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"I do not think we will see a sustained Conservative lead until the Tory leadership combines core policies on Europe, immigration and crime with the newer (and essential) emphases on the environment and poverty."

Could I suggest a third element to the mix?

To assemble a winning coalition we need to energise the core vote (in a nice way) and we need to regain the respect of the professional classes (in a principled way), but we also need to win back the skilled workers (the C2s) who currently vote New Labour and who have neither been pursuaded by core vote strategies nor the current phase of the Cameron charm offensive.

What have we got to say to them? IDS's 'fair deal' message got closest in this regard, but of course was never given the chance it deserved.

I think this is the end of the honeymoon.

Its now obvious that Cameron can get into the high 40's if he had the policy to back it up, he cannot sustain the new branding effect forever and must produce some policies to consolidate his lead.

I think it's fair to say that unless we can top 44%, we're not likely to win the next election. We'd have a hung-parliament if the election were called tomorrow.

This is an interesting poll and coupled with our bad result in the Thursday's by-election goes some way in proving what some of us have been saying. What do we stand for? This is a serious question. Over the last couple of months in speeches or in policy announcements we have stated that:

1. Nuclear power is bad
2. Immigration is a positive thing
3. Big business is "bad"
4. No tax cuts
5. Support for government spending plans on schools and hospitals
6. No more support for selection in schools
7. No more support for grammar schools
8. Weakening of our support for the war in Iraq
9. Weakening in our support for the green belt
10. Weakening in our support for the Monarchy (Liddington comments)
11. Weakening in our support for the Union (Cameron's comments about being a full supporter of devolution)

If I as a party member am confused, heaven knows what the rest of the public think.

People like Oliver Letwin and Francis Fraud have also been saying some pretty awful stuff in the press, stuff that will neither impress our core vote or win us any new supporters.

We need to hold our nerve while Gordon's re-branding campaign runs its course. The siren voices of tax cuts, immigration controls, Euroscepticism will become more attractive as the waters become more turbulent.
What the leadership needs to do is to plan effective responses - Grieve has shown how effective criticism works.Don't flip flop between the new messages and the old. Establish a coherent story building on the last couple of months - constructive, showing its the real problems of the electorate we care for.

Dunfermline showed the failure of Gordon's Scots Kingdom, with high "investment" in public services failing to deliver because the only real change is in spending not in delivery. Pensions, deprivation, education are all areas we can exploit.

This just confirms the nature of polls, they go up and down.

I'm starting to worry about this sites emphasis on the "and" policy. The very last thing we need to do is talk, yet again about tax, immigration and all the other nonsense that has lost us three elections.

Its time for a REALLY new agenda based on new issues. Giving the party a new feel and direction. Only then will voters, who may well have deserted the party for over a decade, look again at the Conservative party.

We may not like the Labour party much but there is clearly something in it that the voters find appealing.

We desperately need to stop telling the voters that somehow, they got it wrong at the previous election and the will come to their senses at the next. If we are serious about getting into the mid forties. then the serious modernisation must quicken, not slow down.

Yes, this poll clearly shows we have a long way to go. We've broken out of the 33% box but now we're stuck in a 37-40% box. What's needed now is clear policy direction. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be forthcoming until all these groups report back.

The Brown poll is interesting but hardly reliable. My current view on Brown is that people view him idealistically when compared to Blair. But when he's actually there as PM, I think a lot of people will turn off him quickly. He'll still be able to muster a fair amount of support, but I believe he'll look incredibly dour and unispiring when compared next to David Cameron in the coming years. Where Cameron can put across his views in a pleasant manner that makes people sit up and listen, Brown seems to stutter an awful lot (look at his performance on Andrew Marr) and seems to lack the passion or charisma in his voice. In "image led" politics, this could be important for us.

We don't want to peak too soon of course. The policy groupings won't report for 18 months I believe, so in that time, we've got to see if Labour hang themselves. Signs are that they might at this stage.

I agree wholly with Elena,

Brown is not the appealing middle england vote winner that Blair is.

Being scottish will also be a major setback. The logical conclusion to Labour devolution will hit him hard.

Frank Young: "I'm starting to worry about this sites emphasis on the "and" policy. The very last thing we need to do is talk, yet again about tax, immigration and all the other nonsense that has lost us three elections.'

I'd like to see your evidence Frank for suggesting that our core policies on immigration and Europe and crime were what lost us the last three elections.

Polling evidence has repeatedly shown that those policies were popular - much more popular than the party.

The party clearly needs to change, therefore, and that is why having a dynamic new leader and the emphases on poverty, the environment and global hunger etc are welcome.

I'll keep banging on about the 'and theory', however, because we mustn't swap one form of narrowness (only stressing core policies) for another set of narrowness (only emphasising the breadth issues).

An ambitious Conservative Party will occupy the whole political stage in the way I argued an embracing and perfect centrism would.

