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Any idea of doing deal with the Libdems [who are on many issues vastly further to the Left than Labour] is deeply abhorrent to me.

Same goes for the greenies. We must be seen to be fighting the enemy, not sucking up to them. I'd rather see a hung parliament/minority administration that's unable to pass any significant new legislation for a few years, than help the Libdems & greens to implement their wacky ideas in any way.

I agree. The LibDems are our number one problem. If Hague and Howard had each managed to oust half a dozen each life would be so much easier for Cameron.

Is this the point where Cameron shoots himself in the foot?

A few months ago he had all these wacky ideas and we were behind in the polls. Than he dropped the wacky ideas and started talking about immigration and inheritance tax. The polls went in our favour, now he seems to be going back to the wacky stage. Why dosen't he just focus on sensible issues and stop all this Westminster village talk/wacky ideas.

This has Hilton's fingerprints all over it.

A last minute brainstorm produced this. The clue is in the fact that it's published on conservatives.com. It's not a proper article.

Cameron should be persuading voters in LibDem Conservative marginals that only by voting Conservative can Brown be beaten. We shouldn't be cosying up to them.

Same goes for the greenies. We must be seen to be fighting the enemy, not sucking up to them.

Anti-LibDem I understand, but I thought the new modern Conservative party is a green party? So why are the Greens the enemy, they should be natural allies?

Consensus politics is fine so long as that consensus is backed up by consistency on the Liberal side. When a government is failing the country as badly as Labour are currently doing it benefits opposition parties, and the nation, to band together where common ground can be shared. If the Liberals are sensible and give up the fickle politics of the past they can play a part in real opposition to the Labour government.

A far far deeper problem are our internal computer systems. Some are very far from being "fit for purpose".

Caroline Spellman does not seem to grasp how bad some are. She appears to be sleep walking to a disaster. She needs to take a cold hard look at things on Monday.

ConHome may have to be the place to bring pressure on CCHQ over this.

jim: Please email me - tim@conservativehome.com - if you want to take this forward...

The Libdems are only a headache if the Conservatives fail to hold them to account for their actions, after all it was the Libdems who supported Labour's discriminatory devolution arrangement, which if pointed out should damage the Libdems, and it was the Libdems Minister in the Scottish Parliament, Jim Wallace, who brought forward the legislation to financially penalise English students studying in Scotland, but of course Cameron has decided to spurn English peoples issues, so the Libdems get of scot-free from being made to answer for their policies.

"David Cameron and George Osborne jet off to China tomorrow"

The same David Cameron who has told us all that we need to stop flying and has said that he wants to tax the family holiday to stop us from having a well deserved foreign break?

Baroness Warsi in Sudan, John Bercow in Burma, Cameron in China, Hague in Europe. Oh yes, they're a very green bunch this lot.

"So why are the Greens the enemy, they should be natural allies?"

Teh Greens are our enemies for numerous reasons. They're fundamentally anti-enterprise anti-capitalist, anti-progress and anti-prosperity. Many of them have worryingly-authoritarian tendencies, with all their nonsense-talk about "carbon ration-cards" and restrictions on things like foreign holidays, nice cars, home-entertainment systems etc - which are just the sorts of policies that will put off the 'strivers' we are seeking to get to vote for us!

"We're allying with people who want to increase your car/fuel tax, tax you for taking away your rubbish, stop you having a plasma TV and penalising you for your couple of weeks in the sun" is not a winning strategy.

For me, their underlying antagonism to nuclear energy and nuclear deterrence puts the final nail in their coffin: our energy-security's far too important to be left to a bunch of windmills. A Conservative party that deals with the greens is a Conservative party that's lost my vote.

If these poll results were translated into a general election result, we would not need the Lib Dems. So why court them now? One can only assume that the CCHQ polling in key marginals is not so good, i.e. that we are gaining more support in seats that we hold rather than those we need to win back.

Posted by the REAL Moral minority, not the the Lib Dem impersonator.

The problem is one partly made in CCHQ.

