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Simon Denis


Tax, crime, immigration and education are the battlefields of modern politics. The conservatives have retreated from these crucial theatres since the resignation of Michael Howard and the partial recovery which he fostered is history. Your prescription is no more than staging a parade or two in barracks.


It may be that the relative reticence this past week of our Team is a measure of their reconnaissance. What Gordon Brown says over the next couple of days could reshape the agenda at Blackpool. I am sure our troops are ready, in a strange sort of way!


I am afraid this is a result of the Conservatives not defending their political territory, allowing Labour to steal their clothes without political cost to them, or the Conservatives taking their pound of political flesh for Labour having to adopt their policies, instead meekly agreeing with Labour and giving them their support.

But as for a bankable policy, it has to be something Brown can't steal, something that is a major issue, something that separates Labour from the bulk of the electorate, something that will cause Labour untold grief, well there is only one policy which fulfils all that, for the Conservatives to offer English people an English Parliament.


If the Commentariat is the BBC/Guardian/Independent then there is/was little point chasing them. We were speaking to the wrong audience.

The Commentariat IS the Mail/Telegraph/Times/Sun.

Put forward things they agree with and the core will start to come back.

Referendum on Treaty
Immigration (a bigger voter concern than 05)
Govt finance policies (Banks, FT/Telegraph/Mail agree)
Govt bungling

It will not be enough to win, but it will reduce the gap, possibly to a hung parliament.

Tony Makara

"I have always, from well before the rise of DC, argued that the Conservatives needed to fundamentally shift their image, from people who wax lyrical about General Pinochet to people who admire Mandela"

Sorry Stephan but i can't agree with this. Augusto Pinochet was a brave patriot who saved his country from socialist anarchy. Why should we be putting Mandela, a man who never renounced terrorism, ahead of a man like general Pinochet? This is not acceptable. Perhaps the 15 years since the end of the cold war have dulled the wits of those who now want to decontaminate the brand of communism by heaping praise on Mandela et al.

Augusto Pinochet is a man Conservatives should look to for inspiration. Its worth remembering too that during the Falklands War general Pinochet was the only leader who offered us help. Augusto Pinochet was a true friend of Britain and his arrest by the Labour government acting out the fantasy's of their SWP/Student days shamed our country.

Radical Tory

Tony - you are right with regards to Pinochet and Mandela. Pinochet was a great man, whilst Mandela is the most overrated politician in the world. He refused to condemn terrorists, downplayed the evils of Mugabe and since coming to power South Africa has been run into the ground by corrupt ANC leaders. South Africa is worse because of Mandela, Chile is better because of Pinochet.

John Marsh

When Cameron talked tough on crime and even dared to mention the word immigration the polls moved in our direction. Most folk would have learned fom that experince but Cameron went back to the centre ground. I used to be a Tory activist but if "heir to Blair" Dave is no different on tax, crime and immigration to Brown I can't see the piont and I'm not the only one.

Yet Another Anon

In other words, David Cameron needs to offer reasons for people to vote Conservative - this whole cool Brittania stuff puts a layer of bull between politicians and the public and after many years of Tony Blair people are getting rather sick of it.

James Burdett

Condoning Pinochet and condemning Mandela is an interesting position to take up, however I don't think it will cut much ice with the electorate. Pinochet may have proved useful during the Falklands but we shouldn't just ignore his massive abuses of human rights as a result. Likewise whilst Mandela is obviously a flawed individual (who on this earth isnt?), we can not use that as a means to ignore his many positive qualities. If anyone wanted to pick these particular fights they would find themselves overwhelmingly in a minority.

Moral minority

Stefan wrote "Surely Conservative voters have nowhere else to go?" The ICM poll showed that 5% of the core Tory vote (who supported the Party in 2005) have transferred their allegiance to UKIP. As

Norman Tebbit has pointed on several occasions, millions of potential Conservative voters simply abstain. Many were working or lower Middle Class, the traditional right-wingers that the "modernisers" despise. David Cameron has not given them a reason to vote Conservative. Instead he has aped the man that they loathed with a passion - Tony Blair.

