - far too soon. (e.g. No substantial shadow cabinet experience).

As a result "Dave" has been pushed through the ropes and into the ring against a Lennox Lewis - "Gordon Brown"..

An ageing heavyweight with seemingly his best day behind him - however he operates higher up the weights and punches much harder. Worryingly one might smite from the clunking fist could put "Davey Boys" lights out for good!

Thank you Christina (11.14am) for saying exactly what I wanted to say. Our biggest rebel is not Brady, Halms or Saatchi - it is that old, anti-democratic war horse Ken Clarke.

If Cameron is going to impose more discipline this is where he needs to start. Disciplining candidates is the easy part but disciplining a long-standing rebel like Ken would be a sure way of showing the party and the country that he really means business.

ANY party leader that has anything to do with 'The Great Satan', Ken Clarke, is doomed to failure. Cameron trying to 'reassert' his 'authority'? I think he lost that whilst trying to appear like a Liberal Democrat.

I think Cameron comes across as somebody who prefers not to bow down to any individual's particular wishes - be they Murdoch, Dacre, the BBC or supposed Conservative "grandees" who should know better than to meddle publicly in the party's fortunes.

That's just the impression I get.

Torygirl:Ken Clarke is the power behind the throne, ably supported by Heseltine, Hurd, Curry, Taylor etc.

You take a few days off and suddenly you're miles behind on the latest gossip. Remind me, where do the green lizards from Mars come in?

Does anyone really believe any British PM will recommend withdrawal from the EU?
The referendum is a trap. Brown will never fall for it. What do you do if there is a referendum and the people reject the treaty. Negotiate a couple of opt outs and carry on with ever closer union.

As to Ken Clarke the public like his style.

Unbelievable isn't it William? To paraphrase John Major when I read some of the comments on this blog I hear the sound of white coats flapping.


forget the white coats, the Cameroons like you should be in strait jackets.

Your lust for power without principle shows just how unfit you and the other Cameroons are to have anything to do with the Tory party.

I think Dave could do well to keep out of the public eye for the immediate future. Let the shadow cabinet do the talking. (And for God's sake keep Letwin out of it as well. Talks in riddles. Can't understand a word the fellow says.) The problem is that an awful lot of people out there have come to believe in a short space of time that Dave is a bit of a twit. He has committed too many gaffes in too little time to be even considered as a future Prime Minister right now. Go down the pub and the general feeling is that Dave is a joke. Anything he says will be miscontrued by the Press. We need a breather from him for at least a month and then we could with a Dave re-launch along with full page ads in all the newspapers outlining 10 firm major policy promises if the Tories are elected at the next GE. And no new taxes please.

Thanks for the compliment Richard. I think I'll dicount it if you don't mind. Last time we crossed swords you said something like you didn't like people who stood for elected office. Well with all due respect you don't sound a particularly normal individual yourself.

GroundhogDay, If you follow boxing you will know that Amir Khan is a very technical boxer who puts more work into bodyshots than looking for an uppercut. Same goes for David Cameron. The way to beat Labour is to expose all their weaknesses on all their fronts. One big issue like the EU or Tax Cuts isn't going to be enough to floor them. Like Amir Khan's relentless body shots, which don't look all that effective but are very painful to receive, a relentless attack on Labour over a whole range of issues is going to do more damage in the long run, even if it doesn't always appear that way.

Lennox Lewis is past his best, had rumours about his sexuality and is overweight ;)

Huntsman's analysis at 8:25 is cutting but absolutely sound.

It's tremendously encouraging to see the party coming together in support of Cameron on this thread, minus the ever-present lunatic ultras whom we can discount.

Unity and discipline matter, and if we don't want the UK to become a mere province of the EU under Gordon Brown all shades of party opinion will have to draw together and fight the actual enemy.

Your lust for power... shows just how unfit you and the other Cameroons are to have anything to do with the Tory party.

You mean we have other people who want to win too? Some days, reading the comments, I thought I was the only one! Of course, it will never do, you'll have to get us all thrown out of the Party in favour of people who have vowed not to do any work. Except you can't, can you? This would be hilarious if it wasn't so downright stupid.

