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The problem is staunch Tories not turning up to vote whilst they hold their judgement on Dave - they need more to satisfy them, and quickly.

the problem about getting excited about local by elections is there are too few of them to make any analysis useful.

We'll need to wait until the local elections in May to learn the true picture, all we do know is that in this years locals we gained hundreds of seats won control of many more councils and nationally polled 40% of the vote.

This is a very important area, one I thought should be a main aspect that this site should have said were in its top 12 of "DC must tackle".

We have to be honest. Our by election campaigning machinery and tactics are as inadequate for most local elections as they clearly have been for all westminster by elections going back many years.

By elections are different to the regular elections. The campaigning is more intensive and other parties do pour in resources to make gains. For important local and all westminster by elections Rennard and co move in.

By contrast our local Associations seem left to wither on the vine by a wholly inadequate regional/CCHQ by election support system.
Both are in 80% of cases just not fit for purpose.

So what exactly has Francis Maude done to improve them? OK he is only a part timer, and Rennard is full time (and not an MP), but why is this issue not in the top of his in tray?

Seems "Cameron Fatigue" is setting in already.

The next chapter for our party is likely to be headed "Every revolution devours its own children"

I don't think Local Election Results really have much baring on national Elections, nor do EU elections, in Local Elections the governing party usually does very badly especially when it's the Labour Party - the Conservative Party has made huge gains since 1997 but with no sign of any translation into national results. The Liberal Democrats may well be the second party of Local Government soon but there is no sign of them getting up to the 30% nationallly that they have got in Local Elections, results are distorted because so many Labour voters simply aren't turning up in Local Elections or other elections except for Devolved or General Elections - Labour can get 20% in a Local or EU election and 40% in a following General Election.

Erm, this post is all wrong. We are doing just fine in local *by-elections*. Our losses are coming from defections to the LibDems etc.

Sean Fear shows us with a cracking nine point vote share lead.

Sam. The post that you are referring to states:

"However, analysis of the voting figures confirms that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are faring quite well, and Labour are faring very badly."

So the answer to "How are we doing in local by-elections?" is "Just fine, thanks. And looking forward to May."

"don't think Local Election Results really have much baring on national Elections," said Yetanotheranon.

That is completely wrong. The chances of winning a seat depend to a large extent on the size of the activist and councillor base in that constituency.

These people are essential to winning. The LDs understand that this is one of the basic rules of gaining MPs.

I'm presuming the defections of our councillors to the LD's is proof of us having a right wing agenda which is so extreme they now feel the LDs better represent them... or does the logic only apply in the opposite, so that people can bash Cameron?

Let's face it you can derive very little from local election results, especially as the non politically affiliated portion of the electorate often vote differently locally than nationally (and not just for tactical purposes!).

Local elections do have a baring on national elections, in that you can build up a high profile, and a big activist base, in a constituency, if you have good local election results. Conversely, a party that does badly in local elections will find it that bit harder to motivate its supporters in national elections.

If you look at the 36 Parliamentary seats we gained in 2005, almost all of them were places where we had done well in local elections.

Loads of panic on this site about defections to UKIP - which don't amount to a row of beans.

I'm pleased to see the moderate side of the party flex its muscles too. For year one, Cameron was going in the right direction. I would hate to see him do a U-turn now.

Cameron's problem is that Conservatives aren't a One Tory party. The factions are unreconcilable. "And" is a load of tosh.

Time to decide whether we're going to put UKIP or Lib Dems out of business. Personally, I hope it's the Lib Dems. Anything else would be electoral suicide.

Does "One Nation" in fact mean "No Nation?"

