« Cameron in Darfur | Main | Afghanistan, Darfur and Trident dominate PMQs »


At PMQ David Cameron boxed Tony Blair into endorsing Gordon Brown, and that can only mean one thing: Cameron has decided that Brown is the one he wants to fight. I think he’s right in that decision.

Brown has the Y factor. For some reason he just does not appeal.

Especially if they manage to get an announcement on troop withdrawal at the point that Brown takes over. With him in Iraq a few days back suggesting it was possible, it could all too easily happen.

We have thought for a long time that Brown is our dream opponent:

Tories for Gordon

When I talk to my mother - a lifelong Tory voter who bemoans the fact that Blair 'joined the wrong party' - and my father - a lifelong Tory voter who didn't vote in 1997, voted Lab in 2001 ("they haven't been that bad") and didn't vote again in 2005 - I am struck by their passionate loathing of Brown. My mum is impressed with cameron, and my father will start voting for the tories again, but the possibility of a Brown premiership has almost persuaded them to join the Tories for the first time ever. Their friends are exactly the same - and many of them live in key West Midlands marginals like Worcester, Stourbridge, and Hereford.

But i agree with Tim that many of these predictions are meaningless until it actually happens.

I don't take the polls terribly seriously at this stage (though it is perhaps strange that a party without any policies should be consistently in the lead!) but I am always surprised at the huge disparity in the LibDem figures.
The ICM poll shows 22% (unchanged), whereas ConHome's Poll of polls show 18% (up 0.5%).
Is it just that the ICM poll is seriously (and consistently)out or is there some other reason?

I am just looking forward to 3 years of this jock as PM. It will drive the English into voting Conservative. Afterall Ming is the other alternative.

Maybe you need some combination of the Labour and LibDem percentages to take into account the inevitable tactical voting "to keep the Tory out". I recently posted about the Reading Borough Council by-election in Tilehurst, when the LibDems distributed leaflets in which Martin Salter, the Labour MP for Reading West, recommended voting for the LibDem candidate. Officially there was a 3% swing from Con to LibDem, but in fact the movement was from Lab to LibDem.

Reading Borough, Tilehurst:
Lib Dem 919, Con 586, Lab 317, Green 79, Roman Party 21
(May 2006: Lib Dem 1023, Con 757, Lab 550, Green 142)
Lib Dem hold
Swing 3.2% Con to Lib Dem.

The Labour share of the total votes cast dropped from 22% to 16%, LibDem share rose from 41% to 48%, Tory share was stable at 30 - 31%.

"though it is perhaps strange that a party without any policies should be consistently in the lead!" - Not at all David, it is most probably why we are in the lead in the largely meaningless polls. Without policies there is very little for Labour and the liberal media to attack us on, whilst the Government, which does have to have policies and actually do things, is always going to be in the firing line.

Oh and hf it isn't necessarily the case that 3 years of Brown will drive the people to vote Conservative, it may just as possibly drive them to vote for the apathy party, or god help us the BNP, instead.

I think Brown could flop. The Scots aspect allied to the sheer fatigue with Labour could certainly mean that there is no improvement after Blair's departure and, indeed, the reverse. However, the notion that the Conservatives will benefit is flawed.

The LibDems are appreciably more successful recently in doing this in swathes of Urban England, Scotland and Wales. In addition, Cameron is just not playing well in many stronger Conservative areas outside of London. It is the latter that the London-based media misses. Dave should be equally as worried as Gordon and Ming. The real winners are the Apathy Party.

Brown may not be likeable, appealing or english but don't underestimate him.

Remember that it is Brown that brought down Tony Blair, not Major or Hague or Duncan Smith or Howard.

Brown the easiest target? Dangerous fallacy. How about this for a timetabled scenario.
May 2007 Brown takes over.
Dec 2007 Announces troop withdrawals from Iraq
Jan 2008 Interest rate cut - house prices increase, every one feels good
April 2008 Some tax cuts in budget
May 2008 Calls general election

What most people want is anybody who isn't Blair. Brown qualifies.

Assuming a Brown succession, surely what we need is a concerted effort from day 1 to portray him as one of the most destructive British politicians ever, and to do so as far as possible by reference to how much worse off, upon close examination, he has made the average voter. The pension grab, the sale of gold reserves at a market low, and the encouragement of a national credit card debt culture are merely three examples.

Remember that it is Brown that brought down Tony Blair...

Except he hasn't. A week is a long time and the Fat Lady hasn't even warmed-up.

"Remember that it is Brown that brought down Tony Blair"

Wrong, it is Cameron that has brought Blair to his current low point. We are a credible opposition once more, we are looking distinctly electable and it is putting the wind up all the Labour MPs in the marginal seats. Labour are rattled because they know they'll face a much more serious challenge next time round and they are starting to come apart under the pressure.