Of course, there's always the possiblility that you might have ulterior motives. I'm sure the name Tyndall is familiar from somewhere...

when I read some of the comments on this blog I hear the sound of white coats flapping.

When you hear the sound it suggests you have been rumbled......RUN !

Jomo | August 01, 12:30

"..As to Ken Clarke the public like his style."

Yes, if a "d" is added to "like".
Had it not been for his Europhilia, he could rightly have been a Tory leader/PM to rival or exceed Blair's length of tenure.

Nowadays he is so much out of tune with popular sentiment on the EU that he just comes over as grumpy and resentful.

Does anyone on here like Ken Clarke? Well some people like him, he's one of the longest-serving MPs in Parliament. Just because he has, er, perculiar views on Europe does not mean he should be a hate figure. I'd pay to see him speak.

Heathcliffe....I mean Rushcliffe, can you hear us?

I'll pay to see Ken Clarke speak anytime too. But not as a respresentive of the Conservatives. He's a fraud as regards that aspect, and he's completely disrespectful of David Cameron.

If this was the real David Cameron, stamping his fist of authority over the pathetic whinger

Stampting his little foot like a prima donna more like.

Plain-speaking Ali certainly rained on Dave's Big Parade yesterday. The resulting display of vindictive petulance was predictable.

Honesty will always triumph over bad faith.

Ken Clarke should go. The last thing we need is a traditonal Tory banging on about Europe all day.

Ken Clarke has a long term principled position on Europe. He disagrees with some aspects of the current Conservative Party policy on Europe – but he is a loyal conservative who has done great service for the party. He is also likeable.

Contrast with ConservativeHome’s recent hero, Graham Brady, who is disingenuous, dishonest and disloyal. His Altrincham seat is more suburban redoubt than northern, his bleat on grammars was self indulgent, his July 25th PMQ question on the EU could only serve to bolster Brown’s attack on Cameron, and his comments on Cameron’s appeal in the North was just wrong and bound to be highlighted by the BBC. Unimpressive as a front bench spokesman on Europe, Brady is at best irrelevant to those of us who work for the conservative cause in the North West.

"The Tories have already lost the next election"

Thanks for providing the Guardian, BBC and other Labour supporting journalists with some more ammo. The truth is Brown is having an inevitable honeymoon period.

As people get sick of seeing that fat slimey slug smirking away, we stand a good chance. Unless we all give up now and start tearing ourselves to pieces...

OK then,after you TimC.

Really, against Mirj Ali. don't make me laugh.
Where's the rapid response unit rubbishing the vacuous words and idiotic propaganda of Keith Vaz on Monday.

The Editor's piece here begins, "Candidates should always enjoy a certain freedom of expression. I am glad, for example, that Eurosceptic candidates are free to support the Better Off Out campaign, despite the frontbench's commitment to EU membership."

I wish that were the case, but I'm afraid it is very definitely not. It's true that the Conservative MPs who have already signed up for BETTER OFF OUT are free to support the campaign, though this rules them out of serving on the Front Bench. BUT:-
1). Additional MPs are barred from supporting BETTER OFF OUT. 2). ALL PPCs are barred from supporting BETTER OFF OUT.

As people get sick of seeing that fat slimey slug smirking away

Is this the way we now refer to our political opponents? Seems we have now spread this kind of uncivilised abuse beyond the BNP, who were first attacked in this way by the instantly forgettable leader of the Welsh Conservatives.

I can imagine there will be some highly distinctive insults - reminiscent of Bernard Manning at his worst - reserved for outspoken rebel Tory Ali Miraj.

Not only is this behaviour extremely unpleasant; it is redolent of utter desperation.

It's getting a bit hot around here, obviously all the Cameroons have been told that the ship is sinking and given orders to lash out viciously and forget all eloquence. Yesterday we had Ben Rogers talking about foaming at the mouth traditional Tories breaking out of their cells and trying to take control of the asylum and today Timc at 1420 calling Brown a fat slimey slug.
I thought it was only the old Tory armchair generals who ranted like that and the "modern" metropolitan Tory was all sweetness and light. Just goes to show that we're all the same when we feel threatened.

Cracking article by Alice Miles in the Times today - "Does Mr BRown know what he's doing".

Very astute and bitingly incisive.

If we didn't plant it we should have...!!

It was a good Alice Miles. The media know the Brown Bounce is only a narrative with little substance. They now have to start moving the story the other way - and quickly squeeze into the narrative that Cameron has brushed off the attempt to unseat him, and that he looks and sounds more authoritative by the day.

The Brown Bounce story looks more ludicrous by the day with pictures of George Bush looking completely confused and unrelaxed saying things like 'you can relax in his company' when he clearly can't, while Gordon grins inanely from ear to ear.

It's pretty embarrassing. News media are not used to their naratives flopping quite so quickly. They're used to Blair who could act. With Brown the contrived and manufactured nature of news looks so bleedin obvious. Gordon cannot act out the role, and it makes the media look darned stupid for giving him so much backing.

Cameron has far more credibility. Now they've failed to bury him, he's springing back so fast, it's breathtaking. Even on these blogs the doom-mongers are sounding tired.

The media know the Brown Bounce is only a narrative with little substance.

And the narrative of the now defunct Cameron Bounce was..?

he looks and sounds more authoritative by the day.

Really? Well you must be living in a parallel universe.

Yesterday Dave's whole agenda for the day was effectively trashed by the Ali Miraj story and today (once again) he has jetted off to God knows where, apparently under the erroneous impression that he is some kind of globetrotting world statesman.

I suppose the abiding memory of last week was the moment Cameron addressed a tiny handful of Rwandan MPs (most had boycotted the event) and the lights went out.

Makes a change I suppose. More often with 'David Cameron's Conservatives' the lights are on but nobody's at home.

The BBC's hysterics over these so-called "top Tories" attacking Cameron has been lamentable.

Yesterday their sub-line on News 24 read "Tory policy for schools".

Has any of these sandal-wearing Liberals realised that many Conservatives (small 'C' and big) find the word 'Tory' derogatory and offensive? It seems the only people the BBC is left allowed to offend are the white middle classes and the Conservative party.

As for Channel 4, they made zero mention of Cameron's speech about school discipline, despite using pictures from it. Accompanied with the pictures were merely hypberbolic words on 'Tory unrest' from Krishnan Guru-Murthy.

ITV, on the other hand, as well as Channel 5, have been much more even-handed. I could be wrong, but aren't they broadcasters who don't have to rely on the goodwill of the present government.... unlike the BBC and C4?

The comment of Simon Richards, Editor of Freedom Today, should worry any Conservative member who supports freedom of expression in our Party.

What happened to Mark Formosa's (PPC for Taunton) statement of support on the Better Off Out website? It seems to have disappeared. There was a rumour that he was instructed by the Candidates Department to withdraw it.

There is one rule for the Eurofanatics (who can get away with all sorts of statements against party policy) and another for Euro-realists who are bullied by CCHQ.

Has any of these sandal-wearing Liberals realised that many Conservatives (small 'C' and big) find the word 'Tory' derogatory and offensive?

As I was not previously aware that 'many Conservatives' find the word 'Tory' offensive it's highly unlikely that the 'sandal-wearing Liberals' of the BBC would have grasped this esoteric nuance.

Even the TRG call themselves 'Tories', although I have never quite understood their reason for doing so.

Perhaps you would care to explain your objection?

Those sceptical of the Conservatives always use the shortened 'Tory' rather than the full name.

It is a word that for many has negative connotations - conjuring images of brash Thatcherite yuppies or stick-in-the mud Barbour-wearing toffs hunting with dogs.

Maybe not for you Traditional Tory, and not for me, as we're both Tories, but for those on the left and those who aren't natural Conservative voters, the word 'Tory' is often a derogatory term short-hand for 'selfishness'.

The TRG might not mind using the 'Tory' prefix, but try finding a Conservative campaign leaflet in the North East, for example, with the word 'Tory' written anywhere on it.

Our opponents will call us Tories anyway, so own the word I say. Neutralise the bile with positivity.

Probably worth mentioning that you have to criticise the leadership/get caught make a mistake to be called a "top Tory".

Simon Richards @ 14.52 has highlighted one of the most worrying features of Cameron’s leadership (see also 15.47).