If an election is called this autumn, it is too late for Cameron to connect with "ordinary" voters. He must win or lose with the Blue Green agenda that he invested in so heavily over the last two years. Voters will view a late change of direction as desperation and panic.

Cameron's tree is shedding its leave and the poor state of the branches is there for everyone to see. Brown has a great opportunity to chop it down. But does he have the guts to wield the axe?


Editor you erased my post last night, when I asked it Tony Makara was a Labour troll or was he ill.

Surely today's post on Pinochet, and condemnation of Mandela, shows why Cameron will never change the Tory Party. Feel free to erase this post, your committment to democratic expression, does you proud.


Didn't Cameron say, Mrs Thatcher was wrong to call Mandela a terrorist, has anyone told Tony?


Pinochet was a fascist who led a government responsible for the torture and disappearance of many innocent people. Quite how people can call him a great man is beyond me.


John Marsh, I agree, the Conservatives have failed to identify the problems, so why should people be looking for solutions, especially Conservative ones, when even the Conservatives have failed to flag up the issues.

In addition as I mentioned earlier, the Conservatives have allowed Labour onto their political territory with out having to pay a politicial cost, in fact got welcoming support from Cameron along with his pledge to work with Labour.

So where is the difference? And if there isn't a significant difference, why should people change their vote? Why risk untried and tested people when problems haven't been identified, and we are going to get the same policies anyway?


"He must win or lose with the Blue Green agenda that he invested in so heavily over the last two years. Voters will view a late change of direction as desperation and panic."

Moral Minority, sorry to bang on about this, but there are ways for Cameron to link his green agenda with traditional Tory voters and their concerns. Environment is about sustainability, sustainability comes down to population pressure, population pressures here are driven my immigration. So environment and immigration can be the same issue, if only Cameron could realise this. Unfortunately like most political hands he has, he is not making the relevant argument, and leaving himself on beached on the irrelevant margins.

stephan shakespeare

MM, when I said "Surely Conservative voters have nowhere else to go?" I meant that this seemed to be the assumption of those who disdained them. It's absolutely not my own view. I think Conservative support can be lost to other parties and, above all, to non-voting, and this is a real threat. The Conservatives need to enthuse their base, though NOT by returning to a core vote strategy. I believe it is possible both to enthuse your own supporters and to reach out beyond them: this is not a contradiction.

Dave Bartlett

@Moral Majority 10:59

If the poll you're talking about is the same one that had a passing reference on Politica Betting, before being dismissed, you should point out that the sample size was very small. The '5%' was 7 people.

Lindsay Jenkins

Why Mr Shakespeare are you ‘not suggesting any weakening of the modernising message.’

Why not? It’s patently not working.

Cameron tried that line to win over LibDem voters. Bu why should those inclined to vote LibDem not do so – why vote for a look alike party with Conservative roots?

And indeed what about those 5 million who ahve already stopped voting Conservative as Lord Tebbitt repeatedly argues.

The 5 million figure is rising and rising.

I don't happen ‘to live in the sticks’ or even ‘petty suburbia’ as you so charmingly put it but anecdotally in London many conservatives with a small c think Brown a safer proposition than Cameron.

So it’s a straight choice for many of us -don’t vote at all or vote for Brown. Cameron is simply not in the frame.

You rightly say ‘disdain for your own supporters is a very dangerous game’ for that is the game Cameron and friends have been playing for the past two years and we can all see the poll results.

We should be on the verge of a landslide Conservative victory but the best most Conservatives can hope for is a hung parliament.

Quick visit to the drawing board called for.

Tony Makara

David@11:06, The only thing making me ill is this Labour government. Now, onto the subject of Mandela. While I do support David Cameron and think he would make an excellent prime minister I do disagree with Mr Cameron's take on Nelson Mandela. I see Mandela as the head of a terrorist group who refused to renounce violence. So, on Mandela Mrs Thatcher was quite correct to call Mandela a terrorist. I think its very sad that Nelson Mandela has become a celebrity. By contrast Augusto Pinochet was a true hero. To claim Augusto Pinochet was a fascist is typical leftspeak.

