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In both the Jones / Carlin & King articles there is a whiff of editorial direction. I looked back over the polls to see if King had any basis for his comments and he doesn't except for a couple of early YouGov polls which showed Tories at these levels (out of kilter with the others). Last month was the first that DC scored above Blair and its revealing to read again the Telegraph's take on 30th June (George Jones writing without Carlin)

Story really is that there is very little change since last month. John Reid has probably steadied the ship a bit with his announcements, Prescott's cowboy outfit couldn't lose him anymore support so had little effect.

Pesonally I think those who are talking down the party at present have an hidden agenda.They want Cameron to fail and the party to drift back to the right again regardless of the fact that is the route to inevitable defeat.

Read it in conjunction with Jeff Randall's superb article in the DT business section today. Perfectly encapsulates why so many of we previously loyal Tories will stay at home at the next GE.

Jack I don't think thats true! Many people who use this site, want to be realistic. At the moment, (it may change) there is a feeling that despite it all, the Conservatives still don't have the 'BIG MO'that the new leader, despite his obvious appeal, is still not getting the forward momentum required. It may be only that the scars left in some peoples minds by 18 years of Tory government still haven't healed. There is however 3 years to go, who knows what's going to happen.
False hope is worse than no hope at all.

Cameron is playing the long game, and I think he is right to do so. The key is not to give instant gratification to political commentators, but to change the minds of folks who wouldn't even entertain the thought of voting for us previously. Doing that will take a long time, and begins with consistent language and positioning rather than a raft of policies under the old banner. I'm sorry but I still think he is onto a winner.

I am privileged to have been sent the following pre-release of Francis Maude's comment on the disappointing YouGov poll:
"Change must be made faster and deeper."
He's right, you know. Isn't he? Well, isn't he?

38 litre hat, surely? (Assuming that as it's a US hat, they'll be US gallons.)

I think the current polls suggest that the upswing in support is coming from a bad Lib Dem leader, a middling Labour Government and some positive metropolitan press support. There is not much from Cameron to suggest that it was his leadership alone that lead a Tory revival.

Yet that is what happens when we are three or four years from a General Election! Is Cameron going to put out policies at this stage? No, he is not. Is Cameron going to make ridiculous statements (except 'hug a hoodie') to get some press impact? No, because that screams desperation. Cameron is being broad and shallow because he knows that the next three or four years are going to be a marathon, not a sprint BUT he knows that his policy committees will be reporting back well in time if Gordon Brown becomes PM and calls a snap election.

So do not be disheartened.

For goodness sake I get more frustrated by the telegraph day by day! First they give Heffer a regular column, then the editorials churn out utter gumpf and now they have their reporters trash a respecatble poll lead.

Cameron is playing the long game, we have so much to do to the party in terms of structure in so many parts of the country (particularly the North) to reform old associations into efficient election fighting machines. The last thing we need right now is policies galore. Those who call for 'substance' would merely give our opponents the opportunity to think up there lines of attack sooner.

As for the Scottish Tories thinking they need a more right wing agenda- that would be electoral suicide and considering they are on death throes as it is that wouldn't be sensible.

I fully support Cameron and Maude, they are doing a magnificent job. For Anthony King to compare them with Hague/ IDS and Howard is ridiculous.

It makes me wonder why the Scottish Tories are even talking about politics in an ideological sense. Scotland and Wales are two areas that the Tories do not do well because people are focused on the ideology behind the parties. This is brought on by the parties reminding people about their ideology. The Tories should just focus on service delivery, and make pragmatic policies. At least then they might be able to attract more voters.

They are overstating things, but the details (rather than the overall numbers) do have some significance. The lack of Labour collapse is still disappointing.

However I agree with those like Oberon & Sean who say that we are in a marathon, not a sprint. Some of us knuckle grazing right wingers are worried about what the policies might finally be, but I think the strategy is right.

King would find flaws in the Tory position if we won a landslide. He's not particularly credible.

That said, the fresh face and change agenda has a limited lifespan and quite frankly, can only be the first phase in convincing the punters that the Tories are a serious and far better alternative government.

It is also what Blair and Nu Lab did prior to 1997 once they's symbolically given the lefties a good kicking.

Labour got suited and booted to prove they were serious about government. They provided the country with a narrative about not only why the Tories were bad, but they would be better.

What are we going to do next?

"Its a marathon not a sprint" is the best analogy I've heard in a while, and I think its one that should certainly be used far more often. This parliament is just over half a year old, and some people are already admitting defeat because we don't have a big poll lead, even though its possible we have just under 4 years until a general election anyway!

So far, we've got 4-5% lead over Labour and we haven't even published any concrete policies, we've only put forward the odd snippet of an idea (in a poor manner I will admit). Over the next year, CCHQ should review how it handles the press, because in recent weeks all we seem to have been doing is providing open goals.

The Conservatives have been in the lead for half a year.....that has not happened in over a decade. So, be happy.

