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Will The Clunking FIst become The Clunking Flop? As Chancellor, Brown hid himself away, brooded and postured and only launched policy initiatives occasionally after much analysis and planning.

A Prime Minister needs to be continually talking the talk and walking the walk - giving out. Gordon cannot do that without looking wrong.

His average reaction time to making a decision is glacial. Events will overpower him, and people will feel the loss of Blair keenly.

Unless he blocks the Constitution by offering a referendum, Brown will rapidly become the Clunking Flop. It will be left to David Cameron to lead the fight to save Europe from itself. A poll (by the Democracy Movement) has shown that over 50 Labour MPs are prepared to defy Government whips and vote for a referendum.

A very good summary, Tim, of the strengths of our position.

I'm not saying that everything is perfect in Project Cameron

You can say that again.

We had two excellent leaders in Hague and Howard, a well-meaning and honourable leader in IDS and now we have ended up with a highly-controversial leader whose abilities, at the very best, can be described as an unknown quantity.

One of Cameron's own supporters recently made the (exaggerated) claim that anti-Cameron sentiment on CH was running at 90/10 so clearly all is not well.

the party has made a lot of progress in the last two years and we must not jeopardise our advances over the summer months.

The party has enjoyed the benefit of an anti-Blair backlash which a demob-happy PM has done nothing to counter.

Unless some real substance is now forthcoming - and that will include a post-Grammargate chastened Cameron showing some loyalty and respect to us - his grassroot colleagues that 'progress' (I prefer to call it good luck) will vanish like a morning mist.

Traditional, much as I hate to say this, I think you have a pretty good take on the general sitaution there. However, I'm not sure that any of the 4 leaders have displayed the all-round qualities that we need in a leader.

For all of his faults there is no serious alternative to David Cameron. Let's get behind him at this time.

27 June 2007 Brown becomes PM and gets his Seals of Office........Parliament goes into recess.....voters go on vacation........

Nothing happens until October by which time the NHS doctors crisis will be full-blown

TomTom makes an important point. In addition to ConHome's 'Reasons to Hold On' we could make a list of difficulties that lie ahead for Labour. Falling disposable incomes would be one thing I would highlight.

Contemptible, mincing, control freak that Brown is, he is undeniably a very intense and capable politician. Mr Cameron is going to need all of the support and backing he can muster in the coming months, including the support of those towards whom he has shown the utmost contempt.
It will be interesting to see whether he has stretched the bonds of loyalty beyond breaking point or whether the delusional, mature Tories, beyond the M25 pallisade, whose membership so embarasses Mr Cameron, stand by him as his standing in the Polls begins to slip.

Brown will be no more charismatic than he was before. He will be just as threatening and maintain his closeted style. He wll not suddenly become a master communicator. He'll bore most people to death after about five minutes.

Cameron need not work so hard on winning the limelight. He can ease up on the use of second gear, and purr along in fifth. If he puts up too much, that will provide Gordon with too many targets. Let Gordon be pushed by events into making the moves which will inevitably be the wrong ones at least half the time. Look at his record.

The media will be confused at best as to what the Brown programme actually is going to be, as probably not even Gordon really knows. He had his mind set on winning power, but there is no sign of what he wants otherwise, other than to be mysterious and in denial of who he really is.

It isn't often that a psycho wins power over a nation. Cameron will need to let Brown show himself, and not provide him with easy targets or provide Brown with the backdrop he will be unable to create for himslef. Less will be more.

CCHQ Spy writes "there is no serious alternative to David Cameron."

Well, if your goal is power at any cost, then perhaps (though joining the Labour Party might be just as effective). But if your goal is implementing conservative policies in the medium to long run then there are alternatives. First there are many MPs who actually believe in conservatism who would be better. Second there is the UKIP alternative. Third there is the stay at home, what's the point alternative.

If Cameron wants loyalty from conservatives, he needs to show a greater degree of loyalty to conservative principles.

I used a pair of scissors to cut out my very own mock pledge card, but now my screen does not work any more - any ideas how to fix it?

Another short-term tactic for us would be to talk up the expected size of a Brown "bounce".

Expectations management - play them at their own game.

Cameron seems to have a pretty coherent vision for Britain, Brown does not - apart from the wooly and platitudinous phrases like "fairness" and "opportunity" that have always been the hallmark of the Lib Dems' empty rhetoric.