On the single biggest political issue of the day, British membership of the EU, his MPs and PPCs are not allowed freedom of expression.

And yet (above) Cameron says they have that freedom.

Clarity is key here. How is the voter to know what Conservative policies really are when Cameron himself obfuscates.

I doubt most voters have any idea about what the present Conservative party stands for. We keep coming back to that key issue.

Words like discipline and authority and follow my leader and unity mean nothing if we don’t know what the principles of the party are.

Ealing Southall has possibly proved that we have wasted two years of mood music and slogans on voters who will never vote for us anyway. HOWEVER, even the dire current polls still show that Cameron has a narrow lead over Brown amongst women voters. This proves that at least part of the rebranding process is paying dividends, and is worth pursuing.

Economics will be the fundamental factor is swinging the key voters, hence my obvious concerns at Osborne's manifest shortcomings when going head-to-head with Alistair Darling.

If there is an October election,is the Party of McLeod, Joseph, Thatcher and Lawson really offering a gauche 36 year old as a potential Chancellor of the Exchequer?

"I was not previously aware that 'many Conservatives' find the word 'Tory' offensive ... Perhaps you would care to explain your objection?"

According to wikipedia, "the term has been applied in various ways to supporters of the British monarchy. It entered English politics during the Exclusion Bill crisis of 1678–1681. The Whigs (initially an insult — 'whiggamore,' a cattle driver) were those who supported the exclusion of James VII & II from the thrones of Scotland and England & Ireland (the 'Petitioners'), and the Tories (from the Middle Irish word tóraidhe, modern Irish tóraí — outlaw, robber) were those who opposed it (the Abhorrers). The root of tóraidhe is the Irish word tóir, meaning 'pursuit', since outlaws were "pursued men".

It goes on to state that "Although the term 'Tory' is widely used in England to refer to members of the Conservative Party, it can be considered abusive, especially when used by opponents of the party."

There again, Impressionist was originally used as an insult but is now used to refer to a style.

Personally, I'd rather be called a Tory than nuLab ...

Wow, lots of "Save Dave"-activists are out, all eager to make it sound like we are one happy family.

Most of his critics are not 'Top Tories' as the media likes to describe them.

Perhaps because their livelihood depends on the party in one way or another, so why risk it. They will wait until after the next election or next spring, whichever comes first.

Richard Tyndall is right. The next election is lost even if Cameron is forced to mix traditional Conservative policies into his ideas, hoping to appeal to a wider group.

It is very difficult for even a determined very Conservative government to make effective tax cuts, achieve a small state, deal effectively with immigration etc. Cameron's heart would never be in it .

Cameron is deep down inside more interested in being a "do-gooder", as his unnecessary trip to Rwanda showed (if not unnecessary for other reasons, then unnecessary because the Rwandan parliament apparently were not very interested in listening to his solutions).

is the Party of McLeod, Joseph, Thatcher and Lawson really offering ...

No, but "David Cameron's Conservatives" are.

I was proud to be a Thatcherite yuppie who was educated, like William Hague, at a comprehensive school.

I am no toff but proud to wear a Barbour waxed cotton jacket that is made in NORTH EAST (take note Edison Smith). I also love Jermyn Street shirts and suits from Savile Row. Is that a crime in today's "modern" Conservative Party?

It is sad that the Cameroons despise those of us who love our country, our culture, our traditions and our BRITISH PARLIAMENT.

Praguetory | August 01, 16:11
"Our opponents will call us Tories anyway, so own the word I say. Neutralise the bile with positivity."

Indeed - as with the 'Old Contemptibles' of the Great War

Those sceptical of the Conservatives always use the shortened 'Tory' rather than the full name.

I think you'll find that all headline writers, regardless of the 'colour' of their paper use the useful word 'Tory'. It's on the front page of the Telegraph this morning.

Possibly you believe (and there is a case for it) that the modern party can trace its roots back no earlier than Peel. If not you have to accept that all his predecessors had to call themselves Tories.

(Well actually that's not quite true because some - eg Burke and Pitt the Younger - always called themselves Whigs).

It is a word that for many has negative connotations - conjuring images of brash Thatcherite yuppies or stick-in-the mud Barbour-wearing toffs hunting with dogs.

You mean like the current Bullingdon good-time schoolboys running the Party? I don't see that it makes any difference what you call them. Personally I call them Champagne Socialists.

try finding a Conservative campaign leaflet in the North East, for example, with the word 'Tory' written anywhere on it.

Since the registered name of the party is the Conservative Party, that being the one that appears on the ballot paper, I doubt you'll find it on a leaflet anywhere in the country.

You have to remember that many of the voters are as thick as two short planks, so there's no room for mistakes. Years ago a poll found that a sizable percentage of those questioned believed that Mrs Thatcher was the leader of the Labour Party.

Re: Better Off Out. Tim in your introduction and Simon @ 14.52 - I am now confused. Can we clarify this?

I seem to recall John Maples saying on this site some months ago that CCHQ would "frown upon" support for BOO amongst those on the Candidates' List because withdrawal is "not party policy". Unfortunately, it's not easy to find his piece in the archive.

I had already signed up before John's comment and, indeed, have continued to put support for BOO on application forms without any adverse reaction from CCHQ. Has anyone else had a different experience?

PS - mind you, I still ain't got a seat.

Paul, here's the interview with John Maples where he said the Better Off Out "is contrary to party policy and we will take a dim view of any candidate who signs up to it. We expect candidates, before and after selection to support party policy (and I hope to continue to do so after they have been elected as well!)"

Actually what I said was that I don't trust people who stand for elected office. There are a few I like but politicians - or at least the successful ones - are by their very nature are, to me, untrustworthy individuals.

One side effect of parties I am afraid.

For those out there using the title of Tory and/or Conservative,why not let us use the complete and full title of, The Conservative and UNIONIST Party?(even thought we dropped the word UNIONIST).

It's a sad fact that we are no longer Conservative nor UNIONIST.

Time to wake up,being led by the nose is one thing,but being continuously led up and down the garden path again is just plain taking the pith.

Miraj is clearly a bit of a chancer who thought he could take advantage of bad times for the Leadership to get up the greasy pole. Instead he's slipped to the bottom. Good riddance.

As for Mr Cameron, to have to 'reassert' his authority is a clear assumption (that no-one seems to be challenging) that he has lost it over the last few weeks.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Now is not the time for u-turns, but we may need a course correction. Brown is not Blair, his authority is cemented every day Mr Cameron's is weakened and there are no guarantees that he'll cock up.

Don't bet on a weak economy or 'events' to drag down Brown. There is a very real challenge that goes to the competence of the the Conservatives, their Leader and the whole Party.

Cameron must not just assert authority, he must lead, not just his Party (and that is hard enough) but a now sceptical electorate who want an alternative and may yet buy into the Conservatives but are still hedging their bets.

This is the age of retail politics where we have all become better judges of product and we don't just fall for shiny labels and glib sales patter.

Waiting for Brown to fail is simply not enough, but you know what? I think Mr Cameron knows this.

He's got to be given the chance to make his pitch to lead the country free of carping and bitching, but he's also got to have a bloody good product to sell, or he won't corner the market.

Richard Carey,

I presume your fatuous and infantile posting was an attempt at a smeer which would be in line with the tactics used by Cameroons against their critics these days.

If you had paid any attention in the past you would have known I have never made a secret on here of my unfortunate family relationship to the BNP and National Front founder.

It has had two very good effects. It has made me a vehemently anti BNP social libertarian and it has also allowed me to campaign very effectively against the BNP both on the streets and across the world wide web. Being able to give first hand accounts of just what a nasty piece of work he was is very effective at undermining John Tyndall's sad legacy of hatred.

So what have you done to help your fellow man apart from moan and winge that your leadeer is being disrespected?

Richard Carey is a slimey, low-life slag of a man. Don't get annoyed by him. He has the right qualities to be a Cameroon.

Paul I fear - from personal experience - that you might not get a seat if you admit to any predisposition to anti EUism of any kind.

Don't suppose its got any better since I was thrown off the list in the Maude clear out.

Sorry to be cheerful!

Thanks for the link Sam @ 18.06.

Lindsay - never despair! My views have been known by CCHQ ever since the ripping time with the Maastricht Treaty in 1993. And they've been good enough to add me to the list for prospective MEPs.