Labour is using the credit card but as with all credit cards, the bill eventually comes in the post. The economy is not in good shape at all and is being badly mismanaged.Worst for Brown, all that money the Tories sorted him when we left office is now wasted. We cannot save his bacon anymore.

So Maude wants more change . The best change would be for him to take his malign influence away somewhere else.

YouGov asked me my voting intentions. Previously I had said Conservative while saying Cameron was no good. I am now in the "Don't Know" category - but won't vote for Cameron.

Stay at Home ? UKIP ? [not likely] ??????

The let-down on the EPP has broken trust with Conservative voters who were lead to expect better. How we are meant to approve of Hague's threat to deselect MEP's who speak out against corruption defeats me.

Now he's equivocating about support for Israel which faces threats of nuclear obliteration from Iran.

There is not yet enough clarity about domestic policy which is understandable, but at least we have some indication about Cameron's values.

Hague on the other hand appears morally rudderless. If there is a desertion by Conservatives, this would justify it.

If enough floaters come on board to replace those abandoning the ship, Cameron will get away with it. But Hague is proving expensive, and is in my opinion our key weakness.

Matt @ 09.36 says it all:
"Cameron is playing the long game, we have so much to do to the party in terms of structure in so many parts of the country (particularly the North) to reform old associations into efficient election fighting machines. The last thing we need right now is policies galore. Those who call for 'substance' would merely give our opponents the opportunity to think up there lines of attack sooner."
In the meanwhile I hope that the work behind the scenes that Matt refers to is actually taking place. We nearly had a disaster at Bromley seemingly because of a fairly ammateur operation.
The one thing I would like to hear from time to time though, Matt, is a reminder that policies on all the main issues are going to be unveiled in due course.
It seems quite unnecessary that tension should now be developing between DC and core conservatives.

Scotland and Wales are two areas that the Tories do not do well because people are focused on the ideology behind the parties

Surely, the Tories do badly in those places because they are seen (both fairly and unfairly) as an English party that would govern in the interests of England.

Unfairly, because I don't believe we ever set out to do so. Fairly because if we are honest that is the way things played out - in government we were centralising and London-centric, and too timid in disrupting the Civil Service establishment, which has always viewed areas outside of the south east as inconveniences.

Agree with MH - Jeff Randall's column in the Telegraph today is, although tongue in cheek, a devastating critique of brand Cameron.
" Brand recognition high - brand definition blurred - brand appreciation low. Everybody has heard of it - but few go there"

" A company that is rapidly losing touch with its heartland. It's akin to Waitrose suddenly abanding its regulars in favout of those who prefer groceries from Quick Save. Lightweight management. Underweight investment".

And to those who say Let's not worry about policy until the next election - as Lynton Crosby said 'You can't fatten up the pig on market day'

I am not so sure about the marathon argument. If Blair goes at the Party conference and Brown is crowned he will enjoy a blip and will revivify some of his activists. He will have a giveaway budget in March and go on May 1st ten years from the 1997 victory before Dave has got his act together and can offer the alternative vision that the country is crying out for.

Jonathan, I addressed your point in my original post when I wrote that Cameron has those committees which can report before a snap election. Even if an election is called for winter (which is a bad, bad idea), then the committees would still be able to give enough advice for a fairly cohesive manifesto.

Unlike 2005, we will be able to have a narrative to our election campaign.

Its the economy.
Until people realise the mess it is in they will stick with New Labour.
Gordon Brown will have an interesting dilemma when crowned leader. Does he go early hoping to get a new mandate or wait, risking the economy goes into free fall.
We probably don't want to win if he goes to the polls early only for all the economic indicators to turn sour.

Jonathan @ 11:11 articulates my main worry. That's my bet, at the moment. The long game is eminently winnable, but this...? DC (or someone) said a few days ago 'We're ready for a snap election'. I wish I believed that.

Nigel, I feel that it is our job to promote the mess that we are in. At this moment polls have suggested that Gordon Brown's economic handling is coming under some pressure and over the next few years it will be interesting to see what will happen to the economy as public spending is curtailed. For all of Gordon's bluster, he has only managed an economic miracle courtesy of the Thatcher revolution.

>>Scotland and Wales are two areas that the Tories do not do well because people are focused on the ideology behind the parties<<<

Can't speak for Wales, but in Scotland that is just plain nonsense. It’s the lack of a coherent message that's the problem. If Douglas Fraser’s piece in the Herald earlier this week is correct and Goldie is to pursue a more right wing manifesto in 2007 then this is a major victory for, a) common sense and, b) Murdo Fraser .In Scotland there are six socialist parties competing for the votes of the left, but only the Tories on the right. However if you don’t offer our core vote something to vote for the simple answer is that they will stay at home. Enough Tories to make a difference have been doing that in Scotland since 1999. We need to re-engage them first then develop the subliminal messages to the tartan Tories in the SNP and the few Orange bookers who are not public employees.
The lesson of the B&C by election suggests to me that the English core vote is behaving in exactly the same way, if they don’t like the message they just don’t play.
We need to energise our core vote and attract the aspirational swings to win, this surely is the Telegraph’s point and it is right.

