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The point is that many of us don't accept that you have shot the arguments down in flames - merely that you have made the same unconvincing points on numerous occasions.

That would be why your oh-so convincing arguments consists of asserting that these defeats were because they were right wing, but then never offering the slightest thing to support said assertions.

I wonder why.

We really aren't. Socialism is dead. Its place has been taken by Social Democracy.

Social Democracy is just fluffy socialism. You might not think it's effectively the same thing but lots of left wing Labour MPs have been happy to work within its constraints for about 9 years and counting

Agreed - but Mr Cameron is not talking about stopping them

Opposition to ID cards on civil liberty grounds, growing state spending more slowly than economic growth, introducing much stronger local acountability into police forces, the list goes on.

My general point was there is lots of moaning on this site and not much realistic constructive suggesting. It would be better if the blog was renamed conservativemoan.com.

If David Cameron is not at 43% in the opinion polls by summer 2007 then I will accept that no matter how good our policies and how effective our campaigning the British people just don't want to be independent and free. At that point I will despair, not when we have just got a sustained boost in the ICM and YouGov polls with an excellent chance of getting back into local gvernment right across the UK.


"Some of the comments here are madness. If you are bemoaning the fact that LibDem voters are moving to Labour how on earth is a more radical right-wing agenda going to win them over to the Tories."

A "radical right-wing" agenda is misunderstood. Not surprising, really, considering how few politicians have ever bothered to advocate it.

The point I make is simple. If we're to win the next election we need to address where we're going wrong.

Why have we lost the last few elections? Lots of reasons, (and yes image has had alot to do with it). But, if I were to point to any policy areas (which is what we're interested in), I would say the most important issues are the economy and public services -- and on these areas we have failed to offer a vision of how we would improve on Labour.

We need to address these issues by explaining how we can offer an alternative to the way that Labour has messed up. Labour has hiked taxes, increased spending, with the result of lowering productivity and growth. So we need to make the case for low taxes. Cameron has done the opposite, and sacrificed the argument to Labour. This is pure cowardice.

On public services, I believe we can sell reform because "extra investment" has so manifestly failed to deliver improvements. Just as the public begins to realise this, it seems madness to me to then adopt Labour's policy of simply "more spending".

People are "attached" to the NHS because they want free healthcare. They don't care who delivers it. People are attached to State education because they want free education, they don't actually care about who's delivering it.

We can sell right-wing policies by emphasising what they will do for the worst off. Right-wing solutions for left-wing problems, if you like.

Furthermore, people won't be so suspcicious of tax cuts if we have a vision for public services. Without a vision for public services, tax cuts will look like cuts in public services. The two need to go hand in hand.

So this isn't about "left and right". Most voters are not ideologues. People who vote Labour are *not* necessarily looking for more left-wing policies. They want an attractive, alternative vision for the country that would deliver real improvements. We can deliver that, but not by apeing Labour.

"Cameron has to appeal to the media, it might be sickening but if papers like the Sun turn on him your average punter will be left with the feeling that he is an idiot, that can't be trusted to run the country, no matter what his policies are."

My point exactly. The Sun will more likely back Cameron if he offers a vision like that I explain above. The Sun is not left-wing. It wants less tax, and freer markets. If we get The Sun enthusiastically behind us, our job will be easier. But I don't see this happening right now.


Going back to Iain Lindley's post at 19:06, why aren't we talking about the praise for David Cameron's position on education in today's Sunday Telegraph editorial

"Please prove this assertion."

It's common sense.

To claim that that the right wing nature of John Major's government cost us the 1997 election is certainly rewriting history with a vengeance.

There were several factors to the 1997 defeat, but a big one was the right-wing power struggle that undermined and paralyzed the government. That self-destructive fight was a good example of right-wing priorities and political blindness.

You can argue about Michael Howard's alignment, but he was certainly perceived as right-wing.

It's common sense.

So that would be "none" then?

There were several factors to the 1997 defeat, but a big one was the right-wing power struggle that undermined and paralyzed the government.

That's not why we lost the election though (although it may have made things worse). That was lost the day we pulled out of the ERM.

You can argue about Michael Howard's alignment, but he was certainly perceived as right-wing.

Yes he was, but the perception is different from reality. You cannot blame policies - or at least those that tested well - for the salesman being scary.

"My general point was there is lots of moaning on this site and not much realistic constructive suggesting."

Many are simply complaining that sound policies (such as the patients' passport and school choice) have been dumped without debate. And some of us are impressed about what is happening to manipulate the candidates list and selections either.

We managed to stop the centralisers taking our leadership votes by standing up to them. The focus has now changed.

"You can argue about Michael Howard's alignment, but he was certainly perceived as right-wing."

