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Perdix - I am as far from UKIP as you can possibly get. If you have points to make - give your critique - if you have nothing of substance to say, say nothing.
Toggle Commented Jun 15, 2007 on Friday 15th June 2007 at ConservativeHome
1 reply
Malcolm, you are very quick on the insults, but no hassle. I can give as good as I get. This critique however is not aimed at you - it simply seeks to give more substance to the points made in yesterday's post. Yes, Cameron was elected. He was elected on false credentials. Just as he refused to discuss his use of cocaine, he refused to put any policy to the party - he was elected on false pretences. Tell me, did we know that Cameron was going to: - Initiate the A-List debacle? Since when does the Conservative Party stand for quotas? We are the Party that stands for merit - our policy is non-racist, non-sexist and based on rewarding effort. Parliament is not about being "representative" of the county, it is about "representing" the county. If we wanted it to be representative we could simply hire a couple of statiticians and sent a parliament on quotas - that is how the pollsters work. In Britain, however, we have a first-past-the-post electoral system simply because we want to elect a Government comprised of the best people who reprent the country. In any event, even if you are a closet Liberal Demorat and believe in proportional representation, it should be patently clear that packing the Candidates List with London luvvies and the privileged daughters and wives of Cameron’s Notting Hill set will not win us the Northern constituencies that we need to win. The purpose of the A-List was simply to facilitate the selection of candidates who owed their position to Cameron, and hence were expected to be loyal to him. That in essence is a putsch. The A-List has since been dropped - it was dropped in the face of strong opposition by the party membership because it was fundamentally unfair and undemocratic. If Cameron had consulted the Party before he initiated this thoroughly obnoxious policy he would have realised that it was an affront to everything that Conservatives believe in. - Gerrymandering the party constitution? Remember, just before the last election we, as a Party, voted down these attempts at centralisation. The strength of the Conservative Party lies in the fact that it is a "Local Party". Cameron’s attempts to ape Blair and to centralise the Conservative Party goes against the very essence of what it is to be both a Conservative and to be British. Historians widely recognise that what makes Britain unique in Europe is that our politics have traditionally been based on localism. Continental Europe by contrast has had highly centralised political structures. In Britain, the Conservative Party has been the bastion of local power - in so doing we have protected and asserted the sovereignty of our nation and protected the liberty of our people. Cameron’s attempts at centralisation are therefore thoroughly un-Conservative. - Impose undemocratic selection rules for candidacy to stand for the European elections? The rules he has imposed have outraged both the pragmatic wing of the Conservative Party and the Eurosceptics. Why? Is there any reason why the long established and fair procedures can not be followed? Why must he and his coterie constantly meddle in the electoral process? The reason is simple - he wants to pack the system with his own "Yes-men and women". If this attempt at gerrymandering is not a putsch, what is? - advocate "hug-a-hoodie"? Give me a break! Along with "sunshine will rule the day" these are the most trite and banal statements of political philosophy I have ever heard - it ranks along the "Birdie" song in terms of profundity. Ours is the party of Peel, Disraeli, Churchill and Thatcher - we now have a Leader whose philosophy appears more suited to Blue Peter than to the corridors of power at Westminster. If you regard his political philosophy worthy of support, then, dear Malcolm, you are as trite and superficial as he and acolytes. - try and position the Conservative Party as the "party of the public sector"?, Again, what the hell is in this man's mind? Expediency? Yes, I can understand that he has taken a simple calculation that 1/5th of the population now work for the State, and their votes are worthwhile having. Does Cameron really believe that we can win them to the Conservative cause? If so, what kind of Conservatism are we talking about? Even Gordon Brown has recognised that we now have a grossly bloated and inefficient state sector. Labour having realised the error of their ways are now trying to cut back the State. Are Conservatives, the traditional party of the "small state" now expected to support the entrenched rights of this bloated bureaucracy? Cameron may be expedient, but this policy has not been thought through. It is silly and misguided. - attempt to make political gain by opposing Labours current attempts to reign in spending in the NHS? Again, same critique as above. If Labour could not spend the NHS to a social utopia, how will we fare any better? A blank cheque to the NHS will not result in improved services, it will simply be absorbed by ever higher wage bills. Grow up Malcolm, the Conservative Party need to focus on developing serious policies to deal with serious issues. To many people in the UK rely on the NHS for us to abrogate our responsibility to ensure that it works efficiently, delivers the services that people want, and it does so in a cost effective way. Cameron and Osborn have said nothing on the NHS that deserves the time of day. - embrace the views of Polly Toynbee? Again, silly shock tactics to gain 10 seconds of headlines. Why? What is the benefit? Another silly attempt to "redefine" the Conservative Party dreamt up by Danny Kruger, another kid in short trousers? Thatcher drew on the work of Karl Popper and the Austrian school, traditional Conservatives have drawn on Burke, John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham, et al. Polly Toynbee? How dumbed-down has the Conservative Party become? We know, when a tabloid journalist focusing on entertainment is appointed the Party press officer. How is the next manifesto to be presented - in cartoons or a pop record? - propose an absurd airline tax? Gordon Brown could not believe his luck when he delivered the Budget speech. Tough on theb Environment? No, plain stupid! Has Cameron any idea