Engaging in an ideological debate will always make the Tories lose in the north. If the Scottish Conservatives start branding their manifesto as "more right-wing" or whatever, then they will be portayed by the media and the left-wing Lib Dems, SNP and Labour as reactionary fools. They will not attract the swinging voter. Remember that ideology only attracts those who profusely believe in it, however, focusing less on ideology and more on pragmatic policies to solve problems will get the swing voters over to the Conservatives.

If you do not believe me, advocate an openly right-wing manifesto and then see how many swing voters you attract.

It is time to make pragmatic, commonsense policies guided by our Conservative principles and NOT to overwhelming the policies with dogmatic adherance to some ideology. That will scare away potential voters.

Fair point Sean

Those that ask for unswerving support of Cameron and for an end to "talking down" the party need to ask themselves a simple question:

Why do the Conservatives have a TINY lead over the most useless, disliked, destructive, corrupt governments in recent history?

It should be a massive lead.

We don't really need to do anything more than DC is doing until Blair goes... why give GB time to steal and rebrand our policies, or TB an opening? Let them inflict maximum damage upon themselves and then react to the new leader... we have to wait, no poll is worth having now, the only ones that matter are when GB is in No.10. It's their election to lose, not ours to win.

"Why do the Conservatives have a TINY lead over the most useless, disliked, destructive, corrupt governments in recent history?"

Because a lot of people still aren't sure what Cameron stands for yet. During the disastrous economic years of the late 70s the Tories didn't always enjoy a massive lead. Indeed, Labour might have won a 1978 election.

In addition to above post, while the Winter of Discontent hadn't yet happened, the 1976 IMF crisis had.

Roq says it should be a massive lead over "the most useless, disliked, destructive, corrupt government" - obviously a third of voters don't think it is that useless a government. I think so but it appears 1 in every three voters doesn't agree. In part its tribal loylaty, in part they still view the Tories as a hard party or a toff party, in part I think it is that Tony Blair still retains just enough of the charisma that helped him win. More importantly though its the Lib Dems and others.

The last time Tories had +11% in any poll (so above 10%) was in May 92 and Labour were still then on 34%. Labour has rarely gone below 33% and Labour actually won last year not because it was massively popular but because the opposition was split.

To get back into the low 40's percentage wise we need either to hope Labours votes implode and it falls to historically very low leves of support or we need to win back the Tories who drifted to the LibDems as well as recovering those we lost to the NuLab dream.

I don't think social conservatism, anti-European rhetoric, hard ecomomic policies etc will build our bridges back to those voters. Pro-family, greener, less arrogance just might attract them enough to give us a hearing.

Nigel C: read Anatole Kaletsky in The Times yesterday on the economy. The current trends are that the US economy (thanks everyong grudgungly admits to GWB's tax cuts) is actually pweforming well and getting stronger on most fronts, especially growth and employment. The UK economy (unlike any other in Europe) tracks the US, but lags by a 18-24 month timeframe typically. We actually could be in a position of a soft economic landing under Brown, followed - in the tun up to 2009 GE - with clear economic growth.

What a strange world some people live in:

"A company that is rapidly losing touch with its heartland. It's akin to Waitrose suddenly abanding its regulars in favout of those who prefer groceries from Quick Save. Lightweight management. Underweight investment"."

So, "Waitrose" rebrands, 5% more of the population shop there - then some analysts call it a disaster!

"Why do the Conservatives have a TINY lead over the most useless, disliked, destructive, corrupt governments in recent history?"

Because for the last ten years the Tory Party has been hated and reviled by the public. It has entered the public culture.

Just over a year ago on the Election Leaders Question Time a young man said Michael Howard was "worse than Hitler" due to the public perception of his ( I thought rather sensible) immigration policy.

When Reagan died many, many people expressed hope that Thatcher would die (painfully) as well. Suggest anything painful happening to Margaret Thatcher to a crowd and you'll get a big cheer.

In January on a comedian on TV said David Cameron's caring conservativism was like Darth Vader worrying about the environmental impact of the Death Star (to big laughs).

In addition to which the Cash for Honours scandal, and perhaps Prescott as well, leads people to think "they're all corrupt" not "Lets vote Tory".

And last but by no means least,(in fact probably most important) when asked to place the parties and leaders on a left-right scale (in February most recent i can find), with 0 as centre, + as Rightwing and - as Left:

General public placed themselves at +2
Tony Blair was +4 (rightwing!, in tune with public)
Gordon Brown -21
Labour MPs -27
David Cameron +35 (more rightwing than labour MPs are leftwing)
Tory MPs + 53 (very rightwing)
[Michael Howard was +63 or something I seem to remember from a previous one]

It is this pereception we must change. And David Cameron is trying to do that.

