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Don't these dinosaurs ever learn? This was the man who was Chairman when we lost the 2001 Election fighting policies and issues that were rejected then and will be now

There are many MPs I am afraid with safe seats and good external incomes who do not seem to care about winning the next election or the need for tight discipline.

With Parlamentary representatives like these, what hope have we?

I live in a marginal Labour seat which we must win. MPs like this are doing neither us nor the party any good and in the end they are betraying the country

When will people understand that to win the next election David Cameron will have to reel in votes from Labour and Liberal supporters. We all want to see traditional tory values but those policies alone will not be enough to give the party the mandate it needs. The party programme has to go beyond traditional values to capture the votes needed to win.

A period of extended silence from the 13th Marquis of Lothian would be very welcome at this point.

What a complete idiot. If he really believed in the Tory cause he would pipe down now. ALL this will do, far from affecting Cameron's strategy, is give more legs to a dwindling media firestorm about Cameron and reinforce any possible negative perceptions.

What's particularly galling is that this comes from a man who personifies the abject failure and uselessness of his generation of leading figures in the party.

Totally agree Michael M.
I do n't think Tory MPs should *ever* provide Gordon Brown with ammunition though I have a feeling that hell will freeze over first.

Tony Makara's spot on. We don't need to convince Tories to vote Tory - we need to convince floating and non-Tory voters. I think there's a reason why they didn't vote for us at the last election...

As a Conservative-voting gay man I find Michael Ancram's views offensive, but also strangely irrelevant. I'd forgotten that he was still around. Let him slip back into anachronistic obscurity.

Oh my. The 21st century Conservative party not only has a politically-intelligent Gordon Brown to deal with, but it also has a determined rump of ideologically pure imbiciles to counter as well.

What hope do we have?

I think I'm on the verge of giving up.

Tony Makara, do you not think Labour and Liberal supporters are also concerned about crime, immigration, jobs and social breakdown? These are issues that concern everyone. Why should it be that just because some of them have featured highly in our core values for a long time - including the last three elections - that they are wrong now?

If the party is indistinguisable from Labour and the Liberals, what reason would their supporters have to vote for us? We should have the courage and integrity to say what we think is wrong and what properly thought out solutions we have to improve things. And we should be strong enough to focus on those areas that are our traditional ground, especially when they are uppermost in the minds of the electorate.

I like Michael Ancram. I think he has a brilliant mind and he is a gentleman. But his recent intervention on Hamas and now this untimely offering calls into question his judgement.

What a fool!

Why can't these relics of the past just crawl away quietly.

He talks a about "Tory Soul", what about Tory Loyalty!

Ancram did not understand how to run a modern party when he was Chairman (otherwise we would have a better central/regional operation) and does not understand how we should operate today.

I welcome the Editor's clear statement on Bercow and Mercer. What a pity that the party's leadership did not understand that they should have said no. Also a pity that Bercow and Mercer lacked the political sense not to have had the discussions in the first place. All the papers I have read conclude that it is another win for Brown and an own goal for us.

"It's also important for Tory MPs not to provide Gordon Brown with ammunition at the moment"

How difficult is this to understand, for heaven's sake?

Ancrim has let us down.

It is not just that the comments are badly timed. I agree with Jay. Ancram says that:

treating same-sex partnerships in a similar way (to marriage), which "insults the intelligence of the British people".

Why do some members of the Conservative party insist on alienating groups of the British public? Which group will they choose to alienate next?

Fully support Mr Ancram. Don't tell me the Party is on the right track with pollution taxes, commitment to Labour spending etc. Don't tell me that was all in the past. It was yesterday.

Ancram is like Bercow's dad - he's another pathetic little man with a vastly overdeveloped sense of his own importance.

What makes both of them particularly nauseating is their dishonestly. Instead of pretending to care about 'principles' why don't they just stand on the middle of Westminster Bridge shouting "Look at me, pay attention to me. I'm really important - I MATTER!"

Then they could jump off.

Sometimes it feels like some elements of the party don't actually care about winning the election - we had been doing so well for 2 weeks and then we get this.
Please give the candidates a chance. We are working hard on the ground but this just puts us back.

I completely disagree with the above, particularly Powellite. I have been a local councillor, on the Candidates List and Chairman of a very safe seat. For the first time in 20 years, I am almost certain not to vote Conservative at a General Election. And I know so many people like me who wish the Party was Conservative once more. So far from just appealing to Lib/Labs, how about those of us whose votes everyone seems to think will just turn out regardless of the leftwards drift of the Conservative Party?

Or, as seems from several posts aboive, do you just want to shut our cheque books and votefor someone else at election time?

Tony Sharp, Yes I agree that Labour and Liberal voters share our concerns about immigration etc. However I feel David Cameron has to have a broad range of policies to win over those supporters. The Conservative party can still be very distinct, and is, from the other parties. David Cameron has expressed concern over key issues that trouble the whole nation. The difference however is that Mr Cameron and his time have very different answers to the problems that blight our country.

