How did I deal with the election? A candidate’s story.

Given the range of strong reactions to the campaigns and the results, I am writing today about how I responded to the national campaign and tried to run a sensible local campaign.

In the months before the election was called the question of whether we needed an early election to bring the new PM her own mandate and extend the life of Parliament well beyond the Brexit talks came up just occasionally in private meetings amongst Conservative MPs, whips and Ministers. Some wanted an early election. I always expressed the view that there was no constitutional need given the precedents of Callaghan, Major and Brown, and no pressing political need given the size of the majority. I supported the PM’s view that we would not hold one.

She surprised me after Easter by calling one. I listened carefully to her statement in Downing Street and was prepared to defend her decision. I could see the obvious advantages for the government and country assuming she won an increased majority in having the new PM with her own clear mandate, and the Brexit Bill as a Manifesto bill approved by the electorate in a General Election as well as by referendum. I was also aware that there was a risk of losing, but no point in talking about that once the announcement was made. The polls and general mood made losing look fairly unlikely. I thought the period of the election was too long given the limited nature of the messages main parties wish to get out these days, and given the imminence of the Brussels talks. I worried about how the time would be filled and how the media out of boredom would try to liven up issues and messages the two main parties were not highlighting.

When Parliament broke up there was an unreal mood created by opinion polls showing a huge gap between the Labour and Conservative votes. I and other Conservative MPs went back to our constituencies saying to each other we did not believe the polls could stay like that and were bound to tighten. Some Labour MPs were saying to us they did believe the polls, and went away fearing for their jobs.

When I saw the campaign theme and materials based around strong and stable leadership I felt the need to say something more to my electors, and to remind them that the local election was still about judging a local candidate to be MP, as well as choosing a national party to govern. That meant not using the template second leaflet of the Conservative party which left far too little space to set out what an individual candidate wants to do and how they see things, but creating one of our own. I wrote about the economy, taxes, planning, transport, schools and the other leading matters that constituents had told me in emails, letters, and conversations mattered to them. I explained briefly what I was doing, what I wanted to do next and where I was seeking change.

The Conservative national campaign went well until the day of the Manifesto launch. When I read the social care and winter fuel proposals I was extremely worried. I contacted the centre and explained the dangers. I wrote a blog piece saying that I intended to consult about these proposals, stressing to people that I understood this would be a government consultation post the election, and there were clearly many important details missing from the Manifesto sketch. I promised to voice constituents’ worries and concerns during the consultation if that came to pass.

It seemed to take a long time for the modification to come through, saying there would be a social care cost cap. I with others asked for details of how much, and also pressed for clarification of what would constitute healthcare available free and what would constitute social care with a charge for those with money. I also wanted a figure for what was rich enough to lose the winter fuel payment. My email box was swelled with people worried or angry about the proposals. In some cases they did not understand that under the current cross party system if you move into a care home your own home is sold and the money freed used to pay the fees, nor did all appreciate that if you stayed living in your own home Councils charged for social care all the time you have assets other than your main home. I spent time writing individual emails setting out the current system as well as what might improve it.

It also became increasingly clear during the election that Mr Corbyn’s offer of so much more public spending and free offers especially to school and College students was very attractive to young voters. There was no comparable Conservative offer to young people. Telling them his whole package was unaffordable, based on corporate taxes that would not materialise on the scale envisaged and extra borrowing of Latin American proportions was not going to win over the majority, who understandably liked the idea of no student fees and written off debts. I wrote a piece on how the Labour economic policy was full of danger as well as of some good intentions.

I spent the last few days in hope that there was sufficient momentum from the early campaign and sufficient doubts about the credibility of Labour’s programme to give the Conservatives a modest majority. I was well aware there was no chance of a landslide, and thought it odd the seats the Conservatives were targetting which looked far too hard to win. Near to the poll I saw the enthusiasm of young voters and sensed the pro Labour mood. It was obvious the Lib Dems were going to be badly squeezed by Labour who had the better offer for young people. Their campaign to change the Brexit decision had bombed and they were trying to get on to other issues. I wrote about the two positives I could see in what was happening – the likely rejection of a second referendum on the EU by shunning the Lib Dems, and a move away from a second Independence referendum in Scotland by improved performance of the pro Union parties there.

I had tried to get the party to run on Prosperity, not austerity. I had wanted more prominence for tax reductions for workers and savers, more messages on promoting and strengthening the recovery, more about skills, training, education and better paid jobs. I was one of those urging the promise of more money for schools in the Manifesto which we did get, but we were outbid by Labour.


  1. William Long
    June 10, 2017

    All these things should surely have been picked up by anyone with any sort of political antennae. But in order to know what people are thinking you have to be in touch with them; the Conservative leadership has lost contact and that is why their campaign failed. Their only way of stopping the Corbyn bandwagon is to find a way of putting this right in time for the next election which must be less than five years away. It does not seem that Mrs May has the right personal qualities to achieve this.

    1. Lifelogic
      June 10, 2017

      Should surely have been picked up by anyone remotely in touch with ordinary people. They can just run it past me, no charge, it only takes a second to see all the mistakes they were making.

      I see Osborne has said “Hard Brexit went in the rubbish bin tonight”, did it hit him on the head one wonders? Also May ‘could be UK’s shortest serving PM’ the disastrous chancellor & economic illiterate mocked.

      One thing even worse than a Brexit punishment budget threat is a punishment manifesto for an election. Which out of touch idiots wrote and planned it all?

      This especially when the Corbyne was promising everything to everyone if they just voted Labour (£27,000 to students, council flats, more for the NHS, move benefits, cheaper energy, free child care, higher wages for the state sector, higher minimum pay rates, lower rents, bank holiday, free sex with super models …….) – all paid for by his bouncing cheques and the magic money tree.

      Surprising how many actually fell for it. We nearly ended up like Venesuela (and still could do).

      Perhaps our schools and parents should teach our children some sound economics instead of all this lefty, PC equality drivel & the Climate Alarmism/Renewables tosh that is rammed down their throats endlessly at schools and universities?

      1. Lifelogic
        June 11, 2017

        Of course May herself has been taken in by this lefty PC drivel, daft grand projects, higher taxation all over, more red tape and even climate alarmism.
        Prosperity, not austerity as you say above all some vision.