The obsession with grouping constituencies rather than investing on the ground and redeveloping grassroots organisation means in places like Cornwall we are outgunned by the Lib Dems.

The Lib Dems have agents in nearly all their key seats. Ours are much fewer and far between.

In Cornwall, which has been 'grouped' there is one Conservative agent doing politics, another sidelined fundraising. Meanwhile the Lib Dems have professional campaigners in each Cornish constituency.

When there are two or three winnable seats for the Tories in Cornwall this is lunacy made in CCHQ.

Whilst I would totally agree with your article above about the importance of either defeating or co-operating with Lib Dems in order to form a government, we do seem to be automatically overlooking the third option for David Cameron to choose from: that of resolving NOT to form a government at all.

If we would be to win enough seats to form a minority government or a coalition government, it is my beleif that this would be a major disaster for the party. Once in government, the public would start to turn against us as the pendulum moves back towards the opposition; we would not command enough support in the country to be able to resist even a tiny swing against us, and we would not command enough authority in parliament to be able to carry out a Tory manifesto. We would remain in office only so long as we go along with an essentially Lib-Lab programme and history shows that the minority or coalition government would probably not survive the full five year term. In short, it would be two years of hell in which we commanded no power and would probably go down to a defeat worse than 1997 at the end of it. Is that what David Cameron wants to be remembered for, putting the party into opposition for ANOTHER two decades?

Alternatively, if he conspired to keep Labour in office either as the minority or in coalition with the Lib Dems, then it would be the Conservatives who would gain most from the government's woes. It is then my beleif that the subsequent election would return a Conservative landslide, large enough to put us in office for over a decade and carry out a strong programme of reform that could determine the direction of the country for the 21st Century.

Remember the lessons of Disraeli. The Conservative party looked incapable of winning an election during the mid 19th Century. When we did get into government it was due solely to splits in the government that allowed us to form a short-lived, very messy and totally irrelevant minority government under Derby before being swept away at the next election. We seem to be in the same position now.

Disraeli changed all that by refusing to form a minority government in 1873, forcing the Liberals to plod on until their defeat at the subsequent election-producing the first Conservative majority for 30 years.

So will Cameron be the Derby or the Disraeli of the 21st Century? His decision after the next election will determine not just his own personal legacy but the entire future and perhaps the survival of the Conservative Party.

Old Hack, the Liberal Democrats are not the biggest headache for the six Conservative Candidates in Cornwall. They are the second headache.
The biggest headache is coming from disaffected conservatives from the Crossley debacle. Stories abound that three Progressive Right Wing Candidates are going to stand at the next Election.

He's only being clever. As Henry Porter wrote in a rollicking article in the Observer today, one of the big defining either/or issues of our time -- not the only issue, but an important one, and particularly so for the opinion-setting media class -- is whether one is on the side of decentralised freedom, or state-sponsored 'empowerment' (code for Toynbee-esque control by one of Brown's machines). All parties contain both liberals and authoritarians on this question, with the current Tory balance happily in a liberal ascendancy. The LibDems are, if anything, even more split, with an activist base that is to the left of Labour, but a parliamentary party with a large liberal tinge. I'm using liberal in the British sense, not the US one. So it makes sense for a liberal Tory party to keep giving out the message that it is on the side of the liberals: it makes things confusing for the LibDem leadership (how to attack liberals? Are LibDems not supposed to be liberal?). It prevents us losing out on the attack-government headlines (remember how nauseating it was when that Tory frontbench spokesman spoke up in favour of the government and the hustlers at BAe?). It makes it easier for middle-class LibDem voters to 'come home' to what used to be their natural party, in the south of Britain. And it gets Cameron page after page of admiring headlines in newspapers that are ready to put the boot into control-freak Brown.

