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Abolute rubbish, letting down the country from Blue Labour on several issues recently, not just those listed above, but also on MP expense abuses etc.

If Brown is doing so much harm to the country, then the Opposition has an obligation to bring him down, using all means possible, as soon as possible.

Time and time again, on the big issues (in terms of the public not the Westminster bubble), the Cameroons have shown that they are as much as part of the problem as New Labour.

Personally I think (for the reasons I mentioned yesterday on the thread about it) that the part-privatisation of Royal Mail is the wrong thing to do, so we should certainly be opposing it

What is the point if the end game is the same?

I fully agree with you on the non-disclosure of the cabinet minutes for the reasons stated but do believe that we should promise a full and fully independent inquiry into the circumstances leading up to the Iraq war and which should also encompass the death of Dr David Kelly.
I also agree that the Opposition should oppose more. As you will know, I have been pressing for correct statistics for a range of things to be brought out into the open, given Brown's (now retired) mantra: "We now have lower inflation, lower interest rates and lower unemployment". We might - as a result of the "global downturn" have the first two but CCHQ (and Frank Field) has confirmed that the latter is now above 5 million.
The other important one is government debt; only a week ago, Brown was claiming it to be only 40% of GDP, his basis for the claim that the UK is better placed than most to get out of recession. Of course it is now nudging 50% on his reckoning by ignoring numerous off-balance sheet items.
I only wish that Brown was correct - but he isn't and it is up to the conservatives to clarify these things and then suggest possible solutions.

When will you lot wake up!!!! IT IS AN ODRER FROM THE E.U.

I do not need to add anything to what I have just posted on the other thread.

Sorry, but Messrs Cameron, Clarke & Co. are pathetic. They just don`t get it.

Royal Mail seems to be utterly insolvent so the concept of part-privatisation would seem to be just a smokescreen for a lot more covert 'public investment'. God knows what the Tories' policy on this is but I very much doubt they are being honest about the scale of the bill and who is going to pick up the cost of ridiculous pension and other rights. Of course, it will be the taxpayer - similarly insolvent, so I don't know where we go from here.

It was interesting that despite the complete collapse of public finances the Conservatives voted for absurdly expensive and uncontrollable aircraft carrier and aircraft projects and an over the top Trident replacement.

On the general matter of opposing, since the heirs to Blair agree with the government's policies they should support them openly. Opposing for opposition's sake is a con, isn't it?

Perhaps Mr Osborne has policies on spending that I have missed. I have not carried out a rigorous survey of his ideas. Has anyone?

We should always put country before party as a general rule which is why I think we were wrong to back Straw over Iraq. Re the Royal Mail,if we had a workable alternative then we should oppose. But in the absence of that....

Of course the Conservatives should be doing more opposing; that is after all what they are there for. They are 'Her Majesty's Loyal OPPOSITION'

The idea of opposition is not so much to get the proposed legislation thrown out, but to ensure that it has been properly thought through and it is for the true benefit of the country. Too much sloppy and dangerous legislation has been forced through Parliament because the 'opposition' agree with the overall concept of what is being pushed through.

The trouble is, there will obviously always be some areas where all parties agree, so once you've conceded that everything else becomes a matter of degrees and opinion. It would be impossible to come up with any hard and fast rule about when the opposition should support the Government instead of opposing it, but the most honest framework would be one in which an opposition doesn't criticise the government for doing something it would itself have done had it been in government, and conversely where when it does criticise the government it has some intention of doing something about the issue if and when it comes to power.

It is ludicrous to expect Jack SDtraw to agree to produce the cabinet papers about matters leading up to the 2nd Iraq War and it has nothing to do with Cabinet Government. Blair did not hold formal cabinet sessions, just meetings of mates and if any minutes were taken they were shredded when the going got tough for him.

Tory shadow ministers should be demanding sight of any documents to disprove that hypothesis.

Yes of course the Tories SHOULD do more opposing.

But they won't- not under Cameron.

It's hilarious, one of the few functions of government that almost ALL people on the left and right believe should be maintained and well-funded is the postal service. Indeed, it is even enunciated (with defense and currency) in the US Constitution. And yet the Tories are happy to provide the votes to shut down more post offices.

Great job Cameron! I would like to ask a question to any Cameron supporters out there- do any of you really believe that anything will change in the UK with Cameron as PM?

I think not.

David Cameron is not in the business of knee jerk reaction - thankfully. He opposes GB more than robustly and has done since his appointment as Party Leader wehn he regularly demolished the previous PM at PMQs.
We have to think soberly about our response to GB's announcements and pronouncements, as anything we oppose and then espouse in Givernment will be swiftly thrown back in our faces but an Opposition not only with reasonable medium-term memory; but an insiders' knowledge of the system.

My initial response is to answer 'yes' to the question at the top of the thread. But I also think it is not as simple as 'yes' or 'no'.

For instance why does the Royal Mail need to be part privatised, is it mainly to be able to afford to pay the pensions? And if it is, has anybody given a thought to the possibility that foreign owners would expect, to extract the money needed for these pensions, from the British taxpayer AND SOME, if previous behaviour of foreign owners of utility companies is anything to go by.

I am afraid that Mr. Clarke is displaying the blinkered mind that he has always had with regard to the EU enterprise - it is A GOOD THING, fullstop! And that attitude does not take into consideration that an 'enterprise' can change, and not for the better! That attitude does not put what is best for this country - the UK - first!

I am not convinced that the Shadow Cabinet have fully researched the benefits or not of part privatisation of the Royal Mail service. And if they have NOT, then they should not just agree with Labour on this.

I would like to feel reassurred that if the Conservative Party decided to agree to back a Labour policy, that sufficient research had been done, by the Conservatives on the subject - that the deal was/is really in the interests of the country.

For any other reaason, they should oppose.

There should definately be more structured opposition to all of Brown's works. He seems to play politics all the time and whilst he enjoys saving the world, he also rates a minor party political success higher than doing the right thing for the country. We must not play the same game. However, to take the two matters; the Iraq papers should not be capable of being revealed at this time. Cabinet security needs to be improved, not weakened. The sale of Post office. The proposed solution might be a solution for another problem but not to the pension problem. As one of the Trade Union leaders said the amounts involved are as chicken feed compared with the amounts involved in attempting to shore up the banks, so the treasury has to put in whatever is required. Then the Post Office should be privatised. I never did understand why we did not grasp the nettle way back when!

Labour's decision to part-privatise the Royal Mail seems to be the political equivalent of a suicide bomb in their own party. It doesn't make any sense, and I'm almost waiting to see some sleight of hand that will show this to have been a cunning ploy all along, because surely even they can't be so stupid as to alienate core voters in an organisation that is Labour through-and-through...

That aside, the Opposition should oppose when it beleives the Government is doing the wrong thing, not for the sake of opposition, and it should always explain its reasons for so doing.

In this case, the fact that the minutes are regarding the Iraq War is more or less irrelevant; the question should be one over Cabinet minutes in general, whether these should be private and how long for. I'm of a mind to agree with Jonathan on this.

Supporting the move on Royal Mail makes political sense for the Conservatives. A part-privatisation now will split the Labour party asunder and drive voters away from them - with the blame squarely on Gordon et al.

Ultimately, if the Government seeks to follow a course that the Opposition agrees with, to oppose it for the sake of opposition would be hypocritical folly.

Her Majesty’s Opposition have a dirty little secret which they don’t like to mention. Since 75% of our laws come from Brussels and are generally “nodded through” the EU Parliament (often with the acquiescence most of the Tory MEPs), such legislation cannot be opposed without calling question our relationship with the EU.

Whilst we remain in the political EU, both government and opposition will become increasingly irrelevant.

It is hard to imagine that anything useful would emerge from cabinet minutes. Straw's argument that disclosure would stifle debate is risible. However, if one believes in open governmemnt then clearly the minutes should be published.

Like others I stated my position on the Royal mail debate yesterday. To summarise partial privatisation in nothing but a dog's dinner and we should oppose the governments measure but make constructive proposals for a proper privatisation.

As to the thread's headline, should we oppose more. Yes yes and yes on oh so much more.

Cameron's one-word answer re Brown was "Wrong" (Iain Dale interview)

THIS word should be flung into most of the statements made about Brown and his miserable government at every opportunity.

I am naturally conservative, but do not feel there is anyone speaking for me.

DC is simply too wishy-washy and "playing the game" to impress.

Alan Douglas

There is sadly a deep distrust in politicians and we see them jockeying for public opinion and votes. We desperately need a strong leader we can respect and trust. Yes, Cameron has made huge progress in reviving the Conservative Party and I personally hope that he does have the courage and belief to run this country honourably. But I too question the Poat Office privatisation and the fiasco of the restriction of the entry to this country by the Dutch MP to visit the House of Lords to view his videos.
Liz Kemp

Sorry to repost - but this seems a more suitable place (originally in 'brown may rely on the conservatives')

I favour the complete privatisation of the post office.

I also think that Ken Clark must GO!

While I support privatisation; open honest democracy trumps me - and should trump Kens own views too.

Ken has shown that over a decade in opposition has taught him absolutely nothing - and by keeping him, Cameron is indicating that once in power he will behave just as maggie did at the end (forgetting public opinion, brining in poll tax on dogma, in the face of public opposition), and as Labour are now (particularly regarding the destruction of civil liberties in the face of public opposition).

I freely admit that I never liked Ken because he appears arrogant and overly dismissive of opposing views - I will also admit that on the economy had appeared to be doing a far better media job than was being done before - however it isn't enough. And harking back to 'this is what I wanted to do last time around' shows how little he has changed, and how little consideration he gives to the public view.

I support the privatisation of the post office, but it the case must be made to the public - and if they are convinced, then it will happen - if they can't be convinced then *so be it*.

Ken must GO.

Lets not confuse whether we personally agree with the two bills mentioned with the principle raised here.

To oppose when we believe it will damage the country is simply wrong. No ifs or buts, the ends do not justify the means.

If we allow our actions to be ruled by political expediency, we will end up just like the Labour party, rudderless and clueless.

What we should do more of is seeking to publicly extract improvements to bills we agree with as a condition of our support. That way we can do the right thing and show up this Government for the incompetents they are.

Ask yourselves what would Mandelson say and say that. It comes down to hunger and the will. They are going to be eunuchs in office but they will never win office if they submit to the operation too soon.

@Michael McGough
The key word in your comment is IF

Another reason I'm not enthused by the prospect of a Cameron led Conservative government, as many people here have pointed out, is this overwhelming feeling that when Cameron gets the keys to government the direction the country then goes won't be the drastic change we want and desire, the kind of change our country needs and instead will will be stuff with a Tory government that feels like its based on the Blair blueprint with more of the same and the continuation of the ideology of being "progressive", a misnomer as it's nothing of the sort.

As it stands the major parties and their MPs "appear" more interested in the politics of Westminster and their wallets rather than the politics of the country and the enrichment of the quality of life for people who live here, this is the public perception.
The idea that we in a strong position to go on to win the next election should leave me with hope yes? But no, it doesn't! I can't shake the feeling that nothing will change, and we'll be stuck with the legacy of the Labour rot, which like a virulent cancer has to be treated or it becomes terminal.

Will we see massive roll backs on Labours absurd legislation and laws? Will we see the rebalancing of democratic power from Westminster to local communities? Is their a rock solid commitment to address the decline of British society, culture and way of life? Will we see the power of the state and the surveillance of society be rebalanced? Will we get a bill or rights to protect our freedoms from the hard liners and the PC brigade! Will tell the EU to go **** itself? I could go on and on! Education, Military, NHS, Law and Order, Industry, Science, Trade, Immigration, Infrastructure, many noises have been made on these subjects, some of them good, but! I struggle to believe that they will actually be done.
I want the polices and ideas of a potential Cameron government printed out in a concise bullet point list, this plan to be signed by Cameron and sent out on the internet as a PDF document that we can print and disperse, So we can show people exactly "what are we going to do about it?"

But! If it takes the election of MPs from UKIP, BNP, even the Left List to get the Westminster set to take notice of what the electorate want then so be it!

I have grave reservations about the postal service being sold off.

It will be fine for a private owner to come in and make merry with compact delivery areas in cities, but will they want to deliver to deepest, darkest Devon or the outer parts of the Shetlands? Probably not, because there is not a business case to do so. It is an expensive excercise and needs the profit from the compact delivery areas to keep that bit going, otherwise the taxpayer will have to pick up the bill for doing the unprofitable deliveries alone.

Equally, I think far too many of our strategic utilities are being sold of to foreigners. We have been caught out by our utilities being owned by the Germans and the French - they have made us pay through the nose for our fuel whilst keeping their bills down on their own turves on the Continent.

Whilst in many cases private industry is more efficient and cost effective, there are cases (eg the postal service and utilities) where they are inappropriate owners of public services as profit alone is the driving force. This Labour government has been criminally negligent in protecting our strategic interests.

If, whilst the PO has been in public ownership, pension schemes have not been topped up, then the management should be changed, but ultimately, the taxpayer is going to have to pick up the cost.

