14 June 2009

Education Reforms - The Conservatives are Right

I have jsut watched Michael Gove on Andrew Marr and was, as ever, quite impressed with what I saw. The idea he is proposing to end KS2 SATs and to test when children enter secondary school is really well thought out. He quite rightly points out that many good secondary schools already test when children arrive and also that it would free up time at hte end of KS2 for teaching rather than preparing for SATs.

There is anotehr advantage as well. There is some concern that the knowledge gained from preparing for SATs is often temporary - that it is soon forgotten, because it is about the test rather than in the best interests of the student. Testing at the start of Autumn term will make sure that it is a test of embedded knowledge. Surely that is a useful benefit.

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16 February 2009

Conservatives' Honest Food Campaign

The Conservatives have launched a campaign for honest food labelling. I think this is a real issue that the Party are right to highlight. Importing food into Britain and then labelling it as British because it is merely processed here is not honest; it may be legal, but it is not honest and it needs to change.

Guido has called it protectionism, he is wrong, it is about labelling food properly and honestly.

Here is the video:


24 December 2007

Why I'm A Conservative

This post on ConservativeHome is one of the most thought provoking philosophical critiques on the values of Conservatism that I have read for ages. It certainly sums up exactly why I'm a Conservative and I am sure that is true of many of my colleagues. It very clearly demonstrates the link between Conservative values and the values of compassion and responsibility.


10 December 2007

Use of Robocop shows the Conservatives don't want Yes men

The appointment of Ray Mallon to the Centre for Social Justice's policy group on policing is a very positive move. Ray Mallon has shown he knows how to get the police to respond to community concerns over policing, so there is no doubt he can add value.

However, he has admitted he is opposed to the Conservatives' idea of elected police chiefs. I think the fact that Iain Duncan Smith has chosen someone who is willing to oppose aspects of Party thinking is very positive and shows that the senior figures are willing to listen and be challenged - something that sets us apart from the current Government.

That said, judging by the Guardian article, I don't think Ray Mallon has grasped quite what the Conservatives idea of elected police chiefs is about.

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29 November 2007

How should the Conservatives deal with it?

It is looking more and more like the Labour Party are in a state of terminal decline. Polls now have the Conservatives 11 points ahead, Harriet Harmen is potentially fatally wounded by Newsnight tonight, David Cameron is calling for Jon Mendelsohn to resign after the Labour Party's chief fundraiser has been further implicated by the scandal. On top of this they still have to deal with the possibility that Northern Rock will cost the taxpayer billions and the missing CDs etc. etc.

I wonder what the reaction should be from the Conservatives? If they go for Brown's jugular they are inviting greater media interference when actually we need to be toning down the over-dominant control that the media has on politics. It must be difficult to balance this with the desire to put one over on the plastic socialists.

I wonder if the best way forward is to stay a bit quiet on this particular issue and let natural momentum build whilst at the same time pushing out a few headline grabbing policies and sell the Conservatives in a more positive light - trying to show something different? Would these sort of positive tactics get any headlines? Unfortunately I suspect not; the way the media works the only way the Conservatives can move forward is to capitalise on Labour's misery. (that said it is a misery they have brought upon themselves).

It would be positive for the Conservatives to react differently and it could actually go a tiny bit towards putting politics on more of a steady platform.

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26 November 2007

Breaking News: Lib Dem MEP defects to Conservatives

Liberal MEP for the North West Sajjad Kaarim has announced he is defecting to the Conservatives.

This will be a blow for the Lib Dems. Their leadership election has been a disaster, so this will hurt them at a time when they are vulnerable. I wonder if it is the first of many?

It is a brave step for Sajjad Karim, who is articulating himself extremely well on Sky News at the moment. I wonder how he is going to deal with the huge gap there is between Conservative policy on Europe and the one he has supported as a Lib Dem?

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05 November 2007

Cameron by Conservative Home

I suspect most of the readers of this blog (25,000 hits last month) also read Conservative Home, but I still think it is worth pointing out this report about their attendance at the Labour Progress Conference which is an excellent read and explains why the Conservatives are getting it right.

I am going to be totally sycophantic and disagree with the final point over the environment. I think the Conservative commitment to the environment is authentic, I just think it is an impossible issue to get the balance right (for any political party) between individual liberties and freedoms and sorting out the environment at the moment (thus speaks someone who flew out ot Dublin to run a marathon!).

I really like the comments about IDS, I have always felt that renewed commitment to Social Justice is one of the most important steps that the Conservative Party have taken in recent times and is evidence that IDS did a lot more for the Party than he is given credit for.

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17 September 2007

Message for the Media: Conservative Position on Debt is nothing new

I have just watchd Adam Boulton on Sky News say that the Conservatives had seen an opportunity in the current Northern Rock debacle. Absolute tosh and a distortion of reality.

The Conservatives have been harping on about the problem of soaring personal debt for some years now, recognising the impact it could have.

In November last year at a debt seminar George Osbourne said: "An economy built on borrowed money is an economy built on borrowed time."

And David Cameron referred to it in his response to Gordon Brown's budget last year.

So far from seizing opportunity, the Conservative response is a reflection that this is the realisation of a problem the Conservatives had foreseen. It, once again, shows that Conservative thinking is ahead of the Government's.

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28 August 2007

Has Cameron forced the media to end Brown's honeymoon?

Whilst the media did their best to present "the bare knuckle fight" policy as a debacle, the Conservatives seem to have made a point, especially that the NHS Trusts are working to the Government agenda and therefore cannot be trusted. It was right that the Conservative policy focused on the numbers game, because that is what is making Government decisions; centralised thinking that leaves NHS Trusts out of the decision-making process for their own areas.