The comment that staunch Tories are not turning out to vote because they are still judging the performance of "Dave" is rather like the British refusing to fight Hitler because they are unsure of their leader Churchill.
The attitude of some Tories since 1979 astonishes me, winge at the leader(s), refuse to vote, change sides like Quislings etc.et. and all the while a New Labour party under the most disgraceful, discredited and dishonest leader in my living memory continues the destruction of the country we love.
Just about every aspect of traditional British life has been abused or destroyed at their hands. Rural Britain, pensioners, house of lords,respect for the police (I don,t belive a word they say anymore), trial by jury, etc.etc.
Blair and his gang treat their own party with utter contempt and ignore the Tories because they are so busy fighting each other that he can get away with "murder". Its true the Tories have been more united under Dave, but each sign of carping remarks etc. is a victory for them.
I look at Blair, Brown, Prescott, Reid etc. on the Government front bench and one word describes them all "Thugs". They might call themselves New Labour and be so nice an friendly to the "middle classes" but they are the same Britain and British hating people they always were.
Tories have a very simple choice, argue amongst themselves and let these Vandals continue to wreck our country, or get out and vote at every opportunity(locally and nationally) and send each and every one of the socialists back to the gutter where they belong.
I,m a Tory because I believe in freedom.
I hate tyranny and despots, thats why I will contiue to fight socialists until my last breath.

I know we're talking about the LibDems but it's a "bearing" not a "baring" :)

BTW, marvelous post John Findlater. Hear hear.

But despite the post remember Sean's analysis shows us doing well in local elections with a 9% lead.

Well said John, the best bit of commom sense i've read in a long time!

The comment that staunch Tories are not turning out to vote because they are still judging the performance of "Dave" is rather like the British refusing to fight Hitler because they are unsure of their leader Churchill.

I fail to see the analogy. It is true in May 1940 Churchill was NOT Conservative Party Leader, Chamberlain was and Churchill was loathed by much of the Conservative Party and only prime Minister because Labour refused to serve under Lord Halifax.

The fact is when you have A conservative Council propped up by LibDems which is barely competent, what do you do ? In this area Conservatives lost seats last time as the BNP vote surged to 27.5% in those wards contested. It should get higher next time around since the Council Leader is so far out of step with the Conservative MP, who himself is more in tune with the electorate.

Just for fun, if you enter Sean Fear's vote share in local elections into Baxter, you get:

Con: 374
Lab: 118
Lib: 125

Con Maj 98!

Now that I could live with.

(and yes of course I understand that local results can't be extrapolated to general, far less local by-elections, but still, shows that we are doing very well).

Hear, hear Mr Findlater, I concur wholeheartedly. Infighting leads to oblivion, we shouldn't let those who imagine a future golden dawn if the party splits lead us astray.

"The comment that staunch Tories are not turning out to vote because they are still judging the performance of "Dave" is rather like the British refusing to fight Hitler because they are unsure of their leader Churchill."

What a ridiculous statement.

Churchill was a gra=eat national leader and a great Tory.

Cameron is a socialist nobody.

It's only fair to point out that defecting councillors aren't all going in one direction. In the last month we've had an independent and a Lib Dem councillor join us in DCT.

I'm not sure local elections tell us all that much - after all we were winning a number of local by-elections in the run up to 1997 and it didn't do us too much good.

John Findlater is right to the extent that we should want to see the back of this government. That is why I shall certainly vote Conservative at the next general election, unless I find myself in a Blaenau Gwent type situation, in a constituency where only an independent has a realistic chance of beating Labour.

Everything that John Findlater says about this government is right. Nor do I think that revolutionary defeatism will achieve anything.

And yet, and yet (as Johan Hari would say) I do have my doubts about the willingness of our leadership to do anything to reverse the damage that Labour have done.

Sean, take heart:

reform the EU with the Czechs (see pronouncements in Brussels recently)
support marriage through the tax system
build prisons
end early release
elect local police sherrifs
cut business taxation
end the Royal Perogative w/respect to war
Change the school syllabus to include languages and history
Streaming by ability within schools
End local authority power to build more comprehensive schools
All new schools to be trust schools with freedom and parental choice
Expulsion of disruptive pupils to be made easier
Government time for a free-vote bill reversing the hunting ban
Support for local charities to provide welfare instead of the state
Wholesale reform of incapacity benefit

That is just so far... take heart and vote Tory!

Did I mention

Restrictions on immigration to both take account of "social cohesion" and also to have a substantially lower overall limit

Border police force, not merely putting uniforms on customs officers

An end to ID cards and databases and lengthy detention without trial

intercept evidence to be allowed to be used against terrorists

Support for mothers who stay at home with their children, instead of all support being channeled to mothers who work - supporting choice for mothers so stay at home mothers also get tax breaks, not just all Sure Start

all these are Tory policy and I'm sure I can think of many more

and... Deportation of preachers of hate, promised by Labour but never delivered

John Irvine "Churchill was a gra=eat national leader and a great Tory. Cameron is a socialist nobody."

