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RobertDonnell
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Firstly, congratulations to Mr Lidington for blogging here. It fills me with hope and joy that Northern Ireland is being discussed in a calm and rational manner on a UK wide forum. Mr Lidington gets straight to the issue. SF/IRA must give up their arms and criminal activity in order to participate in government. As I have said before on this blog the Conservative Party has an attractive policy which would be supported by the people of Northern Ireland. The Conservative values espoused by Cameron married with Unionism based on the democratic wishes of NI, and not empire or religious bigotry, is the way forward. May you continue to espouse this Mr Lidington and receive the support you deserve.
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As a Conservative who was born and educated in Northern Ireland, into a Unionist family, I believe Liddington to be the best Conservative spokesman / minister for over 30 years. With his comments he has gone to the heart of the issue. SF/IRA need to abide to the rule of law and the authority of parliament. We have to expose them as the thugs they are. We cannot let them hide behind the excuse that they could not swear to the queen. Although I am a loyal subject of the Queen who supports a Constitutional monarch as the head of state. We need to create an environment in this country that supports all people to feel that their first loyalty is to Britian. That may involve changes to some oaths / customs that are close to our hearts. Lets look forward not back. Lets practice the politics of AND.
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For a real perspective in what the Lib Dem's think of Oaten and for a good laugh try http://www.thedarbyshires.blogspot.com/ Many of you have already seen it but it is worth a re-visit. Worryingly its all true. (ps Robin Darbyshire used to work for Oaten)
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Sean - I agree with you the govt. repeatly ignores the wishes of 78% to do deals with terrorists. Mark Durkan has been much stronger against SF than Hume ever was.
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BB - facile comments about 'Loyal Ulster' and 'No surrender' only cheapen the debate and leave conservative unionsits open to attack as empire loving bigots. This debate is about a commitment to democracy, respect for the rule of law and the wishes of the majority not about harking back to the past.
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The really disgusting thing here is that all the other political parties were against this both Unionist (UUP & DUP) and nationalist (SDLP) and the Alliance but the government only changed its mind once Sein Fein came out against it. Time and time again the government ignores the wishes of the Northern Irish people and only listens to Sein Fein/ IRA. The Labour government is only interested in headline terorism and frankly and upsettingly that means attacks on England. They treat killings, maimings and gang land activities as irrelevant as long as they are kept in N Ireland. Ut is without doubt institutionalised racism. Liddington is right - the Conservatives have finally got a good and sensible policy on Northern Ireland one that actually resonates with the people and defends those who are non violent and democratic. My greatest wish is that we as a party could organise in Ulster properly and capitalise on the demise of the UUP. A conservative party with the Cameron factor could do great things in N Ireland and change politics there long term.
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There are many voters out there that voted Tory through the 80's and gave us our big majorities that are looking for somewhere to go. Not the highly educated, sophisticated voter of a Bath or Romsey but the skilled working classes. They voted for us because we struck a cord with them, council house sell off etc etc. In the 90's they started to turn to Labour by '97 they were all Labour. They are now looking at who to vote for. Its these voters that we need to be fighting the Lib Dems for. The lib Dems are already making in roads in to these areas at local elections and if we do not watch out they will become entrenched. We all know how difficult it is to unseat a Lib Dem, so lets not let them get their feet under the table
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It is a truism that we need to win back the voters that have been backing the Lib Dems in the recent past, but we need to be careful how we go about it. The approach of building a consensus with Lib Dems could backfire on us badly. Take Winchester - Why vote Tory if they seem to be in agreement with your local Lib Dem MP, you will just vote for your local self publicist. We all know that the Lib Dems at local level will lie all the way to the ballot box. We need to be operating a LONG TERM STRATEGY against the Lib Dems, over several parliaments. We need to 1) position ourselves in the centre ground 2) make the party seem attractive to the Lib Dem voter at the moment AND 3) expose the Lib Dems for their hypocrosy and incompetance 4) position the Tories as the alternative to Labour. Labour's vote is crumbling - we have to fight hard against the Lib Dems at every level from street to street to make sure they vote Tory in the future and not Lib Dem. So, resonable consensus Yes - but lets keep attacking too.
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Sir M as a leader of the security group may lead to conflicts between the shadow ministers and the policy heads. IDS is different as he is a former leader. Perhaps deputy leader would have been a good job for Sir M - 'everyone needs a Malcie'but not now
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BBC are just reporting that Riftkin has refused any job bar Shadow Foreign Sec and has returned to the back bench. Its a pity to loose talent like that but holding out for one job is a little precious
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