Following on from that "Anarchy in the UK" seems to have hit home - and quite rightly so. The Government's lacklustre response to Rhys Jones' murder deserves to be ridiculed; yet another amnesty, this time organised in a way that gives Government backing to any thought that the police are not to be trusted; that'll work then. David Cameron is right, the way to tackle the problems faced in some of our inner cities is at the home and at school. In particular by returning to an age where parents take legal responsibility for the actions of their children. If a child is taken to court for a crime that has taken place when they should be at home and in bed, then the parents should receive the same punishment (especially if it is some sort of Community service). But that hard-hiting solution cannot ignore the fact that some parents need intervention because they do not have the knowledge of how to parent properly without support.

Over the weekend the Telegraph linked the current problems faced by our armed forces in Iraq to the relative financial starvation of the MoD by Gordon Brown when he was Chancellor, and quite rightly so. This could be the start of Gordon Brown's financial mismanagement coming home to roost, it is certainly something the media should be doing more of. Hopefully, David Cameron's recent effective work means we will see more and more of this.

It is especially heartening that the Conservatives are now relaunching their campaign for a referendum on the EU Treaty (for "treaty" read "constitution") - this should also put Brown under more pressure.

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29 July 2007

Graham Brady wants the best of both worlds

Graham Brady wants a return to grammar schools, a policy that is an instant turn-off to many of the people David Cameron is trying to attract to the party.

Today he has criticised David Cameron for not appealing to those very voters his grammar school ethos turns off the most.

It disappoints me to see a Conservative MP wanting to have his cake and eat it in this way, we are much, much better than this.

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Conservatives set to fund private EU referendum?

I think this is a great idea. The Government promised a referendum and have now backed off.

Not only is it something that might capture the imagination, it would be a step towards David Cameron reinforcing his credentials as an EU sceptic; it might also help to shore up support from some of the dissafected grass roots.

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26 July 2007

Some Conservative idiots

Those loons within hte Party who are trying to see the end of David Cameron's reign as Party Leader need some sense knocking in to them.

Yes, the by-elections were disappointing, but these reflected the "Brown bounce" that has been evident in the polls. My own view is that the bounce will be short-lived and the Conservatives will be back ahead in the polls soon, and Brown's popularity will plummet.

I cannot see what a change in Leader will achieve for the Party now, apart from to plummet it into a massive crisis and make us totally unelectable. Of course those people doing the stirring are probably putting their own ambitions ahead of the best interests of the Party and its hard-working grass roots. Idiots.


28 May 2007

Graham Brady MP to be sacked?

I'm not about to engage in Westminster gossip, I try to leave that to others (that is not to say I disapprove but that I recognise that other bloggers are better positioned to do it), but this article in the Telegraph which suggests that Graham Brady, Shadow Minister for Europe, is to be sacked, highlights an important issue.

Having a system where every MP of a particular party is expected to toe the line is not in the best interests of anyone; a party full of clones would lose its appeal and would undermine politics - it is one of the reasons why I find it difficult to respect all the New Labour stooges who vote in support of the Labour leadership when their vote is totally against the principles they stood for as an MP (and in some cases totally contrary to a manifesto they campaigned for).

However, I think it is reasonable to expect that a Shadow Cabinet Minister should toe the line and respect the policies put forward. You would expect him to argue his particular case in the right arena (such as within the cabinet), and if he has a real conscientious objection to policy, to resign and make his case from the backbenches. United leadership is just as important as allowing some rebellion amongst party ranks.

So should Graham Brady be sacked. I am in two minds; it depends on whether this is one of many issues where he has undermined the leadership, and I am not in a position to judge. He should certainly have had his runes read to him.

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08 May 2007

There is such a thing as Society

This is yet another sign that the Conservatives are aiming to change the way politics works and make it more relevant. It is not completely opposite to what Maggie preached, as some will suggest, more a recognition of where we are today and how politics and indeed society needs to move forwards.


17 April 2007

Vote of No Confidence in Gordon Brown

The move by the Conservatives to call for a vote of no confidence in Gordon Brown is potentially a masterstroke. Not only does it continue to highlight the fact that Gordon Brown was totally autocratic in his decision making over pensions (a quality that will cost him dearly if he is ever to defend New Labour in a General Election), it gives every single Conservative PPC the ability to say that the sitting Labour MP supports Gordon Brown's handling of the situation - something that could be crucial in some marginal seats.

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11 March 2007

Osborne has got it right on Airline taxes

I am really disappointed with the commentary on the Conservative ideas on Airline taxation. The policy is everything that Gordon Brown's horrendous taxation is not.

The Conservatives have pledged that their duty will hit frequent fliers, not one-off trips; they have pledged to tax individual flights based on emissions so that cleaner airlines pay less taxes; they have also pledged to reduce other taxes to compensate for this increase.

It is strange that very few of the commentators are choosing to look at it from this perspective. Moreover, none of them are choosing to say that this policy addresses every singe criticism that was levelled at Gordon Brown following the introduction of his flat rate tax.

This is *good* conservative policy, nothing more, nothing less.

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09 March 2007

Margaret Hodge on Question Time Every Week Please

I hope there were masses of floating voters watching Question Time last night.

The pompous, rude and smug attitude of Margaret Hodge and the dignified and measured responses of Alan Duncan are surely a perfect simile for the difference in stature between New Labour and the Conservatives and the moment?

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Patrick Mercer - The right decision, but a shame

I have read through the many comments today about Patrick Mercer's resignation and I cannot help feeling that his experience as an ex-Army Officer will be missed from the front bench, but that the decision to ask him to resign was absolutely the right one.

I just cannot see how anyone can stand up and suggest that the sort of racist language he described was acceptable.

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