« "All passes have been cleared by the police" | Main | Thoughts on next steps for 'core vote' issues... »


I recommend - "More classy, less nasty". Elegance, unflusteredness, refusal to fall to insults, being polite and gracious about one's political foes, accepting the Chairman's ruling in public debates without question or complain. Cameron has offered us this aspect in spades, and it has been a key part of moving us away from an image as hectoring spivs.

I think that the party should give full attention to ALL 650 seats in the UK including NI where the Conservative Party should contest all 18 seats. In future, I think that all PPC's should be selected as early as possible as it will give the party time to spread the message across. I support the 'pick em local' approach where 'local' candidates should really be given priority over 'outsiders'.

The only problem with that analysis is that Labour and the LDs are magnificently untroubled by it and behave like attack dogs. Indeed it is precisely because of their success (and Theresa May's Ratner moment) that the label has stuck to us.

If the Shadow Cabinet are hiding behind this excuse as an explanation of their spineless uselessness and general invisibility then it has been a very cunning plan of Mandelsons indeed.

The reason the public liked the nasty label was because they hated us for the ERM fiasco and lying about Clark's tax rises. They have hated Blair and were delighted to hear attacks on him. We need to get them to hate Brown to do that we must enunciate their inchoate rage not priss about like Sunday School teachers.

Chalenging LAbour's conception of social justice (i.e. social control and authoritariansim) with a new emphasis on autonomy and freedom for those working in low paid jobs would be a very good way to signal support for a key part of the electorate. How about linking the personal allowance to the hours worked on the minimum wage needed to cross it?

Why all this fuss about 'modernisation'? Good God, the party used to have perfectly reasonable tried and tested policies which won election after election.

As I've said before, Mr Cameron needs to commit the party to protecting the ancient liberties of his own indigenous people; a stance which would undoubtedly rally the troops when it matters. Sensible people do not need to be told what they can and cannot do, providing they bring no harm to their neighbours.

Mr Cameron is far too shy about promoting support for repealing the dreaded Hunting Act - the most illiberal piece of legislation ever to have been passed by Parliament. Why the silence, Mr Cameron?


We are never going to persuade the public (and netierh should we try) that we are just as nice, just as well-meaning as Labour. I don't want us to be well-meaning. I want us to be right and to offer solutions that will actually help and make the world a better place.

But people will be reluctant to vote for us if they consider us actively unpleasant, except in the most extreme circumstances of need - if everything were going wrong, for example. If they think we are nasty grasping Tories, in it for ourselves, jumped up second-hand car salesmen who think we are better than everyone else because we have "loads'a'money" then we are going to find votes hard to come by. Furthermore, conducting ourselves in this way is unpleasant and lacks in honour.

So, we must not be actively unpleasant. But neither can we hope to be thought nicer and more well-meaning than our opponents. So our niche must lie elsewhere - I suggest it lies in being classy; being above petty insults or distortions; not impugning the motives of our opponents even when they tell unpleasant lies about us; and so on.

I am not recommending invisibility. There is no reason why one cannot be classy and visible at the same time.

Social justice (especially zero-tolerance on crime, more prisons).

And respect for gay rights will be eye-catching.

The rest such as public service reform, diverity, international have already been talked about...

I'd go for something like that. We've had the crucible of the policy debate and got the nation talking.

Now the cast the policy ingot of gold and go for it. Unashamed populist policies.

Attack, attack and attack and then drive, drive, drive home the alternative.

So far, Brown has not had the oxygen of Tory ideas to steal and he's re-punting old ideas as 'change'.

The Tories have to offer real change, not try to bang the torn drum of its old standard.

Personally, my A-bomb policy idea to tackle poverty, re-introduce the 10p tax rate and raise the threshold to something meaningful to £7,000 of taxable income putting those earning £10,000pa on 10p income tax. Make work pay.

Pay for it by abolishing tax credits and slashing the quangos listing the ones the Tories would closedown on Day 1 of a Tory government and the money saved.

Small government, tackling poverty, tax cuts.

Job Done.

And watch Brown oppose that!