What it doesn't do - but what appears to always frighten Conservative Home - is to signal that by being a liberal Tory party, one is becoming a socialist. The Green reaction is this in microcosm. I love the Hackney greens. I wouldn't want them in charge of anything, but they help keep the pressure up for the sort of environmental services that anyone vaguely socially responsible would like a borough to have by default. It's not absurd (here) to imagine a Tory-Green-Liberal coalition, united in its hatred of municipal Hackney Labour politics, delivering an agenda that would make anyone of the centre-right happy. That doesn't mean nationalisation of the banks!

if the sole purpose of this suggestion was to propose it deliberately in order for it to be rejected so that the Conservatives could be seen to be the reasonable party and the Lib 'Dems' a rejectionist party, all well and good.

If, however, it was even half meant as a genuine offer, it is surely not a good one.

We have to present ourselves first and foremost as a party that is going to win a decent majority at the next GE and form a government. We should not be talking about any sort of deal with the Lib 'Dems' at this moment. That is to send the wrong sort of message to activists in Lib 'Dem'/Tory marginals that we do not think we can win a majority, so prepare for coalition.

This message is a defeatist one and surely ill-timed as polls begin to solidify round a decent lead over Labour.

We need to defeat as many Lib 'Dem' MPs as possible and that requires us (in Southern England at least) to emphasise the profound differences between us and them, to portray them as Labour Lite (and in some respects much more Left than NuLabour) and just as much Big Government and Statist as Labour.

It also says to those who voted Lib 'Dem' in 2005 that they can do so again and have the prospect of a Con-Lib'Dem' coalition or at least co-operation with impunity. Those voters must be made to choose: get Brown out or sustain him in power.

And it is an idea unlikely to cheer the core voters, whose votes need keeping on board to maximise our position.

Not the best idea of 2007, it might be thought.

If there is a hung Parliament. let the Lib'Dems' garner the opprobrium for sustaining GB in office or force them to declare, from a reduced position, the Tory way is best.

Time to play hard ball, not cosy up to them.

Do we really need to worry about the LibDems at this stage. I think we need to focus on being a government in waiting who expect a working majority and leave the negotiations to later if need be. One think you can be sure of with the LibDems is that there is no political conviction there, only opportunism.

I just heard Charles Kennedy on the radio knocking back David Cameron's suggestion. So it seems the Liberals still have an eye on a potential Lib/Lab pact in the event of a hung parliament or narrow Conservative victory.

If the Liberal Democrats prefer a coalition with the Labour Party in the case of a hung parliament, then let them go down that path. It just hinders them long term and gives the Conservative Party an electoral advantage at the next general election.

The Libs have historically backed Labour....the only time we will need them is if we do not have a majority....and then bet your bottom dollar they will fall in behind Labour. The LibDems are an enemy. The best strategy for the Conservatives will be to go to the fishing villages of Cornwall, the nice detached houses in Dorset, Hampshire et al. and ask all these LibDem voters why the hell they vote for them- because they are pro EU and anti business, anti low tax and anti self reliance. They are totally opposed to the interests of the people who make up the majority of their seats.

This may well be a tactic to push the Lib Dems away from the Tories, and therefore closer to Labour. Every effort should be made to associate the Liberals with Labour; philosophically they're both on the same statist ground. They are the biggest problem in politics at the moment. Our priority should be to eliminate them first, go for Labour second. A hung parliament could be disastrous if the Liberals push for PR.

I seem to remember reading that the Lib-Dem gains from the Conservatives in the south were from the Conservative vote decreasing rather than the Lib-Dem vote increasing.

Presumably the polls will be reliable predictors of the result for these seats.

"A Conservative party that deals with the greens is a Conservative party that's lost my vote."

And mine.
A bigger bunch of loonies than the Greens you will not find this side of the Taliban.

Why should the Conservatives intiate deals with the Lib Dems? The Lib Dems should be begging the Tories to allow them airtime and credibility, not the other way round.

The Conservatives need to see sense, which means rejecting these ridiculous ideas which can only hurt the Conservatives. The Lib Dems cannot and must not be partners of the Conservatives in any way.

Ash Faulkner, very interesting analysis. I certainly agree that the Liberals and Labour are wedded to the statist solution which is diametrically opposed to David Cameron's plans to give more power back to communities.

"Every effort should be made to associate the Liberals with Labour; philosophically they're both on the same statist ground."

Yes, the Libdems are the camp followers to Labour, unfortunately the Conservatives are allowing them to avoid being held accountable for the support they gave them. As I pointed out earlier it was a Libdem Minister in LibLab Scottish Government who brought in legislation to financially penalise English students studying in Scotland, reminding English electorate that should be fairly painful for Liddems in England, unfortunately as I also point out Cameron wants to spurn English issues, which is letting the LibDems off the hook!


"Ash Faulkner, very interesting analysis. I certainly agree that the Liberals and Labour are wedded to the statist solution which is diametrically opposed to David Cameron's plans to give more power back to communities."

Yes, and again I am worried that the Conservatives will allow Labour to reinvent themselves as well, for as we know Labour have been the most centrist party, yet now we hear the likes of Balls and company claiming they are giving people choice. Unfortunately I also don't hear Conservative MP's slamming this notion, and reminding people of the actions of Labour, Brown and Blair, who have done everything in their power to remove choice from people.

Labour have a mantra they go into reminding everybody of the actions of past Conservative Governments, I find it worying that Conservative MP's are lax and lazy about doing the same to Labour, if they did this they would close off any retreat Labour could engage in to reinvent themselves. Unfortunately as I point out, this isn't happening and this allows Labour to steal Conservative policies on choice, on the border police force, on points based immigration system, and much more!

I just heard Charles Kennedy on the radio knocking back David Cameron's suggestion. So it seems the Liberals still have an eye on a potential Lib/Lab pact in the event of a hung parliament or narrow Conservative victory.
It doesn't neccessarily - Nick Clegg has suggested he would back whichever one of the 2 main parties has more seats in the House of Commons. They might go for a coalition deal or they might even refuse and simply allow a minority government - deciding whether to support it on individual issues or not, thus distancing themselves from the 2 main parties while being seen not to sabotage the chances of forming a government. Possibly allowing some MPs or Lords to serve as ministers in the government so long as there were deals over the related issues might go along with the Liberal Democrats mostly still sitting n opposition - Paddy Ashdown might yet be a Northern Ireland Secretary or even Defence Secretary, International Development Secretary or Foreign Secretary, it's a matter of whether there could be agreement on those issues with a Liberal Democrat leader - I think Home Office and Treasury positions are out of the question because of the gulf of policy differences between the Liberal Democrats and the other 2 main parties. It isn't even neccessarily a matter of whether there is a hung parliament or not, both Gordon Brown and David Cameron are eager to appear open to having those from other parties even in their cabinet in some positions

It's done the business - both Cable and Charlie Piss-head have rejected it out of hands. That's all we need in our General Election literature - vote LibDem, get Labour

The LibDems polling is awful just now - exposing the real failure of their positioning when the Conservative Party has a popular centre-right agenda. I hope Chris Huhne wins - his 'Left of new Labour' preference is great for us. Even if Clegg wins - the opportunistic tactical voting pally Labour stance over the last 20 years will be hard to shrug off. (remember Ashdown did a deal with Blair, which he reneged on because of the scale of the '97 victory). In Scotland they entered a coalition with Labour and that was so awful the SNP ended up winning. Of course they blamed Labour, but in reality were intellectually bankrupt.

You can probably guess that I regard the LibDems with comtempt. Simon Jenkins, whom I actually rate as a commentator - despite his leftie nationalisation tendencies - has written some interesting articles about the LibDems which accurately sum up the party in the modern context.

The Guardian
May 9, 2007
Nice but hopeless, the Lib Dems should call it a day
This lamentable party cannot even master the electoral system to which it has hitched its wagon. Surely it's time to disband

The Sunday Times
January 08, 2006
Kennedy may be finished – but so is his absurd, irrelevant party

Iain Dale
WEDNESDAY, MAY 09, 2007

Simon Jenkins Rips into the LibDems
If you are a LibDem you know your Party is in trouble when you're turned on by The Guardian. Rarely have I enjoyed an article by Simon Jenkins so much as THIS one in which he tears the LibDems apart.

To many centrist voters, the Libdems are the "nice" Party. We know differently, but that knowledge isn't common.

Cameron's offer has made the Libdems look churlish.

A tactic that shows the Libdems up for what they really has got to be a good idea, hasn't it?

Paddy Ashdown and Charles Kennedy are the Lib Dems two best performers. Not much we can do about Kennedy, but shouldn't we be doing everything to persuade Paddy to take the NATO Afghanistan job? Not only is he qualified for the job, but it's pretty difficult to attack us from Kabul.

ConHome will have a 'manifesto'?

Why don't you just start your own party instead? I'm sure it will be much more accommodating for a one-man manifesto.

The grassroots needs to be careful that ConHome does not get too powerful and above its station.

Machiavelli's Understudy: The manifesto will be based on the views of those who vote in the ConservativeHome members' survey. It will be a genuine grassroots manifesto.

"The LibDems polling is awful just now"

Oberon Houston, maybe the public are finally beginning to understand that the politics of protest is not the same thing as the politics of government? Leading highly vocal protests against the government of the day, reactive politics, is not difficult. However making the step-up from being reactive to actually being proactive and creating viable policies to govern the country is a lot more difficult. The Liberals have never been able to make this great leap from protest to government.

@Machiavellian's Understudy

Have you not come to expect delusions of grandeur?

"A Conservative party that deals with the greens is a Conservative party that's lost my vote."

And mine.
A bigger bunch of loonies than the Greens you will not find this side of the Taliban.

Great, thanks for clarifying that. Luckily, Cameron appears to have a greater regard for the environmental movement than do his activists, judging by this thread. I know several liberal-inclined people who are transferring sympathy - and potentially votes - towards the Tories simply for that issue alone.

So I hope Cameron ignores the global-warming ostriches when it comes to the coalition talks.

DC’s article on Conservatives.com says I've always believed that political parties, even though they may have serious disagreements over many aspects of policy, should work together in those areas where they agree. It’s good therefore that DC seems to be saying we’d cooperate only on areas Lib Dems and Greens agree with us on.

But I wonder where such agreement is. The Lib Dems oppose DC’s policy on supporting marriage, and many of them are to the left of Labour (even of Gordon Brown?) wanting a high tax and spend Government. And how many Conservatives would agree with the Lib Dems’ EU-enthusiasm?

As for the Greens, I tend to agree they seem to be the new extreme left in politics - I note Tanuki (1155) says that they’re fundamentally anti-enterprise anti-capitalist, anti-progress and anti-prosperity. Many of them have worryingly-authoritarian tendencies… Not much common ground there it seems.

As for the supposed agreement on decentralising power, don’t the Lib Dems want a Federal structure, i.e. regional government and elected regional assemblies? These would of course take most of their power from County Councils, thus moving power further away from the people. And of course Westminster would continue to lose powers to Brussels, becoming even more than it is now just the implementer of EU legislation. If Westminster did devolve power to regional assemblies, as the Lib Dems would have had us believe would happen, their main role too could of course be just implementing EU laws.

By all means seek to cooperate with other parties in the national interest where they agree with us, but surely the best way of dealing with the Lib Dems is to point out their irrelevancy, their wacky ideas which go against the instincts of most voters (e.g. they're soft on crime and drugs, anti-traditional family, and are EU-enthusiasts…), and that only we can form an alternative Government to Labour.

Someone at HQ has woken up to the fact that the Lib Dems are a problem! Do they also realise that the Pope is a catholic? Where is the strategy to remove the Lib Dems? Lost in some HQ Filing cabinet? 29 months went by before the 568 majority Lib Dem target seat of Eastleigh, finally selected a candidate.

The only way to defeat a sitting Lib Dem is to select early and select a local. Not delay it by twenty nine months! These are lessons that our Candidate selection process seem to frequently overlook.

It is time Mr Editor that the person running Candidate selection comes on here for a few sessions such as 1. Selecting to fight a Lib Dem, 2. Selecting to fight a Labour MP, 3. Selecting to fight a seat requiring two General Elections.

You have to realise that the LibDems in different parts of the country are very different - it isn't just a cliche - it is the reality. North of watford Gap the LibDems are lefties pinching votes off disaffected left wing socialist Labour while in the South they are quasi Tories with a liberal tinge. If you go into partnership with one of their wings you will find the rest of the bird flapping and squawking like nobodies business. the LibDems are not a single entity that you can do business with!

I hope Cameron ignores the global-warming ostriches when it comes to the coalition talks.

I'm not a 'global warming ostrich' - I'm a realist. Nobody I know raises the ecoloony-issues by themselves: they're all far more concerned that their last tankful of heating-oil cost them £3500 rather than £2500 and that it now costs them £80 to refuel their van.
We really need to be fighting the inexorably business-impairing tax-hikes on energy. Side with the ordinary gy who has to heat his house, run his van, keep his business alive - nobody's winning by arguing we should pay more for our fuel.

A Conservative party that commits to cutting fuel- and energy-taxes is a sure winner.

A Conservative party that commits to cutting fuel- and energy-taxes is a party which puts short term political advantage ahead of the future of the planet.

Better for us all to reach consensus on issues like that. Cameron appears to understand this, unlike some of the zealots on here - I just hope he controls them as ruthlessly as Blair squashed his own left-wing diehards.

Yes, the Libdems are a problem because, unlike Nulab, they have some genuinely talented performers.
For that reason - as well as expediency - it would not be wrong to make common cause with their Party, but only on an issue by issue basis.
A proper government will govern for the nation as a whole, not just for its own factions and therefore if the Libdems are close to us on say localism and climate change, then we should enlist their aid to get bills through, in the same way that the tories backed Blair in getting an education bill passed.
However, for purposes of fighting a GE, we surely want to press the view that Nulab must go because of its manifest incompetence and that the only major party able to replace it is the tory party.

Bruce: People who post on here are not zealots but traditional Tories who, unlike the left wing diehards and indeed Cameron himself, are used to Government having governed this Country very succesfully for Centuries. Should Cameron control them ruthlessly as you so Staninistically put it then he won't win the next Election.

By the way, are you the Bruce who is married to Violet, Hyacinth Bucket's sister with room for a pony, a swimming pool and a penchant for cross dressing?

I do not wish in any way to be complacent about the Liberal Democrats.They work very hard and many of their MPs are excellent constituency workers as I've found to my cost on a few ocassions.
But they do tend to be desperately unprincipled and are usually only effective when denigrating the work of other parties.Their own policies rarely stand up to scrutiny. Sadly they are rarely scrutinised.
Therefore whilst I have no inherent opposition to working with the Lib Dems this should ONLY EVER HAPPEN ON OUR TERMS.
We should also be habitually negative about them, always stressing their Europhilia, their weak attitude to drugs, Nick Clegg's proposed amnesty for illlegal immigrants and their votes for prisoners agenda.
The Lib Dem leadership contest has completely failed to set the media alight and I'm not aware of one original substantive idea being put forward by either contender.We should not exaggerate the threat posed by this party,nor should we underestimate them.

COMMENT OVERWRITTEN.

Bruce: People who post on here are not zealots but traditional Tories who, unlike the left wing diehards and indeed Cameron himself, are used to Government having governed this Country very succesfully for Centuries.

I knew that Cameron was concerned about the age profile of the average Conservative party member, but the revelation that there are people contributing to this website who have been in government for centuries is interesting. You must be very tired, surely it's time to let a new generation have a go?

The point is this: Greens are not loonies. Global warming is the greatest threat facing our planet. It may already be too late, but unless we take SOME action now then there'll be nothing left for the Conservative party to conserve any more.

Cameron is being very sensible in highlighting the issue, and could reap electoral benefit from it too - especially if Greens hold any kind of balance in a tight election.

It would be a tragedy if he was held back by the dinosaurs.