Typo: Should read.

The difference however is that Mr Cameron and his team have very different answers to the problems that blight our country.

What is also frustrating, is the way that "Tory split" stories almost always inevitably make the headlines on BBC News and elsewhere, where hard-thought out policy positions and announcements are shunted to the back pages - if at all.

It's editorial decisions, once again, but unfair ones.

To compare the prominence of this story with the announcement of Camerons thoughtful strategy on crime and disorder a fortnight ago, is particularly telling.

When are these old fossils going to shut up and let the leadership get on with it?

When are they going to realise that a narrow field of policy has earned the Conservatives THREE ELECTION DEFEATS IN A ROW.

I find some of what he has written, especially about civil partnerships disturbing too. I am a total 110% Conservative and I will NEVER identify with the views of a bigoted fool that can write that.

I believe in the core values but we have to offer more and more than just that. It's really not difficult to get 'The Policy of And' is simple to understand.

When are these idiots in their nice ivory towers going to realise that modern life for the average punter on the street is far more complex than just 30 years ago and this insular moronic right-wing tendency in the party are addicted to harking back to a simpler time. That or they are plainly simple.

And to release his thoughts now, utter moronic and crass stupidity, the education policy review is by far the most radical and most appealing to the floating voters. This is the one that can win big for the Conservatives.

Finally, he has broken the cardinal rule, keep your criticisms private and support your leader.

If I was Cameron, I'd withdraw the whip for 28 days. If Cameron doesn't vent his fury at this festering boil of old school duffers in the party, they will only become more emboldened to create more havoc later.

"It's editorial decisions, once again, but unfair ones."

Which the bloody idiots in this party play into. If you know the trap is there, you don't walk straight into it.

I'm afraid I have to agree with Michael m and also some sympathy for Davids view. What is the point of wasting so much of my time and money trying to elect people who don't seem to want to win?
Why did you do this Mr Ancram? What could you possibly hope to gain either for yourself or much more importantly for our party?
If I was Michael Ancrams constituency chairman va (very) stern word would be in order.

"the leftwards drift of the Conservative Party?"

The Conservative Party occupies the same location on the political spectrum as it did for the vast majority of the 20th Century.

I wonder if Ancram has been so busy with his pamphlet that he has not read a newspaper for 2 weeks. Either that or he's a bit bonkers.

I'm well over to the 'right' of the Party and generally dismissive of the "elections are won from the centre" moonshine.....but I agree strongly with most of the sentiments expressed here.

Ancram's mistimed comments are easy meat for the Graunoid chatterers at the BBC, precisely because he so neatly fits their cosy belief that to be right wing is to be posh (or vice versa).

To everyone who says "we agree with the core values but the party has to offer more", not only do I agree but so does Ancram!

From what he's said: "Of course as Conservatives we must show we have changed, but we must beware doing so by trashing our past or appearing ashamed of our history"

If he really thinks that how on earth does he think saying this at this time helps to show that we have changed?!

"We have never been a dogmatic party"

In the same pamphlet as decrying a move away from 'core values'. Did Ancram read what he wrote, or did he just want to get somethign in the press that would raise his media profile and help Gordon Brown?

Maybe time for some fresh blood in Devizes...at least someone that lives in the 21st century and is awake enough to realise that helping Gordon Brown like this is a bad idea....

Cameron and the the leadership are setting out a broad agenda from the environment to immigration, health to law and order. Let's not join Ancram in killing off the Cameron Fightback just as it's killing Brown's poll lead....

I am sure that Ancram says what many other Tories are thinking, but the timing of his remarks is not helpful. We will be accused of being all image and no substance. The only way of countering that is to show it is not true by revealing substantial policies.

I thought yesterday was a dark day for our Party, and then this morning, I heard this on the BBC News at 9! It is upsetting to find that other members of the Conservative Party has to suffer all this disagreement, IN PUBLIC!

I don't really know if there is a covert agenda, but the potentially damaging effect is plainly evident. It can't be right.

I forgot this idiot was still around until today. Ancram's a has-been and I can't imagine many people giving a monkey's about what he thinks.

Ancram is an idiot. If he seriously thought his ridiculous leaflet would get positive headlines, as i know for a fact he thought it would, he is seriously deluded.

Well done Michael!! A real Tory still exists in the party: and one who cares enough to put his head above the parapet and do something to save its soul.

It is a sign of the depths of decay into which the Party has descended under Cameron that this post has a number of people attacking this senior and eminent colleague (long considered to be from the "left" of the Party) who advises that we should remember, and stick to, Conservative principles and beliefs....

Under Dave the Party has no beliefs and no reason for existence - how different from the conservative landslide victory engineered by Mr Sarkozy, who voiced his beliefs without shame or shyness, and acted on them. Very different in substance, and results, from Dave's Labour-Lite.

Does anyone think the intervention of the Marquess of Lothian is helpful?