I want to hear less about modernisation from now on, and more about passion. It will take us a long way. All evidence suggests that the public LIKE IT when our MPs attack the Government, Redwood on Question Time last week being a prime example. It was good to hear Boris referring to Livingstone as "King Newt".
Lets start taking the p*ss out of these people- mind boggling geeks and automatons like Ed Balls, the Milibands, and little 'Azel Blears. Lets get off the back foot against these class warriors, these politically correct anoraks, these nurturers of the Worthless Bureaucracy. Lets start articulating the anger of our people, starting next week.

Where does ten years of Labour get you ?

50,000 "new", utterly worthless Community Support Officers, each on 20 grand a year, each now beholden to Brown's client state, each with no powers to make a difference to crime, and each hamstrung by politically correct guidance which stops them jumping into a 6 foot pond to save a drowning kid (when passers by did just that).

From Sunday lets all start singing from the same song sheet and exposing this rubbish.

I agree that to attack Blair at a personal level with the 'liar' posters was probably a mistake, whereas the non-personal "Labour isn't working" posters of 1978 were very effective.

But let's not confuse the inadvisability of personal attacks with rolling over and failing to expose Labour for what they are.

Obviously we cannot just campaign on a negative basis, personal or otherwise, but we do need to attack hard to expose Labour's lies and obfuscation.

Brown has done such a good job of getting much of the public to accept his lies and spin that we are left with no other option than to surgically dismantle his assertions one by one

We almost need a good cop - bad cop approach where an integral part of the campaign is the systematic exposure of Labour's lies at the same time as providing clear statements why Conservative policies will be better for the country. This needs to be presented in a consistently structured way:-

"Labour tell you this...."

"This is the truth..."

"This is what we will do...."

"This is how/why it will benefit you and the country...."

We need a strong attack element in the campaign to back our policies, otherwise in some areas we will be seen as doing no more than re-iterating the policies that Brown is trying to steal.

It is said that the SNP did well in Scotland partly because it presented a positive aspect in its campaigning. By all means highlight Brownian deficiencies and adverse Ming things but accentuate the Tory positives.

Sorry to be a bore about this, but both strands of the Party, modernisers and traditional can be accommodated under the same environmental banner.

The key to sustainability is population, the driver of population growth here is immigration. So they are not unrecognisable strands of the party, they are one of the same, all it needs is for someone in the Party to knit the two together.

Yesterday the Government declared it was outlawing traditional light bulbs for a 5% energy saving, but what is the point of that when the Government is seeking to add 10% to our population? The madness of the Labour Governments contradictory policies means we are just running to stand still. As I put it the other day, what’s the point of worrying about our carbon foot print, when the Government is adding foot prints as fast as they possibly can?

But population sustainability doesn’t just knit immigration controls and environment together, it also knits together housing, affordable housing, road congestion, rail congestion, availability of public services. All it needs is for someone to knit the issues into a cohesive story, lunching back to just talking about immigration would not just be a mistake, but an opportunity missed, not just an opportunity missed to put a cohesive set of policies together, it would be an opportunity missed to show up the contradictory policies of the left, who go on about green policies as a substitute for their anti capitalistic agenda, yet also wax lyrical about mass immigration, the antithesis of sustainability.

I have never, and will never, understand why people think a modernising agenda cannot be combined with traditional conservative principles. Cameron has brought new issues onto the political radar such as the environment and the family, but he should still discuss immigration, taxation, the EU etc.

I so agree with your comments on tone. We need to be reasonable and polite, even more than our opponents.
Jonathan, it is just when Nulab and the Libdems behave like 'attack dogs'that they are most unconvincing. The attempts to smear Boris Johnson failed because he manifestly is not racist and it has made them seem over-the-top and worried.
Also, let's not start calling our opponents liars. If they have lied, the electorate can make up their own mind without our telling them. Better to point out the inconsistencies and failed promises, rather than impune motives.

Unity IS key but you can only build that around a positive campaign - one built on a clear vision of what Britain under the Conservatives would look like. It's almost certainly impossible to build it around the sort of negative or critical campaign many Conservatives are urging (see the ridiculous Wrong man campaign etc). The reason this won't work is that no matter how gifted your communications team or your speechwriters the public tend to associate you with one broad theme or defining characteristic - either you're a positive alternative, full of ideas and refreshing policies and the embodiment of change or you're a player, a politician whose first instinct is to rubbish their opponents and squabble over who's best. This is why Brown didn't even mention the Conservatives or Cameron at the start of the week - it's a deliberate move to pitch him as above the fray and disdainful of party politics.

