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Shake up his team. Make William Hague Shadow Chancellor. The best talent needs to be in the most important job. Hague is wasted at Foreign Affairs.

Pour every spare penny into ousting Liberal Democrat MPs.

Labour MPs will lose in large numbers anyway.

Getting rid of the harder to move LibDems will be harder.

1)Cut public spening (remove nhs beaurocrats)
2)Introduce flat tax (reduce my 40% tax rate and encorage enterprise)
3)Remove Immigrants (If there is a downturn we do not want these people claiming benefits)
4)Cleaner hospital
5)More Police/build more prisons/life to mean life (show we are serious about crime
6)Introduce Workfare (the workshy will thank us for it)

I could go on.

The message is simple BE CONSERVATIVE. Margaret Thatcher would be proud.

No more hug a hoodie, 1/3 of cabinet posts to women/ride a bicycle/windmill nonsense etc leave that to wishy washy liberals.

That will electrify the electorate. Follow my advice and we will win.

If tomorrow's budget is a big tax rising affair I think we can sit back and wait for the middle classes to come home to us.

I think the world has moved on and the electorate expect a little more.

Drop the dead-end proposal of workfare and replace it with waged public works programmes. These could be based on the 1980s community programme schemes, based on 12-month work contracts for the long-term unemployed, which will should also contain a training element resulting in a new government backed skill certification. The new skills involved will better equip people to compete in the labour market.

Workfare is a punitive dead-end and will not create jobs or train people. After ten years of failure from the Labour government in employment and training the Conservative party has the opportunity to introduce a radical an innovative welfare-to-work system. Be the party that dares to be different and radical in job creation.

The issues the Party should be focused on are:

- Crime
- Crime
- Crime
- Anti social behaviour
- Crime
- Prisons
- Crime

Simple as that. The Party must also:

- Promote Michael Fallon MP.
- Pledge to introduce open primaries, live TV election debates, recalling of MPs and other ideas to make politicians more accountable and our politics more accessible.
- Do what the editor says in point 3 - get literature into EVERY home. And put Cameron's cherubic chops on the cover. Spread the word. Get out there. Don't hide.

The next move should be a short term one; funnel resources into a broadly based 'Tories are nice and pretty hard working' for the local council elections, and rally behind Boris like there's no tomorrow. There should be plans in place for a long term campaign along the lines outlined (Not by Margaret Hemmings, who is either deluded or a plant from another party!) but there is a pressing and immediate concern, and that is May 2008. Use that as a springboard.

Maybe David Cameron should take a leaf out of Labours book (it would be a novelty!) and collect a group of 'advisors' who would be able to add weight to his shadow cabinet. HE would not have to go outside the political party in order to find people of weight and experience, who would be able to add a further dimension to his present team. Michael Fallon could fall into this category.

Its an idea anyway!

Promise to tackle and eradicate political correctness – there’s a policy that we’d have no danger of seeing stolen from under our noses.

The idea of a pledge list with “ten concrete changes” sounds good. In this context I wonder if one possible follow up to 100 Policies might be “25 Immediate Repeals and Abolitions” (I’m sure someone can come up with a more punchy way of expressing this), comprising a set of straightforward changes that we could promise to introduce within – ideally - the first two months of Conservative government. Scrapping the ID cards legislation and its related infrastructure could feature high up the list, and while the hunting ban could make an appearance, how about some alternative short and sweet reforms such as the outlawing of wheelclamping?

Unite all spectrums of society to “SAVE THE COUNTRY”. That should be the slogan, the country is heading for mass breakdown and we have to stop the rot.

Some years ago Singapore was heading for social breakdown, crime was rife and it was an absolute haven for drug dealers, feral kids ruled the classroom and the streets (sound familiar?). Dr Goh Keng Swee became one of the founding fathers of modern Singapore. Sick to death of rampant crime and social breakdown their government had the courage and vision to tackle the problems in their society. It required radical action, guts and determination.

They worked on a simple principle: wrong doing should be punished and not excused, Singaporeans would apologise to no one for their stance, they would bend over backwards to help business but would “politely” ask people to leave who did not share their societies visions and values. This was necessary to create the society in which business and prosperity could flourish, and children could be educated. Today Singapore is a very prosperous country where I have felt much safer walking the streets than anywhere else in the world. But then this is hardly surprising.

