Wasn't it interesting how Lords Patten and Heseltine - early advocates of the disenfranchisement of party members - became silent on the issue? They knew that Ken Clarke, their choice for leader, cannot win amongst MPs but just might amongst party members.
Today 'Kampaign Ken' launches its It's time to win campaign. The campaign has six main messages and I list them below (unedited):
(1) Ken will lead the Conservative Party to victory at the next general election
- 44% of swing voters think he is the best person to lead the Conservative Party [Populus/The Times, Sept. 2-4 2005].
- Ken has the greatest support of any candidate in all regions, amongst all kinds of voters and in Scotland and Wales (ICM/Newsnight, Sept. 2-4 2005).
- At least 40% of all voters think Ken Clarke is the best person to lead the Party [ICM/Newsnight, Sept. 2-4 2005; Populus/TheTimes Sept. 2-4 2005 ].
(2) Ken will win back voters who have drifted to Labour and halt the rise of the Liberal Democrats
- As former Labour Party chair Clive Soley has admitted [Daily Telegraph 28.08.09], Ken is the leadership candidate Labour truly fears.
- As leader, Ken Clarke leader would reduce the gap with Labour to just 2% [Populus/The Times, Sept. 2-4 2005].
- 12% of all voters are more likely to vote Conservative under Ken Clarke’s leadership [ICM/Newsnight, Sept. 2-4 2005].
- Ken Clarke as leader would extend the Conservative lead over the LibDems to 15% [Populus/The Times, Sept. 2-4 2005].
- 10 Conservative held Parliamentary seats would be lost if there was a three per cent swing to the Liberal Democrats. In order to form a Conservative Government, the Party must not only halt the rise of the Lib Dems but take seats back from them.
(3) Ken will widen the appeal of the party across all groups
- Ken has more than twice the level of support of his nearest rival in the Conservative leadership contest amongst 18-24 year-olds and over four times the support of women (ICM/Newsnight, Sept. 2-4 2005).
- The Conservative Party has particularly lost support amongst younger voters and women voters. The Conservative share of the female vote actually fell in May’s general election. In order to win back power the Party has to win support in these groups.
(4) Ken will accelerate our revival in local government
- The party has doubled its representation in local government over the last few years but success in the shire counties has not been matched in the cities.
- The first set of elections the new leader will face will be those in May next year, including the important London borough elections.
- Ken has the appeal to reach voters who live in these urban and suburban areas. He tops the poll in every age category, social class and geographic region [ICM/Newsnight, Sept. 2-4 2005; Populus/TheTimes Sept. 2-4 2005].
(5) Ken will transform the party into a united modern campaigning force
- More voters think the Conservative Party has changed for the worse since 1997 than think it has changed for the better (Populus/The Times July 22-24 2005).
- Ken Clarke is the original “moderniser”. He has always believed the Conservative Party should be a party open to all who share its values. He will lead the development of an open and professional party through his Shadow Cabinet team.
(6) Ken has the energy and desire to be Prime Minister
- Ken Clarke is the candidate best placed to beat a Government lead by Gordon Brown at the next general election [Populus/The Times Sept. 02-04 2005].