Archive 2002

December 29th
Thoughts for the day
  • The three richest men in AMERICA own more personal assets than the combined assets owned by the entire populations of the sixty poorest countries.
  • The United States is among only six counties that impose the death penalty on juveniles.   The others are Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
  • The United States is the only country besides Somalia that has not signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.   Why?   Because it contains a provision prohibiting the execution of children under eighteen.
Deja Vu
In South Hammersmith there was a by-election in 1949.   Three hundred canvassers a day helped in the campaign.    Teams of MPs were drafted into the constituency to address meetings every night.    1,500 party workers were in the constituency on polling day,   The result was a crushing disappointment as Labour held the seat.
In John Ramsden's book "The Age of Churchill and Eden 1940-1957" he quotes the Area Agent for Yorkshire who said "people do not trust the Tory party.   If we can win back that trust we are home."
The result "unleashed the Party crisis of Spring 1949.   The Economist blamed Churchill's lack of leadership for the Conservative's failure, while Churchill had to attend a meeting of the 1922 Committee and listen to a solid hour of critical comment, in what Philip Goodhart called "the most severe crisis of confidence in his leadership"; the press release spoke of a "full and frank discussion, in which Mr. Churchill took part"
It was this crisis of confidence which shifted the emphasis of policy-making towards detail at last.   The rest is history!
Those were the days
In 1952 the Party embarked on a membership campaign.   In the Wirral, where the membership was already over 8,000, all branches took part and raised the total to 10,323.(Total of membership today for both Wirral constituencies is 666)   In Bradford there were almost 4,000 new recruits with significant gains in all four constituencies.(Total membership today for all three Bradford constituencies is 299)   
29th December
It is reported that Michael Trend MP is returning £90,000 expenses incorrectly claimed.  As he is an honourable man that's it then, and we can vouch for that.   What we would like to know is if an honourable man can incorrectly claim £90,000 in expenses how much could a dishonourable man get away with?   Is it not time that all the expenses of Members of Parliament and Members of the European Parliament were independently audited?    Time and again we hear of the rackets taking place in the European Parliament and now that the House of Commons is having equally large expense payments the scandals are waiting to happen there also.
Register of Interests
It is reported that Peter Foster paid £4,000 accountancy charges for Cherie Bliar.   Did Tony Bliar enter this gift on the Register of Interests?   Are gifts to wives registrable?   If so, hadn't Tony better spend a bit more time with Cherie to find out what she is doing?    If not, isn't there a big loophole?
CPF Council
We are told by a former member of the CPF Council that it has been abolished.   As it is in the Party's Constitution on whose authority has it been abolished?   The Constitution wh9ich many of us fought hard and long for and in spite of its many weaknesses actually brought the Conservative Party into the twentieth century is now so full of holes it looks like a colander.   When the Leadership and Central Office treat the Constitution with such utter contempt it is no wonder that Party membership is in free fall.   At the time of Ian Duncan Smith's election it was 327,000.   Today it is nearer to 250,000.   Tomorrow it will be NIL unless the culture of the Party organisation is changed.

15th December
Referendum on the Future of Europe
On 12th November the Chairman of COPOV wrote to Michael Ancram MP about having a referendum on the outcome of the Convention on the Future of Europe.   (See Below)   No reply has as yet been received.    As usual nowadays, getting a reply to a letter to the Party hierarchy is like getting blood out of a stone.   Nevertheless word has reached us that the Conservative Party's official policy is now to demand a referendum on the outcome of the Convention.   We strongly applaud this, but why has it not been publicly shouted from the roof tops?   Democracy is good for all.   The reason appears to be that nothing should be said about Europe in case the electorate thinks we are still obsessed by it.   Isn't this taking things too far?   So come on Michael, answer your letters and tell the people that the Conservative Party is standing up for democracy.
Letter to the European Peoples Party
Ian Duncan Smith MP has written to the Leader of the European Peoples Party setting out conditions for the continued involvement of the Conservative Party.   Strange thing about it was that his Shadow Cabinet colleagues knew nothing about the letter.   Odd way to run a political Party!
Guarantees of Democracy
It is one of the supreme ironies that the newcomers to the European Union have to demonstrate that they are democratic.   Were the United Kingdom to apply for membership under the same rules it would be rejected, because both our main political Parties are fundamentally undemocratic.   Strange World isn't it?
Cherie Bliar
Why didn't Tony tb1_.gif (1421 bytes)stand by his woman when she made her speech in the "Atrium"?
What with "Two Jags" Prescott and "Two Flats" Bliar, Socialism has died in the Labour Party.   Come back "Donkey Jacket", all is forgiven!.
The Muslim Vote
Mohammed Riaz has been selected to the list of candidates for the European Parliament for Yorkshire.   We are told that the selection meeting was packed out legitimately with Conservative Muslims.   What with the Kashmiri vote in Wycombe together they are showing the "grass roots" what can be done with a little organisation.   Could they become the Conservative Party's secret weapon?

8th December
Ulster Unionists
It has been reported that the Conservative Party is to amalgamate with the Ulster Unionists.   If this were to happen before the Ulster Unionists deleted all references to the Orange Order from their constitution then there would be an almighty row in the Conservative Party.    How can a democratic party allow sectarianism in its organisation?    It would be a betrayal of the valiant members of the Northern Ireland Conservatives.
Sitting MEPs?
What do Roy Perry. Jimmy Provan and The Earl of Stockton have in common?   All are sitting MEPs and all are unlikely to be sitting after the next elections for the European Parliament.   They have all been placed low down on their Region's list.   We understand that Roy Perry has applied for the job of Ombudsman so if successful he may drop out entirely.
16,000 Umbrellas
Did you know that the Home Office has 16,000 spare umbrellas?  Three years ago,when we had the passport fiasco and there were massive queues waiting for a passport it was bucketing down with rain.   So, some enterprising bureaucrat decided to buy 16,000 umbrellas.   It is interesting that they thought this was to be the size of the queue, or were they proposing to give them away like green shield stamps?

1st December
Blood on the carpet
As the selection meetings for the European Parliament come to a close in Southern Region watch out for a stream of bitterness from the losers.   About 1,500 members will have participated in this undemocratic process which did not allow postal votes, although interestingly in Scotland they were allowed.   (The Scottish Conservative Party is more democratic than the mainstream)   There were some bizarre rules.   For example at the meeting in High Wycombe on Saturday, members were told that if they left the room after the start of the meeting they would lose their vote.   The meeting started at 10am.   At 12:15pm it was announced that there would be a fifteen minute break.    Half an hour later when the queues to the loos finally disappeared the meeting resumed.   Who thinks up these cock eyed rules?
Out of the 450 people at the Wycombe meeting about 150 were Kashmiris (Wycombe has the highest Kashmiri population in the UK).    It is probable that they voted as a block.   As they formed 10% of the entire electorate it could be that in effect the Conservative Party's representation in Brussels will be determined by the Kashmiris.   No rules were broken but it does highlight the danger of restricting the voting to only those people prepared to spend locked up in a room on a Saturday for over 4 hours.
One of the other ridiculous rules of this selection process was that candidates were not allowed to campaign.   Of course all the sitting MEPs did with the advantage that effectively much of their costs were picked up by the taxpayer.   The rule was disregarded so that eventually action was taken and the following letter was sent out by The President of the National Convention, Deputy Chairman of the Party and the Director of Field Operations at Central Office:
From: Caroline Abel Smith OBE
John Taylor CBE
Stephen Gilbert
To: Regional Co-ordinating Chairmen
Regional European Campaign Directors
25th November 2002
We have received a number of complaints regarding the conduct of candidates and some Party members at hustings meetings. The following further guidance is issued on behalf of the Board and we would be grateful if you would pass it to all candidates in your region.
· Candidates should not greet or seek to present themselves to members arriving at hustings meetings.
· Please also draw the attention of candidates to the provision in the Guidelines on Procedure issued by the Board in June, which restricts campaigning activity. You should request candidates to comply with these rules to the letter and in spirit.
· No Party member should be permitted to distribute literature of any sort within the venue in which the hustings meeting is taking place or within the boundaries of the venue. Any member refusing to comply with this should be instructed to leave the meeting.
· Furthermore, leaflets that either favour or disparage individual candidates, whenever distributed, damage the Party. Candidates should discourage the distribution of such leaflets and should, if they become aware of any such activity, report it to the Regional Chairman.
Is it any wonder that after all this there will be blood on the carpet.   When will the Party learn that when you begin to distort democracy you begin to destroy it!
European Peoples Party
Watch out this week for an announcement that the Conservative Party is withdrawing from its association with the European Peoples Party against the advice of the Conservative European Parliamentary Party.
Teresa trembles
Why is Teresa trembling in her shoes?    Could it be that the Labour Party are not going to contest Maidenhead?    With a 3,000 majority over the Liberal Democrats it is looking dodgy.
What do they have in common?
What do Angela Browning MP, Anthony Steen MP and Robert Walters MP have in common?   All are under threat in their constituencies from former members of UKIP that have rejoined the Conservative Party.    As Party membership declines more and more MPs are becoming vulnerable.
Letters to IDS
It seems that no matter how high you are in the Party if you write to IDS you get a standard letter in reply saying that your comments are being passed on and signed by Owen Patterson MP.
November 24th
European Parliament Candidates
The Conservative party is now in the middle of selecting its candidates for the European Parliament.   Out of 250,000 members only 10,000 will take part in the selection process because postal ballots are not allowed.   The results of this process will determine the individuals who will sit in the European Parliament in almost certain contravention of the European Convention of Human Rights for when the great British public come to vote they cannot vote for a particular candidate but only for a political Party.   This shameful situation has been totally ignored by the politicians and by the media.   Thus is freedom lost.   If you want to destroy freedom do it mouthful by mouthful and nobody will notice or protest until one day when freedom has gone the people wake up, and then it is too late.
Over the course of the next week the Southern Region of the Conservative Party will be selecting its candidates.   At present there are five sitting Conservative MEPs out of a total of eleven MEPs for the Region.   This total will be cut to ten due to enlargement, so the Conservatives will probably be reduced to four.   The members of the Party are being given seven names including the sitting MEPs to place in order of preference.   One of the two non MEPs is a woman, Therese Coffey, who shone in the initial selection so in this age of political correctness she is likely to be one of the top four leaving three places for the five MEPs.   There are going to be some very bitter faces when the results are announced next Sunday.
Out of the 89,000 members of the Party in Southern Region it is anticipated that about 1,200 will be prepared to spend the five hours attending meetings which they have to do in order to vote.
Taleban and Texas
Go to the BBC website and put 'Taleban' and 'Texas' in the search engine.   You will find that the Taleban had several meetings in Texas with an oil company and who was Governor of Texas at the time.?    Why George W. Bush and who was President of the oil company?   Why, G.W.s daddy.
Fifteen out of nineteen hijackers on 9/11 were Saudis so was Saudi Arabia bombed?   Why No.   It was Afghanistan.   They say that oil has nothing to do with this!
Save The Party
In 1948 the Conservative Party approved the Maxwell Fyfe report which had amongst its proposals that no MP could pay more than £50.00 annually to their local Association.   Lord Woolton in his autobiography said "the change was revolutionary, and in my view did more than any other single factor to save the Conservative Party."   How sad that we have slipped from these high principles.

November 17th
The Editor of "The Daily Telegraph" gets it wrong!
Charles Moore wrote to "The Times" (letters November 9) "Mary Ann Sieghart flatters me as the "one man (who) has the power to remove Iain Duncan Smith". In fact, the people with that power are Conservative MPs and, for the first time, the Party’s national membership."
This is not the case. Only the MPs have the power to remove the Leader of the Party.
In spite of the fact that 160,000 members voted for Iain Duncan Smith, 83 MPs – a majority of the Parliamentary Party - can dismiss him and once dismissed he cannot stand again. Who devised these rules? – why the MPs of course.
It is an essential element of democracy that those that elect a Leader should be the same as those that remove a Leader. The Leader should be elected for a period of say three years and then automatically come up for re-election by the members.
If such a democratic system had been in place the dramas in the Conservative Party of the last few weeks would have been avoided.
Letter to Michael Ancram MP
C. O. P. O. V.

The Rt. Hon. Michael Ancram QC, MP,                              12th November 02
House of Commons,
London SW1A OAA.
Dear Mr. Ancram,
At a meeting of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy held on Saturday, 9th November 02 it was unanimously agreed that the Conservative Party should demand a referendum on the outcome of the Convention on the Future of Europe. We all felt that the ramifications of this Convention are so important and widespread regarding the constitution of the United Kingdom that the people should be consulted on this issue.
I do hope that you will agree with this and I was asked specifically to write to you about it. We think it is not only right that there should be a referendum but it would also be popular and the Conservative Party would benefit by putting the case for it to the people as its policy.
Yours sincerely,
The Leadership Plan
The men in grey suits are gathering together, ready to go and see Iain Duncan Smith and ask for his resignation.    On receipt of which the MPs will put forward Kenneth Clarke as Leader and Michael Portillo as Deputy Leader as the only candidates for the Leadership, thus avoiding going to the membership for an election which nobody wants.   Ken Clarke will not let his name go forward if he has to fight an election involving the party membership.    We understand that he has already called together his campaign team.
All they have to do now is square matters with David Davis and thats it.   Deal done.

10th November
European Parliament Selection
We hear that only 300 members turned up for the selection of candidates for the European Elections for the London Region.    This appallingly low turnout is a reflection of the undemocratic way in which these selections are being conducted.   It is no wonder the Party is in so much trouble when it goes out of its way to be undemocratic.
The position for the Southern Region does not look as though it will be any better.   With a party membership in Southern Region of 89,000 the grand total of 132 members have so far registered their interest in attending one of the 6 hustings meetings that are planned for later this month.
Conservative Candidates
Iain Duncan Smith had a very successful meeting with the Conservatives in Northern Ireland, held on the same day as he addressed the Ulster Unionists, but why has he refused to endorse the Conservative candidates in the Assemby elections?   I think we should be told.
Typical Liberal
We are told that on the same day that Simon Hughes MP (Liberal Democrat) called for the Royal Family to pay the costs of the Paul Burrell case, that evening he was at a reception at Buckingham Palace participating in Her Majesty's drinks.   Maybe if she did not have to entertain freeloaders she would have enough to pay the legal costs.   Can this be true?

November 3rd
A European Constitution.
Last week Giscard D'Estaing published proposals for the future of Europe.   We appear to be moving towards a European Constitution drawn up by the politicians for the politicians. The people are being excluded, victims of what Plato termed "the Noble Lie" – that while they were encouraged to believe they were part of a self governing democracy they were dupes of government by oligarchy.
In his introduction to "The Crossman Diaries" Anthony Howard said this was "the guilty secret at the heart of the British governmental system".
The "guilty secret" is now taking on a European dimension. The British people must insist on a referendum on the outcome of the Convention on the Future of Europe.
It Says It All
On Friday 1st November the Chairman of COPOV was invited to appear on BBC Breakfast TV to discuss the Leadership of the Conservative Party.   In the reception area at White City just before the programme began a charming lady said to him "I see you are speaking about identity cards, I hope you are in favour of them".   The Chairman of COPOV said "I am not talking about identity cards".   Well she said "Its got IDS on this schedule."
What did she say?
Did you watch the BBC 10 o'clock news on Friday 1st November?   It started with a report by Jenny Bond about the Paul Burrell case.   "Royal Jenny" dared to be critical of the Royal Family.   At the end of the news Nicholas Witchell reported on the same subject and contradicted all that "Royal Jenny" said.   Did the BBC receive a phone call?   We will never know, but if "Royal Jenny's" appearances become fewer and fewer we might be able to guess.
The Queen's Speech
Ever wondered why the Queen's speech is never right up to date?   The date the speech has to be finalised is determined by the length of time it takes to inscribe it on a piece of goatskin.!