"there is no serious alternative to David Cameron."

William Hague would be a serious alternative and would be more popular in Yorkshire and the North of England. For now, he is saying that he does not want job. However, his visit to David Davis's constituency to refute the "heir to Blair" nonsense was significant. It was a coded message to Cameron - don't push your luck!

If Cameron plummets in the polls during the Brown honeymoon his days could be numbered, especially if Ming replaced a charismatic successor.

Michael Portillo rightly points out that Brown will be totally committed and will see no other immediate goal than winning the next election. He will carry his entire party in this aspiration.
Can it really be said that in the way it has behaved lately that the entire Conservative Party is showing the same commitment and is so focussed? It is no good for the Party to wait for something bad to go wrong for the Scottish Prime Minister. David Cameron must reassert his authority and quickly.

I watched Michael Portillo review the newspapers on BBC1 this morning. As helpful as ever he concluded that the Conservative Party was probably ungovernable/ unleadable now.

So, what a few people are saying on here is that despite the opinion polls showing that David Cameron is loved by the public but that they are sceptical about party members, the solution is to lose Cameron and replace him with someone "traditional"?

Stop being so self-absorbed, we are meant to be a party running for government. We need a style and set of policies that the public want, how what people on CH want.

Cameron is the biggest asset we've had in years. Constantly people have liked our policies but hated our party. We're on the verge of unleashing our policies while already being liked. This is a superb position.

You don't sack your best assets. There are no serious calls for his resignation other than a few nutcases on here. His job is not at risk and won't be until at least the next election. But I think we have DC for a lot longer than that.

Well after reading some of these comments, you feel the game is up and where's the nearest cliff edge. What I don't understand is this denial that Cameron is an asset and another leader would have us 10 points ahead in the polls. It's romantic twaddle. Let's examine where we were before Cameron. Our party was seriosuly disliked. Telling people I was a Tory was like telling them I was a leper. Cameron has to a certain extent changed that and got people listening to us. Talk of dumping him is bizarre. We did win 900 councils seats 2 months ago remember.

I think the Editor is spot on with this article. Brown will struggle with Middle England, and the more we can get across his contempt for the middle classes the better. I've spoken to several people who will switch directly from Blair to Cameron, because they can feel no empathy with Brown.
Let's just hold sit tight and ride out any storm.

Gordon Brown talks much about fairness. His definition of this is to take money from a few to buy the votes of many. This is the politics of envy. Gordon Brown masquerading as Robin Hood to try and stay in power so as to control every aspect of our lives in the way that he thinks best. Reminds me a bit of a guy who is in charge in North Korea and of another in Venezuela

William Hague would be a serious alternative and would be more popular in Yorkshire and the North of England.
People from the south of England assume that he will be because he has a moderate sort of Rotherham dialect, but in fact a lot of people from Northern England just think he is a poser and a bit of a pratt. Northern England covers quite a large area and has a lot of variety, and even within Northern English counties especially the Ridings and Lancashire there are huge variations still from area to area and even within towns and cities, and anyone failing to realise this and assuming that any faintly northern accent from some northern bloke will swing Northern England will come a cropper!

A good thread and the card is great! No William Macdougall CCHQ Spy is absolutely right,there is no serious alternative to David Cameron. When will people like you learn that the incessant undermining of our leaders only ever brings failure and disappointment and most importantly a Labour government.
It will be interesting to see if Brown can pull some rabbits out of the hat. My greatest fear was that he might offer the Lib Dems PR. Fortunately the events of the past few days will have scuppered any hope of cooperation between those two parties for a while.

Brown cannot escape himself.
After a lifetime in politics he cannot possible re-invent himself as a pleasant, team-working, collegiate, decisive and charismatic leader of men.
His strengths are the contempt he has for the gossamer lighweights all around him in Labour, his laser-focus on winning the next election, his intellect and his political ruthlessness. It will be a very bumpy ride over the next few months.....
He will find it very difficult to hold the "No Referendum" line on the EU Treaty (back-door consitiution), any referendum could be a referendum on NuLabour...?

Yet more tripe spouted in this thread by the paleo-conservatives. Great article, Tim. Spot on, I think.

Traditional Tory: only one problem with your analysis. Hague and Howard, however much I liked them, didn't win and didn't come close to winning. How many conservative policies did we put into action as a result of their combined leadership? 0.