I think this poll speaks for itself. As Jaz (a Cameronite no less) said, it would appear the honeymoon may be over. Coupled with last week's mauling at PMQs and the dreadful by-election performance, one would hope that David Cameron will learn the lesson that it will take more than a glorified rebranding exercise to restore this party to goverment.

Where would Brown be getting these votes from? Is it in core heartlands, in which case it wouldn't affect us or is it middle England?

The logical conclusion to Frank's argument is that if run on Labour's 1983 manifesto (minus the bit about the EU) we'll win a landslide.

I think we DO need to talk about tax, especially come 2009, but at the moment Cameron's trying to build up that "trust" angle. As has been shown in the last 3 elections, swing voters don't trust the Tories with their money. The Labour spin machine has made sure that, in their heads, tax cuts = poor public services.

We can't keep harping on about tax cuts at the moment because the Labour attack can still sting us. In the coming years, however, Labour will hopefully be even more discredited and Cameron will have built upon his success so far in dropping our "nasty party" image. Once that's done, the Labour attack won't be listened to. We can talk about tax until the cows come home.

It's a single poll, showing movement for both ourselves and the socialists well within the margin of error. Let's not draw too many conclusions from one disappointing poll.

Brown may appear to be popular now - but i agree with the comment that said he will soon lose that once in No. 10. The man is NOT a vote winner. Labour knew that when they went for the youthful, attractive, Blair. The public will soon see through GB - the sooner he takes over the worse it will be for the UK, but the better for the Tory Party.

Gordon never seems to have taken on board that Tony was preferred to him. He presumably thinks that HE agreed to let Tony front the Project - not that Tony was actually a better politician than him.
His years in the Treasury seem to have given him a supreme self belief that it was Brown not Blair that really delivered the three terms (helped by the stories that without his support Labour would have lost the last election) - an arrogance that we can and should expose.

Ted, you are so spot on. GB can be our greatest electoral assett, if we just give him enough rope, he will surely hang himself.

Without wanting to seem picky the You Gov poll has come in for a lot of criticism for the way in which is weights voting intentions. Polling gurus on political betting.com seem to suggest that this particular poll significantly ovcerstates Labour's position. I know this will not stop the glee of some on this site who somehow find that we are 'only' on 37% in the polls is damning inditement of everything the leadership is trying to do.

On the same subject, did anyone see Brown continuing his "tough on terror" posturing in the speech on ID Cards today?

There's something increasingly weird about the NuLab project - not content with screwing up decades of tradition that has kept faith in politics - they're now allowing a "dual premiership" in all but name with the PM and the Chancellor seemingly taking on the same role!

It's only a little thing, but to hear Brown harping on about national issues when really he should be preparing budgets and talking economics in the role he's been given - it kind of leaves a bitter constitutional taste in the mouth.

I agree that we should not ignore our popular policies on crime, immigration and Europe. But nor should we emphasise them to the degree that we have in the past (unless they become issues significant enough that people care about them as much as health, education etc).

Cameron should lose no time in setting out Conservative aims for other policy areas. This does not need in depth policy decisions but general principles of what we stand for, what we want and what we think is the best way to get there. We need to ensure that the electorate know our health and education proposals as well as our Europe proposals.

Tax cuts will be more popular if we can actually prove that the government is wasting vast sums of money. Just talking about "waste" is not good enough. the recently published Bumper Book of Government Waste is a great source of information on this subject.

We could also suggest making an effort to pay off the national debt instead of cutting taxes, thus ensuring lower taxes in the long term. I admit though that it probably won't be an election winner.

'There's something increasingly weird about the NuLab project;

Absolutely. That's where we have a massive political opportunity. We need to ensure that we present an alternative to this. All of this 'dual' premiership smacks of complaceny about the dynamics of power. Politicians can't be seen to be sharing the spoils of power without reference to the people they are meant to serve. If we hold our nerve in opposition this 'weird' NuLab project will begin to unravel if we can identify where the most vulnerable stiches lie.

One thing that is for certain is banging on about immigration, tax cuts or Europe as this opportunity unfolds would be a complete disaster and an absolute gift to a discredited government trying to manage a transition of power.

Rob - I agree. And I also think that our more (allegedly) consensual approach will help us in the long term.

Howard, and to some extent IDS called for the PM's resignation an awful lot. If we'd have saved that for real moments of crisis, it may have been easier to spring Blair out of power.

For example - how many PMs in the past have survived 3 Commons defeats with a majority of 66, without a whiff of a leadership challenge? It's mad.

"We'd have a hung-parliament if the election were called tomorrow."

Doubtful, more likely a slight Labour majority, thanks to the electoral bias. This is turning out to be a very very bad week for Cameron, the local elections are as important as ever now, a bad result for the Conservatives could be disasterous.

Cameron must be praying for a shock government defeat on the ID cards bill.

Surely it's a delusion to believe we can win based on the electorate rejecting Brown?