the contribution of the airline industry to UK GDP - jobs, services, benefits? Labour has secured the votes of all those folk who work in airports, provide services to the airline industry, or indeed travel abroad on the back of this back of the envelop policy initiative by Cameron and the kids. We want votes if we are ever to be back in power Malcolm - this is not the way to win them. That much should be obvious even to you. - snub business and enterprise and those who create wealth? The Conservative Party is the party of Freedom - we believe in free enterprise because a free society is a secure society. We were unquestionably the party of free enterprise. Now where are we? Cameroon and his so-called "advisers" have now decided to re-position us - reposition us as a party critical of, and hostile to, business. Labour can not believe their luck. As we vacate this prime plot of real estate on the centre ground, guess what? - Labour have wasted no time in setting up their tent. No wonder the British electorate now trust the Labour Party more on the economy than the Conservative Party! This policy shift is not merely ill-conceived it is scandalous - and it was implemented by Cameroon without reference to the membership of the party. For me this is a line in the sand - I am wholeheartedly a champion of business as was the Conservative Party when I first joined it. You suggested that if I am not happy with Cameron's reforms that I leave the Party - that is not likely - I know 99% of the party is wholeheartedly in agreement on this point and that Cameron is the one badly out of step with what we want. - refusal to give a clear policy on tax? I can understand holding back on the detail, I can not stomach a refusal to state where we stand on principle. We have had over 150 stealth taxes since Labour came to power - the tax burden has grown year by year. It is fairly evident to me that a commitment to low tax and efficient public services, a rolling back of the State, and a greater emphasis on individual responsibility and initiative are vote winners. These traditional Conservative policies have recently won the day in France - who says they do not have electoral appeal in the UK? Cameroon? I do not trust hisa judgement on this point. - undertake silly and childish pr stunts (huskies and glaciers, bike riding with car following behind, etc.)? Enough said! Cameron promised an end to spin, but that is all we have had. As a politician he is all fluff and no substance. As pointed out in the articles in the press I noted yesterday, the county is starting to see Cameron for what he is - an empty and hollow shell of a politician, puffed and preening his own puerile ambition. - present an inconsistent and unprincipled policy on Europe in terms of our EPP block alignment, resulting in a break down of relationship between the Conservative Party and the leaders of our European partners such as Angela Merkel, and threatening to leave us ineffectual and aligned with a rag bag of racists, bigots and other misfits. Yes, the one policy commitment Cameron did give during his election campaign was to the right wing of the party - it was a commitment to exit the EPP. Guess what - it was a stupid commitment! He now knows that. So what is he doing? A fumbled incoherent compromise that alienates everyone. I am pragmatic on Europe, I respect the right of those to be sceptical on Europe. I can debate with Eurosceptics on the merits on Europe - we may disagree with each other, but we can respect each other. How, Malcolm do any of us respect Cameron's position on Europe - his position here was not merely expedient - he lied. That is a fact. Defend him on this if you can. - foolishly attempt to distance us from the USA, (leading to a break down of relations between the Conservative Party and the White House). Again, we have the Labour Party looking as though it is the only party made up of adults on this policy issue. Mistakes were made in Iraq - I opposed the war as did a number of senior respected Conservatives - Cameron on the other hand supported it. He supported it unequivocally. What a kak-head then to rub the White House up the wrong way with purile criticism. Has he any sense of international politics? So far he has shown an uncanny ability to fumble every ball. - assert a wrong and muddleheaded position in regards to grammar schools? The ground on this issue has been well trodden. Again, it simply illustrates that Cameron has no idea of the views of his Party. Actually, that is not true - he is arrogant, self centered and pompous - he does not care what other people think. This aristocrat believes that that it is the duty of the lower social orders to simply fetch and carry, and that he knows best. - criticise our core Middle class voters consistently? This Eton educated Toff, who got his job at Conservative HQ through the intervention of a family friend at the Palace, is contemptuous of the Middle Class. He despises people that aspire to provide a better life for them selves and their children. He despises the values of hard work and merit - his values are those of the aristocratic landed classes. More of his friends in parliament are fine, more barriers to middle class aspiration are justified because he really does not like the jumped-up little "oiks". Well Malcolm, the middle classes are the backbone of Britain, and we no longer hold any deference for social throw-backs like Cameron. We want a modern society, a modern Britain - and we will fight for it. - advocate an absurd “heir to Blair” aspiration? What makes Cameron think Blair is a role model to be emulated? Blair has created a state with terrifying power, he has undermined every cherished principle of civil liberty, he has defied the UN and lead us into an illegal war, he has lied to Parliament and the people. He has created a state that intervenes, that meddles, that is frighteningly intrusive. He has dabbled in social engineering and robbed us of our freedom. If this is the model that Cameron wishes to emulate, then Britain will become ever more divided, more polarised and violent. This is not a vision that any Conservative aspires to. - abrogate our traditional even-handed approach to delicate Middle East issues by asserting "I am a Zionist”? Again, what posses the man? Is he being briefed by imbeciles? There is a delicate diplomatic role for Britain to be played in easing the tensions in the Middle East. There are rights and wrongs on both sides. How then do