        Calling for an end to austerity (living within ones means) is rather like calling for an end to the laws of physics. But she failed to put over any positive vision at all. She just behaved like yet another daft socialist and a tedious one at that. Why vote for Corbyn light when you can vote for the real thing?

        1. Peter Martin
          June 11, 2017

          It’s probably more just simple arithmetic than Physics but the Government can never receive back more in taxes than it has spent in the first place. It always has to be in net debt in terms of the currency it issues. It does have other real assets to compensate though.

          Another way of looking at the “living within one’s means” argument is to consider all resources which are available in an economy. Land, buildings, rawmaterials, and perhaps most importantly of all the skills and abilities of everyone who works in the economy. We don’t want to waste any of that!

    2. Dame Rita Webb
      June 10, 2017

      I think they thought they could get away with it as Conservative voters rolled over without much protest with “gay marriage”. That you will remember was not in the 2010 manifesto and went way past what even Blair thought was necessary with his civil partnerships. Similarly the removal of child benefit for those on £60k plus and the personal allowance for anybody on £100k plus did not seem to ruffle any feathers. Hopefully, if they do not want to be out on their ears in October, they will be treating the core vote with kid gloves from now on.

      1. Cheshire Girl
        June 10, 2017

        Conservative voters didn’t just ‘roll over’ about gay marriage. Many had been unhappy about the direction that the Party was going in, so they upped and left! This happened all over the country. At an AGM in my constituency, the Chairman was despairing because several of those who had left were the ones that did the leafletting/campaigning before elections. This left many less ‘boots on the ground’ just when they needed.

        1. Leslie Singleton
          June 11, 2017

          Dear Cheshire Girl–Totally agree–Be homosexual if you want or have no choice but what has marriage got to do with it? Marriage is already under attack from all sides

          1. Hope
            June 11, 2017

            Last straw for me. I will note vote for them until the left liberal wing cabal has been removed from cabinet. Cameron ignored and insulted his voters! Complete idiot.

  2. Sean
    June 10, 2017

    It looks like Mrs May, isn’t the right Lady for the job.
    I hope she can turn it around and win back the people.

    1. M.W.Browne
      June 10, 2017

      I hope she’s fired.

  3. ian wragg
    June 10, 2017

    John, out of Westminster there is a strong suspicion that Mrs. May wanted to throw the election.
    Why would anyone in their right mind produce such a negative and confiscatory manifesto?
    Corbyn had his finger on the pulse saying he would scrap tuition fees as you know it’s only the ENGLISH that pay them.
    You preach austerity by cutting police, armed forces and the border agency as well as selling their boats.
    You continue with the white elephant HS2 and Hinckley point and waste a year of net contributions to Brussels.
    You then say there is no money and want to stop winter fuel allowance and take our houses whilst Scotland keep theirs.
    To add insult to injury you ring fence the stupid aid bill and refuse to cancel the ruinous CCA.
    You really did deserve to lose your majority.
    My wife and I lent you our votes, next time it’s back to UKIP as they have some sensible conservative policies.

    1. Chris
      June 10, 2017

      Very well said, Ian.

    2. Richard1
      June 10, 2017

      If enough people do that then Corbyn is in – unless you live in a Labour voting area

      1. Mark B
        June 11, 2017

        Then start by acting as proper Conseratives and stop the scare tactical because they clearly no longer work.

        Have learnt nothing?

    3. Lifelogic
      June 10, 2017

      Much truth in all that.

    4. Dame Rita Webb
      June 10, 2017

      The problem for Mrs May is that more and more people are realising that voting Conservative endangers your wealth. In their world there is no more money for pensioners but plenty for the Ethiopian Spice Girls. However I was sad to see that quality MPs like Edward Timpson did not make it.

      1. M.W.Browne
        June 10, 2017

        Yes, foreign aid is just a way for ministers to prance about on the world stage, looking so very very important. Switzerland, as an example, doesn’t do this, preferring to run it’s affairs in an orderly manner for the benefit of the Swiss people.

        1. Peter Martin
          June 11, 2017

          There’s pros and cons to the Swiss approach. They can be what they are because there is only one Switzerland. We can’t all be strictly neutral about everything that happens in the world. We couldn’t all live happily next to a country like Germany in the 30’s and 40’s as they did.

    5. sjb
      June 10, 2017

      Why would anyone in their right mind produce such a negative and confiscatory manifesto?

      Public finances depend on the “kindness of strangers [foreigners]”. Promising the changes to social care funding in the manifesto means the House of Lords will not oppose the subsequent legislation; Salisbury Convention.

      1. Jerry
        June 10, 2017

        ian wragg; “Why would anyone in their right mind produce such a negative and confiscatory manifesto?”

        Simple, the usual Tory arrogance, this time though it backfired.

        @slb; Does the Salisbury Convention apply when the governing party has no mandate, just the largest number of MPs?

        1. sjb
          June 12, 2017


          [1] Google Does the Salisbury convention apply during a hung Parliament?
          and the top result in the search results should be an article written a day or so ago by Prof Elliott. The relevant text is under the paragraph heading Minority governments

    6. DaveM
      June 10, 2017

      The first bells rang when it was stated that the International Aid Budget was not going to change. Do people in Westminster have ANY idea how unpopular that is?

      Maybe it would help to publish something explaining exactly what return the country gets from that £13 Bn when just about every public sector department is crying out for a bit more cash.

      1. Chris
        June 10, 2017

        The key must lie in the fact that this is a UN “requirement” apparently. Something must flow from this for our government to be so zealous in their application of this principle. I suspect it may not be something that looks good under close scrutiny.

    7. Ken Moore
      June 10, 2017

      Agree with everything said.
      Mrs May has appointed the staunch Europhile Gavin Barwell tonight as chief of staff – he’s about as out of touch as Conservative mp’s get.

      1. Leslie Singleton
        June 11, 2017

        Dear Ken–And no longer an MP at all of course

    8. Anonymous
      June 10, 2017

      Now it is clear we cannot possibly be allowed to have a Brexit leader I want a second referendum so we can beg our way back into the EU.

      We were stitched up.

      May faked being tough on Brexit and then forced us to reject it by our own hand.

      “You can have Brexit but you’re going to have to accept an ultra socialist government to get it.) What a choice !