If things are ticking along OK-ish, then Labour will be hard to unseat,if everything is a bit shagged then people may well vote for change no matter who is the current Labour PM.

Cameron has had a successful step 1, but clearly, now people are crying out for a little meat to be added to the bones.

Holding off too long will be ineffective. Surely Cameron should start to make clear which values and policies he does stand for, then apply those over the next few years when reviewing new legislation etc to show that he is acting like a real government not a shadow one. This will provide clarity and allow people to see the changes in action.

I think Cameron should now move on from the "we have changed mode" to the "this is what we are" phase to give people a chance to get used to it and see in it practice.

A 2% lead after Dave's election is a now a 2% deficit. That is quite a swing in two months. Labour is profiting from the Lib Dems' problems.

Gordon Brown, as PM, could pick up the anti-Blair voters (not necessarily the middle classes) who defected to the Lib Dems.

The honeymoon is over already.

Brown-as-joint-PM: Actually, he is already. Since 1997 most domestic policy has been controlled out of the Treasury through the use of public service agreements dictating how the Exchequer's cash is to be spent - the infamous targets start there, to monitor compliance with the PSA by the relevant dept. In the late 1990s there was a lot of media chaff about Blair as President/Brown as PM. A lot of the Blair/Brown spats have been caused by Blair's attempt to claw back ground he ceded to Brown.

What's actually happening is that Brown is emerging from the shadows to squash attempts to build up any rival claimants. Perfectly sensible from his point of view - and Blair's.

Brown-as-vote-loser: A few people are displaying short memory syndrome. Blair deliberately tried to side-line Brown at the back-end of 2004, bringing back Milburn to run the Election etc. The Blairsheviks ran a pretty ropey campaign up to the point Brown was rehabilitated - and with unexpected grace he did not demand Milburn's public execution as his price. Don't forget we dropped the attack line of vote Blair/get Brown when we discovered it was actually firming up the Labour vote.

Ironically, attacking Brown as some sort of Demon King is only likely to appeal to the traditional Tory voter: it's a core vote strategy, and I thought we were against that sort of thing these days?

Brown-as-out-of-touch-has-been: More often than not, he's ahead of the curve. He also has a better populist touch than this thread credits - one of the running sores in the Blair/Brown feud is the fact that it was actually Brown who coined the soundbite 'tough on crime etc' which made Blair's name and propelled him forward.

If you had to pick two subjects which could frame the 2009/10 General Election then "Security (vs civil liberties)" and "Britishness (and how we defend & celebrate it)" would be excellent places to start.

They're also subjects on which you'd expect a pre-97 Tory Party to own - and GB is staking a claim early and hard. That's where the centre ground is going to be; people talking about those subjects will be the new centrists; time is running out.

YouGov have an excellent record at elections, Rob. I don't think they should be discounted quickly. Whether Labour are a few points behind or a few points ahead is really besides the point.

I think these following things are all true:

1. David Cameron has lifted the Tories from the mid-thirties to the high thirties after having earnt very favourable coverage for the party. He's likeable and a clear asset to the party. We should appreciate what he's already done.

2. Conservatives still need to do A LOT more to be in a position to having a majority of one. The reality of last week's PMQs attack, Dunfermline and now this poll show that we mustn't fool ourselves about the result of the next election. We all know how the parliamentary arithmetic is stacked against us and the long, hard road that still lies ahead.

3. I believe the "lot more" involves establishing that we are serious about fighting poverty and protecting the environment etc and that those things are not inconsistent with more secure borders, zero tolerance policing, repatriation of powers from Brussels and tax relief for British exporters and other frontline businesses.

I would like to see DC adopt a few positions that go against the grain of public opinion. After Blair I think people will want someone who has real beliefs. David Cameron must avoid looking like a PR whizz because that is what the New Labour machine now appear determined to present him as. I've been VERY impressed with his commitment to social justice. It strikes me as completely authentic. Somehow we need to see much more of that.

I'm not in any way suggesting that Brown will slip up. All I'm saying is that there's a lot of people who _at the moment_ like the look of Brown and what he stands for, but once he actually becomes PM, it might turn out differently. I think people largely respect him as a Chancellor, but will people respect him as a world leader? It's an interesting one.

Obviously we have a long way to go but so far we've been largely successful. Let's face it though, we want a majority Tory government in the next election, not a minority one. In fact, a minority Labour government may be more preferable to a minority Tory government - at least they wouldn't last too long and could be discredited, leading to a Tory government at the election after that.


In modern politics - like in modern life - you have to gain permission to be listened to. That is what the party is trying to do NOW. If we can gain permission to be listened to which is what seems to be happening now then we have a chance. If we are even perceived for a second to be banging the same old drum we are dead. Your 'And' theory has the virture of sophistication but is fatally undermined by its political impracticality.

The danger, Rob, is that your route 'buys' permission by looking as though we've abandoned our old policies. If/ when we go back to them in a year or two it looks like a u-turn.

We should buy permission now by adding to our appeal - not by replacing half of conservatism with the other half. The 'and theory' isn't "sophisticated". It's actually incredibly simple.

Richard's comment at 11.56 am today
hits home exactly.
I am Chairman of our local Conservatives and see nothing in what Cameron has said to make me vote for him at the next General Election. He is clearly in a different party from me.
It seems from what has been said, that Cameron and his "metropolitan" cronies have no time for people like me, and I and my friends may well have no choice but to stay at home or vote for someone else.
If he reverses the list tabled by Richard above then we may start to listen.
For example - how can the Conservative party be content with 55% of our national wealth being spent only on the NHS and DSS ,with every family £4000 a year worse off in taxes since 1997, and with Council tax heading into the stratosphere along with the need for ever increasing taxes to pay for waste and fraud in bloated public services?
As a matter of policy we must cut taxes and cut public spending. There is nothing wrong with "cuts". It is "good housekeeping" as Mrs T tried to tell us over and over again.Public spending is spiralling out of control.There is no alternative to cuts if we are to avoid economic collapse over the next 5 years. I thought Cameron was naive and would improve with experience. I see now that he is basically in the wrong party and will split the Tories down the middle.

Peter - you're right. There's nothing wrong with cuts. But you can't be in a position to talk about tax cuts when for the last 3 elections that has been expertly twisted to suggest to the public that we would destroy Britain's public services.

Let's get the image right first, OK? The brand won't work otherwise.

Peter, you are completely right. But sadly, the great British Public associate the phrase "Tax Cuts" with a reduction in services. Elena's reply is spot on.
We should have a broad committment to putting more wealth back in the hands of the people that earn it, and I haven't seen that from DC yet. But to promise cuts now would be suicidal. Also we may not be able to straight away - who knows what a mess we will inherit from Brown's mishandling of the once great economy.
There is no greater fan of Mrs T than I, believe me. I totally endorse effective public spending cuts to eliminate waste. But Mrs. T was above all, a pragmatist. The pragmatic approach now must be to make no specific pledges on this issue. But I too want a broad statement of ideals.

I think you might be falling into the same trap as Rob, Elena.

You both talk about getting the image right first and then we might win permission for policies on tax etc.

The hole at the centre of this approach is that we appear to be improving our image by (in part) saying that we think tax cuts and public service reform are too risky.

If we improve our image on that basis we can't go back and then easily embrace reform and lower taxation.

We should be holding on to our existing beliefs at the same time as we change our image by embracing a broader range of issues. We need to have policies that will inspire the professionals and striving, lower income workers.

Editor - I think it all depends upon what happens with the economy over the next few years. If it really gets into trouble (there's a chance it could do) we can then build up a solid case for tax cuts. At the moment, we can't because of the lack of public enthusiasm for tax cuts and the Labour attacks. You put forward a very logical and well-thought out argument, which I take into account. I think it might all depend on chance and how the public view tax cuts over the coming years. I think they'll always know that we're the party of deregulation, no matter whether that's "sharing the proceeds of growth" (how I hate that phrase!) or out-and-out cuts.

I have to back the editor on this one. Nothing has frustrated me more than George Osborne's 'stability before tax cuts'. By making this statement as a means of improving image and trust, Osborne is effectively saying he accepts the New Labour claim that tax cuts threatern stability. By going for improved image in the short run, we are making the long run case for a lower tax free mareket economy much more difficult.

Elena- . "But you can't be in a position to talk about tax cuts when for the last 3 elections that has been expertly twisted to suggest to the public that we would destroy Britain's public services."

Exactly why we need to start making the case now, as to why cutting taxes does not mean destroying public services, use the Laffer curve, talk about public sector reform, we must endlessly advocate our goals in an attractive and coherent manner. Only through persistance and hard work can we win this new battle of ideas. By giving in to caution and image, we are undermining our own beliefs.

No argument with you there, Editor. We should state a COMMITMENT to lowering the tax burden as and when we can. To quote Gordon, when it is 'prudent'. But we have to get people on board to win elections, and qoting huge tax decreases now plays straight into the hands of Labour.

My gripe is that DC has NOT given this commitment. We should differentiate ourselves from Labour - or else whats the point of winning?To do socialism better?

Hi Peter,

A question for you. Would you stop voting for the Tories and vote for another party if they offered the policies like strongly pushing for lowe taxes that Cameron seems to be ignoring?

If the answer is no, then that is a clear answer why Cameron may be ignoring this as he has your vote in the bag however disgruntled you become.

If the answer is 'yes', then the question is are there enough 'yes' Tories for Cameron to worry really about?

I completely agree with you on taxes, but I don't think we are likely to see this approach championed.