The government's motive in selling the PO is to bring in cash to plug the enormous hole they have created in the public finances. Gordon should find the cojones to stand up to the unions and bring in more efficient working practices.

This is too important issue for anyone to play politics with.

"I freely admit that I never liked Ken because he appears arrogant and overly dismissive of opposing views "

Yes, and many a legislative albatross was hung around the neck of the Conservative party by Ken Clarke, ERM, tax on heating fuel a couple, that's taken a decade for them to fade in the electorates minds.

Since when did the opposition oppose ANYTING of note

I'm gearing up for no overall majority in the lower house after the next election.

The Conservatives should do far more 'opposing' part of the rise of the BNP is the public perception that all the major parties operate a cosy little cabal, protecting themselves before any thought for the country in general. Cash for honours, cash for amendments, MP's expenses the list goes on and each incident just reinforces that view.

They should have opposed Jack Straw covering over the FOI request. The judges who ruled on the case stated

"However, this is an exceptional case, the circumstances of which brought together a combination of factors that were so important that, in combination, they created very powerful public interest reasons why disclosure was in the public interest."

All other cabinet decisions pale against the decision to take the country to war. The facts behind such a decision should be made public.

Again the public sees one law for them and an etirely different set of rules for MP's and ministers.

No wonder the Conservatives aren't storming ahead in the poll's despite the dismal performance of the Labour government. The public just see more of the same.

More? You mean it has done some?

We should be against privatising Royal Mail.

It should be a public service.

Really gutted we're supporting Labour on this one.

The Tories should demand that the government exclude the taxpayer from having to fund the Royal Mail pension liabilities. If the government doesn't accept this the Tories should vote against. That way the Tories can bring down the government without being accused of opportunism.

"On the latter issue, I am on the record as writing here just last month that Cabinet minutes are best kept private if we seriously want a return to Cabinet government"

Unfortunately with the current shower running things I can't agree. I want to know what they really think of us and what they're planning. Perhaps when we get a higher class of politician I might accept the necessity of secrecy.

I'm with Straw and Grieve on the Cabinet minutes. Publishing details of the discussions ends Cabinet Government as collective responsibility goes out the window.

We know Robin Cook was against the war because he did the decent thing and resigned his post. We also now know Claire Short was against it, though she chewed bees for a while before she finally threw it in. We really don't need to know who else expressed doubts because they didn't resign, then or since, so they took a position on which they should be judged in future.

I think the EU should be told to get lost over the Post Office and actually think most of its monopoly should be restored. I do think the quid pro quo is the end of their final salary scheme for all staff, with any accrued benefits commuted to a lump sum to be paid into a defined contribution scheme and the restoration of proper management control through a no strike agreement.

If the unions won't wear that, then it should be completely privatised on the German model.

Parliamentary opposition should now be secondary to establishing in the electorate's mind the nature of our next government.

If there is a manifesto that makes clear how we will get our public finances in order and reduce drastically the public sector - IF - this should be published now. The indignation of the Guardian and the Daily Mirror can be disposed of by relentless argument in good time for June 2010. The electors are more likely than now to vote us in, because we know (and they know) what we will then do. At present we just look wishy-washy.

"They will pinch all our ideas" has always been a timid argument and is now laughable. It was never wrong that any government might implement our ideas. Now all the government can do is pick them up, handle them for a day and put them down again – they are like a burglar with Alzheimer’s. Our tactics should now be turn our back on the labour front-bench and tell everyone else they are irrelevant – while we concentrate on selling our manifesto.

If we keep the 2nd eleven opposing in the House, we will achieve all we have achieved to date against the Labour majority. We have just to keep an eye open for the chance of a voting coup in the lobbies. If we succeed in so discrediting Brown that another leader should fight the General Election, we will give ourselves a more difficult task - the new leader would not go to the polls until he/she has made his/her mark in post, so the election will be no sooner and Labour might then be more credible.

Of course, if there is no manifesto or if what we have seen up to now is the manifesto, we have all been wasting our time.

Our sincerest condolences on the loss of David's son Ivan last night. Having lost a child ourselves we know exactly what it's all about...

Lets leave the knee jerk opposition to the likes of the SWP. However, when the grass roots of the party are against a policy as in the case of the Royal Mail, it can only be damaging for the leadership to be seen to support these plans of the Dark Lord. Of course the leadership has to be willing to make unpopular decisions but they had better be ready to explain such decisions to the grass roots.

The opposition parties should oppose the government - that is why they exist. They need a coherent philosophy from which they derive their position on individual cases. An example is the present economic crisis.The opposition parties did not oppose the South Sea bubble of the need to forego present enjoyment (of the spendthrift government and popular opinion and live within our means)to living on credit and therefore to investigate why it would come to end shortly and how to remedy it but generally went along with it preferring to make sound bites on minor issues. As for privatising the Royal Mail - privatisaton is now seen to be an exploded concept. Only one privatisation has been successful - BT. The rest have declined into irreposible monopolies holding the general public to ransom and finally sold off to foreigners who have no interest in the well being of Britain which should be the long term aim of the Conservative Party. The next should be to leave the EU and downgrade it to a free trade area. Politicians support it as a way of employing themselves on fabulous salaries and expense accounts after they are played out in Britain. Anyone employed by the EU should lose their British citizenship as being in receipt of money from a foreign power. Do all this and you have the beginnings of a Conservative philosophy.

The privatisation of the post office to foreign companies would be wrong. How about thinking of suitable partners in the UK i.e. THE CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY (owned by its members). Surely a formula could be found to advance this AND absorb the pension fund over a period of time. I bet it would acceptable to the union, who may well be members of the co-op already, so indirectly profiting both parties. The co-op could make attractive offers to the union and benefit by increased trade. It is worth a shot

As i see it, the Tories should support Labour when it is right and oppose it when it is wrong. For example, the Tories did the right thing when it supported Tony Blair
on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq which removed the two of the most repressive and totalitarian dictatorships in the world.

So, when Labour is right, support them.

And when Labour is wrong, oppose them.

The Tories should not be seen as overtly


Of course the Conservatives should oppose the Government all the time, on all the issues and in every way possible. It shows a rather pathetic approach to even ask the question. Since Cameron unfortunately became leader we haven't offered any real nor sustained opposition to arguably the most hopeless, corrupt and incompetent government for ages (and that even includes John major's disastrous tenure of Number Ten). Cameron and his close colleagues show no fight, no courage and no spirit. They have never offered any real difference to the present bunch of political illiterates. Many will never forget his encouragement of Tory members to stand and clap Blair when he left the House. That was completely outrageous and unforgiveable by any leader of an Opposition worthy of that title but typifies, I'm afraid, Cameron's whole thoroughly wet, liberal and weak approach - what a former commentator here has aptly described as his namby-pamby attitude. He has proved himself no strong leader, a man having no real political principles other than to find a bandwagon and jump on it. Like Blair he tailors his speeches for the audience in front of him, wanting to be all things to all men. Afraid to show any real initiative he dutifully waits to see what public opinion is and then follows it. Like the Duke of Plaza Toro he leads his army from behind. A public relations person may perhaps have their uses but they certainly don't include being either a leader of the Opposition or a Prime Minister. As I've said here several times before, there is now no party that anyone with Conservative principles, background and policies can honestly vote for. Opposition should be 100 per cent and take no prisoners.

I wrote the above piece before I saw the tragic news of David Cameron's son. Had I read this I would not have posted that particular piece today. I'm sure that in company with everyone else I feel the deepest sympathy for David Cameron and his family at this time. They are in my thoughts and prayers.

As Marjorie Baylis says, there will always be parts of the postal service which are bound to be loss leaders and which will need to be subsidised from the more profitable activities. However, the EU directive on postal services stipulates that all aspects of our postal service must be fully open to competition by 2010, thus precluding the Government from subsidising any part of it whilst it remains a nationalised service.

As others have pointed out, whilst the private sector is usually more efficient and cost effective than the public one, there are considerable drawbacks to the ownership of our essential public utility companies, by private foreign corporations where the profits are remitted to another country, often at the expense of poorer service and higher prices paid by British consumers.

"there are considerable drawbacks to the ownership of our essential public utility companies,"

As well as the fact that our utilities will never develop beyond being a subsidiary to a foreign compnay, not for us will our Powergen's ever develop into Eon's or EDF's, no they will always remain a stunted subsidiary to a foreign owned company.

My immediate instinct was to disagree with the Conservative position on the Post office issue, especially when so many candidates have campaigned to save our post offices.

But I remained convinced that we were right to agree about releasing Cabinet minutes. A very slippery road IMHO, even if this government have now set two opposite precedents for this which were solely for their own political ends.

But the more I read about the Post Office situation, the more inclined I am to agree with the Front Bench on this both politically and for fiscal reasons.

So have to admit that I am totally in agreement with Jonathan instincts on both issues.