Murder and drug dealing remains a capital crime.
If kids misbehave in school or indulge in anti-social behaviour they are caned (and helped).
Parents and adults have authority over children and young people and boundaries are enforced by all agencies.
Kids are encouraged to undertake uniformed service and take a pride in their country.
Education is seen as important and a gateway to a better life.
Singaporean customs and traditions have primacy over all others.
It has become a tiger economy (not bad considering this has been encouraged by an extreme left government). This pays for the excellent and clean public services.

It has weaknesses such as the issue surrounding democracy and freedom of speech and it is a fairly expensive place to live, so it is not perfect, but the government does manage to unite all its citizens on the issues of law and order, education, health, and so on. I would live there if I could but this is unlikely ever to be permitted. The Singaporean government are shrewd enough to allow you to work and contribute to their society, but once you are no longer productive it is home you go (unless you have several millions to invest in their country and they may then let you retire there). Harsh? Yes I suppose it is but unashamedly pro Singapore. Their people come first, second and third.

Is it possible for Mr Cameron to become a founding father of a modern but democratic Britain where freedom of speech is valued once again, and the rule of law prevails?

That in my view would be a way to unite the country.

@ John Leeks

I most certainly am not deluded. I didn't say my list was exhaustive!

My position is simple. Be proud to be Conservative and stop apologising and pretending to be woolly liberals.

Margaret Thatcher won 3 elections in a row by being a conviction politician.

Thats what we need now. Oh and yes bring back John Redwood.

I am inclined to agree with Alan S. George Osborne might not be the Shadow Chancellor we need at this point.
We need someone who can really nail New Labour for their economic ineptitude. George Osborne clearly isn't the man for that job.
The way he dealt with Northern Rock is a good example.
We could indeed criticize the Government, but few people knew what our policies were. Northern Rock was an open goal, which George Osborne somehow managed to miss.

He is said to be a good organiser, and I beleive he is, but shouldn't he rather be Party Chairman instead, if that is the case?

The first thing to do is an out-of-sight restructuring of Cameron's immediate circle. We can't allow him to go on dodging the great issue which is to frame a REASON for voting tory - a Theme - a Vision. At present it looks like a housewife's shopping list!

Then he has got to square up to his pledge to do something having lost the referendum campaign (which was badly fought by the party but well fought by the IWAR people) Where do we stand. This is absolutely critical because at least 10% of the present Tory preferees are absolutely rock solid on the issue if the EU. He has promised to do something --But W H A T ???- I have a list of about 350 people ++ most of whom have been favourable to the Tories in the last 6 months but who definitely will not vote Tory if Cameron bodges this one.

A commitment to the people of Northern Ireland by standing candidates in all 18 constituencies.

"Margaret Thatcher won 3 elections in a row by being a conviction politician."

And between 1997 and 2005 we lost 3 elections in a row. We need a new strategy. We just can't base our strategy on re-fighting the battles of the 1980s.

I agree with Margaret Hemmings and Hardcore Conservative

But I would also bring back fox hunting. Win all the rural seats.

put Northern Rock into administraion.

Stop all anti car legislation e.g extra tax on my 4x4. We are and need to be a great car economy.

Bring back Grammar schools

That is what freedom of choice is about

Abolish Conservative Future. The organisation and people in it are a waste of space and do more harm than good to the party.

'Greater focus on just one or two issues - like crime and the NHS - and a relentless focus on those two issues.'

I disagree, there are lots of things to be put right with the help of everybody. Lets continue to promote our ideas in every policy area.
We should stop teachers being bullied by pupils. That one issue alone opens up a plethora of related problems.
Absurdly high tax as a % of GDP doesn't make the sky fall in. It does damage people's lives though, especially lower income people who are obscenely taxed in this country (UK).

Ok here we go.

As for focussing on just one or two issues I'm not sure. What impressed me about the November Conference was the breadth of change proposed. Yes there is a need to provide greater clarity in key areas such as health and education and to repeat that message until it is clearly understood but it is also important to get across the message that the Conservative Party have the right ideas in all areas of Government.

Continued emphasis on all the usuals - crime reduction, health & education provision, controlled immigration, cost efficient public services, smaller government, lower taxes, better National Security and defence capability, repatriation of powers from the EU.

In particular focus on further defining the difference between front line public services (hospitals and schools) and the bureaucratic Government administration (e.g. Quangoes). Emphasise should be on sharing the proceeds of cutting the bureaucracy between improved and extended front-line services and an overall reduction in the cost of the public sector.

