Conservative Diary

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Just when Cameron thought it was safe to get back into the water...

By Paul Goodman
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One of my old friend Daniel Hannan's favourite lines from Shakespeare is taken from Hamlet. There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave/To tell us this.  He quotes it when a statement has been made of the bleeding obvious.

I couldn't help but think of those lines when I read today about the results of a YouGov survey carried out by this site's old friend Professor Tim Bale of Sussex University, which found that -

  • 53 per cent (gasp) feel they are not respected by the Tory leadership.
  • 44 per cent (shock) say they spend no time on party activity in an average month.
  • And only 19 per cent (horror) believe that the party will win an overall majority at the election.

Someone somewhere could have saved themselves time and money by looking back at a recent ConservativeHome members' survey, which found that -

  • 15 per cent believe that there will be a Conservative majority in 2015.

Actually, add those who believe that there will be a Tory minority Government next time round or a Coalition, and the proportion believing Cameron will be in Downing Street then rises to over half.

I'm not greatly moved by the YouGov finding that one in five activists are "seriously considering" voting UKIP.  What they might do is one thing.  That so many want a pact is another.

Furthermore, it isn't clear whether those votes for UKIP may come at 2014's euro-elections or at the general election next year, or both.

None the less, the moral of the story is that Cameron's charm offensive will have to go deeper, faster and longer if it is to stand a chance of succeeding.

And there's no evidence that the good news about Abu Qatada, the Wharton referendum bill, the benefits cap and so on has made much difference to the disillusioned mood of many activsts.


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