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To suggest that any web site whose name contains the word "conservative" can reasonably be understood as an official party organ is absurd. Reminiscent of McDonalds' attempts to trademark the 'Mc'. This site often does express the views of the grassroots, revealed through regular polling, but it also has editorial comments and personal perspectives. The distinction between the two has always been made clear and no honest reader of the 42 days post could have failed to make it - Gordon Brown was not being honest.

It's absurd for this site's editorial to be taken to represent the views of the members

Absurd maybe, but that is the nature of politics. A desperate Labour govt. and PM will reach out for anything they might find helpful in PR/spin. Why is sensible to help them in that quest?

I mean come on when a major player in the media in the UK is the heavily biased BBC you know this sort of thing will be used to bash Cameron.

Its not a question of "growing up" Gadfly its a question of being realistic and clever about the realities if political discourse in the UK in the modern age.

One further thing I'd say to the people who are getting angry with Tim: All the things you like about this website which make it so great didn't happen by accident. They happened because of the skill and dedication of the people running it, and it's a bit much to turn on them after this.

Tim may have to accept the new political reality that his words could be quoted back at embarrasing moments, but I'm sure he will learn from that and bear it in mind in the future. It would be a shame if the blogosphere is to be cowed because of researchers now scrabbling around looking for quotes they can throw at opponents as if they are some kind of authority.

No doubt there is plenty of fodder over at LabourHome and LibDemVoice to embarrass their leaders but I'm not sure how much it helps political discourse.

So why has Donal Blaney fallen out with CH? I thought he was part of the whole CH/Doughty Street/Conservative Movement thing?

The reason this government needs to incarcenate people for 48 days WITHOUT charge is that they have to release within 2 days of being charged if they don't have enough evidence to try them.
Would it not be better to keep the existing time limit for detention without Charge and incease the time limit after being charged?
At least that way the detained person has a chance to defend him/herself.

Hmmm, this is all getting rather nasty particularly towards Tim, who, though I often disagree with him (and very much in this case), is a decent man.

It raises a broader question which I've been mulling over for some time, namely whether ConHome should have a corporate opinion of its own or be merely a platform for Tory activists to discuss things.

Perhaps Conservative Home's stance should be determined by votes of its members as in the House of Commons.

It is the stance of the Commons that the higher rate of income tax should be 40%, in the sense that it's what the majority voted for.

Perhaps some system in which people can register with ConHome (it should somehow be strictly limited to those who are members of the Conservative Party itself in my view) and vote on key issues can help determine what the appropriate stance should be.

Nobody could criticise a pro-42 days editorial if it were commensurate with the data gathered from voting members, even if they were a slightly self-selecting bunch.

PW

Everyone calmed down yet?


"But ... CH used to be branded as the "voice of the grassroots" so it feels disingenuous to claim that it didn't occur to you that your unpopular, anti-freedom editorialising today would be picked up by Brown and used against David Cameron at PMQs."
I agree with Graeme Archers comments whole heartedly.

I missed PMQ's today and have just logged in to see this Conservative home train wreck. Am I surprised, nope, I saw the rather misleading take on this editorial on Boulton and Co's blog and suspected that Labour would have no compunction in doing the same.
They say timing is everything, and to chose the morning just before PMQ's and the vote in the HoC this evening was deliberate and timed for maximum impact. Of that I have no doubt.
I disagreed regularly with the editorials and other posters on this site over a number of issues, but I also would be quick to defend the fact that its this very open and honest debate about different opinions that has made ConHom so successful.
But they cannot have it all ways, their polling questions are chosen by them and when answered are touted as very reflective of the grass roots.
Its been until recently the whole platform on which this site stands, the voice of the grass roots rather than the Conservative Party or its Parliamentary party.

So while I accept that Tim and Sam are more than entitled to their own views on this issue, you have built Conhom as the voice of the grass roots and that is how today's editorial has been perceived. And that is why it has caused so much anger to see Gordon Brown use it against David Cameron in this way.
At the end of the day, the only reason we are debating on 42 days detention is so Brown and his government can look tough against our party, its the most cynical way to play politics with peoples safety and fears.

Was it only a few ago that the idea of publishing the voting record of our MP's on the Embryology was mooted on here just before that voting occurred?
I thought that was very cynical timing as well.

If detention without charge is "conservative" then why, with the notable exception of Tim Montgomerie, is there virtually no support for it on conservative blogs? And why, by contrast, are the grassroots on Labour blogs cheering Gordon on and accusing David Cameron of being weak in the face of Islamic extremism?

There seems to be rather a lot of support for it here. Until there is a poll, it's going to be pretty hard to tell. My point was that ConHome not supposed to represent Conservative views but those of a broad church of conservative viewpoints, including the authoritarian social conservatives. It has an editorial line.

I am not a cheerleader for the Labour party. I don't agree with 42 days whether it's spouted here or anywhere else.

Are you saying that the majority of Conservative Party members are against 42 days?

Thanks for posting the video. Cameron was magnificent.

I disagree with Tim and Sam's editorial line (not for the first time in last few weeks!) but I think the criticisms of them here are extremely harsh.

What I definitely wouldn't want to happen is for Tim and Sam to keep quiet on issues that are important to them just because they might be unpopular with some of the readership.

That said, I do think it would have been better as a CentreRight opinion piece. There's a difference between the views of the Editor of ConservativeHome and the editorial view of ConservativeHome. It would have got about as much attention but probably much less mischief could have been made from it. Isn't using CH as an editorial platform a bit like leveraging the endorsement of many contributors in order to promote a personal political agenda? That's perfectly consistent with the site's intent stated in its manifesto; but I wonder if there isn't a better way forward.

Personally, I prefer to see CH primarily as a forum for constructive debate rather than a pressure group tacitly backing the opinions of two people. That seems like a very backward-looking, mainstream media approach to me and I hope CH can continue to blaze a different trail.

"That said, I do think it would have been better as a CentreRight opinion piece. There's a difference between the views of the Editor of ConservativeHome and the editorial view of ConservativeHome."

Abe, an excellent point!

I agree with those who say that Tim has a perfect right to make a fool of himself if he wants. "PM exploits Tory making a fool of himself" is hardly news is it? There is always a tiny suspicion that Tim enjoys the fuss. To make amends perhaps he should email whoever is winding up for us tonight with the numbers on the thread who agreed with him versus the number who didn't.

The particular foolery was to write such an editorial on the very day of a knife-edge vote on which the Government might be defeated. If Tim had written from heartfelt principle, then it would have been understandable. But its very "balance" and "pragmatism" points to the fact that the pragmatic thing to have done today would have been to shut up.

But, of course, the thing that offends most of us is that Tim is so wrong on this, not that he agrees with the Government.

If the modern political divide is between authoritarians and lovers of liberty, Tim will need to decide at some point which side he is on. If the complaint against Brown and his cronies is not that they are control freaks, but that they are incompetent control freaks, then we might win on their incompetence but it's not very glorious is it?

Londoner: I'm far from enjoying today. I can promise you that. I hated Brown saying what he did at PMQs. I do stand by this morning's editorial but will reflect on the wisdom of its timing. Give me a day or two and I'll post again - more thoughtfully - on other lessons that might be learnt.

I cannot belive you Abe , "Cameron was magnificent" you must be joking , he made a ridiculous arguement and looked very foolish.

Brown won the debate hands down.

Sam Coates on the Red Box sums up this misjudgement by ConHom which has achieved two things.

"42 days.... It's almost over...

Keeping the excitement alive a little longer, Labour at the highest levels are calling reports that they will win Tory spin and are insisting that the DUP's support is not in the bag. Meetings going on now.

Change of mind. After Brown's solid performance in the Commons, and talking to a few more people around Westminster, it's clear both the government and the Tories expect Brown to shave it. Hoon still needs the DUP, which isn't in the bag, but Labour Central don't look like they are staring down the barrel of the gun."

And they say its only in the timing!
"So unsurprisingly we're picking up signs of Tory discomfort. In a fascinating move, ConservativeHome, who represent the active grassroots, have come out against the Tory position, arguing "a mature political party, interested in public safety, shouldn't lightly dismiss the arguments [in favour] of such a senior anti-terrorist specialist and a senior police chief".

ConservativeHome are calling the Tories immature. Ouch."

Yes Ouch indeed!

Editor,
I note that you have deleted personal abuse from Donal, which is your absolute right of course, and shouldn't be criticised.

I wonder why, though, you chose to leave up Dale's accusation at 3.49pm of an "unashamedly racist attitude"?

It does seem a bit unfair.

Come on people. I've disagreed with Tim and Sam before, but the overreaction of some people in this thread is absolutely appalling. Those of you who are becoming hysterical would do well to trot along to LabourHome and watch the Labour grassroots attacking the Government's proposals; would you have encouraged Cameron to cite them as an example? This site, and those like it, are a forum for debate amongst the grassroots, and to act as if we should just parrot the party line for fear of being used by Brown is absurd.

I for one completely disagree with the Editors on the issue of 42-day detention; yet, even I can see that Tim and Sam are perfectly justified in what they did.

Unfortunately for Tim and Sam the way in which this site has developed means it can no longer be viewed as a personal website. Indeed, it is not anyway - ConservativeHome is not a personal blog and is owned by a third party.

I think you made the wrong call on this Tim. You have been happy in the past to use the popularity of this site to tour the media (and negotiate meetings with CCHQ!) as a "voice of the grassroots", and that alone gives you a moral responsibility to those grassroots members not to shoot from the hip.

Are you saying that the majority of Conservative Party members are against 42 days?

Yes, Passing Leftie, I am. In this poll by Liberty 70% of Tory voters wanted 28 days, not 42. Labour supporters were almost 70% more likely than Conservatives to support 42 days’ pre-charge detention. 63% of Conservatives think 42 days is just an exercise in looking tough on terror.

Interestingly, Labour and Conservative supporters were equal in their belief that there’s a real risk of innocent people being detained for 42 day. It seems that Labour supporters are more happy to accept that infringement upon an innocent person's liberty. I suppose that's hardly surprising if you consider that Labour would also rather see a person die than be allowed to co-fund treatment that the NHS can’t afford.

There, there. Now the children have all had their tantrum, perhaps it is way past their bed time. Simple answer to those upset with Tim, don't visit the blog.....what's that? It's the only place where you can find out what is going on with Conservative politics and have a say? The leadership reads it and often takes note? It's the place the media go to for their inside information? Quite so. And guess what it's run by Tim Montgomerie not Conservative Central Office. I guess that means Tim can state his opinion when he likes, which is infrequently just like so many of you political junkies do every day at his invitation. So if you don't like what he says......there's always Central Offices 'fascinating' website and guess what, it never disagrees with the Party.

Editor Tim

Re yours at 16.39, your evident decency in the face of personal attack makes one feel, not for the first time, a little small. I think we should all accept your desire to think over the wisdom of your timing and let you respond in your own time.

And I apologise for suggesting you might be enjoying the fuss. I accept that you are not.

Just as Iain Dale got himself into trouble over his friend Conway, it is a very difficult line for the authors of these blogs to walk between activist involvement and journalistic commentary. I know most of us couldn't start to manage it. The most profound sort of reflection would be to think on how to square that conundrum (or indeed to resolve that circle!).

Sarkis - have overwritten said comment

Thanks Londoner. I almost destroyed the television when I realised what Brown was starting to say!

Some of the reaction really has been OTT, but suffice it to say we've been humbled by this unfortunate incident and will certainly reflect on ways to avoid it happening again. At least we've now got a personal grudge against Brown which can only galvanise the site's ongoing criticism of the government!

There, there. Now the children have all had their tantrum, perhaps it is way past their bed time. Simple answer to those upset with Tim, don't visit the blog.....what's that? It's the only place where you can find out what is going on with Conservative politics and have a say? The leadership reads it and often takes note? It's the place the media go to for their inside information? Quite so. And guess what it's run by Tim Montgomerie not Conservative Central Office. I guess that means Tim can state his opinion when he likes, which is infrequently just like so many of you political junkies do every day at his invitation. So if you don't like what he says......there's always Central Offices 'fascinating' website and guess what, it never disagrees with the Party.

I think Cameron and Conservative Home are strong enough to laugh off this slight gaffe

It's only a big deal because Conservative Home is now hugely influential and the Conservative Party is becoming more and more successful and electable

Gordon Brown's PMQ performances might improve from now on. It seems like he's been analysing and practicing. Be prepared Mr Cameron!

I'm aghast at this thread. I'd hope nay expect to see some apologetic comments to Tim after a bit of reflection time.

I would really *urge* the Editors not to give in to the suggestion that pieces such as the 42 day one belong on CentreRight rather than ToryDiary. The ConservativeHome editorial line is *not* the same thing as the opinions of ConservativeHome readers - there have been a number of recent issues on which this is so (e.g. whether there should be a post-ratification referendum on Lisbon). And it certainly should not be the same thing as the party line. Tim and Sam have their own influence and importance, and it was entirely predictable and understandable that Gordon Brown would use it for his purposes. But that must surely be what Tim and Sam wanted - they offer their point of view in the hope of influencing the debate. From their side of the argument, what is uncomfortable is that (as they see it) Cameron, the Conservative parliamentary party, most PPCs, most of the readers here, and most of the CentreRight contributors (including me) are so wrong on this question.

Please, Editors. You are *not* just two other contributors on this web-site, neither better nor worse than me and Graeme. You are the Editors, and you are entitled to offer your line of argument and hope that it influences the debate. You should not regret that Gordon Brown quoted you today - you should exult that you are so influential. No-one cares what I think. Everyone cares what you think. Don't give that up.

You whingers don't like it? Go and set up your own bl**dy website.....

I should have said that I actually disagree with Tim's views on 42 days, but defend his right to an opinion.

Tim is perfectly entitled to an opinion, as we all are, but penning an editorial on this website proclaiming support for 42 days as the “representatives” of Tory grassroots opinion was naive and foolish.

Both the media and Gordon Brown have spun this as Tory grassroots support for 42 days – which it patently is not, but I hope that this is a lesson learned. I’m afraid to say the editors of this site have not done the Party proud today.

What those of us who disagree with the content and timing of this morning's editorial should reflect on now - what many have said - is that CH ie Tim and Sam have created a broader and more open and more civilized space for Tory discussion than has ever existed in history. They often seek out and publish views which do not meet with their own. They are champions of democracy. Anyone who knows Tim will know that the accusations that he's somehow in "this" for his own glory are so wide of the mark. He has his politics, and they're genuine, but so is his kindness and commitment to others. Who here could say that Tim has ever censored their views?

Clearly I do not agree with what Tim posted today! Before Tim, I would have been left screaming impotently at a silent newspaper or an unresponsive television. Thanks to Tim, I get to post my views and discuss them with others. Thanks for that, thank you for every day of it.

Right- back to arguing about Lisbon? :-)

I felt sick when I heard the Labour spokesman on PM tell Eddie Mair (who failed to correct her) that the Conservative Party Website supported the 42 day motion.
ConHome ain't the Conservative Party and it never will be.
The Editor should remind the media more often of this fact.

Tim, I accept you have been a fool rather than a knave but don't call your blog ConservativeHome if you are going to use it to provide ammunition to the most manipulative and dishonest Prime Minister in living memory.

I agree with Graeme Archer 19:29.

This is a blog for debating politics, for challenging views, for the making and for the debunking of ideas. "Thanks to Tim, I get to post my views and discuss them with others. Thanks for that, thank you for every day of it". Exactly Graeme.

There are also often disagreements between the invited contributors on CentreRight but that is healthy and interesting, not divisive.

Brown also made a snide reference at PMQ's when Michael Howard spoke about his infamous appearance on Newsnight ... when was it ... how many years ago now? Eh? - just to sidetrack his question.

Politicians will always cherry-pick quotes (however out of context or ancient) to their own advantage. I contribute regularly to US blogs. Whenever Kennedy comes up I always drop in a comment about Mary-Jo K. Whenever Byrd(D) is mentioned I always complain that he is the only serving Senator who has been in the KKK. Decades-old events? Yes. Unfair? Probably. Political knock-around? Ha, it's been like this for hundreds of years.

Tim, don't lose any sleep over this. If some readers don't like this then they can collect the balance of their annual fee at the door.

Yes, Passing Leftie, I am. In this poll by Liberty 70% of Tory voters wanted 28 days, not 42. Labour supporters were almost 70% more likely than Conservatives to support 42 days’ pre-charge detention. 63% of Conservatives think 42 days is just an exercise in looking tough on terror.

A ridiculously worded poll which uses the usual tricks instead of asking a straightforward question. Those who commissioned the survey are Liberty, who have an admirable agenda, but an agenda nonetheless.

When asked the straightforward question, 69% said they were in favour of the change - and that's of everybody.

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