Churchill was also earlier in his life a Liberal MP.

Cameron is not a socialist, but will you believe facts or prefer chucking mud at the present Tory Leadership?

Tory T
You shouldn't have listed all those you'll have the whingers spilling their coffee

Excellent Tory T. Its good to have a list of embryo policies that will be ready by the time of the general election.
We will always have nay sayers and whingers though, it goes with our territory, sadly. Sort of built into our constitution on Nov 12th 1867. Whingers against positives if you like.
I do feel that we are coping with them more positively now, they are whinging on this website, instead of down the pub! We c an argue back on here.
Over the next two years, DC will be stamping his authority on the party, and finalising policy. I shall look forward to the slight change of emphasis in the whinging.

Totally agree with you Tory T. One other policy to add is to allow Councils to re-instate Grammar schools. In areas, such as part of Worcestershire, where they are proposing reverting to a two school (Junior and Secondary) system from the three school (Junior,Middle and Senior) system this would be particularly relevant. Going back to the subject of by-elections, we are gaining seats in them, not losing them. The problem appears to be with the rather odd decision of a select few to defect to the Lib Dems. I call it odd as certainly in the area where I live, border of Stratford-Upon-Avon and Warwick district councils, all the recent by-elections have been wards held by Lib Dems, some for twenty years, and we are winning them.

Defections seem to be having the most effect mostly to the Lib/Dems. I wonder if our recent rise to greater local government control has meant that some Conservative councillors who thought they were born to rule can't take the new responsibilities or,perhaps, too few Conservative councilors know what they are there for?

Over the next two years, DC will be stamping his authority on the party,

That should be most interesting !

I offered to work for the party when I renewed my subs quite a long time ago. I have heard nothing since. It is a Lab/ Con marginal in the midlands.

Given the level of mismanagement, IN JUST ABOUT EVERY MINISTRY, dishonesty, spin, sleaze and arrogance of this government, I am astonished that they get any votes at all! I think that a lot of people vote labour because anything else would seem to be letting their 'class' down - as they see it. In other words they pay no attention to the actual occupants of the labour benches in the HofC's. How on earth do educate them beyond that?

I think that a lot of people vote labour because anything else would seem to be letting their 'class' down

You view things too positively Patsy - people vote AGAINST not FOR.............it just happens that many Labour voters are disgusted but remember that VAT on gas and lelectricity is 5% instead of 17.5% because Labour won in 1997...............little things like that frighten them that with the Conservatives things could be worse......but most hate the state of the country

I offered to work for the party when I renewed my subs quite a long time ago. I have heard nothing since. It is a Lab/ Con marginal in the midlands.

"Just wondering", I have just emailed you regarding this. It is great to have someone with enthusiasm on board, and it is completely unacceptable that your offer has been ignored by your local Party, especially in a target marginal.

I'm a Conservative activist myself, based in the E. Mids (South Holland & The Deepings to be precise) and if you send me your details and your location by return I will contact your Association and Campaign Director and do whatever I can to ensure that your generous offer is taken up. Marginal seats can't afford to be ignoring talented help.

defections are hardly uncommon in local government, and would be a totally absurd criteria by which to judge how any party are doing nationally.

In may I was one of fifty four Conservatives elected to Bexley council, which started polling day as a labour council with a majority of 1 and ended it a conservative council with a majority of 45, can't say David cameron did us any harm.

A wonderful preview of the front page of the Mail on Sunday on Iain Dale's site

Labour internal memo reveals they are rubbish, losing on every issue to the Tories and we are bound to win the next election!

Written by a top aide at no. 10 it also says they cannot win with Brown

"The memo, written in the past few weeks, is the most damaging Government leak in years. It was written by one of the Prime Minister’s closest advisers and seen by a handful of senior figures, including Mr Blair. It makes a nonsense of public claims by Labour that Mr Blair is planning a smooth transition to Mr Brown next June or July as part of a carefully co-ordinated strategy to secure a fourth successive Election victory.

It also flatly contradicts Mr Blair’s public statements dismissing Mr Cameron as a lightweight with no chance of winning power. In private, Mr Blair’s inner circle is in a blind panic over the march of Mr Cameron’s Conservatives, and they don’t think Mr Brown is any match for him. The memo freely acknowledges Tory gains in the polls since Mr Cameron replaced Michael Howard, with big leads on tax, crime and immigration.

‘Labour no longer has a measurable lead on any major issue,’ it states. And it confirms Opposition claims that the Government has failed to live up to its promises and that it is haemorrhaging support as a result of the Iraq War. ‘The Government is seen as a shambles. It is not just Labour internal conflicts but a lack of grip and competence on key issues. Iraq is a potent and raw issue, so is the NHS, immigration and crime. We have lost control of the big issues and are not delivering,’ the memo states.

Nor is the trend likely to change. ‘This view is deeply held and entering the bones of the electorate. The public are clearly preparing to shift to the Conservatives if they prove themselves credible and likable. It would be totally wrong to assume this is some kind of mid-term setback. It is not. It is a long-term cyclical shift towards an increasingly acceptable Opposition. People who voted Labour in 2005 are on their way across.’

Mr Blair’s advisers believe Mr Brown’s position as Labour heir apparent is making things worse. ‘Compounding this is an erosion in Gordon Brown’s position against David Cameron,’ the memo says. Extraordinarily, the document reveals that No10 actively contemplated dumping Mr Brown in favour of a younger successor. ‘We can rally round...or we can go for total renewal, moving to a new generation, effectively forming a new government while still in power.’ It does not name the potential alternative successors, but it is no secret that Mr Blair once hoped Environment Secretary David Miliband would mount a challenge against Mr Brown. Similarly, despite being slightly older than Mr Brown, Education Secretary Alan Johnson, a relative Cabinet newcomer, was also seen as a way of providing a ‘break with the past’."

Labour internal memo reveals they are rubbish, losing on every issue to the Tories and we are bound to win the next election!

That's a good boost along the way, Tory T - I wouldn't say "bound to", though, as a lot still rides on the actions of candidates, campaign teams and the good efforts of activists such as you and I...

I realised that in my earlier post I didn't address the main topic of the thread on local by-elections (just wanted to help a fellow Conservative activist) so let me do that now.

First of all, I gather that Paul Marland has been working hard on recruiting the Party's by-election task force. My understanding is that the Task Force will go in to critical local government by-elections as well parliamentary by-elections. Quite apart from anything else this will help keep their hand in for parliamentary elections! I hope and understand that the team will include senior activists with experience in not just assisting but also running campaigns. Local by-elections I have worked on (I try to get around as many as possible) have been distinctly variable in the methods used and their embrace of modern campaigning techniques.

There was a recent by-election for East Lindsey DC in my old home town of Skegness a few weeks ago. The result was a Labour hold, a disappointment to me given that the two Labour seats in that ward were unopposed in '03, with LAB on about 350, CON on about 250 and UKIP on 150 if \i recall. I've received a bit of a second-hand commentary from that ward, as my father happens to live there. There was some canvassing, no tellers on the polling stations and as far as I know no GOTV operation that he ws aware of from any party as an identified CON supporter. Turnout ws 20%, and differential matters.

I don't say that as a critcism of my colleagues in Boston & Skegness. For once I didn't get to help on this one myself, and I'm sure they would kill for the resources to mount full voter ID and GOTV programmes for every by-election. My point is more that we all have a responsibility to try harder to provide campaign support to local government by-elections, especially when they are in target parliamentary constituencies or affect local authority control.

The Dover change was because we deselected the defector for non-attendance and not fulfilling his councillor role and the public know it.

He would still be a Conservative if he had been reselected to stand again in May.The Liberals are more embarassed than us.

He is no loss , just makes political workings a little difficult.

Paul Watkins, Council Leader

Update from North Wales where we have had excellent by-election results.
We took overall control of Prestatyn Town Council last month by winning South West ward. We were on 37%, Lab on 25% Liberals were in 4th place! We won Kinmel Bay by-election on similar figures and Libs down to 5th place. During the year we have won 5 out of 6 by-elections. No sign of Cons staying at home,


Excellent news Matt Wright, congratulations to you and your team for working so hard!

It is wonderful if we can make progress in Wales.

Cllr Watkins thank you, sounds more like 'deselection' than 'defection'. Tories expect their councillors to work hard for the public.

Excellent news Matt Wright, congratulations to you and your team for working so hard!

Seconded! It's great if we can make by-election gains now ahead as a springboard to next year's elections, and it sounds like Conservatives are on the rise in N. Wales!

Great news Matt, and well done to the local party activists for all their hard work.

"Labour internal memo reveals they are rubbish, losing on every issue to the Tories and we are bound to win the next election!"

You are a fool if you believe that Tory T.

Care to tell us why you are posting under a false email address?

John, everybody has the right to post pseudonymously including email addressses.

The memo comes from Labour's chief internal pollster Philip Gould, a man with access to hard data and facts. I would expect a ukipper to try and discount it. Facts are something with which your party, membership <10k and falling, has but a glancing acquaintance.

The memo comes from Labour's chief internal pollster Philip Gould, a man with access to hard data and facts.

That is neither proven nor admitted. Even if it were - so what? On the evidence of polls throughout this year Cameron is unlikely to win the next general election.

The most obvious motive for the leaking of this document is a desperate last-ditch attempt to damage Brown.

Tory T, you may be entitled to post under an anonymous ID and a false email address, but if you do so we are entitled to draw several possible conclusions, none favourable to you.

I would suggest that the most obvious explanation is that you are simultaneously posting under a different ID using your genuine email address.

As an unashamed opponent of Cameron who holds office in my local association I have valid reasons for using a pseudonym which you, as a slavish party-liner, cannot hide behind.

I also use a genuine email address.

pshaw I think is the phrase I'm looking for.

The latest most credible poll, ICM, has a Tory lead of 8%. Frankly, for us to win the next election given the boundaries would be an astounding achievement. As it is we are already well on course to be the largest party in a new parliament and I expect our position to improve further after next May's locals.

Do you recall the polls right before the '06 May elections? They showed us with a 2-3% lead. In the event we won 316 extra seats, Labour lost 319, LibDems net plus - was it two? And our vote share in the actual election was 40%.

Hard concrete evidence like that should give you great cause for optimism if you are in fact a Conservative.

And if you want more recent evidence, let's go back full circle to the subject of the thread - how well we are currently doing in local by-elections:

"that since the start of September the Conservatives have made a net gain of 5 seats from 74 principal authority local by-elections, and that the national equivalent vote shares are Con 39%, LD 30%, Lab 24%"

Nine percent lead over the LibDems, not Labour.

If you attack another ConservativeHome visitor once more, 'Tory Loyalist', I will not hesitate to ban you and delete your comments. The same goes for anyone else who plays the person and not the ball.

The latest most credible poll, ICM, has a Tory lead of 8%

Actually the latest poll shows Cameron's lead plummeting to 1% but naturally that would not be "credible", would it?

Apart from one or two borderline cases, opinion on CH is clearly split between those who wish Cameron to remain as leader regardless of the consequences and those of us who want to actually win the next election under a credible leader such as Hague, Davis or Fox.

If you seek evidence that Cameron is a controversial, divisive, and ultimately disastrous choice of leader, you need look no further than this blog.

Tory T is clearly obsessed with the “menace” of BNP and UKIP so let me add my analysis, based on many years of observing the political scene.

The Tory Party is dominated by a minority of careerists and a majority of low-level semi-committed elderly supporters. Ideologues and idealists scarcely register. As a result the continuing decline in numbers of the many and “opportunities” for the few poses very real problems for the party.

The much smaller membership bases of UKIP, BNP and even the LibDems contain a much higher proportion of “idealists”. In the case of the BNP they are surprisingly young. Memberships may wax and wane but the minor parties will always be there and as the old “man-and-boy” loyalties of the past fade into oblivion one can see the predominance of the Tory Party on the right gradually fading away. Eventually it may become just one among a myriad of new right-wing and centre-right parties.