                                                                                       August 2002
Today the British public are better informed than ever about our democratic processes and they realise that democratic fault lines run through the two main Parties. They ask why the taxpayer should fund the Labour and Conservative parties in order that the self-perpetuating oligarchies that control them can maintain their control.
Both parties are fundamentally undemocratic. Each operates the discredited Electoral College system where a member’s vote has less value than an MP’s vote. Each has an unelected, unaccountable chairman.
Democracy is a process in which you determine the will of the majority. That will can only be determined if all members are able to participate and each member has a vote of equal value and the vote is exercised by way of a secret ballot.
Unless the political parties are made democratic and accountable to their members, state funding will merely change the public perception of corruption by individuals making large donations to one of corruption by the State. Without strict requirements being in place before a political party receives state funding there is a financial scandal waiting to happen
At present the Conservative Party receives over £3,000,000 per annum from the State for "research" and policy development. Where does research begin and political propaganda end? In any case money that would have been spent on research without state funding can now be spent on political propaganda. Every Member of Parliament can now claim £70,000 per annum from the State for research. This amounts in total to over £11,000,000, just for the Conservative Party. Yet five years ago the Conservative Party paid for its research out of its own pocket.
Even today with all the focus on party funding there is still a temptation for an individual to try and buy influence. David Davis turned down two potential donations when he was Party Chairman because the donors attached conditions to the donation. In the one case they wanted to be on the candidates list and in the other case they wanted a change in Party policy.
Membership of the two Parties is in long term decline. Since 1951 Conservative Party membership has fallen from 2.8million to approximately 250,000. In the same period Labour membership has fallen from 1 million to 250,000.
It is the decline in membership which has exacerbated the financial difficulties which the two Parties now face. If this decline in membership could be reversed then the Parties would be well on the way to overcoming their financial problems. Both Parties have failed to understand that in order to increase their membership they have to become more democratic. Members now demand rights and benefits as members of a political Party. The Labour Party brought in "One Member One Vote" (OMOV) in a limited way in 1994, and in 1998 the Conservative Party brought in "One Member One Vote" for the Leadership election whilst restricting the number of candidates the membership could vote for to two. Other than these partial reforms the two parties have remained fundamentally undemocratic. Nevertheless these small reforms had a considerable impact. In the first week after the Labour Party adopted OMOV they acquired 10,000 new members. In the first Leadership election held by the Conservatives after their reform 80% of members participated in the ballot.
Time for the Parties to change is running out and a measure of State Funding, granted in such a way that it would encourage membership, will be necessary for a transitional period during which they can reinvigorate themselves.
During recent years, as the Parties became more desperate for funds there have been a number of abuses in fund raising
It is estimated that Conservative Party membership was 2.8million in 1951, falling to 1.5million by 1975 at the time of the Houghton Report into the financing of political Parties. By 1987 it was 650,000. At the beginning of 1993 Sir Norman Fowler, the Conservative Party Chairman of Organisation estimated it was 500,000. Today it is 250,000.
It can be seen from these figures that the Conservative Party has lost on average 50,000 (net) members every year for the last 50 years. In each year between 10-20% new members are recruited. This means that the total loss of members amounts to 90,000 per annum with 40,000 new members joining.
The average age of a Conservative Party member is 65 and rising. Actuarially this means that 45% of the Party’s existing members will be dead within 10 years. An examination of these figures shows that Conservative Party members mainly consist of people born before the Second World War. By their nature and upbringing they tend to believe in the deferential nature of the voluntary Party. It is the age of the men and women that sit on selection committees which is one of the barriers to selecting women candidates or candidates from the ethnic minorities. Elderly people tend to believe that a woman’s place is in the home.
Those people born after the War appear to have joined the Party – stayed a few years – then left. Hence the rising age of the Party. The post war generation were brought up in the age of democracy.
The Party’s approach to membership may be summed up in the membership manual launched at the 1994 Conference. In posing the question "Why do we need members?" of the six reasons given No. 1 was "for the money" and No. 3 "for further funds". The Party has not understood that money is a means to an end and not an end in itself.
Party organisation in many weak constituencies is non existent. 130 Constituencies have effectively no Party organisation. Without radical change the Conservative Party as a Party of mass membership will cease to exist.
In order to understand the reasons for the decline of the Conservative Party we need to go right back to the origins of the voluntary part of the Party. . I set out below a brief history of the Conservative and Labour Parties showing the links between democracy, membership and fund raising. I also set out the way in which State Funding could be used to strengthen those links.
The Conservative Party
The Conservative Party operated under a structure created in the 19th century
The Reform Act of 1867 brought an extra one million voters on to the electoral register. As a result of this the Conservative Working Men’s Clubs created the National Union of Conservative Associations. The working class origin of the National Union ensured a strong sense of deference to the Parliamentary party. Indeed the National Union was referred to as "the handmaiden of the Parliamentary party". It was not until World War 1 that a President of the National Union was not a member of the House of Lords.
Conservative Central Office was created by Disraeli as his own private office. The three separate parts of the Conservative Party were thus brought into being – the Parliamentary party, the voluntary party and the professional part of the Party.
In the 1880’s Lord Randolph Churchill unsuccessfully called for the accountability of Conservative Central Office – the first time an attempt was made to create a democratic Conservative Party. Thus the two conflicting strands of deference and democratic accountability run through the history of the Conservative Party with deference being the dominant factor.
The end of World War II was a political watershed with the Conservative Party suffering one of its greatest electoral defeats in 1945. There is a remarkable similarity to the state of the Conservative Party today to that which existed in 1945. The membership then was 250,000 and consisted of mainly elderly people. The organisation in the constituencies was weak. The Party had very little money. Lord Woolton became Chairman and by 1951 the membership of the Party was 2.8 million. He believed that the Party had forgotten the ordinary people. He raised £1 million in small donations (the equivalent of £10 million today). The desire for equality and a new era had brought the Labour Party to power. The Conservative Party responded to the challenge by bringing in the Maxwell Fyffe reforms. The most important of which were
to limit the amount of money a Member of Parliament could donate to a Constituency Association to £100.
to recommend that Central Office should publish its accounts.
To have postal ballots for the officers of The National Union.
The £100 limit on the donation a Member of Parliament could give to his Constituency Association was brought in to stop the practice of wealthy people buying seats.
These simple organisational reforms, the change in attitude, the involvement of the Party in developing policies, in other words a cultural change right across the Party completely changed its fortunes.
The second Maxwell Fyfffe recommendation to publish Central Office accounts was not implemented in full until 1993, some 45 years after the recommendation. During that time the ordinary party member could not force the Party to publish Accounts because the Conservative Party then had no legal existence. In a tax case in 1981 - Conservative and Unionist Central Office v. Burrell (HM Inspector of Taxes) – which was to determine whether Central Office should pay corporation Tax or Income Tax on its investment income – it was decided that not only did it not have a legal existence it was not even an unincorporated association. The democratic power of the ordinary member was non existent. You cannot easily change a body that is said not to exist.
The political success of the Conservative Party during the 1950’s and early 1960’s led to reduced interest in making the Party more democratic but the defeat by the Labour Party in the General election of 1964 brought attention to the lack of democracy in choosing the Leader of the Party. Edward Heath became the first Leader of the Party to be democratically elected by Conservative Members of Parliament.
The late 1960’s and early 1970’s saw the Young Conservatives which at this time is reported to have had 250,000 members – today there are approximately 4,500 members of Conservative Future - try to bring democracy to the whole party when they published a pamphlet called "Set the Party free".
In 1970 the National Union Executive Committee set up a committee chaired by Lord Chelmer to investigate "the extent to which the Conservative Party in all its aspects outside Parliament might be made more democratic." A motion which called on the Executive Committee to prepare rules based the principles of the Chelmer Report was passed at the Central Council in 1973, but an amendment was also carried postponing action until after the General Election. After the Election the motion was quietly abandoned and nothing further happened.
The political success of the Conservative Party during the 1980’s deflected any attempt at democratic reform. Equally successful were the attempts by Alistair McAlpine, the Party Treasurer to obtain large sums of money from a relatively small number of wealthy individuals. This success made Central Office increasingly reliant on the few wealthy individuals rather than the mass membership in Conservative Associations. Subsequent events were to prove how financially vulnerable the party was to rely on approximately 200 wealthy individuals rather than the mass membership of the Party. Lose 50 donations in a recession and you lose 25% of your income. Corporate donations now account for a reducing part of the Party’s total income.
The 1987 General Election was a turning point in terms of finance. Having finished the election with an overdraft the party embarked on an expensive refurbishment of Central Office and the expenditure generally began to run out of control With seven Party Chairmen (appointed by the Leader) in eight years each Chairman appeared to adopt the motto – spend the money – win an Election – become a Minister – leave the problem to the successor, with the honourable exception of Sir Norman Fowler. By 1993 there was £19 million accumulated deficit and a bank overdraft of £15 million. In 1996 the revenue deficit had been reduced to £7 million and the overdraft to £2 million. A huge but largely unexplained rise in income to £42 million in 1997 produced a surplus of £7 million. This was just before the General Election. The Party is now at the end of 2001 once again in deficit, despite receiving over £4,000,000 in State funding.
It was under Lord Woolton’s chairmanship that the scheme was introduced by which each Parliamentary Constituency was given a quota to be paid to Conservative Central Office. The quota is based on the number of votes cast in a General Election. It was highly successful when introduced, but today the constituencies are either reluctant or unable to pay any quota. This puts Central Office at a disadvantage compared to Labour’s HQ at Walworth Road. The Labour Party gets approximately two thirds of all membership subscriptions paid to Walworth Road
Politically the strain of having three separate parts of the Conservative Party began to surface in the 1980s. Central Office was the private office of the Leader of the Party and it is still the Leader of the Party alone who appoints the Party Chairman and the Party Treasurer.
The major deficiency is that there is no democratic accountability and Central Office is dominated by the requirements of just one part of the Party – the Party at Westminster
What is required now is a Party Constitution which embraces all sections i.e. the Party at Westminster, the Party in the European Parliament, the Party in local government and the voluntary Party, all brought together with a unified structure served by the professional organisation, and in which democratic accountability is the essential element. The necessity for this unified structure was recognised by Sir Norman Fowler when he created a Board of Management but as Sir Norman appointed all members of the Board, the essential element of democratic accountability was missing. This has now changed and on the present Party Board there are five elected representatives of the voluntary party, but they are elected effectively by constituency chairmen.
Every member of the Party elects the Leader of the Party. An elected Leader derives his or her authority from the whole of the Party. 80% of members participated in voting in the Leadership election in 2001.
Research conducted by I.C.M. shows that a majority of Conservative Party members want to have a vote in the election of the Party’s officers, which would include the Party Chairman and the Party Treasurer. Even now the Party is not genuinely democratic. The members of the Party cannot change the Constitution of the Party on the simple basis of One Member, One Vote. That is the real test of democracy.
The Labour Party
Similar problems to those which affect the Conservative Party have beset the Labour Party. From a high of 1.0 million members in 1951 Labour Party membership declined to 250,000 in 1993. However, whereas the Conservative Party has always relied on its mass membership for fighting elections, the Labour Party traditionally turned to the Trade Unions.
The Trade Unions provide a substantial part of the Labour Party’s income. The late 1960s and the 1970s saw the increasing dominance of the Trade Unions in the Labour Party which culminated in the winter of discontent in 1978/79 It was brought home to the British public that the Labour Party was wholly undemocratic and it became unelectable. Neil Kinnock understood this and tried to reform the Labour Party as did his successor John Smith. Although John Smith had some success with OMOV (one man one vote) there are still democratic fault lines within the Labour Party with the Trade Unions still controlling 50% of the votes at the Party’s conference. Of the £18.50 minimum subscription to the Labour Party £6.25 remains in the constituency, and £12.25 goes to Labour Headquarters. There has recently been proposed a substantial increase in these figures.
Following the death of John Smith in 1994, the new OMOV provisions were implemented for the Leadership election. The Labour Party can be criticised for the details of how OMOV was exercised, with the possibility of some members having up to 20 votes. However the significance of the election is that within the first week of the introduction of OMOV 10,000 people joined the Labour Party and between 1994 and 1997 Labour Party membership increased to 400,000. It has since fallen to 250,000 as those members that joined realised during the selection for the Leader of the Welsh Assembly and also during the selection for the candidate for Mayor of London that with its electoral college system the Labour party is fundamentally undemocratic. Of the 250,000 only 70,000 pay the full subscription. Nevertheless prior to 1997 the public perception of the Labour Party was changed and the Party had again become electable.
Due to the public relations impact of OMOV the British public does not realise that the ordinary members have only one third of the votes in the leadership election, the other two thirds go to the parliamentary party and the affiliated organisations. The discredited Electoral College system is used extensively in the Labour Party for elections. The Chairman of the Party is now appointed. You can be a member of the Party if you live anywhere in the world including Eire unless you live in Northern Ireland. It is a scandal that people living in the United Kingdom are barred from joining the Labour Party.
Now that the Labour Party is in government we are beginning to see many of the practices used by the Conservative Party to raise funds implemented by the Labour Party. Blind trusts, front companies, patronage, receptions at 10 Downing Street, big individual donations as exemplified by Mathew Harding and Bernie Ecclestone are all now being used by the Labour Party. The financial pressure on the Labour Party inevitably eased for a while as these practices brought in the cash but in this process it became highly vulnerable, just like the Conservative Party. It is a dangerous course of action.
As the perception of democracy beings to fade the Labour Party is following the same path as the Conservative Party with a declining membership.
Single Issue Pressure Groups
The two main political parties in Great Britain have fundamental democratic fault lines running through them. The ordinary Conservative and Labour Party members feel that they have no say or influence on the Party to which they belong. We are moving rapidly into the era of the Pressure Group. The young in particular have realised that due to the undemocratic nature of our two main political parties they are more likely to change policies by joining a pressure group rather than one of the main parties. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has a million members, four times the membership of the Conservative Party. Greenpeace has 400,000 mainly young members thus illustrating that young people will get involved with political issues if they feel that what they say counts.
The turnout at the last General Election was at 59% the lowest on record. A false comparison is often made with the election of 1918 but in that election 14% of the seats were not contested. Turnout of young people was particularly poor. Today people are better informed than ever and they are aware that 55% of legislation affecting the United Kingdom emanates from the European Union yet because of the closed Party list system the people cannot choose the person they wish to represent them in the European Parliament. They also see multi-national corporations like Microsoft that are more powerful than national governments. With the end of the "Cold War" there is now only one super power in the world and that is the United States. It is seen to exercise global power without global accountability both at a military level and an economic level. The imposition of tariffs on steel, the ignoring of the "Kyoto" agreement on the environment, the massive subsidy to its farmers are examples of decisions taken by the United Sates government which have a great impact on the rest of the world but in which the rest of the world had no say in the decision making process.
Young people are particularly concerned with the environment, third world aid and the economy. Is it any wonder that in these circumstances they see the politician at Westminster as at best ineffective and at worst irrelevant? Only by making our institutions at all levels including our political parties more democratic will we overcome the antipathy, which the people now feel towards democracy.
The next General Election could see the Liberal Party move into the vacuum created by the two main parties, not on a positive vote, but because the British Public have said "A plague on the Labour and Conservative houses".
People want to be involved in decision making which affects them. The speed of change is increasing and only democracy can force organisations to keep up with that change without the requirements for bloody or bloodless coups. Because of their undemocratic nature both the Labour and the Conservative Parties are caught in a time warp unable to change rapidly enough to meet the aspirations of the people. All our institutions are under attack because they belong to the age of deference whilst we are moving into the age of democracy.
The Conservative Party needs a constitution, which would make those that run the Party democratically accountable to the membership. The officers of the Party would be elected and those elected officers would control Conservative Central Office. Members of the Party feel that they must have a say in the way in which the Party works. Until this happens the Party will continue to decline.
The Labour Party also needs to become genuinely democratic. It cannot be right that a National Political party should be so dependent on the vested interests of a particular group – the Trade Unions.
State Funding
The State is already involved in the funding of political Parties the main areas being as follows:
Finance for the Office of the Leader of the Opposition.
All Parties in Opposition with two or more MPs receive some financial assistance for their Leader’s office. This is a legitimate use of funds as it strengthens the democratic process by balancing out the inherent advantage a Party has in government. The funds should be publicly accounted for and not be excessive. The level of them should be the equivalent of the amount of money, which the Government spends, on political advisers. At present the Government employs over 80 political advisers at a cost of £5.1 million having almost doubled the number since the Labour Government took office. The number of political advisers employed by the Government should not exceed 50. This should produce a significant saving.
Free post at a Parliamentary election.
In the age of direct mail, computer targeting, E-mail, and the Internet, the "free post" could easily be scrapped without any detriment. It has increasingly come to be used by individuals for cheap subsidised publicity. The case for it to be continued is not strong for although it may help candidates who have no organisational back up, a candidate with serious intentions of trying to win an election would not be deterred by there being no free post.
Party Political Broadcasts (PPBs)
The British public is very sceptical about PPBs. Statistics included in them are usually slanted in favour of the Party broadcasting. However if the parties do benefit it is at the expense of the smaller Parties. There is, therefore, an inherent bias towards the status quo and as a result of this are dangerous for democracy. Increasingly large sums of money are spent by the Parties on these Broadcasts. That money would be saved if they were abolished.
MP’s expenses allowances.
There is a growing trend for functions which were done by a constituency association and paid for by the association to be done and paid for by the Member of Parliament. In 1948 the "Maxwell Fyffe" rules were adopted in the Conservative Party which limited the amount a Member of Parliament could give to his Association to £100. This was brought in because many Associations in choosing their parliamentary candidate were doing so on the basis of the amount of money the candidate would donate to the Association. There is a real danger of this practice once again becoming prevalent except that now most of the funding will be from the taxpayer. The current practice seems to have developed initially in the offices of European Members of Parliament where" information funds" and "high expense allowances" are normal. The further danger of this practice is that the Member of Parliament instead of relying on his Association or local grouping is able to dictate to the Association. The Association, as it no longer has to raise the money, rapidly goes into decline, becomes out of touch with its membership, becomes a small rump thus then justifying the MP dictating matters -–a vicious spiral. The practice should cease.
Since the beginning of 1992 when MP’s expense allowances were dramatically increased, many Constituency Associations have been and are still being subsidised by Members of Parliament out of their expense allowance. With the recent huge increase in these allowances many functions which used to be performed by the local Constituency Association are now being done by the MP’s office. Millions of pounds of state funding are going to constituencies by the back door. Already Members of Parliament are beginning to use this financial lever to control their Association and Constituency Associations are asking how much a prospective candidate will pay before choosing their Parliamentary candidate. This will further alienate the ordinary member from belonging to the Conservative or the Labour Parties.
Because of the scale of Tory losses in the last two General Elections the Party in the constituencies has lost a significant source of income. This source is now being exploited by the Labour Party.
Furthermore as the Constituencies have become weaker the Member of Parliament has become less accountable. No longer does the MP fear being asked to appear before a large Executive Council to account for his or her actions. It is not surprising therefore that the bonds which ensure loyalty to the Party have become weaker and an increasing number of Conservative Members of Parliament were able to be disloyal to the Party without having to account for their actions particularly during the 1992-97 parliament.
State Funding – Constituencies
The greater the membership of our political Parties the more the membership will represent the people rather than vested interests. The strength of our democracy rests on our having political Parties with mass membership. The Member of Parliament meets and is influenced by his local Association. The main objective of a Constituency Association is to fight and win elections. It can only do this if it has people and money. Membership and fund raising are, therefore, essential ingredients in every Association. Whenever Associations are not fighting elections they can be raising money. This keeps them together as a body. Anything that detracts from this weakens the Association. If an Association did not have to raise money it would inevitably only attract those people with high political motivation. 90% of Party members are content to attend fund raising activities without becoming deeply involved. They provide a stabilising influence on the extremist. Without the requirement for fund raising the politically motivated extremist would take over. State funding to the Constituencies would weaken them and, therefore, should not be done.
State Funding – Headquarters
It is often said that Walworth Road or Smith Square are out of touch with the grass roots of their Parties. This is not surprising for both Parties are essentially undemocratic. The Labour Party is dominated by the Trade Unions. Conservative Central Office still acts as the private office of the Leader of the Conservative Party. The "members" of the Parties by direct elections do not control either Party organisation. There is, therefore, no democratic accountability. With this situation existing it is, therefore, understandable that Constituency Associations are sometimes reluctant to pass funds to their headquarters. It is essential that political Parties should have an elected Chairman and Treasurer answerable to the membership
With democratic accountability in place the stronger the bond would be between the headquarters of the Parties and the Constituency Associations thus encouraging Constituencies to finance more of the activities of headquarters and making headquarters reliant to a greater extent on the Constituencies. State funding could weaken that reliance and thus weaken the influence of Constituency Associations.
State Funding – Tax Relief
Generally speaking only the relatively wealthy complete tax returns. Out of the entire population only approximately 9,200,000 tax returns are submitted. It is therefore thought that any system of State funding based on tax relief would have a bias towards the Conservative Party. It is not a fair system for it would not encourage the poor to participate.
The Methods by which Parties are at present financed
The main source of income for Constituency Associations is and should be membership subscriptions, for this creates the greatest number of positive links between the Association and the electorate. Probably about half an Association’s income could be derived from this source. The other half being made up by fund raising activities such as draws, barbecues, dances etc.
At headquarters the Labour Party derives most of its income from a few large Trade Unions whilst Conservative Central Office derives the bulk of its income from a relatively few large individual donations and a relatively few large company donations. The motives for these large donations must be questioned.
Regarding Trade Unions and Companies the decisions are taken by a small number of people and secondly, often the size of the donation can only be such to make one suspect that influence is being sought for one reason or another.
Adequacy of funds for the tasks Parties perform
There is no limit to the amount of money that could be spent on propaganda, research etc. The more money a Party has the more it will spend. Expenditure is a bottomless pit. State funding, will find growing demands for it to be increased. Parties, like individuals, must live within their means. Even the prospect of state funding could encourage the Parties to overspend and inevitably any state funding would be biased towards the status quo – a danger for democracy. Just as there is a limit on how much may be spent in a constituency during an election campaign there should also be a limit on the amount that may be spent nationally. Special provisions should be made regarding the limits of expenditure in by-elections, where at present there is widespread abuse.
Desirability or otherwise of controls over sources of finance
The Electoral Commission should demand that the accounts of political organisations be filed and audited. It should ask for audited returns relating to particular fund raising activities.
The Commission should ask for audited financial statements, which would usually comprise:
An Income and Expenditure Account
A Balance Sheet (or more than one if considered appropriate for specific funds.)
Notes to the Accounts which would include a statement on the accounting policies adopted.
The Registrar should also ask for a copy of the organisation’s rules and constitution.
Statutory requirements on donors or recipients
Political parties should receive their income from individuals who are electors in the United Kingdom or hold a United Kingdom passport. Politics should not be influenced by organisations lobbying for particular causes or courses of action because of the amount of money they give to a political party. Similarly foreign governments, organisations or individuals should not be able to exercise undue influence by their financial contributions.
There is a financial level at which support for a political Party from individuals turns into financial influence. That limit should be set at (say £5,000) and should not be allowed to be exceeded.
There will no doubt be attempts to circumvent the limits by interest free loans, free advertising, sponsorship, etc and the Electoral Commission needs wide powers to prevent abuses.
At present the State directly funds political parties in the amount of £7.3million per annum. In addition, special advisors to the Government are paid £5.1million. The question that has now to be addressed is not so much as to whether there should be State Funding, but if it is to be justified on the basis that it is to enhance our democracy, what conditions and requirements have to be met by those recipients of the funding.
We have set out in this paper the links between party democracy, membership and fund raising. There is no doubt that healthy political parties should be capable of raising from the public sufficient funds to sustain themselves. It is equally clear that for their own internal reasons the two main parties have pursued large donations from a few individuals and in the process have created a public perception of sleaze. They have avoided the option of raising funds in small amounts from a large number of people because without democratic reform of the parties their pleas would fall on deaf ears.
The solution to their problem requires the recognition of the calamitous financial state that the parties are in and that State Funding should be strictly limited to assisting the parties to overcoming their temporary difficulties. There should be a time limit on the main element of funding. In order to eliminate the public perception of sleaze the maximum size of any donation from an individual should be limited to £5,000.00. The parties should be democratically accountable to their membership. The limit on donations becomes less important if the parties are democratically accountable to their members for it would make it more difficult to obtain influence in such circumstances. All these steps are taken to enhance democracy and should be conditions imposed on the parties prior to them receiving State Funding.
The simplest way for these objectives to be achieved is for the State to pay a per capita amount (say £20.00) to each political party dependent on the number of audited members of the party paying a minimum subscription of £10.00. Such monies paid should be reduced each year by 20% thus eliminating the subsidy over five years. This would give the parties time to increase their membership to the point where they are self-financing.
To enhance democracy the State should pay a per capita amount (say £20.00) to each political party dependent on the number of audited members of the party paying a minimum subscription of £10.00 and subject to the parties having democratic constitutions. This would encourage them to concentrate on building up their membership. The subsidy would diminish by 20% each year and be completely abolished after five years.
Both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party should reform themselves to become democratic bodies answerable to their membership so that the members can change the Constitution of their Party on the basis of One Member One Vote.
All political Parties should publish audited Balance Sheets and Income and Expenditure Accounts and have elected Chairman and Treasurer answerable to their membership.
There should be a limit on the amount that a government can spend on political advisers. An equivalent sum to their costs should be given to the opposition Parties. This should replace the "Short" funding. These monies should be properly accounted for.
The "free" post at parliamentary elections should be abolished.
Party Political Broadcasts (PPBs) should be abolished.
The amount of money, which a Member of Parliament or a Member of the European Parliament can give to their party should be limited to £1,000.00.
Expense allowances given to MPs or European MPs should not be used for Party purposes.
27th October
At 7pm on Monday 21st October the Chairman of COPOV spent an enjoyable half hour at "Politicos" talking with Iain Dale and John Redwood MP.   The occasion was the launch of John Redwood's new book "Third Way - Which Way".   Unfortunately there were only three other people there.   The reason for this poor turnout?   At 6pm all Conservative MPs were told that they could go home and that is exactly what they did!    Talk about a part time parliament.   Maybe there is nothing going on in the world of any importance!
Incidentally congratulations to Iain Dale.    I gather he is now on the candidates list.   Let us hope that a safe seat picks him quickly.
The Convention on the future of Europe is steaming towards a European Constitution.   When will the British people wake up?   In a brilliant speech to the Coningsby Club on Tuesday 22 October Oliver Letwin MP explained how our judicial system is being changed by the European Convention on Human Rights.   This Convention may well be included in a European Constitution thus enshrining it even further into UK law.
At the very least there must be a referendum of the United Kingdom on the results of the Convention on the future of Europe.     COPOV will vigorously campaign for it.   Join us now! 

