11 comments posted · 1 followers · following 0

279 weeks ago @ Conservative Home - Lord Ashcroft: Why I f... · 0 replies · +1 points

I must point out that the date for which the VC is stated to have been earned is incorrect - the VC was earned on October 30th. The confusion arose due to human error, and has been repeated many times, given 4050 Sepoy Khudadad Khan, 129th (Duke of Connaught's Own) Baluchis was not able to return to his lines until the next day.

The War Diary clearly indicates these are the facts - as does the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which confirms that members of his company were killed the preceeding day, not the 31st.

As Lord Ashcroft is aware there was a family dispute concerning these medals, one part of the family holding the campaign medals, whilst another individual held his Victoria Cross, claiming he was holding it for another member of the family, who owed him money. This was contested by the family.

I presume, given the very subtle reference, that Lord Ashcroft has acquired both the VC and Campaign medals, and a compromise was reached with both parties, and the allegations that the Victoria Cross had been stolen have been withdrawn. If so this is good news for all concerned.

386 weeks ago @ Conservative Home - Post Euro-elections fi... · 0 replies · +1 points

It is one of those ironies that these laws, designed to ensure large conurbations expand, have hit market towns and small communities far harder - given rural councils have failed to adapt / understand the full implications. As such Nick Boles is a very busy man, spending his time trying to appease conservatives in the shires, and persuade them that these developments really are in the interest of the community, whilst in the Boroughs, where new homes are needed the most, many decent brownfield sites remain undeveloped.

386 weeks ago @ Conservative Home - Post Euro-elections fi... · 0 replies · +1 points

Well, despite your anonymity, given the date etc., I think I have a pretty good understanding of where you are / your association. There is a social engagement coming up, and given the development you mention, and the outrage caused by the new planning laws which facilitated it (and many others across the country), I was surprised to see that the guest was the the architect of these very same provisions. Either a very brave MP, or.....

386 weeks ago @ Conservative Home - Post Euro-elections fi... · 0 replies · +1 points

Indeed. A lot of people associate Disraeli with the Primrose League ostensibly because it was founded in his honour. Whilst he would have approved, no doubt, of the Leagues' success, it was the League that made One Nation Conservatism a reality by combining Young England ideals, Social Responsibility, and Free Trade, and not Disraeli as is often stated.

386 weeks ago @ Conservative Home - Post Euro-elections fi... · 0 replies · +1 points

Firstly, and I concede this, it is one of those ironies that the Conservatives, who claim descent from the Grandees and their Supporters within the New Model Army chose to adopt a term that became to mean 'Supporter of the (rightful) King'. That said, they did so because because it actually implies the Party has authority to rule democratically on hehalf of the King and Parliament, not that they believed in the devine right of the King over Parliament, or the Jacobite succession. An important difference.

Secondly, the origins of the Conservative Party lies within elements of the New Model army. It is often held that there were two factions, the Grandees and the Levellers. This understanding generally supports your argument of the 'haves' vs the 'have nots', however this is a misnomer, given it was Charles I that coined the phrase Leveller, and applied it to the pro-parlimentary forces as a whole.

At the Putney debates three positions emerge within the New Model Army a ) The Right of Ownership as proposed by Ireton, B ) Advancement of Democracy with Enterprise, and the recognition of Ownership as advanced by Rainsborough, and C ) Equality via the Redistribution of Wealth, as advanced by supporters on Winstanley. A study of these factions show that the divide between a and b was smaller than that of b and c, and indeed it was a grouping of the former that would share power in the 1700s, and early 1800s, which led to power devolving to Prime Ministers, and then Political Parties.

In terms of Conservatism we can say that by the late 1700s and early 1800s Rainsborough's argument had trumped that of Ireton's, as reflected by Burke, and I hold that Peel and Wellington accepted this. You single out Peel given the Reform Bill of 1832, but it was Wellington who brought in Catholic and jewish Emancipation, which ultimately led to Derby's Reform Act of 1867. All Conservative achievements.

Where as if you look at the Labour movement C holds true even today, though via Marx rather than Winstanley. So I think your analogy is ultimately flawed, least not because it was the Grandees that allowed this debate in the first place, which was a bottom up process and facilitated our Constitutional Democracy, even if they and their Tory heirs were against what is now called socialism.

386 weeks ago @ Conservative Home - Post Euro-elections fi... · 3 replies · +1 points

Wallace, in his piece above, clearly makes a reference to the Primrose League, which was in it's day one of the largest grass-routes movements, lead predominately at the local and regional level by Women. It was, as many know, a Conservative organisation. I still have my great grandmother's medals and badges, which list the positions within the local and national structure that she achieved, the conferences which she attended, and the General Elections that she fought. It is perhaps no small wonder that the Suffragettes adopted so much from the League, given the structure gave Women influence in and at the heart of the Conservative Party, even though they could not actively hold any roles within-it.

This actually touches upon a very important point, but which Wallace seems to confuse, that of influence vs representation. The Primrose League was successful because it was supported by the Conservative Party Leadership, and gave it's members economic and political influence. Economic, given the huge amount of fundraising it did, and the number of leaflets delivered by Women and their husbands, sons, daughters, friends etc., and the political debate engendered at tea-parties, garden-parties, church fetes, mission hospitals etc., right across the social spectrum of this country. It is the Influence that the organisation gave, rather than the direct representation within the Party that was key to making it a success. This success, and the model it established, continued well into the 50s, and early 80s.