Chad, not really a fair question. If I thought that a party who advocated lower taxes had a chance of winning, of course I would vote for them above the Tories.
But as it would be unlikely that they would have any chance, what would be the point? It would only split the anti-socialist vote. Look at the damage that UKIP did to us in 2001.
Consequently, the approach on taxes won't change, and as I have said previously I don't think it should currently.
The party will vote for Cameron at the next election, whatever. But it's not the party that we have to convince - it's the ones that used to vote for us and now don't.

Hi Jon,

"But as it would be unlikely that they would have any chance, what would be the point?"

Well, with all the talk of a hung parliament, I would have thought that now, more than ever was a time that small parties could make a big difference to government.

"Look at the damage that UKIP did to us in 2001."
I agree totally. Richard North calculated that they cost us 27 seats. However, UKIP was (at least unofficially in the minds of many of the ex-Tory candidates) seeking to destroy the Tories. What if some "core" Conservative spun off an instead of spreading themselves too thinly like UKIP did by standing in 450 seats, instead focussed its resources on winning 5-10 seats?

That could make an enormous positive difference.

Chad, whilst I like to think that the 'Hung Parliament' has some liklehood, I won't let my heart rule my head. It simply ain't going to happen my friend. Labour have rigged the electoral map so well that unless we have something like 7% MORE of the popular vote than them (and that is unlikely) they still get a majority.

However, your point is well taken about concentrating on a small number of winnable seats. Perhaps that could make a difference, and I would be tempted to vote for such candidates if I lived in one of those constituencies.

As a resident of an area that has a 'Conservative' controlled council, nothing frustrates me more than their total disregard of the things which to me sum up 'Conservatism". If I had an alternative 'True Conservative' candidate, which I think you are suggesting, it would be an attractive alternative.

UKIP received 600k+ votes but wasted the goodwill (and £650k) by playing the egotistical "national" party card.

As your comments seem to concur, I think a friendly, agile, but core alternative would be good all round for conservatism.

This is evidence to me that Mr Cameron's gloss is coming off. His abadonment of all our core principles is being seen for the vote-losing sham that we think it is.

Editor - I agree with you. But why did you omit tax cuts and public sector reform from your list of core policies (Europe, immigration, crime) ? It would be number one on my list as so much depends on getting the economy right.

Jon White

Agree its a hard fight but hung parliament isn't that unlikely. Cons 37%, Labour 33%, Libs 23% (reversing the shares approx of Lab & Cons in 2005) = hung parliament, and with seat changes probably equal seats for Lab & Cons.
Liberals then faced with aligning with Labour on downward trend or Conservatives on upward one.

Nuala - we don't all think its a vote wasting sham. Some of us thought the last three campaigns could be described that way. Policies aren't principles. Tax cuts aren't a principle they may be a goal - but principles are I suggest economic stability and competitiveness, social stability, individual responsibility, smaller state.

Two months and its all a failure! I know we live in the "I want it now" generation but the speed that some people judge a strategy just amazes me.

Couldn't agree more, Ted.
Cameron has not ruled out tax cuts. His "sharing the proceeds of growth" allows plenty of room for manoeuvre, and a policy group led by John Redwood is unlikely suddenly to discover the case for higher public spending and tax increases.
Come on, people. Unless some of you are from further down Victoria Street at NuLab Central and are just trying to wind us up, please keep some perspective here.
Our new leader won an overwhelming mandate to change the party and freshen its policies.
He has been careful in his choice of language not to rule out many of the things a lot of you care about - tax cuts, independent state schools, repatriating power from Europe, more private provision in the health service, etc.
He has, however, concentrated on goals - social justice, economic stability, tackling climate change, improving state education for all, etc - which chime with voters more than merely concentrating on policis they may think they've heard a few times before.
I'm prepared to give him a little more than 9 weeks. I humbly suggest other party members, activists and supporters should too.

It would be naive to say that I didn't have any concerns about Cameron; I think he's ruled out a few things far too early on in his leadership, when they could be really needed by the time of the next election.

BUT I think it's far too early to write him off like some people here seem so eager to do. He's lifted us off the 33% spot. He's managed (apart from last week, which was hardly a disaster) to do quite well at PMQs. And people are genuinely enthused by him. People are really starting to think seriously about the Tories again and it's a welcome change. I think he has a very positive image - he seems amiable, charming, intellegent and friendly - something that some swing voters will take on board. All in all, I'm pretty happy with Cameron's tenure so far. It hasn't been perfect, but nobody facing the same challenges as Cameron would have been able to produce brilliant results - we were never going to jump up to 45% in a day.

Yes, there are problems, but we're doing well at the moment and for the first time in years there's a chance that we could be the party of government in this country again at the next election. Let's be positive about this!

"Tax cuts aren't a principle they may be a goal"

No tax cuts are a way of achieving our goals, ones that you yourself mention "economic stability and competitiveness, social stability, individual responsibility, smaller state."

Yes Cameron hasn't ruled out tax cuts, but by this 'sharing the proceeds of growth', 'stability before tax cuts', rhetoric he is damaging the case for tax cuts, making it so much harder for him to support tax cuts or make the case for tax cuts in the future.

Some may think giving up your entire heritage and each and every principle you stood for is worth 3-4% in the polls.

Others may disagree.

PS: Given the electoral system at the moment Con needs to do MUCH better than Lab to win power. Today's opinion polls would produce a comfortable majority for Gordon Brown.

'This is evidence to me that Mr Cameron's gloss is coming off. His abadonment of all our core principles is being seen for the vote-losing sham that we think it is.'

Apart from the fact that we are in a better position overall in the polls than we have been for over a decade.

Also, we have had a proper national election yet. The May Local elections will be an important test.

'Some may think giving up your entire heritage and each and every principle you stood for is worth 3-4% in the polls.'

If you really believe this statement then I have to say that I'm not sure which recent speeches you have been reading or what history books.

Here are two prequisites for winning an election (just my pet theory)

1. The government has to cock up, or be unlucky, or both.

2. The opposition has to look competent, principled, not frighten the horses (ie appeal to floating voters), and get its core vote out.

Cameron is sorting out two at the moment, but its a delicate act. Core Tory principles include a small state, a desire to cut taxes, particularly for those whose entrpreneurial skills benefit the economy as a whole, while ensuring that the poor and sick have a safety net and a leg up (forgive the mixed metaphor.) Most of what he is doing now is more to appeal to the centre than to appear principled. I think it's time to state core Tory values again to remind the core what the party is fighting for.

The goverment incompetence is becoming more obvious. I don't mean incompetent policy, I mean the febrile twitchings of the leadership as they fight off their back benchers, failing even to get policies through in their election manifesto. The longer they leave the leadership switch, the worse it will be for them.

Cameron is inexperienced and just needs time to settle in.

"Apart from the fact that we are in a better position overall in the polls than we have been for over a decade."

This falsehood keeps being trotted out time and again but it simply isn't true. He's not even matching the poll ratings that the oft-demonised Michael Howard achieved after he became leader.

'This falsehood keeps being trotted out time and again but it simply isn't true. He's not even matching the poll ratings that the oft-demonised Michael Howard achieved after he became leader.'

Cameron's approval ratings are miles better.

"Cameron's approval ratings are miles better."

So were Charles Kennedy's approval ratings. Fat lot of good it did him and his rabble.

Daniel - the polls are more consistant, though. They've been stuck at 37-40% since the election of Cameron. Whilst we still have to check to see if this is simply a honeymoon bounce, if Cameron is still polling similar figures in March or April, then he's doing much better than Howard and IDS, who did poll high at times, but these were usually one or two odd polls and were not sustainable.

Yes Elena I think you're right. From memory the highest ratings Howard achieved were 37% in Feb 2005 when he was blowing his immigration dog whistle but he never sustained that level.

You're both wrong I'm afraid. Michael Howard scored consistently in the high 30s/low 40s for the first 5-6 months of his reign. Unfortunately I have a prior arrangement to attend to at 7 this evening otherwise I'd go and find the link to the relevant YouGov figures. On that note, I'll have to leave you!

In fact, the Conservatives and Labour were roughly level-pegging in the polls, on average, from December 2003 to July 2003. However, the Lib Dems were polling much better then than they are now.

July 2004.

The Modernisers told us that we had to abandon our long-held positions to win power again. So far their strategy has alienated the right-wing of the party (with uncertain effects on turn-out and strength of parties such as UKIP, which cost us 25+ seats last election) and has won us a few percentage points in the polls.

What would the polls have said with Fox or Davis as leader, I wonder?

PS: Let's just say that:

-LibDems will do very well in the May elections
-Labour will not do as badly as expected
-We will flatline.

Under how much pressure will DC get from within the party?

The big problem is that DC misrepresented the extent of the change he was going to foist upon us. The party seems willing to accept this if he can deliver. If he doesn't deliver, and deliver quickly, there might be trouble ahead for him.

Thanks for those interesting pieces of data, I honestly didn't realise that we were level pegging for a while.

Yes, I know I'm trying to make excuses, but wasn't this also around the time of top up fees and the Hutton report? If so, this could have strengthened opposition to the government at the time.

Goldie - I agree that there'll be a lot of backbiting if we don't do very well in May, but I think we will in London, and we should gain a couple of councils around the country as well. The Lib Dems should also do OK. Labour will lose heavily, but probably not as heavily as predicted, I should think.

We're getting close to 10 Years for NuLab. I mean when is this nightmare going to end!!!

Goldie - hopefully it's a real nightmare. Then I can wake up and it'll still be 1997...

No Conservative should be embarrassed to champion growth through lower taxes. Not lower taxes for the rich but lower taxes for all. A low tax environment to really stimulate growth and raise the wealth of the whole country.

When Labour is wqueezing us with one new stealth tax after another, surely Britain needs a champion of relief from this high tax burden?

For me, I would bang the drum that big government needs big taxes so people can link the reduction in taxation not as just an extra amount in their pocket, but a reduction in state interference too.

Surely this is one area where we should stand up to be counted, not hide behind a porridge-coloured platitude about “sharing the proceeds of growth”.

We don’t want a nudge or a wink in the direction of lower taxation, we want a champion of the cause.

The US phrase of "tax relief" seems to fit perfectly to offset the pain of the high tax pain under new Labour. And that has Gordon Brown's name all over it.

This really isn't about Cameron. We all knew that policy groups were going to be announced, and a radical change had to be done.

The problem now lies with what the party can do between now and policy groups returning. The main problem being the council elections and the party has little room for movement in terms of policy. We're going to be stuck in this 35-40% box until either a) a massive victory at local level (unlikely) b) Policy groups return

"When Labour is wqueezing us with one new stealth tax after another, surely Britain needs a champion of relief from this high tax burden?"

Disturbing news from the IEA according to the UKIP website:


"Goldie - hopefully it's a real nightmare. Then I can wake up and it'll still be 1997..."

Then you'll have to endure another 10 years of New Labour - For Real!

Richard - not if it was a 1997 in which we won! (OK, long shot I know, but, hey - there's always room to dream!)

"Disturbing news from the IEA according to the UKIP website:"

I'll tell you what disturbs me more; after you posted that link I popped along to the Tory site to find the top tax story there. It was:

"Economic stability before tax cuts - Conservatives unveil new approach to economy."

Um, does that mean the Conservatives now believe that stability can only be achieved through high taxes? Is this a fantasy land where it makes us competitive with high taxes creating lots of spare cash to "share" between tax payers and services?

Just who is the low taxation party now?

As I said: I'm hoping for a rather disappointing May elections for Dave, and then a swift correction. It's especially on the economy where policy changes ought to be made. "Sharing the proceeds of growth" is really just nonsense and Brown will make mincemeat of it.

No chad, there is a difference.

In the 80's Thatcher embarked on a process of massive tax cuts, and then massive spending hikes... what did this lead to? Very harsh economic cycles and recessions.

What osbourne has said is that we do not need to embark on another process like that, taxcuts, and spending increases will have to be limited to keep stability in the nation. We need to avoid those recessions just like nulabour has.

Goldie, I do not see how a poor election in May will benifit the party, we need a strong performance all round if we are to look like a credible alternative. Frankly David Cameron is striking the right tune with the public...Only that they are not 100% confident to vote for him just yet.

If we put ourselves in the seat of a normal voter, I would still vote New Labour... The last few elections have been based on not-so-important issues.. The Economy is an important issue...and labour has done a great job avoiding recession in comparison to the 90's tories.

Ref yr comments at 150hrs 13th.
I would have difficulty voting for another party, but an even greater difficulty voting for a party which had abandoned principle and which supported policies I have spent a lifetime fighting.
In 1997, 4 million Tories didn't vote. The rest is history. Staying at home is a powerful solution. However, I might be persuaded to start my own Conservative party.
I might even stand in Cameron's constituency to give disenfranchised Conservatives a real choice. Would you support a new party which was basically in favour of low taxes and small government, Chad? Inheritance and capital gains tax could be scrapped tomorrow with no real loss to the Exchequer. We should give huge tax breaks to hard working families with children, and double old age pensions.
How do we pay for it. Simple - we scrap the DSS and get everyone to sign on again after strict scrutiny. The deserving to get more.
We spend a ludicrous 30% of our national wealth on benefits ( £120 billion). We have 75million NI cards and only 45million working adults. It is quite clear to me where the fraud is. Any self respecting businessman could save £60billion at a stroke out of this budget.

But Peter, you are delusional if you believe that Cameron won't approach these issues after being elected. These kind of cuts reinforce the popular belief of the "nasty party," you see the battle would already be lost because we cannot win the debate.... To us like minded Tories, yes scrap the things that dont work, save the money and give tax cuts. But unforunately, the public do not think in the same way... All you need is a few people complaining about how difficult their lives now are and public opinions turns rather quickly... Question Time is fascinating to watch...the audience will clap for both sides if it sounds good.

What has Cameron said.

1. Nuclear power is bad - Perhaps, Perhaps Not
2. Immigration is a positive thing - Economically its a necessity for the nation to employ cheap labour
3. Big business is "bad" - Economics proves this to be true
4. No tax cuts - No, Osbourne said that they wouldn't cut taxes if he can't, and the countries stability of growth is more important than the bust-boom cycle of Thatchers era.
5. Support for government spending plans on schools and hospitals - It is difficult not to agree on these areas...Or be considered as "ruining the NHS"
6. No more support for selection in schools I'm also appalled at this..I think DC could have won the debate easily on this one..but he didnt bother
7. No more support for grammar schools - Of course not... However the party is fully committed to the ones that are open
8. Weakening of our support for the war in Iraq. - As it should be...We should claim the morale high ground and say that labour screwed up...they didn't handle it well. We should not ask for tometable of withdrawl though.
9. Weakening in our support for the green belt
10. Weakening in our support for the Monarchy (Liddington comments) - I think Liddington is very wrong. But it might be popular..I'm not sure.
11. Weakening in our support for the Union (Cameron's comments about being a full supporter of devolution) - This has to happen to ensure Scottish and Welsh votes. Cameron needs to battle big for English Votes for English Issues..There's scandal in democracy at the minute

Why is everything in bold?

Because someone didn't close the html bold tag?

Has this turned it off?

Hi Peter,

"Would you support a new party which was basically in favour of low taxes and small government, Chad?"

1. Low taxes
2. Small government
3. Tough on crime
4. Internationalist approach rather than supporting a regional private members club like the eu that distract from real global efforts.

5. No Preference No Prejudice approahc to all policy (in terms of sex, sexuality, race or religion)

Yes I would. I am a conservative but I don't support a colour of rosette, but policies and values that come closest to my own.

"But Peter, you are delusional if you believe that Cameron won't approach these issues after being elected"

We do not want a nudge and a wink. We want someone who is proud to champion our values.

Ref Chad and Jaz
Yes, you are basically right. I am being a bit over the top and a Conservative government is the main goal no matter how flawed. However, I am a committed Conservative. There are millions out there who will sit on their hands rather than vote and this is the danger. They will feel disenfranchised as Lord Tebbitt has said many times. Scrapping a few highly emotive taxes like inheritance tax and capital gains tax would do the Tories no harm as the money involved is minimal, although they hit a great many people where it hurts.

Goldie, if you are a Conservative, this comment is a disgrace:

"As I said: I'm hoping for a rather disappointing May elections for Dave, and then a swift correction."

Politics is not a game for arm chair pundits to play when bored and seated at their computer. I spent last night canvassing for a Conservative candidate in a highly marginal seat in a highly marginal council. If she wins, it may be the vote that makes the difference between that council being run by our party or the Labour Party. These local elections, like all elections, matter to people. They're not some over-sized opinion poll to enable amateur pundits to play 'buy or sell' on our leader's policies.


Are you sure you're right about the extent of the bounce when we replaced IDS with Howard? MORI suggests that after a one month narrowing of the gap to a Labour lead of 3% (down from 14% in the last month of IDS), within 1 month Labour re-established a 10% lead with remained pretty much until polling day.

The last MORI poll gave us a 2% lead.

I attach the link below:


Gareth, I was referring to YouGov - in order to make a like-for-like comparison between Howard's Conservatives' poll rating and the current YouGov poll rating of Cameron's Conservatives™, which is the subject of this thread.

Have you got the figures then?

MORI also provides a like-for-like comparison of course, between the late 2003/early 2004 position and the position now. Is the polling organisation really that important?

Looking at MORI's website, the Conservatives averaged 34% from November 2003, to June 2004, and Labour averaged 36% over the same period. Subsequently, the Conservatives were hit by the rise in support for UKIP after the European elections.

Labour's 9% lead in December 2003 was an anomaly, almost certainly caused by the capture of Saddam Hussein at the time the poll was taken.

Hi Peter,

" a Conservative government is the main goal"

100% agreed, however there is nothing wrong inusing a little innovation or strategy to increase the chances of the party following your chosen agenda.

There are ways you can influence the party that could be much more productive than just sitting on your hands and withdrawing your vote. The aim is to influence quickly and effectively.

I'll write a full explanation and see if Tim will let me publish it as a platform piece. However it might be a bit controversial, so if rejected I'll stick it somewhere else.

"Have you got the figures then?"

As promised yesterday evening, I have now retrieved the relevant data. Voila! May I refer you to the figures for May 2003-June 2004 in particular?

"MORI also provides a like-for-like comparison of course, between the late 2003/early 2004 position and the position now. Is the polling organisation really that important?"

The subject of this thread is the latest YouGov poll which is why I made that particular comparison.

If you want to contact me then I have no objection to the editor giving you my email address

Thanks Peter. You can always get me on [email protected] and I'll happily send you a copy when it has been written, as it may annoy as many as it pleases.....

""I do not think we will see a sustained Conservative lead until the Tory leadership combines core policies on Europe, immigration and crime with the newer (and essential) emphases on the environment and poverty"

While these policies are formulated, it would be most helpful for conservative comentators to continually highlight the total incompetance of labour. Rather than criticise ID cards simply as an abstract civil liberties issue, highlight the staggering cost of every failed gubmint computer project - trot out the cost and enumerate the projects in every interview.
Every time Brown is mentioned, highlight the decline in investment and the collapse in our economic competitiveness rating.

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