you earn the respect of all the parties who have deep and legitimate grievances by declaring that you already favour the position of one side? Granted the Jewish lobby in British politics is powerful, but the duty of every British Prime Minister or aspiring Prime Minister is first and foremost to Britain. If Cameron wants to carry weight on the important issue of peace in the Middle East then he should have studiously make sure that he was above the fray. He is now irretrivably compromised. - make our position on the critical issue of Energy Policy incoherent through his "Green" tosh, and so surrender the initiative to Labour? The most important issue in the next decade is Energy - we are running our of oil. Our wealth as a nation is directly correlated with our consumption of power. As oil runs out we in the decades ahead experience significant social and economic change. The environmental debate is a sub-debate of the Energy debate. By becoming a messianic crusader on green issues, Cameron has focused on the tail and not the dog. Again, on this critical issue Labour appear to be the only party which has adults in charge. As such, Malcolm, lets cut the huff-puff insults. Did you know that Cameron would take the position he has on the issues noted above during his election campaign? Other than his commitment to exit the EPP, his response when questioned on policy was the same as that he adopted when questioned on his prior use of drugs - he refused to discuss it. For me the position is quite simple - we made a mistake when we elected Cameron as Leader, however, that is a mistake that we still have time to rectify. If we do not get rid of Cameron then the odds are pretty good that we will get crushed in the next General election. Do not make the mistake of attributing the recent District Council election success to Cameron - that was due to local factors, to the fact that the Labour Party is unpopular, a high water mark for Labour in the prior elections, and lets, be honest, it did not really matter - District and County Councils have been emasculated under Labour. When we come to the next General Election things will be different - do you really expect the party to rally behind a Leader who breaks in to tears because a Daily Mirror journalist is being beastly to him? We need a Leader made of sterner stuff, with fire in their belly, and a passion for Britain. As such, Malcolm, I do not intent to go off and do something else - I intend to fight for our great Party. I am a Conservative - not a Camaroon.
Toggle Commented Jun 15, 2007 on Friday 15th June 2007 at ConservativeHome
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Interesting article from the Daily Mirror on line – mirror.co.uk. (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/columnists/maguire/tm_headline=read-it-and-weep--cam--&method=full&objectid=19287530&siteid=89520-name_page.html) Apparently a meeting called by Cameron with the paper to discuss a complaint of unfair treatment instead of resolving differences resulted in a complete breakdown – the article below gives an indication of the kind of onslaught Cameron will face going into an election. I don’t think he will come out well. Cameron has had an easy ride with the media so far – I think it going to be far rougher going forward. Simon Heffer’s article in The Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/06/13/do1302.xml ) also reflect a growing realisation that David Cameron may not be the man to reverse the electoral misfortunes of the Conservative Party. I personally think the Conservative Party made a mistake in electing Cameron as leader – we were conned into it by the media. He is untried, untested and unprincipled – his shilly-shallying on the drugs issue should have been ample warning that this was a man who lacked judgement. In a relatively short period of time Cameron has alienated his activists through: - the A-List debacle, - gerrymandering of the party constitution, - the undemocratic selection rules for candidacy to stand for the European elections, - his hug-a-hoodie speech, - his misjudged wooing of the public sector, - his short-sighted attempt to make political gain by opposing Labours current attempts to reign in spending in the NHS, - his embrace of Polly Toynbee's views, - his proposed airline tax, - his various snubs to business and enterprise, - his refusal to give a clear policy on tax, - silly and childish pr stunts (huskies and glaciers, bike riding with car following behind, etc.), - an inconsistent and unprincipled policy on Europe in terms of our EPP block alignment (resulting in a break down of relationship between the Conservative Party and the leaders of our European partners such as Angela Merkel, and threatening to leave us ineffectual and aligned with a rag bag of racists, bigots and other misfits); - a foolish attempt to distance us from the USA, (leading to a break down of relations between the Conservative Party and the White House); - his grammar school policy (and his criticism of our core Middle class voters), - his “heir to Blair” aspiration, - "I am a Zionist”, - et al. et al. This is not the stuff of serious politics – it is amateur theatrics and the electorate will, and has, seen through it. The only policy we have from Cameron and his Notting Hill coterie is an attempt to re-brand the Conservatives as “Greens” (and a silly new logo to boot). Why?, there already is a Green Party, and their electoral fortunes have been in steady decline for over a decade. Due to this “Green” nonsense the Labour Party has been able to seize the sensible ground on the critically important issue of Energy Policy while the Conservatives have dithered on the edges of the debate. Our Party has suffered a putsch by a handful of Eton educated London-based dilatants – these amateurs are out of step both with our party and with the country at large. Despite their belief that they, (due to their privileged background), are destined to rule, they have shown themselves time and time again to be well out of their depth. The appointment of a tabloid spin-doctor will not change this - it will simply drag the Conservative Party further down market. These are not serious politicians, and the Conservative Party will not be fit to rule while Cameron and his cabal are in charge. If we are ever to be worth of power again we need a mature approach and policies of substance. The first step clearly is to get rid of Cameron. It is time the kids were sent home.
Toggle Commented Jun 14, 2007 on Thursday 14th June 2007 at ConservativeHome
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Well done Jimmy. It is important that a pragmatic European perspective is argued, and argued cogently and with passion if the Conservative Party is ever to be in power again. We need the debate. We can not put it off any more. We need to deal with the anti-Europeans and show that we are a grown-up party and ready once more for the responsibilities of power. A pragmatic approach to Europe is a litmus test of political maturity. Its time the so-called “activists” got in touch with the grassroots and stopped simply speaking to those of a like mind if we ever want to win an election again. I note that Andrew Woodman has dropped points 1 and 2 from his "please explain list" from yesterday’s blog. I presume I answered the point re Fisheries earlier to day to his full satisfaction. He now understands why an engaged approach to the CFP is important to Britain and all those who derive their living from fishing and related industries. Turning to the essence of this debate the key point is - WE HAVE TRIED EUROSCEPTISM – As a policy IT FAILED. Our anti-European policy cost us the past three elections. THAT IS A FACT. The majority of this country is not anti-European. We know that. We have tested it at the polls. My generation, the 40 - 45 year olds drifted away from Conservatism precisely because they were embarrassed by the policies put forward by the loony anti-European fringe of the Conservative Party so ably and effectively represented by Roger Helmer. He is not a serious politician, he is simply a grandstander. Does anyone remember Hague’s speech of the 26 May, 2001 - "12 days to save the Pound"? http://www.conservatives.com/tile.do?def=news.story.page&obj_id=11274&speeches=1 Read it - you can't say the Euro-sceptics did not have the chance to sell their view, and guess what the Great British public were not buying. For the excruciating embarrassment of the Euro-sceptics let me give you a few choice quotes from the former, and failed, leader of the Conservative Party, William Hague's speech: "This election is not just about who will form the next Government. It's also about whether we continue to have a Government that is sovereign in this country. It's about whether we carry on deciding our own affairs at future general elections. "Yesterday, Tony Blair made his intentions clear. If he is re-elected, he will speed up the process of European integration. He has said that he plans to scrap the pound within two years.” 2001 + 2 years = 2003. Do you think Hague was slightly, with all his pseudo-Churchillian rhetoric, over egging his case? The next section is embarrassing for all Conservatives: “So I am not choosing my words lightly when I say that this could be the last general election of its kind. The last time that the people of the United Kingdom are able to elect a Parliament which is supreme in this country. "This is an issue that ought to transcend party politics. I know that there are many decent, patriotic people who are not natural Conservatives but who are just as concerned as we are about preserving our self-government. People who may be lifelong Labour or Liberal voters, but who want to keep the pound. "I am appealing to those people this morning. Lend us your vote. Lend us your vote this time, so that your vote will still mean something next time, and the time after, and the time after that. Vote Conservative this one time, so that we can carry on having meaningful general elections in an independent Britain.” Guess what – the Great British public did not give us their votes, nor did they lend us their votes. The BBC verdict on the 2001 election: “But in almost every other sense, the 2001 campaign ended in the same way the 1997 campaign did - with Labour winning a landslide and the Tory leader quitting.“ Labour had 413 seats, we had a measly 166. The BBC commented as follows: “Small anti-Euro vote: Anti-European Union campaigners failed to attract much support in counts across the country.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/vote2001/hi/english/newsid_1376000/1376389.stm We have tried anti-Europeanism – and we lost. It is time for a mature and pragmatic attitude towards Europe.