Refocus the green agenda (its far too abstract for many people to really grasp) to concentrate on self-sufficiency, renewability and cost efficiency for the end consumer (e.g. developing technologies such as geo-thermal heating) to provide relatively cheap domestic consumer solutions (i.e. Going green will save the consumer money).

Also refocus the Green agenda to focus on moving away from the 'disposable society' and encourage increased longevity, reliability and enhancement of products as opposed to the replacement of products (i.e. Going green will save the consumer money).

Refocus the constitutional debate to focus more on the people's role and localism and far less on Parliament's and political parties' (again far too abstract for many) by proposing real devolution of power and further restrictions on the political parties and parliaments level of self-determination over matters specific to their behaviour and terms and conditions. In particular a more consistent detailed approach to localism and direct democracy.

Last of all and probably most importantly, the economy, the economy, the economy. The public not only need to think that Labour have wrecked it but that the Conservatives provide a much better alternative (a method of reducing the impact of vastly increased domestic fuel costs, council tax and utility costs would be a winner but perhaps some of these should wait for closer to the GE).

All in all the overall impression should be that the policies are primarily aimed, not at benefitting charities (although they may benefit), not at benefitting business (although they may benefit), not at benefitting the professions and consultancies (they've done well enough out of Labour), not at benefitting the public sector bureaucrats and the political apparatus (they've done far too well out of Labour too) but at benefitting, above all else, families and individuals.

With that identified as the target group (effectively everybody) tie it all together with emphasis on individual responsibility in turn for much less intrusive Government and greater individual freedom.

Oops of course that should be October conference.....

Suck an alcopop and save the planet....

“What need to be done to move the party further ahead – to an election winning lead?”

Easy. Make them afraid, make them angry, commit to satisfying their quest for vengeance and give them hope.

1) Make them afraid.
Talk more about recession, job losses, inflation, tax, crime.

2) Make the angry
Blame nuLieBore and personalise it on el Gordo, B’Liar, et al.

3) Commit to satisfying their quest for vengeance.
Announce that there will be a full enquiry into the things nuLieBore have been up to. This is to also include corporate donations etc. That will cause a major source of funding to dry up as companies drop them like a stone. (Personally, I’d like all members of the cabinet since ’97 to be arrested. B’Liar, el Gordo to be executed in public and to be shown live on prime-time television.)

4) Give people hope.
Commit to putting right the damage that nuLieBore has done. Cut the burden of the state and it’s intrusion into our lives. Return to the first duty of government: protection of the people. Let people have the opportunities to develop.

A bit excessive? Well, the basic structure is exactly how the nuLieBore regime took power.

Ensure that they have policy principles + key proposed action within each for the most important issues identified by the public as their priority concerns.

These are -in order:-

NHS/Health Care
Morality/Individual behaviour
The Environment.

Source IPSOS/MORI Feb 2008

The first six are significantly important in the Poll quoted.

Are Conservative Policies on these issues really well understood by the public?

Make the Conservatives more succesful - "Remove Immigrants" !!! I am thoroughly ashamed of a party whose members think in this way. True Toryism at its very worse - lacks understanding and compassion. Heaven help us if Tories are returned to government.

The Tories need to show how it is possible to cut taxes without reducing essential public spending. The removal of the 10% rate of tax next month for the lower paid is a disgrace and the government should be pressed hard on this. There is such an enormous amount of money wasted on consultants, PFI projects, ID schemes, complicated tax credits, inefficient farm subsidy payments, etc etc that there should be plenty of ways to make the necessary savings to pay for this and other tax reforms such as raising the tax threshold and restoring the tax advantage for married couples.

I would like to see the issue of the EU and the referendum given prominence as Europe determines so much of our legislation. It is also a matter of trust and the relationship between the government and the people. Labour is in the process of sacrificing our sovereignty and it should be held to account.

I do urge David Cameron not to make any pledges about the proportion of women in the cabinet. People should be given jobs entirely on the basis of their merits; it's patronising to anything else.

I suspect that Margaret Hemmings is a troll.

Develop policies which address the current disillusion with politics and the political class:
1.Reduce number of MPs to 300.
2.Change MPs’ pension scheme to a money purchase scheme
3.Tax relief on small political donations.
4.Cap of 20k on individual donations
5.Referendums on all future EU institutional changes
6.Full disclosure of expenses by MPs and disclosure of whom they employ and salary range.

Try an get the right wing press on board.

Much of this drop in the polls is to do with the Mail and Telegraph. They keep running negative articles on the Conservatives on any possible occasion.