Dave Bartlett

"It’s not all about money, in the sense of tax cuts, but for most people in shaky times, it is all about survival: who will best preserve – maybe even enhance - their ability to carve out a liveable life? Who will leave them with more money in their pockets and better value from public services? Who will protect them from hooligans and terrorists?

If there is nothing new on offer from the Conservatives, nothing bankable, then the natural choice for the cautious voter will be Brown."

As I understand it the most unpopular tax in the country is the Council Tax.

One of the things Mr Cameron & Co keep talking about is devolution of decision making from Westminster to local councils, this would surely involve a reformation of council funding.

I think the 'social responsibility' theme has a hook to it too. It suggests to us that we can can change our enviroment by our own actions. It appeals to me, and I think it could appeal to voters generally. 'You have the power', so to speak.

[I also rather like the idea of the House of Lords being manned by representatives of local councils.
http://www.lga.gov.uk/Briefing.asp?lSection=0&id=SX9940-A7847CC7 ]

Moral minority

Yes Dave, but in a typical poll sample, that UKIP swing is significant. Mike Smithson thought so too. Naturally, I take Stefan's point. He is a perceptive commentator.

Iain, I agree with your points too. However, it is too late to make such a significant change before an autumn election. If Brown dithers and delays, Cameron would have an opportunity to change his strategy.

Simon Denis

Mr Editor, you have libelled me. There was nothing objectionable in my post: no obscenities were involved, nor were threats - the usual constituents of "abuse". As for "irrelevance" many subsequent contributors have made points much the same as mine. I can only assume you are being leaned on. Were my remarks directed at messrs Cameron and Osborne personally? To some degree, but only because I believe that any message will be damaged by its association with them. This IS relevant, as it constitutes a direct challenge to Mr Shakespeare's suggestion that the leaders might fruitfully take this or that course of action.

Your decision to suppress and then to misrepresent my words has shaken my trust in the impartiality of this website. Having accused me of "abusiveness" you owe me at least the right of reply.

Deputy Editor

Simon, you know how you described Osborne and Cameron and it wasn't appropiate. The rest of your comment was more wide-ranging in its irrelevance than the other comments here, and to be honest I was in two minds about whether it was a parody written by a left-winger or not.

As for your spurious accusation of libel, I'm no lawyer but I imagine we've got a stronger case against you for your silly suggestion that we've "been leaned on" by somebody to supress your opinion!

Feel free to try again...

Ken Stevens

You need to project a few substantial headline policies that can enthuse voters. Too much of mainstream politics seems to be introspective mutterings about how a party would manage minutiae in a slightly different manner to its opponents.

The SNP's victory in the Scottish Parliament election earlier this year has been attributed by researchers to the party's success in projecting a positive image and creating a mood of optimism among the electorate. "..The style of campaigning played a significant part in the outcome with the SNP's campaign perceived to be positive while Labour's was deemed negative..."

So, what upbeat carnival atmosphere are you going to generate to enthuse us oiks?

EU referendum and English parliament would be starters -- or have I mentioned those topics before? ;-)

Yet Another Anon

Pinochet may have proved useful during the Falklands but we shouldn't just ignore his massive abuses of human rights as a result
General Augusto Pinochet is now dead, and I don't think he is really not much of a factor in terms of being any kind of political issue except to some fringe fanatics. The Falklands War too is now not really a domestic political issue, although relations with Argentina are potentially a political issue of course.


Stephan, that you can describe without parentheses most people in this country as 'the uncool majority' speaks volumes of the contempt in which you and the Cameroons hold everyone outside your little metropolitan elite.

DC has not convinced that he is PM material. Our best hope is that Brown does not call an autumn election, DC is dumped in November and replaced with Davis.

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