As Ted Heath himself said before the 1970 election:
"We recognise that some members of the party hold opposite views on European policy, very often on grounds of principle, such as sovereignty. These people would be absolutely free to vote in the way they so decided."

Can't see the party taking a more hard-line view than that today.

Delighted to hear it Paul. Your country needs you!

May I suggest that, like so many issues in the Tory party, we are concentrating on the personal rather than the general. Politics to-day are very different to when socialism was a political contender. In the good old days just not being a socialist could often be good enough. Now, in the post socialist world, politics is about winning, it's about working hard, about communicating and standing up to be counted. Brown and Blair got away with so many things by pinching Tory ideas, for Brady (and bloggers on this site) to go on about principles merely demonstrates he is not living in to-days, rather scruffy, political world. In the middle of the largest review of policies since 1949 the likes of Davies and Miraj can burble on about Tory policy being all spin because they and sections of the rightwing media still hanker after the good old days when the other lot being socialist alowed your ego to air your "principles" and get attention. Voters are looking for for an organised government, "principles" come somewhat further down their list (god havn't we learned that yet!) Things started to go wrong over grammar schools when voters saw supposedly grown up Tory MPs (including Michael Howard!) behaving like a bunch of school children. And yelled on by the likes of the Telegraph. (Oh yes and have you noticed the Telegraph has never published the fact that the two by-election results in a general election would end up with the Tories much the bigger party.)

Now, as Brown's bounce lasts a month after Cameron's lasted 18 months (and was finished by the Tories) all sorts of people including those calling themselves Cameroons are running round like headless chickens alowing the BBC to go on about how long Brown's bounce has been going on for - not voting material.

Brown's bounce is based on spin that can be blown up with a concerted effort, trouble is too many Tories are not interested in a concerted effort, just themselves.

If there is any one common factor to emerge from an analyis of the opinions expressed in this thread, this is that there is no simple common definition of a fundamental set of principles to which we can all subscribe, if we wish to support the Conservative/Tory party.
If even those of us who participate actively in political discussions find ourselves divided and disillusioned, how on earth can we campaign effectively in a general election?

I should therefore wish both Cameron and his shadow cabinet to come off the fence (which is about to collapse beneath you) and answer the following fundamental questions:
1. Will you campaign relentlessly both for a referendum over the proposed new EU 'contreaty' and also, if such a referendum is denied will you impose a 3 line whip against any conservative MP who supports its ratification in Parliament?
2.Will you include in any future manifesto an irrevocable undertaking (i.e. black and white rather than Brown and white) that, should your party be elected you would hold a 'fair and free' referendum over acceptance or rejection of the proposed treaty, or, should this treaty have come into force before your party was elected, over our option of withdrawing from such treaty, irrespective of the political arguments for or against?

In the good old days just not being a socialist could often be good enough. Now, in the post socialist world,

Do you mean: "David Cameron's Conservatives" are drawn towards socialist ideas so let us not talk too much about that?

politics is about winning, it's about working hard, about communicating and standing up to be counted.

Would you really support a party unless it has policies you like?
Shouldn't the leader of that party look competent in your eyes?

But, yes, I have noticed that principles are not something Cameronians are interested in.


Consider this:

Cameron bounce = Blair-fatigue
Brown bounce = Post Blair-fatigue

Blair, near the end of office dragged Labour down, giving Cameron a relative short-term lead, but on leaving office, the drag effect ended, restoring the long-term (past 10 years or so) average positions of Labour's surpremacy over the Tories.

Brown is not enjoying a bounce, but enjoying a return to normal service.

The problem is that the EEC-EC-EU has become a political body and the bigger it gets through enlargement the more our influence shrinks. How far is the EU to expand in the future? Will it encompass Israel, Ukraine and Russia? How far are its powers to extend? The EU never seems satified and always wants to encroach further into national sovereignty. I think it is interesting to note how Britain has been saddled with mass unemployment ever since 1973. Of course there was mass unemployment in the 1930s but the conditions that caused the economic downturn in the 30s were specific and the mass unemployment was transient. Quite unlike the 34 years of mass unemployment we have suffered since 1973, which sadly most politicans now accept as being inevitable.

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