Francis Maude has made mistakes as chairman - which chairman hasn't? But he has implemented party reforms which are so important and vital for the future, and he must be allowed to see them through. He has surrounded himself with pragmatic right wingers like Eric Pickles and Angela Browning who are helping rebuild CCHQ and the party into a lean dynamic campaigning organisation. They are not some freaky modernising clique but serious Tories who want to win and are hungry for power. A lot of the plans are about shifting resources to the front line. Only last month Maude quietly abolished the chairman's car/driver to fund two regional press officers. He has created the Northern board - (his idea) which is driving through groupings and fundraising in a way they never have before(I'm told the Yorkshire region is at 200 per cent of its budget target already) and, more importantly campaigning. A lot of the benefits won't be seen for a while as this is all about the Party essentially starting from scratch and running a 5 year plan to actually win a seat in places like Liverpool and Newcastle.
Maude had reinvigorated Conservatives Abroad, instituted proper financial systems at CCHQ m(much needed and overdue), created a proper personnel management system (unbelievably there hadn't been one before) and trained and employed 75 new agents. He's acted as a lightning rod for David Cameron and taken a lot of falk from the party's grassroots.
But more important than all of that he presided over one of the party's biggest electoral triumphs on May when the party not only made 900 gains in English local councils, it made a lot of headway in Wales. Maude must get at least part of the credit for this.
And my final point is this. Would Chris Grayling, Caroline Spelman or Andrew Mitchell do a better job? I think not. Maude needs another year to get the partry ready to fight an election. He must be given it. After that year a new chairman should be appointed who will have a higher media profile and take the Tory case to the country.