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“You make a very eloquent pro EU argument, but I wonder if you would care to address one or two counter points. 1. What has the EU done for British Fishing?” Dear Andrew, I do not have the time to write a full brief on all the points you raise, but I will deal briefly with what the EU has done for British fishing. Lets put the UK fishing sector in context: “If the English sea fishing and fish processing sectors were removed simultaneously, the impact would reduce UK GDP by £2,688 million, though it is important to note that this is only 0.28% of total UK GDP. ….The impact of removing these two sectors from the Scottish economy is to reduce Scottish GDP by of 1.01%.” - The economic impacts of the UK sea fishing and fish processing sectors: an Input-Output analysis, see http://www.seafish.org/land/economics.asp?p=fl As such, the total UK fishing industry is small, far smaller than for example the Telecommunications, Energy, Retail, etc sectors. These are all sector where the EU has done done a great deal to open and liberalise Euriopean markets to the distinct benefit of British business. The fishing industry is one that is described as a “sun-set industry”, it has low value-added and requires low skill. It depends on exploiting a finite resource, which is renewable, only if it is managed properly. Nevertheless, it is an important sector for those involved in, and each British job is valued. Now what is the big issue – quota levels? UK fishermen argue that it is set to low. That argument has been supported by Conservative politicians, particularly Scottish MEP’s. However, considered British scientific opinion disagrees. “The Royal Society, Britain's national academy of science, says European Union politicians are gambling with the health of the remaining European fish. It accuses the politicians of ignoring sound science in continuing to set catch quotas above sustainable levels.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3162434.stm It is a fine line to tread, but the EU seems to have generally got the balance about right. Defra and the Marine and Fisheries Agency have supported EU opinion on this point, and have actively engaged in the process, see. http://www.defra.gov.uk/fish/pdf/fishfocus5.pdf Lets now have a sensible discussion about the Common Fisheries Policy. This Policy is made up of four main areas of responsibility covering: • Conservation and limitation of the environmental impact of fishing. Policies in this area aim to protect fish resources by regulating the amount of fish taken from the sea, by allowing young fish to reproduce, and by ensuring that measures are respected. • Structures and fleet management. Policies in this area seek to help the fishing and aquaculture industries adapt their equipment and organisations to the constraints imposed by scarce resources and the market. The EU has sought to put in place measures aimed at creating a balance between fishing effort and available fish resources. • Markets. The EU has sought to maintain a common organisation of the market in fish products and to match supply and demand for the benefit of both producers and consumers. • Relations with the outside world. The EU has set up fisheries partnerships agreements and has negotiated at the international level within regional and international fisheries organisations for common conservation measures in deep-sea fisheries. The aim of the CFP has been to secure the future of the EU fisheries sector by ensuring sustainable fisheries. If Cameron really is an “Eco warrior” then he should, if his thinking was vaguely joined-up, be a fully signed-up enthusiast for the CFP. Most scientific opinion is in favour of what the EU is doing in this regard, indeed, the only grumble is that they perhaps have not been tough enough. In pursuit of the CFP the EU have negotiated TAG’s, and implemented them; they have put in place fleet reduction programmes, and provided funds for a range of schemes, in addition they have negotiated a wide range of international treaties affecting the British fleets right to fish in a variety of international waters. All of these initiatives have been done involving extensive interaction and consultation with industry stakeholders. Defra and the Marine and Fisheries Agency are constantly consulted and consulting on behalf of the EU. The CFP has not been designed and implemented by a far-away Brussels bureaucracy, it has been designed and implemented by Brits. All of these activities have been to the benefit of the British fishing industry and the British public. That is the opinion of the overwhelming weight of British scientific opinion. These are facts. Sensible politicians and administrators have realised that it is essential that we engage in the process of effectively managing our fish stocks. This engagement is essential to the development of a sustainable fishing industry. There can be differences of opinion, but those differences can only be resolved by engagement in the process. This is the grown-up way of dealing with business issues – grandstanding with a partial grip of the facts helps no one, least of all those who depend on fishing for a livelihood. This position has been fully supported by the overwhelming weight of British scientific opinion. These are facts. I will deal with your other points re democracy, farming and EFTA when I have a moment.
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No Malcolm I am not that MH. An amusing attempt to smear, but misdirected. I am a County Councillor currently actively campaigning for the Conservative Party. I have the blisters and scrapped knuckles to prove it. I won my seat in May 2005 fighting Labour in a Labour area, and I did it by good old fashioned campaigning on the doorstep. Trust the people - if you do, many will put aside inherited prejudice and select the best person. You do not need to gerrymander the rules if you believe in what you say, you have done your homework, and can marshal a convincing argument. Margret Thatcher knew that - she was a conviction politician who spoke right to the heart of the British people, which is why we reached into parts of the country that we never had previously. Speak plainly, speak honestly, speak passionately. The same arguments on selection on the basis of merit should apply to how the Conservative Party selects its MEP's and MP's. I think the majority of the country has disagreed with the Euro sceptic views articulated by some activists, to wit, 3 election defeats. I have forthright views and they are well known – these are not hidden. I also deliver on my promises. I do not expect people to agree with me all of the time, if they did, I would be doing something seriously wrong. I expect people to disagree with some of my views – that is healthy, that is part of the democratic process. I have argued for democracy - and I believe in it. I have no problem in being defeated, provided I have been given an opportunity to argue my case. What I have noted, however, is that there are an awful lot of fair minded folk – who, even if they disagree with an aspect of my views, will take a rounder view of matters, and support me if I am the best person for the job. Most Britons do believe in merit. The Conservative Party certainly used to believe in merit. These new rules on MEP selection are not a pro-European connivance – they are simply undemocratic and unfair. The reason I began to take an active role in politics again 4 years ago followed a clash with Roger Helmer over the Iraq war. He was rude, intemperate and boorish, high handed and arrogant. I could not believe that we had elected such a person to represent Britain and the Conservative Party. During that clash of correspondence he challenged me, if I disapproved of him so much, to take him on come the next European elections. That has been my intention for the past 4 years. I would like to challenge Roger Helmer - and I would like to do it from a pragmatic European perspective. Most betting folk would lay odds on my skills as a barrister to shred him if given the opportunity. I would delight in taking him on in the hustings. It would be a very pleasant experience from my perspective. However, as a result of these new rules I am denied the opportunity of taking Roger Helmer on, of arguing my case, and of letting the members decide. That is wrong. I have been a member of the Conservative Party for 21 years and I believe I am entitled to argue my case – and having done so – to let the members decide on the merits.
