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The full results will make for interesting reading, as ever. Do you think that Cameron's leadership will ever allow the Shadow Cabinet to improve their 'dunno ratings' or is this a trend we are likely to see continuing?

What dreadful pictures of all of them (via the link).

It's been one of my continuing friendly criticisms of the CCHQ media operation, Mike, but I hope so.

There are some talented people here who know their briefs well, but the current "cult of leadership" means they don't get the chance to make big speeches.

If Cameron made less big speeches and policy announcements, they would seem more prestigious. If the shadow cabinet made more, it might help change the public attitude of "that Cameron seems nice but his Party is still the same".

Perhaps having them their when Cameron makes a speech or announcement about their portfolio might help.

We seem to have developed a cult of leadership now so I think it's fairly irrelvent to 98% of the population what minor Shadow Cabinet ministers are doing. The only time they'll hear about them is if they get something wrong like the Letwin £20 nillion tax cut and him having to hide for instance.

The current image with which the public is being presented is David Cameron plus a bunch of "faceless men"

This "leader-cult" presentation appears to be a deliberate move by the spin doctors.

Of course several members of the Shadow Cabinet (eg Hague) do have a public persona but I'm willing to bet that most electors aren't even aware he's still on board.

A one-product strategy is a dangerous strategy.

I wonder, Deputy Editor, to what extent Mr Cameron insists on any speech by members of his Cabinet being cleared by him in advance. It seems to me that this is the likely explanation for the dearth of speeches from the Shadow Cabinet. It all smacks of control-freakery.

Remember that the sample of people who answered this poll are some of the very most politically aware of people.I suspect that were a totally random sample of the general public to be taken the 'dunno' factor for most members of the Shadow Cabinet would be 90% plus.
I agree with the Deputy Editor ,this is a very sorry state of affairs.Firstly because unlike Labour we have some very able people in the Shadow Cabinet and perhaps more importantly leaders who are thought to have a good team around them ie George Bush in 2000 or Mrs Thatcher in 1979 are much more electorally attractive.

That's very true, Malcolm, and it also raises the question as to how deep the "Cameron Factor" runs with the public.

What do they really think of David Cameron? I'm not sure of the answers but the most obvious "He's new" is going to have a very short shelf life.

Possibly some people would say he's better looking than his predecessor but I'll bet they couldn't even name Michael Howard if pressed.

If the party fail to study the public's reations to Cameron in depth bearing in mind that the depth in question may be very shallow, they will only have themselves to blame if everything turns pear-shaped.

"A one-product strategy is a dangerous strategy."

Wise words.

It’s no surprise that in the era of I’m a Celebrity…, Big Brother, X-Factor, Pop Idol, etc – TV coverage of politics is increasingly becoming about personalities. It is an unavoidable reality that a large part of the next election will be a personal popularity contest between Cameron and Brown.

However, Labour in 97 Labour were smarter than a one product strategy. They gave us the Sapphire and Steel double act.

So I agree with our media strategy that our limited coverage should be focussed on the leadership, but that should include the Shadow Chancellor. Personally I like George Osborne and I think the media are warm to him too, but he currently lacks gravitas. We can’t replace him because another scalp for Brown would be a disaster for us. Osborne needs to up his game and really project himself as having a serious vision for our economy.

Who will be Brown’s lieutenant? Balls?

Maybe we are being a little hard on some of these shadow ministers but really the issue is that in a busy media world we are only ever going to really project a few names strongly. It would be better to focus all on our energies on a couple of policy areas and always have 2 shadow ministers alongside Cameron so that we project a samll powerful team ready to lead the country on the main issues of coencern (eg health and crime). I think this should be a very important part of stage 2 of the Cameron project,


"Struggling most are the shadow cabinet ministers with the portfolios for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland."

Do you think that's because only members in Scotland, Wales and (to a lesser extent, obviously) Northern Ireland tend to be interested in these portfolios, and - in the case of Scotland and Wales - we have alternative figureheads in the form of Annabel Goldie and Nick Bourne?

The situation probably isn't helped by ConservativeHome referring to Cheryl Gillan as MP for Chesham and Amersham instead of Shadow Welsh Secretary when she does appear in the news.