Much of his critique has obviously been written over a period of time, he’s now criticising DC for not doing something at precisely the moment he seems to be moving in that direction. And at the same time sneering at civil partnerships just for good measure. This completely overshadows the news that DC has just turned a 10point Labour lead into a 1point Labour lead.

Are we incapable of being loyal? Do we not want to win?

In my less eloquent days I told Michael Ancram that I thought he was talking bollox. I haven't changed my mind.

At long last the bloggers have seen the light towin we have to have a majority!

He was, Ed, a TERRIBLE chairman. He's a 'seat-blocker' and has no manners. He once pushed in front of me for a taxi in Blackpool.

Ancram is obsessed with some misplaced sense of self-importance. He seems to be trying to position himself as some sort of 'grand old man' of the Conservative Party, free to offer all sorts of unconventional (bonkers) advice on numerous topics. I imagine he thought he'd come out of this as Mr Popular with the membership. Mr Ancram: it's not about YOU... I'm afraid we (and the country) can't afford more self-indulgence of the type that lost us three elections massively when you were in a position of 'leadership'

Tam Large,

I am a fervent supporter of Mr. Cameron and I'll tell you a few difficult home truths.

Firstly, political parties exist to win. End. Of. Anything less is a private debating society. Cameron wants to win, that's the Tories reason for existence and it's good enough for me. There is nothing noble in defeat in politics.

Secondly, core values come from winning, they prove to be popular enough that they meld into a set of values that the public identify with you.

Thirdly, those core values have not had the Tories winning. They are burnished somewhat, we need more to bolster them. Tory principles have always been in the pragmatic as Ancram shoots himself in the foot with. Pragmatic to seize the new and using our beliefs extend it to all.

Fourth, we are an inclusive party or we are nothing. That's everyone, not a faction, not a class, not a race, everyone.

So no, Ancram is not a real Tory just a divisive dinosaur who doesn't not understand the times we live in.

Well done Ancram for 'insulting the intelligence' of every social liberal thinking they might come round to voting Tory for the first time - not to mention the swathes of hard working Tory activists who actually aspire to a civil partnership one day. Badly written, badly thought out and very badly timed.

Good to see Ancram taking a break from acting as an apologist for Hamas to scribble a pamphlet advocating Britain's withdrawal from the EU.

Can someone remind me how often he pushed this policy when he was deputy leader? Or his interesting anti-gay views?

Sky News on-line question today is SHOULD THE TORIES RETURN TO THATCHERISM?
As at 10.30 am:-
Yes - 66%
No - 34%
I can't believe that all the voters on Sky News are right wing head bangers.

Well said Tam Large and Tony Sharp. A Party that tries to be all things to all people ends up by being nothing to anybody. If we produce policies that attract Liberal Demcorats and Socialist voters then the policies will be Liberal Democrate & Socialst policies - so why should Liberal Democrats and Socialists not vote for their own Parties.

Good on you Ancram - I never thought you had it in you!

Withdraw the whip from this non entity.

Absolutely disgraceful. Pathetic self indulgence from someone who has spent his entire political career losing both his own seat (twice), and elections.

We have just had a very positive two weeks setting the agenda. Brown is on the back foot, and the Times reports today that we are ahead in the 60 key marginals. And what does the Today Programme get to lead with this morning ?

"Senior Tory condemns Cameron"

I despair sometimes. These people just do not DESERVE to be in power, or taken seriously. Is Ancram even standing in Devizes next time?

He speaks for nobody. He is a self indulgent non entity.

Withdraw the Whip !

Thank you Michael Ancram!

As every politician should, Ancram is putting his country before his party.

He writes: "For Conservatives there can be no fudging the issue of marriage." He says there are other long-term relationships outside marriage which should be welcomed for their commitment. "But they are not the equivalent of marriage. Giving them that equivalence does not enhance them; instead it diminishes the value of real marriage. In doing so it damages the concept of family and eventually of community."

The sphincter-gazing circles which think they can re-define marriage will fail in their attempt and but will damage countless people in the process.

The contents of Mr Ancram's pamphlet--on freedom, on tax, on sovereignty, on the party's 'soul'--are so excellent that they outweigh any ripples caused by timing.

"Cameron wants to win, that's the Tories reason for existence"

215cu, very true. The Conservative party cannot help the people of our country if it is in perpetual opposition. The great thing about David Cameron is that he is looking for a broad mandate, to govern for the nation. Itsavery difficult job he has, to please the core Conservative vote and yet attract the Labour and Liberal voters. One thing is forsure, if David Cameron does pull it off he really will be able to say that he has a mandate. Unlike unelected Gordon Brown who is living off the 22% support that Blair got from those eligable to vote. 78% of those that can vote don't want Labour. That is certainly no mandate.

Ha ha! I laugh out loud at the right-wingers who are praising Ancram on here.

When did Ancram EVER push right wing ideas when he was in a position of influence? Never. He's an unprincipled, shop-soiled nonentity who is opportunistically mouthing rightist slogans to gain attention.