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If you wish to present an argument Neil do so. Explain to me why these Conservative politicians have "gone native", and no longer represent the best interests of Britain? With 20 years of representing British interests I do not regard myself as nieve, and no one I have dealt with would regard me as being starry eyed and filled with Euro ethusiasm. The difference between being a Party ready for power and one revelling in the ideological purity of opposition, is that if you want power you know you need to get your hands dirty. Next time give a reply that has substance.
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The issue of democracy - and the lack of it with regards to these proposals - is one point. On that point, I agree entirely with the need to uphold the democratic principle. The issue of Europe is a separate issue. I do not agree that the Conservative Party should leave the EPP, and I regard the "Better Off Out" position as woefully naive. If we want to show that we are a party again deserving of power we need to approach the issue of Europe as adults. We have a duty to act in the best interest of Britain. That means recognising that Europe is important to Britain. Closing your eyes and wishing it were otherwise, will not make it so. Europe is important to Britain not merely as a unified common market; but also because many of the issues we face can only be dealt with at the European level - including key issues in regards to the Environment, Terrorism and Law & Order. I know Cameron wants to distance himself from business, but as a traditional Conservative, I do not. Being anti-European is against Britain’s best interests. This is a fact of which I am certain. That is why British Business is pragmatic with regards to Europe, and so historically has been the Conservative Party. Indeed, so was Margret Thatcher. Anyone who believes we are better off out has no grasp of the basic economic and political realities that face us as a country, and has become delusional. That type of delusion is woefully naive and dangerous. British business uses DG VII to open markets, to secure fair access, to spread the principles of competition. In so doing they act in the best interest of Britain. The approach is pragmatic. Often, it is France, Germany and Spain who are deeply resentful of our successes in this regard. That is part of the reason that France voted against the European Constitution – their public regard the European Union as too heavily influenced by English political principles. I have heard a lot of clap-trap from anti-Europeans on the Human Rights Act. Clause 6, the one often criticised, deals with a fair trial. It was inserted and drafted by English lawyers and is referred to as the “English clause”. This clause is something of which we should be proud both as Britons and Conservatives as it represents that flowering of English jurisprudence that has won us as a nation universal admiration. I am tired of the “Witch finder General” mentality of some Euro sceptic Conservatives - being anti-European is not a prerequisite for being a Conservative. If it were, the Conservative Party would have split long ago, and those committed to that position of splendid isolation would have drifted-off the nether regions of irrelevance currently occupied by UKIP. The Conservative Party is a broad church united by certain common values - anti-Europeanism is not one of those defining principles. As such, when working yourself up into a rabid froth, remember that however much you may criticise the so-called “pro-Europeans” you have more in common with them than you have with the Liberal Democrats or Labour. If you did not then we as the Conservative Party will never be in power again. As such, respond in a measured way when you encounter a Conservative who has pragmatic views on Europe – they may well still do a good job in representing you. The MEP's you are identifying as having "gone native" are simply doing what mature and responsible politicians are expected to do - they are getting involved in the process and arguing for policies that are in Britain’s best interest. I do not believe that any of them have argued for a European Super-State. Indeed, I do not know anyone who has argued for that particular bogyman – it certainly would be an anathema to both the French and the Germans. If we are talking about undemocratic laws – hey, isn’t this blog a reaction to the Conservative Party Boards arbitrary and undemocratic policy making? Lets be consistent in our criticism. As a lawyer, I have dealt with Brussels bureaucrats, and as a general rule they are far better educated, more competent and efficient than any I have met at Whitehall, and they make the officers you encounter at County and District level appear as bumptious yokels. As such, Business generally welcomes dealing with Brussels - you get results, things get done, you do not get shuffled from desk to desk or brushed-off. As such, please cut the grandstanding xenophobia and grow up! Turning to those hero’s of the Eurosceptic cause, Helmer & Co. are a joke. They have done absolutely nothing to benefit British business; they have done nothing to create jobs. Like Kilroy-Silk all they have done is pander to prejudice and preen their own bloated ego's. Helmer should go – he had the whip withdrawn because of his failure to adhere to the basic principles of party discipline, he is widely, and rightly so, regarded as a pathetic politician. Leaving the EPP is not a responsible course of action. It will make us a peripheral party and irrelevant. Have any of you sat representing a minority party in a Council? If so you will know the frustration that comes with being politically impotent. The proposed alternative is a joke - loonies and extremists one and all. These are not the kind of people that a serious party wants to get in bed with, least of all a party with the proud history and traditions of the Conservative Party. There are very good reasons why some of us remain pragmatic on Europe. First and foremost we recognise that it is in Britain best interest to be fully engaged in Europe. It would be easy to roll-over and go with the flow of anti-Europeanism that has driven our party to three consecutive election defeats, but to do so would be to recognise that the Conservative Party will never again be deserving of holding power. I am not prepared to chuck in the towel on our great Party. The anti-Europeans have much to answer for, they have driven us to the periphery of British politics, and their extremism has cost us three elections. When these folk were given a choice between a serious politician and a joke, they chose the joke. To make it worse, some still can not see the joke. I am not laughing.
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O give us a break! I could not give a damn if a women is selected, provided she wins her selection on merit. Plenty of women deserve to be MP's and MEP's, and those with real drive will make it - this type of gerrymandering demeans those women and their efforts. This is not about whether a women conservative MEP could do a job better or worse than a man. Neither is it about sexism. It is about fair play. Fair play for men, and fair play for women. It is as simple as that. It is not for the Party Board to gerrymander the election process, nor is for them to engage in social engineering. Labour should have learnt its lesson at Blaenau Gwent - it appears that David Cameron still has to learn his. The A-List was rejected because it was undemocratic and a bad idea. This bad idea also needs to be firmly rejected.
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This is unacceptable. The basic principle of one person, one vote is the only selection process that is acceptable in a democracy. This is a gift to the Labour Party - it will split the Conservatives, and set member against member. I will not vote for, nor will I campaign for the Conservative Party if this selection process is implemented. Any candidate who gets selected under this mechanism deserves to be shunned.
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"regime change" under the UN Charter is illegal, and it is illegal in International Law. Not even Blair justified the illegal war in Iraq on the basis of "regime change". That argument has only been put forward by Bush. As to "pandering to the sensibilities of liberals" that is an argument that runs counter to our own commitment to the Rule of Law as a fundamental principle of our democracy. We do not arrest people on the basis of the suspicions of police and Intelligence Services, we arrest them when we have evidence. We charge people in open court, and the burden is on the State to prove to prove an accusation beyond reasonable doubt. These are the fundamental principles of English Law. These are the principles that the British public expect British politicians to uphold. Our politics must be based on principle, not expediency.
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Exactly what type of Conservative Party does David Cameron want to lead? He appears to want one which has nothing to do with the membership, or for that matter, with the British electorate. What does he want - a hereditary or appointed House of Commons? Following the pattern of Cameron’s proposed reforms, why bother with democracy at all? That appears to be the thrust of the so-called reforms. Such a view is extremely cynical and will result in the destruction of our Party - the electorate will see through the sham - the British people want substance in their politicians, not spin. Greg Dyke is not a Conservative - it is therefore inconceivable that Conservatives could be asked to back him. It is outrageous that David Cameron should be seeking to foist someone like Greg Dyke on the Conservative Party. Michael Portillo is correct - David Cameron has severely undermined and embarrassed every Conservative who put their hat in the ring to stand for London's mayor. For that gross misjudgement he should apologise, indeed, he should resign along with that cabal of privileged prats who have usurped power in our party. The problem is that the Parliamentary Party is completely out of touch with their own grass roots and the country at large. That is the result of electing Eton/Oxbridge hacks who have never held a proper job. Portillo is very wrong on one point - we do not need "professional politicians", ie. those who graduated from Oxbridge to Central Office to become MP's - these “bright young things” are the real problem - we need more experienced politicians, those who have worked for a living, those who can speak to ordinary folk up and down the country. It is not a surprise that these professional hacks want state funding. It is also not a surprise that they continually seek to gerrymandering the electoral process. They simply want the right to be in parliament without ever having to bother with constituency associations or the need to win the support of the electorate. They want rotten boroughs controlled by an established House of Commons aristocracy. This is unacceptable in a democracy. If we, as the Conservative Party, ever want to be in power again then we must win that right by the strength of our ideas, by the superiority of our policies, and by the conviction of our leadership. We need adults in charge, not these kids. The Conservative Party was a broad church - that was why we were the natural party of power - when the extremist anti-Europeans asserted themselves against John Major they pushed our Party into an ideological wilderness. We have been in that wilderness for 10 years. During that 10 year period we have seen a Labour Government take our country into an illegal war in Iraq - which only a few principled members of our Party opposed - we have witnessed a ruthless assault on civil liberties - again only opposed by a few honourable men and women in our party - we surrendered principle to the Liberal Democrats because of the professional political hacks who put expediency first. The only thing which held back sensible folk from joining the Liberal Democrats was the realisation that their economic policies were a nonsense. Regrettably now, the Liberal Democrats are starting to look more sensible on the economy than the Conservatives - and, however much one may deplore Labour's policies on a number of fronts - Gordon Brown looks far more credible than George Orborne. So, lets cut the environmental guff, forget about hugging a hoodie, advocating gay rights, and embracing a bloated civil service. These are not part of a traditional Conservative agenda, and they are not important to the vast majority of the British electorate. These are peripheral issues that are important only to fringe groups. What the British public want, and what we as the Conservative Party must ensure we give them are clear policies that will grow our economy, create jobs, cut taxes, and ensure that we have laws that are firm and fair and apply equally to all; and that our international policy is principled and clearly in our national interest. It matters that we are a broad church, it matters that we are a national party, only as the Conservative and Liberal Unionist Party can we ever win power back again, only if we reflect our roots deep within the history and culture of our nation will we be deserving of power.
