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The Conservative party under DC is once again highlighting the benefit of small government. Why then do we need 52 district councillors in Mid-Sussex who all now draw an annual "salary" for what used to be a part-time voluntary commitment. It was supposed to be a choice between a well paid executive or a remunerated elected body. Well we have both and I do not hear the Conservative majority moaning too much about it. Services are being slashed and the MP's appear helpless (Nick Herbert and Nick Soames have resorted to appealing via the local papers for electors to petition central government to halt further NHS cutbacks) and we are in a solidly Tory area at all levels of representation. The public are immune to cries of money being redistributed to Labour heartlands. We need to take responsibility and show some leadership. If we are to retain the present council tax system, even within the restraints of current central government allocations, we need to show creative plans that are recognised by the electorate. In the long run a local sales tax might be much fairer. But even then the money will still be in the hands of those who have so far proved unable to work with what they have available to them. There is no reason this year to increase council tax (at least around here) by even 1%.
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There seems to be some assumption by many of you that the "right of the party" and "the modernisers" are mutually exclusive. This could not be further from the truth. DC needs, however, to prove to a cynical, wider and generally non-Tory voting electorate (at least in the last decade) that the party has the people and the attitude they can relate to. Of course they all want lower taxes and better public services - whatever they tell pollsters. Those two are also not mutually exclusive - but we have lost the PR battle for a decade, so most people still believe they are. So, until they can trust the messenger they will not trust the message. And even if DC & Co start to bring firmer policies along these lines closer to polling day you can bet that Labour and the media will just start howling about same old Tories. This will only fall on deaf ears if we have won the hearts and minds battle first. We do not need any contentious issues now that allows opponents to drive divisions between the party along old perceived lines. But bet your bottom dollar that come election day we will be able to talk again to the country with authority and conviction about tax, Europe, immigration, crime and all our other natural areas of competence that have been so badly neglected for a decade. DC and his team are not going to let a crack appear that allows any succor to LibDems or Labour. Lets play to our strengths. DC's new generation team needs to be replicated across the country to show we have the ability, enthusiasm and desire to build a new era of Tory government. And that means across the spectrum of the party's public face - including PPC's, councillors and Associations.
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When Dan Hannan was reselected as our MEP candidate prior to the last Euro election he made clear to all involved in selection(incl the Party leadership) that he would not support the EEP. Later, he campaigned overtly for DC during the leadership election, even chairing events with DC across his patch. On both counts he has been honest throughout. He and his supporters have been badly let down by this latest procrastination and a less than honest gesture from DC et al.
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