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You are correct to emphasise the importance of personnel picks.
In an age when politicians are disrespected voters are more likely to be impressed by the likes of Tim Shipman and Ray Lewis.

"An economy built on debt"

This assessment is absolutely correct but Labour still gets away with the myth that Gordon Brown was the best chancellor since the war and is still the best man to see the country through difficult economic times "due to the global economic situation".

I have suggested ways - under any other business - for debunking that myth and would invite other people to complete the picture of Brown's responsibility in abandoning prudent housekeeping.

I also wonder whether it is wise to assume that we have a leisurely two years before we have to unveil our manifesto. I hope that it is already in draft form.

"A culture that worships irresponsible behaviour"

The print media in particular need to be made aware of their social responsibility by a Conservative government. When we consider that newspapers and magazines gain unrestricted access to millions of homes with children and teenagers it has to be stressed that such access carries with it certain responsiblities and that commonsense must be shown with regard to content. A Conservative government must play its part in changing the culture of the yellow press.

On a less esoteric plane is the need to get away from this monitor/control/regulate regime that seems to have permeated all levels of authority from central government down to local councils, and similar levels in private sector bureaucracies, with little effect on criminality, safety or security but major impact on ordinary soft-target citizens. All stick; no carrot!

Does nobody in politics actually like ordinary folk anymore?

Whilst talking about the Tories 2 year programme running up to the 2010 general election, its worth considering what we can do if Brown and Nulab conspire to cancel or extend the election date past the 5 years.

Over the past 11 years we have seen a systematic destruction of most of our institutions, (House of Lords, Civil Serivce Neutrality, Police neutrality and devolution) and of course a complete sell out to the EU.
Lets look at the facts:
1. Senior police being used to lobby polititians to vote for the 90 day arrest without trial.
2. The campaigns of vilification against civil servants who don,t agree with them, and more seriously leading to the death of Dr. Kelly
3. The house of lords changes, scrapping the Lord Chancellor etc for no discernable advantage.
4. Devolution for Scotland and Wales but no solution to the West Lothain question, nor allowing English people a referendum like Scotland and Wales.
5. Promising a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty then renaging despite it being a manifesto pledge.
6. The intrusion into peoples civil liberties through CCTV and the now common use of the Prevention of Terrorism laws against all people for trivial matters.
7. Our armed forces being overstretched and made weaker.
8. The dodgy dossiers that were used to justify the Iraq war and sending the army with armoured cars up to Heathrow to find terrorists (none found) a few days before the house of commons vote on the war.

I,m sure people will be able to think of many more cases of where this government has acted in a totalitarian manner.

NuLab, as demonstrated from their lurid biographies, sleeze, corruption, lying etc. could not be described as decent, honourable people, not the type of people who will honour the fact that its the law of the land that general elections should be held every 5 years.
In fact they are more like the types who will use any means to cling to power.

So lets say they play the "Mugabe Option",, they find a way to alter the law, or use some dubious emergency to cancel the election in 2010.

Its a chilling thought but the question is,,,


An economy built on debt is core to many of the other troubles. The Bank of England has had the wrong target since independence. It should at least have an eye on the money supply.

Should it not be obvious to everyone that even when consumer prices were increasing at below target levels in the period 2002 to 2005 that we should have been concerned with the build-up of personal debt. Interest rates during that period should probably been several percentage points higher.

I would like to see a future conservative government return to using monetary policy to keep the money supply in check, and stick to fiscal measures for smoothing over the business cycle.

Has there been any significant economic studies into what happens to credit based money systems in the long term? Does it concern anyone that only 4% of money in circulation is non interest bearing.

@John F Aberdeen
That is why we have a Queen and an army swearing loyalty to the Queen and not the PM.

In my view, the party can only succeed if it focuses on areas where it can make a difference.

The party cannot change the public's attitude towards the family. Families breakup for a number of reasons which are beyond the control of any government.

The party asserts that it is losing more powers to the EU. The reality is that if you want to form a political and economic union, powers will have to be lost to Europe. In my view the only choice britain has is she either stays in or stays out. I would prefer she stayed in.

I would like to see a well funded armed forces but the party is yet to explain how it will be able to achieve this.

I agree with the piece, Editor, but why why drag in Nick Boles?

No doubt he is very personnable, everybody says so but what exactly has he done apart from lose Hove. Can someone state what policies he has advised from his grey eminence? Where does he stand - on taxes, vouchers, elected police chiefs, England?

Twinkle, twinkle little star.
But what does he illuminate.

John F Aberdeen what nonsense you talk. We have an incompetant government but we do not have one that you can compare with that of Zimbabwe or is undemocratic.Anyone who thinks that Brown or anyone on the government side would think for one moment that they should postpone the general election is living in fantasy land.
Also CCTV is an excellent thing. It acts as a deterant and I and also many others who live in high crime areas would like to see more CCTV cameras not less.

Lets not start the Holy Crusade talk just yet. A lot can happen in two years, and talking about Thatcherite revolutions is apt to excite the wrong imagery with the electorate. Our current popularity is founded on some very simple but effective messages.

- Sharing the proceeds of growth
- Scraping of a target led public service in favour of local accountability and less central control
- Strengthening the family
- A serious commitment to reducing crime

If we radicalise the message, this would re-rail the progress we have made to date. The huge leads we have in the polls just now are not an opportunity for the right to wage political war in Britain.

Following on from David Belchamber and Dan Litman I too would like to see a Conservative government that puts price stability ahead of all other economic considerations. Norman Lamont was once unfairly criticized for saying that there was a price worth paying for keeping inflation under control. Mr Lamont was right, any ideas about running a sound economy will end if the economic base of price stability isn't there. I know that if the MPC is left to act without political interference it will put price stability ahead of populist calls to reflate the economy in times of sluggish growth, and rightly so. A Conservative government therefore must make sure the MPC is allowed to make the tough decisions and support it when it does so.

Gege | May 25, 16:24
".. [political]...powers will have to be lost to Europe.."
"..would like to see well funded armed forces"

If you believe in the former, what would the latter actually be doing? I suspect just standing around watching others getting on with the necessary tasks, while the President etc prevaricates!

Max Hastings is giving out mixed messages to us, it wasn't that long ago he was lecturing us for not understanding that the British electorate were essentially "Social Democrats" - a ridiculous assertion, Britain is politically a long long way from the politics of France, Germany or Scandinavia.

I really hope we can avoid going down the horribly dirigiste the-only-valid-family-form-is-married-mum&dad-and-2.4-kids route. If anything I feel we should be "family-neutral" and stop trying to inflict last-millennium models on the country. We should be proud to say to the electorate that "the man in Whitehall cannot possibly know what is best *FOR YOU*", then trust people to get on with their lives.

Less formalism. Less structure. More freedom for the individual.

On the back of 'more freedom for the individual' comes lower taxes - having people keep more of their own money to spend the way they choose. Which means education-vouchers [with the right to top-up the value of the voucher if you want to send your kids to a fee-paying school] and personal NHS health-budgets linked to the actual amount you pay in NI contributions [again top-up-able if you want to upgrade to private healthcare]. These are the sorts of ideas that will really galvanise middle-income earners.

Most of the talk has been of policies. One thing demonstrated by Cameron is that there is more to politics than policies. A big point from Crewe is that the Conservatives are not Labour and, unlike the Lib/Dems, a viable political alternative. As well as policies there is a need look at the political scenery, which, let's face it, is all most voters take on board.

There are still too many myths about, far too many to list but some people still thing Gordon was a great Chancellor who cleared up the Tory mess, some people think that Labour MPs who cheered Gordon's abolition of the 10% tax band (remember shooting Tory foxes?), and said nothing for 12 months until the complaints came in, want to help the poor.

Some people believe the Tories and Margaret Thatcher cut the NHS and there is still the idea about that closing the coal mines was a deliberate vindictive political act. The latter point tells you all you want to know about Labour, its MPs and how they view the government of Britain.

The list is almost endless but addressing it should reap dividends without producing policies Brown will try to pinch. Also, of course, we must stop the right wing headbangers letting success go to their heads like they did in the 90s resulting in voters turning to Blair.

I agree with Oberon Houston's comments.
I also don't think that we do have 2 years to develop a bold programme before the next GE, I think that we are going to be in power sooner than that, and therefore we need to be ready within months rather than years.

Please do not sit on your backsides assuming the election will not be for another 2 years, most likely it will be Autumn 2009 which is less than 18 months.
All PPCs need to be out working now.

Presumably the new Chief of Staff at City Hall will be free to taek paid outside jobs, like the Mayor, including those, like the Mayor, that pay more than their GLA roles.

What an absolute disgrace.

If you want a program as bold as 1979 then I would like to see what may be regarded as politically unthinkable - not so much what can we put into government, but what can we take out of it.

All the above is true but I think it misses out some key points:

1. The increasing levels of crime, particularly in London, have a lot to do with society having abdicated the responsibility for policing itself. A simple example - if people intervene in something that is clearly wrong like the unfortunate teenager who got stabbed this week - then they run the risk of serious physical assault or being locked up. This is something simple that we can put right by re-empowering not only the "real" police, but also society itself.

2. The ridiculously overcomplicated legislation and red tape introduced mostly by Labour. This is an easy one. The cost of maintaining this ineffective legislation is practically an economy in itself. Why can't we just prune out the dead wood and revivify the economy?

3. Brown in particular has made a lot of noise about tax credits and the like. The truth is that all the adjustments he has made to the tax and benefits system cost more to operate than actually get delivered to the end user. Again, why not cut a swathe through these and reduce bureaucracy and its associated costs very quickly. HMRC and other government bodies are way behind on their paperwork so why not just draw a line under it all?

Can we be this bold?

I'm not sure you're right, Dick Wishart - I would have thought that things will continue to get worse for Labour even if (maybe especially if) they change leader and they will be forced to hang on until the last possible moment, knowing what the outcome will be!

A return to One Nation Conservatism is what's needed not the ideological claptrap that dogged the 80's and 90's New Right agenda.

Following the post by Oberon Houston, I just wanted to clarify that I don't subscribe to the "price stability" that is currently followed by central banks worldwide. I think some attempt to include asset prices in the target is essential.

I think it was Mervin King that put forward the idea of increasing bank capitalisation requirements during the good times so there is scope to relax them in the bad times.

Max Hastings is giving out mixed messages to us, it wasn't that long ago he was lecturing us for not understanding that the British electorate were essentially "Social Democrats" - a ridiculous assertion, Britain is politically a long long way from the politics of France, Germany or Scandinavia.

Posted by: Oberon Houston | May 25, 2008 at 17:31

I agree with the description of Hastings by Oberon Houston. Indeed I remember writing to the Telegraph suggesting that, because Hastings felt he was "disenfranchised" because of the policies of IDS, who was then leader of the Conservatives, that Hastings because of his views would be more at home with the LIb/Dims. I suggested it was time he retired and spent more time with his collection of toy soldiers.

Well it is nice to see that Hastings despite being knighted by Labour has now recovered from apparent dementia and he has now has come round to espousing a more Conservative position.

However, I note that the comments under his piece in the Mail castigate him for not mentioning the elephant dung in the room - he doesn't find it worth his while, despite his long list of woes affecting Britain to mention our real government based in Brussels. Hastings imho is still a Lib/Dim at heart.

Absolutely right. Hastings is not a Tory he is a snake in the grass. It's not for nothing that they gave him a column in the Guardian - his thirty pieces of silver for twenty years of treachery to our party.

On defence, it is not underfunding, but how that funding is spent that is the problem.

Defeating Gorgon Brown in 2010 will seem like a walk in the park, compared with the monumental task of reversing 13 years of decline under Labour. David Cameron is right to be focusing on policy implementation strategy, and this must not be left aside in the run up to the next general election.

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