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This is unacceptable. * "Only MEPs who irrevocably commit to David Cameron's EPP exit commitment will be entitled to stand again as MEPs". Who say's David Cameron's views on Europe are right? If they are not, how do you put forward an alternative view? I can put up with losing a vote after having argued my case, I can not accept being prohibited from arguing the point of view I believe in at all. Under this policy initiative the debate is stifled. Indeed, there is no debate. There is simply a diktat. This is undemocratic and dangerous. It smacks of totalatarianism. This is alien to the history and traditions of the Conservative Party. Does this mean that all pro-European Tories or Tories with a pragmatic approach to Europe now no longer can be members of the Conservative Party? If so, this is a putch -and it is a putch which will split the Conservative Party. As such, this is an ill-conceived strategy and one with wide ranging ramifications. If we exit the EPP where do we go? The so-called alternative is a joke. To allign the Conservative Party with a few extremists and xhenophobes serves the interests of no one, least of all the British public who MEP's are elected to serve. From a business perspective Europe is important, and the interests of Britain as Margret Thatcher declared require that we be at the heart of Europe. Cameron's EPP exit strategy leaves our party at the periphery of Europe. Has anyone thought this policy through? I do not think so. It is silly, ill-conceived and it will cost us both at home and abroad. * "MEPs will then be assessed by a college of regional Association Chairmen and others (large Associations will have extra representatives on this college) as to whether they should continue as candidates in the top places of regional lists; If the college rejects incumbent MEPs they will not be permitted to stand at all; Rank-and-file members will then have an opportunity to re-rank those MEPs who are approved as candidates but only within the top slots; Any retiring MEPs will be replaced by women candidates; Members will then be able to propose rankings for other MEP candidates for the slots outside the top places." Again this is unacceptable. What makes David Cameron think that members of the Conservative Party will stand for this jerrymandering? The only fair way to select a candidate is "one member, one vote". Candidates should be selected on merit alone through an open and fair democratic process. Anything else is unacceptable, it is contrary to all that the Conservative Party stands for, and it is unethical. How can any Conservative vote at the European Elections for a Conservative List selected in this way? It is an affront to everything that Conservatives believe in. Many middle-of-the-road Conservatives have defected to the Liberal Demorates or Labour. These fair minded folk are the "centerground" that we alienated when the Conservative Party drifted to the extremes of anti-European views in the late 1990's. The "center ground" is also occupied by white, middle class professionals who have families, who pay their taxes, and who want sound Government. The Labour Party clearly has recognised this fact as illustrated by the recent environmental debate over taxing air travel where we looked electorially nieve and downright stupid. As a simple electorial fact, white, middle class men and women are the backbone of Middle England. These are the people who care enough to vote. Therefore, it is these people we need to win back to the Conservative Party if we ever want power again. This part of the electorate is not anti-European. As such, this will not persuade them to return to the fold. From the perspective of anyone who is sensible, this selection policy confirms that it is the same "nasty party" dominated by anti-European Tories. A few more women candidates, or candidates from ethnic backgrounds is not going to convince anyone that the Conservative Party has moved back to the center ground. Indeed, moving to the middle ground is not about having more women or ethnic minorities in parliament - that is a complete red herring - what is important is that we have the right people in parliament in whom the electorate have trust. Party hacks who simply do as they are told, however photogenic they may be, are part of the reason why the public is so deeply disenchanted with modern British politics. To think that the superficial re-branding that has taken place is sufficient, is to misunderstand why the British public rejected the Conservative Party in the past three elections. The Labour Party's position on Europe looks far more grown-up than that put forward by David Cameron's Nottinghill Set. I have heard several former Conservatives, deeply disillusioned by David Cameron's policy initiative state that perhaps the best way to deal with those aspects of the Labour Party that they do not like, is to join the Labour Party. However much one dislikes aspects of "new Labour" policy, the party at least is run by grown-ups and it has serious policies. Regretably, it is becoming imposible to take David Cameron seriously.
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