      Making a successful Brexit means: working hard at Brexit

      Utterly sabotaging Brexit means something as simple: NOT working hard at Brexit (and throwing in a couple of prevarications to boot – a delayed letter and an unecessary general election including anti Tory policy)

    9. forthurst
      June 10, 2017

      Quite. I find the Tories unsupportable because of their complete lack of patriotism and everything wrong with what they do or not do stems from that apart from the consequences of their lack of empathy and lack of capacity for radical thought.

      However, I lent my vote likewise; unfortunately the local Tory committee adopted a totally useless remainer when I know of another with the appropriate skills for public life who was rejected because, he believed, his confession of having been a Brexit supporter went against him. The Labour candidate, a militant remainiac was very well supported and performed well and won by a landslide: my vote wasted.

      (Of course, none of my criticisms apply to JR)

  4. Mark B
    June 10, 2017

    Good afternoon.

    We know. We read many of your posts. And many of us are, and continue to be, perplexed by the fact that people such as yourself have been ignored.

    You clearly fought on issue that mattered to people and in general a positive campaign.

    To me modern conservatism can be summed up in just one word – aspirational. And all the things that stand in our way, high tax, over regulation etc should be removed and the human spirit of endeavour set free.

    Lessons do need to be learned. And it is up to you to make sure they are.

  5. A.Sedgwick
    June 10, 2017

    A very useful inside summary – whilst there is no point in dwelling on the past there were some dumb ideas e.g. school breakfasts, fox hunting. As written several times Mrs. May’s judgment and political acumen are suspect. Her reliance on her aides was unfathomable – they are no Peter Mandelson. They have gone but we now have two new factors, the DUP and Davidson becoming the new Scottish Single Marketeer, assuming the lead role from Sturgeon. Both these are fraught scenarios, two tails likely to be wagging the dog and conflicting ones at that. There does not seem to be a realisation that a minority government means no deals. It is a mess of the first order that can only be resolved by a new leader, who has a few months to get the party in some sort of order for an October election.

    1. sjb
      June 10, 2017

      we now have two new factors, the DUP and Davidson becoming the new Scottish Single Marketeer

      30+ Tory MPs are Roman Catholic and at least 19 Tory MPs (& Davidson) are gay. The DUP are not fans of either group.

      The Northern Ireland Unionists, having won 11 seats in the Feb 1974 GE, overthrew NI’s power-sharing executive. The DUP won 10 seats on Thursday. The DUP are anti-Good Friday Agreement.

      1. Sir Joe Soap
        June 10, 2017

        We won’t go into the “diverse” preferences of some from the Libdem party who shared government with the Tories for 5 years…. it didn’t reflect on the Tories at the time, I think.

      2. rose
        June 12, 2017

        The unionists did not overthrow the executive. Martin Mcguiness died and in the wake of that the IRA demanded a veto over the DUP leadership. They still are. They didn’t elect their own (puppet) leader either. She was imposed.

        1. sjb
          June 14, 2017

          The 1974 power-sharing executive, Rose.

    2. Anonymous
      June 10, 2017

      These policies were a ploy to get Brexit voters to reject Brexit by their own hand.

  6. Jason wells
    June 10, 2017

    The main problem now is that the very thing that the election was supposed to iron out was ‘uncertainty’ and as it turns out that is the very thing that is biting us most- Its bad for business, bad for the markets, bad for long term planning, bad for the economy, bad for everything// Surely that has got to be the first thing that the new govrrnment has to work at to give the people some hope and direction. I also think it’s time we admitted that brexit as we came to understand it was a mistake and that we should sue for peace with our european neighbours.. we should hold another brexit referendum if necessary..otherwise where are we headed for? There are no magic money trees out there, nor are there countries lining up with liam fox to offer us new trade deals.. not that i can see anyway

    1. Oggy
      June 10, 2017

      @JW- ‘I also think it’s time we admitted that brexit as we came to understand it was a mistake and that we should sue for peace with our european neighbours.. we should hold another brexit referendum.
      Answer to your 3 points – NEVER, NEVER and NEVER in that order.

      1. Jason wells
        June 11, 2017

        Reply to Oggy…that’s what the rev ian paisley was famous for saying.. but he softened his cough in the end when he looked at things in the clear light of day.

    2. Mark B
      June 11, 2017

      We can’t ! We have issued Article 50 and are leaving. No stopping it now.

  7. a-tracy
    June 10, 2017

    Are we recovering? How are we? This wasn’t communicated at all!

    Aren’t you Tories just a bit interested in emptying the cupboard yourself this time to leave a note for Jeremy saying we’ve gone promise crazy, you can get this for free, and this for free and this for free, and left you with f all this time!

    It wasn’t just the kids, JC was promising a free for all for pensioners, to look at reducing retirement ages for all, and no-one but the rich over £80,000 pa and big corporations were going to pay and pay bigly! More money for all public sector workers, more jobs in the public sector. The Tories didn’t even try to explain why you couldn’t afford or borrow to do this. In fact we saw no senior Tories on tv fighting for your seats.

    In England we voted Tory and it was our kids alone that got the massive tuition debts, and this awful 6% interest – overturn that immediately to start, so bloody what if you leave less money in the cupboard for the next whipe out – why keep leaving an incoming Labour government with a tidy inheritance, why not hold back on austerity, if you don’t we’re going to end up with the Spendthrifts in government.

    You should be asking how other EU members can afford to keep low pension ages when they’re bankrupt and on the take from our current funding of the EU budget, whilst we’re being asked to cut our cloth and stay within the rules or get fined.

    You need to come out fighting.