Of course David can't really get through his speech next week without referencing the last 10 years because he's an opposition leader. But that doesn't mean you run a campaign built around what you're not and attacking Gordon Brown. The public needs to know what you are and how things would change under a Conservative government. I would dearly love to see David speak for 90mins next week without mentioning Brown by name once. The Labour party yes, and regular references to their failings over the last decade but each one immediately followed by a positive reference to what the Conservatives would do differently. If Cameron stands up next week and delivers lengthy passages on Brown's failings and character flaws, laced with jokes to please the floor, the Telegraph and right-wing blogs, there may be a superficial bounce and some soothing noises from his recent critics but comes Christmas the polls will be right back where they are today.

Get the State out of the bedroom. People who wish to "marry" should do so by whatever personal ceremony they wish religious (in which case unlikely to be of the same gender) or otherwise. Public committment to care for one other person should be recognised by the State only if it is a "contract" between two adults of any gender and any familial relationship under which each undertakes to mutually support the other for life or until divorced by the State. All the legal advantages (and disadvantages) currently available only to married couples and civil partners would accrue and such persons would be treated for all legal purposes as spouses. The support and custody of children would be dealt with completely separately and would depend solely upon natural parenthood or legal adoption as now. Forget sexuality. Go for it - be really radical and practical

""Labour tell you this...."

"This is the truth..."

"This is what we will do...."

"This is how/why it will benefit you and the country...."

Combine New party members suggestion with Ken Stevens and it will be a winner!

"It is said that the SNP did well in Scotland partly because it presented a positive aspect in its campaigning. By all means highlight Brownian deficiencies and adverse Ming things but accentuate the Tory positives."

The SNP put forward a very positive and confident agenda during the campaign, it was further highlighted by the sheer negativity of Labour and the Libdem's message. They had also spent the last few months in the run up to the election fighting like ferrets in a sack trying to distance themselves from each other and their coalition pack.
Annabel Goldie was criticised for ruling out any deals before the election, but I think it was also a confident and strategically smart move in contrast to the Libdems in particular.

Cassilis, I disagree with you, the problems endemic in Labours policies have to be shown up, for why should people look for solutions from the Conservatives, when we haven't identified the problems? But this should have been done a long time ago.

I would agree with you about unity, and as I posted above, there is the opportunity from the leadership to unite the party, bringing together both strands of the party, traditional and modernisers by knitting together the policies to create a cohesive argument, and as much as I would like to hear some strong language about immigration, I feel it would be a mistake. But its also a big danger to go on about green policies, which would consign the party to being irrelevant to people. As I have posted, the two do in fact come together, all it needs is someone with a bit of vision to annunciate it.

I totally disagree on all this gay rights stuff (not British - tolerance will quite do); and candidate diversity doesn't seem necessary (MPs should have diverse abilities, we don't need a ream of assorted specialists in the Commons. There are specialists within civil service departments).

On the other hand, a "rightward lurch" would make Cameron look foolish,
and a massive "improve the public sector" campaign (without just advocating mass privatisation) looks like the way forward to me. The only "right wing" theme we should keep beating the drum about is the "constitutional treaty", which gives us some consistency and should help to avoid right-wingers deserting.

As for international development, as I posted on the Conservative Party site....

Unfortunately it seems the Conservatives have bought into the BBC, Guardian, Labour Government consensus, that aid is good and even more aid is even better. But what evidence is there for this? Precious little I would suggest . Over the years the West has pumped into Africa some one trillion dollars of aid, yet it is a bigger basket case now than when we started. Some time ago Jeff Randall or Rodger Bootle can’t remember which did an economic review of aid and came up with some horrifying figures, like…

Zambia, if all its foreign aid had gone into investment, Zambia per capita income would have quadrupled in just over 30 years, but it actually fell.

Ivory Coast to 1997 received 127 times more capital aid than India, despite an appalling record of incompetence and corruption. It has twice created lavish new capitals. Between 1979 -94 income of average Ivorians halved!