Dacre, we know prefers Brown, just look at the editorial he ran following the treaty referendum vote.

The Telegraph has completely lost the plot and seems to think it can force us away from policies that appeal to enough voters to win a GE.

As to where the Sun is, we can but hope they live up to their promise to hold Brown to account over Europe.

All the above are interesting ways of making your house look better on the photo in the estate agents window. One large reason we lost 3 elections in a row was not, just, that we lost confidence in Conservatism but we lost confidence in ourselves and reduced our politics to just going through the motions with one liner marketing campaigns. The other parties saw this and realised they could get fundementals over to voters. I.e. the question brought to voters minds was the foundations of the house irrespective of the pretty front door (i.e. "oportunism". I suspect one reason for the popularity of Osbourne's inheritance tax was that that was what one expected from Tories and, hence, was believable). Foundations and fundementals have been mentioned quite a lot above.

The foundations in people minds are what they believe happened during the 18 years. It is no good saying it was 11 years ago or Cameron has decontaminated the brand, regularly Labour AND the Lib/Dems make references to what happened in the 18 years to, at least, make themselves look better. It is so bad that Cable, this week, felt all he had to say is that Cameron is hiding from the history of the 18 years, simply implying it was so bad.

Voters think that Tory governments cut the public services and, therefore it is to be expected that a new Tory government would also cut them. All these tax cutting bloggers are merely helping Brown to keep the image going. In fact there were huge increases in public funding.

At the same time taxes were cut. I.e. you can cut taxes AND increse public services. This was the final summary point of John Redwood's recent report for crying out loud. No one has picked this up. and we winge at Osbourne for missing open goals (I'm not sure what he was supposed to do to score)

One could go on but it is clear that Brown thinks he can get away with people not believing the disasterous mess Margaret Thatcher took over and sorted in 1979 and people believing that the country's finances were in a mess in 1997 and Brown sorted them out. And there's so much more. . .

Daily, weekly, Labour get off hooks by, basically, lying about the 18 years and Cable seems to think any old casual reference is enough to get a cheer.

The 18 years were among the most important and successful peace time years of almost any democratic government in history. Huge improvements just about everywhere were made so addressing and reconsidering mistakes (e.g. rail privatisation) would be seen as mature and responsible. Only a Conservative government could have achieved the spectacular turn round from laughing stock to the envy of the world.

But because we don't have the confidence to defend it, it has turned into myths divorced from reality which continuously hold us back from the even greater successes we should have. I know that party members and bloggers really want to talk about policies but we have to face up to what voters believe to get a message over.


Please stop these personal attacks.

I may be considered Old Conservative but I believe I am a real Conservative.

Deborah, I am not the one advocating state interferance re alcopos or the effective nationalisation of the post offices.

I would be interested to see your vision for a Conservative government. I suspect that will reveal you to be a troll.

I campaign for the Tory ideal with determination. I may be more Norman Tebbit thanIan Gilmour but am proud to admit it.

Economic reassurance would be my top priority. I suspect a lot of voters who are frightened but as yet not badly unaffected by the chill economic winds that threaten them may well prefer the devil they know ie Darling/Brown.
George Osborne faces several problems in my opinion some of which are quite formidable. He's young,he has a tendency to be a bit shrill and he's overtly political. All three traits are not necessarily what the public are looking for in a Chancellor. If he's going to stay in this job then he should relinquish his party responsibilities and concentrate 100% on the main job. He should adopt a sober persona at all times and be far more open with the electorate about his ideas for government.He should also be selling the idea that the level of government borrowing is unsustainable and that getting it down comes before tax cuts. Sooner or later he's going to have to identify areas where expenditure needs to be cut and also identify areas of waste.In my opinion these should be spelled out far in advance of a general election so that we have time to sell an election manifesto that people will believe. If George is as skilful as I think he is he will avoid the mistakes of 2001 and 2005 and make economic competence an issue where the Conservative Party could and should have a big lead at election time.

NuLabour's bought 6,000,000+ votes by stealing from the future (pension theft, PFI wheezes, letting inflation go). The BBC is complicit in peddling their spin that all's for the best and shutting down debates (usually by shouting 'racism')

Tories need to -

1) Find a compelling message for the 600,000+ in non-jobs, who vote NuLabour to save their jobs in the bloated public-sector.
2) Find a way to get their message directly to the voters, instead of being spun-against by the BBC and the controlled media.
3) Find to way to get laissez-faire English people to understand that if things carry on, England will soon be a bankrupt wreck with fuel and food shortages.
4) Set out policies for those people who WORK for a living that their noticeably tax burden will reduce under the Tories.
5) Introduce health, school etc. vouchers that allow cash 'top ups' and give a real choice

The one thing that underpins anything that the party does is communication. Whatever the party decides it must communicate this loud and clear.