So why did it fail? Many cite the emancipation of women and the emergence of the Nanny State, and undoubtedly these did play their part by subsuming the membership of the League, whilst undermining (or replacing) the role played by many organisations in Society which it's members were central to. That said, the Conservative Party itself had started to look increasingly inward, not to mention down at the likes of the blue-rinse brigade (arguably the legacy of the Primerose League). This was demonstrated by the language of 'wets' and 'drys', the creation of numerous groups, such as TRG, Mainstream, and Way Forward, and the loss of Young Conservatives which was subsumed largely by Conservative Students after the creation of Conservative Future. Whilst these groups have undoubtedly contributed many useful New Ideas they tend to talk to themselves, and sections of the Party, rather than to the broader membership, or to civil society as a whole.

Therefore, and I am not the first to mention this, more Conservatives need to get involved in local organisations, to wrestle control of these institutions from Labour, and to stimulate dialogue and debate within them. Be they Pressure Groups, Charities, Housing Associations or the Neighbourhood Watch. This is the easiest way to transform the party back into the strong grass routes political organisation it once was, and to deliver on the promise of the Big Society (which many Conservatives sadly do not seem to understand). To do so the Leadership of the Party, and scions within it, need to convey they are fully behind this en-devour, and the influence this will give Members to shape political debate, rather than being a mechanism for the Party itself.

386 weeks ago @ Conservative Home - The Conservatives will... · 0 replies · +1 points

ROsband, one could speak about why Stephen Greenhalgh wished to improve the average size of social housing, whilst at the same time building more social and affordable homes, and combining these with private homes so as to create a mixed and well balanced community, but I suspect this isn't something you'd like to hear - and presume you've not read the paper he wrote on the subject. So what about this simple truth: 70 years of a local Labour Government has left Hammersmith with some of the highest levels of poverty, and inequality. A Housing Stock which, excluding Edwardian Terraced Housing, was not fit for purpose, being cramped and with a limited lifespan, that is costly to maintain. A community where local multi-generational families are the least socially mobile, and despite having trades / occasional employment they can't qualify for other homes, and have been forced to live in the same small flat for over 40 years. I known it is a pretty boring explanation, and I know you're probably yawning, so why don't we go back to your story, but the next time you tell it why not throw in a few wild parties, a murder, some sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

386 weeks ago @ Conservative Home - The Conservatives will... · 0 replies · +1 points

Due to the "Central Selection" process it is true that 1 out of 3 PCCs typically were from Fulham. The rational behind this lies in the fact that there are more Hammersmith seats available than Fulham seats, and given Fulham activists are asked to spend their time in Hammersmith it was only fair to reward some of them with a seat. One way to address this would be the de-selection of long standing Fulham Councillors, but that is a very harsh solution.

That said Labour in LBHF have operated a similar system in the past, and a number of long standing Labour Councillors live in Fulham but represent Hammersmith seats. Lisa Holman of Askew ward is one such example. When I offered to shake her hand after her re-election she said "At least I'll never have to see your face again". I then had to remind her that I am a local resident, and she lives in Fulham, so we'll not be seeing much of one another anyway.

386 weeks ago @ Conservative Home - The Conservatives will... · 1 reply · +1 points

Harry, Mark Higton here. I think your summary is a good one, yes Labour's "They'll knock your house down" 2008 - 2012 campaign, and the "They're knocking down Charing Cross hospital, and closing the A&E" 2012 - Present campaign was extremely damaging. It allowed them to a) get out their vote, and b) gain a significant share of the Liberal and Swing vote; however I think our strategy ultimately failed over the last four years because a ) we didn't try to anticipate our opponents (based upon what we knew they were capable of), and b ) adapt. I will come to this later.

Before I do, I think it is worth pointing out that regardless of the national share of the vote, that whilst the Lib Dem's vote did collapse, their decision not to stand a full slate of candidates in every ward both flatters Labour's share of the vote, and allowed them to focus their attack on the Target wards to a greater degree. Indeed, had the Lib Dem's stood a full slate in Addision this would have cost Labour at least 250 votes per candidate, which would have seen Addison Conservatives retain the ward - they actually increased the Conservative share of the vote by 17% on turn out, but still lost 2 out of 3 candidates. Equally UKIP's decision to stand more Candidates than before, and fight a limited campaign in ABG, North End, and FR probably cost us three seats. Had we anticipated these problems alone we would have retained the Council.

Therefore, returning to my last point in the first paragraph, it was the decision taken in 2010, which was seemingly validated by the GLA and Boris results in 2012, that was critical in preventing us retain the Council. No doubt Labour, the Lib Dems and UKIP realised what our strategy was by May 2012, and our failure to have predicted this, or deviate, spurred them on. As I had said in 2010, and 2012, "Attack is the best form of Defence", and we had taken the wrong lessons from Bailey 2010. Had we achieved just a 2% swing in the Target wards in 2010 he would have been elected, regardless of the other results. That failure should have been a warning against a prolonged campaign in regards to concentrating our focus and resources.

I don't think it is right to discuss here specific points of failings, or what it is we need to do going forward given these are public pages, all I would like to add is that I think Nick Boterill and Stephen Greenhalgh both did a fantastic job leading the Council, and that it has been a pleasure (despite the loss) working with such dedicated Tory Councillors (like you Harry), and activists such as Sally.

386 weeks ago @ Conservative Home - Live blog: Local elect... · 0 replies · +1 points

it isn't true that H&F took a hard line on the bedroom subsidy, infact there was some ring-fencing, and in addition to this the council tried to introduce a pilot scheme which would have helped many families - but this was blocked by the Labour representatives who sat on many of the Housing Associations who had the opportunity to opt in. They chose not to opt-in because they were playing politics, at the cost of their own tenants and supporters, and this was a message we failed to make.