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« Pressure mounts on Clarke as Davis wins 'centrist' backers | Main | Who would make the best leader in a contest with Labour’s next Prime Minister, Gordon Brown? »


Simon C

Astonishing what can happen whilst you are away!

Have just got back from Cornwall to discover that Tim Hames has written an article that I agree with. Usually it's a case of read the article, and then take precisely the opposite position, but in this case he is spot on.

Jack Stone

Ken Clarke is totally right when he says that left to the members David Davis would only lose the election to someone more right-wing then him.
The country needs a Conservative government but it will not have that if the party keeps having right-wing leaders standing on extreme right-wing platforms.
If this can be prevented and we can have a more moderate leader who will take the party back to the centre by taking the power away from the members to elect the leasder then all I can say is so be it!

Sean Fear

I've got an even better idea Jack. Why not simply disenfranchise right wing and eurosceptic voters completely?

Then left-wing europhiles like you could operate freely in the knowledge that the ignorant stupid masses could never stop you.

James Hellyer

"The country needs a Conservative government but it will not have that if the party keeps having right-wing leaders standing on extreme right-wing platforms."

Extreme right wing platforms? What are you talking about? Surely not the dreary, technocratic agenda we put to the country in May? Unless, of course, you believe pledging to massivley increase state spending on health and education was "extremely right wing"...


If the members voted wrongly for IDS who is to blame for that? what choice did we have, Clarke refused to bend even a little on Europe, it was just take it or leave it, if he had been willing to bend he would have won in 1997. I did vote for him last time as I was not impressed with IDS however I wanted to vote for Michael Portillo but was denied that choice. Who gave us Hague who was clearly not ready - the MPs. Who restricted our choice - same MPs and it looks like they are going to try again. I would prefer the members put up a short list and the Mps choose from that. Clarke and Hague seem to spend all their time making money and have done little to help the Party over the past few years. If they pick the wrong person this time I won't be voting again.


All the while, they assume that there is no chance of ever achieving a mass membership again. This acceptance of an ever-shrinking base (for who would join the party in the future when members are made so laughable?) will inevitably lead to an ever-shrinking appeal.

Just one example: who are they going to rely on to raise money in coming elections? Only the high-rolling donors will still be interested. Politics will be even more confined to political games of influence and cronyism within Westminster.

Expansion of the membership and expansion of appeal to voters go hand in hand. Lazy or stuipid MPs just don't understand this. A question we should pose to leadership candidates is: how are you going to grow the membership? Do you even want to? What do you think a membership is for in today's world?

Let's watch them stumble on that. Anyone who can confidently say - as Karl Rove would, in the US, where grass-roots fundraising (most of the money raised for US campaigns comes from small donations) and grass-roots organisation led to that big turnout for George Bush - deserves consideration as leader. But anyone who has no vision for the membership also has no vision for the country.

I'm sure there are legitimate arguments for mass membership of political parties being part of the past. Those arguments should then be made openly, with an explanation for what else it is that will maintain the connection between Parliament and the people. Is it really only through the media?


There is an Alice-in-Wonderland aspect to this discussion. The burden of proof is, as it should be, on those who would restrict voter participation, restrict democracy, in choosing the Tory Party leader. In fact, if any change should be made in the leadership selection rules, the change should be toward GREATER citizen participation, not less.


I'm aqgreeing with that, Bruce. A confident party would be trying to broaden its membership, its engagement, not run away from people.

James Hellyer

It's not a confident party, is it? Defeat seems to filled the party with a bizarre self-loathing that is manifesting itself in the new "blame the members" approach from the leadership.

It's obviously easier to give your base a good kicking, rather than engage in an analysis of what went wrong, what went well and what's the way forward.

Wat Tyler

Remember everyone (party members)-

A) write/email your Tory member to complain about their 1922 vote and seek an assurance of no repetition

B) write/email Chairman Maude re the nearly as bad Monbiot plan.

C) write/email your Constituency Chairman for an assurance he/she will vote against member disenfranchisement at the National Convention


Just to give one example, if the Tories are to get serious about regaining seats in Scotland, should they choose their leader via a process where only 1 vote out of 197 comes from a Scots MP? With member voting you'll have a much more equitable distribution of votes, and Scotland, along with other marginal seat areas, will have a much stronger voice in the final choice.

Disenfranchising the members is not only a move in the wrong moral direction--away from greater democracy--it is dumb politics as well.

And as to "blame the members"--it was Field Marshal Slim who said, "There are no bad regiments, there are only bad officers".

Simon C

First Tim Hames, now Teresa May!! I am not used to this at all.

Teresa May has broken cover to speak up for the membership and says that a primary would be her preferred choice. She is right (there, I've said it).

which slow Cooker

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