Tory 'ideals'? Isn't that a contradiction in terms?

Conservatism should be about pragmatic, rational responses to the state of things as they are, ungoverned by dogma and sanctimony. Conservatives believe in the real world - the ideal does not exist.

Ideals are what Socialists or Neo-Cons have.

One man's ideal is another man's nightmare.

Cameron definitely does have to focus on one or two issues consistantly from now on; crime has to be one. What I think we are all looking for is Cameron and his team making clear decisions supported by passionate argument.

This would inevitably rally support from all spectrums because, often, people vote with their gut for the man/woman/party that has the courage of their convictions - even when those convictions aren't shared 100% by that particular voter. Respect and comfort is drawn from those who make it clear where they stand (remember Thatcher).

Cameron needs to be less a mummy and more a daddy. This country is ready for some tough love.

For goodness sake - wake up - policies are almost entirely set now by the EU. That's the monster that has to be fought. Stop trying to kid the people.

It is concerning how the Tories have flattened out in the opinion polls and not reached the levels of a 15%/20% lead that they must surely achieve.

David Cameron has done a fantastic job but he should not now be over exposed. People now regard the Tories more favourably, however scoring points off Brown is wearing a little thin, they must have confidence that Tories can present a true alternative to the current shambles. They don't have that confidence yet!

The most important step is to come up with policies that people will relate to, policies that Labour will not be able to follow:

1/Tackle the cynicism that the public feel deeply for politicians and commit to reducing the number of MP's substantially.

2/ The urgent task is taxation, the people who are low earners are really struggling and their treatment in the tax system is disgraceful.
Anyone earning £15000 per annum or less should not be paying income tax.
It may be we need a Flat tax system to deal with this.

3/The Benefits system must be dismantled in conjunction with the introduction of a Flat tax, a 5 year action plan to eliminate the benefits system should be put alongside the introduction of a Flat tax.

4/Radical action to improve the education and NHS systems is urgently needed by including the private sector in a way that the lower and middle earners feel their positon is secure in the future. The only way to achieve this I believe is to decentralise so that people feel they have a direct input and influence in Health and Education.

It is vital that the Tories present these radical changes otherwise Labour will be returned to power, the electorate must have a reason to elect a Tory Government.
It is not enough to hope Labour will lose the election, on this occasion the Tories will have to win it.

Sorry to post a reply based on a negative, but I think the idea of a pledge card is a waste of time.

Given the low esteem in which most of the electorate hold politicians in general, and given the recent farce over the treatistution referendum plus the admission by Brown that, effectively, manifesto promises are meaningless, I don't think it would be given any credibility by the public.

The trust with the electorate needs to be rebuilt before something like this will work.

Mike H

The days of winning an election by waiting for the government of the day to lose it are over.

Thanks to the internet people are more politically aware and you are going to have to win them over.

Frankly if you are too timid and not prepared to lead you don't deserve the electorates votes.

The Conservatives need to get a narrative.

They need to get angry.

They need someone people can have confidence in as a Chancellor, who can take the attack to Labour on the economy, can hold Labour to account, and someone who won't miss an open goal when offered it, in other words someone who isn't George Osborne.

They need to wake up ,get sharp, get the rebuttals in, get the attacks in, KEEP REMINDING PEOPLE OF ALL LABOURS FAILURES, BANG ON ABOUT IT INCESSANTLY, as Labour do about past Conservative Governments, even now.

EG When the Conservatives talk about health they must remind people of the tyranny of change that Labour have put the NHS though, that has made it dysfunctional and wasted billions. The 100 local health Authorities New Labour scrapped for 480 Primary Care Groups, which they scraped for 303 Primary Care Trusts, which they scrapped for 152 Primary Care Trusts. The 8 Regional Offices thet scrapped for 28 Strategic Health Authorities, which they cut back to 10 Strategic Health Authorities, and the GP Fund Holding they scrapped for non market driven Primary Care Groups, which they changed for partially market driven, which became market driven Practice based Commissioning, which is now becomming Polyclinics.

