Why we need to support the bomb disposal community’s new charity

By Lord Ashcroft
Last night I hosted a dinner at the House of Lords for some of the bravest individuals in the country – our bomb disposal community. The date of the event was not chosen at random. It was exactly 408 years ago last night that the first successful “bomb disposal operation”, if I can call it that, was launched when Guy Fawkes and his accomplices were prevented from blowing up the House of Lords.

Last night’s dinner, attended by more than 40 people, was intended to raise awareness of the Felix Fund, a charity that supports bomb disposal experts and their families.

I extended a warm welcome to those whose courage and self-sacrifice have helped keep us, and others abroad, safe in an age when the enemy and terrorists have very much more sophisticated weapons than were available to those planning the Gunpowder Plot. (more…)

Cameron’s Caledonian Conundrum

When the Conservatives were booted out of office in 1997 the party was left with no MPs in Scotland. Today they have one. Lord Ashcroft discusses how the Tories need to work out where they are now and what they can do about it.

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Latest edition of the bravery series by Lord Ashcroft in Britain at War

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has had his latest article published in his new bravery series for Britain at War, the country’s best-selling military history monthly magazine.

The theme of the series is Lord Ashcroft’s “hero of the month” and the November edition of the magazine has a four-page write-up on the life and courage of Private George Peachment VC.

Peachment was, at 18, was one of the youngest ever recipients of the VC. In his article, Lord Ashcroft gives a vivid description of Peachment’s courage during the First World War at the Battle of Loos. (more…)

Expert panel of judges announced for First World War Victoria Cross paving stone competition

Lord Ashcroft is one of a panel of 7 experts who have been appointed to judge the competition to design the First World War Victoria Cross paving stone that is set to take pride of place in over 400 communities across the country.
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Noel Chavasse: the First World War doctor who braved hell for others

During the four long and traumatic years of the Great War, only one individual was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) and Bar – the equivalent of two VCs. The recipient of this exceptional double honour was not even a frontline soldier: Captain Noel Chavasse, a bishop’s son, was a medical officer but this did not stop him from being responsible for some of the bravest and most unselfish acts of the entire conflict.

Noel Chavasse, narrowly the younger of identical twin boys and one of seven children, was born in the vicarage at St Peter-le-Bailey, Oxford, on November 9, 1884. When his father became Bishop of Liverpool in 1900, Chavasse was educated at Liverpool College School, and in 1907 he graduated with a first in philosophy from Trinity College, Oxford. (more…)

Labour is in poll position but here’s why the Tories could still win the next election

From the moment the Lib Dems joined the Conservatives in coalition, the next election was Labour’s to lose.

Half the people who had voted for Nick Clegg’s party, many of them wanting to keep the Tories out, went straight to Labour, giving their new leader Ed Miliband a big head-start.

Worse, from David Cameron’s point of view, Labour could still win outright with a lower share of the vote. (more…)

What I told the Tories in Manchester

Read the speech and see the slides for the presentation Lord Ashcroft gave at the ConHome fringe meeting at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester this week.

over on LordAshcroftPolls 

My Conservative Conference Diary – Wednesday

The leader’s speech is the main event of the conference but let’s not expect it to transform anything – for all the media attention, most people will barely register it. But it matters because it helps set the tone and priorities of our campaign, and how we are going to respond to our opponents. As I’ve said before, we need to show competence and grip. People need to know we understand their struggles, but the answer isn’t to offer a series of goodies that could have come straight from Santa. Being in optimistic mood, I have high hopes that the PM will get it right. (more…)

My Conservative Conference Diary – Tuesday

There is always a debate over whether a party’s election campaign should “paint the sky blue” or “paint the sky black”. Conservatives do best when we are optimistic about the future, but it is not altogether straightforward. As Sunder Katwala of British Future said at a Policy Exchange meeting yesterday, people who are pessimistic and insecure don’t want to be offered more pessimism, but neither do they want to hear “isn’t globalisation exciting?” As Rick Nye of Populus observed, the party’s overall message has to be greater than the sum of its parts, while at the same time reflecting the various priorities of different groups of people. But, as I told the Today Programme, strategy is above my pay grade. (more…)

My Conservative Party Diary – Monday

The annual Conservative gathering would not be the same without its traditional outdoor soundtrack, the hooting and clanging and shrieking of protesters. They were out in force yesterday morning before the conference even opened. (more…)

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