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A better question would be, who cares?

Bridget Jones would definitely vote Tory these days - and yes it does matter because there are a great many Bridget Jones's out there and we have got to get them to vote for our candidates (and I speak as someone living a stone's throw from Notting Hill..)

I so wish politics wasn't this shallow.

It's not politics that is shallow, it's the fact that much of the general public and nearly all the MSM treat politics as a consumer item. Increasingly, I am turning to LabourHome, The Orange Party and Conservative home for reasoned debate. The MSM, even the DT, are becoming political comics.
In CentreRight this week there have been 2 debates, on the NHS and Macro-economics, which have been of high quality. However even the faithful have only sporadically engaged in them.
Mrs Roberts is merely responding to the public mood in her constituency because that's the way to get into power. In the same way, Miliband Major can project himself as a future Labour leader because his looks make senior female left-wing journo's go all funny inside, and Rachel Flint can expect promotion within the Cabinet even though she is a bird-brain with big hair and good legs, because she is telegenic.
15 years of labour spin and Parliamentary corruption instead of policy, and good government has annihilated public trust,and is a cancer on the body Politic. DC is slowly weening the public off a diet of sensation, but at present, Sally has no other way to go. That's Pragmatism, Dude:)

This is all the genius of Steve Hilton and his understanding of the importance of branding.


There is a subtext to Carole Cadwalladr's piece. Here are some snippets that come after she has kicked off with the default, intellectually bereft, references to Nazis when discussing the Tory party:

'And instead of hating them for this and thinking of new inventive ways to line them up against the wall'

'Why on earth that would appeal to anyone beyond the middle classes though and make them not want to kill them is beyond me.'

'If you hear a voice like Boris Johnson's or Stephen Fry's, you think what a quaint pantomime figure rather than these are the voices of the ruling class and I want to kill those c#nts.' (direct quote, ed)

'The sort of statement that makes me think of barricades and machine guns. Fight the powers that be.'

Cadwalladr is really just a bit huffy about losing the Left's supposed moral invincibility and ethical superiority to the middling of the middle ground. Naturally, Cameron and co's right-on (TM) values and lifestyles are just sooo faux darling and why oh why can't we get back to the moral high ground of wanting to do a Romanov and shoot the b#stards in a cellar?

Loveable Left as always. How did she get a gig with the Telegraph?

This is all so childish - or, perhaps, 'adolescent', would be more accurate. You should never accept the definition of yourself issued by your enemies. Active Conservatives I have known (and still know) are nothing like the stereotypes described by the Left. The difficulty is, of course, two-fold: the enemies of the Conservative Party have control of most of the media levers of power, and many of them (especially those who write or speak on the BBC, Guardian and Independent) are, it seems, irredeemably adolescent in outlook. Conservatives should present themselves as attractively as possible, by all means, but should resist being drawn down to that level of shallow teenage opinions and judgements.

'Fight the powers that be' Cadwalladr

Yes, DOS (August 03, 2008 at 10:56). What Cadwalladr and the professionally supercilious don't get is that the Establishment is either the class of '68 or those who are the product of a system infested with the delusions of '68. They are manning barricades against their own kind.

Yet they still see themselves as a solution when they are actually, endemically, the problem.

Sally, the second stage is to get them to vote. The first stage is getting them to register to vote.

In 18 years involvement with the Conservative Party, I have never seen Conservative canvassers going out canvassing in September/October armed with Electoral Registration forms and asking people on the door if they are Conservative supporters and sent back their Electoral Registration form to the Council, and if not, giving people a form to send back to the Council, or at least giving the details of who to contact at the Council to register to vote.

It is one thing to get people to vote for us or say that they will vote for us, but it means nothing if they are not registered to vote in the first place.

Well DC (Daniel Cleaver) charmed Bridget then gave it to her up the you-know-what, so perhaps Bridget represents the Britain... ;-)

Well I happen to think Sally Roberts is right. Without winning power much else is irrelevant. The Conservative Party hasn't changed that much. It is, despite best efforts still overwhelmingly middle aged and above and middle class. What's changed in my opinion is the often unbearable arrogance of so many activists of the '80's/90's vintage who dressed like complete stiffs and viewed anyone who wasn't 'sound' as some sort of communist. Those people might still be around but they've mostly learned a bit of humility, not before time. Cameron and his people recognised that this was important, they were right.

Interesting thread. I disagree that this is Hilton branding or shallow. There is a new generation of Tories with modern tastes and lifestyles and these folks are perceived by the public at large as being more mainstream and inclusive rather than disapproving and aloof. That makes for a party to be much more trusted and popular.

River Cottage cook books, Dutchy Originals beer and bread, Reading festival and cycle lanes - its not branding, its progress. Read "How to be Right" by James Dellingpole for a hilarious treatsy of this subject...
(ps, I'm in Paris, took the CO2 friendly train, have hired bikes to get around, we love the multi-seed loaf by Dutchy Originals and are growing our own chili plants.)

I don't like wasting my time responding to this rubbish but ---

It’s a measure of the trivia that passes for politics today. Today the media serve in today’s papers 60 column/inches devoted to Brown’s leadership, 57 column/inches to Miliband’s tactics, 49 to Blair’s memo abouit Brown and only then do the hacks get round to talking about energy scarcity with a mere 42 c/i. That is four times as much devoted to leaks, guesses and spins - none of them particularly new - about our dysfunctional Labour party than to a looming , and seemingly unavoidable - shutdown of Britain caused by that party’s total incompetence.

Has Cameron noticed ???

Do get real please - the country's in any number of crises but the party doesn't seem to have noticed

Without winning power much else is irrelevant.

There's no point winning power if you are then going to continue with essentially the same policies - policies which demonstrably have not worked in all sorts of areas.

" There is a new generation of Tories with modern tastes and lifestyles and these folks are perceived by the public at large as being more mainstream and inclusive rather than disapproving and aloof. That makes for a party to be much more trusted and popular."

With respect, I entirely disagree. I don't think people give a toss whether cameron rides a bike or not. If you look at the polls, the conservative party has always got its boost in popularity when we announce a policy or when something catastrophic has happened to labour.


A big problem the political class have is in understanding how other people think and judging by you comment, you are no exception.

Dorian Grape's analysis at 10.39 is spot on. The actually very nasty and spiteful article- dressed up as it is in syrup, the journalist is actually howling with rage- is a prime example of Daniel Finkelstein's favourite phenomenon, cognitive dissonance. The journalist had convinced herself of something false- that all Tories were braying sloanes who enjoyed bloodsports- a prejudice which she longs to maintain, in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary. So she's decided to present an argument for which there's no evidence whatsoever, that Tories who like cycling and vegetables and ethically reared livestock are irredeemably "posh". I know that Britain remains a class-based society, but I find it impossible to believe that a person who chooses to cycle to work is proof of an aristocratic lineage!

What really happened: David Cameron's media exposure has led her to realize that middle-class London Tories are living the same sort of life that she does, and that she ought to engage with their arguments about how to govern the country. Rather than do this, she filled three pages of a serious Sunday broadsheet with drivel that is unintentionally more of an insight into the intellectual crisis of the Hampsted liberal than it is news about the Tory party. I suppose there is good news for us in that. All that love-bombing is paying off!

Bridgid Jones would vote Tory today. Dave's Conservatives are Blair-orientated. The policies Labour "steal" from Cameron are policies is that have always been Labour policies. Brown would never touch a real Conservative policy even if you handed it to him on a silver plate.