The Conservatives need to initiate a debate about population sustainability. DO NOT TALK ABOUT IMMIGRATION. Talking about population sustainability is to talk about immigration, but you do it with out all the baggage the immigration debate comes with. But the debate on population sustainability links in all the other issues of environmental sustainability, global warming, carbon foot print, ( all the issues the Guardianistas are talking about, but not realising they are talking about population sustainability which here in the UK is immigration) and it also links in the issue of housing, public services etc. Look EVEN the BBC has begun to broach the subject, for I have heard several discussions on PM , and with everybody seeing grain, oil, metals and all other commodities on the rise, this is a discussion whose time has come. Question is can the Cameroons see it, or are they all looking back to their ambition to be heir to Blair?

Iain 21.36

I really don't think the electorate are looking for the Tories to be constantly banging on about Labour failures without offering some simple solutions that answer the concerns people have about being overtaxed and the shambles in education and Health

I'd have a great big banner saying "State Funding: You can get it if you really want" with Jimmy Cliff playing in the background.

Seriously, I'd say nothing.

Let Labour explode, then you guys will get to party on election night, then the country will continue its descent the day after and Guido will wonder why he went out on a limb to be a Cameroon convert instead of embracing the Libertarian Party...

Chad Noble

Libertarian Party??? I don't recognise that one in our current political landscape??

Don't know much about it myself. I think the DevilsKitchen set it up Richard.

Computer died on me as I was preparing my reply, so here it is with adjustments for brevity:

1. Make use of the wealth of talent that is currently available in the form of the Conservative 'Old Guard' - figures like Norman Tebbit and the FIVE former Chancellors - Howe, Lawson, Major, Lamont, Clarke.

2. Restoration of discipline in schools, academic selection (and preferably vouchers), a more libertarian drugs policy, Euroscepticism, a much tougher attitude on crime, lower taxes, reforms of the welfare state, a substantial reduction in the size of the civil service, nationalism, no meddling in people's personal lives based on outdated religious viewpoints etc.

3. We need a strong leader with a clear vision of what s/he wants to accomplish, precise knowledge of ways in which those aims can be achieved, and the iron will and determination necessary to realise those ambitions. David Cameron is not that leader, and, unless he drastically changes, never will be.

I am not a paid up Conservative, I'm just an English woman giving you my view.

Over the last 11 years we have had a Pandora's box of evil unleashed on us - people are unhappy and in despair. When we talk to each other we shake our heads and ask what is to be done, who will lead us out of this mess? I campaigned with IWAR and saw the despair and anger on the door step - but also got many delighted emails when the results were announced. As one lady said 'what I want it my country back'. So maybe it's time to let HOPE out of the box - the last of the evils. That is what a 'real' leader brings - and I just don't see it in the Conservatives at the moment. I wish with all my heart I did.

Honesty. And more honesty. And then some more honesty. Keep pointing out that a Tory majority won't deliver a flat rate tax, expulsion from the EU, the death penalty etc etc. Use the "F" word on Today to describe the Daily Hate, sorry, Mail, and make it clear that a Tory majority will not be returned to follow the nasty (and electorally toxic) platform of this or that newspaper editor. Whatever micro politics are felt to be required for a manifesto should be unremittingly localist in nature. But above all keep amplifying and verbalising the essential decency of Tories and subtly contrast this with the venal nature of the government.

Oh. And a law to forbid con home's "poll of polls'", in all its statistical horror!

Develop a clear theme reinforced by concentrating on just a few issues. Having pledge cards with 10 policies on etc is the wrong thinking entirely. Having a relentless focus on a few key things is much better as the message can then get through coherently.

To be fair the party has sketched some basic issues out which are very sound, namely - 1) Giving people more opportunity and power over their lives; 2) Making families stronger and society more responsible; 3) Making Britain safer and greener. This is good as a starter.

I think what we need to do is find ways to clearly and simply illustrate these values so that they come alive and emerge as a theme. Since we lost power some people have consistently not been sure what we positively stand for but have had all sorts of negative views on what we don't stand for.

We will have won when ordinary people on being asked, can 1)immediately identify what we stand for, 2)do so in a way that aligns with their hopes. Illustrating our theme needs distinctive but practical ideas.

I think people are ready for us to look not just at the "what" (eg policies) but also the "how". People sense the system is broken and we should be linking strong ideas with new ways of ordering govt eg by localism.

Cameron is clearly a vote winner but we do need to build a picture of a strong team around him as well. Again focus on 2 or 3 key people and get across that we are ready to govern on the main issues such as crime, economy, health.


The leadership of the party needs to believe in something - and looks as though they mean it!

There is nothing left to have policy ideas on - The EU now rules the roost. Domestic politics is now very boring because it's so limited. Parliament will just about become irrelevant over the next few years.

Stop all immigration into this country - especially from EU countries. If we need to pull out of the EU to do this then so be it. We can then get our country back and then we'll have somethimng to make policies on.

The Tories have a very long way to go before they get my vote back again

I think the world has moved on and the electorate expect a little more.

Posted by: NigelC | March 11, 2008 at 18:18

Margaret is correct. It is the electorate that has moved on; the world of the British politician is set in a BBC mind lock; the electorate expects little to change, hence large numbers see little point in voting, but they should - for someone else. It is time the Tories woke up - see the latest article by Melanie Phillips in the Mail, it says it all.

Clarify what is meant by 'we won't let matters rest there' re the Lisbon Treaty

I hear a lot of talk here about appealing to our core vote - and however much people don't like to hear it, we are not going to win an election based on the EU, immigration or fox hunting as many have suggested.

That strategy may have been the best in 2001 and 2005 for keeping our core vote stable, but it is not an election-winning one.

Establish a narrative - a positive one - based around the broken society theme we have talked about - but couch it in positive terms - we can talk about a whole range of issues that are brought about as a result of the broken society - these include the NHS, education, family, even the economy. It allows us to tackle key important issues whilst viewing them through the prism of contemporary Conservative thought.

Give discretion back to the police

Give personal responsibility back to the people.

Addiction cannot be used in mitigation.

No early release.

Make all PCSOs Constables and then scrap the position of PCSO.

Raise drinking age to 21 outside of pubs and clubs.

£500 fine for anyone caught supplying alcohol to kids (outside of the home).

Allow police to use greater force when yobs are resisting arrest.

Call young locked up criminals, "young prisoners", not bloody trainees.

Stop the benefits of those refusing to work. They will find it when they are skint.

Re-introduce the word "Shame" back into society - many have forgotten the meaning of the word. (This is the No1 reason for the state our country is in).

Banish Jeremy Kyle

Realise that Mary Whitehouse was right about TV.

Move watershed to 10pm

Any program that requires bleeps will not be shown before 10pm.

Subsidise buses to make them cheaper than using your own car.

Scrap charges for hospital parking.

English votes on English matters.

Plan how to undo the damage caused by the fifth-columnists in England, not least by the 'entryists' from Common Purpose within the Tory Party.

Reorganise the Conservative Party so that it is genuinely democratic and owned by its members (eg by making the chairmanship an elected position). Stomp on any further suggestions of open primaries, an idea calculated to demoralise the membership and produce un-Conservative MPs. Reverse any "reforms" which discriminate on any grounds other than pure merit. Set out clear principles based on freedom and liberty against which any future policies will be judged.

Then launch a recruiting programme, on the basis that only the Conservatives truly represent ordinary people.
Especially target safe Labour seats in Scotland and the inner cities.

Quite simply, I believe that Cameron has got as far as he can go with politics-as-usual. He knows that ordinary people are disillusioned. If he wants their respect or support, he has to earn it, and that means hard decisions which many in the party hierarchy (let alone the BBC) won't like. I've seen no indication that he even understands the need for them, but it has to be done.

"Honesty. And more honesty. And then some more honesty."
Absolutely Graeme, say what you mean and do what you say.

As a parent of preschool children, I worry incessantly about what choices we will have for their education. My sister moved to a smaller home to get her choice of school for her son. The government is now trying to stop caring parents from making such sacrifices for their children.

I think education is crying out to be a major priority. The real solution would be vouchers, but failing the political balls to tackle that one, more choice for all must be the basis of what we offer. The policies announced about parents being able to open new schools are a big step in the right direction.

Lets keep banging on about how they are happy to take our money, but we have no choice in education, and the available schools are in some cases terrible.

Its an easy idea to get across. You don't get what you pay for.

You can have it in any colour you like as long as its black.....

"I really don't think the electorate are looking for the Tories to be constantly banging on about Labour failures "

May be not, but the Conservatives need to close off Labours policy retreat by highlighting their policy shambles, at least make their retreat as painful as possible, but as I pointed out with the tyranny of change Labour have foisted on the NHS, much of the chaos in our public services is the result of Labour chopping and changing and really not having a clue what they want to do. So in highlighting Labours policy shambles and saying they wouldn't do the same thing could be seen as a Conservative policy in its own right.

On a purely tactical matter, the Party still needs to improve it's rapid rebuttal work. There has been some good examples of this lately, but today's budget will be a test. A Labour lie should not be allowed to survive a "news cycle" of a couple of hours.

Also tactically, the Party needs to not adopt an unpleasant, strident, hectoring tone in discussing the failures of Labour. The tone shouldn't be "they are wicked and you were morons for voting for them", it should be "they promised so much, but unfortunately delivered so little".

When it comes to strategy, I agree the Party needs to have a broad range of issues that it talks about, but daily "bread and butter" issues should be highlighted: the economy, education, crime and healthcare. All are areas where people who voted Labour in the past have reason to feel let down.

We should explain that we approach politics from a very different philosophical base - believing power to come from the people, not the state. We believe in devolving power to schools, hospitals and police forces - not setting endless targets that pander to left-wing views from Whitehall....

We should promise a referendum on whether to stay in the EU or not, and thus wipe up all the UKIP supporters.


Saying what we mean and meaning what we say, whilst noble, will not benefit us when the electorate have no intention of believing anything any politician says.

We need more than that. We need to inspire hope. We need a big idea. We need to give power back to the people, rebuilding trust in this country's institutions from the ground up.

Now the Lisbon Treaty has passed the Commons, the Tories need to turn back to the little spoken about issues, like social deprivation and poverty, schools and hospitals, public service reform.

Cameron needs to tell his Shadow Ministers that they need to pull their fingers out and actually hold their counterparts to account. Too many Ministers are having an easy ride. If the Tories were being an effective opposition, they would be making Ministers fearful of coming to the Despatch Box because they will be torn limb from limb for the media to see.

They need a theme as well. There are too many terms going around and without a unifying theme, its juts a disparate bunch of threads bundled together rather than a coherent whole.

Thanks everyone! I'll now start compiling the questionnaire.

Martin, remember 24hrs to save the NHS?
Or even more shocking was watching this government under one Tony Blair destroying the last gold plated pledge between this country and its government in the event that it goes to war. Voters know that politicians lie about the small things (spin), but they always expected them to be honest when it mattered.

Everyone talks about a theme, concentrating on something like the NHS or Tax cuts to take two examples. What I want from a Conservative government is honesty and competence. Tell people things are going to be tough and there is no spare cash left, or any viable credit available. Tell the public that they need good sound management of the financial purse which will protect public services for the future.
Tell the public that its not nice shiny new headline grabbing initiatives that are needed immediately, instead a Conservative government needs to get to grips with the grinding day to day running of departments which are demoralised and rudderless and in no shape to tackle tomorrows problems, never mind what is round the corner next week.
That is why we are having a constant drip drip of shocking incompetence from the loss of the personal data of 25m on a couple of unencrypted discs to the last foot and mouth outbreak caused by a government Laboratory.

Tax Credits are in no shape to cope with the loss of the 10p band, we can't run a criminal justice system properly because we don't have the prison places etc etc. If we can overturn the Labour majority at the next GE then I suggest that all new Cabinet ministers be given a free prescription of headache and indigestion pills for a couple of years, they are going to need them.

Anyone earning £15000 per annum or less should not be paying income tax.
It may be we need a Flat tax system to deal with this.

Sorry if I'm being obtuse, but why would a flat tax help *low* earners?

The root of the problem is constitutional . Great Britain is broken . This is implicit in the endless reference to a place called Britain . It died in 1998 with the passage of the Scotland Act but no England Act .

The Conservatives must make a clear commitment to an English national parliament for England and a corresponding reduction in the power and size of the British parliament .
England is ruled by an alien force, ie the British state which makes it extremely plain it does not care for us . English Votes On English matters in the British parliament doesn't even begin to address the situation of lack of self rule for England .

If the United Kingdom is to remain in any way united it can only be as a federal state with country parliaments . The English parliament , in which all MPs should have to swear an oath of allegience to England by the way , should have a similar list of competencies to that of the Scottish parliament and a comparable concentration of attention and loyalty .

Tory Jim

A Flat Tax simplifies what at present is an extremely complex tax by doing away with allowances and benefits

The greatest issue in the North is Immigration most people here want a freeze on anymore immigrants for 2 years establish how many are in the country and begin to deal with the problem realistically.Increase the tax threshold for the poorly paid to get people off benefits and back to work.Encourage mothers to stay at home for 2 years by the tax system.Stop all benefits going abroad to families.MPS should vote in parliament to represent the views of their constituency and a free vote should be the norm

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