Sunday, December 11, 2005

That was the week that was.

Another week -another By Election victory.

Political weeks just don't come much better than this one. This picture is me congratulating Kevin Carroll on his by election win just a year or so ago. His was the first of a string of wins that have seen the balance of power shift in Torbay forever, topped by our big result on Thursday. But what a week for the Party!

Monday - Torbay Conservatives hold an executive council meeting (the executive is the main decision making body of the local association) and agree virtually unanimously to ask the Party Chairman in London to allow them to re-adopt me on a fast-track basis. Considering how much I have been rocking the local Troy boat lately this is both encouraging for me, proof that the local party wants to change, and worrying for our political opponents.

Tuesday - Cameron wins an overwhelming vote from members beating even my forecast of two-to-one and then goes on to remind us why we voted for him by an astonishingly upbeat launch speech.

Wednesday - Question time comes and goes and Cameron proves he can rise to the challenge yet again, both by performing well ('I've only being doing this job 5 minutes Prime Minister, and already you're asking me the questions....')

Thursday - Churston By election sees over 70% of local voters choosing our man over the Lib Dem opponent - a stunning turnaround on 2003 when we narrowly won one of the seats by two votes.

Friday - A shadow cabinet line-up that includes the great, the good and the plain popular and, better still, no arguments - everyone seems happy.

Saturday - A YOUGOV poll this weekend shows a 1% lead for the Conservatives over Labour and a catastrophic 5% drop in Lib Dem support down from 23% at the election to just 18% now.

Before anyone else says it we are clearly in a honeymoon period, I won't be truly satisfied that we have turned the corner for a few months yet, by about June.

Rumours continue to circulate that the Lib Dems have had it with Charles Kennedy, so by then we may be in the middle of a Lib Dem leadership battle.

Will theirs help them as much as ours has helped us?


Anonymous said...

Regarding the Shadow Cabinet - why is May there? What, if anything, does she bring to the table that couldn't be brought by someone else?

Barrie Wood said...

Hague, Fox and Davis at the top table of Tory politics, so much for the break with the dismal right-wing recent past.

Good to see Gummer & Goldsmith on the Green policy commission tho'

Barrie Wood said...

Hmmm....didn't the week end by the Tories pledging to withdraw from the mainstream European People's Party in the Euro Parliament ?! Who will you align with ? Only a rag-bag of nationalists and racists remain open to you ! The 'exciting' and 'new' Tory party didn't last long did it Marcus ?

And, being a eurosceptic you'll probably agree with these actions !

Barrie Wood said...

The Executive endorsed you as PPC - isn't it one member one vote in the local Tory party ?

Anonymous said...

I think the EPP thing is just going to make the party look daft if i'm honest - I mean what are they going to do? Sit with UKIP and Veritas and other assorted Euro-phobic parties? That really wouldn't do anything for the party's image at all.

Barrie Wood said...

Anon you are right - EPP issue has started to undo the new 'mood music' created last week. The wider public are not as obsessed with Europe as you Tories are.

Let's hope you keep off other Tory obsessions like race, asylum and immigration too - believe me, they make you - to quote Theresa May - look like the 'nasty' party. Leave that squalid stuff to UKIP and BNP !

Marcus Wood said...

The EPP Thing is really thorny, because on the one hand it does mean that the Conservative MEP's face being out in the cold. They don't have to team up with the UKIP and right wing parties, they don't have to team up with anyone, there is no rule that says they can't be independent and vote as they like but in doing so I agree that they will lose some authority and influence. On the other hand, though - staying in the EPP looks hypocritical when so many of their decared aims (greater integration, single currency and support for the constitution) are in direct conflict with our party's national position - and as some would see it, our national interest.

My understanding of the situation is that negotiations are underway to try and find a 'middle way' solution that may leave the Conservative MEP's perhaps associated to, but not members of, the EPP.

And if that doesn't work I think pulling out is the right thing to do.

Marcus Wood said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marcus Wood said...

Barry, the question of one member one vote applies to my selection in Torbay.

All that has happened is that the executive have decided to ask for a fast-track selection procedure to be adopted in Torbay.

There needs to be a vote from the membership before a prospective candidate can be adopted and that will happen whether I am fast tracked or not.

Anonymous said...

As regards 'sort of sitting with the EPP', isn't that why the whole EPP-ED thing came about in the first place?
I agree that pulling out of the EPP doesn't have to mean aligning with anyone, but then the Tory MEPs wouldn't really have much influence or be able to do anything. It does look hypocritical to stay in, but then that has to be balance against getting things done.
Barrie: I'm not a Tory, and I agree that all the asylum and immigration stuff in the last election really didn't help. Some of it, see Bob Spink, was more than a little worrying, and the whole tone of the campaign was awful. Tory policy appeared to many to have racist (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) undertones, and the Labour policies seemed to be 'we are just as hard-line as them', and their rather distasteful flying pigs and Shylock posters seemed to have possible anti-semitic undertones. I found it horrible.
The Lib-Dems however decided that the best way to deal with this was to say nothing, which sums up their attitude. When in doubt, hide.

Barrie Wood said...

Interesting perspective Marcus on EPP. I think it is more about perception. You surely need to be seen as being within the mainstream centre-right axis of politics.

One point I'd like clarified. Didn't Cameron write much of your 'Victor Meldrew' list of grumbles that was your GE manifesto ? That manifesto that on the one hand played up race, asylum and immigration that did you no credit. On the other hand it talked of aspirations like wanting cleaner hospitals - as if anyone could be opposed to that ! And, was it not the Tories that started contracting out services in public services, such as the NHS ? It may be cheaper, but yoyu get what you pay for !