Jon, You are utterly right in your last point. That perception poll is the most important piece of data out there when it comes to showing the need for us to change to win. (Apart from three election defeats of course!!!)

Labour might have won a 1978 election.
Indeed if there had been a slip by the Conservatives during the 1979 General Election Campaign or that one Independent Socialist rather than abstaining in the confidence vote had voted for the government and the poll had been delayed into the summer or Autumn of 1979 it is possible that Labour could still have pulled off a victory as they were recovering from the Winter of Discontent and indeed a Winter Election would have been dire for them possibly with the Conservatives winning a 100+ majority, .both the 1970 and February 1974 results went rather unexpectedly against the incumbents and contrary to common opinion all it would have taken was a slight change and Labour would have won in 1951, or the Conservatives won in 1964 - that said though demographic factors are weighing heavily against the Conservatives, an even vote can result in a very large Labour majority, in the 1950's the demographics favoured the Conservatives which is why they were able to win with fewer votes than Labour in 1951.

The Liberal Democrats are going to be the main losers in the next 10 years, I think though it's only a few years off midway off the middle of the lifetime of the Labour government after which they will be in opposition for decades, I don't think David Cameron will ever be Prime Minister though.

Labour in the 1970's was still suffering politically from the devaluation crisis in 1967 and this continued to work against them into the 1980's and even to 1992, the only reason Labour was able to win in 1974 was that the Conservative vote under Heath had what was one of it's biggest collapses in history, Labour started going down after 1966 and in fact their total vote even fell in the October 1974 election, it was only because the other parties slipped back that they did better, in 1979 Labour's vote held but there was a big swing to the Conservative Party both from the Liberals and people who previously hadn't voted and 1987 was actually the first election after 1966 in which Labour actually made net gains in total votes, and really their 1964 victory had also been achieved due to a fall in the Conservative vote.

The Groundnut scheme in the 1940's continued to haunt Labour through into the 1960's, the shadow of Edward Heath continues to fall over the Conservative Party like the shadow of Dracula's castle in Dracula has Risen From the Grave.

It's strange how the perception of the Tories sticks - is it because it a lot of people came of voting age during the 1992-1997 period? Take M Thatcher as an example - some sort of evil dictator who was overthrown. What actually happened was that she won three elections in a row because she was preferred to the others on offer!

I guess the electorate may have a long memory. If the Tories are perceived negatively (despite not generally deserving it) then it does not surprise me. Whilst they may have had some support in the print media during their years in power, I seem to recall the broadcast media gave them a constantly rough time. Labour did not have to suffer the way the Tories did with "Spitting Images" and such like week in week out. Indeed the media in general hardly laid a glove on New Labour until the Iraq War. If one accepts the media generally inclines to the left, the Tories will always have a perception problem which is why all the posturing a la "hug a hoodie" strikes me as a waste of time. And of course the Tories did score quite a few own goals: losing control of the economy and joining the ERM did not cover them with glory, personal sleaze was not very appetising to say the least; and in house references to the nasty party hardly helped.

To those people who criticise cameron perhaps I would suggest that most people like David Cameron but think the rest of them are the same "hang em, shoot em brigade" type of silver sppon tories that spring to mind. His strategy is working and I would prefer a steady increase in the polls, which is what is happening then a lurch upwards, leading to downhill only afterwards.

In response to Francis's comment, I do not think a robust approach to law and order is the preserve of the "silver spoon" brigade; in fact I would think it quite the opposite. The rich can insulate themselves from the decline in law and order far better than the poorer amongst us can. That said, none of us is immune from the grotesque rise in violent crime under New Labour if a friend of mine's experience is to go by. His child (as I noted elsewhere) was beaten up by a gang in a disgusting unprovoked attack which even shocked the police. To be frank I am not really interested in understanding such criminals or the "causes" of such crime so much as the failure of our legal system to deal effectively with these horrors. Hugging a hoodie does not resonate with me one iota and just leaves me thinking Cameron is either on another planet or else
cynically misguided.

Well on crime and punishment the Victorian took a tough approach but crime still happened. Approaches to law and order must tackle both the cause and effect. The point I was trying to make is thatg when it comes to "change" people dont think the tories have and if they are voted in again cameron will be walked all over by the right of the party

The Victorian took a "tough" approach and there was still crime. Any approach to "law and order" must addres both cause and effect. To elaborate on my point people percieve cameron as being different but the rest of the party as being the same. They feel that if voted in cameron will be walked all over and ignored by the right of the party

esbonio, this is the problem with "hug a hoodie", its completely misunderstood, and the use of the word "hoodie"certainly didn't help. People view hoodies as uniforms for criminals when in fact that is not the case, its only a minority of hoodie wearers who actually beat up people.

This pre-conceived view then makes the whole "hug a hoodie" idea seem as though Cameron is saying we should care for criminals instead of punishing them. As anyone who actually read the speech would find out, Cameron was saying that we should care for the youth of today, so as to stop them from turning to crime in the first place.