As for all this rot about Cameron being doomed; just which party's side are you on?!

When Gordon Brown was an ordinary Scottish MP he signed the declaration of the “Scottish Claim of Right”. This document was a public oath taken in 1988 committing those who took it to put the interests of the people of Scotland before all other considerations.

It says :

"We, gathered as the Scottish Constitutional Convention, do hereby acknowledge the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs, and do hereby declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberations their interests shall be paramount. "

It still stands and has not been disavowed by Mr Brown .


Now that Mr Brown is to become Prime Minister for the whole of the United Kingdom surely he must publicly declare that he will not put the interests of any one part of the United Kingdom above any other part of the United Kingdom.

It is of note that Mr Blair very carefully did NOT sign the document . He refused to endorse it when asked in 1987 and instead said
'Sovereignty remains with me as an English MP and that is the way it will stay.'

Is the Conservative Party to challenge him and demand a repudiation of this very profound statement of where his loyalties lie , which completely contradicts any notion of an equal and UNITED Kingdom and which goes against the very essence of what has always been assumed by all the people of the countries of the UK to be the moral starting point for a British prime minister ?

I'd like to know what Brown is going to pull out of the hat. Billions more on education? Where's that going to come from? A written constitution? No thanks, we don't have to be told how to live our lives as Britons. An independent NHS? We got there first. Proportional Representation? Hmmm, hardly going to mobilise the apathetic hordes.

Does anyone else have any ideas?

It is good news for the Conservative Party that Brown’s spell as PM is about to begin. At long last, insteas of speculation that is bound to big-him-up, we’ll see exactly what sort of a leader he makes and the exact choice on offer at the next election.

Personally I don’t think we have anything to fear. We have an excellent leader, we are developing excellent policies, and we have a party that’s in great shape and full of enthusiasm. The only thing we haven’t mastered yet, and it’s essential that we do, is discipline and unity.

The way to beat Brown is to demolish the nonsense that he as run a successful economy. Brown as kept the economy going through debt and high taxes. We have an economy built on foundations of sand that could collapse at any time.
We must have the courage to take Brown on over the economy and demolish the lie Brown and Blair have built up about how great a chancellor Brown as been.

With Blair going, Portillo's face doesn't quite fit on TV any more. He hasn't spotted the change in the mood music. All the smiling and relaxed bonhomie on the Brillo Show is out of sync in the Brown Terror Era.

Within days of Brown taking over, the political elite are rocking in total confusion. Ming. Ashdown. Sugar. Next it will be Gerry Halliwell.

Portillo is still as assured as ever reciting his 'The tories Are Finished' chant. He hasn't seen it yet, but it's him that'll be heading for the door. The Brown sludge of confusion is descending rapidly. Only with Tony in control can commentators posture in sycophantic imitation.

A well timed article Tim.

I agree with Jack Stone for once that it is important to destroy the myth that Gordon Brown has run a successful economy. However, if I were Mr Brown, my retort would be: how can it be any different under the stewardship of George Osborne? If Osborne wants less debt and won't reduce taxes to stimulate growth, he will inevitably have to raise even higher taxes, especially as his leader wants an unlimited, indefinite taxpayers' legal commitment to the NHS.

We still to manage to get elected without turning into social democrats. And that looks like being a bit tricky.

I too agree with Jack Stone. I am fed up with being told on the media that interest rates/inflation have remained benign/subdued thanks to Gordon Brown's so called masterstroke in "liberating" the Bank of England. What the commentators have never told us is what they estimate interest rates/inflation would have been had not the BOE been made independent. I suspect their answer would have been "not very much different" This BOE myth must be dispelled!

"the opinion polls showing that David Cameron is loved by the public but that they are sceptical about party members . . .
Constantly people have liked our policies but hated our party"
"Cameron has to a certain extent changed that and got people listening to us. Talk of dumping him is bizarre. We did win 900 councils seats 2 months ago remember.
"

How many times does this have to be pointed out?

At the local elections this year and last we did better than the national opinion polls would suggest. That is the opposite of what you would expect if the public liked the national leadership but disliked local activists. Furthermore, those higher figures were a repeat of last year, ie, support hadn't changed over the last twelve months. Gaining lots of extra seats was demonstrably not a result of Cameron's campaigning.