The Labour Party, still with its TU connections - albeit reduced in influence - is a special case.

The BNP scores in largely working-class constituencies where immigration is a key issue. These constituencies usually return Labour MPs, so the BNP are not a threat at parliamentary level. However it is often the few prosperous “white flight” wards which are most strongly influenced by the BNP and there, at local government level, the Tories may lose to BNP.

Elsewhere, in wards where the Tories have little hope of election, they do stand to be humiliated by the BNP.

UKIP – seen as a one issue party - threatens at European level due to the voting system. At local level their presence scarcely registers but at parliamentary level UKIP votes as low as 3% probably deprived Tories of seats at the last election. It has been suggested that the Conservatives lost 27 seats in this way.

That’s why “Tory” T’s braying triumphalism is as hollow as it is ugly.

The BNP are full of idealists?

Now I've heard everything.

Populus is a credible poll and the shrinking there was disappointing; however seasoned poll watchers know it is the pollster most favourable to Labour. We will see. I anticipate large gains in the May local elections.

I stopped posting for a few days because I was disgusted by anti-semitic abuse emanating from leftists posing as Tories.

I decided to catch up on a few posts today and was astounded by the Editor's attack on Tory Loyalist.

Having read Tory T's posts he is the one who should be threatened with a ban. I hold no brief at all for the BNP but Tory T's comments were thoroughly offensive.

Yes I wonder how many leftists have been banned from this site. I have been informed of several sound Tories including the long-time party worker Mrs Christina Speight who have been banned purely for telling the truth.

Meanwhile vile anti-Israel posts are permitted from leftists who are clearly not Tories at all.

I am surprised but not shocked by the news from Gosport. I was YC Chairman there for several years and was a good friend of Cllr. Mark Hook. I have knocked on many many doors for that man and really must get back in contact with him.

You could not meet a more dedicated Conservative, and he seems to have acted (again) entirely on principle and conviction. The council might be a notional loss on paper, but we will be back soon and even stronger.

No-one here will know of the hilarious day about 10 years ago when the wife of the then LibDem ChiefExec (technically a neutral civil servant but you could paint him yellow) of Gosport Council who had been caught having an affair decided that the best form of revenge was driving his car up the pedestrianised street and through the glass doors of the Council office.

I was there that day and it was priceless.

Mr. Green, I am sure that if you have an issue with some of the posts on this site then the Editor will give you a full refund of your subscription.

Those of us who have paid the Gold Membership fee will carry on posting whatever nonsense we like.

A couple of weeks ago I won a by-election in Aldridge North & Walsall Wood on Walsall Metropolitain Borough Council with a 17.9% swing to the Conservatives, despite a strong campaign by the BNP - with all five parties standing. So its not all gloomy!

Congratulations, Cllr Flower. Good result and I'm sure your ward will be well served.

Mark Hook screwed up in Gosport by introducing parking charges in the town.

There was a huge campaign against him. The local paper repeatedly showed his photo as Captaiin Hook with a pirates hat and a hook for a hand.

The charges are coming off now but the Tories shafted themselves.

What, a campaign in the Gosport edition of the Portsmouth rag "The News"? The paper which would be delighted to have exciting headlines as "Lightbulb Still On" and "Tractor Stuck In Mud"? I'd be more worried by people waving daffodils at me.

When I was politically active there it was hard to keep *out* of the paper. On a slow news day (every day) then my campaign for/against local speed bollards / cameras / humps / zebra crossings / squirrels always made at worst page5.

They once ran a campaign against Gosport Cllr. Stephen Philpott because he was/is a football fan and came back from a match in Europe (this is comfortably 10 years ago, maybe more) when some hooligans kicked off on the ferry. The paper tried to tar him with the same brush - guilty by association.

"The News" is the lowest form of lefty gutter press.

You call youself "In The Know"? You know nothing about Gosport politics.

Remove all parking charges, retain yellow lines only where safety demands and sack the wardens.

It's the kind of vote-winning freedom charter all genuine Tories would warm to.

I doubt that it would appeal to the Cameroon control freaks somehow.

I would be interested to know whether this includes te results from local Scottish by-elections which have not been quite so faourable to us over the past few months

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