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John Redwood may have been involved but the recommendations of his policy group (and the Forsyth Tax Commission) were ignored. Osborne's office has briefed repreatedly against Redwood and Forsyth.

The only grandees who Cameron listens to are Heseltine, Hurd, Patten and Gummer. IDS is the token tame right-winger. Nuff said!

The reason I am prepared to vote Tory is that within the overall 'squad' there are the right talents to make a better job of government than Labour.

However, it is unfortunate that Cameron has not yet picked his strongest team from this squad though.

Is there a single person here willing to argue (with reasons), based on the requirements of the role alone, ignoring past favours or current friendship, that Osborne is the strongest choice from all Tory MPs to be Chancellor?

One of the best recieved Conservative policies is our radical approach to education. We need to be equally radical elsewhere.

I'm afraid I think the "big beasts" were quite tame, even lame, in their conclusions, or, they were pushing their own agendas. Those that did call for radical stuff were quietly set aside.

I worked on Heseltine's review and whilst there were some really good ideas coming forward on how to empower communities and councils, the whole thing was subsumed into Heseltine's visions for re-organising local government and those ideas rather got side-lined. No clear policy position has yet emerged in the field were addressed.

We can and should be more radical. The time is past for, "safety first", me-too-ist policy.

As out education proposals show, we are at our best when we are at our boldest!

(Sorry, couldn't resist stealing one of Tony's best lines)

Your sure about that Libertarian? It sounds to me as if you've allowed your prejudice to overcome the facts again. I see no indication at all of Hurd or Patten seeking to exercise any influence at all over Cameron nor indeed that there have been any hostile briefings about Redwood at all.
Didn't expect you ever to vote Conservative again Chad, why have you changed your mind?

It is clear that the only reason to be a Cameroonian MP or PPC is to pick up a pay cheque.

Who cares? Brussels makes most of the laws and the country's debts and obligations are unpayable, so why not enjoy?

Is there a single person here willing to argue (with reasons), based on the requirements of the role alone, ignoring past favours or current friendship, that Osborne is the strongest choice from all Tory MPs to be Chancellor?

There would probably be others that would deal with economics better, but the position at the moment is shadow chancellor so involves a lot more politics which Osbourne is usually good at (unless mandleson is involved).
Also Osbourne is shadow chancellor and to change him now would lose a lot of face to the conservatives who have built the Cameron/Osbourne team up - Labour know this which is why they are so keen to keep up the noise about wanting rid of him. They'd never manage to drop Cameron but given the right encouragement from labour then Conservatives have been known to shoot themselves in the foot.

Our Party cannot be solely represented in public by the Camerons, Osbornes, Goves and Vaizeys.

I seriously question whether Michael Gove is even a Conservative. He should lead a National Consensus Party.

We must now accept that the consensual, non political approach of our front bench has had its day. It no longer works. We are up against Campbell, Mandelson and Brown. We cannot beat them with Spelman, Letwin and May. We just cannot.

As a start, Cameron should appoint some backbench, nasty attack dogs. Norman Tebbit performed the role brilliantly for Mrs Thatcher in the late Seventies. We have nothing remotely similar, and need it badly.

I am SICK of seeing emollient toffs representing us in the media.

"Didn't expect you ever to vote Conservative again"

Well it's Labour or the Tories Malcolm, and even if Cameron doesn't pick his strongest team initially, at least the right people are only a reshuffle away.

So UKIP for the Euros (as Cameron absolutely cannot be trusted on this major issue) and the Tories for the GE.

However, I do fear that by not fielding his strongest team pre-election, Cameron may get the keys to Number 10, but could end up with such a slim majority that he struggles to achieve anything.

It is Letwin's job to coordinate the policy.... Er enough said?

The lack of any real fight or weight in the Shadow Cabinet is a serious problem for the Party and will become increasingly so as the election draws nearer. The lack of experience of Cameron and his immediate team is fast becoming more and more obvious - their reaction, or rather lack of reaction, during the recent economic problems has strongly emphasised this. Osborne is clearly totally out of his depth and has shown he has no political judgement or ability other than that of a schoolboy debater.He simply has given the impression that he doesn't understand the problems at all. The rest show no clear inclination to fight, harass and pester the Government on all occasions and non-stop - every night and every day! Cameron has allowed Brown and, to a lesser degree,Darling to re-establish their credibility after both were on the floor waiting for the final kick to kill them off politically. Redwood must be brought back immediately as shadow Chancellor, Osborne sent back to school to play with the other juniors whilst he grows up and more heavy weights brought in to take once more the fight to the Government. No one ever won an election by being kind to the enemy nor by sitting on the side waiting for them to fall over. Where is the vital ruthless streak? The party should now be fighting the Government on every issue, on every occasion and on every front. This is the only way to regain the initiative.