Once again Tim you are spot on and I agree with everything you say.
The only point I want to make is that we still have a long way to go in getting our activist base in order, particularly in regard to those aged 16 to 55.

Shouldn't it be fasten your cycle clips, rather than seat belts, if Dave is in charge?

What do you mean 'getting our activist base in order' Rachel?

A good article.

Very OT: Does anyone else notice how consistently beautiful is the design on this site by the way? Either Tim or Sam has some sort of graphical design genius.

re Alex Swanson: "At the local elections this year and last we did better than the national opinion polls would suggest."

It really is due to the fact that Labour supporters are less likely to turn out at locals than Tories. Even in Sheffield, where the Lib Dems have virtually pushed us out of the city, I found some formerly staunch Lib Dem voters considering us.

Assuming that a national opinion poll on a general election question and local elections are comparable is not really a sound basis for decrying Cameron as an asset.

I am not sure that I entirely agree with Tapestry @ 09.03 - I would have done a month or so ago, but with the help of his 'minders', he is being quite smoothly opportunistic at the moment. He has already 'pinched' policies that were not his parties, but of course the 'floating voter' won't realise that.

I think people (political people and obviously conservative) have to keep reminding themselves of just how very much Mr. Brown has/does want to by PM, and for how long - probably longer even than ten years. Although I have been the first person to say that having been closeted virtually 24/7 (to use an abnoxious, but appropriate phrase) for ten years in an office fiddling with statistics, tax issues etc:, he would not be able to adapt, I think he is already 'standing on his head' trying to indicate that he can adapt!


I think for a while he will seem to succeed, but his basic nature won't change - easily offended, apparently suspicious, apparently not very forgiving, and apparently convinced of his own personal ability to solve monumental problems, will in the end be his undoing. If nothing else, the very need to change so radically, or appear to, will require enormous stamina, and that can easily be undermined.

However from Mr. Cameron's point of view, I should think he can 'look forward' to even more effective policy propositions being 'pinched' than under Blair, as Mr. Brown has demonstrated only this last week that he will do ANYTHING to stay in power, even Diane Abbott said on This Week last night that she thought that the proposition to Ming Campbell was made with a view to the next election, when there may well be a hung Parliament, if this is the case, then he is demonstrating that in reality he is no different from every other Labour MP - its votes, votes, votes, that count and NOTHING else.

I hope we've got our message over to the party leadership. I think we've been clear - but it can't go on. They show encouraging signs of having listened. David Cameron is by far the most effective of the 3 main party leaders ( the jury's out on Alex Salmond ).

Gordon Brown is even more of an enemy of freedom and prosperity than Blair was. He's unfit for office and is going to be positioned firmly in the centre of the cross hairs for the next few months for this Tory blogger.

I may take the odd pot shot at the Lib Dems - but right now they seems to be taking care of themselves quite nicely thank you.

If everyone who is critical of the DC project were to read the biog: Cameron - the Rise of the New Conservative by Elliott & Hanning and also adopt a bit of honest self-reflection on their own capabilities to undertake the leadership of the Party at this important time of change, then there would be a lot more understanding that Cameron has both the calm steel and logic to win through on our behalf - and remain charming in the process!

The arrival of Brown as PM will concentrate everyone's attention a bit more. Blair was becoming an easy target because the case for going to war in Iraq has unravelled and his policies for the NHS, Education and Crime have clearly not worked nearly as well as they should have done.

Brown must not be allowed to distance himself from any of these failures.
We must attack him on two grounds (i) by quoting facts and figures to destroy the myth that he was the best Chancellor ever and (ii) by making fun of him ("the analogue chancellor in the digital age" - absolutely excellent).

Figures to be supplied: (i) what was the balance of payments' surplus Brown inherited from the tories, (ii) what is the deficit now and (iii) what is the extent of the liability he has racked up for the next couple of generations to pay off?

Cameron has to keep his nerve and keep on producing draft policies to show that he is not lacking in substance but he must take greater pains to avoid the charge of inconsistency.

Malcolm
sorry - I wasn't very clear. I mean getting more young activists. I have no criticism of older activists - they usually are the money raisers and work hard. But unless we get more young people the local parties will get more and more under-resourced.
Some areas have done a stirling job. More work needed in other areas. There have also been anecdotal reports of young people wanting to join in some areas and not finding an all embracing welcome.
Really I was agreeing with Tim that we are doing well but I think we need a greater push in this area.