Only if they have nothing better to do.

And Marjorie Baylis @ 10.02 - once Gordon Brown has sold off the Royal Mail to foreigners, and gets his lump of cash -- and then pours it down the plug-ole, WHAT is he going to pick on next, in order to produce another lump sum???

More? You mean it has done some?

"WHAT is he going to pick on next, in order to produce another lump sum???"

Well I would say the open prisons are a very clear candidate for privatisation. However I would rather we did this, because Labour will just waste the cash. I say privatise the open prisons, and use the money to build some much needed middle and high security places to house our increasingly badly behaved criminals. I expect a privatised prison service to save the tax payers a great deal of money. If the privatisation of the open prisons is as efficient as I am certain it will be, then we should take the next logical step, privatising all of our prisons. The private sector will certainly find ways to reduce costs without compromising the safety of the prison officers. Rehabilitation can only be improved if private owners are encouraged to find ways of making the labour of those who have offended against society pay, with not only their time but also hard work.

The very nature of opposition in the form of the 'Opposition' should give you a clue as to the answer to this question.
The Tories should have had the guts to be the 'do nothing' party and insisted the government prop up pensions and savings only, allowing the banks to go to the wall and fierce and healthy competition to spring up. Instead, they will inherit a Marxist state and an appalling deficit, the pains of which will be felt by the next generation.
This, plus a number of other issues a government such as Thatcher's wouldn't have stood for for a single day, could have in the right hands easily forced a no confidence vote. With adept and judicious management and a great deal of courage, the borrowing of 700+ billion need never have taken place. Basic economic theory will dictate that if you throw money into a black hole, decry protectionism and start printing cash - whilst still permitting the bonus culture to exist unchallenged - you will end up like 90s Argentina. Basic common sense dictates that if you say 'no' to attempts to erode civil liberties, you'll end up with a police state.
The reviewing of Cabinet documents pertaining to the Iraq War need not set up a precedent for full disclosure of minutes of each and every meeting. The War in itself may be construed as an 'extraordinary event' and thus not set the precedent for full public disclosure of Cabinet proceedings in perpetuity. The majority of the country supports a full investigation into the causes of and execution of the Iraq war, as they have been since Day One.
Similarly the continued existence of the Post Office, which is still seen by many as a national institution, one of the few remainders of 'England' pre 'social' 'democracy' is a cause dear to many voters' hearts. Is the Opposition taking into account in any way the sentiments of the voters, or is it adopting a 'nanny knows best' attitude in the stye of Blair, Brown et al? What is certain is that it does not seem to possess the kind of fire, conviction and courage that should characterise those seeking to end the ravages of socialism, nor a sense of strong moral purpose.

Yes we should do more in the way of opposition.If the roles were reversed would the Labour party be gentle with us.
Our party is the countries OPPOSITION PARTY.Many examples can be refered to But here is one from the Great Gordon himself "Weak Pound gives Weak Economy and they shows WEAK GOVERNMENT" That is just for starters.
As said before the longer this government goes on the harder it will be for the electorate to get anywhere near a sound and stable financial position. When it is neccesary do the job we have accepted and OPPOSE.There are so many items that they -NEW LABOUR - have failed on.
There MANIFESTO supported the Royal Mail now they want to split it.Dare I say the hand of Mandy is working behind this.
Another Manifesto statement was the LISBON TREATY what more can one say -OPPOSE.

Post Office could no more become an efficient, modern service under public ownership than could British Leyland. Provided a full nation-wide service is protected, business and the public really don't care who carries their mail so long as it gets there safely and on-time. On the more general issue - it is the duty of the Opposition to scrutinise ALL government policies and actions even when they agree with them. Governments and legislation are only as good as Parliament demands.

I just don't get it. What is this deal about? Stripped of many profitable business routes we wonder why the Royal Mail loses money.

Who allowed the Royal Mail to take a Pension holiday?
Who benefits from selling off State Assets?
Now foreign companies own our Utilities - let's get rid of some more State Assets!

Do you see British companies buying up German utilities? French Railways? Belgian Post Office?
NO! Only we are this stupid.

Coupled with the deregulation of credit/financial services industry, this is the same Thatcherite model which has led to the meltdown of our economy under the hapless Mr Brown.

And now Mandelson reckons that if we give away 30% of the Royal Mail to another foreign company, the taxpayer will be happy to stump up yet more Billions to bail out their Pension Fund. Is it just me?