I fully support the ideas behind "hug a hoodie", I just think that the speech was written in a way far too easily for it to be twisted by the media so that we would appear soft on crime.

I do not think a robust approach to law and order is the preserve of the "silver spoon" brigade; in fact I would think it quite the opposite.
Margaret Thatcher, John Major, William Hague and IDS all came from modest backgrounds - in fact David Cameron is the first old Etonian since Alec Douglas Home; equally Clement Attlee, Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan, Michael Foot and Tony Blair were all from well off families. Harold Macmillan the arch Liberal was from a very well off family, in this country if anything the well off tend to be more liberal and the Working Class less so - that's why Margaret Thatcher appealed so much to the working man and Michael Foot went down so badly except among some of the intellectual elite because he was socially so liberal, there is a Syndicalist-Fascist split among the Working Class, people who live in prosperous surroundings on the other hand are more likely to be less focused on the issue of anti-social behaviour and don't usually have the same long term financial setbacks from breakins and so don't realise how much it can affect so many peoples lives, the same with vandalism - mostly the vandals hit areas immediately around that are very similar, so the divisions are more between Liberal and Libertarian among more prosperous people and then of course there is the more Upper Class element for whom the Universal Franchise and other things coming out of the 20th century have undermined their position, Labour thus is a mixture of Syndicalist and Liberal Intellectual whereas the Conservative Party is more split between Liberal, Libertarian along with more traditional policies that appeal to Fascist elements and those who want a return to a more paternalist aristocratic dominated society; the dominant theme in both main parties though has been liberalism which in the 20th century left the Liberal Party really having no actual real role.

Surely the challenge for the Conservative Party is to achieve a situation in which strong government goes with a more focused reduced state that takes a strategic but pragmatic view in transport, communications and infrastructure policy but that is uncompromising and ruthless in it's Security, Defence and Anti-Crime policies but fundamentally opposed to labour regulation and to direct taxation and while maintaining a minimum threshold is not involved in any attempts to narrow relative inequality in financial outcomes.

I and many other people are sick and tired of the emphasis the causes of crime which are often simply a matter of opinion despite the constant guff we are fed by the serried ranks of academics,bleeding heart liberals and agenda setting lawyers (I write as a former lawyer). Many members of the public believe, rightly in my opinion, in the value of policing and a deterrent criminal justice system. The liberals have had it their own way for almost half a century and it has not worked. And I not a member of the hang em and flog em brigade.

esbonio, so you're saying you believe people are born evil, and their surroundings have nothing to do with whether they commit criminal acts or not?

esbonio, so you're saying you believe people are born evil, and their surroundings have nothing to do with whether they commit criminal acts or not?
Everybody is wicked, some people are more wicked than others - justice will reduce the tendency of people to turn to crime not just through deterrent but because a major factor that can go towards people embarking on a life of crime is if when they play by the rules they fall foul of someone else who does not and so people lose faith in the system and drop out; if the police and the system doesn't properly punish transgressors then this ultimately results in vigilantism and long standing vendettas between groups - Liberals are divided between the hopelessly optimistic who believe that everyone can live happily together without some kind of external authority and those who are hopelessly pessimistic and think that any attempts the state makes to try and find wrongdoers will fail and that so will any attempts to do anything with them and so that variety of liberal analysis is that it is equally hopeless.

There is though another way of looking at it in which society will best thrive in a situation in which there is strict discipline and order, and in which transgressors are made to suffer proportionately to their offence.

Yet another anon concerning backgrounds of various polticians. Jim Callaghan, well off. His father was a chief petty officer in the RN later coast guard, they fell on hard times, Callaghan was certainly not well off. Harold Wilson son of an industrial chemist, not poor, but not well off. IDS (modest), son of a Group Captain, and ballerina, modest depends on where your standing I suppose. William Hague son of a soft drinks manufacturer, not rich perhaps, but comfortable I should think.

Ramsay MacDonald is the only Prime Minister who I can think of who was actually born into poverty; Neil Kinnock was from a miners family but actually in the 1940's and 1950's when he was growing up the miners were something of a Working Class elite, certainly hard work - my paternal grandfather came from what was by then a mining family and he got out of it after 3 years after an accident in which he lost one of his thumbs, but that was before the major improvements in conditions and pay of miners in the 1930's and 1940's.

Certainly IDS married a woman from an extremley wealthy family and also made a fair amount of money in business, Ballerina's though are not neccessarily particularily prosperous - as with stage actors they can frequently be very poor even though they may mix with some very rich people.

If anything Edward Heath was from a much more modest background than any Labour leader since Arthur Henderson and any other Conservative leader ever but to his credit did work his way up.

Even though a family may in the short term become poorer or richer usually an element of the culture they were from remains for a bit, a son of a teacher or a Royal Navy Petty Officer is far more likely to still have the encouragement to pursue academic success and to look beyond merely doing what their father did than someone from a long line of miners or carpenters; it's not just income but prestige as well - people who are the children of Teachers or Scientists or Civil Servants are more likely to be imbibed with a sense that their life should be structured to achieve something not neccessarily particularily renumerative but something to further the lot of mankind, some Industrial Chemists indeed are actually fairly well off, by well off I would mean anyone on above average earnings, not neccessarily to the extent of the riches of the Bush family.

First they give Heffer a regular column, then the editorials churn out utter gumpf

Probably because Heffer joined the Comment/Editorial team.

"Change must be made faster and deeper."
Whatever happened to wider? Or is the gulf now so great they decided to drop this just like the EPP promise?
Quick shallow and horizontal would seem to be what the polls are saying..............

Sean @11.33 and later
It is no defence to have policy groups that can report in time for an election If they are to produce the sort of policies that will earn us support they need to be out well in advance of an election so that the press can build up steam behind them. Nothing radical is going to appear in the middle of a campaign, certainly not from anyone around Dave. Nothing less than something radical is going to attract the disillusioned to look up from their daily grind.

Jon Gale and Change to win (sic)
You are far to hung up on labels. Right wing is a twentieth century label. What the aforementioned disillusioned are looking for is a wayout from under. They don't believe in "Thatcherite cuts" but they have learnt the hard way that "Brownite throwing money at the problem" is equally ineffective and more expensive. Offer them new ideas and they wont care if the Guardian says they are right wing, if they look like they might work. If all you've got to offer is words and pink cheeks you won't be dismissed as right wing but you will be dismissed as vacuous.

Right wing is a twentieth century label.
late 18th century French Revolutionary label based on where people sat in the French National Assembly adopted by press the world over as a means to add simple descriptions to politicians and groups in society so that they can sound like they know what they are waffling about even though they don't. The left in the Assembly spent their time campaigning for maximum price caps and bread subsidies, the centre was not some kind of middle as the term supposedly means these days but actually a group who spent most of their time executing people (especially revolutionaries and aristocrats) and who stood for Free Trade and minimal government involvement in the economy, what was described as the right simply were aristocrats and royalty and other people who stood for the Old Regime.

Journalists lump George Galloway, Arthur Scargill, Ayatollah Khomenei, Joe Stalin, Jim Callaghan, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Leon Trotsky and call that Left Wing and lump George W. Bush, the KKK, National Front, BNP, Le Front Nationale, Norman Tebbit, General Franco, Mussolini, Hitler and the Bharatiya Janata Party (Hindu Nationalist) and Likud and describe them all as rightists but what do they actually have in common? Al Qaeda and the BJP or Al Qaeda and Likud certainly are fundamentally against each other, Al Qaeda and Hezbollah and Hezbollah and Likud equally, the Nazi Party would not be likely to have allied itself with Likud if it still existed, more likely with Ba'athists and yet if you believe the jargon supposedly Ba'athists are leftist and Nazi's are rightist - it's all gibberish, the fact is that there are problems and there are solutions and there are various different philosophical analysis that don't fit into any kind of diagram that some Social Scientist or Journalist might decide to come out with.

Jonathan, I agree with your assertion: "It is no defence to have policy groups that can report in time for an election If they are to produce the sort of policies that will earn us support they need to be out well in advance of an election so that the press can build up steam behind them".
Why not get the chairmen of all the groups to give interim reports at the autumn conference to demonstrate that some thinking is going on behind the scenes that will address the concerns of the core voters?

Anthony King Watch

- 1992: we do not have two major parties. We have one super-party - the Conservatives

- then till now: the party is finished

- May 2006: this is a fantastic night for the Conservatives and David Cameron should be ecstatic &c &c

- now: I'm fed up writing that Tories are 5% ahead and Cameron is most popular leader, and I can see how the editors of the paper that employs me are swinging - so --

Something just occurred to me that seems so blindingly obvious that I am amazed I didn't think of it before, surely given that in the 1990's the number of years Ex Pats could vote was increased to 20 years and even though it was cut back to 15 years by the Labour Government, given the amount of emigration from the UK there has been from the UK in the past 20 years meaning that somewhere in the order of 4 million non resident British Citizens are eligible to vote IN UK elections and given that this group is not entirely typical of the UK population as a whole and so far as I am aware this group equally is not taken into account in UK polls, surely this further skews opinion polls beyond the other multifarious factors already applying, as I understand it there were some seperate assessments of the Ex Pat Vote which seemed to suggest that the Labour vote was slightly lower in this group and the Conservative vote quite a lot higher to the point where only in 1945, 1966, 1997 and 2001 have Labour actually been reckoned to have got more votes amongst such than the Conservatives?

