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Tony Makara

Stephan, The bi-elections have to be taken in perspective. Both were in Labour strongholds, one being the seat of former prime minister Tony Blair. The bi-elections took place right at the peak of the Brown bounce. The Conservative vote help up in both bi-elections. The Labour vote fell significantly by 7% in Ealing and 14% in Sedgefield. It isn't possible to project national trends based on the exceptional circumstances surrounding these two bi-elections.

Ungrateful Cow

"A lady in my constituency who bought a five pound strip of raffle tickets last month is more of a “top Tory donor” than he [Lord Kalms] is."

Ungrateful cow. He's not likely to want to donate again with people like you insulting him, is he?

It's not hard to tell that you're a Cameroon and that your political career depends on Dave, is it?

Andrew Lilico

[email protected]:52

I suspect she was confused by your earlier post at 2:00pm - I think you were quoting a UKIP supporter who was saying he would vote Conservatives at a General Election, but one had to read the post a couple of times to work that out...


There are many other issues pointed up but one that makes me laugh is that whenever anyone points to progress in the North-West someone or several someones start banging on about it not being 'the North'. North-West, North, go figure. The fact of the matter is that if we look at the North East then there probably hasn't been any significant Conservative representation there in 6 or 7 decades.

OH James Burdett - time to open your atlas again and se that large area between Nottinghamshire and County Durham......South Yorkshire has 15 seats - North Yorkshire has 8 constituencies
- West Yorkshire has 23 constituencies = 46 in total

Conservatives hold c 4 seats of which only one is in West or South Yorkshire

Then go back and see how many of these seats Heath carried in 1970......anyway on current polling at Electoral Calculus Shipley falls to Labour as part of their 84 seat majority leaving Conservatives beached in South and West Yorkshire.


The bi-elections


Andrew Lilico

[email protected]:57

I'd just like to repeat my support for the proposition that a change in strategy is not the same concept as a lurch to the right - any more than the change in strategy from Brown to Blair involved a lurch to the left (as certain Conservative speechwriters unwisely predicted...).

I'm guessing that I'm not going to agree with your proposals - but then perhaps that will just reflect the fact that there are many possible changes in strategy that would not entail a lurch to the right. Roll on Monday!

Andrew Lilico

...or even Blair to Brown!

The Huntsman

I thank Andrew Lilico for clearing up the aspersion!

Michael Davidson

Pointless article desperately trying to shore up support for Dave. It's not working Louise, you only have to look at the ConHome poll to understand most of us don't think Cameron has a chance of being PM.

David Sergeant

I was never impressed with Mr Brady who seems more interested in himself than the party. But, for his information in Lancashire 9 of the 14 Distrcts are now Conservative controlled, the Lib/Dems one and Labour none. Conservatives now run Preston and Blackburn for the first time since 1981 - this, in the North is a Cameron effect.

What really worries me is the Brady must know this but keeps saying Cameron is not making progress in the North. I will leave readers to think the implications.

Tony Makara

David, I agree. As you say David Cameron is buiding a broad base of support across the north. Areas like Preston And Blackburn are very interesting because they contain a very mixed strata of voters. This shows that the centre ground strategy is working. David Cameron is laying the groundwork for victory at the next election.

Matt Wright

I think we've been making good progress in the "North" where we build on the Cameron strategy and give it a practical local twist to suit a constituency. That's always the case with any proper campaign. I do not think there is an inherent mismatch with the "North" in the DC aim to appeal more broadly and be more caring. Using the methodology and focusing on the things people are concerned about - Crime, NHS, Education & Economy works fine. We have had some very good swings from Labour to Conservative where we are,


Jarod Weaver

Does it not bother you, Louise, that the man is not a conservative? He has no clue, or wants to have no clue of what conservative people want. Gordon Brown is exploiting Cameron on the right because he knows it is an open goal, it's empty territory. Everything Brown has done since he became leader is right wing, and guess what? His poll ratings have shot up. While Dave shows off his new green trainers and talks about fining timber yards who don't use sustainable wood, Gordon talks about the things that matter in people's lives.However disingenuous it might be, he's stiking a chord with the British people, while Dave is stuck in the early 1990s. My worry is that Dave is a product of Steve Hilton and he doesn't know what he is. Your attitude towards Dave, Louise, is like many other Tory members, if Dave calls for the nationalisation of all British business, then that's ok because he leads our party. My attitude has always been small c, hoping the big C will follow suit. I cannot support a social democratic party, whatever they call themselves. Also everyone now calls him Dave, the biggest hint that nobody takes him seriously as a strong, future prime minister. Windmill Dave, Call me Dave, Sunshine Dave, hug-a-hoodie Dave, inspires awe and deference doesn't it?

David Sergeant

"Dave, inspires awe and deference doesn't it?"