Barrie Wood said...

So you are not yet officially PPC, although you have been supported by TCA Executive. The members haven't formally voted yet. Is that right ?

I must be a bit slow this morning as I didn't get the gist of your comments.

Marcus Wood said...

Barrie, correct.

A candidate can't be the official Prospective Parliamentary Candidate unless and until the membership have a vote - usually at the AGM.

Even then you are only the 'prospective' candidate. There has to be a further vote by the members to formally adopt the candidate after a General Election has been called.

Marcus Wood said...

Barrie, re Camerons invovement in the manifesto. He was in charge of drafting it, that is not the same as being responsible for deciding it's content which is done by the shadow cabinet, and based entirely on the policies agreed by the party in the preceding period.

My views on some of the policies are well known.

Contracting out and privatising is not done to save money, usually it's done to keep politicians out of running things.

If I have learned one thing above all else about politicians and politics it is that they are the worst people to run state businesses and public services.

Fine for them to set parimeters and decide priorities, that is what they are there for. But when politicans run things directly(like the NHS) they cannot fail to lose focus because of the need to appeal and appease the whole time. If you look closely at the NHS since Blair took over they have suffered a quite rediculous amount of interference, target setting, restructuring etc to the extent that staff and managers don't know their a*se from their elbow any more.

Privatisation was devised (and not by Thatcher, but by mssrs Howe and Joseph) as a way to take the politicians out of the day to day management of the then nationalised industries like electricity, the airlines, gas and coal which had been used as political footballs by leaders of all colours since the war with disasterous effects.

Barrie Wood said...

Come on Marcus, the Tories had swathes of legislation and 'interference' in education and health under the Tories too !

Barrie Wood said...

Marcus said : Barrie, re Camerons invovement in the manifesto. He was in charge of drafting it, that is not the same as being responsible for deciding it's content which is done by the shadow cabinet, and based entirely on the policies agreed by the party in the preceding period.My views on some of the policies are well known.

Not to me they are not ! Which policies do you repudiate ? After all you stood on the reactionary programme for opposition that was your last manifesto ;-)

And whilst you loathe the lib dems your new leader is trying to steal Lib Dems clothes are proclaiminh himself a liberal ! Such flattery...he's trying to adopt green issues and localism - shameless he is !

The comments from Lib Dem youth and Students sum um my view succintly on Cameron. Good 'mood music' but :

* Dave is an enthusiastic supporter of Labour's student tuition fees;
* Dave and his Tory chums voted for Labour's wasteful and dangerous ID cards;
* When Dave worked for the Tories, they had a woeful environmental record;
* Dave voted for and stands by the war in Iraq;
* Just a few months ago, Dave wrote the most right wing Tory manifesto in decades.

The Liberal Democrats stand for Liberal values. Sadly Dave doesn't."

And, ERM, wasn't he a researcher / advisor for Norman ' Black Wednesday' Lamont ?!

Anonymous said...

The fact that he was a researcher for Lord Lamont does not mean that it was his fault. It wasn't entirely Lamont's fault either actually.
As regards ID cards, they also voted against them (after voting for them in the first instanace, but they are now against them).
Agree about the Manifesto though, some of the policies were, to borrow a word, 'nasty'.

Marcus Wood said...

"the most right wing Tory manifesto in decades"

Cleaner hospitals, more police officers on the beat, better school disipline, lower taxes and controls on immigration.

This was hardly calling for the end of civilisation as we know it, was it?

I have said before that I agree with the broad criticism that our manifesto was reactionary and lacked a vision for the future but I don't think it was particularily right wing.

What was less successful was some of the advertising and leafleting material which really was very negative in tone and I believe started to work against us in the last fortnight of the campaign.

Lord Saatchi has done many great things for the Conservatives, but most of them were twenty years ago.

Having said that, fighting a campaign as the Opposition when nobody thinks you are likely to win is mighty difficult as Labour would remember from 1983 and 1987.

Barrie Wood said...

Fair comment Marcus ! But hey we are all liberals now aren't we....!!! Well this one isn't a **conservative** liberal !!!

Saatchi had the gall to charge you fortunes for that terrible GE ad campaign too !

Howard , whilst he shored-up the core vote his 'baggage' meant he was never likely to win over soft Lib or Lab voters.

And, I'll admit the developments in the Tory party are very interesting. I have great respect for Gummer and [Zac] Goldsmith on green issues.

Attempting to get a more representative Tory party is good too. But you need to have a narrative for the big cities - you can't win without that.

You likely ongoing problem is that the Conservative brand isn't trusted, so even when people like some of your policies they are reluctant to vote for the party.

To be fair, Cameron has been very astute so far, but he's no liberal or progressive Liberal. I see you are very much being promoted as 'Cameron's Conservatives'. This attempt at a presidential, Blairite-like promotion of the cult of the individual is not something I like to see in UK politics - from any party.

Anonymous said...

What a load of crap this Barry Wood speaks.

Stay with the Lib Dems , they speak crap too!!!!

Barrie Wood said...

By all means disagree with me but no need for abuse. Further the comment above hardly adds to debate does it ?!

Anonymous said...

Go away lib dem.

Anonymous said...

Do you know the more I hear a lib Dem speak the more I want to leave the country. You are so engulfed in PC and this so-called racist crap that it makes me sick.

I understand your ex-leader needs a drink , go and join him.

Marcus Wood said...

Please try and make sure your posts show a little more respect, please.

I will delete disrespectful or rude posts if I have to.

Martin Stiles said...

Lib dems in meltdown, you read it on this site first!!

Well done Marcus; you seemed to have foreshadowed Kennedys fall from grace very well.

What did you know that the rest of us didn't?