Brown has played his usual cowardly game, without the nerve to try to force Blair's hand.

Presumably the reason Brown is not throwing his toys out of the pram is that Blair can serve a useful flak-taking purpose while they try to engineer an Iraq qithdrawal - I notice Margaret Beckett is trailing the possibility now as well. This is dangerous for us, as it could lead to a big 'Brown bounce'.

It's going to be a general election, not a beauty parade.

Unless people are really convinced that they are going to be better off under Cameron than Brown they're not going to turn Labour out.

That's what Irwin Stelzer said in yesterday's Telegraph, and when you read Osborne's limpwristed response today you know he's right.

We need a radical taxcutting agenda to deliver victory and we sure aren't going to get it with Dave and George.

I agree with you, JO'sS - though others will no doubt trot out the mantra that "they didn't vote for it the last two times, so why should they now?". (I don't actually remember us being all that radical in 2001 or 2005 - only a certain O Letwin going into purdah for daring to suggest that we might be and H Flight being sacked for a similar offence).

The tax burden is surely too high, on both individuals and corporations. However, it's individuals that vote and some part of Labour's residual popularity must be down to the fact that people are not yet feeling the pinch. This in turn must be due in some measure to the extraordinary credit boom of the last few years, to which George Osborne rightly drew attention.

The question is, when will the bubble burst?

Jamie Oliver's Sausage, absolutely however, I think CCHQs Spin Machine is working better than New Labour's in practically all areas.

Branding Brown as a tax and spender, a cold Scottish man with no real feelings is actually beginning to take hold, while nothing Labour have done so far has had any effect on Cameron.

Tax cuts, labour party, Gordon Brown? You must be kidding yourself. The conservatives have cornered the market, by promising tax simplification and business, inheritance cuts. If Mr. Brown wants to attempt income tax cuts instead we can easily claim that he is doing it for the general election only, and endangering public services. GB wouldn't take that risk.

The longer Blair stays in his third term the better, David Cameron is looking the natural successor to him, not Gordon Brown, and it would be better to have an election before Gordon can implement his own "rebranding".

Gordon's big mistake in future pre-election bribes was the one-off Council Tax reduction last time. Too clever and people remember.

Jaz, you say that Cameron is looking the natural successor to Blair. Given that the public are rightly fed up of Blair does it not mean that they would want something different. Is it not worth considering that maybe just maybe we are gearing ourselves to fight the last election?

>>The longer Blair stays in his third term the better, David Cameron is looking the natural successor to him, not Gordon Brown<<

Firstly that's no recommendation for Cameron and secondly, "natural" or otherwise, Gordon Brown is probably going to be the successor to Blair. Barring some major disaster which results in an early election Cameron most certainly will not be Blair's successor.

>>and it would be better to have an election before Gordon can implement his own "rebranding".<<

Well that's not up to us, is it?

"Assuming a Brown succession, surely what we need is a concerted effort from day 1 to portray him as one of the most destructive British politicians ever, and to do so as far as possible by reference to how much worse off, upon close examination, he has made the average voter."

Gordon Brown - destroyer of pensions

Additionally, manufacturing, certainly, is in the midst of Brown's recession - with the rest of the economy perilously close to joining it

The scenario outlined by Cobbett Rides Again at 12.52 is of course eminently possible, though an interest rate cut would be a too obvious election bribe if Brown forced it on to the Bank.
I prefer David Cooper's approach of portraying him as Incapability Brown, who has been deliberately or unwittingly destructive.
Stark, cold facts and figures should be paraded, not highly emotive character assassination.
At the same time, it is to be hoped that the tories will bring out a complete range of properly thought out and costed policies - that cohere - to address the real problems of the day that affect the average person.

If the Tory leadership carry on such nonsense as the latest "Polly Toynbee better than Churchill" nonsense Brown will certainly win the next election.

The Guardian has been pushing this story, no doubt with the connivance of the Notting Hill people. I just read the article on the Guardian website, where I also found this.

"Disquiet with Mr Cameron's centre-ground strategy is quietly growing. Outside the big cities, some MPs report, Tory activists privately hate it.

Only this week, Lord (Maurice) Saatchi joined the chorus of old lags like Normans Tebbit and Lamont in warning against "the pragmatism of the centre ground" - and how it may foster cynicism among voters.

A veteran Labour MP says: "I've decided that Cameron is not the Tory Neil Kinnock, he's their fourth Michael Foot."