'The only point I want to make is that we still have a long way to go in getting our activist base in order, particularly in regard to those aged 16 to 55.'

Rachel, I assume you mean stop the grassroots from bleating?

Exercise a policy of inclusion starting at the top and you'll soon get people involved and in order. I'm affraid it's all very well preeching that all the problems are with the activists. Personally, I see the 16-55's grassroots as being closer to the voters and from that point of view, it's pretty clear which end of the wedge needs to come into order.

Likewise, if you mean simply getting people 'on-board', same rule applies.

I agree with Jack Stone for once that it is important to destroy the myth that Gordon Brown has run a successful economy.

I would have thought that was Cameron's job?

I agree fully with Traditional Tory @7:56 (Telegraph readers writing in seems 95% against Cameron) and Reality Check @9:26.

I also agree with Tired and Emotional, that Cameron's policies looks very social democrat.

Our party did have a resounding success at the May elections and I was elated. We achieved that without David Cameron announcing any policies at all - Way To Go, David.
Then hubris set in and a drizzle, or drivel, of policy announcements began and were denied or reversed, perhaps or partly, in quick succession.
Moral of the story - "Look before you leap".

I apologise for my poorly worded original post.
Adam
I did not mean stop bleating or get on board. My second post I think clarifies it - I mean get more activists!! - and I also mean getting involved (which I is the point of the word activist instead of just member).

Well that's true Rachel. We have a big problem with making new members of any age welcome. Let's face it the party gives mambers very little but takes a lot in terms of mambers time and money.
I suspect my constituency might be representative, a few very keen young people but hardly anyone of my own age (30's and 40's) but a lot of members over 60 in many cases well over. I don't think it's only a problem for the Conservative Party though. All other parties have failed to either grow or retain their membership. I'm not sure if any serious thought is going on in the party as to how to increase our membership or attract a wider more diverse set of supporters. This why I think the work of people like Tim Montgomerie or the 18 Doughty street crew is so important.
If state funding comes in 'though it will all become irrelevant which is why I'm so opposed to it.

I absolutely agree, Malcolm.

Victor, As a a Councillor elected in May, I can assure you that our campaign didn't work because of DC. It worked because local people worked hard to communicate about issues which effect local people everyday.

People do not distinguish a difference between Conservatives at Westminster and those in their own Ward. They simply want to know that their needs are being considered and what they have to say is important.

Once the 'central' Party starts to remember the people it needs to attract and stop working on the basis that they are all liberal idealists, there will be a noticable change in feedback.

As for CCHQ spy, loyalty comes from respect and is not a right. I would love to see DC commanding the kind of respect he needs. But until he connects and begins taking people with him, it is only fair that we have the chance to say our piece.

Again, one of the good things about this site is that we are free to talk...

Assuming that a national opinion poll on a general election question and local elections are comparable is not really a sound basis for decrying Cameron as an asset.

I'm not doing that.

What people keep saying is that Cameron and his team are moderate and therefore an asset, whilst the local activists are extremist and therefore liabilities. If this were true, then, logically, opinion polls registering people's opinion of the national party should provide a higher rating than is achieved in local elections by the local activists. Exactly the opposite has happened. It's a non-sequitur to suggest that Labour turnout is lower in local than national elections; if true, but it supports the point that people have less objection to a local authority run by Conservatives than they have to a national government; otherwise they would be better motivated to vote.

Furthermore, as I have pointed out repeatedly on this forum, the Conservative share of the vote in the local elections this year was almost identical to last year's. How then can Cameron's supporters claim progress?

If Michael Portillo is continuing to spread the poison that the party is unleadable, why has been invited to chair several open primaries? Even worse, was he paid to do so?

Only committed Conservative Party members, journalists or not, should chair open primary selection meetings. Is that too much to ask?

If this were true, then, logically, opinion polls registering people's opinion of the national party should provide a higher rating than is achieved in local elections by the local activists. Exactly the opposite has happened.

PS It's worth pointing out, incidentally, that we all know from experience that the Lib Dems are stronger locally than they are nationally. If you take this into account, then local election results should be worse than national polls suggest, even if everything else were equal.