I couldn't finish the article, it is just so much bile and tripe. It has always struck me as odd, that those on the left who have accused my adherence to the Tory party as closed-minded stuck-in-the-mud anti-changeism (Where is your forelock to tug respectfully to your betters, they would jeer), were themselves so closed of mind, that any challenge to their accepted wisdoms resulted in accusations of mental instability (anybody remember Soviet "sluggish schizophrenia", Mo Mowlem (who I didn't really like) being mentally unstable, the charges against Grabber himself "flawed personality" tripping gaily from their lips), or just tirades of personal abuse like a Prison Guard in an authoritarian State warming up to a bit of physical re-education.
When Blair was elected in 1997, who remembers the pager discipline, the suppression of any dissent, any scope for variation. The political line coming in was Power to us, the Vanguard. Once we have Power. we will be open again. Bollix, suppression is addictive, other peoples' ego tasty titbits as the message stays online. And what did we get? People who voted against The Tories, but not for a policy-lite New Labour. And what did we get? The most under-performing, under-delivering, mendacious (suppress everything to achieve the ends)quarrelsome, unpleasant, uncivil destructive administration I can remember. Because they themselves had no idea of what they stood FOR, but only what they stood AGAINST, how could they implement a coherent policy strategy? NHS round-robin ideological changes have cost and wasted a fortune. Grabber did the Pension Raid within first three months, and I am amazed it took so long to be an issue. He was hailed as the shining light, and those who said he defined double-entry bookkeeping by counting twice the things you liked and making up for it by not counting at all the things you didn't like, were roundly ridiculed. And today, the coop is breaking under the strain of returning chickens.
So when I hear strains of "Power is all" in this thread, I get very uneasy. We are in a fluid period of history, and I accept the argument that making definitive commitments for 2 years hence is foolish, but I do expect to see emerging by now some definitive commitment to principles that shall guide the next (hopefully Conservative) administration in its approach to problems and their solutions.

Snegchui, the first part of your last para is a good demonstration of how Blairism became so successful ("no idea what they stood for only what they were against"). Therefore I am puzzeled that, two years from a GE, you say the Tories should follow an opposite policy of providing loads of details for Labour and the media to snipe at.


David Sergeant,
I did write "and I accept the argument that making definitive commitments for 2 years hence is foolish, but I do expect to see emerging by now some definitive commitment to principles that shall guide"

I see defining principles as different from defining policies. Depending on what emphasis you give principles, you can end up with different policies. If you wish to nick a policy, it is much harder if you don't understand the principle. New Labour graft on policies ad-hoc without concern to the principles behind the policy and the result is a mess. If the Conservative Party is very clear about the principles that will guide its policies, then those policies should have a much stronger chance of coherence and structural integrity which should lead to stability and an understanding of the sense of purpose, which seems to be lacking in most of the front-line services today, (if the much moaning about the current environment("stupid targets and "oceans of useless, time-consuming paperwork", "left-hand undoing the work of the right-hand") is anything to go by.
Declaring principles gives guidance as how you are likely to address an issue, not a simple one "cut-and-paste" blagging opportunity.
At present, not many people seem sure on what basis the Conservative Party will will address issues other than that they will be respectful and kind. This leads to unnecessary spats over Grammar Schools which just maje the Party look incompetent.
I know these Policy Forums are going on, IDS getting good Party Press over broken society etc and others beavering away in other areas, but still it is a bit amorphous.

What is perfectly obvious is that women liked Blair. I think they like Cameron in the same way.

My wife has put it this way many times. Women tend to vote instinctively because they first ask themselves the following very basic question about any man they meet:

How comfortable would I feel if I was alone with this man?

Only when a male party leader has passed that test with a big positive will a woman then go on to consider policies and all the rest.

Above all, my wife says that a man has to look/act 'normal' and feel 'comfortable' with himself.

I had forgotten the Bridget Jones test but it certainly sums up the way my wife thinks.

I guess it does boil down to 'decent, respectful, kind and honest'. Instinctively thats what I want a politician to be too. Maybe us blokes ought to be a bit more instinctive about our voting too.

A big problem the political class have is in understanding how other people think and judging by you comment, you are no exception.

Posted by:Dale | August 03, 2008 at 14:47

Dale - My comments, and indeed this thread, were always bound to upset a certain group...

"How comfortable would I feel if I was alone with this man? "
Always, with a conman one is comfortable, until one sees the results of his actions. As Granny said, "ALWAYS, gets the young man's name and address: verified". Less tears at bed-time and nicer tasting cocoa!!

In reading Cadwalladr's articles I find it best to call to mind the (I think) Newman & Baddiel sketch where they'd play two academics and one would recite a long list of hateful things to the other who would nod along until the pay off line "That's you, that is". Her "analysis" of Oxbridge entrance earlier in the summer is in a similar vein.

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