Well done Dave.
A really slick move, and Cable played into your hands. You have made it appear that you are being reasonable and willing to work with others for the common good, and the Surreal Socialists rejected the offer out of hand. With Paddy, Shirley, Charlie (mine's a Scotch) and the elder Ming, Clegg will have all the trappings of a Left-wing cabal. Just keep repeating the phrase: Vote Lib Dem; get more socialism.Euro-federalists, Union (UK that is)-wreckers,high-tax, more state control, you are right to move to flush them from cover from time to time so that the electorate can begin to see that a vote for a Lib Dem is a wasted vote.

Bruce, you seem to be one of those young sprogs in the Conservative party- all mouth and no experience. I get the impression that Rover is a very learned, young man, basing politics on experience. The years of Thatcher were the greatest political event in 20C peacetime.
As for global warming- it is a load of nonsense hyped up for political expediency.

Lady Tory, I'm afraid you have me badly wrong - I'm neither young, nor in the Conservative party (or indeed any party - a genuine floating voter).

If you think the years of Thatcher were the greatest political event in 20C peacetime, you have a poor sense of history. I'd place the reforms of 1905-14 and 1945-50 on a par with those years, possibly more important. And what about the universal franchise?

I've no real desire to tell you my age, but you'll have a clue if I tell you that IMHO the greatest prime minister of my lifetime was Harold Macmillan. Not that everything he did was right or great, but I just liked the chap. He had more bottom than any of today's pygmies, that's for sure.

I get the impression people have already got quite close to the point where they have decided the Lib Dems are an irrelevance and are unlikely to go back on that.

Clegg is petulant and vacuous - he says almost nothing on policy - people will spot these things.

The one risk is that the media will treat him more sympathetically (Ming was undermined by a drip drip whispering campaign which the media enjoyed - and contributed to their bad figures in the polls). But I think they could actually go backwards compared to Vince Cable, who they will miss - after a few months.

Winning seats back from them is not impossible - look at some of the swings already achieved in 2005 (despite a marginal national improvement) and the number of places the LDs collapsed like sandcastles this May. It has to be a combination of good local campaigns and local candidates - but also pushing national policy hard aswell - when you let the LDs debase the whole debate into an obsessive localism - none of which adds up, that's when they are hard to shift.

I think the next election will be quite close between Conservatives and Labour - on the seats at least, but if the Tories can hit around 41 per cent, and target the seats well, a majority of about 15-30 can be achieved.

I really don't think we should over estimate the position of Lib Dems. By all means let them show themsleves up by refusing to work with other parties. However at the next election there will be only one choice for a positive new future for Britain and that is the Conservative party. Anything else will only help tired Labour thinking. That is the key issue we must get across and one that cannot be overcome by any retread Lib leader when we are at a tuirning point in the direction of the country. Our aim must be to get out and fight as the real leaders of Britain and leave the sideshows to the sidelines.

Don't always agree with Bruce Tory Lady but your attempt to patronise him does you even less credit than your usual diatribes against Crossley and your end is nigh predictions about Conservative fortunes in Cornwall.

"Anti-LibDem I understand, but I thought the new modern Conservative party is a green party? So why are the Greens the enemy, they should be natural allies?"

The green party abandoned enviromentalism as their primary policy many years ago, they are now an eco socialist party, that is why they are not our natural allies.

Malcolm, I fear Old Hack offers the background as to why Cornwall will stay Lib Dem. Liberalism is entrenched and administratively well organised at a micro level.
As for Cornwall, and Crossley, my interest derives from the events which circulated in the National Media some three years ago, when a Cornish PPC (Ashley Crosley) was at odds with his local Association and apparently everybody else, and everything else. CCO supported him with disasterous consequences which are still resonating in political discussion today.
From my Pad well away from Cornwall I am always interested in why CCO can get things so badly wrong.

Why does he feel the need to drag the party further to the left?

I think a few people need to remember that this is a conservative party, one of the most successful on the planet. Why on earth would members tolerate this fraud dragging us to the left?