Clearly Sean at 12.06 and I inhabit different planets, or maybe he just hadn’t looked at the Scottish political situation before he posted. If he had he would have noted that most serious commentators now acknowledge that the Scottish economy is lagging behind the rest of the UK trapped in a leftwing statist bureaucracy that already commands 55% of our GDP. These same commentators are encouraging us to take a defining stand clearly on the right. A manifesto which seeks to take an innovative approach by cutting tax, to encourage inward investment, promises to roll back the dead hand of the state, takes education away from local authorities and devolves control to head teachers, promotes foundation hospitals and more choice in the NHS, makes Chief Constables and their deputies elect able and accountable, promotes family values, gives our youth a sense of purpose rather than an ASBO, has an open mind on Nuclear power. And if we cannot defend these policies why are we Conservatives?
Our problem in Scotland is not that the left will portray us as reactionary fools- rather it is that they will label us as irrelevant since under the present leadership we have had nothing to say on a whole host of Scotland’s problems save for an obsession with drugs. My admonition was that if we are now to have some clear direction this is indeed good news. There is no point in us pitching for a left wing consensus; five other parties are already doing that far better than we ever will. To make progress we must first enthuse our own core vote, and then demonstrate to the aspirants that what we offer is different and will make a difference.
If that is ideology, then bring it on. I take this view because I am in the privileged position of talking to our core voters and aspirants on a daily basis .I listen to what they tell me about our Scottish Tory party and the direction they want us to take. Eight years of timidity of the kind you suggest has resulted in us flat lining on 16%, In my view we could add 10% just by re-engaging with our core vote who have increasingly just stayed at home, – I would settle for that just for starters.
If we don’t have core values and principles then we are nothing.

A manifesto which seeks to take an innovative approach by cutting tax
The major difference though between Scotland and England is in revenue transfer and spending, the actual tax rates are the same, and the powers to vary Income Tax are only by + or - 3% in Scotland so surely in addition to tax cuts what you would actually be looking to to narrow the spending gap would be adjustment of the Barnet formula and spending cuts in Scotland particularily otherwise the result would be large deficits?

It's the subsidy that is cauing the problem.

Maybe the following, which this opinion poll follows, has had a contribution to the poorer showing:

- The failure to fulfil the promise to exit the EPP as quickly as people expected - voters don't like broken promises

- 'Hug a hoodie' - voters like a tough stance on criminals and law and order to favour those who do what is right.

I agree with esbonio on July 28, 2006 at 18:42. Liberal thinking on crime has had its’ way too much, and obviously hasn't worked. As for Chris's response to esbonio on July 28, 2006 at 18:45, I do believe we are all born ‘sinners’, that we are all responsible for our actions, and therefore cannot blame outward circumstances for our reactions to them. Ultimately criminals are responsible for their decision to commit crime.

David (28/7, 10:53) - a cynic may suggest that the tension between Call Me Dave and "traditional" Conservatives (after all, some observers have positioned his stance as closer to Thatcher than any of the leaders serving between the two) is part of the grand plan to show that the party has changed

Given the wretched incompetence and dishonesty of this abysmal government a 5 point lead in this poll is not very encouraging.

Anthony King is an honest and reliable commentator. His comment that the Conservative Party's greatest asset (currently) is the low esteem in which the Labour Party is currently held. He is wrong to claim that our support is no higher than it was under Hague (Yougov weren't polling then), but he is correct that our Yougov ratings are much the same as in the last few months of IDS's leadership, and the first few months as Michael Howard's.

If David Cameron's net approval rating has gone from +27% in February to +2% now, I don't see how that can be viewed as anything other than a problem.

The Western World has the biggest problem since the Second World War and Cameron has said nothing!

One million demonstrators and Cameron has said nothing!

The Shadow Cabinet, seems to half Jewish. This is not helpful at a time like this.

We ourselves have a Jewish problem, but no Tory dare say so!

Cameron has had time to sort out a more balanced Shadow Cabinet (following Howard’s Jewish coop and the attempted disentrancement of grass roots) and has failed.

This was a time for statesmanship and Cameron also failed on that score.

Bush and Blair got it wrong once again and one can safely say that the Israel attack on Lebanon has backfired in a big big way.

BBC News
“Hezbollah is riding a wave of popularity on the Arab street. Not since it played a role in forcing Israel to withdraw from southern Lebanon in 2000 has it enjoyed such adulation.
Its leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is enjoying something akin to a personality cult.
At a time when Arab governments are seen as largely powerless to influence events, Hezbollah is seen as taking on the Israelis -and behind the Israelis, the American superpower.”

"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." Churchill.

Places needed for 4 million displaced Israelis.

Cameron's only policy “Don’t Mention the War”

The Western World has the biggest problem since the Second World War and Cameron has said nothing!
What about the Berlin Crisis in the late 1940's where NATO and Warsaw Pact were on the verge of war, the Korean War against North Korea and China, The Cuban Missile Crisis and the point in the late 1960's at which there were border skirmishes between China and the USSR and war as only narrowly averted - such a war would inevitably have involved a nuclear exchange - all of these were much bigger problems; then of course there is Suez and Vietnam and there has been ongoing wars and shelling in Kashmir, and of course what was going on in Bosnia - there have been lots of problems since WWII, what about France's riots in 1968 and the problems France had in Algeria with resistance groups and then rebel French Generals who were plotting to overthrow General Charles De Gaulle?