October 20th
Andrew Hunter and the Unionists
Why has Andrew Hunter MP decided to resign from the Conservative Party and stand for election to the Northern Ireland Assembly?    The elections for the Assembly should take place next year.   It is clear that the Ulster Unionists will suffer massive defeat to the Democratic Unionists who all along have opposed the "Good Friday Agreement".   The Democratic Unionists will then form the biggest Party in the Assembly, just at the time when Ian Paisley is beginning to feel his age.   What better than to have a former Westminster MP to be First Minister to keep the seat warm for Ian Paisley Junior?
Leadership Election
The following letter from Tom Benyon was printed in "The Times"  October 12th.   The Chairman of COPOV responded, printed October 15th:
Sir, Simon Jenkins is right to suggest that the Tories change their leader.
    Iain Duncan Smith's selection is the fault of William Hague, who has proved valid the law of unintended consequences.   He allowed party members a part in choosing the leader.    Party members always vote for people who reflect their own prejudices, whom they deem safe.   They are unlikely to choose someone with the necessary genius to raise the party's electoral fortunes from the dead, for the sort of people who can perform that miracle are dangerous and high-risk.
    If party members had been allowed to vote in 1940, then Lord Halifax would have been leader and not Winston Churchill.   In 1975 Edward Heath would have been re-elected - or Edward Du Cann elected - and certainly not Margaret Thatcher.   Extending the franchise was a disaster.   Both Kenneth Clarke and Michael Portillo are high-risk, yet would perform far more satisfactorily than IDS.
Yours faithfully
Tom Benyon

The Editor, 13th October 02
Mr. Tom Benyon (letter, October 11) speculates about the results of previous elections of Conservative Party leaders if party members had been allowed to vote.   He then states that "Extending the franchise was a disaster" and "Michael Portillo would perform far more satisfactorily than IDS".
    It was the MPs who determined the two candidates from whom members could choose. It was the MPs who prevented the members from electing Michael Portillo by not giving them the opportunity to vote for him.
    Rather than restricting democracy it should be extended in the next Leadership election by putting all of the candidates to the members.
Yours faithfully,

October 12th
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The Chairman of COPOV discusses candidate selection with Iain Duncan Smith MP, Caroline Abel Smith (Chairman of Conference) and Trish Morris (Vice Chairman responsible for candidates).
Report on the Party Conference
This was without doubt the worst party Conference ever.   No motions, no Debates except at the fringe meetings which were excellent, and lousy timing.   The Leader's speech was the worst that I can ever recall.   "Trust the people" he said, and yet he does not have the self confidence to trust the membership to have open honest debate.   The difference between Dictatorship and Leadership is that the Dictator says "Here are 25 new policies, you cannot debate them because I have decided."   A Leader says "Here are 25 new policies, debate them because I am convinced they are right and I have the confidence in my own powers of persuasion that I can convince you that they are right."   Once this is done the members will buy into the policies.
The media seem to have lost their critical faculties.   One moment the Leader says that "those that live in the past can stay in the past."   The next moment he announces that the Party is bringing back the "Right to buy policy"   Was this reported?
I hope that somebody turned out the lights as we left Bournemouth, for another conference like this and we will not be going back there, ever again.   The backdrop to the conference was like an advert from a 1970's Help the Aged poster.   Grey, dull and depressing.   For the first time ever there were always spaces in the hall even when one of the big hitters was speaking. At the start of the conference the hall was only a third full (See Below - What a cock up).  A number of people only went to the conference for the fringe meetings .
For whom the bell tolls.
Ever since Lord Hailsham (then Quentin Hogg) presented a bell at the Party Conference it has been traditional for the Chairman of the previous years Conference to present a bell to the current year's conference.    This year it was to have been Jean Searle.   Jean did a lot of research on Caroline Abel Smith to make the thank you personal.   I know because Caroline was the Lady Deputy Chairman of Chelsea Young Conservatives in 1968 when the Chairman of COPOV was their Chairman.   On her way to the Conference Jean received a mobile phone call (why do they not have the guts to say these things face to face.) telling her that her services were not required and the vote of thanks would be done by the Party Chairman.   One more tradition chucked over board to satisfy the control freak tendency of Central Office.
At a time when the Party is making a big noise about the elderly and vulnerable in our society it comes as a surprise to find that they have decided that all employees of Central Office must retire at 60.   Is this not age discrimination?   One more example of experience being chucked overboard.   There seem to be two categories of employee at Central Office.    Those brought in at vast expense that stay three or four years then leave and write their book saying how disastrous the Party is and those that dedicate most of their working lives to supporting and working for the Party.   The latter nearly always end up being kicked in the teeth.   They deserve better.
Ulster Unionist
As a result of the pressure put on Iain Duncan Smith it looks as though he will be having a meeting with the Northern Ireland Conservatives on the same day as he goes to the Ulster Unionist's AGM, and so he should. (See below)

October 6th
What a cock up!
The Conservative Party Conference is due to start at 1.30pm on 7th October.   This is an earlier start to an afternoon session than normal.   In the good old days when we had debates the afternoon session would start at 2.15pm.   Unfortunately dear old Central Office did not let the members know that the time of starting had been brought forward.   The result of this is that there are no less than 13 fringe meetings including the Conservative Policy Forum (run by Central Office) which start at 1pm.   The end result of all this is that either the fringe meetings will be a disaster or there will be a substantially reduced audience for the start of the Conference.   Not a good start.
There will shortly be meetings held all over the Country to choose the candidates for the European elections.   Unfortunately members will only hear about these meetings if they read "Heartlands" magazine where the times and venues will be listed.   They will not know who the candidates are and no doubt what they will not be told is that they will not be choosing the candidates but will only be ranking them; for example Southern Region elects 11 MEPs to the European Parliament so how many candidates will appear before the final meeting at which ordinary members will vote - 7.   Postal votes are not allowed.    Candidates are not allowed to campaign.   Candidates are not allowed to attend any meetings in the two weeks before the ballot.   The rule of Stalin in Russia will soon be looked upon as a golden age of democracy when compared to the shenanigans of the Tory Party.
I have been in Bournemouth this week (October 10 not as a constituency representative to our Conference but as an observer. I have been on holiday but when I booked way back in January I knew we would be meeting this week. I attended two fringe meetings where Conference passes were not required. The first, lunchtime on the Tuesday, was on health and the future of the Health Service where we were addressed by, inter alia, Dr. Liam Fox and Dr. Sheila Lawlor. The second, on the Wednesday morning, was a CRAG meeting in which I made a short speech on the proposed closure of the post office in the small town where I live and on the fact that under the new rules for disclosure, one third of our Town Council -–reponspible for things such as public conveniences, street lighting, small parks and pathways etc.) had resigned in protest – not just because there were forced to declare their own interest but that of spouses, partners, parents and children. Both meetings, particularly the CRAG one, were well attended and the speakers and subsequent discussion were both good and informative. In rural life, hunting is just one small part of a much larger and growing problem. So I’m glad I came down to the South coast.
Despite the Major/Currie revelations, the poor opinion poll ratings and question marks over the leadership, we did not implode. I am certain that everyone left conference in an upbeat mood. Iain Duncan Smith, in my view, gave a competent ‘wind up’ speech. He was naturally very nervous and will never be a great orator. We must, therefore, play to his strengths – decency, honest, sincerity. He seems a rather shy person and, of course, lacks the charisma of "I can feel your pain" Tony Blair. These are compensated for by his other qualities. Having read in the Daily Telegraph about the decline and fall FO the Government between 1992 and 1997 and of its slow, agonising and painful death, it is probably right to have chosen as leader someone who was not closely associated with or tainted by that era and who was prepared to put country before party when refusing to vote for the Maastricht Treaty. We need to free ourselves from the past but not belittle the many achievements from 1979 to 1997. But the self flagellation has gone on long enough. At least we have some new policies to show to the electorate at large even though much flesh has still to be put on the bones. Progress at the polls may well be slow and may not come for another eighteen months at least. There are massive increases in public spending on the way to be mainly financed by a huge hike in the National Insurance contributions. When people see that there is no marked improvement in either Health or Education and that the money poured in has been wasted (like pouring water through a colander) they will be very angry. But whether we will be the main beneficiaries remains to be seen.
I feel that any battle between the modernisers and the traditionalists is a sterile one and will play into the hands of our opponents. Our Party has always been a broad church covering a whole range of views and opinions and encompassing all colours, creeds and conditions. Had this not been so we could not have won so many General Elections in the last century. It is a sobering through that the Parties of the left won comfortable working majorities only five times – 1906, 1910, 1945, 1966 and 1997. We tend to get ‘bogged down’ in things of little importance – ethnic minorities, gays, single parents etc. These groups will vote for us if they find our policies on taxation, health, the environment, inner cities, etc. attractive. It end to agree with Lord Tebbit (and it would be disastrous if he were to be expelled from the Party) that we lost in 1997 not because of our nasty attitude to various groups but because of the ERM debacle in September 1992. We were shown to be economically incompetent and foolish. We were seen to be arrogant and this was proved when the Chancellor Norman "je ne regrette rien" Lamont did not resign and John Major did not sack him. In 1967, James Callaghan resigned as Chancellor after the devaluation of sterling – Lamont’s head should have been on the block then not chopped off seven months later. The subsequent rises in taxation brought with it not only hardship but bankruptcy to hundreds of thousands, many of whom were our natural supporters. There is a struggle over the method in which we provide for our public services in particular on health and education. We Conservatives have allowed the myth that we were against a National Health Service in any shape or form and this has been used as a stick to beat us by our opponents. From reading Dr. Sheila Lawlor’s pamphlet for Politiea the reader will find that our opposition was to the bureaucratic state monopoly as envisaged by Aneurin Bevan. We wanted a bigger mix to include the voluntary and charitable sector funded not solely out of general taxation but also by some form of insurance as set out in the Beveridge Report. Consequently there has been no serious thinking up until now as to whether the 1948 model is still relevant in the 21st century. The Government talks about reform but, imprisoned in the past doctrines of state control, will probably be unable to deliver thanks to the Chancellor of the Exchequer (who really believes in monopoly provision) and the public sector unions. We will have tinkering at the edges rather than root and branch radical reform.
One of my main concerns having observed the conference is whether everyone understands the magnitude of the task we face. We are trapped by the ‘third party’ syndrome – third placed Labour voters switching in droves to the Liberal Democrats in a bid to oust us from the seat. Depending on the seat involved third placed Liberal Democrat voters switch to second placed Labour in a bid to oust us. The Liberal Democrat trick is firstly to squeeze dry the Labour vote and to then slowly pick off the ‘soft’ Conservative vote. This is what the Liberal Democrat President, Mark Oaten, MP for Winchester, wants. But all that will do is to give the Liberal Democrats more seats and will hardly have any effect on Blair’s majority. Even now Labour has a majority of nearly 200 even if the Liberals and ourselves combine. In my opinion, we should never enter into a pack or an arrangement with them, particularly if their leader, the socialist Charles Kennedy, remains.
So we must as a top priority recover at the next general election all those rural seats in the West Country and the Marches which we have lost and hope to pick up one or two others in Wales and Scotland such as Brecon and Radnor. This strategy needs also to include both Romsey and Eastleigh in Hampshire although the Winchester seat has now to be classed as ‘safe Liberal Democrat’. The five seats around Kingston and Richmond in South West London ought to be up for grabs in any significant swing back to us. These seats may well have MPs who have served their constituencies well and will be difficult to dislodge.
Prior going to Bournemouth I spent three days in Bath and I asked myself how it could be that this most genteel of cities, naturally conservative with a small ‘c’, was now held by the Liberal Democrats with a 10,000 majority. And why have other spa towns, such as Cheltenham and Harrogate, fallen to them with seemingly impregnable majorities? May be it is that too many of our party workers are elderly and can no longer canvass their electorate or may be the electoral registers showing where our supporters are are completely out of date. May be it is out of sheer complacency: "You could put a blue rosette on a donkey in Harrogate and it would romp home". Or it may even be that we now have insufficient agents with a deep knowledge of their particular constituency and therefore the whole organisation campaign falls to pieces. So there is much work to be done and make no mistake we have an electoral mountain to climb.
Next June, here in Wales, we have elections for the National Assembly. (Incidentally our youngest member was 27 not 17 as reported in the September news sheet) and I shall be offering to help in our campaign in the Vale of Glamorgan. We all have our political heroes. (For Socialists it is Aneurin Bevan to whom they lovingly refer to as ‘Nye.) My hero was the late Iain Macleod. In a conference speech, he once made these remarks:
"Let the faint hearts go their way. We have no room for them. The Conservative
Party is like dry timber and a spark will set it ablaze!"
Macleod was speaking after an election in which we had polled 48% plus of the vote (1959). How much more difficult that task now is. But Macleod’s words are as relevant today as they were over 40 years ago. We need vision, courage, determination, sensible, practical and relevant policies which have been properly thought out and costed. Only then will we deserve to succeed. There is always room in any democracy for a party of the moderate centre right. It is, I think true that governments lose elections rather than oppositions winning them. We will, one day, return to office but firstly we need to regain and to get in tune with the British population as a whole, which is vastly different from that of 20 or 30 years ago. When that day eventually happens (and happen it will), the sweeter will be our victory.