If you take this into account, then local election results should be worse than national polls suggest, even if everything else were equal.
Labour since 1997 has been having a problem motivating it's supporters to vote in elections other than Westminster parliamentary elections, Liberal Democrat voters are more prepared to turn out, there have always been a lot of people who will vote in Local Elections for a Liberal\Liberal Democrat or Independent candidate who would never dream of doing it in Westminster elections. So this does result in far higher Local Election votes for the Liberal Democrats than they get at a national level.

If you take this into account, then local election results should be worse than national polls suggest, even if everything else were equal.
Labour since 1997 has been having a problem motivating it's supporters to vote in elections other than Westminster parliamentary elections, Liberal Democrat voters are more prepared to turn out, there have always been a lot of people who will vote in Local Elections for a Liberal\Liberal Democrat or Independent candidate who would never dream of doing it in Westminster elections. So this does result in far higher Local Election votes for the Liberal Democrats than they get at a national level.

Yet Another Anon:

'there have always been a lot of people who will vote in Local Elections for a Liberal\Liberal Democrat or Independent candidate who would never dream of doing it in Westminster elections'

That's how it looks, but it's more about the way the Lib Dems (& Indies) do electioneering locally.

The thing is that at a Local level someone who wants Capital Punishment, who favours strong defence including nuclear weapons, who is opposed to membership of the EU, who favours a national biometric ID scheme and who supports the war on terror - at a Local level these are not things that councillors have power over and so are significantly reduced as an issue, whatever someone might think of a parties economic policy at a national level, at a local level they have far less opportunity to get things spectacularily wrong because they are restricted by higher tiers of government and if they do the consequences are on a far smaller scale!

Alex Swanson,
Many of Labour's supporters don't vote in local elections because the local council doesn't control benefits. People only normally phone when there is self motivation, so opposition voters turn out in droves to give the government a bloody nose, whilst Labour voters stay home.

I wouldn,t worry too much about Brown, does anyone seriously belive the cockups and incompentence will disappear when he takes over. After all, as George Galloway puts, it Brown and Blair are the two cheeks of the same backside.
Portillos analysis last night was that Brown would concentrate on winning the next election and the Tories were scared. Yes the same Brown who orginised labour in Scotland and got thrashed, scuttling away next day in a blacked out car, just like Portillo did when he lost the chance to be leader. A touch of the Ted Heaths about him I reckon.
I,m not surprised support for Brown is rising after the endless support from the Left leaning BBC and glad to see Ch4 restoring the balance in its next programe.
Browns biggest threat is in Scotland because Salmond is going to chip away using things like giving free prescriptions, free student education and now the vote just passed to introduce local Income tax instead of the council tax etc, etc all subsidised by English tax payers who will increasingly get more angry and want Brown, Campbell and the rest of the Scottish mafia sent homeward tae think again.
The next election will be very interesting because if the majority of the 74 (the 75th is Tory) Scottish seats fall to the SNP or if Scotland becomes independant in the meantime, then the Tories will be the clear winners.
I,m Scottish but I despise Brown, Campbell etc and the rest of that backward, stuffy, central Scotland clique. As the poet Hugh Mcdermaid said "Scotland will never be free until the last presbyterian is strangled with the last copy of the Sunday Post".
Brown, Campbell etal where the people he was refering to.



Talking of left leaning BBC for a minute, did anyone notice that almost all of the reader contributions on Andrew Marr's 90's memories are about how Blair is a walking god?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6766539.stm

If we took the course that Trad Tory and McDougall talk about, future historians would be saying - " they were ahead and had won massively at local elections but threw it all away to return to their comfort zone". Tim and ConHome are spot on and the pledge card is correct. We must ride this out, help DC and win.

Matt

despite the opinion polls showing that David Cameron is loved by the public

Don't be ridiculous.

The only politicians who are ever 'loved' by the masses are unscrupulous demagogues like Hitler and Peron. Hardly role models.

The general opinion of Cameron is lukewarm and ill-informed. Certainly that gives him the edge with those who - quite understandably - detest Blair - but to interpret that as 'love' is grotesque in the extreme.

As for whether Cameron is now 'in trouble' so soon after claiming the credit for the successes of our hard-working local politicians, I would be inclined to put the question to the high-ranking Tories who are running the 'Save Dave' operation

I'm sure they know what they're doing.

One thing I note: Tim's 5-point card did not include "We're right" or anything equivalent. Surely that has to be the ultimate reason to keep persevering - because we think we're right and that we might make a difference.