And tactically, the Tories have just missed yet another chance to cause a split in the New Labour ranks.

Sometimes I wonder...the names and faces change but the policies are broadly the same.

The time has urgently come for the Conservative Front Bench to do MORE vigorous opposing. I am very dissappointed Grieve agreed with Jack Straw. Those important Cabinet Minutes regarding the decision to go to war are moment defining documents and should have been revealed. The excuses Straw gave were infantile and not acceptable. I am annoyed they were believed by our gullable front bench.

The time has come to oppose absolutely everything this dysfunctional Government does. We need members on the front bench capable of taking the fight to the Government. If they do not wish to do so, then leave and let those capable of doing so replace them.

Labour have ruined our pensions, ruined our savings, ruined our jobs, ruined our businesses and ruined our country. I do not want to live in a country that has been badly mismanaged by Labour. They have saddled this country for generations with the worst and largest deficit in history; just to keep themselves in office.

Wake up for heavens sake and look at the real world. Thousands are having their homes repossessed, thousands are losing their jobs daily, businesses are collapsing, pensions ruined and savings devastated. We urgently need members who will vigorously oppose and fight this Government. They must demonstrate the feelings of the people who are angry and fedup with Labour.

The Conservatives must oppose more and hasten the day when they sweep this discredited PM and his coterie of Ministers out of office.Conservatives must oppose and oppose well. You owe it to your supporters and this country to salvage what is left of our economy for our future generations.

Reply to John Bell:

"Post Office could no more become an efficient, modern service under public ownership than could British Leyland."

In the UK, we have 6 day a week, universal delivery and the Post Office is often a focal point in the community. The mail usually gets there next day. Why do you say that it is inefficient?

What is wrong with it?

What about the Civil Service? Local Government? The pointless Quango's?

All bastions of efficiency, delivering a great service?

No, find a foreign company to come in, lay lots of staff off, take the profits and pass the Pension liability to the Tax Payer.


Rather than privatise the Royal Mail how about nationalising the energy companies,2 billion profit.How long before the privatised Royal Mail is turning in similar profits to it's new Dutch partners.The opposition should be opposing everything Brown does before he totally wrecks the country.

The Conservatives should oppose but not just for the sake of opposing. "Constructive Opposition" when the Labour Government is acting in a manner contrary to Conservative Principles and to the detriment of the Nation and where there is clear Conservative alternative to Labour policy is what is needed.

Cameron's Conservatives have been far too supportive of flawed Labour policies - TIF, local transport bill, climate change bill etc - ditch them all and start again.

May I suggest that contributers are making the same mistake as the Conservative party; they are confusing policy opposition with political opposition. Ken Clark saw the difference in accepting the Post Office sell off, at the same time he bashed Labour ministers for letting it get to this. I don't know what Labour could have done without privatising the Post Office, but that need not be the point, the point is that although you agree with the policy there is no need to just accept the policy. If Labour were in opposition and, say, agreed the policy they would be proposing a vote of no confidence in the handling of the Post Office as well as histrionically reluctantly voting acceptance.

This is an open goal, so far all we have done is sent a ball rumbling towards the net. I have to say this is so typical; ignoring open goals has been the main function of the Conservative party since McMillan (excluding Maggie).

To bore you with an example (I could give dozens) the VAT cut of 2.5% was designed as a headline chasing gimmick, a particular advantage of which is giving an excuse for Labour to go on about the "do nothing" Tories since it was obviously not cost effective and the Tories wouldn't support it. £12 billion of tax payers money to score points against the Tories. (There are so many recent similar examples.) I appreciate it is reasonable to view matters as more complex but if this had been put at the beginning opposition to the VAT policy would have been far more effective and would have messed Brown's second bounce at birth.

In addition to asking:

'Should Conservatives do more opposing?'

we should also be asking:

'Should we demand that promises made in opposition are highlighted and action taken to put them into operation once in power?'

Surely our Party should not propose alternatives to Labour just for a cheap point scored on the day, but should look at the implications of their suggestions.

The Post Office Privatisation is the only issue i would bring up at the moment in terms of should the COnservatives oppose.

The Iraq issue being reheated serves only one party before a General Election and that is the waste of space Liberal Democrats. Besides if the publication of the minutes produced evidence that Gordon Brown made some undiplomatic comments about fellow EU politicians given Brown's likely heavy defeat at the next election is it really worth damaging the National interest to score a point against Brown? I think not!