Graeme Archer,

"Sphincter-gazing"? This is language thought appropriate for a Tory website? The only arsehole on display today has been Michael Ancram.

Too true.

Personally, I'd like to make my foot connect with it, withdraw the whip for 28 days and give him the time to think about the consequences of such buffonery.

Cast your minds back to Election night, 2001.

As an inner London Tory, I sat and suffered as we were slaughtered. I can well recall, as the night wore on and our candidates fell like ninepins, the BBC going to Devizes to interview the mastermind of the election strategy.

Ancram sat there in a hotel in Devizes waiting for his result-seemingly without a care in the world. You can almost picture the velvet smoking jacket, cravat and G&T as he claimed that the results were going well, whilst at the same time we lost Putney, Battersea and Eith and Crayford.

As Ancram has make a nakedly personal attack, here is a riposte.

I want a Tory Government, so that we can start doing something for the millions of people in this country who NEED us.

Effete, non political Tories like Ancram, Winterton, Cormack, Bercow etc, as well as being totally apolitical, are actually getting in the way of securing the relection of what I thought we all wanted to see.

I just recently posted on 'Liberace's diary' about this, so i won't repeat what i said there! Timing... Well, s*d-it! I'm glad the old bore is showing some fight. Main message- 'don't degenerate Thatcher (ism)'- i wholeheartedly endorse. Whoops, just repeated what i said on 'Liberace's diary'. B****r.

I agree totally with Michael Ancram. Cameron, in his desire to reposition the Party has been seen and feared by some to have plunged to the Left. Any recovery and continuing recovery by Cameron will depend on him returning to core values and that, imho, is the reason for his upturn in the polls last week. Cameron is going to have to keep his feet on the gravely, gritty path of traditional conservatism; any more plunging to the Left will see the Conservatives implode. The pamphlet by MA is a timely reminder of the inherent principles of conservatism; the next GE is someway off, any waves created by MA will be forgotten by then – unless the warning of MA is forgotten in the meantime.

When I read some of the comments above it would appear that some of the commenters would vote for anything provided it wore a blue rosette. Not me.

PS Has Dave promised to give us a referendum on the EU should he win the next election and we still have not had one – I can’t remember? Is Dave going to stop the large scale immigration from the EU that is taking place now even as we speak - I can't remember?
PPS Can't agree with MA on talking to Hammas - a complete waste of time.
Read Robert Spencer on the Islam religion

I see the gay lobby are out in force on this one. Why is it not OK to be homophobic and yet perfectly OK to be rampantly agist. What has Michael Ancram's age got to do with his views on the party he has spent his life supporting.

@RodSellers and Dontmakemelaugh

Taking advice from Ancram on how to win elections is like being lectured on dieting by Pavarotti.

Or political gravitas, by Lembit Opik MP.

I always used to think Michael Ancram was a sort of one-nation wet. Obviously I must be mistaken, nonetheless these comments are extremely unhelpful just when we are begining to turn things around. Hopefully this will just be a storm in a tea cup and will be forgotten within a couple of days.

Not if the BBC have anything to do with it. It is lead story on bbc.co.uk.I suppose given that we've just given up the ghost in central Basra,London is coping with a major tube strike etc the bitter words of an opposition backbencher really is the most important story not only in Britain but also the world! Shame on the BBC, shame on Michael Ancram.

Noted his comments on the EU.

Someone remind me his position on leaving the EPP when he was Shadow Foreign Sec and in a position to do something about it?

Rod Sellars,

I'll tell you why.

Compare and contrast Ancram to the late great Bill Deedes both grandees of the Tory Party.

Deedes was fizzing with ideas steeped in his principles and ideals right up until his final day and was working to campaign on Third World issues. He was always right up to date and was a beacon on how to change with the times.

The other is stuck in the past and therefore fully deserves to be lampooned as such.

As us young 'uns would say and Bill Deedes might.

Ancram's been a total muppet and a dinosaur to boot.

Ancram's done us a service; he reminds people that the Conservative Party is no longer run by political dinasaurs.

Continue to pump money into the EU coffers and the UK public sector, pretend that wind-farms can power this country, promise high taxes - that's not the way back to political clout.

Neither is pulling out of the EU, slashing public spending and ignoring pollution.

"If Michael Ancram had released his pamphlet three or four weeks ago I would have had more sympathy with it." Why?
Is it okay to make this kind of damaging and unhelpful intervention four weeks ago instead of this week? Personally I think that it was wrong, damaging and down right spiteful to do this at any time in the election cycle. God, if he had managed to put this much effort into slagging off Labour's record over the last 10 years we might not have this electoral mountain to climb.

The last posters are quite right. I had forgotten that his politics used to be One Nation waffle. It really does seem that this outburst is a cry for attention rather than a disinterested statement of principle. I wondered why I hadn't heard of his call to leave the EU before.

Apologies for my ill-informed support of this has-been.