  8. Mick
    June 10, 2017
    Poor little snowflakes, and these are the future of our great country, get a life you lost the election and Brexit if you carn’t except that pack your nappies and toys and go live in your beloved eu

  9. agricola
    June 10, 2017

    Looks like you read the entrails very well. Leadership of almost anything is a matter of taking the led with you. For this they need to be informed as to destination and means. Nothing happened until you got the manifesto, half way across no mans land. It appears that it was not read by anyone of any consequence until after it was published. A grade A screw up for which we suffer the result. But for the alternative the conservatives do not merit being in government.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      June 11, 2017

      Dear agricola–The Manifesto was put together on the hoof by just one or two PR types (if that is what they are or were) and foisted on the Cabinet, never mind Conservative MP’s, as an overnight fait accompli. If the Election period had been very considerably shorter as it should have been (given the high standing in the Polls) there might have been something to be said for this but I for one sort of fondly imagined that the very puzzling long period (Did the morons responsible think that support would increase???) was to give time for a sensible agreed and checked Manifesto to be put in place–and mutatis mutandis re the Budget. So much just thrown away. So much so wrong–I wonder how many like me kept asking ourselves why Mrs May continually gave repetitive “robotic” evasive non answers to reasonable questions. A winning hand just thrown away. Let’s have Bojo. Look back on the way Mrs May got the job and weep. Shades of Ozymandias.

      1. rose
        June 12, 2017

        Why call a snap election and then give the enemy two months to recover?

        3 weeks should have done it. The socialists here say it was really heavy going the first two weeks then Corbyn suddenly took off. This was bound to happen as people formed their own opinions of him as opposed to the view given them by the MSM. Before that, the MSM never listened to him, as they never listened to Trump. They just ridiculed him. While Mrs May was an MSM creation, untested.

        The madness of the manifesto is still a great shock to me. And the folly of not fighting a traditional campaign with the talent of the party on show.

  10. eeyore
    June 10, 2017

    Thanks so much JR for this honest and honourable statement. Moderating our comments in the circumstances of this debacle, ferocious, resentful and wounding as they often were, must be among the less agreeable experiences of your career.

    Insofar as I too added to your pain, I hope this sincere and heartfelt acknowledgement of your high moral courage will provide a little compensation.

    The party and government will now stagger on, under a mortally wounded leader, until better arrangements can be made. There’s nothing like high office for finding people out, down to the very core of their souls. It has found Mrs May out. The truly terrifying thing is that we were within 3,000 votes nationally of its finding out Mr Corbyn.

  11. tintin
    June 10, 2017

    But the Election was a farce. The Terrorist attacks, some thought, would have made people in favour of the Tory Party which many believe is stronger on Defence. All the opinion polls marked Defence and Leader as in the almost exclusive domain of the Tories.
    So why did not our people rally behind Mr Churchill-Mrs May? The clueS are in the question.
    Is the Tory Party going to make a mistake now ongoing? Media and ordinary people know Mrs May is finished. She would have to give everyone a million pound lottery win to survive.
    The choicesof the right man for PM are

    John Redwood
    Boris johnson
    Ruth Davidson

    The choices for an unsad Chancellor of the Exchequer are
    John Redwood

    1. Chris
      June 10, 2017

      Ruth Davidson is a relative outsider and young. Do not be seduced by youth and her capturing those seats under difficult circumstances. She is inexperienced, just as Cameron was. She needs to prove herself over some time, I would suggest. She very much has her own agenda, and I believe that it does not suit her to be too closely associated with the Tories in London, so she is going to prove to be a thorn in the side of Theresa May and her successor, just as bad as Sturgeon maybe.

      1. tintin
        June 10, 2017

        I had not considered Ruth Davidson’s age. Her ideas on the EU are not my own. But she took on Goliath and scored a hit. I’m sure she finds it easy talking with anyone and loves her country as we all do. Mr Redwood needs to be with her. He has the experience. He will make a good Chancellor too. They would do our nation proud. On the surface they seem like chalk and cheese in every regard. But they will balance one another out in terms of the electorates of Scotland and England and in terms oif their attitude to the EU. They are clearly both professionals, love their country. I feel they could work well not necessarily together but juxtapositioned. Perhaps that is a better way. It is honest.

  12. Bert Young
    June 10, 2017

    It’s good to get an inside story from a candidates point of view . I could sense your frustration over the manifesto and the reason why you honed your own case to your electorate . During the period of the campaign I challenged my local Conservative MP on why I should vote for him ( he was a ” remainer ” although not a Ken Clarke ) ; he responded in a typical vacuous way , so , I challenged him again . The response was once again unsatisfactory to me and I decided to call it off . In the end I voted for the |Conservatives and not for ” him “.

    There are not enough John Redwoods around who are strong and confident enough to impress ; they are badly needed now to help and guide the Conservatives back to a sensible and reliable Political force .

  13. alan jutson
    June 10, 2017

    Thank you for this post JR, it looks like you were as frustrated with the whole direction of the manifesto almost as much as us out here.

    Whilst politicians may pick up some votes by being honest, being completely negative, especially at election time, is a guaranteed vote loser.
    No one wants politicians to tell porkies, but for goodness sake when you have some genuinely good news, and you did have on the economy and jobs, then you shout it from the roof tops.

    Threatening your core grey vote with a triple whammy of house robbery, loss of winter fuel allowance and the triple lock was simply madness.
    Add in the fact that you will get no Social care at all unless you pay for it yourself, when you have made 50 years contributions to the insurance scheme on the understanding of getting some protection and help, was simply an additional huge insult.

    I do not apologise for venting my anger on your site at the time, it was not directed at you, but to your Party Leader and Prime Minister, who clearly was so out of touch with reality, it was quite frightening.
    What else did she have in mind. ?

    We now are where we are, two of the Prime Ministers closest advisers and gatekeepers have now gone thank goodness, perhaps she can survive if she takes advice and guidance from her cabinet and the wider sources of information, but it will not be easy, she has just made her job many times more difficult, and even sensible policies that much harder to attain.

    I suggest that you immediately put more money into the NHS, the Police, and Schools, and reduce the Foreign Aid Budget by at least 75% to help pay for it, and try and get some goodwill back from the people.

    In the meantime make immigration into our country as difficult as possible until we sort out our terrorist/security situation.

  14. Richard1
    June 10, 2017

    It was a terrible campaign. The main issues, even Brexit, were not debated. I heard no debate over Labour’s tax and nationalisation plans. All the best Conservative voices, capable of making clear coherent arguments for free markets, low tax, deregulation etc, were out of the public eye – including our host, except for readers of this blog. The manifesto is full of silly, chippy, social democrat virtue signalling. No-one votes Conservative for that. Mrs May’s constant references to “me” “my candidates” “my hand in negotiations with the EU” were jarring, and border-line unconstitutional in a parliamentary democracy. Her refusal to give straight answers but talk only in rehearsed platitudes and sound bites was patronising and irritating, even to a strong Conservative supporter. Is it true that not one cabinet minister was consulted on the election? I am reliably informed that the social care policy was news to Jeremy Hunt, cabinet minister with adjacent responsibility.

    Mrs May has shown herself absolutely unequal to the position she holds. The only good thing about this is she can be got rid of without the disaster of a socialist government. In the meantime she needs to be very carefully and closely monitored and controlled by the cabinet and by clear thinking and straight speaking Conservative MPs such as our distinguished host. Then, perhaps next year, we need a change.

  15. MPC
    June 10, 2017

    Thank you for your sincere comments, although with perhaps some degree of post rationalisation!

    I would mention that my student daughter has confirmed to me that Labour made a very strong and compelling pitch for the student vote via social media. She said she received nothing at all from the Conservatives. That is a major, complacent failure.

    The Tories have neglected demography in that many/most of the population – not just ‘the young’ but also all those who are well into middle age now – have no personal experience of such events as Labour having to go cap in hand to the IMF in the 70s and the 3 day week. Blame for the 2008 financial crash seems not to have been assigned to Labour and Mrs May really should have seen all this.

    The alliance with the DUP is bound to run into problems and another election looks highly likely later this year or early next year. The momentum is now with Mr Corbyn and it is very worrying indeed that he looks well capable of gaining office as PM at the next election.

    I do hope you can exert influence such that lessons are learned quickly and your next Leader and campaign are far more positive, professional and persuasive to all groups of voters.

    Reply No, that is an honest recall based on notes I kept at the time.

    1. Richard1
      June 10, 2017

      Certainly the effort with students and young people needs to change now, in time for the next election. Something along the line: ‘would you like to have a job when you leave university? If so vote for a party which welcomes wealth creation investment and jobs….etc’

      1. Peter Martin
        June 11, 2017

        Well yes. But back in the early 70s when I was in my final year of a Physics degree I used to regulary receive postcards from various industries inviting me to a recuitment fair at a local hotel. I went to one or two. The free food was always very tempting!

        There were plenty of jobs on offer in those more socialist times. In addition we didn’t have to pay tuition fees and received government grants to help us out. Once we started work we could afford to buy a house, run a car. Start a family even.

        So fast forward 40+ years and the GDP has increased by a factor of 3. So we have had lots of wealth creation but are young really any better off? They don’t think they are. That’s why they are voting Labour.

        1. rose
          June 12, 2017

          When you went to university, very few people went. 4%? Poorer taxpayers who never went themselves, resented paying your fees and grant but had to lump it. Now 50% go. How can you justify landing all that on the taxpayer now?

          When you came out of university, the population was much smaller. You weren’t competing for a job or house against millions of people from outside the country.

          The GDP is big now, as a consequence of that huge population increase, but the people are poorer, because there are so many more of them, and may skilled self supporting people have left. GDP per capita is now lower than Ireland. People’s wages have gone down because the supply of labour has gone up. They get topped up by the taxpayer and other benefits added.

          Housing is more expensive because the demand has gone up. Also, old people have had no interest on their savings for ten years so are buying houses to let instead. The increased demand and lower interest rates are driving up the cost.

          All this and more should be explained to young people – who have been brainwashed to believe unlimited immigration is a good thing and that everything they want can be free.

  16. Prigger
    June 10, 2017

    I see you got twice as many votes as your nearest rival JR in you Constituency of Wokingham.
    Given the general returns for the Tory Party this was excellent and excellent in any case. Congratulations!
    Look, lesser jounalists than Andrew Neal would make mincemeat of Mrs May. If they didn’t, then their professional competence would be questioned by the viewer. Tory voters would wince uncomfortably. I’m sure she is a very decent person. Good. But politics is about perception by the numerous. I believe she cannot return from this setback of hers.
    I wish for herself, and for the Country, and I’m not a Tory party member, she would step down quickly. it would help heal the wounds with Scotland if Ruth could step in as temporary Leader and then be ratified as Leader a little time later. Obviously I would prefer your goodself JR as PM but in the circumstances I feel you should be Chancellor just now and then PM later. I don’t see why you should retire early. You’re beginning to look the part of PM the Wise, which is what we need eventually.
    I see Corbyn’s body language is getting more clever. He’ll fall over his shoe laces soon.
    I may attempt to join the Tory party to get to vote for leadership. I see it is my duty and I have precious else to pay back my Country. I may be rejected. I have a history of honesty.

    1. rose
      June 12, 2017

      You can’t be serious about Ruth Davidson? She is needed where she is and hasn’t got a seat in Westminster.

      I think her rocking of the boat at the moment has been extremely ill-judged and in very bad taste too. We are at a critical point for goodness sake. She should grow up and put her shoulder to the wheel.

  17. Roy Grainger
    June 10, 2017

    Your account is interesting but of course no surprise to those of us who have followed your thoughts here – it must be hard to bite your lip and stay silent about the gross incompetence of others in the national campaign. As soon as the social care bit of the manifesto was published several long-term Tory voters I know said they wouldn’t vote for May and they didn’t, that was a key turning point.

  18. Anonymous
    June 10, 2017

    To make Brexit work = work *very hard* at Brexit

    To sabotage Brexit = don’t work *very hard* at Brexit (as simple as that)

    Throw in prevarications such as delays to sending a letter and a General Election geared to just about anything BUT Brexit…

    There didn’t need to be any tactical skill in derailing Brexit.

    This was done deliberately.

    Britain is about to be fleeced.

    1. turboterrier
      June 10, 2017

      agreed and some

  19. Anonymous
    June 10, 2017

    There is no reason for a young person to vote Tory in the post home-ownerist era.

    They will resent carrying the elders’ debt.

    For every greedy landlord voting Tory there are umpteen renter serfs NOT voting Tory.

    1. Anonymous
      June 10, 2017

      Don’t try another election.

      Your party will be obliterated.


    2. Prigger
      June 10, 2017

      Students in their youth often regard themselves as victims. There is no compulsion in going into higher education. They choose to take on debt. Intelligent people worthy of further education would apply for a place in Moscow or Bejing universities and put a case for a grant to the Chinese and Russian education authorities.They could be lucky.
      Their success would encourage all UK governements to pay tuition fees. In that British students are too dim to do the aforemetioned, their tuition fees should be trebled. We do not need their debilitated mental kind in the UK .Duckeggs!

    3. Chris S
      June 10, 2017

      90% of Landlords are not “Greedy”. We are running a business and, if we are lucky, we make a modest current account profit.

      Those profits have been singled out for excessive taxation in the form of borrowing cost tax relief being restricted to base rate and the ludicrous additional 3% stamp duty. If we sell we are then subject to CGT which has stupidly been set at such a high rate that receipts are actually down.

      Furthermore, we don’t even get the single person’s discount on council tax which Eric Pickles allowed councils to impose immediately on vacated properties. Previously there was exemption for up to six months. If no council services are being consumed, why are Landlords told they have to pay in full at the 100% rate ?

      We don’t even get an opportunity to offset capital profits against a new investment, as every other type of business is allowed to do.

      Don’t try to tell me we are all “Greedy Landlords” we are most certainly not greedy and we are heavily taxed to boot.

  20. Chris S
    June 10, 2017

    A fascinating insight and proof, if any were necessary why the vast majority of regulars here support and admire our host. At least Timothy and Hill are now gone.

    As I have said elsewhere, It is going to be very risky to try and replace Mrs May, given that she “won” the election on a very personal campaign. Labour and the Lefty press will have a field day saying that a new leader would not haver a mandate. On this occasion they would have a modestly justifyable case but the stakes are very high.

    I am not sure that any likely Conservative replacement is going to beat Corbyn and his Magic Money Trees. I know it seems impossible to imagine, but I don’t think the young will listen and the rest might just feel they could give him a try.

    Better for experienced hands to man the pumps and assist Mrs May to remain in power.
    With good PR and wise advisers she might again be seen as a credible figurehead.

    1. Prigger
      June 10, 2017

      Chris S
      Oh c’mon. Mrs May is toxic. She effectively wanted more than a vote of confidence from the electorate. She got a thumbs down. They did not request it. She was voted out.
      Not resigning as PM will not be forgiven.She is a liabilty and a laughing stock

    2. Chris S
      June 10, 2017

      PS Gavin Barwell looks to be a good appointment.

      1. Dame Rita Webb
        June 10, 2017

        Yes if you are Jeremy Corbyn

      2. Chris
        June 10, 2017

        I would disagree. He is a staunch Remainer and his tweets accusing people who want to control immigration as being racists and bigots are not pleasant. See the Westmonster website for the actual tweets. They do not make encouraging reading. I think this appointment is a pure sop to an MP who lost his seat, in order to show that she “cares”. The caring image is what is being promoted here, but look closer and I think that you will see that maybe this appointment does not demonstrate true commitment to the clean Brexit that we voted for.

    3. Bob
      June 10, 2017

      “With good PR and wise advisers she might again be seen as a credible figurehead.”

      Remainer May has appointed fellow Remainer Gavin Barwell, who lost his Croydon seat to Labour.

      Good PR?

  21. Jumeirah
    June 10, 2017

    It appears the Aides have gone perhaps consigned to history as the two individuals who have done huge damage unlikely to be forgotten or forgiven. David Davies should go at the earliest opportunity to be be replaced quickly by a much more effective ‘negotiator’ and Theresa May should go now – lets not dwell on failure. Onwards and upwards reclaim the initiative.

  22. Bob
    June 10, 2017

    I see that Theresa May has appointed Remainer Gavin Barwell as her new Chief of Staff.

    1. Beecee
      June 10, 2017

      Another worldly wise politician who went straight into politics from Cambridge.

      Plus ca change…….!

      1. Chris
        June 10, 2017

        See my comment above, if posted, about the article on Westmonster website which posts his tweets which are apparently contemptuous of leavers and those who want to have some control on immigration. His appointment does not augur well, I fear.

        1. alan jutson
          June 11, 2017

          oh dear

          And I thought Mrs May would have learn’t a lesson, the majority at the referendum voted leave, Parliament has voted leave.

          Seems like lessons have not been learned, it does not bode well for her future

          1. Chris
            June 11, 2017

            That is very much what I feel. It just seems to be another foolish move by the PM.

  23. A.Corbynite
    June 10, 2017

    I’ve often wondered why you don’t have more influence in your party. I often read your posts. My impression is you’re diligent, (relatively) open-minded, and thoughtful. In cabinet (or shadow cabinet) you’d be a public asset, not just a party asset. I rate that well over charisma, or political ruthlessness.

    1. Chris
      June 10, 2017

      Agreed. It is a mystery, and the conclusions one could draw do not reflect well on the current powers that be.

  24. Sir Joe Soap
    June 10, 2017

    Four points

    1 Nobody is blaming you as a candidate for “almost losing” this election. It seems that there was little enough either cabinet ministers or prospective MP s could do to input or change the campaign direction. We were always worried that Mrs May might resemble the character of the tundra we remember from “O” level geography – apparently supporting life, but only with shallow roots due to the permafrost a foot below, and without signs of vertebrate movement on the surface.

    2 You as a party have to thank Mr Farage for standing back. Had millions of UKIP voters not backed the Conservatives here, the metaphoric blood spilled would have been far worse, infact you can thank both Mr Farage and Mr Banks for not wading in in the latter stages of this campaign and walking all over Mrs May and her “team”.

    3 Where you go from here is to explain the importance of a clean Brexit, and of having a skilled and “Leave” team to carry it out. The thought of Remainers or pseudo-Leavers like May completing the task was always fanciful- she was a left-over from the Cameron administration which lied to try to Remain in the EU and lied about what he’d do the day after we voted to Leave. You don’t need people who were on Cameron’s shirt tails… you need UKIP and you need Tory… you might even need Mrs Stuart and Mrs Hoey from Labour….

    4 The Brexit process can begin with a good cross-bench team of Leavers, perhaps under D Davis as PM, or Owen Paterson… these people from UKIP and Labour are GOOD and they will help, so long as they aren’t disrespected. The whole orientation needs to turn around from this left-leaning-remain-leaning group of Hammond, Rudd & Co. to a proper Leave team. Leave won and if Mrs Rudd and Co. don’t like it, they can explain why again to the voters of Hastings, etc.

    5 Why get caught up with school dinners and care issues???? This was the stupidest diversion and only a Remainer parading as a Leaver would have done this… Of course May has no passion, because she doesn’t believe in the cause!!

    Turn the world around, start the job and go to the country in a year’s time if needs be with solid success, not a half-baked nowhere position.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      June 10, 2017

      OK that was 5.
      But even in the Labour Party there are some who cannot count.

    2. Sir Joe Soap
      June 10, 2017

      PS I have to say tundra is the only thing I actually remember from (mainly sleeping through) O level geography, and it has been totally useless knowledge from that day to this…

  25. Old Albion
    June 10, 2017

    I ‘m still struggling to understand why anyone would vote for a terrorist supporting owner of a magic money tree ………….

    1. Mark B
      June 11, 2017

      Greed. Selfishness. Spite. Envy. All the vices of Socialism.

    2. alan jutson
      June 11, 2017

      Old Albion

      He was passionate about his cause.

      He spoke to the people direct.

      He energised the young.

      He was confident.

      Many people are not interested or know anything about politics, or how the system works, let alone Mr Corbyn.

      People have short memories.

      In fact he was the total opposite of Mrs May who was negative on almost every subject and allowed herself to be attacked on her record of immigration, police cuts, education cuts, her attack on the elderly who need care. and who remained silent on the economy and jobs.

      Many more other reasons, and all this from a Conservative voter.

  26. turboterrier
    June 10, 2017

    TM has learnt nothing from the past few days events. Still not listening and surrounding herself with more remainers. If she stood the whole cabinet on its head with dedicated Brexit personnel then she might, just might get the people to see a way forward. We need new faces with qualifications to meet the job specification and dedicated to playing to win the extra time that a bad manager and coaches has inflicted upon us. We have lost trust and faith in the majority of the last cabinet and we need players with strong hearts, legs and lungs because they will be required to play totally out of their skins. We have to try and deliver what the 17 million voted for otherwise we will be toast.

  27. turboterrier
    June 10, 2017

    Off the wall maybe, but what price to get Farage on board as a consultant negotiator? Might even get his supporters back on our side to help fight Corbyn the state we are in we need all the help we can get

    1. JackG
      June 10, 2017

      Farage is a big part of the problem..they know him very well in europe because of the personal insults and nasty remarks he continually threw across the EU parliament floor- for years. You can forget about farage… they wouldn’t ever negotiate with him

      1. Chris
        June 11, 2017

        The European Parliament “debates” are rarely watched by voters in the UK, except for the “highlights” that are often carefully selected by the BBC, for example. What tends to be not realised over here is the tone and contempt of many eurocrats for anyone who does not agree with the grand project. The debate after the Referendum result where Farage stated that they were not smiling now had been preceded by extremely unpleasant rhetoric from key eurocrats – sneering and contemptuous. It has suited our media and many of our politicians to treat Farage similarly, which of course gives licence to groups such as Hope not Hate and others to conduct appalling campaigns against Farage, and this is utterly wrong. Our politicians should be giving Farage the respect that he deserves and acknowledge his huge achievements in the face of great adversity. Yes, they should be working with him. His knowledge of the EU and its workings has far surpassed our UK MPs’ knowledge. So many were content for years to just ignore the implications of the EU and to give the details of the workings of the EU and the legislation a wide berth. I think it was Caroline Flint who had said she never even bothered to read the Lisbon Treaty. What a disgrace, if true.

        Farage would be an excellent negotiator, and he is an excellent communicator with charisma, and a superb orator. I cannot think of any UK MP who comes within reach of him.

        Some swallowing of humble pie is required by those anti Faragistas, otherwise the Conservatives are going to have a rocky future.

    2. Chris
      June 10, 2017

      That would be key in winning a thumping majority for the Conservatives, but old animosities die hard, and there are some in the Conservative Party who have made it their goal apparently to ensure that they will do everything possible to prevent any open cooperation between the Cons Party and Farage.

  28. NHSGP
    June 10, 2017

    Send every tax payer a bill for the state debts.

    Break it down

    Mr Smith, your share of the state debts are.

    1. State pension, £250,000
    2. Civil service pensions £83,300
    3. Losses on insurance £13,300
    3. PFI, £10,000
    4. Borrowing, £50,000
    5. Nuclear clean up, $10,000

    Total debt taken out on your behalf, £416,700

    Then see if the public want to pay, or if they want more debts.

    You’ve been told in advance what the consequences of hiding the debts are, time you came clean.

    Stuffing bills down the back of the sofa is the issue.

    Can you pay your share John? Can you pay it now?

  29. Turboterrier.
    June 10, 2017

    We need a chancellor that is going to think outside the box and come up with new ideas to raise taxes and save money without affecting too many areas of the population. He/she will have to win back the initiative from labour.

    The old chestnuts we on this site are all against but there are other areas which can be investigated. The usual HS2, Foreign Aid, Hinckley, Climate Change Act to remove all the subsidies and constraint payments. Start with all land receiving payments for renewable energy installations be it Turbines, solar bio mass fuel, taxed to give the land owner 20% profit on what in reality is unearned income and that includes the Crown Estates and sea beds.

    Rethink the NHS and save money doing away with the layers of management and restructure into self directed departments encouraged to manage and work to their particular local environment and conditions. Bring the Police and other emergency services, education into a new way of thinking to work smarter not harder.

    We need people to think outside the box but at the moment the perception is that those charged with destroying waste and creating efficiency are having trouble to find the box let alone get in it to think outside. Surely it is not rocket science to cut out the waste

  30. Iain Gill
    June 10, 2017

    New number ten chief of staff who is a fanatic open door immigration and remainer, sounds like your problems are just starting.

    1. Chris
      June 10, 2017

      I think it is a dire appointment.

    2. Ken Moore
      June 10, 2017

      Mrs May just doesn’t get it…appointing Barwell means more of the same vote losing red tory rubbish that got her in this mess. David Cameron had the charm to (almost) get away with a lerch to the left but not robot May.

      Tin hat time.

    3. Leslie Singleton
      June 11, 2017

      Dear Iain–Is he really (Never heard of him myself, not that that means much) a “fanatic open door immigration and remainer”? Can it be that we continue with the madness of Remainers in charge? Please someone tell me this is an exaggeration

  31. Ken Moore
    June 10, 2017

    I’d like to congratulate John Redwood on his thoughtful campaign and re-election.
    I hope he wont mind me pointing out that he is at an age where many consider slowing down yet continues to work far harder than many of his 20 something colleagues. Most mp’s seem to exist in some kind of bubble and rarely engage with those outside – much to JR’s credit that is not his way.

    I’m delighted that he is continuing as an mp and I sincerely hope this wont be his last campaign. In these uncertain times, more than ever we need wise heads.
    Redwood for PM !

  32. Duyfken
    June 10, 2017

    The main question at present seems to be whether May should or should not resign. By rights she should go now but that would imperil the government and further weaken the UK’s negotiating authority re Brexit. However May needs to be more collegiate and be guided/controlled by her Cabinet rather than relying on a tight circle of unelected “SPADs” (and now a tame europhile MP).

    I suggest that a Deputy PM should be appointed who would be given considerable executive authority. I would go further in that the DPM should be selected by say the 1922 Committee and then the roles of PM and DPM should be discreetly and unofficially reversed, May’s authority effectively being withdrawn. This as an immediate interim measure would allow a stronger leadership in Brexit negotiations and avoid a long drawn-out period (about 3 months I believe) during which a new Tory leader could be elected.

  33. Peter D Gardner
    June 10, 2017

    A remarkable pice, Dr Redwood. No hint of bitterness, no hint of ‘I told you so’. Some of us, including me do not feel so constrained. I called it blackmail: you can have Brexit but this is what it will cost you. Had Mrs May won the landslide she craved, the Conservative Party would now be Mrs May’s party, government and parliament in her power, and the country her experiment for her loopy policies. When she was elected by the party as its leader, I said it would be a disaster for Brexit and she is completely lacking in the qualities of leadership the country needs now and to lead the negotiations with the EU. Ironically it has transpired she really has little idea to where the country should be heading. I said she is at best a manager-administrator, nothing more. Her ideal Brexit would be 48% of EU competencies still applying to UK, 52% not. Her long delay before announcing the blindingly obvious, her decision that UK would not seek to retain membership of the single market was I joked paralysis by analysis, deciding which were in the 48%. It was clear from David Davis’s evidence to the Parliamentary select committees that everything was being analysed to death without a clear sense of direction. Then the one thing every businessman and project manager knows is where you start evaluating decisions, the do nothing option, was the last one considered by the government. Without that it is simply not possible to frame a negotiating strategy with clear objectives. She is not a team player and not a leader.
    The Party will seek scapegoats. All I can say is that nobody put Mrs May in Downing Street other than the party’s hierarchy and membership. Her shortcomings were clear – at least to me.
    It is time for the sensible members of the party to act collectively and enforce open cabinet government – Charles Moore is right. We cannot allow this presidential style to continue. Primus inter pares. And why must the Prime minister alone select ministers.? It is convention. But restorative measures are now required. Mrs May’s flaws are embedded in her character. She is not a bad person. This disaster is not her fault. She is just the wrong person to decide who should be in government. She should not have been placed in this position. Now that it is better for us all that she stays, we need to review conventions and put safeguards in place until Brexit is secured – and not her Brexit but the one the country needs.

    1. rose
      June 12, 2017

      The membership didn’t put her in: they had other ideas, hence the coup led by Rachel Sylvester on the Times and followed by the Soames brigade..

  34. My Land
    June 10, 2017

    I have my own ideas on who should occupy various posts in government.Mrs May and Mr Hammond do not feature. Good people. No buts, they are good people. Yet the Tory Party needs to stay in power. It needs to protect the United Kingdom with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and England as components. Mrs May cannot do this.
    JR as far as my own politics go, should be PM. But who would be Chancellor when the best man for Chancellor is JR? He cannot be both. I feel it is vital there is Scottish input. Someone from Scotland must be high profile in a JR government. I do not ignore Wales and Northern Ireland but Sturgeon has made this personal so a figure, a peronification of Scotland, must take a centre role in Westminster and be powerful.

  35. Ken Moore
    June 10, 2017

    What an excellent book Barwell wrote ‘. It handles difficult issues such as ‘How do you cope with the very real possibility that you might be out of a job tomorrow?. Well you get promoted by Mrs May if your unfortunate enough to be rejected by the British people.

    Meanwhile other Conservatives with infinitely more experience with far more ability get left on the sidelines.

  36. Oggy
    June 10, 2017

    Oh please Dr Redwood, – Europhile Gavin Barwell as TM’s new advisor – that says it all.
    Hasn’t she learnt anything since Thursday ?
    How about Anna Soubry as the new Brexit minister ?

  37. Doug Powell
    June 11, 2017

    SORRY, I also posted this in the previous section by mistake!

    Just when broadcasting organisations were beginning to accept that Brexit was as good as a done deal, the election result has rejuvenated them! Last night, on a press preview programme, one so-called journalist, who, incidentally, was in tears after the referendum result, said that when the people (meaning the uneducated who voted ‘leave’) saw the true cost of leaving (an 85 bn divorce bill was one of several outrageous figures quoted) they would change their minds! The second ‘journalist’ said what people really wanted was a Brexit where we could remain members of the single market and customs’ union! I suggest that people making such stupid statements are the real ‘uneducated’ in the nation!

    ‘Journalists,’ newsreaders and presenters now smell blood, so we can see what Brexit is up against! All such lies will become currency unless we have a bold clean Brexit counter offensive! That means unequivocal statements on no single market, no customs’ union, and divorce pay off, etc., etc.

    Being someone who is currently only a few steps ahead of the ‘Grim Reaper’, I want to see Brexit before I’m mown down.

    This will probably be the last parliament when delivering Brexit will be possible. Therefore, if the Tories are sincere on making good on a clean break Brexit, then speed is of the essence like never before, so that our new worldwide trading arrangements are up and running well before the next GE. Even if that means sticking with May for the negotiations, but with a gun to her head! Don’t let the EU drag matters out, because they have an interest in doing so – they don’t want to lose the good old UK milch cow! (JR, is a quick dash for WTO trading now the best option for a rapid, clean Brexit, given the numbers in parliament?)

    If the Tories don’t deliver on a clean Brexit, then they must expect that after the next GE, their intake of MPs would most likely be able to share a minibus with the Lib Dem MPs!

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