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Crighton
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"For a nation that lives on credit, a banking meltdown is the stuff of the worst nightmares" "Under the tutellage of Andy Coulson ... ... Cameron turned the screw on Brown ... ... blaming the Northern Rock debacle on a decade's loose management of the economy" Poor, if not wrong analysis, of the Northern Rock situation. Many worried investors and HM Opposition sees it as an opportunity to fan the flames and for personal and political point scoring. "The media lapped it up, enjoying as it always does, the spectacle of the great and mighty confounded". Responsible? Statesman-like? Government-like? 'The 'nasty party' simply seems to live on.
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Editor, Perhaps it's no surprise that journalists and the media quote from and draw opinions from comments on this blog. The name Conservative Home, (large 'C' naturally) and the tag line 'the home of the Tory Grass Roots' (though now no longer being used?) tend to suggest some 'official' representation. The blog certainly gets noticed, as no doubt you would wish, and I'm sure that in PR terms the name and tagline helps. Perhaps the question is what are the current aims and intentions of this blog? In the very early days of this blog, the intent, as I recall, was to provide a focus for discussion of conservative (small 'c') politics, ideas, policies, etc. Is this still the aim or an aim? Or is it now primarily about helping David Cameron become Prime Minister, Or some other aim or aims? Whilst, arguably, the first two could be linked, the content of the discussions, and the development and understanding of ideas is likely to be very different depending on the goal. Perhaps some renewed clarity as to the aims of the blog would make posting policy easier to decide.
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1. Please can we have a definition of 'public service broadcasting'? Whatever it is, I assume it is, by a long way, a minority of total broadcasting output. Thus, why not allocate to the 'public broadcaster, the BBC, 1 TV channel and 1 radio station for 'public service output' with a significantly reduced licence fee (as a step towards its being abolished). If more 'public service broadcasting' is required, broadcasters and others can make the case. 2. The change to digital is incurring costs for ALL broadcasters. Some own the transmission network and are investing accordingly (e.g. Sky), others pay through the charges made by the transmission companies. 3. "You're right F and I'll think how news and comment can be more honestly differentiated so that readers always know what they're getting." However, as with Newspapers whatever the labels say, it's ALL opinion/editorial.
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Increasing the size of the Tory tent? The Parliamentary Conservative Party and its leadership should get some focus on what it paid to do, that is OPPOSE. Goodness knows there are plenty of opportunities. In recent days, a minister misleading Parliament and the public yet again, the Prime Minister claiming that it's the public's fault that Post Offices are to be closed (shades of Erich Honneger and 'change the electorate'), endless failures in respect of equipment supply to our troops, a UK business being closed down by special order in Parliament no less in contravention of both UK and EU law... ... The failure to oppose in a sustained, organised, visible and determined fashion is a scandal - taking money under false pretences comes to mind. It may be hard work and unpopular with the political bien pensant but by doing what HM's Opposition are paid to do, OPPOSING, rather than pulling stunts and phot ops like some second rate PR agency, the Tories might show that they are capable of dealing with the problems of government, look like a government in waiting, and encourage the opprobrium which our current government so richly deserves.
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Editor, The British press is getting worse. Jack-of-all-trade journalists appear increasingly unable to look into the meat of a story. All they want is a cheap and dirty headline. You are so right. Incidentally, though in the past you've not seen eye-to-eye, on this subject you are at one with Euroferendum's findings as shown here (http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2006/08/corruption-of-media.html) and here (http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2006_11_01_eureferendum_archive.html). The sad part is, as we can already see, that the debate will be about what the journalist said rather than the report itself. But then Newspapers are primarily about selling newspapers.
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This extraordinary story (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/12/10/nbook10.xm) tells us much about where power really lies ... ... Grist to the Opposition mill you might think ... ...
Toggle Commented Dec 10, 2006 on Sunday 10th December 2006 at ConservativeHome
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Melanie Phillips mentions aping Blair and also makes a point about the necessity of trusting a leader. Sadly the outcome of the EPP withdrawal promise hardly helped in developing trust. Nor, sadly, does the example quoted in Simon Heffer's Telegraph article yesterday, which I didn't see mentioned on CH. Heffer commented, 'Mr Cameron said of Lord Moore: "He suggested that because 'the stark Dickensian poverty of a hundred years ago' had ceased to exist in Britain, poverty itself was history." For this, he added, Lord Moore was "wrong". Sadly, what Lord Moore said was rather different. He did indeed use the words quoted by Mr Cameron, but used them to support his unarguable point that "the true history of our economic development this century is not a story of failure, it is one of tremendous success. To pretend otherwise undermines confidence in the system that actually has abolished the stark Dickensian poverty of a hundred years ago." Was the quotation out of context incompetence, or was it the unscrupulousness of a PR man keen to make his point? You choose.' Trust? Heir to Blair?
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A little late in the day perhaps but I notice the Telegraph lead story on families who want details of the death of their son/daughter killed whilst on active service having to pay 'photocopying fees', often of hundred's of pounds, in order to find out the circumstances in which their loved one met his/her death. Mark Harper in a response on behalf of Her Majesty's Opposition is reported to have said, "These families have already suffered the loss of a loved one and every step must be taken to ensure the inquest process is as smooth as possible". Perhaps he was simply being mindful of the apparent need to avoid "adversarial politics" but am I alone in finding this response less than robust?