"I am SICK of seeing emollient toffs representing us in the media."

Why do you want the party to go back to being "the Nasty Party"? The public made it very clear they weren't too keen on that in 1997....

Whatever qualities Mr. Osborne has, recent events have shown that he lacks the one essential quality for a government minister - judgment. Anyone who thinks otherwise hasn`t been reading the nespapers.

@West London Tory

Its a case of *balance*.

Thatcher won in '79 with Whitelaw and Tebbitt....with Gilmour and Ridley.

You cannot run a party or even a government for that matter based on finding jobs for your mates. We need people like Davis, Clarke, Redwood back in the front line. Some of the current crop have talent but absolutley no profile. Cameron is very vunerable to the attack that he has a very inexperienced and lightweight shadow cabinet team. This was ok for Nu Lab in 1997 as the economy was in good shape (they also had some quite sizeable political beasts) this will be a problem in economic turmoil. Has Cameron got the guts to do something about it? Another test for our next Prime Minister, one he has to pass!

Somebody needs to step up to the Financial Plate and start batting. It really has become a case of "It's the economy stupid" and Brown is getting a free run.

It is not good enough.

Cameron is so desperate to maintain his lead in the centre ground that the Conservatives risk being seen as a watered down version of NuLab. If he wins the next GE it will be because of Brown's unpopularity, rather than enthusiasm for the Conservatives, and there is quite a strong possibility of an unworkable majority or even a hung Parliament.

There has never been a better time for bold initiatives for a dramatic change in British politics. The voting public are heartily sick of politicians in general and with the way in which Parliament is no longer fulfilling its proper functions.

In the absence of fundamental differences between the three main parties there is a real danger of the polarisation of a large number of voters between more extreme left or right wing parties.Many grass roots Conservatives no longer recognise the Cameron clique as the conservative party they have supported so loyally and for so long. Cameron therefore not only needs to strengthen the right wing of the shadow cabinet, but also to actually listen to them.

post Old New
Shadow Chancellor Osborne Hague
Foreign Affairs Hague Davis
Shadow Chief Sec Hammond Heathcoat-Amory
Transport Villiers Paterson
Shadow Commons Ldr May Rifkind
Cabinet Office Maude Rifkind
Scotland Mundell Ancram
Wales Gillan Ancram
Ulster Paterson Ancram
Local Govt Pickles Gillan
Party Chairman Spelman Pickles
Rural Affairs Ainsworth Paice
Overseas Aid Mitchell Kirkbride
Health Lansley Watkinson
Policy Review Letwin Redwood
Business Affairs Duncan Forsyth
Deputy Chairman N/A Duncan
( For fighting the
Lib Dems)

I think that reshuffle would add a great deal of talent to a streamlined shadow cabinet while getting rid of the mediocre non-entities. I would fire David Willetts and would give Michael Gove the University & Skills brief on top of the role of Shadow Schools Secretary as a well merited promotion. We need a smaller shadow cabinet that can take decisions effectively with the best people in it - rather than too many posts for too many over-promoted no hopers. If we want better cabinet government under Cameron & co then let us have better shadow cabinet opposition to avoid a neo-Blairite clique messing up a Tory government like their predecessors mucked up their Labour one. Michael Ancram has the experience & know how to be a great Shadow Secretary for Devolution & Sir Malcolm Rfifkind could be better at Commons business/Cabinet Office than the two hopeless flops like Mrs May & Mr Maude.

The Cameron circle needs to be enlarged so that we have a leadership of all the talents - David Davis would be a great Foreign Secretary . A no nonsense bruiser who would fight for the UK in Brussels as he did as Minister for Europe is just the ticket . David Heathcoat-Amory as a former Treasury Minister who has once been shadow chief secretary has the mettle to sell smaller government as the solution to Gordon Brown's mess . Alan Duncan can beat the Lib Dems and Lord Forsyth would be a great shadow for Mandelson . Need I say more ?

This IN club mentality is extremely damaging and WILL be used against the party. Frankly if it is exposed properly it could turn out to an issue that could kill public support.

We know that the current trend in the media is to support and turn a blind eye, but
That could change quite quickly, most especially should Brown’s gamble with the economy pay off. Like all derivative trades the injection of funds depends on a belief in massive (and unrealistic) priming, paying off. Keynes was always part feared and part admired but it was acknowledged by all to be inflationary, I would propose a return to real sterling as a way of hardening our currency. Take the current pound as one new shilling and account accordingly.

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