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Interesting that there is a such a close correlation of views. One would expect members to be slightly better informed and with more definite views than voters but really on most occasions the differences were insignificant.
On Mrs Thatcher? Remember in many ways she was a revolutionary , not what the Conservative party was used to at all. Not everyone liked her at the time or later but a positive review of 74% is a testament to that remarkable woman. Most politicians would killl for those numbers.

If she'd had anything like that support at the time,she wouldn't have been kicked out.

History is usually kinder than current commentators to right-wing politicians, and George Bush will be another case in point

Those figures should give the leadership some cause to rethink their strategy of waging war on their party members who they mostly hold in contempt, for the party membership would appear to represent the views of the Country more than the 'enlightened' Cameroonians. And going back to a discussion a few days ago this would this confirm my view that when the Blue Labour party agenda is the prominent theme of the party they dump in the polls, and only recover when what the membership would consider true Conservative values are pursued.

I wouldn't jump to too many conclusions - especially Iain's comment at 19:34.

I think you'll find that the correlation here comes from 'Conservative minded people who regularly log onto ConservativeHome and like to offer their opinions in an online survey'. That group as a whole probably have more in common with each other than being a member or not of the Party. I'm not remotely surprised that the opinions of the members and the voters on this site are pretty similar.

To suggest that that has any bearing, as Iain has done, on "...the views of the country..." vs "...the 'enlightened Cameroonians" is clearly twaddle.

I take my evidence on how the 'views of the country' coincide with what David Cameron and the Party are doing and saying from election results and opinion polls - and on the evidence of the past 12 months I am pretty chuffed that DC is doing something right!

No doubt that makes me a 'Camerloon' or something in Iain's mind, but in fact I am an activist with sore feet from delivering leaflets all weekend!

I want us to get elected. Iain's apparently doesn't.

"Theories explaining the last result are very welcome!"

Its quite simple, she won three GE's on the back of ordinary voters. I would also not be surprised if there were more than a few older voters who enjoyed a more comfortable retirement after the Thatcher years, while the whole lot of us can now look forward to a very poor old age after this Labour government are gone.

That will be one of their most damaging legacies.

I remember my dad, a career soldier who never voted Labour or Tory, saying that the armed forces were always poorly equipped by all governments, but the Tories always took better care of them overall than any Labour government did. Quite simple, they valued them and their contribution more.

On the first day of Blair's government back in 97' he told me and my siblings that he felt sorry for us because this government would ruin our pensions and we would not enjoy a comfortable retirement like he did.

"I wouldn't jump to too many conclusions - especially Iain's comment at 19:34."

Totally agree. Iain has just tried to turn the last 3 years upside down to try argue the opposite of what has happened.

Perhaps voters think of what Thatcher did for the country, but members also consider the trauma the party went through afterwards.

Anyway, voters who contribute to conservative home polls are probably not a random sample of voters.

Possibly because she was a Leader (capital L) who followed her gut instincts and principles and refused to be blown of course by the latest passing fad or focus Group.

She didn't always get it right, sometimes badly wrong, (Single European Act and joining the ERM for example) possibly in hindsight she went on for a few years too long (which, silver lining, probably saved us from a Hessletine premiership) but she always nailed her colours to the mast and led from the front.

Even if people don't like the message being sold and possibly wouldn't vote for the individual in question under any circumstances anyway, most people deeply respect that characteristic in a Leader.

It's the very essence of having a 'strong moral compass' in fact.

"I want us to get elected. Iain's apparently doesn't."

Who is 'us', the Blue Labour party, the 'progessive' Conservative party or the Red Tory party?

Iain, can I ask you a question?

The Conservative Party is the oldest, longest running, and most successful politcal Party in history.

It has survived and thrived through through being pragmatic and through evolving and changing to meet the needs of the times.

Can I ask you for how much of the history of the Conservative Party that your personal, apparently quite blinkered vision of it would have been recognised by Conservatives?

How would you have deescribed the Party of Disraeli, Salisbury, Churchill, Heath - none of these would have been recognisable to you apparently?

I was a Thatcherite, and I believe that Margerat Thatcher saved this country.

The difference is, that I recognise that Thatcherism is not the same as Conservatism.

Any Party that tries to freeze itself as it was for one decade and then to remain that way, unchanged, forever...dies.

"Iain, can I ask you a question?"

What is pragmatism, is it a word to hide an act of cowardice where there is no value that will be defended ?

I first joined the Conservative party because I was opposed to us joining the ERM, I thought it was going to be a disaster, the enlightened members of the party leadership thought differently, clearly I wasn't being 'pragmatic', 'new' , 'modern', I was stuck in the old ways of thinking where it was thought important to have sovereign control over your economy. But hey what did I know?

And when I resigned as a party member in 2007, when Dave was telling us economics wasn’t important and the next election would be fought on social issues. In believing this was wrong I clearly wasn’t being ‘modern’, ‘pragmatic’ , ‘new’ and didn’t know what I was talking about compared to the enlightened party leadership.

No I am bloody fed up with being told I am wrong by a bunch of politicians whose actions are determined by their finger stuck in the air to find whatever eddy they can to dictate their actions, only later to be shown they were disastrously wrong. You know there used to be a party that had regard for old values that had stood us in good stead, it used to be known as the Conservative party.


You and I are talking slightly at cross purposes I think.

Disagreeing over some policy issues is not the same as one person being 'modern' and the other 'old fashioned'. I hate the idea that 'modern' is always somehow a good thing, and I too was fundamentally opposed to the ERM.

But there will always be disagreement on political issues, even within Parties.

My issue is with the idea that there is some sort of ideologically 'pure' Conservative position, and that the current Party is some sort of 'BlueLabour'. I think that is clearly rubbish.

The current Conservative Party leadership believe in lower taxes (that is firmly on record) - but not punk tax cuts. They believe in a smaller State (but not in trying to rush to get there with sudden and large cuts - the ship of state is a supertanker that needs to be nudged around slowly). They are the most Eurosceptic of the mainstream parties. They are opposed to central govenment targets on housing, in the NHS etc.

In my book, all of that is firmly in keeping with the Conservative tradition, and I believe a Conservative government is essential for our country as soon as possible.

You complain about the Party campaigning on social issues. I happen to think that IDS' work on socal breakdown to be an incredibly astute piece of work that is fundamentally Conservative in its approach. It is saying that social issues are not the preserve of the Left - no one can seek to govern a country and stick their head in the sand about the horrendous social breakdown evident in large parts of our country.

And DC has taken that work and turned it into a coherent philosophy that supports the desire for a smaller State - namely that the horrendous cost of social breakdown (which Government department has the largest budget, and spends the most taxpayers money?) HAS TO BE ADDRESSED if we ever hope to reduce the size of the tax take.

This is 'the politics of AND' - namely you can talk about the economy and maintaining a strong Armed forces and freeing the police from red tap etc...AND you can address people's concerns over the environment etc.

If you restrict yourself to talking about the core issues that dominated the political debate in the 1980s, you will only every attract your core voters. Then you will remain in opposition, and you can have whatever policies you like on the economy, on energy, on the fairies - it won't matter. Nothing you say will make the slightest difference to the way the country is run!

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