Post Office privatisation is essential, National Interest before Party Interest! The only downside is the LD's might get a bit more traction in some LD held marginals. But whats the point in apposing a part privatisation when Ideologically you want complete Privatisation. Better to assist in starting the process and sharing the flak than getting it all post GE. I do not think the LD's will get many votes in "Post Office" issues as they have deminished in impact and consequence since the Last Conservative Government.

What i do think the Conservatives should do is attack both Labour and LD's unrelentingly between now and the Next GE. The Labour - LD axis is directly to blaime for the straights the UK finds itself in at this time.

The cave-in over Straw's use of FOI to keep the Iraq War Cabinet Minutes secret was simply pathetic.

Straw actually sneered at Dominic Grieve when he publicly admitted that he supported the government on cabinet responsibility and therefore was not going to get them on this one.
Gawd, how Labour must be grinning with relief and contempt.

Grieve should be sacked from the opposition front bench for that alone. He might be bright but he is pathetic and doesn't know how to oppose.

The people of this country want LEADERSHIP.They want it from the opposition whose duty is to hold this rotten government to account, not conspire with them by quoting an obcure ( and in this circimstance innapropriate) code of the political incrowd to excuse them the searchlight of public opinion.

Disraeli would have known how to oppose them on this. Straight to the b-lls and no mercy. He knew how to oppose.
So did Blair.

Cameron had better take note. That 20% poll lead has already fallen to 12%.
It will fall a lot further yet if he doesn't shake off the cosy Westminster club mentality and get ruthless.

We should make a policy because we think it is the best policy, not because it opposes Labour. If Labour has the same policy then we can't oppose it, but we can do everything in our power to attack the government for the way it fails to impliment the policy. Labour always cock things up, even good ideas, we can attack the way they behave, the way they lie to people, their cons, their spin, everything but the policy.. That is still opposing the government. Most of the time we think they have the policy idea wrong too so on those occasions we can attack that too. There shouldn't be any dilema, there just needs to be right effort.

Quoting from an earlier posting:

"Post Office privatisation is essential"

Perhaps like the railways? Now enjoying a subsidy four times what British Rail received.
This comes complete with massive bonuses for poor producing executives.

Our Utilities now all owned by foreign companies. Do we own theirs?

Whatever happened to Conservatives pragmatism? If it ain't broke don't fix it.

How will gifting 30% of the Royal Mail to a foreign company, whilst the tax payer picks up the Pension Bill, help our mail service or our economy.

I guess dogma is dogma, be it Thatcherite or New Labour. This topic worries me greatly for our future.

That so many are still manacled to failed Thatcherite ideas. And that Mandelson finds it so easy to shift the focus away from New Labour's economic disaster.

There really is still a whole lot of stupidity around.

How will gifting 30% of the Royal Mail to a foreign company, whilst the tax payer picks up the Pension Bill, help our mail service or our economy.

I did not say that the Labour Privatisation was the best way, merely the start. I doubt a part or even full privatisation by Labour could be put through before a General Election in any case. So it makes you wonder why bother at all from the Labour perspective! On the otherside of the coin, the post office cannot continue as it is without public subsidy.

The business model is aged and the demands on it have changed, most of the post office network has closed in anycase and most benifits are paid directly into bank accounts. The railways is a moot point in that would so much of the rolling stock have been replaced under a Nationaised system?

I don't see this as shifting away from the focus on Labour's economic disaster of which i am a victim (Unemployed). Simply it is the complete failure across all areas of policy which makes Labour unfit for Office and I question why on earth Labour should even bother to put up candidates at the next election given the relience on so many areas for Opposition votes with a healthy Labour commons majority!

Assuming Dale has not crossed over to the Reds he is utterly wrong in his knee jerk LP Favourite Tory Blogger kind of way. It seems pretty clear to me from the Labour centre left that the proposal is not the way of achieving the stated ends. However, from a Tory perspective this is just the right kind of arrangement and doing a Dale on this would be seen as opportunist, hypocritical, shallow, stoopid, muppetry.

Same goes for Iraq minutes. These are pretty likely to be pretty thin and weaselly anyway but Tories would surely regret opposing Straw on this if they were to return to and retain government long enough to have a controversial discussion in cabinet.

Ooops. That should be:

"not the only way"

I agree with you that Cabinet minutes should be confidential. The alternative is simply that nothing important is discussed in Cabinet.

But way to weight the question: "Do you think that Cabinet minutes should be private, OR SHOULD WE KILL KITTENS FOR FUN?".

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