I doubt that Ancram even knows what the Internet is, but if he has got broadband in his Scottish castle, lets hope one of his servants brings the views of fellow party members to his attention.

When he is back from shooting grouse on the moors, of course.

I dont think anyone has said that wind farms will power the country. They will only ever make up to 20% of the energy mix - other technologies will have to provide base load.

What I find a bit depressing at the moment is the lack of any leadership. As Tim said yesterday, we should not be in such disarray at this stage and people are reacting almost hysterically to matters that need calm discussion.

It is not "a lurch to the right" to discuss core issues like immigration, taxes and the EU. Any government has to deal with such matters and we have to have a policy on each. The wonder is that we have got this far without any clear idea as to where we stand.

Michael Ancram's contribution is unfortunate - mainly because of its timing - but, totally ignoring his comment about same-sex partnerships, his wish to connect with, say, Thatcher's "core values, principles and beliefs" is surely very reasonable.

Yesterday I quoted Margaret Thatcher's famous speech about society that is always taken out of context by the left:

"And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and also to look after our neighbour".

Is that very different from Gordon Brown's view? I think so.

Is it very different from IDS and David Cameron's view? I think not.

Cannot David Cameron see the urgent need for a speech from him, giving a tour d'horizon of current tory thinking? The big differences between a Cameron and a Brown government need stating clearly, followed by a number of firm commitments that a tory government would action immediately or within a year of taking office.

The whole thing needs pulling together in a firm and decisive way.

I am 84 years old. A Conservative before David Cameron was born. Party member and active fund raiser - was president of our local branch (now defunct). Left over Major & Maastricht and joined UKIP. Still hoping for the day when I might rejoin the party- some hope! Policy, which seems to change overnight sometimes is - forget about core Conservative values, let`s follow Blair and do whatever is necessary to win power.

Sorry, but that`s not me. OK we know about the 3 elections in a row lost, but is it not better to go down fighting for what you believe in rather than go for what is politically expedient?

Cameron still has time, but not much, to spell out, once and for all just what he believes in. Read the Telegraph leader today.

Forget about the centre ground. Already staked out by Labour & the Libdems. If people want socialism they`ll vote for them. They are much better at it.

are we going to have to put up with these Thatcherite dinosaurs for ever?why do they do it?Is it jealousy or nothing better to do?All it does is to put younger people off from joining us.I find it very depressing.Edward Leigh and Ancram are both ardent catholics.Does that have something to do with it?Who knows?

i see no problem with Mr Ancram's article and maby hes ghot a point if the wets would just be quiet and listern to him. maybe we wouldnt constantl be havingt internal rows

I've read the above trashing of Michael Ancram with a sense of deep sadness.

Sad because I've always liked and respected Michael Ancram - he's a class act and they are pretty rare these days in time of career politicians who have never worked a day outside politics.

I'm also sad because it seems we are not broad enough a church to accept people like Michael Ancram are entitled to their views.

Perhaps Michael Ancram's views are not best timed, but neither would they be particularly damaging if it were not for entirely self inflicted crisis that has enveloped the Party since the ascension of Gordon Brown.

Put away the vitriol people, it's completely unbecoming.

When someone of Michael Ancram’s stature chooses to speak out in this way it is not just a warning signal to the Cameroonian young Turks, it is a clear statement that the party leader has left the majority of his members in his modernising wake. There has been much talk of late of the need for a Willie Whitelaw in the inner circle, and what better candidate than Michael Ancram. He is generally seen as being on the left of the party yet is widely respected by the right and he is Euro sceptic. Having met Michael on many occasions I can testify, he possess three of the rarest qualities in a politician: an ability to listen, a total lack of pomposity and plain old fashioned common sense. Put simply he personifies what the Tory party (used) to stand for.
Ancram will not have taken this step lightly and will have consulted widely before doing so, because that is the essence of the man. He has at a stroke, articulated what many core Tories are feeling day and daily as they digest another pronouncement from Cameron or Osborne and they agonise, not about whether to vote Conservative at the next election, but simply whether to vote at all.
I find it staggering that we are about to hear the thoughts of John (Selwyn)Gummer- a species of Tory whom alone has the distinction of being extinct in his own lifetime, yet a man of Ancram’s ability has been confined to the sidelines.
Of course he is being castigated on here by the the gay lobby who are clearly out in force today, but I would suggest that Michael as a well known committed catholic is as entitled to express a view on marriage and civil partnerships as anyone. He is certainly not anti gay,and sufered no prejudice when in CCO, but managed to do so without defying his own beliefs.

"I'm also sad because it seems we are not broad enough a church to accept people like Michael Ancram are entitled to their views."

A broad church would not have a leader who calls fellow party members 'delusional' for having a different opinion than him.

Cameroonism is defined by its two mantra; "our way or no way" and "your fault we lost"

Politics is about having power. At the moment, it's the EU that has it - it makes 75% of our laws. Fact. So MPs should either do something about that - as Michael Ancram, very sensibly proposes, or drop their salaries by 75%, as we shouldn't pay for rubber-stamping. Any takers for that one? Nope?

i I am 84 years old. A Conservative before David Cameron was born. Party member and active fund raiser - was president of our local branch (now defunct). Left over Major & Maastricht and joined UKIP.

