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Usually I have nothing but contempt for the tories but IDS is the one respectable person on the team.

Nice guys don't always finish last! I'm proud of you Iain and the work that you do.

Key to IDS' success was his decision to institutionalize what he was wanting to acieve with his Center for Social Justice. Davis should follow his lead and set up a civil liberties campaigning body.

"It is one of the strongest features of Britain's Conservative revival that the biggest beasts are in the Tory jungle. Putting aside for a moment the frontbench..."

The last line is very telling. Yes there has been a Conservative revival in this country and for that I am glad, I am however very sorry that not one single member of the current Conservative Frontbench has played a role in this.

Imagine for one moment if David Davis was back as Shadow Home Secretary, if IDS were Shadow Justice Secretary or Communities and Local Government. Imaine Ken Clarke as Shadow Chancellor and John Redwood as Shadow Business. Lord Trimble as Shadow Foreign Secretary; the list could go on.

With these people at the dispatch box week in week out we would have the Government constantly on the run. This would also allow the more junior posts to be filled with the current front bench, the rising stars of the future.

I simply cannot understand the "deserved" when attached to John Major. Almost single handed he drove us into the wilderness for 11 or so years.

It would be too upsetting to list the errors of judgement!

Errrr, do we have to have Chris Patten on that list? He's hardly a political heavyweight in the modern era.

I think it's good these people aren't on the front bench.
It gives them space to do what they want/need to do in their area without worrying about any slight mis-calculation of judgement being headline news for a week and daily calls from people in their own party for them to quit whilst planning on how to win an election and countering the evil plans and tactics coming from labour.

IDS is the nice guy and so needs those on the front bench to shield him.

Richard at 08.55:

"Yes there has been a Conservative revival in this country and for that I am glad, I am however very sorry that not one single member of the current Conservative Frontbench has played a role in this".

There is much truth in this statement; whatever people say, we do need a few heavyweights in the shadow cabinet who have had hands-on experience of governing.

I first met IDS nearly 20 years ago, while canvassing in Fulham for the 1990 council elections. What struck me was his demeanour - always very civil and polite but at the same time game for a laugh.

He was never judgemental in his dealings with those who were less fortunate and even when people were very rude to him, he accepted their bollocking with grace and a smile.

Obviously IDS was in the wrong job as party leader - but he is the next John Profumo minus the scandal.

Norm Brainer @09.15 makes a very perceptive point here. One of the tragedies of modern life is that too many of those responsible for management at the highest level have insufficient time to think. Crisis management, particularly in government, has an inbuilt danger of diverting attention, quite often driving an administration off the course of its core policies and beliefs. I believe it is essential for there to be in the background, detached from the immediate pressures of current problems, a posse of intelligent people who can give their attention to policy development and similar issues. An important proviso is that they should have the experience and ability to put things into the context of their own historical perspective, so that we don`t need to keep on `re-inventing the wheel`. The thought that those listed above are available to give advice, while out of the front line of decision making, must be a great advantage for any Party Leader. The fact that they represent the broad swathe of opinion that is found in the Conservative coalition of views, rather than the narrow and constrained policy movement such as is found in the Labour Party, is another great advantage. The only caveat is that in presenting their opinions, it will be important that they do not feel shackled by any feelings of affront if their offerings are received with a `thanks, but no thanks.` The present team must retain the ability for judgement and final decisions on what will be used in constructing the Party`s stance.

Its High time that John Major got some credit. As a disabled person's caregiver, I thank John every day for the vast improvements in benefits that he gave us and our disabled charges.


I do not agree with your assessment of the Major years. Never in the history of the Tory party has such a good man been hampered by so many shites. It is often forgotten that John Major got on his soapbox and almost single handed won the general election.

Posted by: The Bioshop Swine | November 18, 2008 at 09:42

The Party is an excellent mix of experience and freshness. It is also far more united than Labour. Talk of a "right wing of the Party" as in the Times, is meddling and Mandlesonian led. Debate is not dissent, comment not criticism. I'm a right winger and proud of it being coupled with concern for everyone. I am a Christian and do not see one jot of contradiction in wanting the best but accepting the lesser. Human nature not engineered by socialst dogma?

Agree with the IDS support.But yet again His problem was when he was the leader the grey haired passed there sell by dates in the party refused the support a leader needs.When as in normal world will the Party stand up against the older known names and tell them if you don't support the TEAM game go away and let the Party fight this government that has the country in the worst state since WW2.
As a party we tore ourselves apart and the country has suffered all New Labour has given us.The country needs a unitedTory Team now today.

I agree that IDS triumph was in instituting the CSJ and have thought that David Davis might well think about a similar move re. civil liberties. The country needs something like that to turn the dreadful tide that has eroded the sense of civil responsibility and cast it all on to a government - which even if it weren't so inefficient shouldn't hold those responsibilities.

Also: can live without Ken Clarke, even Lord Trimble, on front benches. But I wouldn't half like to see John Redwood cutting down the dark force of Mandelson to size. He'd have him for lunch in the current climate and Brown for dessert.

M dowding;

I agree with you for the most part:

"The Party is an excellent mix of experience and freshness. It is also far more united than Labour."

It is now, of course the picture was somewhat less rosy during the Major years.

" I'm a right winger and proud" and "Talk of a "right wing of the Party" as in the Times, is meddling" This really is confusing.

I suspect what you are saying is lets not make the mistake of suggesting that the Right wing is not married to the rest of the party which of course it is.

"I am a Christian and do not see one jot of contradiction in wanting the best but accepting the lesser."

Of course, but there are times and issues that throw up moral problems that we cannot shy away from challenging.

Human nature not engineered by socialist dogma?

Absolutely, I believe the family is the best organization we have for the care of the disabled (as an example). We can make a lot of ground by supporting the family and by encoraging a culture of "doing the right thing"

Some truth in needing to see at least a couple of grey beards and a bit of northern grit but the party has made huge strides, in fact you could easily argue we are victims of our own success as people expect more the more they see.

We don't need an organisation for civil liberties, we have Shami's Liberty.

It is one of the parties strengths that there are a range of heavy weights in its back bench ranks -- a nubmer of past leaders (even if the leadership wasn't right for them at the time) have come good.

For a decade brown has acted as cukoo destroying all labout ability that wasn't protected by blair - leaving him having to call back blairs people because the party is bereft of any other tallent(word used advisedly).

Camerons management of the resources at his disposal is key - even his handling of david davies does him credit. I look foward to a return to well led cabinet government and respect for the views presented by back benchers (unless it is pro-EU!). It isn't just society that is broken, I think the jury is out on parliament itself (mainlyu down to blair/brown, but also caused in no small part by the EU). The tories have the people to repair it.

I would disagree with Letters from a Tory... I think Chris Patten is one of the great contemporary politicians; widely respected and experienced, it says a lot about him that he is as influential as he is despite his relatively low (recent) public profile.

>>We don't need an organisation for civil liberties, we have Shami's Liberty.<<

That depends on your opinion of "Liberty". I suspect a new organisation under David Davis would be far more significant and effective.

The Bishop Swine

I appreciate that from your position you may see the Major years differently.

From my standpoint Kinnock lost the election rather than JM winning it and with the benefit of hindsight we probably would have been better off losing. The shits you refer to presumably were the Maastricht rebels who I see as true British patriots.

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