Sorry Jerod I suggest you are living in the old world of deference and upstairs and downstairs. A bloke called Tony didn't make that mistake. If you have got to hide behind titles and deference you're no good.

Jarod Weaver

Sorry, David if you missed the point, I probably should have used the word respect, not deference. Then again Dave inspires neither, does he?


Excellent article Louise - the sanest thing I've read on this site for a long while.

Keep up the good work.


As you say David Cameron is buiding a broad base of support across the north. Areas like Preston And Blackburn are very interesting because they contain a very mixed strata of voters.

Region: Lancashire
MP Jack Straw (LAB)
Electorate 72,441 Turnout 56.88% 2005 Votes LAB 17,422 2005 Share 42.28%
Prediction 44.39%

LAB Majority 8,130 19.73%
Pred Maj 20.85%

Region: Lancashire
MP Mark Hendrick (LAB)
Electorate 51,558 Turnout 54.43% 2005 Votes LAB 13,468 47.99%
2005 Share 47.99%
Prediction 50.29%

LAB Majority 7,105 25.32%
Pred Maj 28.55%

Current Prediction: Labour majority 84

Electoral Calculus: General Election Prediction

Simon Newman

I guess the truth is more nuanced than either the pro or anti Cameron arguments.

I joined the Conservatives at the end of 2005 because I wanted to join a Conservative centre-right party, and I've been disappointed that it's apparently now a 'centre ground' party, with centre-ground meaning essentially social-democrat or centre-left, positioned roughly between Labour & Lib Dems on most issues, but less keen on raising taxes. So, I'm not very happy (strange to think that I used to worry the Conservatives were too right-wing for me!).

OTOH, my experience canvassing is that the strategy does appeal to floating voters in my area of inner city south London, especially middle class professional young women who are likely otherwise to vote Lib Dem. From what I can tell, this is a widespread effect - the strategy is good at attracting Lib Dem and New Labour 'Blair conservatives'. Conversely, it probably does lose traditionalist Conservative voters, but it may be that they are concentrated in wealthier and more rural seats that are solidly conservative, so their votes aren't worth as much.

So, it may be that the 'centre ground' strategy may not increase the Conservative vote much, but may get more more useful votes in marginal areas. Not very fair, but then it's not a fair system.

Simon Newman

As far as a referendum on the Constitution goes, everyone knows that the vote would be No, so it seems unlikely that Brown would hold one. The situation is a bit strange since Britain voting No would likely lead to our leaving the EU, which I'm in favour of (I'd like to live in a democracy again), but the leaderships of all the main parties are pro-European so it seems very unlikely a referendum will ever be held.


My experience exactly too Simon. Generally though most 'core' Conservatives I come across still tend to vote for the party with the exception of a very few who've abstained. I guess they feel they've nowhere else to go.UKIP aren't seen as any sort of alternative and the BNP are fortunately regarded as beyond the pale.


Louise, I see in Telegraph Spy you've called your latest kid "Lucius". I know you've not named him after Lucius Malfoy, but I can just imagine the Labour leaflet in Corby referring to the Tory candidate's kid being named after a Deatheater. I suppose the next one will be called Draco?


Matt Wright

Re Simon @ 3.15 and Malcolm @ 3.30. Yes this was also my findings on the doors and I support the "centre/common ground/broader" strategy for this reason. However these floating voters can be finely balanced so we need to be more practical and be cautious of how we conduct our PR.


David Sergeant

"I probably should have used the word respect, not deference. Then again Dave inspires neither, does he?"

I'm sorry Jarod, I think your observation is rediculous. The sort of aproach by bearded loud mouth on a BBC programme. I terms of what he has achieved of course you have to repect him. You are just repeating Labour spin.

Yet Another Anon

If anybody out there believes that they will poll just 15% in a General Election
The Liberal Democrats are vulnerable to a surge in turnout, they have been getting far more seats for less of the vote, but even their percentage vote has not reached that in the days of the Alliance. Their overall support of those eligible to vote only really just reached up towards their 1992 position, it wouldn't be the first Liberal collapse - 1970 and 1979 both saw the Liberal vote plummet, in 1974 the Liberals were about as high in terms of support and got 14% in the 1979 General Election.

In the event of a Liberal Democrat revival there is the possibility that the loser will be David Cameron - if he puts off more traditional Conservative supporters and neo-liberals while courting the Liberal vote there is the possibility that people from a Liberal mindset anyway will be suspicious of whether he is genuine or just chasing votes and may well be more likely to switch to the Liberal Democrats in the belief that they are more likely to be genuine on this, just as people are naturally suspicious when Liberals start talking about getting tough on crime or the importance of order & discipline in society.

Yet Another Anon

>>>>If anybody out there believes that they will poll just 15% in a General Election<<<<
Above bit should have been in italics, should've checked really that they were in operation on this page.

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