Howard’s Jewish coop
I don't recall there being any notable ethnic change in the composition of the Shadow Cabinet at the time, or in any change in policy regarding Israel when Michael Howard took over.

Fred Baker I find your comments regarding 'Howards Jewish coop' both baseless and offensive.I also suggest you get a dictionary and learn how to spell the word 'coop'.

Howard’s takeover was one of the most brass necked and disgraceful coups ever
perpetrated against the British electorate.

Immediately Letwin and Bercow were appointed to the shadow cabinet - and Rifkind was given the safest Tory seat in England.

"More old Estonians than old Etonians", Harold Macmillan (on an earlier cabinet)

Jews are ethnics?

Jews are ethnics?
The word ethnic merely refers to a sense of cultural and group identity, as such everybody has some kind of ethnic identity. There is no word ethnics, it is an invention of the BNP and National Front to just mean groups they don't consider to be one of them.

Certainly the way IDS was dumped by the Conservative Party was not particularily edifying, but it has nothing to do with Michael Howard coming from a Jewish background, rather more to do with Conservative MP's resenting IDS's past positions on the Maastricht Treaty and because a large number were annoyed because Kenneth Clarke and Michael Portillo lost out in the Leadership Election.

Fred Baker - you are clearly a very sad person. As a gentile, I find your anti-semetic rantings something that I would have hoped the Editor would have not allowed on this platform.

People like you are the very reason that the ignorant sometimes insult Tories with the 'Nazi' label. Sadly, in your case, the ignorants may have a point.

"find your anti-semetic rantings something that I would have hoped the Editor would have not allowed on this platform"

You had better wake up to the fact that following the Israeli bombing of Lebanon and the killing of innocent children, not to mention those afflicted for life, the whole country has gone anti-Semitic

There is a great deal of opposition to the State of Israel including among some Jews actually, certainly there have always been some strongly Anti-Semitic elements including in fact among the British Trotskeyite tendency (ironic considering Trotsky was Jewish) and of course among many Arab groups and among many Pakistani's but this is nothing new, and so far as everyone going Anti-Semitic I have not and I'm not Jewish, in fact the BNP now have a Jewish councillor and the leadership of that party have for whatever reasons actually been arguing strongly in favour of Israel's action against Hezbollah (I sometimes wonder whether Nick Griffin himself actually knows what he is doing and whether it may be something totally different than what anyone else actually thinks he might be doing), the Labour cabinet is split on the issue but is not actually Anti-Semitic, Ken Livingstone although certainly is but then again he always was - who are these people who having not been Anti-Semitic are suddenly turning so?

the Labour cabinet is split on the issue
Split on the issue of Israel's action that is, even a lot of the people protesting are not Anti-Israeli - misguided of course, I heard someone on Radio 5 Live denouncing all war and all action by all sides but claiming not to be Anti-Israeli, how though she could possibly expect that Israel could take a unilateral pacifist line which many seem to expect is beyond me, if they did various Arab groups would sweep them into the sea as has always been their intention.

And if Hezbollah is not defeated who knows, it could be Fred Baker who is one of those blown up by a bomb of theirs on a bus or train or in a shopping centre at some time in the future, something for him to contemplate on rather than parotting phrases out of Mein Kampff.

Fred Baker posted:

"You had better wake up to the fact that following the Israeli bombing of Lebanon and the killing of innocent children, not to mention those afflicted for life, the whole country has gone anti-Semitic"

I concede that many, myself included, have little sympathy with the actions of the State of Israel. I completely disagree with your assertion that the "whole country has gone anti-Semetic". To blame a whole race (religion?) of people for the actions of some of their members is racist, and downright stupid. Thankfully, I don't think that unlike yourself Fred, the "whole country" is either of those things. Your argument is akin to blaming ALL Muslims for the attrocities of 7/7 and 9/11.

Thankfully, Britain has, in the main - there are exceptions I know - always been a country where tolerance towards all races and faith has been the norm. Long may that continue.

The interesting point of your post is that you do not deny being anti-Semetic. This is an admission of your own bigotted racism.

Israelis love to push out this word anti-Semitic. Why is there no anti-English, or anti-White, anti Anglo-Saxon, anti-Celtic, anti-Asian etc?
If being against whole sale bombing and slaughter makes me anti-Semitic or the profiteering from war makes me anti-Semitic then yes I am happy to be called that.

No Fred, from your earlier posts you are anti-Jewish. (Note your ridiculous comments about Michael Howard).

I am against wholesale bombing, and I am also against slaughter. I am against it irrespective of whether the perpetrators are Jewish, Christian, Hindu or Muslim.

I, however, do not attribute the actions of the State of Israel to all Jewish people. You clearly do, and that is not only offensive, it is patently stupid.

What a half witted post Fred.

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