We haven't denied this. In fact, we've emphasised it. But just because he was perceived as right-wing doesn't make it true.

"Going back to Iain Lindley's post at 19:06, why aren't we talking about the praise for David Cameron's position on education in today's Sunday Telegraph editorial."

Because the subject of the thread is the opinion poll. It's not my fault that my attempt at sensible, critical analysis of the opinion poll was hijacked by the Cameronite thought police.

John H: actually I agree with much of your post at 22:28. The main difference seems to be that I believe David cameron when he says that he believes in lower taxes and free markets and you don't trust him to deliver.

Why will the Cameronites not address the fact that Howard team's blew the large opinion poll lead he had in early 2004? His team (Whetstone, Hilton, Vaizey et al) are now advising Cameron.

If David Cameron is not at 43% in the opinion polls by summer 2007 then I will accept that no matter how good our policies and how effective our campaigning the British people just don't want to be independent and free. At that point I will despair, not when we have just got a sustained boost in the ICM and YouGov polls with an excellent chance of getting back into local gvernment right across the UK.

Hear! Hear!
and I feel you about the conservativemoan.com thing as well.

I think it is important that those of us who disagree with the moaners should make sure we keep posting our comments up.

The last thing we need is floating voters surfing through and hearing only one side of the argument.

So that would be "none" then?

No, common sense proves itself. You should try it some day.

Selsdon, Yes about 70% of the country, most don't vote though. Everyone wants to pay less tax but if a tax cut can be presented as slashing health spending or whatever it's a tough sell.

It is not enough that people are fed up. Cameron has to present the Tories as a mainstream alternative before they'll vote for him. It has to be remembered Mrs Thatcher has already moved the centre ground miles to right.

"I believe David cameron when he says that he believes in lower taxes and free markets and you don't trust him to deliver".

I am sceptical when he talks about sharing the proceeds of growth - as if it HIS money to share.

"Selsdon, Yes about 70% of the country, most don't vote though"
Eh?

No, common sense proves itself. You should try it some day.

I don't accept that what you're saying is either proved or common sense. What I do accept is that your argument is extremely childish.

Selsdon, What %age of the country actually votes Labour, less than 25%.

What I do accept is that your argument is extremely childish. -- James Hellyer

Ditto.

It's not my fault that my attempt at sensible, critical analysis of the opinion poll was hijacked by the Cameronite thought police -- Daniel Vince-Archer

Daniel, was this the same sensible, critical analysis that caused you to write:

I'm glad this poll result hasn't prompted the usual comments from Jack Stone et al soiling themselves with excitement about how well Cameron is doing, he's going to be the next Messiah etc...

Sometimes I think you set-out to rile the "Cameronites".

I wonder how often we are going to have threads like this.The same attacks on Cameron by exactly the same people making the same points week after week.Very dull.

It is voters, not abstainers, that count. The demographic profile of non-voters suggests that they would not vote Conservative. A higher turnout in May would have benefited Labour.

Ditto.

You're talking nonsense, Mark. You asserted something and when you were asked if there was any evidence for it, you relied on saying it was common sense (i.e. no evidence offered). Yours is the childish and non-analytical approach.

And you have the nerve to accuse others to have set out to rile people.

That's a very selective quotation Mark. How naughty of you to take a flippant comment out of context to try and prove a point.

I voted for Cameron, not for sound policies to be ditched without debate, Malcolm.

But Selsdon, you can submit 500 words to each policy group.

"It's voters, not abstainers, that count"

Sure it is, but in 1992 John Major received more votes than any party before or since. Where are these missing people? I know the Tory voter profile is elderly but they can't all be dead.

Jaz writes: Goldie, you have betrayed your party, I hope you can low leave this blog without blindly flamign and ranting about Cameron. I wish you good luck in whatever alternative you wish to choose (BNP, Veritas, UKIP)

I feel obliged to respond to this and similar comments.

1. I was a Cameron supporter before he even announced for the leadership. (Indeed, I had fingered DC as the next Conservative prime minister as long as 2 years ago).

2. I continue to believe that Cameron is, by far, the most talented politician in the Conservative parliamentary party, therefore deserves to be the Leader.

3. But I think that (A) Cameron deceived us in the leadership campaign and (B) I think his strategy is mistaken.

(A): This may not be the biggest deal, but what Cameron sold us in the leadership campaign was the 'And Theory of Conservatism'. This theory, however, appears to have been abanonded. Just compare Osborne speech at the Conference with his speech the other day on taxes. If Cameron had told us, in some detail, exactly which positions he intended to take, I very much doubt that he would have been elected Leader. I supported and voted for the Cameron who was the author of Howard's manifesto, who was a steadfast eurosceptic, who defended traditional marriage and whose best buddy gave a thumping anti-state speech and was interested in the flat tax. Where, I wonder, has that Cameron disappeared to? I think that this type of deception tends to backfire.

(B). His strategy is mistaken because it is predecated on three fundamental principles that are all wrong, (i) the Conservative Party is unpopular because of its policies, (ii) Labour can never be beaten as long as the Conservative Parties holds on to its core believes, i.e. the traditional Conservative positions must be abanonded as much as certain Old Labour positions had to be dumped, and (iii) there is a fundamental chasm between Blair and Brown.

I think this is a fundamental misunderstanding of what Blair and Brown did to the Labour party.

-Blair and Brown together ARE New Labour. Brown is as much an architect of New Labour as Mandelson. Brown has been running macro-economic policy since 1997. It seems to be fairly popular (although some problems are now emerging). The idea that Brown is some kind of Old Socialist is wrong. (The idea that Brown might not play as well in Middle England as Blair is less wrong, but that's an entirely different matter).

-I think that the Conservative Party is unpopular primariy due to the disasters of the Major government, both pre- and post 1992 elections. The civil war that characterized the Tories since the defenstration of Mrs T didn't help our image. Black Wednesday killed off our reputation for economic competence. The endless scandals did the rest. Post-1997, we were down to such a rump and the media and everyone else was so glad we were finally out that they mercilessly mocked us. In sum, the problem is mainly that of the 'brand'. As Maude said: when people heard certain policies were Conservative policies, they started liking the policies less. SO, IT'S NOT THE POLICIES IT IS THE BRAND. The Image, the Feel, the Atmosphere, the Picture, more than the policies.

-Blair took on parts of the Conservative agenda. Muscular-realist foreign policy, fundamental embrace of the Thatcherite settlement, OK with the existence of capitalism, tough on crime etc. But they combined parts of that Conservative agenda with the ancestral Labour agenda, while ditching some of the more radical elements on that agenda. However, on public services they have not been very Thatcherite (at least Thatcherite theory, maybe they got closer to her practice).

In sum, it seems to me that Cameron should focus mainly on the Brand. This he can do by applying the And Theory of Conservatism. And that is what I still hope he will do. He needs to offer tax cuts, competition in the NHS, and so on, plus Darfur, and quality of life, poverty and so on.

I wish Cameron the best. I wish that he would dumpy Letwin, who I think is a political idiot. I think he should trust his own instincts more. I wish for a deception at the May elections because it might be our only chance. I've never believed that either Davis, Fox or Hague can do the job. It's Cameorn or it's no one -- at least for the foreseeable future. I have no desire to desert to UKIP (suggestions that I am a potential supporter of BNP are libelous) but I am hoping for a re-think.

Those of us who are actually Conservatives, i.e. people who believe in conservatism, should not be afraid to defend Conservatism. I think that my right-wing agenda can win us an election. And I think Cameron is the man to do it.

So far, he is failing.

You asserted something and when you were asked if there was any evidence for it, you relied on saying it was common sense (i.e. no evidence offered)

To me it is common sense that if you are losing votes through being viewed as mean, your less compassionate policies are costing you more votes than they win.

And you have the nerve to accuse others to have set out to rile people.

If I have riled you, I apologise.

"But Selsdon, you can submit 500 words to each policy group. "

That is about one and a half pages of A4. That sums up the level of contributions that they will accept or can take in.

SO, IT'S NOT THE POLICIES IT IS THE BRAND. The Image, the Feel, the Atmosphere, the Picture, more than the policies.

Goldie, you've nailed the problem, but And is too subtle and requires the media to comply. "And" is better policy but worse politics.

An excellent post Goldie. I can't say I agree with everything you say (and all you right-wingers who voted for Cameron who are now moaning about the likely policy direction he is indicating the Conservatives will follow can't say you weren't warned), but I'd like to make an early nomination for that to be comment of the week.

Very good post, Goldie.

To me it is common sense that if you are losing votes through being viewed as mean, your less compassionate policies are costing you more votes than they win.

It is not our immigration policy that was the problem (it commanded wide support) but the combination of our negative image and extremely poor use of language in selling the policy. The obvious solution therefore is to keep the policy but work on our image and be very carefully with our language.

When did Cameron say in his leadership campaign that he opposed the patient's passport and more grammar schools, Mark?

Sorry that last comment replied to DVA.

"When did Cameron say in his leadership campaign that he opposed the patient's passport and more grammar schools, Mark?"

I do remember him saying he opposed the patient's passport.

"When did Cameron say in his leadership campaign that he opposed the patient's passport and more grammar schools, Mark?"

