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Good luck to George. I too hope he takes on this coalition role. The conservative family as you call it does need to be a more closely-knit team.

So, who's taking over from George?

Coulson's march continues.

First Bridges, now Eustice, next Hilton ?

It has to be the right thing that the Party is sharpening up its act. I don't want to be personal but his appointment as press sec was a surprise. If we are to get into government then the party has to be ruthless I am afraid!

George has been fantastic in the four years he has been leading the line for us against Labour with the Lobby correspondents. No one has worked harder than him over this time to counter Labour's aggressive spin operation with a considered and thoughtful approach that has paid dividends.
Always polite, instead of bullying and shouting at journalists like 'New' Labour he has always found time to explain and pursuade rather than threaten and manipulate.

Under enormous pressure George kept his sense of humour and if he lost a battle, which was rare, he knew the next day would bring another and then another. Anyone whose mobile rings non-stop for 16 hours of every single day has a right to a short temper every now and again, but not George, who thrived in this intense environment. The more intense the day the more George rose to the occasion.

George has been a brilliant leader of the press team. His willing sound guidance and advice will be missed. When he comes back our external relations will be in very safe hands.

He is really really good and incredibly hard working - big loss him going. They should definitely try to hang on to him in some role.

Looks like a win win.

George has been superb in the four years he’s been at CCO. Inevitably as one of the top guys he’s been criticised when the papers don’t say what we want them to say but many people simply don’t understand that there is only a certain amount a press operation can do to write the next day’s headlines. Labour’s 1990s bullying style of press management was initially effective but ultimately has led to them being viewed with almost complete cynicism and distrust. George was one of the first to recognise that rather than aping Alistair Campbell (and Damian McBride, for that matter) that the Tory press office needs to be professional and courteous, and that by getting into a position where there is a certain amount of trust between journalists and people in the press office rather than simply bullying, it is possible to be aggressive in our press operation without being rude. This is how we can maximise our position in the media – we have to accept that we are never able to control it completely.

Apart from all this, it’s fairly well known that George’s phone never stops ringing (almost literally never). Not many people would put up with not having a proper holiday or even a weekend for four years without complaint!!

I wish him all the best for the future

George is a throughly decent guy, and the compliments both on his personality and professionalism are well deserved.

He wasn't one of the top guys. He was effectively Cameron's press officer. Hilton chose to operate without top press guys because he thought the written press didn't matter.

That was rectified with the appointment of AC. Since then things have improved immeasurably.

If we are talking abut “trust” then why don't you ask the Lobby what they thought about his efforts?

Lets be grateful that Coulson has observed, worked out the weaknesses, is shipping out the deadwood and is now sharpening up the Tory press operation. Everybody knows the big turning point was the Rwanda. Since that debacle things have improved considerably in the party’s media handling.

There are a lot of bridges to be built with the movement, especially the free market think tanks and pressure groups. Many of their top people were not even invited to join or advise the policy review groups. Those that advocated tax cuts or questioned the Gummer-Goldsmith agenda were dismissed as dinosaurs.

Team Cameron's clear disdain for the movement, with the obvious exception of Policy Exchange and (possibly) the Centre for Social Justice, has made fundraising increasingly difficult. Why should business donate if the movement is ignored in Millbank?

The fact is that IPPR, Demos and the Social Market Foundation are several times the size of their conservative/free market competitors (most of whom have only a hanful of staff).

Cameron is not solely to blame. Hague (especially), IDS and Howard had similar narrow-minded attitudes. The movement has lacked the funds and resources to make the case in the media for individual freedom, free markets and limited government. As a result, the "centre ground" shifted far to the left.

Cameron will only be supported by the movement when he demonstrates his Conservative credentials. That means getting rid of the green fifth columnists like Hilton and Goldsmith and aannouncing pro-market and growth alternatives.