Surprised you censored my post on the selection of gay candidates and ethnic and for that matter female candidates and the fact that they pulled down the Tory vote.
This is hardly news as I did a study of this in 2006 and circulated it among others to leading conservatives.Most of the election studies of 2001 and 2005 refer to it-so why behave like a bunch of shocked maiden aunts.
Its most explicit finding if I recall was that 2% of blacks voted Conservative and that was about 8000 voters in the UK or one in a thousand Tory voters.
Still surely it is much better to discuss these matters in an adult way rather than go in for absurd selfcensorship

"Vote Lib Dem; get more socialism.Euro-federalists, Union (UK that is)-wreckers,high-tax, more state control"

Not exactly a snappy slogan but its a start. However, Cameron has pledged that the Conservatives will stick to Labours spending plans as well as maintaining the same level of taxation. As for Union wreckers, the Conservatives havent proposed an alternative to the current set-up, though Rifkind has (and seems to have been rejected).

It's a clever move by Cameron. If Clegg wins, he's supposedly going after those voters attracted by Cameron. However, Cameron's move has caused the LibDems to spurn such notions of working to gether with the Conservatives, which may make it harder if the party under Clegg then attempts to woo such Tory leaning floaters.

If Huhne wins, it matters not since he'll appeal more to Labour minded floaters anyway.

Interesting thread, many important points have been discussed. As has been mentioned previously, the Lib Dem's are very good at presenting one version of themselves to the electorate, while supporting something else in policy. They have an especially good local propaganga machine. But if properly organised, both of these can be effectively countered.

"The Greens are our enemies for numerous reasons. They're fundamentally anti-enterprise anti-capitalist, anti-progress and anti-prosperity. Many of them have worryingly-authoritarian tendencies, with all their nonsense-talk about "carbon ration-cards" and restrictions on things like foreign holidays, nice cars, home-entertainment systems etc - which are just the sorts of policies that will put off the 'strivers' we are seeking to get to vote for us!" Tanuki

Tanuki's observations are correct. I've supported environmental concerns for many years, and was previously in the Green Party. I left them because of their extreme leftist policies. I believe in private enterprise and distrust big government.

Many people make the mistake of thinking the Greens are a single issue party when they are not. In reality Greens have largely replaced the far left groups like communists / socialist workers. Although its true they certainly don't support these in every respect, if you compare their policies you'd start to notice a lot of common ground between them.

With regards to environmental problems, their solutions are often of the mandatory imposed kind, rather than encouraging people to be more responsible. But many people who support them, including some members of their party don't realise this.

We should be more sensitive in the way we interact with our environment. At the same time we need to ensure we maintain a competitive economy. Whatever solutions are put in place, we shouldn't infringe peoples personal freedom, or make their lives difficult. As well as being plain wrong, such measures wouldn't survive in the long term.

First of all, I'll admit that I am a Lib-Dem cllr, so I can't promise to be all that fair and balanced.

Having said that, Dave's sudden willingness to all be friends does smack of desperation.

He knows that his own lead is only so high because the Lib-Dems have been in a state of permanant civil war for a year.

With Clegg elected, that war is won and we can start concentrating on knocking the brown stuff out of the opposition again.

The Lab/Con quisling ideology of Americanism.

The Lab/Con subservience Murdoch and whatever agenda he cares to set.

Their Lab/Con support for all kinds of loony toons ideas, from the attack on Iraq to building more nuclear power stations.

Basically, Dave's been allowed to borrow the 'progressive' label through our own incompetence. At the end of the day, though, he is just one more Lab/Con stooge.

Gotta say, i'm looking forward to wiping the smirk of of his pudgy little face (no offence lads!)

I'm sure the basic tenet of this article is right. To win an election the Conservatives need to get support from people who are currently voting LibDem. So why an earth is the Conservative party being held to ransom by an absolutely tiny number of UKIP/BNP supporters? As long as it's anti-Europe, anti-freedom (they do hate the human rights act these nutters) and basically anti-British it's not going to be able to win an election.

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