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mark - many tory members just don't want to play ball anymore. Sure we want Cameron to lead us into the next GE but we arn't going to help him win it. He's insulted us too many times and offered policies which don't belong in the Conservative party. In short he messed up and he'll pay the price for it.

I wonder if Cameron will be given a shadow cabinet position by the next leader and if so what will it be? Environment?

The next election is crucial and the Conservatives have to fight on the progressive centre ground on issues that matter to ordinary people like schools, hospitals, crime and the environment. If the party does not unite around this agenda and fight to win then it will loose badly and Nick Clegg will become leader of the Lib Dems, get rid of its leftist undertones and then the Conservatives will be in real trouble.

@Mark 18:57

"Why was that so short lived? Inward and backward looking MP's in the main."

Douglas Carswell suggested open primaries for sitting MPs as one way of making them more responsive to voters.

"I think that the latest polls are in the right ball-park but I have one slight niggling doubt. The process of past vote weighting, whereby samples are partially adjusted in line with what respondents said they did last time, has never been tested in a situation like we have at the moment where the lead has changed hands three times in less than two years. Could that impact how people reply to the past vote question?" Political Betting.

Martin Bristow at 09.18 - it's a great post.

I am sorry Cleo but you are just wrong!The party has,in effect,fought the last two years in the manner you suggest.It is reasonable to asset,looking at polls,that this strategy has failed.

The most upseting fact for me is the context.We live in a country where children murder other children,the pensions of millions have been undermined the tax credit and child support agencies have squandered billions of pounds of ordinary citizens hard earned and still we can not make a breakthrough with the electors.

Why do you think this is? have we failed to
campaign on the issues you outline or are we failing to connect with the real priorities of the voter.Carry on as you suggest and we may as well all leap into Gordon's big tent!

progressive centre ground on issues that matter to ordinary people like schools, hospitals, crime and the environment.

The adjective "progressive" got us into this mess, it is a silly emotive word that simply means steamrollering people aside for some ideological wheeze that looks tawdry in the cold light of day

What do you want to do with hospitals ? Close them down ? They are dysfunctional and are short of doctors....btw Germany is running short of doctors and many want to quite Medicine....the Working Hours are unsocial and underpaid. So Cleo what do you want to do ? Junior Doctor overtime rates are 33% Basic Pay....not 133%....33%

Schools....we spend £1 billion a week and they are still dross...but all Conservative policy is "more of the same"

TomTom [September 20, 2007 at 09:03] - it's all about about policy and management - inept management, incompetent management, inefficient use of resources, flawed policies... Same with alot of the other government departments.

Yesterday, I was at a GP Forum and the CEO of the PCT was spouting pathways and clinical care, when really his own discipline is accountancy! I don't need to spell out how to clean up the NHS mess. As for German doctors, I know many who fly in for weekend work.

[PS: sorry your comment was overwritten, [email protected]]

As Mark has perceptively pointed out it's about time Mr Cameron started to listen to to grassroots activists rather than left-leaning rags and his questionable advisors. Up until now I have been prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt but it is becoming clearer by the day that his new brand of Conservatism is not working. There comes a point where one is forced to conclude enough is enough.

My hunt, the Beaufort, spent many an hour during the last election helping out and I for one feel it's time the leadership paid back the favour. We want a party that isn't afraid to stand up for rural England instead of pandering to concerns that simply do not belong in the party. Why on earth have we become associated with the tree-hugging green brigade? Rather than sympathising with hoodies, druggies, single mothers and the like, why isn't Mr Cameron promising to save what is left of rural England? Instead, he is silently standing by while it is rapidly being choked to death by the socialists' nanny-state interference.


Simple Simon, and others:

I agree with you about how vital it is to protect rural England. Surely part of that is our green policies aswell - which you scorn.

It is vital we protect our environment, although I am opposed to these air taxes - that has not been thought through.

I am appalled that John Redwood wants to double the amount of motorway in this country. He compares the amount of motorway per person between France and the UK. France has 4 times as much area for the same population.

There is a plan to build a bypass around Aberdeen through a beautiful woodland area. This needs to be stopped.

TAX - We must do everything we reasonably can to reduce some of these taxes. Like the other English speaking countries, more revenue will - in due course - be collected as a result.
We do need to have much firmer aims to reduce taxes, including those on businesses and pensions, perhaps by allowing people to use their pension tax allowance into a wider variety of products.
Redwood and Osborne's report is encouraging on this - if overdue. A more experienced financial spokesman is needed than Osborne - Phillip Hammond and Dominic Grieve are better.

Cameron was elected by the party - even though I supported David Davis. We had 40 per cent in the local elections, and might not have slipped back quite so much if people could register their concerns in more moderate language that doesn't attract such bad headlines

What are we going to do should we lose the next election? I mean we will have tried the Michael Howard line and the Cameron line and both will have failed. Where do we go from there?

What are we going to do should we lose the next election? I mean we will have tried the Michael Howard line and the Cameron line and both will have failed. Where do we go from there?

Return to sound, Conservative principles under Davis or Hague. Have the humility to accept the role of an effective opposition for the forseable future, and wait for 'Modern Britain' to fall apart, even if it takes fifty years.

Plenty of other parties of the right, around the world, have accepted such a role, and as a result they have not prostituted their heritage.

Ben - I think we need to be both economically and socially liberal. With Howard we came across as supporting the small state e.g school vouchers, patient passports etc but I think we came across as socially conservative. With Cameron it seems to be the other way around e.g he supports gay marriage, talks about hugging hoodies etc but agrees with the NHS, city academies and Labour's spending totals. Let's be both socially liberal and economically liberal (in the classical sense of course).

We should focus on things which matter i.e. tax, education, healthcare and crime. Drop the eco-socialism and get a leader who looks like he's in touch and is self-made. Liam Fox or David Davis are both self-made and appear like they care about more than Surrey and Kensington.

Cameron comes across as a 1950s paternalist tory toff lecturing people who have not had anywhere near the same advantages as him on how they should live their lives and the numerous responsibilties they have. I'm not a 'class warrior' at all, I'm just telling you how alot of people see Cameron. After paying so much tax we don't want to be told we're still to blame for the supposed breakdown of 'society'.

Yes, you did get forty per ecnt in the local elections. So there is no public aversion to voting Tory. Far from it, in fact. But the key point is that most of those elected were not like David Cameron, and do not like David Cameron. Such are the Tories for whom people will and do vote.

By contrast, during the Cameron months, super-safe Tory parliamentary seats have become knife-edge marginals, and respectable second places have become distant thirds, on one notable occasion involving a showing barely better than that of the BNP. Voting Tory in a parliamentary election strikes most people as far too close to voting for David Cameron.

The Tories are going to do badly at the next General Election. So badly, in fact, that that Election is not going to take place this autumn, lest the Tories be wiped out, and replaced during the subsequent Parliament with a serious alternative party of government. But even so, look out for just how badly they do in constituencies with candidates drawn from the Cameron A-list.

Instead of that and other such devices, in the course of every Parliament without fail, the two candidates with the most nominations from a party's branches for Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (at constituency level) or for Leader (at national level) should be subjected to a binding ballot of every registered voter in the constituency or the country, as the case may be.

The sort of people favoured by central machines would struggle to get on the ballot at all, and certainly wouldn't be selected. And the same is true of each party's several lunatic fringes (including the single and indivisible one currently running both Labour and the Tories, and about to take over the Lib Dems as well). But they could always then put up under their own steam and see how far they got.

Finally, there should also be public participation in policy formulation. In the course of each Parliament, the 10 policies most popular with each party's branches should be put out to a ballot of the whole electorate, with each of us entitled to vote for up to two, and with the top seven guaranteed inclusion in the next General Election manifesto.

Yes, you did get forty per ecnt in the local elections. So there is no public aversion to voting Tory.
Labour got 35% in Local Elections shortly before the 1983 General Elections; the Greens have had 7% in Local Elections and 15% in EU Elections and the Liberal Democrats have had 30% in Local Elections. Not only that but elections in the 2nd and 3rd years of a parliament are usually difficult for the governing party.

Different types of elections yield different results and have different issues - after all someone who is strongly committed to a nuclear deterrent might vote for a Unilateralist in a Local Election on the grounds that they had no responsibility in any areas where they would be likely to cause mayhem. Equally someone who went rather off the rails sometimes might be considered useful as a Local Councillor because they might have good ideas and when they were OK do good work, but they might not be considered ideal for major international negociations and decisions on whether the country went to war or not. Someone who hated the idea of a Local Income Tax and who supported the War in Iraq might vote Liberal Democrat in a Local Election where the main issue was over Local Planning and provision of library and bus services - even though campaigns in recent years have become very national there are still far more local issues in Local Elections - the Monster Raving Loony Party have councillors as do the BNP, I can't imagine either actually succeeding in getting MPs other than through defection without their becoming serious parties.

Joe James Broughton, I do not regard the party's so called 'green' policies as in any way designed to protect the rural way of life and our sporting heritage. This socialist government has tried its level best to destroy this rich cultural tapestry, and Mr Cameron has had very little to say about it.

I did hope his brand of Conservatism would attract enough support to make success at the next election a realistic prospect (for, despite his reluctance to broadcast his support for thr rural way of life, I still believe the party offers the best opportunity to restore hunting). However, I now think it unlikely.

To my mind, Mr Cameron has failed to defend rural England robustly enough against nanny-state interference. This is an issue of utmost importance which should be at the heart of Conservative policy.

As I've said, Mr Cameron's Conservatives owe a huge debt to the hunting community and it is about time this was repaid.

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