A pretty pass that politics has come to when "we're right" doesn't even feature in the top five...!

Come on Andrew. I would have expected better of someone with your obvious intellect.

Everybody thinks they're 'right'. When the Germans stormed through Belgium in WW1 did their banners not display the legend 'Gott mit uns'?

We each have our opinions - some of us may even have a 'philosophy' - but believing that we can be 'right' in some objective sense is hubristic nonsense.

Only God can be right, and He doesn't get involved in party politics.

Traditional Tory,

You are correct if the statement were as blunt as "We're right", but I would have thought that in the difficult times we should strive to hold on to a few key reasons why we support the side we do - e.g. Cameron's opposition to ID cards, his opposition to further transfer of powers to the EU, or his little platoons programme for public services.

Without that key startpoint, Tim's list went from being "We're right" to being "We might still win". And I think it's a problem in politics if we start thinking the reason for trying to win is so that we'll win...

Only God can be right, and He doesn't get involved in party politics.

I seem to remember there was a suggestion a while ago that he might, but I gather that Alistair Campbell wouldn't let him...

I agree about the editor's analysis: more or less spot on.

Reading the other posts, I'm encouraged by their - mostly - positive and constructive nature (and I speak as one who has been less than 100% happy with DC). The important thing to remember is that DC & the "modernisers" are absolutely right when they assert that we can never win a general election on the strength of our "core vote" alone - BUT we certainly can't win one WITHOUT that core vote either. DC & Co really do have to start making a positive effort to keep the "traditionalists" on-side. There are, I believe, some small signs that they're starting to realise that. If that is so, then Brown doesn't stand a chance; he'll get what he so richly deserves (a bloody good kicking from the voters).

I think nobody knows how it will pan out as everything is very much in the air. I believe that the moment Blair loses power him and all his works will soon look very tainted. As will anyone wanting to be smooth, slick and superficial like him.

Brown may do alright. People want success from the mess that is Britain and they don't really care who delivers it.

Cameron and his little band of 6th formers may look like kids next to Brown. Kids that are as smooth and shallow as Blair who just want to win in order to stick their heads in the trough.

Look to all the big organisations that have massive followers in this country and see what they are offering. I don't know them all but it would include The National Trust and Glastonbury.

Also, look at our deeper beliefs and desires which go back centuries, such as the pre-industrial vision of going back to the land. You may scoff, but tens of thousands are doing that each year in order to have a better quality of life - and its not all middle class people.

Anyone who really finds out what the zeitgeist of these countries will win the election.

From my point of view it is:
- freedom from the prying state, less tax
- clean hospitals (how difficult is it really?)
- freedom
- soldiers home
- stop foreigners buying our houses and crowding us out of our own land
- immigration controlled and people given only working visas so when the job market dries up there will be jobs for British people
- kindness
- politeness
- zero tolerance on crime
- an end to companies ripping us off whether it is banks or whomever
- farmers being paid a decent amount by the supermarkets
- people on the dole being given a chance to work without fear of losing their benefits if the job doesn't work out
- our green and pleasant plan protected from greedy bastards who just want to destroy it for their own benefit
- jobs for Brits before foreigners
- free university education
- our fishing waters for just British fishermen - do you think any other country in Europe would have given them away????
- real bottom up democracy
- respect for our older people
- I don't know, why don't you ask?

This is not right or left it is just what we want.

Stop all this right and left nonsense, people are bored by it. Politicians should stop treating people like kids. They are totallysick of it.
Let us have more of our money for ourselves.
People are so stressed out and in debt DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
Be in the real world.
ALl Cameron and co seems to care about is winning the next election BE A REAL OPPOSITION. Look like you care about people and not just sticking your heads in the trough. Stop looking like a pathetic debating soceity and HELP PEOPLE.

I agree with Jane. Address those points and people will be happy. Also stop attacking smokers/ drinkers/ eaters. People should take responsibility for their lives. The state does not own them. Many people would feel quite happy if the party said these were not areas of concern or intervention for the state.

On the Clunking fist I have one key thought. He is engaging in a keynsian expansionist policy that is not actually accruing any real growth in the economy. It is all on the economically inactive (state) side rather than in producing goods and services. Much of the profits of this excercise are being exported to companies such as EDS in his endless pusuit of IT gadgetry.

In short he is borrowing in our name and giving it to foreign companies. At some point the credit card bill is going to come in.

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