I think we all saw this 'departure' coming a long time ago (I would say that wouldn't I). I think it is great news, the Leader's office needs more dynamism and certainly needs to be quicker off the mark. I have nothing against George but those times I did see him he always seemed wooden and a bit unsure of himself - can't have that in the Leader's team. I'm not sure what off 'to read some books' is a euphimism for? Anybody help?..sounds like the dole to me. Seems Mr Coulson is taking advantage of the time that Gordon 'Bottler' Brown has given him. Even those CCHQ bloggers who are so heart-broken at GE's leaving must recognise that the whole Party media operation needed a kick in the pants. I wish Mr Coulson well. We go from strength to strength.

All the Cornish Seats are gone, though you would not know it. The last one chooses tonight for St Ives. George is a good local yocal in Cornwall, with Strawberry farmer roots. I think Cornwall needed a big hitter for real sucess like Ian Laws of Falmouth.

Contrary to the above, which makes me suspect you've never actually worked with him, George is one of the top guys, and has done a first rate job.

Is "to read some books" the new "to spend more time with the family" ?

GE is a top bloke and man of real integrity - a rare combination in Westminster these days.

I wish George the very best with his book reading time off. Those jobs are all consuming there is no other way to do them.
If he does want to be an MP it would be much better if did something else than work in cchq again. He has solid farming roots, if I were him I would build upon that.
Coulson has improved the whole press operation both in daily work and also in terms of strategy and vision. He is good news.

George is one of the nice guys, no question. He's also a man of integrity with principled Eurosceptic views. If he does the job of liaising with the Conservative movement on behalf of the leadership then everyone will win.

St Ives in fact selected last night and they chose Derek Thomas. As for George Eustice being a top man of real integrity, what, with a UKIP background like he's got? This erstwhile Cornish strawberry grower promoted UKIP with vigour, changed his mind and then swiftly climbed the ladder in the Tory Party while other Cornish people were working with vigour for the Tory Party and then getting thrown out of the Party on a trumped up charge of supporting UKIP. Integrity my "@$e, as Jim Royle would say! Unless of course he was a Tory plant in UKIP. That doesn't matter now though. The outcome of 3 of the Cornish Seats will depend on the resurgence or lack of it of the Lberal Democrat Party and the success or lack of it of the 3 right of centre candidates. UKIP will prove pretty weak.

He has got a point:


George is brilliant.

He holds the line brilliantly and se sells the message we want to sell, not neccessarily the one they want to be sold.

He's a great loss to CCHQ.

And he literally does not get a minute's rest.


I would like to echo the sentiments all of those who have commented on George's integrity and his unfailing commitment to the Conservative Party (far beyond the call of duty). He is one of those rare people of genuine character. For those of you who have made made disparaging comments I would like to suggest you are sad people with little understanding of the inner workings of the organisation. George - the very best of luck for whatever pathway you choose to pursue and I hope you have as relaxing as possible a time on sabbatical!

Au contraire anon at 18.39: Suggest until your heart is content but facts be facts - it is the understanding, nay the intimate experience of the organisation that has driven us to be such sad people. But that's just politics. Beyond that we are all jolly, social, popular and the life and soul of the party (small p!) types. And we know how to party!

Well, that was an interesting read. Thanks to all of you who had kind things to say. And to those of you who were rather less kind - well, thanks for taking the trouble to make your views known.

At least we are all on the same side really.

Further to Peter, it has long been a belief in Cornwall that right wing conservatives, real conservatives, traditional conservatives and true Thatcherites would have accepted Cornish George into a seat in Cornwall. His UKIP roots would not have prevented him in his endeavours. However things changed badly in 2005 when conservatives in Falmouth and Camborne were inquisitioned by CCHQ on their affiliations to UKIP, by a kangaroo court. Six were sacked and kicked out of the conservative party and hundreds of members followed them, leaving it in tatters. Hundreds of thousands of pounds were spent on legal bills.
Even today not one scrap of evidence has come to light about party members having a a cosy in the bed with UKIP.
Today in consequence it would be suicide if a former member of UKIP was to try to achieve a seat in Cornwall as a conservative PC.


Coulson's paid to make decisions.

I think he has made the right one again.We can't carry passengers. We want to win! That means getting the right personnel.

Political Editors were moaning that they didn't hear from the Tories fro weeks. Our comms were a joke. All that is changing!

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