Toggle Commented Dec 5, 2006 on Tuesday 5th December 2006 at ConservativeHome
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Yesterday, I queried the reasons for our politicians flight from principle - and today Nicholas Boles provides an answer. I have rarely read a more cynical exposition of what passes for political philosophy.
Toggle Commented Dec 5, 2006 on Tuesday 5th December 2006 at ConservativeHome
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In her article today, Janet Daley in referring to New Labour's legacy comments: "it does not matter so much what party is actually in office so long as it subscribes to the rules of the soft centre: a general acceptance of the status quo in terms of a controlled market economy combined with relatively high taxation and public spending, and no serious reforms of the welfare state". Currently in politics and many areas of public life there seems to be a wide-spread desire to achieve 'consensus'. Argument about fundamental principles seems to be increasingly characterised as 'not required', 'not nice', or even as 'banging on'. Why is this the case? Might it be a lack of basic beliefs? Or, perhaps, laziness in developing and presenting fundamental ideas and their consequences? Or is it arrogance on politician's part that the electorate cannot deal with, indeed may be frightened off by, being asked to grapple with fundamental principles? Or is it 'never mind the ball, get on with the game' - basic beliefs/fundamental ideas simply get in the way of gaining power?
Toggle Commented Dec 4, 2006 on Monday 4th December 2006 at ConservativeHome
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A year after the change of leadership the Tory Party continues to focus on 'change'. A result of the 'changes' so far seems to be that the Party takes positions that are very similar to, or actually support, the Goverment/Labour/Socialist/'Consensus' view. Claimed 'differences' are, it seems, a promised greater effectiveness in implementation. It might be more helpful, if riskier, and almost certainly more stimulating for the electorate, if there were less focus on 'change' and rather more on 'choice' - or would this be too 'traditional'?
Toggle Commented Dec 2, 2006 on Saturday 2nd December 2006 at ConservativeHome
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The full text of David Cameron's interview with the Daily Telegraph is here Lengthy and quite revealing.
Toggle Commented Dec 2, 2006 on Saturday 2nd December 2006 at ConservativeHome
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Uncommented upon so far for this poll is the rise in the numbers who say they would vote for 'Others'. It now stands at 15%, up from around 8% at the time of the GE only 18 months ago and is now almost equal to the percentage saying they would vote LibDem. Not a bad performance. On this showing it could be argued that 'others' may determine the next GE result. The 'other parties' vote may be worth rather more attention.
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At last the real story behind the major parties interest in the 'green agenda' starts to emerge - it's a tax scam! If Labour or Tories are to have any hope of fulfilling their plans, both will need to raise more in tax, much more than any fiscal drag effect can offer. Green taxes play on people's general desire to support good causes and, even better for the politicians, there's no deliverables to worry about! Fraser Nelson has it right, the UK could stop all carbon output and the difference it would make to the overall global output wouldn't be noticeable. If politicians really believe in 'saving the planet' by reducing carbon emissions - and incidentally, in spite of what they may say, there is no scientific concensus on this - the way forward is to find the technology that will enable continuing improvements in the standards of living whilst bringing about the reductions, globally, that they desire. For politicians, the problem is that this is much, much harder than playing on people's good will. What is being proposed by it seems now all the major political parties is the speeding fines scam writ large, very large. It's high time this scam is exposed for what it is - just another tax grab.
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One more for your “Green News.” Today’s Telegraph story, “David Cameron pressurised his party's representatives in the European Parliament” to vote in favour of the EU REACH Directive. The Telegraph reports, “Mr Cameron's staff feared his carefully crafted green credentials might have been undermined by a vote against REACH, sources said.” Can this be true? Apparent costs of this maintenance of ‘Green Credentials’ are possible UK job losses running into thousands and additional millions of animal experiments per year.
Toggle Commented Oct 28, 2006 on Saturday 28th October 2006 at ConservativeHome
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Without sharp edges, even the brightest diamonds lose their sparkle.
Toggle Commented Oct 25, 2006 on I'm £100 poorer at ConservativeHome's ToryDiary
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No surprise that the Tory leadership refuses to endorse the recent tax-cutting proposals. In the unlikely event that the current Tory leadership should gain office it is, if recent promises from the leadership are to be believed and paid for, almost certain that taxation will need to rise. In the absence of any structural reforms of major spending departments or taxation policy the increase in spending will need to be met by an increase in tax levels and/or new taxes, stealth or otherwise. The question for the Tory leadership is how can this be done whilst gaining/retaining public goodwill? Labour has shown one way this can be done, through taking advantage of the of the British public’s willingness to support good causes. One only has to note the sums raised for relief of disasters, charity appeals etc., to see this goodwill at work. By pitching tax increases along the lines of ‘would you pay a little extra tax for a much better NHS, or whatever?’ the tax take can be increased and people can feel good about it! However, there is a difficulty. At some point the expectation of improvement needs to be met – for example the NHS really does need to get better. What for the Tory leadership provides their opportunity to increase taxes whilst leaving people feeling good? Green taxes, they hope. Even better than Labour’s choices of ‘good causes’, the timescale for showing whether or not such green taxes makes any difference to the environment is such that the expectation for improvement is no longer an issue! Indeed such are the changes in global carbon emissions, that even by doing nothing the proportion of the UK’s contribution to the total global carbon emissions will decline. It’s working – we can feel even better! A politician’s dream – no need to frighten the voters by nasty tax cuts, no need for difficult structural reform and the extra money required is raised with people feeling good about it! On the other hand, the effect on the overall standard of living, GDP, jobs, etc., is a different story – but who really cares?
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