From previous articles the reader will know that I have voted Conservative at every General Election since 1970 in a seat where the Labour candidate romped home with a majority of 15,000 plus. The latest bout of infighting in early August which resulted in the removal of David Davis from the Party Chairmanship has left me wondering whether our Party has any real future or whether like the old Liberal Party, it will wither, fade but never quite die. When a staunch supporter like myself can voice doubts about the future, it is hardly surprising that in the eyes of many we are not only considered unelectable but openly despised. This week is the tenth anniversary of our humiliating exit from the ERM. Yet the so-called grandees of our Party still seek to justify the frittering away of billions of pounds of reserves and seem to have learnt nothing at all from the experience. It ruined our claim to be the Party who could run the economy competently and we have been behind in the polls ever since barely rising above the mid 30’s in percentage terms – not enough to get 250 MPs let alone form a government.
It seems to me that we have become mesmerised by the electoral success of "New Labour" and are seeking to out do it on its own natural territory. "New Labour", like the Thatcher revolution of the 1980s is, in my view, a passing fad which will have its glory days and then be gone.
Margaret Thatcher made many enemies and might possibly be regarded as the most vilified Prime Minister in history. Even today, nearly 12 years after leaving office, she is still regarded by man as an ‘evil bitch’; heartless, selfish and cold. Tony Blair is considered distant, aloof, arrogant, mesmerised by rich superstars such as Posh and Becks and a poodle of President George Bush. He is seen to have a ‘pushy’ wife intent on furthering her own career and of ensuring that his children have the best possible education under the church/state system, topped up by private tuition. Yet one cannot deny his success electorally in drawing to the Labour Party people who would not vote for it in normal circumstances.
It is hardly surprising that young people are put off voting and distrust and despise all politicians. Iain Duncan Smith is regarded in much the same way as William Hague – a decent chap but hardly prime ministerial material and is seen as someone who opts for an Eton education for his son and who, by this fact alone, has no interest in the state system which 92% of our children have to endure whether they like it or not. This same group regards Blair as an opportunist who pays lip service to the state system by bussing his children to the London Oratory, one of the top comprehensives in the country…
The charge against Blair but one which our leaders seem incapable of exposing must surely be this: he has allowed his Chancellor to raise public spending to £500 billion plus by 2005/2006 in what may well turn out to be an unsustainable boom which may lead to higher taxes and secondly he is actively encouraging, by various tax credits, over one third of the population to become dependent on state benefits and state handouts for their sole source of income.
Too many people at the top of our Party are jockeying for positions and are playing the "who is going to be the next leader?" game. Too many others, some of our best known figures – Hague, Portillo and Dorrell – are content either to just serve their constituents and write occasional newspaper articles or to make television programmes on either musical composers or on the Euro. We are not even talking to ourselves let alone the country.
Take the foot and mouth crisis of the early months of last year. The Government’s handling of the situation was disastrous resulting in much greater slaughter than there need have been. At the time our then leader, William Hague, was pooh-poohed for suggesting that the Army be brought in immediately. It now transpires that if Hague’s suggestion had been taken up, the outbreak might have been contained sooner. we have had no word of apology from the Government, many of whose MPs on the back benches regard farmers as greedy, over-subscribed Tory voters who like hunting.
The Government is navigating choppy waters - it has plenty of problems, believing it can solve the continuing disquiet with public services, notably Health and education, by throwing taxpayers money at them willy-nilly. The reforms it promises will never come because it lacks the will to take on the public sector unions who are after all its paymasters and raison d’ĂȘtre. More and more people – even those on comparatively modest incomes – are taking out private health insurance or are paying for private health insurance or are paying for private tuition in the case education. In the matter of health, I have always felt it right for there to be a Health Service, free at the point of delivery, for all those who need treatment when they are ill. It does not matter to me who provides it, as long as there it’s there. Similarly, I have never been an enthusiastic supporter of the comprehensive system because it has meant the destruction of many fine grammar schools which had academically, although not socially, proved themselves over many years.
Why then am I, a man from the working class, not a socialist? Socialism has little appeal for me because it relies on rigid control, compulsion and destruction. The late Tony Crosland failed to close every grammar school in the country. Thirty-five years later and 25 after his death there are still over 160 of them in the country and to judge by the latest tables 90% of them occupy the top 50 places in terms of examination success. Socialists believe that the State knows what is best for the individual – and some of them, like Dennis Skinner MP will tell you that. Others, while believing in equality, will milch the current system when it suits them. Their line is: I really am a socialist BUT (with the emphasis on the word BUT).
I maintain that it is better for us not to try and outbid the Labour Party in the public spending stakes – it is dead water for us. We will never win the argument partly because many of our leaders, although not all, prefer to go private in the matter of health and education. In the past that has not been an insurmountable barrier – Margaret Thatcher won three elections even though she used private hospitals and sent her son to Harrow. But to counter this she had a couple of ‘big’ ideas, which appealed to many, notably the sale of council houses to sitting tenants and the taming of the Trade Unions. These had an appeal because in the case of council houses it gave people an opportunity to buy a property they might otherwise have rented for 40 or more years. The curbing of union power shoed that workers who were not in a union also had rights as they too were wealth creators. So we need a few ‘big’ ideas.
But not only that. We need people who can communicate with the ordinary mass of the public. So it is no use choosing an old Etonian ‘Hooray Henry’ for this task. To reconnect with the voters we need to apologise for past mistakes – the ‘poll tax’ of the early 90s, the recession at that time and the ERM debacle already referred to. It is noticeable that these three major mistakes took place after we had been in government for more than 10 years. 33% of those who voted in 2001 supported us but 67% did not. We should find out why we were deserted by them and act accordingly. Certainly we need to broaden our appeal but do not let us sacrifice our principles in so doing. We seem to be caught in a dilemma as to whether or not we should cut taxes and how much we should spend on the public services. The general public is sceptical as to whether the Chancellor’s largesse will improve things more than marginally, yet they are unwilling to trust us. Unless and until we regain that trust and start talking sensibly about the public’s genuine concerns we are going to remain marginalised and seemingly irrelevant. Unless we can learn from past mistakes we will, I fear, continue to lose seats to the Liberal Democrats in particular. The recent death of the former Conservative MP for Lewes in East Sussex, Tim Rathbone, brought this home to me. In 1997 the Liberal Democrats overturned his majority of 12,000 by a thousand or so votes which in 2001 they managed to increase to 10,000. We have a lot of hard work to do when so called safe seats such as Lewes, Conservative for over 60 years, have been allowed to go down the pan.
We need our leaders to have vision and to stand up and say: "This is what we believe and this is how we will go about it". If we think the State should consume only 35% on the nation’s wealth and that people are better off in making some provision for themselves independent of the State, we should not be afraid to say so. We once won an election on the slogan – "Set the people free".
I believe that the distinction between income tax and national insurance should be abolished, so that people can actually see in one lump sum how much of their earnings they are handing back to the Government. The raising of the National Insurance contributions in the last Budget allowed Gordon Brown to claim, quite rightly, that he was not putting up income tax. All he has done is to raise the money in another way. The general public, companies and public corporations are undoubtedly paying more tax in 2002 than in 1997 although this is often camouflaged by ‘dodgy’ accounting practices. Yet there has been no mass revolt, no rioting and such - just a weary resignation, and a hope that things will improve. Our Party is incapable of giving a response because it is afraid of being dubbed ‘privatisors’ and miserly in respect of public spending. And I would be the first to admit that in a country where health and education are provided free by the State, the idea of providing for yourself and your family instead of the State acting as a universal ‘sugar daddy’ is not going to be very popular.
The universal complaint from both teachers and nurses is that they are not paid sufficiently well for the kind of work they do. (And with firemen now talking about a wage of £30,000 per year, who can blame them?) The NHS employs over 1,000,000 people, second only to the Red Army. To give them what they want would mean an unacceptable rise in taxation, borne by other workers, and companies already reeling under higher taxes and bureaucracy. Yet the vested interests seem completely oblivious of this and of the additional rights and protection they have been given since 1997. The truth is surely this: whatever we are given, we will always want more.
I end on a happier note. Here in Wales we do not have any Parliamentary representation at Westminster. In the Welsh Assembly, one of our Members was elected by the first pas the post system and the other eight through proportional representation. Although in a minority, we have some excellent Assembly Members who work hard for their constituents. Next year new elections will be held and I have just sent my ballot paper in nominating our South Wales Central candidates in order of preference 1 to 8. Our present two Assembly Members are seeking re-election . One of these is the youngest \Member of the present Assembly, (aged 17). We have two women candidates, a couple of students in their early 20’s. They come from varied backgrounds and are what I would call ‘in tune’ with the general public as a whole. Even though we may have an ageing membership, we do still have a long FO young people involved in the Party at the highest levels. We must continue to encourage them to participate and not be distracted by internal divisions over our attitude to certain specific issues, some of which are irrelevant to everyday life.
This Government needs to be exposed for what it is – bossy, meddling, bureaucratic, wedded to state interference, economical with the truth when it suits and a tendency to belittle anything it does not regard as part of the ‘project’.
Can we Conservatives rise to the occasion or is it too late?

29th September
Will the Leader resign or will he be expelled?
Earlier this year there was a great fuss when it was decided that Conservative MPs should not be members of the "Monday Club."   The Party has quite rightly taken a hard stance on people being members of other political parties as well as the Conservative Party.   It will not allow it.   This was primarily aimed at U.K.I.P.
The Party Constitution is quite specific.    It states "Membership of the Conservative Party is not compatible with membership of, or association with any other political party."   So why is Iain Duncan Smith associating himself with the Ulster Unionist Party by attending their Annual General Meeting.?   This is particularly insulting to the hard working Conservatives in Northern Ireland, as the Leader has not yet had a meeting with them.   
At the General Election the Conservatives put up three candidates in Northern Ireland.   They were opposed by the Ulster Unionists.   It is scandalous that Iain Duncan Smith is now giving succour to that Party and also bad judgement for it is clearly a Party on its way down.    He should instead be supporting the Conservative Party in Northern Ireland.
We show below a letter sent to the Leader by a long standing member of the Party in Northern Ireland.   He should pay attention to it.
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September 21st
Conservative Party Accounts
Congratulations to the Party Chairman for getting the Accounts out in time for the Party Conference.   This is how it should be and how it used to be.   Transparency is one of the essential elements of democracy and it is good to know that the Party acknowledges this.
There does not appear to be anything too controversial in the accounts, although sadly we have gone back to a negative net asset position.   This, in spite of receiving £4,000,000 of direct State Funding.    Why then does Theresa May state in her press release "Conservatives do not believe that taxpayer's money should be used to bail out failing political parties.?"   Does this mean that the Conservatives will pay back the £4,000,000 or is it alright to bail out successful political parties.?    Theoretically this money should be spent on research and policy development.    This of course is on top of the £11,000,000 paid direct to Conservative MPs by the State for the same purposes.    Indeed compared to five years ago when the Party had to fund entirely all its own research it is now £15,000,000 per annum better off, and still it manages to run a deficit of £1,644,000 for the year.
It would not be so bad if the Party was bringing forward lots of ideas and new policies but if they are the "grass roots" cannot see them.   So somebody is getting an awful lot of money for what?
Anti Terrorism
As we seem to be marching inevitably towards war it is time to remind ourselves what it is we are fighting for and in doing so remember that The House of Commons held a private session on the debate on the Anti-terrorism crime and Security bill.   This was the first time that reporters, spectators and other non-members were banned from the chamber since 2 December 1925.   It was a little bit ironic that the session was not quite so secret.   Somebody forgot to turn the microphones off.   Let us hope that if the same tactic is used in the coming debate after the recall of parliament the same thing happens.    Transparency is essential in a democracy.

15th September
Recall of Parliament
Graham Allan MP contacted all Members of Parliament and asked for their support for the recall of parliament to debate Iraq.    Many MPs including Conservatives responded positively.    Unfortunately the Establishment would not allow the MPs to use Parliament, so Graham Allan asked the MPs if they would support a session in Church House, Westminster.    Once again many MPs responded positively, until that is Conservative MPs received a directive  telling them that under no circumstances were they to support the recall of Parliament.   It is becoming too much of a habit for the Conservative Party to demonstrate that it is totally out of touch with the views of the British people.   Fortunately it now looks as though Parliament is going to be recalled anyway.
Theresa May MP
In a speech to Conservative Future, the Party Chairman called on them to lead the reform of the Tory Party.   What does she mean?
Liverpool West Derby
The situation in Liverpool goes from bad to worse.   We now hear that the Liverpool West Derby failed to produce the deeds to the Building after being ordered to do so by the Liverpool County Court.   It is time Central Office sorted out this mess and all the other messes that surround the Liverpool Conservatives.   The Liverpool West Derby Conservative Club has a membership of 800.   The Liverpool West Derby Conservative Association has a membership of 5.   This tells you something.

September 8th
It is quite clear that the leader of the Labour Party and the Leader of the Conservative Party are totally out of touch with the ordinary people of this country on whether we should unilaterally or in conjunction with the United States declare war on Iraq.   Most people believe that action on Iraq should be through the United Nations.   There is now a real danger that either the Labour Party or the Conservative Party, or both, could find themselves split from top to bottom.   What a tragedy that Iain Duncan Smith has already aligned himself to a small minority.
European Democracy
Germany is the largest nation in the European Union with a population of 81.6 million.  Luxembourg is the smallest with a population of 400,000.   Luxembourg has one Commissioner, 6 members of the European Parliament and carries 2 votes in the Council of Ministers.   Germany, whose population is over 200 times the size of Luxembourg has two Commissioners, 99 members of the European Parliament and 10 votes in the Council of Ministers.  In a democracy each person's vote should be of equal value.   Distort democracy and you destroy freedom.   This is an issue that the Convention on the future of Europe must address.
Big Brother
What is happening to the Tory Party?    The latest gimmick is a video box at the Party conference.   The idea is that you record a one minute video which may or may not be shown in the evening.    The beauty of this is that Central Office can censor what is or is not shown.    One more way in which debate is stifled.   Carry on like this and the only people watching the videos will be Central Office employees and they are paid to watch.

September 1st
Letter published in "The Times"      August 30

Jack Straw MP has called for a written constitution for the European Union (Report, August 28) and the Convention on the Future of Europe is in the process of drawing up such a constitution.   By defining what the European Union can or cannot do you also define what the United Kingdom can or cannot do.
Some 55% of legislation affecting the United Kingdom now emanates from Brussels. For the first time in our history we will effectively have a written constitution. Such a critical and historically important step must be put to the people of the United Kingdom in a referendum for their approval or disapproval. All political parties should commit themselves to this now.
Yours faithfully,
They swallowed it again
Once again "The Times" seem to swallowed a story from Central Office hook line and sinker.   This time  it was under the headline "Tories to wish teenagers a happy birthday."   They went on   "The man behind the initiative is Charles Hendry, 41, the Tory youth spokesman,   "We want to make contact with young people in a way we never have before."   Perhaps Charles is not aware that sending birthday cards to 18 year olds has been part of membership packs for years.   Aylesbury Association have been doing it for over ten years.   Beaconsfield were so successful that their letter plus a questionnaire was part of the 1995 membership pack.    We are delighted that the Party is doing this    It was a successful way of making contact with young people, but why did "The Times" describe it as new?
Perhaps we should start a correction column for "The Times.?European Ideas Network
Over this weekend a most important meeting took place at Christchurch College, Oxford.   150 people from European centre right parties, business men, and academics gathered to put forward ideas.   This historical get together could have a major impact on policy.   See this column next week for further details.
COPOV Submission Re. The Convention on the Future of Europe
Timothy Kirkhope Esq, MEP, 9th July 2002
7 Dewar Close,
W. Yorkshire LS22 5JR.

