Conservative Home's debate blogs


  • DVD rental
  • Conservative Books
My Photo

Conservative blogs

Blog powered by Typepad

  • Tracker 2
  • Extreme Tracker

« Caption competition (5) | Main | New partisan blogs »


Jonathan Sheppard

I think MH did a good job in difficult times.

He openly admitted it wasn't good enough and I found conference speech extremely dignifiedand and just what was needed to make you proud to be a Conservative!

James Maskell

I did like MHs speech, especially the bit where he said he had decided who he would suport as candidate...I sat up very straight there...anyone else do the same? The last bit was the nciest where he went impromtu and did his personal touch. I know we all disagreed sharply with his reforms but he did what he had to do and deserves credit for giving the Party hope for the future. Does he want to shy away from the limelight though? I certainly hope he will continue to support the Party perhaps as part of the group of former leaders, advising the Party.

Jonathan Sheppard

You know what I would like to see. Instead of a group of former leaders of the opposition giving advice to the current leader of HM Opposition - we have that group giving advice to a Conservative PM.


I too think that we owe MH a debt of gratitude.As he admitted his best 'was not good enough' and he did make mistakes during the campaign and afterward but he made those decisions in a spirit of selflesness and for what he believed was for the good of the party.So enjoy your retirement Michael!


MH was the best leader we've had since thatcher so thank you michael and we won't forget what you've done.

Unity and discipline have to be adhered to


Like James Maskell I did sit up and take notice when Michael announced his choice of leader of the opposition - then afterwards thought I should have been smarter about spotting what was coming.

I think Michael Howard did an excellent job, especially considering the circumstances under which he took on the leaderhip. His final speech was honest in admitting his failures and he deserves respect for that alone. Sad that it's such an unusual thing in politics these days.

I was sitting on the platform on Thursday morning and felt a definite lump in my throat at the end. However, there's nothing like the knowledge of how embarrassing it would have been to be caught blubbing on camera behind Michael Howard to stiffen the upper lip.


Sure, Howard's plans to disenfranchise voters were badly planned and thought out, but I still think he's laid the foundations for later victory. Without some sort of breakthrough in seats at the last election, we would've been sunk. At least we have a chance of overturning a majority of 66.

He wasn't perfect, but I'm sure Howard will be remembered as a man who manoeuvred the Party through a difficult time with (relatively) few slipups. The party was at its lowest ebb in 2003, and he managed to claw back some respectability in time for the election. Although he didn't win us that election, he obviously tried his hardest and I think he'll be remembered as a 'good' leader in Tory Party history.


what was hillarious was the look on david cameron's face when howard looked like he was about to nominate his successor.

it was perfect because there was a huge build up of tension and then he released it by saying leader of the opposition.

why couldn't we have seen that sense of humour during the election though

James Maskell

I think the joke was that the best Leader of the Opposition was Gordon Brown, not the contenders themselves.

Sally Rideout Baker

The comments on these pages do not reflect the opinion of my Tory friends.

The unseating of IDS is still very suspicious and we still reckon that that he would make the best leader.

And do not forget the facts that he is still the Grass Roots elected leader and was at one time 5% ahead of Labour!

He is still the best speech maker and orator of the Party.


The thing is Sally, IDS has been discredited, rightly or wrongly, by the media. If you asked an ordinary voter what they thought of IDS, they'd say he was boring, drab and a disaster for the Party. There is no way on Earth that the Tory Party would be able to present him to the electorate again.

Paul Marks

Have a relaxing time in Salisbury.

I have long wanted to visit Salisbury cathedral, I have heard it is wonderful creation.

Oh, you sentimentalists. Michael Howard was bloody awful from start to finish. Good riddance.

Sally Rideout Baker

"The thing is Sally, IDS has been discredited, rightly or wrongly, by the media. If you asked an ordinary voter what they thought of IDS, they'd say he was boring, drab and a disaster for the Party. There is no way on Earth that the Tory Party would be able to present him to the electorate again."

If they had taken notice of "ordinary voters" IDS would not have got chucked out - He was ahead of Labour at the 2003 conference!

And if you ask the ordinary voter - what they think of the rest of the candidates Ken Clarke is the only choice to make, but I still prefer IDS and so do most of us.


To the poster who called us sentimentalists,if you're going to put out a post like this at least have the guts to put your name to it!
Sally are you serious? I think IDS is a good man but it was a huge mistake for us to have elected him as leader.He was certainly the worst orator since Douglas-Home and the 2003 was a complete nightmare.I certainly do not remember us being ahead in in any poll at that time.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"2003 was a complete nightmare. I certainly do not remember us being ahead in in any poll at that time."

Sorry to argue against you Malcolm (I'll try not to make a habit of it!) but Iain Duncan Smith did have quite a good run in the polls, including a spell in the lead, and the Conservatives consistently polled at a level that Michael Howard failed to match throughout his leadership. Having said that, I think the poll results were more indicative of the government's unpopularity over Iraq than a desire to see Iain Duncan Smith installed in 10 Downing Street as Conservative PM.

Floating Voter

In Salisbury - paying homage to the Grocer?

James Hellyer

... and those polls nosedived once Howard took over, and the party never recovered to pre-Betsygate levels of support.

Richard Allen

I am increasingly convinced that the story of IDS is the great tragedy of modern politics. Unlike the absurd modernisors IDS really understood the way in which the party had to change. We have spent years asserting that we have to appeal beyond our core vote but when we have a leader who actually tried to do that our MP's and media allies didn't have the courage to stick with him. IDS may not have been a great leader but ordinary people viewed him as a decent man with an honest agenda. His 'help the vulnerable' campaign had huge potential to change the way that the general public viewed the party, it was just political anoraks who didn't like it.

There seems to be a widespread view that IDS would have led us to electoral oblivion but I simply don't see any evidence that suggests he would have done worse than Howard. IMO we would have done better with IDS.

Daniel Vince-Archer

Well said Richard. Iain Duncan Smith hasn't received enough credit for his 'fair deal of everyone' agenda and it is a great miscarriage of political justice that he was denied the chance to take this agenda to the electorate by the sort of people, both stalwarts and latecomers, who have been jostling for position on the social justice bandwagon recently.

Iain Duncan Smith has presented his case with passion, decency, sincerity and integrity; it will be interesting to see if others who purport to be campaigners for social justice and so-called 'modernisers' can do the same and match words with actions.


Are you sure Daniel?My memory must be playing tricks.The last time I remember us leading was during the fuel crisis in 2000.

The comments to this entry are closed.

About Conservative Home


  • Conservative Home's
    free eMailing List
    Enter your name and email address below: