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Cameron is losing this civil war

So far we have seen little to suggest that Mr Cameron has what it takes to win back the trust of real Conservatives, to reunite the Party under with a clear vision, or win the next election

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Is Cameron losing his grassroots?
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Miles Windsor
On 24 May 2013 13:03

Many have said to me in recent days that the Conservative Party should unite. We should brush over the internal arguments and focus on winning in 2015. After all, people don't vote for divided parties.

I would love to be in a position to agree. But disunity isn't the problem, it is a symptom of the problem. The cause of the ‘civil war’ within my party is rooted in the attitude of the leader towards his backbenches and grassroots membership, and it's clear which group are the roundheads and which the cavaliers. There is a delicate balance to be had – a strong leader acts according to conviction but works hard to take their followers with them. Mr Cameron has done neither. He has flip-flopped when placed under pressure by the press on various policies, but doggedly pursued Same Sex Marriage legislation which the majority of his MPs and membership oppose vehemently.

I never thought I'd see a day when a Conservative Prime Minister would go begging to Labour to aid him in forcing through unwanted Marxist social engineering – we can dismiss the notion that we are "All Thatcherites now" – he isn't.

On Europe, we are broadly in agreement as a party and yet his handling of the subject has angered both Eurosceptics and Europhiles. The chumocracy's contempt for the Party was expressed eloquently through the Loongate incident and, whilst we're pleased Lord Feldman has been exonerated, the Party Board's refusal to investigate stank of white wash. Nothing has been done to suggest that the leadership cares about its relationship with the wider party.

This is not just a bad week, it is a crisis in conservatism, indeed there seems to be a problem between Mr. Cameron and conservatism itself. I would struggle to express what Cameron stands for at all, let alone what brand of Conservative politics he represents. If this is a struggle for a politico like me, how can we expect the public to understand and vote for this Conservative Party?

It is not enough to be quasi-Conservative on tax but Liberal Democrat on all other matters. The leadership lacks authenticity, political conviction, and principle; and the public aren't fools. Why would anybody stick with – or vote for – a party that doesn't seem to stand for anything? This is currently translating into a devastating set of polling results.

The rot set in a long time before the latest collection of cock-ups led to serious issues of unity. Now the Party is decomposing. Failure to address the issue would be terminal and unity for the sole purpose of winning the next election will solve nothing. It isn't healthy or sustainable to sweep our deep-rooted internal issues under the carpet as Maria Miller has suggested on Same Sex Marriage: "there are strong views on both sides - let’s just move on". Those internal issues are serious enough to impact on the prosperity of our nation and the very existence of our party, and a house divided cannot stand.

I have no desire to busy myself 'undermining' my own leader; this isn't fun for me. Conservative Grassroots was established to be a constructive force in encouraging a reconnection of the leadership to the voluntary Conservative Party. We wanted to support the Prime Minister in developing an authentic Conservative vision for Britain – one that can inspire our members, natural supporters and the wider public. Conservative Grassroots should be the frontline against UKIP, calling on dispirited Conservatives to stay and rebuild our once great party for the benefit of our nation.

So far we have seen little to suggest that Mr Cameron has what it takes to win back the trust of real Conservatives, to reunite the Party under with a clear vision, or win the next election. We hope we're wrong.

Miles Windsor is the Chairman of Conservative Grassroots. Follow Conservative Grassroots on Twitter @ToryGrassroots

Read more on: Conservative grassroots, david cameron, same-sex marriage, and conservative party
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