Dear Mr. Kirkhope,
Recently COPOV held one of its regular meetings on democracy. Over 30 members attended from different parts of the United Kingdom. One of the items on the Agenda was "The Convention on the future of Europe". We would very much like to be involved in expressing our views on the Convention as it progresses and hope that the Conservative Party will take steps to obtain its members’ views in formulating its policy.
The initial views expressed at the meeting were as follows:
The Commission should be the servants of the European Union and should not have the power to initiate legislation. They should be strictly controlled by the Council of Minister, i.e. their role should be similar to that of the British Civil Service.
The Council of Ministers meetings should be transparent and open to the press and public, and their votes also transparent.
Elections to the European Parliament should ideally be on a constituency basis but if the present system of proportional representation is to continue the "lists" should be open lists so that the people are electing their chosen representatives.
Each person in the European Union should have a vote of equal value. Steps should, therefore, be taken to ensure that each MEP represents a similar number of electors.
The European Central Bank should be made accountable and the minutes of its meetings should be published in a similar way to those of the Bank of England.
With reference to the question of what the Union should do people felt that the Common Agricultural Policy and Regional policies should be abolished; and that Fisheries’ policies should revert to the Nation States.
I hope this is helpful and if you would like us to look specifically at something please let me know.
Yours sincerely,

Chairman: John E. Strafford FCA Vice Chairman: Cllr . Trevor Egleton Hon. Treasure: Anne Egleton FCA
Hon. Secretary: Caroline Strafford Membership Secretary: Molly Andoe
August 25th
Release date: Tuesday, 23 August 2002.
Released by: John Strafford, Chairman,
Campaign for Conservative Democracy.
The Campaign for Conservative Democracy has submitted their proposals for the State Funding of political parties to the Electoral Commission. In their paper which sets out the links between party democracy, membership and fund raising they make the following recommendations:
To enhance democracy the State should pay a per capita amount (say £20.00) to each political party dependent on the number of audited members of the party paying a minimum subscription of £10.00 and subject to the parties having democratic constitutions. This would encourage them to concentrate on building up their membership. The subsidy would diminish by 20% each year and be completely abolished after five years.
Both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party should reform themselves to become democratic bodies answerable to their membership so that the members can change the Constitution of their Party on the basis of One Member One Vote.
All political Parties should publish audited Balance Sheets and Income and Expenditure Accounts and have elected Chairman and Treasurer answerable to their membership.
There should be a limit on the amount that a government can spend on political advisers. An equivalent sum to their costs should be given to the opposition Parties. This should replace the "Short" funding. These monies should be properly accounted for.
The "free" post at parliamentary elections should be abolished.
Party Political Broadcasts (PPBs) should be abolished.
The amount of money, which a Member of Parliament or a Member of the European Parliament can give to their party, should be limited to £1,000.00.
Expense allowances given to MPs or European MPs should not be used for Party purposes.
John Strafford, Chairman of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy, said: "With the State already directly funding political parties in the amount of £7.3 million the question that has to be addressed is not whether there should be State Funding but what conditions and requirements should be met before any political party receives any funds from the State. This paper answers that question.In Linking the low turnout at the last General Election with the lack of democracy the paper states:
The turnout at the last General Election was at 59% the lowest on record. A false comparison is often made with the election of 1918 but in that election 14% of the seats were not contested. Turnout of young people was particularly poor. Today people are better informed than ever and they are aware that 55% of legislation affecting the United Kingdom emanates from the European Union yet because of the closed Party list system the people cannot choose the person they wish to represent them in the European Parliament. They also see multi-national corporations like Microsoft that are more powerful than national governments. With the end of the "Cold War" there is now only one super power in the world and that is the United States. It is seen to exercise global power without global accountability both at a military level and an economic level. The imposition of tariffs on steel, the ignoring of the "Kyoto" agreement on the environment, the massive subsidy to its farmers are examples of decisions taken by the United Sates government which have a great impact on the rest of the world but in which the rest of the world had no say in the decision making process.
Young people are particularly concerned with the environment, third world aid and the economy. Is it any wonder that in these circumstances they see the politician at Westminster as at best ineffective and at worst irrelevant? Only by making our institutions at all levels including our political parties more democratic will we overcome the antipathy, which the people now feel towards democracy.
For further information, please contact:
John Strafford, Chairman, Campaign for Conservative Democracy:
Telephone: (h)  01753 887068 (o)  020 7474 3464
(m) 07956 352 022   (fax) 01753 882823
Email: johnstrafford@btinternet.comSDP
Why did the SDP fail?   Because David Owen did not believe in party membership.   Isn't there a lesson somewhere in this?
European Democracy
On June 11th the European Parliament agreed by 399 votes to 111 to proposals to prevent peers and MPs sitting in that parliament.    It was the abolition of the "dual mandate".   It should be up to the British people to decide whom they wish to represent them in the European Parliament, the only snag of course is that with the closed list system of election operated in the United Kingdom the people do not choose their representatives at all.    Do you hear anybody protesting at this democratic disgrace?   Why no.   Cosy stitch up is the reason.

August 18th
Party Political Broadcasts
At present the Electoral Commission is conducting a consultation exercise on Party Political Broadcasts.   Ask any member of the public what they think of these and they will tell you that they are pure propaganda and should be abolished.
So what does the Electoral Commission say in its discussion paper?   "the discontinuance of free allocations with no alternative provision" should be rejected.   In other words "Stuff the public"   Indeed the only basis that they consider for the future of party political broadcasting is "the retention of allocations of free time to political parties."    Who said that the Electoral Commission is in the pockets of the main political parties?
The Myth of Party Chairman expands
Some months ago Anthony Howard stated in "The Times" that "no Conservative Party Chairman had ever gone on to become the Leader of The Party".   Shortly after that Mary Ann Sieghart stated the same thing, once again in "The Times"   Now we have our good friend Michael Brown saying the same in "The Independent"   Before this myth gets out of hand let us remind them of the following:
Neville Chamberlain was Chairman of the Conservative Party.   He went on to become the Leader of the Party.    When in 1940 he resigned as Prime Minister he did not resign as Leader of the Party.   Winston Churchill on becoming Prime Minister also became at the same time Leader of the Conservative Parliamentary Party.   Chamberlain remained Leader of the Party until his death later in the year, whereupon Churchill took over that mantle.
The most interesting aspect of this episode was that the Party distinguished between the Leader of the Party and the Leader of the Parliamentary Party.   Since the Constitution of the Party in 1998 this distinction no longer exists, but if the European Parliament increased its importance it is possible that the Party would want a Leader who was a member of that parliament and we could find that the distinction was resurrected.   After all 55% of legislation in the United Kingdom now emanates from Brussels.
The Scandal of Liverpool carries on!
Cathrine Prosser, the former Chairman of the Liverpool Garston Constituency association wrote to David Davis MP asking for an inquiry.    he replied that as far as he was concerned the matter was closed.    She then wrote to Theresa May MP.   She awaits a reply.
What Cathrine Prosser quite rightly wants is a fulsome apology from those that treated her in such a disgraceful manner.    Until she gets it the scandal of the Conservative Party actions in Liverpool will remain  open.

August 11
We do not believe in State funding?
The Chairman of the Conservative Party states that "We don't believe in the concept of state funding."   In view of this perhaps:
The Conservative Party will return the £3.5m it receives as "Short" money from the State.
It will waive the "free post" which it receives at a general election.
It will waive the free use of public halls at election time, and
It will abolish the £70,000 per annum which each Member of Parliament receives for research.
As the Conservative Party used to pay entirely for its own research as recently as five years ago the £15m that it now receives from the State can be spent on propaganda, or do I detect a whiff of hypocrisy in the air?    Not a good start for a new Party Chairman, but does it matter?    After all the Party Chairman is not answerable to the members.
Andrew does it again!
Once again, our good friend Andrew Pierce   has swallowed a briefing from Central Office hook line and sinker.    Earlier this year he swallowed the Party line on the state of the Party's finances(see below).   In his latest column in "The Times" relating to the appointment of Gillian Shepherd as Deputy Chairman of the Party he states "The deputy's post was revived for the first time since 1987 by Iain Duncan Smith specifically to tempt Shepherd back into the political limelight."    He goes on "The post of deputy chairman was scrapped for good reason.   The last person to hold it was Jeffrey Archer...."
Strange then that the party's constitution introduced in 1998 states that the Board of the Party shall consist of:
Two Deputy Chairmen,
    One of whom shall be Chairman of the National Conservative Convention and who in the absences of the Chairman of the Board and the Leader, shall chair the Board, and
one of whom shall be appointed by the Leader.
If Andrew had checked his facts he would know that John Taylor is a Deputy Chairman as Chairman of the National Convention and until his defeat in the General Election last year The Hon, David Prior MP was the other Deputy Chairman.
Even before the new constitution the Leader appointed a deputy chairman, for example in 1995 it was Michael Trend MP, so all this rubbish about it being created specially for Gillian Shepherd is a load of nonsense.    At one time Andrew used to check his facts.   It is about time he started doing it again.
With Party membership dropping like a stone, we are not only not getting renewals but many members are resigning.   Anything to keep old members has to be looked at.   All the more surprising then, that if a Foundation member drops their subscription according to the Constitution they cease to be a member.   In some constituencies this is stuck to rigidly.    However unofficially the Party will turn a blind eye.   We need to keep our members no matter how much they pay.

August 4th
Habeas Corpus
Many Conservatives were disappointed that the Party did not oppose David Blunkett when he brought in the Anti Terrorism Act which abandoned the principle of Habeas Corpus.   It is perhaps appropriate that the Act that abolished this principle has now produced a farce and will have to be amended for the Act of Parliament of 1679 which established Habeas Corpus only passed as a result of a joke.
Lord Grey and Lord Norris were the tellers. Lord Norris was not attentive to what he was doing. On seeing a very fat Lord coming in Lord Grey counted him as ten in jest, but seeing that Lord Norris had not noticed he went on with the misreckoning.
The manuscript minutes of the House of Lords give the numbers in the division as fifty seven "ayes" and fifty five "noes", a total of one hundred and twelve although the journal shows that no more that one hundred and seven had attended the sitting.
It was noticed at once that something was wrong but Lord Shaftesbury who was in favour had the presence of mind to rise and speak until a number of Lords had entered and left the chamber so the vote could not be taken again.
When an Act shows such determination to be on the Statue Book perhaps it is as well to leave it alone!
State Funding
According the the Conservative Party web site the Party's Stance on State Funding of political Parties is as follows: "At a time when our public services are in crisis, we believe the public would find it very strange if more money was spent on political parties, rather than on health transport and education."   If this is the best we can do in answering a straight forward question then it is not only the public services in crisis but the Conservative Party as well.

For two centuries the Conservative Party ruled Liverpool almost exclusively.   Yet today, Conservatism is at a very low ebb with not a single MP or Councillor.   Those who followed the disgraceful behaviour of the Party establishment over Liverpool Garston will not be surprised.   Now we have another scandal brewing.
The West Derby Conservative Club has taken its own constituency association to court in a dispute which could cost £300,000.   The club has been paying rent to the Association for 22 years but it has now emerged that they may have owned the property all along.
It is thought that the Association only has 6 members.    we are told Central Office have known about this situation for two years.    Embarrassingly much of the money paid may have been passed on to Central Office.
As the membership of the Party gets smaller and smaller you can bet that there will be more cases like this crawling out of the woodwork particularly where property is involved.
July 28th
Gay Conservatives
The Party hierarchy have been falling all over themselves to welcome the announcement by Alan Duncan that he is "gay".    "We are now a more inclusive Party" they say.    Presumably this means that they expect more "gay" people to join the Party?   What a pity then that they have forgotten the history of new members joining the Party.   Each year on average 40,000 people join the Conservative Party.   Unfortunately 90,000 people leave either through death or disillusion.   The ones that leave through disillusion are usually the ones that joined two to three years before (this is why the average age of the Party is increasing).    So the end result of all this is that the Party will be "gay" for two or three years and then it will revert to normal.   Sad, really.    Every new member finds that on joining the Party they have no say, no influence and no vote on policy or organisation.   Disillusion sets in and they leave.
In welcoming "gays" into the Party we should not ignore our existing members.   Many of them will be offended, not because they are Conservative but because they are of an age that were brought up to believe that homosexuals were "Poofters".   They reflect the population at large of a similar age.   We should show understanding.    Do not forget that the old age pensioner also has a vote and is more likely to use it at a general election.
Incidentally, now that the "gays" are accepted in the Party officially why do they not join the fight for a truly democratic Conservative Party with equal rights for every member?
Have you heard it before?
Congratulations to Theresa May on becoming Party Chairman.   She says that she will change the Party into a "campaigning organisation".   Isn't that what Brian Mawhinney, Cecil Parkinson, Michael Ancram and David Davis said?   As the fifth Chairman in five years she will find as others have before that no sooner has she begun to understand the Party than it is time for a move.   This is one more reason why the Chairman should be elected.
The Charge Sheet
One of the charges thrown at David Davis is that he did not reply to correspondence.   Did somebody in Central Office look at the COPOV web site and see the letter to the Electoral Commission? (see below)
Democracy and the Party Conference
On the web site of the Liberal Democrats is a form which any twenty members of the Lib-Dem Party can complete in order to table a motion for their Party conference.   Contrast this with the Conservative Party that is not having any motions at its Party conference.   And we wonder why the Liberal Democrats are making progress.

21 July
Congratulations to the Party Chairman
On 4th July on the "Today" programme the Chairman of COPOV called for a woman as Party Chairman in order to show that the Party is changing.   Little did he know that within three weeks it would happen.   Is somebody listening?   In which case how about implementing the other aspect and that is to have the Chairman elected?
Electoral Commission and the Establishment
At a recent meeting addressed by a member of the Electoral Commission the view was expressed that in their first year of operation they "had built up trust and worked closely with the political parties".   Is not the Electoral Commission there to protect the interests of the public?   For a public body which distributes millions of pounds of taxpayer's money to political parties without ensuring that those parties are democratic, is it not dangerous to get too close to the donees?   Should not the Commission set out basic requirements that have to be met by the donees, such as an audit requirement?   If they do not, it is only a question of time before a financial scandal hits the headlines.
If the parties were democratic and accountable to their members with elected Chairman and Treasurer there would be less likelihood of an individual making a large donation in order to influence the Party.    Do you get the feeling that the Electoral Commission just might be getting so close to our main political parties that it is becoming part of the Establishment and is forgetting that it is there to protect the public?
Local Democracy
Have you noticed that as more and more Councils adopt the Cabinet system of government debate and discussion is diminishing?    The truth is that we have a growing band of Councillors that are relying on the money they are paid to top up their pensions and cannot afford to lose it.    The growth of Quangos has added to the problem.   With Councillors having to spend more and more time on Council work only if you are retired do you have the time to do it.   The end result is that democracy suffers for debate, discussion and information is the oil which makes the engine of democracy turn.   Check out your local Council and see what proportion of the members are over 60 years of age.    Let us know!

July 14th
Selection of MEPs
The rules for the selection of MEPs have now been published.   Have we learnt anything from last time?.    I fear not.   In spite of the success of a postal ballot in the Leadership contest (80% of members participated) there is to be no postal ballot this time.   In the last selection e.g. in Southern Region 1,500 members voted out of a total membership of 110,000.   This time without a postal ballot it is expected that 3,000 will vote out of a total membership of 83,000 (I thought we were told membership was increasing!.   The increase will come because there will be Area hustings and it is thought more people will turn out.   The end result is that 95% of the membership will not participate in this selection.   Do we not want members?   Why do we treat them with contempt?   Do we not want them to participate?.   But this is not the only example of contempt.
The rules state "Candidates may not campaign for or solicit votes for selection."   Well that rules out all the existing MEPs because they have been campaigning for some time.   Why did most of them turn up at the National European Conference.?   If you are not an MEP how do you make yourself known to the membership?   It gets worse!    Candidates may not do a bulk mail shot to the membership, unless of course you are an MEP in which case you can collectively send out a mail shot including all the existing MEPs.   What a stitch up!
Finally for 14 days prior to the hustings no candidate may accept any speaking engagements.   This is an absolute disgrace.   Information, discussion, debate are the essentials of democracy and they are being eliminated.   Why?   In the Leadership election the candidates openly solicited votes,  they openly held many meetings.   It was a healthy democratic process.   Now we have gone back to the dark ages.
One of the reforms introduced by Lord Woolton after the 1945 defeat was to have postal ballots for National elections.    This was extended to Area elections.   It contributed to the revival of the Conservative Party after a catastrophic defeat.   It seems we will have to have another catastrophe before we begin to see sense.   Sad really.
June 30th
Selection of European Parliament candidates!
We understand that it has been decided by the Party Board that the selection of European Parliament candidates will take place in November.    As a result any candidate that has a meeting fixed in November has been told to cancel it.   Why?   I think we should be told.   There appears to be a great deal of attempted manipulation of the selection taking place.    Democracy demands transparency.
Conservative Party Accounts
At last we have received a copy of the Conservative Party Accounts for the year ended 31st March 2001.   It was a shame that we had to protest to the Electoral Commission before we received them (more about this next week).   It is now clear why there was a reluctance to publish them.    Instead of the rosy picture painted in "The Times"(see below) you can see when you look at the small print that the Party has still got a major financial problem.
At 31st March 2001 the Party had net assets off £1,123,000 with £9,272,000 cash at the bank.   Sounds good, except that in the notes to the Accounts it states: "Net cash outflows to the end of December 2001 totalled £10.4 million."
In other words we were back in overdraft by 31st December 2001.   This in spite of the fact that the Party now gets over £3.5 million a year in State Funding.
One other note to the Accounts that might be a cause for concern is that the "next formal valuation" of the Agents Superannuation Fund "is 31 March 2002".   Is there a shortfall?
After writing to the Party Chairman on 28th January, 5th March, and 30th April asking for a copy of the Party's Accounts and not receiving them the following happened:
14th June
Letter of complaint sent to the Electoral Commission by the Chairman of COPOV - copied to the Party Chairman.
17th June
Copy letter received by Central Office and Accounts despatched to Chairman of COPOV.
18th June
Accounts published on the Conservative Party web site.  (Many congratulations!)
Letter sent from Electoral Commission to Chairman of COPOV saying that they understand the Accounts "are available on their(Conservative) web site."
19th June
Letter received from the Electoral Commission and the Conservative party accounts received.
Where were they?
On 11th July the Conservative Party held a very successful National European Conference in London.    The Conservative MEPs and their Leader Jonathon Evans together with Caroline Abel Smith deserve every congratulation for putting on a splendid event.   Sadly this packed day was not witnessed by the following:
The Media - were they invited?
The Leader of the Conservative Party
The Chairman of the Conservative party
The Vice Chairmen of the Conservative Party
The Chief Executive of Conservative Central Office
Where were They?