So, you remained a member of the party when it took us into the EEC (as then was) and signed the Single European Act? And when Ted Heath was leader? How odd.

Old Hack,I always read your posts with interest but I fundamentally disagree with you today. What has he achieved today? A load of bad and entirely unnecessary headlines and er,that's it. We are probably very close to an election and all he has done is perhaps to make the possibility of a Brown government which will do absolutely nothing that Ancram wants more likely. I can quite understand the vitriol of many posters today.
Harlequin, Ancram neither proposed nor enacted any of these views when he had the power to do so, so why now? It is easy to think that he has become embittered because he's been overlooked for promotion. Yet another example of self before party.

At one level I despair of hasbeens like Ancram sniping from the sidelines, particularly since the timing is appalling. At another it does provide another opportunity to show that the party is changing.

Assuming that an autumn election is now unlikely (now the Brown bounce has subsided) It really is time that Cameron started getting bed-blockers like Ancram de-selected and bringing on the next generation.

Full paper here.


A membership that voted for Cameron 2 to 1!

Maybe the young turks are heartily sick and tired of getting the crap beaten out of them by a Labour party that is utterly rotten to its core.

I will profer an alternative argument as to why the 'membership' is tired of modernisation.

Because the 'membership' can't. The 'membership' likes the status quo.

It's time for new blood, it's time for 21st century ideas and it's time to let the Young Turks loose.

Sure, some mistakes are going to be made but I don't want to be a member of a political party were the average age is over 70!

I'm 36.

We either get young blood or die, we either get behind one of our most capable leaders for a generation or face oblivion.

Oblivion as in a pointless talking shop only on the other side of the political spectrum like those pitiful socialists still deluded that they relevant somehow.

Every time something like this happens, people that need our help don't get it. More kids slip into crime or drug dependency and more families fail and the cycle continues.

You might want a smug talking shop full of principle but bugger all else. It's Liliput politics you are discussed. There is nothing in Ancram's pamphlet that any Tory can disagree with, at worst it's motherhood and apple pie, at best it's attention seeking.

I want action to mend this country. Not some buffoon splitting the party.

When are you stupid, luddite fools going to get it!!!

You have had your chance, three of them and you LOST, LOST, LOST!

As for Ancram being Willie Whitelaw, that's not only an insult to Whitelaw but incredibly hilarious.

Also a man who cannot by means of his religious beliefs support the differing views of others has NO PLACE in providing political leadership.

Ancram? Anachronism more like!

When will the likes of Tony Makara understand that to win the next election the Tories need to reconnect with the millions who now do not vote at all because they do not support the very social democratic consensus that Cameron has signed up to so heavily. We won't win anything trying to turn Left wingers into Tories and that strategy has patently failed. Even less will we win anything by turning off our own core supporters and shoving them into the largest growing political party in the UK - the Won't Votes.

Michael Ancram is right on this (but not very much else !).

So Mr. Angry,

Can't convert voters to Tory ideas. Can't lose the core vote.

So give me an idea how exactly you would conjure up enough votes to win?

Oh, I know, let's stick to our principles and manage a graceful decline in Tory votes and never see power again.

Better than than shoot for the Moon and miss huh?

This is the problem with backbench MPs - they sometimes speak out at the wrong time.

Michael Ancram's obviously been working on this pamphlet for some time, when opinion polls were not so good. Now the Conservatives are levelling out, and there should be a poll with them ahead any day now, whilst Cameron et al have been very impressive the last few weeks.

Mr Ancram should have shelved his paper - and comments - as they are unhelpful and things are looking up again. There was a brief Brown Bounce but that hasn't lasted very long, as the post-Blair euphoria was just that -- Post Blair Euphoria -- and it didn't take people to twig, well actually Blair/Brown were a double act and it's more of the same from Brown.

Like the millions who 'forgot' to vote for us in 2001 and 2005 Mr Angry? Did we lose then because of the social democratic consensus of Hague and Howard?

"Put away the vitriol people, it's completely unbecoming."

That made me LOL. In the last 17 years I have watched various members of the Conservative Parliamentary party attack each other with a venom, disloyalty and total disregard for the long term wellbeing and electoral prospects of this party. So sorry, but take your lecture elsewhere. Disloyalty and indiscipline have done untold damage to our party and I reserve the right to criticize that behaviour!!!

Thanks, Tony Makara. I agree absolutely that David Cameron has to have a broad range of policies to win over supporters of other parties. Cameron in the past two weeks has expressed concern over key issues that trouble the whole nation and the poll numbers are starting to reflect this.

It just happens these are crucial issues we have been "banging on" about for years and the public is starting to realise we were right all along. We should not punish ourselves for being have foreseen the problems and stop talking about them because we have raised them before, which is the impression some commentators here seem to have.