Basing GDP per capita at 100 in 1980, by 2004 Sierra Leone's has halved to 50, South Korea's has risen 4 fold to 400.

Yet we are seeking to increase our aid to Africa to meet the UN’s requirement, but from the evidence of what has gone before, it is going to be British taxpayers money down the drain. The fact is aid is like welfare, as such it brings with it all the problems welfare has, like corruption and dependency, its just that its on an international scale. So when has welfare been a solution to anything ? Never, and when did welfare become a policy objective of the Conservative party? Now it seems!

But its worse than that, for aid is actually the enemy of African people, for it disenfranchises them, for democracy is more than just voting, its about the accountability of politicians and how they spend your tax money. When some African Governments budgets are subsidized with aid to the tune of 80% of their budgets we have essentially removed that accountability from the African electorate.

I would also like to challenge the notion that all Africa's problems can be put down to colonialism, sorry that's rubbish, which can be shown by the collapse in African peoples earnings post colonialism. The common factor in most of the problems confronting these countries is that most of them at independence elected left wing regimes who sought to set up centrally planned economies, as we saw with Ghana, where Nkrumah set up state run operations from steel, construction, fishing, even fibre bags, indebting the country as he did so, and then robbing the profitable areas of the country, like Cocoa, to fund the losses at his corrupt state run operations. He also, like all left wingers couldn’t leave the constitution alone, so meddled with it with disastrous results, nor leave arms of State alone from his desire to politicise everything.

What is laughable is that Camden council has put up a blue plaque to this despot who drove his country to despotism in little more than a decade. Something they could do because the right and Conservatives here have been brow beaten into silence with the big guilt stick ‘colonialism’ when, as I say, much of Africa’s problem stem from the left wing regimes which came after colonialism.

But may be we should just try to slaughter one sacred cow of the left ( mass immigration) at a time!

A truly modern Conservative Party would focus on giving individuals more freedom. That means

- legalising drugs and prostitution
- liberalising gambling and licensing laws
- repealing the smoking and hunting bans
- reversing Labour's attacks on free speech and civil liberties
- abolishing the state-funding for the equal opportunities, race relations, gay rights and global warming industries
- stopping the persecution of motorists
- giving tax rebates for those who opt out state provion in health, education and pensions and

One of the modernising aspects that needs to be made "fit for purpose" are the parties internal systems.

There is a certain major item that is 12 months late. It is more important than any other modernising change (policy, candidates etc) that this party does.

So can Caroline please please get the Centre to pull its enfeebled finger out and deliver on time the things that really matter to assist the party in winning elections.

Not much to ask for is it?

From Iain Dale:

'Labour uses an events management company called Potcakes to stage their events. Apparently this company have been put on standby to work exclusively for Labour for the whole of October. I understand they expect the commission to be "confirmed" on Tuesday. Draw your own conclusions'

it's right that a modern Conservative Party is a defender of the rights of adult gay people.

What do you mean by this? As far as I am aware homosexuals have exactly the same rights as everybody else, and that's the way it should stay.

If you mean the right to be protected against skinheads beating them up I agree with you 100%. OTOH if you mean the right to make a mockery of marriage I certainly don't

Anyway, I don't see how this policy will give the Conservatives the edge over the Labour Party, who pander to homosexuals and other fashionable minorities on every conceivable occasion.

Mr Lilico no one is suggesting that we personally attack our opponents, when we have done it has usually been done by the so called modernisers in our party who have such contempt for both proper campaigning and for the electorate that the alternate between craven surrender (nasty party) and outright nastiness themselves.

But the dignified stance you suggest is what you show in a tumbrell on the way to the guilotine.

We need to be hard, hard as nails on this foul government who have betrayed the country, we should repeat again and again their promises and contrast them endlessly with their actions unitl Labour spokesmen are afraid of the debate on Newsnight and Question Time.

We should show some bloody passion and be seen to mean it, not sit around weighing up minute percentages in focus groups before we speak.

No one will follow us if we don't lead, so get up off your knees Mr Cameron and stop going on about change, stop apologising to everyone who moves and, in your big speech do us all a favour, tell Theresa May she was wrong and sack her.

The nasty Party are the lying class warriors of the left, who set race against race and clas against class to entrench their own power.