I do remember him saying he opposed the patient's passport.

IIRC, the U-turn on patients' passports happened by the Paxman interview at the very latest. I don't think he voiced his opposition to grammar schools during the leadership campaign - that would have involved taking time out from said campaign to focus on his Shadow Cabinet brief. You didn't have to be Nostradamus to predict the policy moves he's been making though.

I missed that (and will check my electronic files of clippings and speeches), John.

I was hoping that Cameron would be libertarian (rather than left liberal) on economic and social policies.

I was duped then, DVA. Many others would have been too.

"IIRC, the U-turn on patients' passports happened by the Paxman interview at the very latest."

He voiced it during the Dimbleby debate on ITV.

Link!

I did miss it, John. That would have affected my vote.

It is surprising that Liam Fox backed a candidate who vowed to ditch his key policy.

The real question is whether the core vote will remain loyal if the policy drift continues. UKIP will try to profit from any lurch to the left.

Goldie: thanks for explaining your position so clearly. You say He needs to offer tax cuts, competition in the NHS, and so on.
The "sharing the proceeds of growth" formula (which I don't particularly like) does promise tax cuts provided the economy grows. And I haven't seen anything that suggests that DC is not considering competition in the NHS - it is competition with the NHS that he is not going to fund with taxpayers' money. So I still hope that he is offering what you say is needed (albeit we won't be sure until we see some detailed policies).

It is surprising that Liam Fox backed a candidate who vowed to ditch his key policy.

It was probably a combination of backing the winner and personal dislike of Davis.

"UKIP will try to profit from any lurch to the left."

I'm not sure moral conservatives will be too enamoured with the antics of Nigel Farage that were reported in the News of the Screws today.

When did Cameron say in his leadership campaign that he opposed the patient's passport and more grammar schools, Mark?

At the hustings Cameron said he opposed a return to selection, where "children were toled they were failures at 11".

"At the hustings Cameron said he opposed a return to selection, where "children were toled they were failures at 11"."

Yes, so he made it clear he opposed grammar schools, but he said nothing about education vouchers, so I think there is some claim that he was deceptive on that count.

Goldie 23:21

Correct the Brand is the problem that's why he is trying to change the image. I don't agree he's dumping all the policies. Euro, immigration these policies haven't changed only the emphasis.

The Flat Tax was never party policy. It may have it's merits - although I doubt it - but how are you ever going to sell a huge tax cut for the well off. The country's already divided enough between the haves and have nots, he is trying to show we're all in this together and we'll all pay our fair share. After all for all his wealth Cameron is a Tory MP who actually uses the NHS. These things matter.

If Cameron gets in to power he will shrink the state and reduce taxes - eventually, he'll have to if we are going to prosper as a nation. But all this can't be done overnight. He can't get into No.10 and dump a few hundred thousand public sector workers on to the streets. It will be a gradual process over many years.

"It is not our immigration policy that was the problem (it commanded wide support) but the combination of our negative image and extremely poor use of language in selling the policy. The obvious solution therefore is to keep the policy but work on our image and be very carefully with our language."

Well said. I find it odd that the likes of Portillo and Bercow demand the Tories drop their most popular policy. I expect they arrogantly assume that the majority of people are ignorant and unenlightened and that a "responsible" party should not represent those views.

While I am uneasy at Cameron's direction, I will continue to give him the benefit of the doubt for now. Perhaps my biggest concern is he hasn't mentioned the 80 billion pounds of taxpayers money wasted every year (see Dr Lee Rotheram's thread on the Platform Blog). This would allow him to greatly undermine the government as well as promote a tax cutting agenda more easily.

"I find it odd that the likes of Portillo and Bercow demand the Tories drop their most popular policy."

It's particularly odd coming from John 'Monday Club' Bercow. But then again, considering his past form, maybe it isn't so odd.

Mac 1:15

If you think that we're going to have the same immigration policy as in 2005 you haven't been paying attention.

Also, even on Europe Cameron has reversed policy. On the EU he has been essentially sound, with one big exception that probably foretells the future. Under Howard and IDS it was standing policy to return fisheries policy to the member states (an eminently sound proposal if ever there was one). Cameron has reversed this policy, without giving any clear reasons. I'm afraid that, just as he wants to be liked by the metropolitan media elite on domestic policy by moving to the "center", once in power he will not substantively stand up to the EU and instead once again try to be "in the center of Europe". Yuck.

PS: I apologize for the many typos in my post last night. It would be very convenient if we could edit our posts. Perhaps some of the 3300 quid could be spent on this?

You can preview before you post, Goldie. We all are guilty of tpyos anyway.

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