We may have very different solutions to the problems the country faces, but Labour is working hard to make it appear theirs are largely similar to ours by stealing our clothes and making "clone" pronouncements. The average man on the street will think there is little to choose between us - despite the detail of the Labour plans shows them to be a poor counterfeit of our plans. But the soundbites stick in the mind. Therein lies the problem we face in fighting on the same turf.

Michael Ancram is like Tim Yeo - overpromoted and self-importance.

At least Yeo had the good sense not to stand for the leadership in the end. Ancram stood and came last, among a poor field. In fact he came last in the first round, tied with Davis, and had to be beaten again before he would withdraw. Then, in 2005, he went to his constituency to announce he wouldn't be contesting the leadership! Such an address could be seen as a quaint anahcronism but for him to think anyone was considering him as leader shows how delusional he is.

It may be asked how a man who voted for Maastricht can take such a hardline eurosceptic position. Or how a founding signatory of the Henry Jackson society in 2005 can call for a pullout from Iraq in 2006. Or how a man who wants us to negotiate with Hamas is now portraying himself as a man of the right. Principles? No. Ambition for attention, the same ambition that saw him flee to Devizes when he got kicked out in Scotland.

His pamphlet is full of platitudes, sprinkled with hackneyed quotes. Pity the poor researcher who had to type it up. There is nothing in it suggesting how desirable but competing principles should be reconciled, and no serious analysis. I hope he didn't spend too much time writing it.

Maybe something good will come of this, ie. that it will serve to galvanise the party, remind us of the dangers of not being united in focusing our attack on Labour and re-instill a much needed sense of loyalty, or discipline at least.

Of course there should be debate within all parties, but Ancram's timing and manner in rushing off to the Telegraph instead of discussing his concerns solely in private with the leadership shows he wasn't sincerely motivated by the good of the party.

Discipline involves sacrificing ego and a desire for attention.

"the millions who now do not vote at all because they do not support the very social democratic consensus that Cameron has signed up to so heavily."

Given the Tories campaigned very much to the right the previous 3 elections, why did these millions who according to you would embrace such a platform not vote?

Reply to David.
You are spot on David. Yes, I swallowed Heath`s lies about the Common Market and at the time thought Enoch Powell was mad telling us to vote Labour. Just shows how wrong you can be. I wrote many letters to my then MP Grylls (Sir Michael of consultancy fame) and John Major, before resigning from the party over Maastricht.

Presume you support the Conservative party`s policy - can you please tell me what it is? I`d love to know.

Incidentally, I note you are another of those contributors who choose not to give their full name. Anonymous letters don`t count with me.

"Yes, I swallowed Heath`s lies about the Common Market and at the time thought Enoch Powell was mad telling us to vote Labour. Just shows how wrong you can be. I wrote many letters to my then MP Grylls (Sir Michael of consultancy fame) and John Major, before resigning from the party over Maastricht. "

It took you over 20 years to reach that conclusion? Wow.Why didn't you resign when Thatcher signed the SEA? That was a clearer transfer of power than Maastricht.

"Presume you support the Conservative party`s policy - can you please tell me what it is? I`d love to know."

To remain in the EU, but to resist federalisation.

"Incidentally, I note you are another of those contributors who choose not to give their full name. "

That's because it's rather long and has three seperate words.

Having read the paper, can someone explain to me why its seen as so Anti-Dave, much of it even reads like a Dave speech.

The above comments strike me as over-reaction to Daily ExTorygraph mischief making. Its a bland paper that doesn't really challenge the Cameroon project particularly hard, and frankly not worthy of much discussion

What idiotic comments and timing.

These selfish people continue to damage the party. A poll comes out yesterday about us level-pegging.

Today Ankram destroys any progress.

I used to respect Michael Ancram as a competant, perfectly polite gentlemen. Nowt though it must be said, he just looks like a self-promoting...arse.

I don't think it is our return to traditional issues that has delivered our recovery anyway. Rather that it's been the first time for ages we've been given the airtime to say anything. The issues we've raised such as crime have been very relevant to the current mood of the public. It's not left or right wing, its just the "right" issues for the moment.

Yes, why is it that whenever an stupid back-bencher pipes up with some drivel it is portrayed as a 'Tory split' on the BBC and never a 'Labour split' when former ministers do the same?

"It really is time that Cameron started getting bed-blockers like Ancram de-selected and bringing on the next generation."

So, in the big tent, everyone's welcome, Dave's party we can bring on board everyone -except people who hold to a different style of conservativism - and in this modern transparent Conservative Party the unelected team aroung the leader gets to tell local conservatives who do the work who they should be permitted to have as their MP?

Are all the modernisers so completely blind to the undemocratic nature of what they say?

It is not all about getting elected.

No really it isn't.

It about putting your beliefs on the line, explaining them passionately and clearly so that the voters have a choice. If political parties jettison their beliefs and all say the same thing we betray ourselves, but more importantly we betray the voters by denying them them any meaningful choice.

I would rather have lost with Thatcher in 1992 (although i don't think she would have lost) than win with Major - 5 years of uselessness and the conservative cause detroyed for what?


"So, in the big tent, everyone's welcome, Dave's party we can bring on board everyone -except people who hold to a different style of conservativism"

Yes, but within the grounds of loyalty to your leader. It's fine to disagree in provate but in public, absolutely not. Did Ancram go to Cameron with his concerns - probably not.

So he dusted off an old pamphlet and gives it to the Telegraph.


" - and in this modern transparent Conservative Party the unelected team aroung the leader gets to tell local conservatives who do the work who they should be permitted to have as their MP?"

The constituencies take their lead from their leader from the central party, END. OF. When they are overdue reform to get them more effective, efficient and ready to fight. I SAY THAT AGAIN - FIGHT! They do as they are told. Again, they have a say but they take their lead from central office.

"Are all the modernisers so completely blind to the undemocratic nature of what they say?"

What? That the membership unconditionally voted 2 to 1 for Cameron? Or was it conditional that Cameron is just a sock puppet for the status quo? Sorry but your assertion is ridiculous.

"It is not all about getting elected.

No really it isn't.

It about putting your beliefs on the line, explaining them passionately and clearly so that the voters have a choice. If political parties jettison their beliefs and all say the same thing we betray ourselves, but more importantly we betray the voters by denying them them any meaningful choice."

So we are what then? A charity for political princple? A pressure group? A talking shop? What is a political party if it seeks not to win at every opportunity?


Cameron has yet to clash with those core values, he has sought to broaden appeal and it is working. It is simple fear that he is not right-wing enough for a vocal minority in this party that is pickled in aspic from 1983.

"I would rather have lost with Thatcher in 1992 (although i don't think she would have lost) than win with Major - 5 years of uselessness and the conservative cause detroyed for what?"

Ah to the nub of your issue. That this is a long wake for a lost leader, something that happened 17 years ago? That you can console yourself that a party could do that to it leader?

And now you want the same to an 'unelected' one that wants to impose discipline where it has been sadly lacking for so, so long.

Well, that just smacks of hypocrisy and double standards.

I'm starting to understand why Portillo was such a fierce advocate of the "blood on the carpet" style of political reform. I've never agreed with it -- but it's getting to the stage where Cameron doesn't have much choice.

He is the leader by a majority of votes. He has a consistent centre-right policy agenda which he is steadily fleshing out. It hasn't changed or lurched, it's understandably cautious but for the most part distinctively right-wing.

Ironically, it's never been the substance that's done for Cameron, but the perception. He's perceived as lightweight, flip-flopping, storming to the left, or lurching to the right, even when this is seldom the case.

The media operation needs nailing down, urgently. The internal discipline, likewise.

And yes, he needs to face the lurchers -- and he needs to win. To prove he's in control of his party, he's a strong leader and he's got a crisp and decisive direction.

I suppose a Machiavellian reading of the situation, and one that would reflect less poorly on Michael Ancram, might be that Ancram has been asked to fall on his sword to provide just such a victory, although I suspect that won't prove to be the case.

I hope the 13th Marquis of Lothian is happy - the Public Services Policy Review is receiving next to nil coverage thanks to his intervention. Months and months of hard work put to waste due to one man's desire to grab a headline and receive fawning coverage in the Daily Telegraph. On top of this he displays alarmingly reactionary views that Edward Leigh would hesitate to articulate.

David Cameron has an impossible task. He cannot speak with any credibility on school discipline when Conservative MPs display such little loyalty. Those on the left with inflated egos either defect or decide to "advise" the government, while those on the right produce their own makeshift pamphlets with no regard to political realities. The Conservative Party refuses to be led by anyone - the left undermined Hague and Duncan Smith, the right and the left are undermining Cameron.

The Editor of this site has done an astute job in the past couple of weeks, rightly recognising the shift in gear from the leadership. I think at this time an editorial on the importance of unity and discipline would be of great value. Until the party understands this it will never win again, whatever platform it stands on.

In 2001 Ancram stood as the "unity" candidate for the leadership. On today's evidence I'm surprised he could spell the word, let alone say it with a straight face. At the time, a columnist in The Times said "if Iain Duncan Smith is the dark horse in this race, then Michael Ancram is the seaside donkey." A delightfully shrewd analysis.

Ancram defenders (and I am disgusted that there are any)-did you listen to the World at One this lunchtime ?

Stephen Dorrell was on, presumably with the initial intention of talking about his report. He ended up discussing Ancram's fatuous and ill timed remarks, and understandably disagreed with them. Result- BBC have another story about "Top Tories" (sic) splitting/disagreeing etc.

I repeat- hopeless, self indulgent, amateurish, disgraceful.

We tried paying homage to the "Core Strategy" in 2001- and ended up with Labour MPs in Dorset.

Remind me who the Party Chairman was.....

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