I think that the party should give full attention to ALL 650 seats in the UK including NI where the Conservative Party should contest all 18 seats
Surely it would be better to build on relations with the UUP and DUP, otherwise the only effect will be that most of the 18 candidates lose their deposits and through taking some votes off the Unionist Parties possibly increase representation for Sinn Fein and the SDLP.

"From Iain Dale:

'Labour uses an events management company called Potcakes to stage their events. Apparently this company have been put on standby to work exclusively for Labour for the whole of October. I understand they expect the commission to be "confirmed" on Tuesday. Draw your own conclusions'"

Drip, drip, drip!
Now why do I think that Brown has left this tap dripping deliberately?

“Respect for gay people”: yes I totally agree - as we should respect everyone (while of course being free to disagree with peoples’ views or actions and to say so).

But recognising gay couples in a similar way to married couples (I presume this means giving them marriage-like status in law) inevitably means implying gay relationships are equivalent to heterosexual marriage. I cannot see how most voters (if they were concerned enough to think about it!) would see them as equivalent, and many even think this undermines marriage and thus society. Do you really think they are equivalent, Mr Editor?

On the environment, I agree that John Redwood’s blog on this is excellent. I note that among his suggestions are:

Better public transport so that it is more of an option for more of our journeys

Fewer new migrants coming to the UK putting pressure on greenfields and transport facilities

Better protection of local green gaps between settlements and beautiful countryside from developers

His advocacy of tax breaks for green conduct is interesting (no doubt this should include tax discounts on rail tickets!), and is better than tax rises for less environmentally-friendly conduct. However I suppose Messrs Cameron & Osborne want to keep the total tax burden the same by raising environmental taxes while cutting taxes on family income and inheritance tax etc. It seems – am I correct? - this because they fear that reducing the overall tax burden would put more money into the economy, thus could be inflationary, and thus lead the BofE to raise interest rates…

However I think environmentalism is a good and legitimate “centre-ground” modernising theme for us, but must include opposition to building on the countryside, in peoples’ gardens, sports fields and green spaces in towns.

If the Conservatives want to affect the global environment in a positive way they could introduce tax cuts and perhaps grants to key businesses which are working on solutions.

Gordon Brown is not a celebrity politician like Blair. He is not a conviction politician like Thatcher.

He strongly resembles Edward Heath, pulling all decision-making to the centre, expecting unions to accept pay deals lower than inflation, unable to work with people who openly disagree with him, choosing weak deputies who present no threat, showing jealousy of those who outshine them, wanting people to take risks and grow yet making them insecure by failing to control inflation, lying to the electorate about Europe, moving into a General Election of which the main theme will be 'Who Governs Britain?'

The similarities are uncanny.

I argue in my blog that Brown's weaknesses will cause him to fail in the same way that Edward Heath failed.

Cameron's problem is that he built his programme to fight Blair, and ended up opposing Edward Heath. He is now adapting well to the change but it's taken him a while to get there.

No, Tapestry, Cameron's problem is that he IS too much like Blair - and Heath.

So Mondeo Man, Worcester Woman, the Pebbledash People et al, are going to vote for us because although we are timid about public services we are very firm about gay rights, green issues, Darfur and we have a nice new 'diverse' candidate who may not be local but knows all about ethnic or feminist issues?

Yeah, right.

Time to get real.

If we do not do a something, and I mean a lot about climate change this country will be blowing bubbles and UKplc will literally be dead in the water.

To make this work the ONLY course is to tax all fossil fuel. This is ALL fuel. To tax it so much it becomes unpopular. That does not mean that you will take more tax but other taxes will disappear. When you talk about reducing IHT and stamp duty the answer to the question “where is the money coming from?” the answer is Climate Change tax.

Philip, I am a gay Conservative - or a gay man who happens to vote Conservative. I am in a strong, committed, loving relationship. We expect no special treatment from government or society whatsoever. However, if we were to marry, there is no logical reason why we should not receive the same legal status as a heterosexual couple. The fact that you personally may not like it does not count as a logical reason.

David Cameron's modernisation agenda allows me and other gay voters, and our families, friends and colleagues, to support and vote for the Conservative party.

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker