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Pickles is a star - exactly the kind of person that the electorate can relate to. I have been saying for months we need to look more representative - more northerners, Scots, etc....
At time we look like a bunch of nice, well heeled management consultants - get some characters back in like Pickles and Davis...

No. Put Osborne in that role. Eric is good where he is.

I agree Malcolm but Cameron won't move Osborne.

Leadership is about taking tough decisions for the greater good...

"The newspapers are full of those Bullingdon photographs again. You would have thought that Labour had learnt the lesson in Crewe and Nantwich. They tried class war then and it backfired spectacularly."

It backfired in C&N because the strategy was particularly ill-suited as an attack against local boy Edward Timpson. I don't think we can be as sanguine about the wider attack that Labour are determined to make.

Your first paragraph doesn't make sense. It's the media choosing to use the Buller boys imagery not Labour party leafleteers. Surely you could have found a less desperate hook on which to hang a(nother) 'Go Pickles' campaign?

Isn't Greg Clark the son of a milkman?

Cameron cannot move Osbourbne at present even if he wants to because

  1. He had a reshuffle not long ago. If he moves Osbourne now it makes his reshuffle look botched.
  2. Labour would LOVE for Osbourne to be moved because they would say it is proof of his guilt. It would reignite the whole affair.
  3. Mandelson is under the spotlight and the tories must leave him there. Cameron must do NOTHING that might distract the media from Mandelson.
If Mandelson falls on his sword as a result of any revelations then Osbourne can be safely moved, otherwise Cameron need to wait until next year to allow a decent cooling off from the Deripanski affair.

The safest way to move Osbourne is an entire front bench reshuffle after the May elections.

The newspapers may not need any helping pushing the Bullingdon stuff NudeEel but you can be sure Labour are involved. I cite Alistair Campbell on Andrew Marr's programme yesterday by way of evidence.

I make no apology for consistently championing Eric Pickles. He's a great man.

'I cite Alistair Campbell on Andrew Marr's programme yesterday by way of evidence.'

Fair comment re Campbell on Marr, but just because some (or even most) class war attacks aren't likely to be effective doesn't mean none will and we need to mitigate the potency of such attacks.

"The safest way to move Osbourne is an entire front bench reshuffle after the May elections."

If they last that long and IF they are not May General Elections.

Anyway, get your facts right, the locals will be in June next year because of the European Elections being fought at the same time.

Eric Pickles is a Tory Prescott, but even fatter. He will provide lots of laffs at the Tories expense, especially when Cameron attacks the feckless obsese. Bring him on ...

I agree that Pickles is a Tory John Prescott, which is why he should be party chairman and not in charge of a departmental brief.

Without mentioning particular personalities I do feel strongly we need a bit of Northern grit.

I know this is on some nebulous theme about Eric Picklesanmd CCHQ but since the blog is ignoring the main story of the day of Brown walking all over the Tories in hob-nailed boots where else could I post it?

Brown today leads all the stories and no senior Tory has made any rebuttal of his disastrous policy ! What's the matter with the party and the blog. No wonder Brown has made such a recovery in the polls - he's had the field to himself while CCHQ and the shadow front bench sit quivering under the onslaught with apparently not a word to say.

All we've had today is Philip Hammond, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury at 1102 on BBC news of which two sentences were reported anywhere. Osborne makes a self-centre statement about himself instead of laying into Brown-Darling. Cameron is silent. What's the matter with them ? Have we private bloggers and "pundits" got to do all the work?

Once again, Conhome is acting as the voice of the grassroots party. Us activists around the country want someone in charge at CCHQ who is one of us, who knows what it feels like to campaign in difficukt areas, and who would go down well with the man on the street. If the last weeks episode shows anything, it is suely that we need more normal, ordinary, and dare I say it, working class people at the top table.

We need to blunt this latest line of attack, and they don't come much blunter than Pickles. Pickles is real, he knows what it is like to do a hard days work, and he will go down a treat with the voters on the doorstep.

Wrong Christina. 80% of George Osborne's World at One interview was about the general economic situation and Labour's role in creating it.

Tim - Thanks - about time too. But no report of what he said and this crucial interview at 3.10 pm. Priorities desperately adrift . Not on Politics Home either, though what Straw said is there at 1441 and Darling there at 1451 . Do we have any PR people or spinners at all ?

BBCOnline is now leading with the self-centred Osborne statement all about HIM. As does Sky News. None of the major broadsheets covers any response at all with the FT reporting Brown;s call for national unity and Darling announcing he is to scrap Brown's Golden Rule.

But from the once great Conservative Party NOTHING at all!

I think Eric Pickles for Party Chairman, as well as being 'out there' as the ubiquitous face of modern toryism, would be a very GOOD idea - if his health can stand up to it!

George Osborne aside, I rather side with Christina - for once! I was appalled to read in the paper this morning that Brown (the answer to all our problems!! - not), has decided to press ahead with his personal conviction, that you can't have too much debt, because if you spend ENOUGH eventually the debt goes away...........

What a good example he is to all those voters who have overstretched themselves over the last eleven years, encouraged by this !!!government, presumably he won't mind if THEY continue to do the same as he is???

I'm worried about this Osborne incident, and the way the Shadow Team have been cut up on the airwaves trying to help him out defending him.

I was never really a fan, but prepared to accept that he is a brain and a strategist, although rather lacking in gravitas, and it's Cameron's right to keep him.
To his credit, he tangibly helped avert a disaster with his strong performance at the 2007 conference, which swung the polls and forced the PM to cancel the election.

But we are asking for the country's support at a time when we're entering a recession, and have to be totally focused.

Can you imagine Geoffrey Howe or Margaret Thatcher behaving like this in 1978 or 1979?

We've had a number of expenses cases aswell...Let's stop the silly mistakes.

Our Party Chairman is completely invisible, and has been for months. I have not heard a single public comment from her on the financial crash. Quite incredible.

Maybe Step 6 should be 'get a Party Chairman'?

Top-hatted toffs in Crewe & Nantwich missed the target because the target was obviously not a top-hatted toff.

The danger with the Bullingdon Club stuff is that it is a true representation of what Osborne and Cameron were once. It is worth keeping that in mind as a corrective to ensure that nothing that they say or do gives any support for a contention that they still are those people.

Caroline Spelman & George Osborne should both get the boot as these smart alec managerial consultant types who convey the impression that they don't know how ordinary folks tend to be annoying . It is demeaning to have a Shadow Chancellor with no ability to judge a situation and an invisible Party Chairman.

We need more grit - Hague for Shadow Chancellor to biff Darling , Davis for Shadow Foreign Secretary & Eric Pickles for Party Chairman with say Cheryl Gillan promoted to Local Government as she should be up against Hazel Blears.

I am not convinced that we need Scottish , Welsh and Northern Ireland Shadow Secretaries after devolution. The Shadow Cabinet needs to streamlined to improve policy making and to have more effective people in it to end the Brown Bounce. Eric Pickles can deliver more seats in the North & Midlands while David Davis would expose Mr Milliband for the trite Blair clone that he is.

Pickles for Party Chairman !

Sod the Bullingdon Club - to the average man in the street it is just a stupid photo and they cannot understand what the fuss is about.

As for the other issues

  1. The Economy - They need to get to grips with revealing Brown as an incompetent who is making a bad position worse, but they better practice dealing with the obvious follow-up question of "What would you do differently?"
  2. Donations & Loans - Why not call for the Electoral Commission to be the recipient of all cash, to vet the donor and then to pass it to the relevant party once they are sure it is kosher? That way
    • Their records will be up to date
    • The money will be 'clean' (and if not then the party cannot be to blame)
    • The 'Osbourne Incident' could not recur
    • Labour would almost certainly oppose it making themselves look like dinosaurs
  3. Eric Pickles - He faces the same problem as moving Osbourne. It should have been done a couple of weeks ago in the reshuffle, but moving Spelmann and replacing her with Pickles and sharpening up the team would be a good idea.
The funding point would go a long way towards improving the party's image and making the other parties uncomfortable. It would also take the heat out of accusations of dirty tricks since the party would not be directly repsonsible for vetting the donation.

Did anyone else read the story about Osborne's habit of sending sarcastic texts to his junior colleagues [Osborne is aged 37] saying 'dont bother waiting for a phonecall when we win the election'. He then turns his phone off, apparently !

No, I didn't.
But I'm seriously unhappy about Osborne.
It makes me less enthusiastic about getting out to face the electorate with confidence, and tackling the economic questions, which I'd like to do.

Sorry to have to say this, but we need a new Shadow Chancellor.

Any more of this kind of crap, and we won't be in government George,
we'll be in a hung Parliament and somewhere below 40%.
Now get lost.

"In recommending Eric Pickles for CCHQ we don't mean to disrespect Caroline Spelman. Behind-the-scenes she has done a good job for the party but a different frontbench portfolio might be better suited to her talents."

Humm.... What is wrong with this picture? In my opinion, everything it is both unfair and disrespectful. From putting Eric Pickles in CCHQ "because he is a Northerner" to saying Caroline Spelman should make way for him"behind - the -scenes she has done a good job ...." Why can't we just be who we really are. A party that was once more or less exclusive to one class, or one segment of the society, but as time moved on it moved and progressed with the times.

Plus so what some of the frontbench are of a certain class, and belonged to some drinking club in their teens. Its part of growing up.
Naturally change starts at the bottom and moves up, sometimes slower than want. It might take a while for us to see it, but as long as we know it is their and it is happening, we should nurture and support it. In doing that we will encounter a hurdle or two along the way, but we should keep our eye on the prize and stay focused.

Appointing Caroline Spelman was part of that change, removing her from CCHQ for any reason other than her inability to do the job she was trusted to do take us back, and destroy all the progress we made so far.

Labour is hurting, and hurting bad. No economic bale out or tax rebates gimmick will change where they are, more than a point maybe two. So to distract us of our goals they will use any and every means to try and damage our modern, progressive and very inclusive party. What we need to do is not take the bate and give them any ammo to use against us. We must stay the course, and keep widening the gap between us by quietly and calmly carry on with or change program.

Vincent Wall @ 12.44 - 'Isn't Greg Clark the son of a milkman?'

So?? Vincent Wall!

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