Remember that it is Brown that brought down Tony Blair, not Major or Hague or Duncan Smith or Howard.
Tony Blair announced in 2004 that the last General Election would be his last as leader, actually at the time of Tony Blair's and Gordon Brown's meeting in 1994 when they decided who would run it was much said that the agreement was that Tony Blair would stand down after 10 years - maybe the journalists reporting this had been right all along, I always supposed it was merely speculation on their part, or maybe they gave the idea to Tony Blair?

If the opinion polls are correct then it is contrary to what I would be expecting, I would be expecting the Cash For Honours Scandal to be impacting badly on all 3 main parties and on current parliamentary parties generally, but especially on the main 2 parties, and for the 3 party vote to be at an all time vote, maybe people are pretty cynical about what they would do too, if it was correct I wouldn't see anything particularily exciting in this latest poll, governing parties especially after a long time of government in mid-term almost would generally be expected to be running into difficulties.

It is no single individual politician, either Labour or Tory, who has brought down Blair, not that he's actually down and out as yet. It is the Iraq war and his subsequent unveiling as the liar some of us always knew him to be that has done for him, not Brown Cameron or anyone else. In fact the one person who has done the most to destroy the Blair image in the minds of the electorate is Blair himself.

I think Gordon Brown has zero 'appeal', even 'sex appeal'.

We will have a strong set of radical policies well before the next General Election and a media savvy Leader to go with it.

Gordon Brown will have a dismal personal track record, a Party that has run out of energy and a public that don't fancy him!

Will we? I wonder.

But I see you are a parliamentary candidate Mrs Leadsom, so you have to say that.

I don't think that being a Parliamentary Candidate means I have to comment.

On this issue I have commented because there are few others on this post recognising that personal appeal counts a great deal these days in public life.

Gordon Brown doesn't have it.

With regard to our policies, I think it goes without saying, looking at the huge effort going into the policy review groups (I was closely involved with the Tax Reform Commission, so know how much work went into that one)that we will have the benefit of some real creative thinking from some smart people.

I don't think John Irvine suggested that you HAVE to comment, Andrea. I think what he meant was that, when you do comment, salt must be applied given your candidature.

Unless, of course, you have the courage to speak out when you disagree with the CCHQ line, in which case I applaud you. But writing as I do from the South Downs, I would suggest you keep shtum. Few MPs were as (apparently) secure in their constituencies as Howard Flight, and we saw what Michael Howard and his kitchen cabinet, which included Cameron, did to him.

We have thought for a long time that Brown is our dream opponent
Surely the real disaster for Labour would be John McDonnell who would lead them to certain defeat, but it will be Gordon Brown unless he drops dead or is involved in some major scandal, I suppose if for some reason he was unable to then Alastair Darling, Hilary Benn, Patricia Hewitt, Peter Hain and Douglas Alexander would all be possible successors - but so long as Gordon Brown is in the running it seems unlikely that any cabinet ministers will even stand, even Charles Clarke admits that Gordon Brown is almost certain to be the next Prime Minister.

However a fall in the Labour vote due to an unpopular leader at this moment might well not go over to the Conservatives - if Labour were to lose another million votes they might well go to the Liberal Democrats rather than the Conservatives, if they were to lose a couple of million and they were to go to the Liberal Democrats then there would be the potential for it to end up being a Liberal Democrat-Conservative contest rather than a Labour-Conservative one.

I am disappointed in the direction taken by Cameron. In the dog days of the Howard leadership I joined the Tory party, hoping for a party that would reflect my own view, that of the need for smaller and less government.

Such a party would by defintion favour tax cuts over the expansion of the state in whatever area of life, and would by definition be anti-EU given that the euro quangocracy is the antithesis of democracy.

Why have the Tories never made hay with the FACT that the recession following "black Wednesday" was purely the fault of europhilism over sensible (Friedmanite) economics. The reason I am eurosceptic is because the euro-gravy train ambitions of the likes of Ken Clarke are the reason Liebour came to power at all.

Instead the Tories now offer Labour-Lite, in the way that Blair was Tory-Lite at that time.

There is no need to scrabble for power by throwing away principle. The New Liebour state WILL collapse under the weight of its own bureaucracy, and cannot keep borrowing against future growth to finance profligate spending now. At that point sensible balanced books (may one say sustainable) policies will have to return, and Joe Public will have to live within his means, state wise as well as privately.

I have not rejoined the Party, and won't even vote that next election, given the lack of choice. Maybe I will vote UKIP in protest.

Why are you bemoaning the fact Mr Brown hails from 'North of the Border'? I thought your party was supposed to still be called (although you are too embarrassed to use the full title) the Conservative and Unionist Party! Is this yet another Tory principle that has been dropped?

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker