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If you read the Time article about Margaret Thatcher in 1978 you will be struck by the similarity.

And we all know what happened a year later.

"I understand your enthusiasm for the Conservatives and Cameron's leadership and your desire to be seen as loyal. DC has addressed a number of flaws in the party. But it is not disloyal to point out flaws that remain and which affect our core appeal."

Tony Sharp, I am not stating my views in some kind of lickspittle attempt to be "seen as loyal" - I am not a Parliamentary Candidate, neither am I a councillor or an office holder of any kind in the Party. I can therefore speak as I find and what I find is that David Cameron's leadership is going in the right direction and I believe I will be vindicated at the next Election when we form the next Government.

Lindsay. An organisation as large as the NHS will never be perfect and there will always be some not dealt with as well as they should be but for the majority the NHS is a life saver and is as good as it probably could be.
Those who run the health service down are I think those who have been fortunate enough not to use it much in there lives.
The thing people should never forget is the NHS is Britain`s most loved institution and any party that try`s to change its basic principles or to dismantle it will rightly face the full anger of the British people.

Richard Calhoun @ 18.17
You may be right about David Davis, but this is by no means certain. Certainly, he was more abrasive than Cameron and aroused strong feelings, both of loyalty and dislike within the upper echelons of the party. Had he, rather than Cameron become party leader, I suspect that he would have enjoyed enthusiastic, rather than grudging support from the majority of Conservative grass roots supporters, and the rest of the voters would have had a much clearer idea of what a future Conservative Government would stand for. Agreed, this would have been a higher risk strategy which, electorally, could have swung voters either way. I believe that it would have been beneficial to the party, in that it would have reduced the number of "Don't Knows" and last minute swing voters, encouraged existing reluctant supporters to campaign more actively, and possibly resulted in a higher Tory turnout. In the event that a Tory Government was returned upon such a tough but honest manifesto, the public would be less likely to turn against it during its first term of office, during what will probably be the most difficult term faced by any Government since the last World War.

There is, however, an equally valid view within the party that principles come second to politics and that the only thing which matters is winning the election, to which any means are justified, no matter how misleading or insincere the statements or promises. Electorally this might appear, at the moment, to be the safer bet as there is no doubt that Cameron is a more skillful political operator than Davis, but, if elected mainly due to Labour default, his victory may well prove to be a Pyrrhic one, with a public increasingly disillusioned by the professional political class resorting to strikes, mass demonstrations and even civil disobedience.

David Parker:
"There is, however, an equally valid view within the party that principles come second to politics and that the only thing which matters is winning the election, to which any means are justified, no matter how misleading or insincere the statements or promises."
The fact that you can describe principles-as-second-to-politics as being "equally valid", and the likelihood that your view is shared by large numbers of Tories, explains to a large degree my continuing disaffection with Toryism.
Davis as Party leader would make the Tories far more palatable to me, and I dare say to many others, especially if - as you appear to imply - he would speak his mind and utter firm, unequivocal, honest statements on fundamental issues, unlike the bland, pragmatical Cameron.

Malcolm Stevas,
My fault for not making myself clear enough, although I did say that, in my view, the Davis option would be more beneficial to the party.
Unfortunately, a large number of the contributors to ConHome continue to emphasise that unless the Conservatives win the next election all is lost and that this is all that matters. I have also frequently made the point that, unless they win it upon the strength of a strong and unambiguous manifesto, which includes such vital policies as the EU, Defence, Energy and Immigration, this will not be a Conservative party which I and many others would vote for.

Sorry David Parker, must have misread/misinterpreted you. Yes, I've seen all too many of those "win at all costs, hook or by crook" messages here, and they have the same effect on me. I've never voted for the Tories or anyone else because I was in love with the Party (the thought of it...) but on the basis of principle & practice; very many here seem to be groupies, though, and don't have any firm atachment to, say, liberty as an ideal to be pursued...

This article and some of the comments is a complete load of bollocks. We had two defeats as opposition by pushing right wing agendas.

Now we have moved to the centre ground and are 10- 12 points in the lead in the polls and this pillock starts moaning.

Why should people be excited by Cameron? They were excited by Blair and look at HIM !
They are excited by Obama but are likely to be disappointed.

I don't want to be excited by politicians - just a bit of realism will do. Huge numbers of people were not excited by Thatcher - they were just realistic.

This article is just so much junk. And I am a right wing Tory.

"I am not a Parliamentary Candidate, neither am I a councillor or an office holder of any kind in the Party. I can therefore speak as I find and what I find is that David Cameron's leadership is going in the right direction and I believe I will be vindicated at the next Election when we form the next Government."