7th July
Conservative Party Accounts and the Electoral Commission
After many years campaigning primarily by Eric Chalker and the Charter Group, in 1993 the Conservative Party published its Accounts in full for the first time.   This was a great breakthrough and tribute should be paid to Eric Chalker for his persistence and to the then Party Chairman Sir Norman Fowler for his enlightened approach.
Each year the Accounts were available to any member at the Treasurer's stand at the Party Conference.   That is they were until the year 2000 when they were delayed.   In December 2000 the Chairman of COPOV wrote to the Party Chairman (Michael Ancram) and requested a copy of the Accounts.    The request was complied with.
From January 2002 to April 2002 the Chairman of COPOV wrote to the Party Chairman three times requesting a copy of the Accounts for the year ended 31st March 2001.   They were not forthcoming so on 14th June he wrote to the Electoral Commission with a copy to the Party Chairman.   On 19th June a copy of the Accounts was received.
The most extraordinary thing about the reply from the Electoral Commission is that although they are reviewing the state funding of political parties "the running of political parties will be outside the scope of that review."   So now we have it, large amounts of taxpayer's money is already being given to groups of people for them to spend without having any accountability to their members.   This money could well be increased by a recommendation of the Electoral Commission.   It sounds more and more as though the Conservative Party and the Labour Party have arrived at a cosy little arrangement with the Electoral Commission so that the self perpetuating oligarchies which run these Parties are not disturbed.   Already Members of Parliament are receiving over £200,000 per annum so that they can dispense with their local Associations which are the only bodies to hold them to account between elections.   Are we living in a democracy?    I think not.
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C. O. P. O. V.
Patron: John Wilkinson MP

The Electoral Commission,                                                        14th June 2002
Trevelyan House,
Great Peter Street,
London, SW1P 2HW.

Dear Sirs,
I wrote to the Conservative Party Chairman on 28th January 2002 and requested a copy of the Party’s Accounts for the year ended 31st March 2001 (copy letter attached.) Having received no reply I wrote again on 5th March 2002. I then received a reply on 11th March 2002 from David Simpson. I wrote again on 30th April 2002. I have not received a reply although David Simpson told me he would let me have a copy after they were released to the press.
As at today I have still not received a copy of the Accounts. Could you please inform me whether the Electoral Commission has any rules or regulations regarding the publication of a political Party’s Accounts and what access a Party member or member of the public has to them.
I understand that there are requirements for the publication of accounts under Part III of the Act. Could you please tell me whether this has been implemented and if not when will it be implemented?
In view of the fact that the Conservative Party receives almost £4,000,000 in funding from the State should there not be certain criteria which has to be complied with before such funding is given. The principle relates also to the State Funding of political Parties in general which I understand you are at present investigating. May I suggest the following minimum criteria:
The political Party should be democratic, i.e. one member one vote with no undue restrictions on changes to the Party’s constitution.
The Chairman and Treasurer of the Party should be elected by the membership and accountable to them.
The Party should publish its Annual Accounts within six months of its year end and any member of the Party should be entitled to receive a copy of the Accounts on the payment of a small fee.
I look forward to receiving your response.
Yours faithfully,
c.c. Chairman, Conservative Party.
Chairman: John E. Strafford FCA Vice Chairman: Cllr . Trevor Egleton Hon. Treasure: Anne Egleton FCA
Hon. Secretary: Caroline Strafford Membership Secretary: Molly Andoe

By Jack Clayton
The ideas set out in this paper were stimulated by a CPF discussion in March 2002. This was organised by the Walberswick branch of Suffolk Coastal Conservative Association and the evening was spent in considering The Health Debate briefing paper and in attempting to answer the questions which it posed.
There were medical professionals amongst those present, and all of us had experience as patients and as relatives of patients. There was general agreement on most points and the Chairman has responded on our behalf.
However, some of the points made and ideas put forward remained with me, and during the following days I developed the outline of a plan for a Health Service under a future Conservative Government. I hope my readers will find it interesting and of possible help.
The Discussion at Walberswick
We agreed that:
a future Conservative Government must plan to provide healthcare for all on an equal basis;
the UK population, which is living longer, is well-briefed about new developments in the entire field of health, and expects to have ready access to all that would benefit them or their relatives;
no present or future Government could provide, solely out of taxation, sufficient funds to satisfy the insatiable healthcare demands of the population without jeopardising the economy ;
a new financial system is needed and we favoured a "pay and get back" arrangement;
the health industry is too large, too complex and too dynamic for any unified organisation to be effective and efficient. The Government of the day should set standards and broad principles but leave market forces to generate and supply the health services.
Consequently the present system must be re-designed to make greater use of funds from non-taxation sources. But we agreed that any changes must have significant and beneficial motivational effects.
On the one hand the morale of all health service employees must be improved to the extent that they are stimulated to provide the best possible care of patients and, at the same time, to seek out ways of improving efficiencies and cutting out waste.
Patients, on the other hand, should not be discouraged from seeking necessary medical help, but they should appreciate that health services are scarce and expensive. Accordingly they must be encouraged to be considerate and frugal in the demands they make.
Furthermore all citizens must be encouraged - possibly by financial incentives - to give up bad habits (smoking, excessive drinking, etc.) and take up sensible regimes (regular exercise and prudent diet). All parties must agree to put prevention before cure.
What is needed is a new and stable system. One, which will serve the nation well over many years and which will be popular with patients and health workers alike.
My Proposal
The main problem ahead seems to me to be: how to design a practical alternative system, which will have obvious possibilities and which will not immediately stimulate the opposition of the electorate and workers in the field of healthcare. Thus any new system, proposed as part of a Conservative election manifesto, must have clear advantages and simple rules which seem fair and risk-free to all concerned. It must not have significant cost implications that would give Opposition Parties the opportunity to label it as bureaucratic and wasteful of scarce resources. So my solution is the introduction of a new mechanism which, once successfully in place throughout the UK, could be used to change the financing of healthcare.
The fundamental first step would be to design and introduce a computerised Health Card. Initially this would be tested and refined in some carefully selected areas but would quickly be brought into general use. The card (or bracelet or neck tag or, eventually, a device implanted in the forearm) would have a read-only memory as well as a substantial random access memory and the data stored would have four main elements:
Identification (name, address and National Insurance Number)
Physical description (height, weight, gender, date of birth; also photograph,
fingerprints, etc.)
Health record (data on prescriptions, allergies, diagnoses and treatment regimes)
Cost information (all treatment would be recorded at standard prices)
This Health Card, which must be so technically secure that it could not be forged, would be carried by all citizens and used whenever any kind of treatment is required. Nobody would be able to benefit from the healthcare services without a valid card or the means to pay.
For example, on entering his GP's surgery, the patient would "swipe" his card through a reader. This would be validated and - depending on the system in use - either place him in a queue or confirm that he was present in response to an appointment. The GP would place the patient's Health Card in a reader. If the Health Card and the GP's patient record were at variance, they would be brought into step. The GP would therefore have available any data recorded by a pharmacist, hospital or specialist since the patient's last visit. Before the card was returned to the patient, it would be updated. The patient would take the Health Card to his pharmacist for the dispensation of prescriptions.
The Health Card would be of genuine value in medical emergencies, since it would provide up-to-date information about the patient to paramedical and medical staff.
In future years, communication between the patient and the GP or clinic might be facilitated by using the Health Card and the Internet to discuss health matters and to modify the treatment plan. However, the Health Card would have other immediate advantages.
The Standard Costing System
All treatment would be automatically logged and priced using a standard costing system. The healthcare unit (GP practice, hospital, clinic, etc.) would be credited with a standard amount for each service provided.
If the unit was inefficient and was costing more than the total credits (income) over a period, there would be reliable information to guide the managers concerned about the action needed to bring the unit up to scratch. If a "profit" resulted, the reasons might provide guidance for other managers of comparable units and bonuses might be in order.
The standard costing system would be based on known costs in a selection of well-managed health units and would include provision for the replacement of plant and a margin to fund new developments. There would be two important variances: both based on the actual use of the facility. The cost variance is basically where the actual staffing and resources used depart significantly from the norms used in setting the unit cost (for example if too many people are employed or excessive pay-scales are used). The activity variance is where the use of the facility is very different from the expected norm (if demand is too low and there is much idle time, or if demand is excessive and all concerned find ways of getting extra use from the facility).
An important advantage of the proposed system is that it readily facilitates the devolution of managerial responsibility. For example each service in a hospital could be designated as a cost centre, and the income generated set against the total costs involved. The resultant periodic information would be reported directly to the person in charge for assessment and action. The various cost centres would be amalgamated into statements to the senior managers but only after the cost centre managers have had chance to investigate any variances and consider what action needs to be taken.
Care must be taken to group cost centres sensibly. For example, some facilities might only be needed occasionally but are of critical importance when they are. Such a facility - at standard prices - would always run at a loss and the shortfall would have to be loaded into the cost centres that need it.
Statistical Information
At suitable intervals, possibly every three months, each patient would receive a detailed statement that listed all his use of the Health Service (prescriptions and their cost, the time of doctors, nurses and other health professionals at standard hourly rates, and any services provided by hospitals). Initially this would be for information only. The main objective being to alert the patient to his demands upon the Health Service, and to encourage him to review their necessity.Statistical information derived from the use of Health Cards would, over time, inform the health service providers about trends, and guide future developments.
Allocating the Charges
Once the Health Card system had been fine-tuned and extended to the whole country, the next step could be introduced: placing the charges.
Before we consider how to deal with the complex matter of UK citizens, first let us consider visitors, immigrants and refugees. It would be easy to introduce charges for these groups.
Visitors would normally have travel insurance and so could arrange to be reimbursed if all health services were charged at the standard rates. It would be a simple matter to take a deposit from a potential patient and, at the end of the visit, return any monies not needed. (Such a system is now in use in Canada.)
Refugees and potential immigrants would, on arrival here, be issued with a Health Card. All costs incurred during the assessment period would be charged to the budget of the minister concerned. In this way, the true costs of these people would be established.
Illegal refugees, not having Health Cards, could only receive treatment as visitors.
Charging UK citizens need not be too complex. Initially - perhaps permanently - all juveniles (including students in full-time education) and senior citizens would be charged to central budgets so the new system would not involve any payments by these people. Their costs would come from taxation, possibly from a "ring-fenced" health-tax.
All adults would need personal health insurance. This would be obligatory (unless individuals opted to pay) and, perhaps, would be operated commercially. However the general rules, which would be determined by Government, would ensure that there was no discrimination. People would not have to pay more because they were more likely than others to need expensive and/or long-term treatment (ageing or belonging to vulnerable groups). It might, though, be in order to charge more to people who engage in dangerous work or hobbies, who smoke or indulge in other risky activities.
Members of the Armed Forces would need to be insured but the charges would fall upon the appropriate Ministry.
People who became long-term sick (or disabled) would be relieved of the need to pay insurance by transferring their costs to the same budget as their sick payments. The long-term unemployed would be charged to the appropriate ministry.
How the New System Would Benefit the Patient
Once the new system was properly in place, all healthcare facilities would be available to all patients. The distinction between NHS and private provision would disappear. There would be a considerable lead-time before this position could be reached as extra staff and facilities would have to be provided.
Emergency services (paramedical staff, ambulances and hospital emergency facilities) might, during the early years of operation, be charged to a central budget. This would prevent someone in urgent need being adversely affected by a missing Health Card or bureaucracy. However, this should be regarded as an interim arrangement.
Patients with particular medical needs - guided by their GPs - could choose where and when to go for consultations and treatment. All healthcare services would be charged at standard rates but there is no reason why - if the patient is spending his own money - he should not be able to opt for premium treatment (private room, special food, etc.). Whether or not this freedom should extend to differential charges for top quality medical staff might be a subject for debate within the medical profession.
How the New System would Affect Government
There would no longer be a single Ministry controlling the entire healthcare budget and trying to manage the industry. Patient demand and the ability of the market to satisfy it would determine the totality of expenditure on healthcare.
The Health Minister would be responsible for setting standards, identifying future trends and opportunities, for ensuring that all healthcare providers experience a "level playing field" and that patients in general all get first rate treatment.
Other Ministers (Education, Defence, etc.) would have to bid for funds to pay the healthcare costs of their charges (students, servicemen, etc.) and would be responsible for the charging/reporting mechanisms in use.
The Treasury would no longer play a role in developments as the capital needed for new projects would come from "profits" or outside sources of capital.
How the New System Would Affect Healthcare Professionals:
Healthcare facilities would - in effect - be "privatised". Only in this way could senior healthcare managers be authorised to anticipate new developments and opportunities and make commercial decisions regarding their provision. Inefficient units would be subject to the disciplines of the free market: failing managers could be sacked and insolvent units taken over by successful ones.
The free market would be able to react to future needs, once trends could be clearly established, and eventually there would be equilibrium: healthcare services would be available to satisfy all patient needs.
Individuals employed within the Healthcare Services would not be constrained by pay scales. Efficient employees who worked in "profitable" cost centres would naturally receive bonuses or improved salaries.
How Much Would the New System Cost?
Clearly there would be significant costs involved in setting up the Health Card system, but there would be substantial savings to be made. There would also be other advantages to be gained at minimal extra costs.
The immediate savings would include:
Visitors would no longer cost the UK taxpayer anything;
There would be less work for reception staff in GPs' surgeries, clinics, hospitals etc.
It would no longer be necessary to print out prescriptions or write letters to/from specialists (the patient would be the carrier).
Pharmacists would not need to distinguish between patients who pay for prescriptions and others who don't.
Patients, when informed of the costs of their demands on Healthcare services, might cut out some that are unnecessary.
Healthcare staff would be motivated to suggest improvements in productivity and be able to bring them into being.
If it were decided to introduce an Identity Card system, it would be simple and inexpensive to add the extra items of data.
In Conclusion
The aim was to keep this paper to a reasonable length. So it has not been possible to cover all ramifications of this suggestion or to identify all advantages and discuss possible complications. If any aspects are unclear, readers are invited to let me know and I will be pleased to try to help.

20 April 2002 Jack Clayton

John W Clayton FIMgt C Dip AF DMS, 5 Old Brewery Yard, Market Place, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8AW. Tel:  01986 872425. E-mail:
16th June
No 10 and the Queen's Jubilee
There has been a great deal of fuss made about Tony Blair and the Queen Mother's funeral, but how did No. 10 react to the Queen's Jubilee celebrations?
For the service at St, Paul's Cathedral all guests other than those in the procession were asked to arrive an hour before the start of the service.    No. 10 thought that to have the Prime Minister twiddling his thumbs for an hour like the other guests was not on, so they asked whether he could arrive later.    In no uncertain terms the Dean of St. Pauls explained that this was a Royal occasion and if the Prime Minister could not get there on time like everybody else he would be refused admittance!

9th June
Efficiency at Central Office
Yesterday the wife of the Chairman of COPOV received an invitation to become a member of the Conservative Party.   The fact that she has been a member for almost forty years seems to have escaped the bureaucrats notice.   If she joined quickly she could receive a copy of Iain Duncan Smith's book.
In this age of centralised membership is it not beyond the wit of Central Office to check their membership before sending out useless invitations?   For a Party that is short of money you would think that this simple process would be followed.   Of course if there was an elected Treasurer we could get him/her to do something about this waste of money unless they were still working on the Accounts of the Party for the year ended 31st march 2001 which have still not been released!
June 2nd
What is happening at "The Times"?
In the last few weeks "The Times" has taken a friendly attitude to the Conservative Party.   This is good news but a true friend does not abandon their critical faculties.   First of all we had a prominent article by Michael Ashcroft on "Parties need many more members, not more subsidy."   Not a single critical letter to "The Times" was published in response to this.   The Chairman of COPOV sent a letter but to date it is unpublished.(See below)
    Next we had an exclusive leak about the Party's Accounts for the year ending March 31st 2001.    Disgracefully, they have still not been published, some fifteen months after the year end even though at last they have been signed off.   So what did Andrew Pierce have to say about the Accounts under his headline of "Tories pull out of the red to end cash blues."?
    Quote: "Two decades of financial woe for the Conservative Party have come to an end with accounts showing the Party's first surplus since 1983."   Wrong!   The Accounts for the year ended 31st March 2000 showed a surplus of £5,000.   Admittedly this was after State Funding (ssch. we shouldn't say that) of about £4,000,000, but even without State funding the Party had a surplus of over £2,000,000 in both 1994 and 1995.
    Quote: "Iain Duncan Smith has also been bolstered by the first discernible rise in membership since the 1950s"   Wrong!   In every election year Party membership increases.   After the election in then continues it's decline.   The same pattern is in effect now.   Go and talk to the Constituencies.
    Quote: "A new centralised membership list introduced under Lord Ashcroft, has attracted 50,000 recruits.    Membership is just over 335,000."   We know that at the time of the Leadership election the Party's membership was 327,000 so the increase is 8,000, one of the smallest increases on record in an election year.   But if we have 50,000 new members that means we have lost 42,000 old members.   Not a word about this.
Quote: "Tory membership in the 1950s stood at more than one million."   In 1951 membership was 2.8 million.    Even as late as 1975 it was 1.5 million.
Quote: "Members on the centralised list pay their subscription, on average costing £30.00, direct to Conservative Central Office rather than to the associations where the annual fee is £15.00."   It should be pointed out that the fee  to Central Office is £15.00 and like Central Office many Constituencies receive monies over and above the basic fee.
Quote: "The accounts due to be published at the end of the week,"   Where are they.?
    With such a strong financial position as painted in "The Times" article why did it take so long to get the Accounts signed off and why did "the party's auditors, delayed signing off the accounts for several months because of fears the party was no longer a "going concern" owing to doubts over future cash projections."    Until the Accounts are published we are unable to make a proper judgement for ourselves.    What happened to the openness promised by William Hague and where is there any accountability when the Treasurer is appointed?
Letter to "The Times" (unpublished) in response to Michael Ashcoft's article:
C. O. P. O. V.
Patron: John Wilkinson MP
The Editor, 19th May 2002
The Times,
1 Pennington Street,
London E98 1TA.
(Your Fax No. 020 7782 5046)
I agree with Michael Ashcroft when he says that "Parties need many more members, not more subsidy", article May 17. Judged by this criteria the Conservative Party failed during his tenure as Party Treasurer for the long term decline in membership continued its relentless descent.
Every year many thousands of people join the Conservative Party. After a short period of time they leave – which is why the average age of the Party is increasing. Why do they leave?
Like Michael Ashcroft they find that the Party’s structures have "failed to keep pace with their own party’s needs and with society as a whole" but they are unable to change those structures because of the discredited electoral college requirements in the Party’s constitution which gives overwhelming power to Members of Parliament, rather than a democratic One Member One Vote.
They find that the Party Chairman and Vice Chairmen responsible for the Party’s organisation are unelected and unaccountable to the membership.
They find that they have no say on the way the Party spends its money for the Party Treasurer is also unelected and unaccountable to the membership.
They find that they cannot participate in policy development by putting a motion to the Spring Forum or Party Conference because for the past two years motions have been banned, and should they wish to speak at these conferences the maximum time allowed to them is two minutes.
They find that virtually all communication with them is about asking them for money.
They find that if you are a big donor then you get privileged access to members of the Shadow Cabinet.
When they find all these things they vote with their feet and leave.
Michael Ashcroft says "The Conservative Party should make a point of saying firmly that it does not need state funding", but he is happy to accept the £4,000,000 per annum "Short" money for "research" in spite of the fact that each MP now receives an allowance of £70,000 per annum for research, plus three computers to do it on.
Like Party Treasurers before him Michael Ashcroft has duly received a peerage. All of them were fortunate that the Labour Party travelled the same road by chasing big donors with the same result. The failure of the Party Board of which Lord Ashcroft was a member, was to continue the culture of deference within the Conservative Party when the people demanded democracy. Unless this culture is changed the self perpetuating oligarchy that at present controls the Party will end up controlling nobody but themselves.
Yours faithfully,
May 26th
Candidate Selection - European Parliament
The procedure for the selection of candidates for the European Parliament election will shortly be under way.   There is already a row brewing as to how this selection should proceed.
    Some existing MEPs feel that they should automatically be re-selected even though it is one if the essential elements of democracy that people should be able to get rid of those they do not want.    This does not mean that those existing MEPs have necessarily done a bad job but that it is perhaps thought that others may do better.   Of course the real problem with the selection of candidates is that the European Election is fundamentally undemocratic.   It is based on the discredited closed Party list system, so that the electorate do not have the ability to choose through election the person they wish to represent them.   Why haven't the Conservative Party vigorously campaigned   to have this disgraceful system changed?   The truth is that there are now Conservative MEPs who would not be members under a simple Constituency system, and even under an open list system they might not be in the European Parliament.
    At the last selection for candidates every member of the Party was invited to attend a hustings meeting at the end of which they voted for a full list of candidates.   In Southern Region, which stretches from Milton Keynes to the Isle of Wight to Kent this meant that they had to attend a meeting starting at nine o'clock on a hot summers Saturday morning in London's docklands.   If you lived on the Isle of Wight this meant getting up at four a.m.   1,500 attended the meeting out of 110,000 members.   It has been decided this time that there should be Area hustings.   Whether they should be held on successive evenings or Saturdays has not been decided.   Nevertheless it is unlikely that more than 3,000 will attend and vote, leaving over 100,000 without a say.   It is essential for this selection to have democratic legitimacy to give every member a postal, telephone or internet vote.   As a forward thinking political Party we should be encouraging the maximum participation,
    In the Southern Region there are ten places to be filled.   It is being suggested that the members only vote for six or seven leaving the others to be filled by a Regional Selection Committee.    They would then fill those places with celebrities or possibly women and ethnic minority candidates to balance the list of candidates.   How barmy can you get?   To have women and ethnic minority candidates only in unwinnable places would rightly make the list look like an exercise in tokenism.   The members should be able to vote for all the places on the list.

Fifteen or so years ago Margaret Thatcher boasted that she had slain socialism and we all remember the word ‘TINA’ – there is no alternative – or in some cases ‘TINSA’ – there is no sensible alternative. Wednesday April 17 2002 proved not only that socialism has been miraculously resurrected by one Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer, but that it was in the words of one Labour MP "the most socialist budget in the last 50 years".
We are now embarking on a spending spree which may prove disastrous to the economy in the long term. Of course everyone would like better hospitals, better schools, a better public transport system, better pensions and so on, but all these have to be paid for. It is a fact that the only money the government has is what is raised in various taxes (and, of course, National Insurance contributions) from the general public and public corporations. The government’s plans assume everything will be ‘hunky dory’ from now until 2022 – it discounts any possibility of a down turn in the economy or a recession. It is a huge gamble which may well go wrong. But at least the public now knows the truth – ‘stealth’ taxes may now be a thing of the past (although I personally would not be completely sure of that).
The social security bill is set to mushroom by billions (Frank Field, where are you now?) and we are fast becoming a nation dependent on state handouts in one form or another. There are tax credits for this, tax credits for that; top ups here; top ups there. And the sums involved are not small. To my way of thinking it is absurd that some families with an income of £55,000 should qualify for the working families tax credit. Even more absurd is the situation where someone on maybe £10,000 a year will pay his or her income tax and national insurance in the normal way and then reclaim, as a benefit, the working families tax credit. Many, of course, will be put off from claiming because the forms, in some cases 30 or 40 pages, are so complex and difficult to fill in. And a large part of the National Insurance contributions will be borne by companies in the private sector who will then shed employees because of the additional costs. These employees will then claim unemployment pay and so on and back we go to the same old merry-go-round.
We are in Tom Tiddler’s Land – money to be had for the asking. Gordon Brown may well be the most popular Chancellor in living memory – it is hardly surprising in view of the largesse. It does not really come as a shock to learn that most people, including 54% of Conservative voters, do not object to this increase in National Insurance. Yet at the same time, paradoxically, they believe there will be only a marginal improvement in the National Health Service. The most depressing thing that no other source of funding is being considered and that those who suggest that there may be an alternative are labelled ‘privatisers’ or ‘wreckers’. Brown talks about consensus but the only consensus he is interested in is a ‘socialist’ consensus. Conservatives would be wise to have a viable alternative and to have a policy which is distinguishable from contemporary socialism.
The budget has certainly done wonders for the Labour Party after the distractions of the Mittal affair and Stephen Byer’s problems. The American President Lyndon Baines Johnson once said when speaking of an opponent: "I would rather have him inside the tent looking out rather that outside the tent looking in" (although Johnson’s language was far far more colourful). This must be the only reason why Tony Blair keeps Stephen Byers in his Cabinet. What with world affairs, Cherie Blair’s direct involvement in politics and Mo Mowlem’s starting revelations about his administration, the Prime Minister has plenty to keep him occupied.
The results of the recent local elections with net gains of about 200 or so seats, were moderately good but no better than those of the previous few years. We are doing well in only certain types of constituency. The Liberal Democrats are a serious threat and could easily scupper any revival. Make no mistake – they are a force to be reckoned with. Over 40 of their Parliamentary seats have been won from us by squeezing a third placed Labour candidate into single percentage figures and then by slowly picking off disenchanted former Conservative voters. And, unlike previous Liberal revivals, former Tory voters, comfortable with this Labour government, are no longer turning to us in droves. We lost control, not only in Cheltenham, where we no longer hold the parliamentary seat, but also in Worthing and Eastbourne, where we do.
London was a bit better – we regained control of some outer boroughs – Barnet, Enfield and Redbridge – but notably failed in both Bexley and Croydon which remained stubbornly Labour and in Hillingdon where we are the largest party without overall control. We managed comfortable to win back Richmond after 16 years in opposition but lost neighbouring Kingston-upon-Thames, previously without any one party in control, and made no headway in Sutton. Southwest London is now a haven for the Liberal Democrats who hold all five of the parliamentary seats. No wonder Charles Kennedy gloated. Wandsworth should be a lesson for all good Conservatives. We don’t hold any of the three parliamentary seats yet hold 50 of the 60 council seats. We have successfully withstood the Liberal Democrat challenge who have no seats. It may well be that people are satisfied with the services provided by the council and where the council tax is not too excessive. Wandsworth has been Conservative since 1978. Surely there must be a lesson there. And yet in next door Lambeth we have just seven seats and hold the balance of power between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, both on 128. Yet it is in these inner city seats where we have lost ground. Apart from affluent Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster, we hold no seats in Islington, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Haringey. Here the middle classes have fled either to outer London suburbia, where they now vote Liberal Democrat, or to the countryside. A combination of high council taxes, relatively poor council services, ghettos of the ethnic minorities and political correctness by the ruling Labour elite has probably accounted for this.
A similar situation has occurred in large parts of urban England – the large Metropolitan councils situated in the north. Here our performance was appalling. We hold no council seats in Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle upon Tyne and have just two councillors in Sheffield. We have done better in Leeds with 18 councillors, 2 less than the Liberal Democrats but still in third place. In Birmingham we have 31 councillors but still have a mountain to climb even though in second place as Labour has 67. Bradford (no overall control but the same number of councillors as Labour), Trafford, Walsall and Calderdale (where we somehow lost to no overall control) are our best hopes of future gains. We could pick up four or five others in these metropolitan areas if the conditions are right and we can poll 40% of the vote overall. But it is a tall order.
In the smaller cities – those notable seats of learning – the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge we have no council seats in the former and just two in the latter. Yet for many many years both returned Conservative MPs.
One of the most successful results and most surprising was the result of the mayoral contest in North Tyneside where Chris Morgan won the contest on a 42% turnout. This is ‘Byers’ country so there may have been a reaction there. But the area also contains the seaside resorts of Tynemouth and Whiteley Bay which were represented in Parliament for many years by that redoubtable Conservative, the late Dame Irene Ward. We also have 19 councillors to Labour’s 34 and the Liberal Democrats 7. Chris Morgan’s success was probably due to the fact that he was a down to earth Geordie, who was well known in the area and who had a strong back up team of helpers and supporters. In a close race, which this was, these attributes are necessary for success. It also proves that if you are well organised you can see off your rivals – both Labour and Liberal Democrat.
Iain Duncan Smith has inherited many problems particularly as we have sustained ‘back to back’ General Election defeats, the heaviest in living memory. We need to attract many more people under 50 who see us as elderly, fuddy duddy, intolerant, out of touch and in many cases snobbish. These are people who share our values – self-reliance, thrift, independence, personal responsibility, a minimum of state interference, love of freedom etc. The most disappointing thing for me was when Ivan Massow left the party 18 months ago on what appeared to be a single issue – Section 28. Now that he has seen the Labour Party buying its own MP’s support for Stephen Byers with a bill to ban fox hunting (Ivan’s other great love), he is putting out feelers for a return to the fold, probably wishing he had never left in the first place. I would welcome him with open arms because he is the kind of person the party needs – relatively young, handsome, open minded, a good speaker and who has what is called ‘charisma’. For Conservatives, his sexuality should not be important provided it does not interfere with his life as a public figure. It is really none of our business.
Our party has survived many sandals, mainly sexual ones – the late Ian Harvey in 1958, John Profumo in 1963, Jellicoe and Lambton in 1973 and David Mellor in 1992 to name a few. But these are soon forgotten when the chattering classes have something else to think about and have been no bar to Conservative administrations being formed. I write a few days after Ann Winterton’s sacking from the Shadow Cabinet. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation, she probably had to go simply for not realising that her remarks might cause offence to some people. Iain Duncan Smith acted swiftly and decisively and is to be commended for that. But we did not need the comments from Baroness Flather and Lord Taylor of Warwick as they were likely to make a difficult situation worse. We get uptight in the matter of race and what it means to be British yet being economical with the truth (i.e. lying) to the House of Commons merits a drink in 10 Downing Street and the smug feeling that the Minister did well to survive.
It is very difficult for our party at present. Much has changed in the last five years and cannot be reversed. For a Labour government to preside over an expanding economy without an economic crisis where more and more people are affluent and at the same time more and more people are in poverty must be one of the most baffling features in modern politics. The ‘crunch’ will eventually dome. Rocketing house prices cannot go on indefinitely and despite what Gordon Brown says we may well go back to ‘boom’ and ‘bust’. So far the government has been very lucky but in time that luck will run out.
The Conservative response will depend on how quickly we can pull ourselves out of the quagmire and get back ‘on line’ and into mainstream politics. We have not imploded, as many feared, and have many more councillors involved in providing services to their local community than five years ago. People are once again beginning to listen to us and to take us seriously. But there is no easy road back – trust is something which has to be earned and is not a right. It is probably still true that governments lose elections rather than oppositions win them. ‘New’ Labour, like Thatcherism, will have its day but in the end will wither and fade. The vapidity of new Labour was exposed when Tony Blair could to not answer convincingly an MPs question as his (Blair’s) philosophy. With Thatcher you certainly had a creed which, even though many disagreed with it, was clear and concise and had stated objectives. Our party needs to move on from Thatcher simply because the solutions to the problems of the 1980’s and 1990’s are not relevant in the 21st Century. The party’s greatest strength, in my view, has always been its ability to adapt and change when and as required in spite of it being conservative and on the right of the political spectrum. How we respond to these new challenges will determine our role in future and whether we survive as a major political force

Speech made by the Chairman of COPOV at the Conservative Spring Conference 23rd March 2002:
Freedom is the ability of people to govern themselves.
In this era of Globalisation, Global power is exercised without Global accountability.
50% of legislation in the United Kingdom now originates isn Brussels. Yet because of the the closed Party list system the people of the United Kingdom are denied the opportunity to choose their representatives in the European Parliament.
The United States, a world super power, exercises on a global basis military power, economic power, e.g. tariffs on steel, it ignores the world on pollution and the environment.
Many International Corporations, often based in tax havens, only remotely accountable to shareholders, have a greater income than many nations.
Is it any wonder that people, young people in particular, who are passionately interested in these issues, say to themselves and to each other
"Why should we vote in a general election for politicians at Westminster when at best they are ineffective and at worst irrelevant."
The challenge that we face today is that we have to demonstrate that the politicians are effective and are relevant.
We must build and create International Institutions that are accountable to the people’s of the world.
If we fail to meet that challenge I fear for the future and
I fear for democracy.
Let the Conservative Party show the way and begin the process to meet that challenge and begin that process today.

C. O. P. O. V.
Patron: John Wilkinson MP
Ms Laura Beaumont, 28th January 02
Lord Chancellor’s Department,
House of Lords Reform Team,
Room 815-816, Millbank Tower,
21-24 Millbank,
London SW1P 4QP.

Dear Ms Beaumont,
On 19th January 2002 the Campaign for Conservative Democracy held a meeting (attendance 43) to consider House of Lords Reform. We came to the following conclusions which we would like to submit to you for consideration as part of your consultation process.
Two thirds of the members of the House of Lords should be elected. 10% of the Lords should be hereditary Peers elected by all the hereditary Peers. The balance, i.e. 23.3% should be appointed.
The elections to the Lords should be for fixed terms of seven years, so should be held independently of General, European, devolved or regional bodies.
Terms of appointment should also be for a fixed term of seven years.
Statutory expulsion from the House should arise for
(a) criminal convictions leading to a prison sentence;
(b) change of party – a by election should be held;
(c) non-attendance or participation for a period of six months.
There should be no change from the expenses based system of remuneration.
We also felt very strongly that for elected members of the House of Lords the "closed Party list" system of election should not be used.
I hope this is helpful to your deliberations.
Yours sincerely,

Chairman: John E. Strafford FCA Vice Chairman: Cllr . Trevor Egleton Hon. Treasurer: Anne Egleton FCA
Hon. Secretary: Caroline Strafford Membership Secretary: Molly Andoe

I write on Remembrance Sunday, November 11, when the events of September 11 are still very much in our thoughts. I have an interest to declare – I am unashamedly pro American and always have been. My father, who will be 89 next month, was a prisoner of war in Japan from April 1942 to August 1945. Had not the Americans dropped the two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki the war would have in all probability lasted a further 18 months, so fanatical and determined were the Japanese military leaders at that time. Any mainland assault on Japan would have taken months and months, resulting in thousands more deaths and civilian casualties. My father would, in all likelihood, have been among the victims. So as far as I am concerned, the dropping of the bombs was an unavoidable necessity.
Critics often say that the United States only entered the war to protect her own interests but it should never be forgotten that the United Kingdom and her then Empire was only able to carry on the fight for a whole year from June 1940, after the fall of France, until June 1941 by means of the ‘lease lend’ programme instituted by President Franklin Roosevelt. These same critics conveniently forget that until June 1941, when Soviet Russia was attacked by Germany, these two countries were allies who had carved up Poland between them. The United Stated has many faults and failings – extremes of wealth (California State alone is the sixth wealthiest in the world) coupled with appalling poverty in places like Inner Chicago and Brooklyn in New York. Yet such diversity is in many ways its strengths. English is the common tongue but the U.S. has been a refuge for many other races who sought asylum and a better life. Its motto "In God we trust" and its flag "Old Glory" express a faith and a pride which many, sadly, do not seem to share. My view is that, all things considered, the United States is a reliable ally in times of crisis. After 1945, America virtually rebuilt Japan and also provided massive investment in Europe, particularly to the then West Germany. I do sometimes despair at the blatant anti Americanism shown by some sections of the media. And the "wishy washiness" expressed by some world leaders (and I do not include Tony Blair) when asked to support specific measures to counter acts of terrorism sticks in my gullet. I cannot imagine how I would have felt had I been a passenger on one of the hi-jacked aeroplanes on September 11, knowing I was going to die and making frantic final farewells in ‘phone messages to my parents. It is too awful to contemplate. As far as I’m concerned Osama bin Laden is a mentally deranged psychopath who cares nothing for human life and the sooner he and the Taliban are removed the better it will be for the peace and freedom of the world and of mankind. (And on November 22 this seems likely to be imminent).
The atrocities in New York and in Washington combined with the war in Afghanistan has meant that domestic politics have taken a back seat and little attention has been paid to the plight of our Party. The Conference in Blackpool was shortened and the wounds caused by the leadership contest have been bound up. Whether they will eventually heal is another matter. Iain Duncan Smith with his military background has been fortunate in having been given an opportunity to speak with confidence on a subject he knows well and his strong support for the Government will do him no harm with those such as myself who have been critical of him. Maybe we have made the right choice after all. Time will tell but a complete break with the past is advisable. The major problem I think William Hague had was that he surrounded himself with amateurs as advisers many of whom had no firm roots within the Party and who told him just what he wanted to hear. And the ’base-ball cap’ image did him no good.
Although there have been hiccoughs the war has shown how comfortable Government ministers have settled into their new roles. Jack Straw, as Foreign Secretary, and David Blunkett at the Home Office, have spoken with conviction and authority and both give the impression they will be there for years to come. You also have to admire Tony Blair for his stamina and patient negotiation. It is true that lately he has looked haggard and tired and someone who could do with a good sleep. Yet he cuts an impressive figure as he moves from talks with one leader to another. Because he is so preoccupied he can ignore the mounting problems at home.
The ephemeral nature of new Labour and its shallowness are evident in certain Cabinet appointments. Ex Communists such as John Reid, the Northern Ireland Secretary, and ex Trotskyists such as Stephen Byers (Transport) and Alan Milburn (Health) are easily integrated into Tony Blair’s big tent as are ex Conservatives such as Shaun Woodward (is he living in St. Helens now?) and Lord Temple Morris, neither of whom held ministerial office. At last, Milburn is moving in the right direction and realises that radical surgery is needed in the NHS is to survive. Extra funding, however welcome, is simply not going to do the trick. Here in Wales, waiting lists have risen substantially since 1997. I think also it depends on where you live. I had an outpatient appointment at my local hospital today and was seen within half an hour of my scheduled appointment. The staff were very friendly and the place was very clean. I read on the one hand that there is a shortage of GPs and this has now reached crisis proportions. On the other hand, the Health minister, John Hutton, says that more GPs than ever before are working in the Health Service. So who is right? And even now, 11 years after she left Downing Street, and three administrations later, Margaret Thatcher is still blamed for many of the present ills.
What I find sad is that many people never seem satisfied with what they are earning and all seem to think they are undervalued by society. The medical profession and the teaching profession are but two examples. In my youth both were looked upon as vocations but in recent times they have become a ‘drudge’ with endless pen pushing and paperwork. Conservative governments over the last 20 years must take their fair share of the blame. As one who has been in the past critical of the comprehensive system of education it is good to read that the Coopers’ Company and Coburn School in Havering is doing so well academically. It seems that the headmistress has adopted traditional methods of teaching which have paid dividends in terms of results.    What is also pleasing is that it is in an area where the Conservatives regained two Parliamentary seats last June with ‘swings’ if repeated all over the country would have given us at least another hundred seats. Two people who have made the headlines in recent weeks are Stephen Byers and his handling of the Railtrack fiasco and his assistant Joanne Moore. Both are the products of new Labour but are symptoms of it and not the cause. For new Labour, presentation is everything, and when news has been bad it has been somehow camouflaged. For me the obscene thing was not so much what Joanne Moore said in her memo – insensitive though that was – but that she is paid £51,000 a year for a three day week, equivalent to £85,000 full time. Moore was given a slap on the wrist from Byers but still continues to advise him, refusing to face questions direct from the media but instead issuing a prepared statement of apology. Our ineptness showed when we staged a debate in the House of Commons on the subject Surely there are much more important things to be debating?
I see that the Government has produced its long awaited plan for the second stage of the reform of the House of Lords. As usual it has satisfied hardly anyone and has critics from all sides of the political divide. As I understand it, most of its members will still be appointed and the Prime Minister will still have powers akin to a Tudor monarch. I find it distressing that all the old is being thrown away confirming Henry Ford’s immortal phrase "History is bunk". The system has evolved over the centuries, power passing from the Monarch first to the House of Lords and then to the House of Commons. These proposals in my view will not make Parliament any more relevant. We have a Prime Minister who acts like a President and spends little time in the House of Commons. Pressure and focus groups appeal direct to the media and the traditional role of MPs is by-passed. The Conservative Party, if it is anything at all, ought to be a party of tradition. Why cannot we produce proposals for reform which retain still some links with the past? Great families like the Cecils, the Fitzalan Howards and the Cavendishes still have a lot to contribute. Why will no one stand up and say: " We believe in a hereditary principle – appoint by God." There is no reason at all why we cannot retain say 50 hereditary peers – those of the oldest creations. The general public could elect the rest, say 400 or so, on a list system using the boundaries of the European constituencies.  And let the electors, not the parties, place the candidates in order of preference. Into the Act could be written the proviso that any delaying power of the second chamber should be limited to say three months and that the party in the lower House which had won the election and formed a government with specific manifesto commitments should be allowed to get is business through with minimum delay. We need to restore confidence in the parliamentary process. It is this, not gimmicks such as voting on the Internet or in the supermarket, which will increase turnout at elections. The problems of Northern Ireland have not gone away. There may well be a truce in that the official IRA destroying some of its weapons and have started to decommission but this is not going to prevent the real IRA, the continuing IRA or the 32 Counties group from continuing the armed struggle. They may be small in number but can still reek havoc. Despite its protestations, the Blair government is more nationalist that unionist. The renaming of the Royal Ulster Constabulary as the Police Force of Northern Ireland was unlikely to be welcomed by the Unionists and the once monolithic Unionist party has been split asunder. I know little about the politics of Northern Ireland but the ploy to get David Trimble re-elected as First Minister by designating three non sectarian Alliance members as Unionist for a week was a demeaning spectacle, however well intentioned. A large section of the Unionist community has been totally alienated by what they see as a ‘sell-out’ and a pandering to former terrorists who now hold ministerial office. In the Humpty Dumpty Alice in Wonderland world of Northern Ireland politics, the peace agreement means different things to the various political parties. It is a problem to which no satisfactory solution has been found. But within 25 years the Protestants and Roman Catholics will be almost even in numbers and a united Ireland will then be a distinct possibility even though this may be anathema to many in the north of the province.
The recent death of Lord Hailsham at the age of 94 removes one more of the few Edwardians still left in politics following the demise three months ago of the Earl of Longford. Lord Shawcross, now in his 100th year, must now be one of a handful of survivors from the Attlee government Of 1945 to 1951. Hailsham’s death marks the end of an era and surely proves that to be a success in politics you do not have to have the top job. It would probably be true to say that Hailsham failed to succeed Harold Macmillan in October 1963 due to his unpredictability. I well remember seeing him being interviewed by the late Robert Mackenzie at the time of the Profumo affair, losing his temper at what he regarded as impertinent questioning. Yet from 1960, Hailsham was a distinguished Lord Chancellor in both the Heath and Thatcher administrations. A distinguished scholar at Eton who got a double first at Oxford, a QC, a Privy Councillor, Companion of Honour and latterly a Knight of the Garter, what more could he have wanted? Regarded by many as a clown – the ringing of the bell at one of the Party Conferences in the late 1950’s or being photographed in swimming trunks on Blackpool beach, Hailsham was certainly a character and his death reminds us of a time when ‘spin doctors’ on ridiculously high salaries were unheard of and politics could be fun. We should also reflect that Hailsham was active in the Party when we had a massive broad appeal to all sections of society, had over 500 full time agents in the constituencies and a thriving Young Conservative section which, as well as acting as a marriage bureau, got out the vote at election time. Would that that were our present situation!
The most difficult task facing us is surely this: "How can a party of the right, tainted by its last years in office due a small majority, sleaze and sheer exhaustion, regain the confidence of a large section of the electorate whose support it has lost but who are its natural allies, when our main opponents are appealing to that very same group by appearing to be on its side?
It is not going to be easy but it is a theme to which I shall return in future articles.
State FundingThe following letter was published in "The Times" on April 23rd 2002:
What the Labour and Conservative Parties want is that the taxpayer should pay several million pounds to the small self-perpetuating oligarchies that control these Parties in order that they can maintain their control.
Both Parties are fundamentally undemocratic. Each operates the discredited Electoral College system where a member’s vote has less value than an MP’s vote. Each has an unelected unaccountable Chairman.
Unless the political Parties are made democratic and accountable to their members state funding will merely change the public perception to one of corruption by the State.
At present the Conservative Party receives £3,000,000 per annum from the State for "research" and policy development. Where does "research" begin and political propaganda end? In any case, money that would have been spent on "research" without State funding can now be spent on political propaganda.
In a previous letter (January 6, 2001) I said that in order for State funding to enhance democracy "the State should pay a per capita amount to each political Party dependent on the number of audited members of the Party and subject to the Parties having democratic constitutions." This still applies and not a penny of State money should be paid until this condition is met.
Yours sincerely,
May 12th
The Cost of being a Conservative

We understand that the registration fee for the Party Conference is going to be £50.00 this year.   Do they not want ordinary members to go?   Soon the entire audience will consist of the media(and they are getting bored) and exhibition stand employees(and they are getting fewer).    When will the Party understand that the way to have a successful Conference is to treat politics seriously.   Let the members debate issues.   Let them participate in policy development.   Until the culture of the Party changes we can only look forward to continual decline.   Sad really.

The Peace process?There have been over 100 terrorist murders in Northern Ireland since the Belfast Agreement.   We have not seen a single conviction or even trial.   How much longer can this appeasement continue.?

Conservative Policy Renewal ProgrammePay £500.00 and you can participate in the Conservative Policy Renewal Programme and meet a Shadow Cabinet Minister.   Pay £100.00 and you can get a Sterling Silver Pin.   Pay £25.00 and you get a quarterly Renewal Consultation Document.   Are these the prices we now pay to involve the membership in the Policy Forum?.    Contrast this with New Labour who are advertising for new Regional Directors.   Their remit  is to "help establish a culture that enable new members to participate fully in the policy making process of the Party."   They are learning.   Why aren't we.?
Party Funding by the License Payer?
The BBC is sponsoring a drinks reception at the Conservative Party Spring Forum next weekend.   Does this mean that they are sponsoring drinks for the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, the British National Party?.   Where do they draw the line?   What would the license payer think of this?   Would the BBC like to sponsor a reception by COPOV?    I think we should be told.   It is not the function of the BBC to give favours to particular political parties.   This is a dangerous precedent.
The Spring Forum
The brochure is out for the Spring Forum.   It was later than ever and printed in a sick making green colour.   On opening it you can see why the colour was chosen.   This is the most boring Conference ever in the history of the Conservative Party.   There are no debates and other than the International session nobody can speak from the floor for more than one minute.    In the International session you have two minutes.   In a participartive inclusive conference for the voluntary party it should have been that the platform speakers were given two minutes and the members of the party allowed up to twenty.   The platform speakers would then know that in one minute all you get is froth and no substance.   Further dumbing down of politics.
On Sunday morning Trish Morris, Shailesh Vara and Kay Coleman have been given forty minutes to spout off about parliamentary candidates, young voters and business.   Why?   All three are appointed, unelected and unaccountable.   They represent nobody but themselves.   Thank goodness that Iain Duncan Smith has said that he will change this whole rotten set up before the next Party Conference.
Conservative Future
Is it true that Lord Ashcroft is the representative of Conservative Future on the National Convention?   Is it true that Lord Ashcroft is financing Conservative Future?   We thought that there was an age limit on the members of Conservative Future, but enquiry about the Constitution of this body brought a blank.   Is there a Constitution?   Does it produce Accounts?   Are they audited?   I think we should be told.    Can anybody throw any light on what is happening?
Election for Vice President
The election for Vice President of the National Convention is hotting up.   It has slowly dawned on representatives that if Richard Stephenson is re-elected he is one step closer to becoming President under this dead men shoes basis of election.   It has even been suggested that senior party officers would like him to withdraw from the contest altogether.   We shall see.    One solution, of course would be to scrap this dumbed down ineffective body which is too big to be an executive body and too small to be representative.    The quicker it is replaced the better.
March 3rd
Dumbing down
John Humphrys is absolutely right to defend the BBC decision not to film the Party Conference.    They have been so dumbed down that soon nobody will go to them.    For the last two years the Conservative Conference has not had a single debate and increasingly the sessions consist of "One minute please" from the floor.   All froth and no substance.
    On the other hand John is not adverse to a bit of dumbing down himself on occasions.   In a discussion on the "Today" programme about the voting in the Leadership election he allowed himself to be pressured by Steve Norris into talking about voters wives whilst the fact that 30,000 people voted who were not members of the Party, 25,000 were not allowed to vote who were members of the Party and 11,500 further ballot papers were issued between the day the first ballot papers were issued and polling day were ignored. 
The "Euro" debate
Understandingly the Conservative Party has been concentrating on "Public Services" and "Europe" has been ignored, but there is now a Convention looking at a European Constitution and as John Humphrys points out in his article the constitutional effects of adopting the "Euro" have not yet been debated.   Like it or not the Conservative Party is soon going to start debating about the future of Europe.

Ulster Unionists

Are the Ulster Unionists to be invited to join the Conservative Party?   It looks as though it is going that way.   After all, they are likely to be wiped out at the next election.
Conservative Group for Europe
In December the Conservative Group for Europe held a Special General Meeting at which its Constitution was altered to allow any person who, although not a member of the Conservative Party shall be eligible to be an Associate member.    We are told Michael Ancram pushed for this.   Is it one more indication that we are following the American route where Parties do not have members but just supporters.?   Very nice for those running them, there is no accountability.    You did not have to be a member of the Conservative Party to be a member of Conservative Network.   It seems to have disappeared without trace.
23rd February
Conservative Policy Forum
So, The Chairman of the Conservative Party has appointed himself as Chairman of the Conservative Policy Forum.  So much for democracy!    Still, at least for the first time in twelve months the old members of the CPC have received a communication from the Chairman.   At least they might have done!   The problem as we pointed out some two years ago is that the mailing list database of the Policy Forum is corrupted so that the wrong post code is given to each address.   The problem is that those that knew this are no longer at Conservative Central Office so they cannot be fired, but now that the present lot know let us hope that the next letter has the right address with the right post code.    After all, if you cannot communicate with your members what hope is there of communicating with the electorate.   Of course, an elected Chairman would not have allowed this to happen, he or she would not want their voters upset!
House of Lords reform (1)
Only two countries in the world have a mainly appointed second chamber.   They are Malaysia and Swaziland.   Will the United Kingdom join them?
House of Lords reform (2)
With the exception of the hereditaries the present House of Lords are all appointed.   We are told that appointing members will ensure that we do not get stale old politicians.   Surprising then that 40% of the house of Lords are former members of the House of Commons, 12% are lawyers, 12% are civil servants.    Doesn't leave much room for the rest of us!
Election of the Leader of the Conservative MEPs
Little publicity has been given to the election by the MEPs of a new Leader in December 2001.  The vote was tied between the incumbent Edward Macmillan Scott and the challenger Jonathan Evans, so the vote was taken again.    One MEP changed his mind and Jonathan Evans came out the victor.    The question that should be raised is "Why the electorate for this important position should be left to the MEPs?".   Why isn't the position elected by the membership of the Conservative Party on a One member One Vote basis?
Our congratulations go to Jonathan Evans.   We wish him well.   Commiserations to Edward Macmillan Scott.   We shall miss him, he was a good supporter of democracy in the Conservative Party.

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