Sally, I am not saying we will not form the next Government. What I am saying is many people will be voting for us, not because they are enthusiastic or because what we are offering something they crave, but because we are not the other guys.

Are you content for us to form an administration that many people voted for reluctantly? Or would you prefer for us to stand on a platform that addresses the things people are concerned about, thereby earning their votes because they want what we are offering?

I am speaking as I find and I am an elected councillor. It should not make any difference in any case, and the party is the richer for allowing a healthy exchange of views that challenge our position.

I got involved in politics to say what I think and stand on a clear platform that people can accept or reject. I wanted to be elected because people were positive about my vision, not because they merely disliked my opponents more at that moment in time.

Jack - you trust people to make decisions for you?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1158150/Exclusive-Unite-chief-used-399-night-Waldorf-suite-despite-800-000-union-house.html

I dont...

There wasn't a government of whatever hue anywhere in the world who predicted the current economic meltdown.

That is Labour's excuse - however Canada's banks are the strongest on the planet BECAUSE their government took action 18 months ago and they did not go bonkers as did British bankers trying to ape their US counterparts.

The IMF did predict global catastrophe if Britain and the USA did not bring their housing markets under control...but that was 3-4 years ago so would not count as prescience

"I got involved in politics to say what I think"

So did I, Tony and I must admit I slightly resented the tone of some of your previous comments which seemd to imply that I was some kind of unthinking, David Cameron Automaton, ready-programmed to squeak "Vote Conservative" when the right button was pressed and never, ever to say anything controversial! Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that David Cameron's brand of Conservatism is something that I have been waiting for for a very long time - really since our crushing defeat in 1997. And of course I want the next Conservative Government to address people's concerns. It is a difficult balancing act. In order to be able to carry out the wishes of the people we first have to be elected by the people. In order to do that we have to be seen to be united.

I am sorry you took issue with my tone Sally. Reading back I can see why you thought that, but it was not what I was implying.

We clearly want the same thing - a Conservative government. But I disagree there is a balancing act to be achieved. The point I have made repeatedly but you have not addressed, is that people do not want a 'centre ground' Conservative party, doffing its cap and avoiding saying things on major issues.

In order to be start repairing the damage inflicted by Labour on this country, we need a truly conservative legislative agenda. Centre ground meaningless will achieve nothing and by clinging to that 'try not to say anything anyone can object to' mentality we are actually losing out on support we would get to win an election.

It is wrong to ask members of a party to be united around something as fundamental as this when the party is misjudging the public mood and taking the wrong line.

We are clearly going to go around in circles on this because our views are entrenched. So I am going to call it a day on this thread. But in closing I will say I am confident that history and more detailed polls will bear out what I am saying to be correct. The leadership needs to take corrective action now.

"We are clearly going to go around in circles on this because our views are entrenched. So I am going to call it a day on this thread."

Fair enough, Tony! Although we agree on the essential point of achieving Conservative Government I can see we are approaching the same large roundabout from two different intersections. I believe we will end up in the same place and I look forward to reading your thoughts when our respective Sat Navs have told us "You Have Reached Your Destination"!

The IMF did predict global catastrophe 3-4 years ago.... really? Where and when?
Canada's banks have always been heavily regulated. Lucky Canada.

Daniel Finkelstein has written a response to the article on The Times' Comment Central.

Thank you for the link, Dave B. Just read it.

"These people changed, and the Tories didn't. The Tories needed to change if they were to win these people back. The Tories did start to change, and they have won some of those people back. This is a major reason why they will win the next General Election."

Precisely what I'd been saying all along - thank you Daniel Finkelstein!

Sally,

Fashions change and the stories the press pick up change from day to day but, underneath, people don't really change much.

What has changed is that Mr Cameron has gone after the soggy left leaning LibDem schoolteacher and social worker votes. He has calculated that the traditional Tory voters have nowhere else to go so will have to stay with him. You may argue that, on the basis of the 10% plus lead in the polls, thus far his strategy has been proved correct but this neglects two important facts.

Firstly, given that, after 12 years of Brown’s stewardship, our economy is in free fall so one might reasonably have expected the Tory lead to be much higher.

Secondly, and allied to my previous point, DC has lost the traditional Tory Working Class vote. The working classes are the first to suffer from the effects of mass immigration, a soft criminal justice system and a dysfunctional state education service; also they don’t go along with the new Labour/Tory social agenda of “gay” marriages and the feminisation of everything.

The Working Classes have not (yet) defected en mass to the BNP, nor to UKIP (we will have to try harder); sadly they have just largely given up voting. Maggie would never have contemplated ditching such an important group of her supporters, nor would Churchill or Disraeli.

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