"The environment may have been a dominant issue for the Tories over the last year but 49% of Tories have no opinion of Peter Ainsworth. The Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has been eclipsed by David Cameron's leadership on this issue."

Yes, Peter Ainsworth has been overshadowed somewhat, and not only by David Cameron, but also by John Gummer and Zac Goldsmith who are heading the environmental policy group (or 'quality of life', I can't recall the proper title). I'm all for taking a stronger interest in green issues, but I hope it won't come at the expense of cabinet government.

As Sam rightly says the Shadow Cabinet is effectively sidelined by Cameron. I can see why they do it but it isnt the greatest votes of confidence in Shadow Cabinet members when they arent wanted to speak on their respective areas.

Cameron needs to stop standing in his Cabinet members and let them speak by themselves. I vote very dissatisfied for all of them because I never hear anything from them. Cameron shoves his views in instead and all it does is smother other Shadow Cabinet members. It cant help morale if senior Tories arent able to speak on their own areas because Camerons got in first.

Blimey I'm in trouble, I didn't immediately recall what the likes of Mr Mundell did. I think some swotting up for me via the handy link you provided. ;) :D

Mark McCartney January 08 09:43
"What do they [the public] really think of David Cameron?"

This particular member of the public sees a vigorous, personable young man whose very inexperience offers the prospect of a brave new future, untainted by the sleaze and incompetence of the present Adninistration.

... Just like our initial impression of Blair in '97, so forgive me for a touch of aged world-weariness. I want to see something tangible in the way of heartfelt philosophy in the Tories policy offerings, not the current fumbling around in the hopes of eventually cobbling together a package that might scrape together enough votes to gain power. Mr Cameron monopolizes the stage because Mr Hilton can only work one glove puppet at a time. The whole team needs to be freed for action in their own right.

That said, it is evident from my brief sojourn on this site that the Tories are not yet showing indications of being electable, so I'll not waste your or my time any more.

Best of luck - you'll need it!

The problem is that the Conservative Party hasn't set out any firm policies yet, as all the traditional Conservative values are currently being revalued. The Party has to keep the cabinet members away from the journalists until firm policies has been decided. It must be frustrating for the Cabinet members.

"Best of luck - you'll need it!"

Thanks Ken. But if you have a true interest in Tories being electable (and I believe they are already the most electable of the parties on offer) why not contribute rather than carp, help rather than hinder, add rather than subtract?

The policies for the subjects they cover are invisible, so it's no surprise few people have heard of them. If that's how unknown many are to we political anoraks who use blogs, just think how invisible they are to the voters out there...

Sadly this is all too true. It's no good criticising people for "carping" when they are merely pointing out that the emperor has a distinct lack of clothes.

Various "commission" reports have flashed in the pan and been forgotten. All that anybody will recall is that they were all over the place politically speaking.

As a TV comedian recently pointed out we run the risk of becoming the "sayanythingtowin" party.

Ian, I should have been clearer that it was the "it is evident from my brief sojourn on this site that the Tories are not yet showing indications of being electable" that irked me. That's not moaning about the "emperor", it's dissing the entire population of this site.

in my view the following need to work the tv studios etc relentlessly: Lansley, Willets, Osborne, Spelman, Villiers, Davis and Hague

It's no shame to say you don't know when that happens be the case

It's also no surprise that many people don't know about Welsh issues etc to give an informed opinion on the matter

Congratulations to your respondents for their honesty and commonsense

It seems a pity, Valedictoryan, that you should show such sensitivity: Ken Stevens has made some observations that I (and, I suspect, others) find all too true. There is everything to be said for the occasional visitor having his say, particularly if such comments find their way through to Mr Cameron's coterie.

I agree with Justin at 0840 - with the possible exceptions of Spellman & Mitchell, the rest of the phots via the link - to the Party's website in fact! - are all dreadful. Is it too much to ask our image-conscious team that they put out images that are rather more impressive?

That aside, it will be a significant boost both to DC's credibility and the Party's if proactive steps are taken to ensure that at least half a dozen Shadow Cabinet members have serious substantial and well-known public profiles in their own right.

Definitely a need for Caroline Spelman to be working the studios more, given the enormous scope to capitalise on the ever increasing discontent over council tax - home improvement snoopers, threatened rubbish collection quotas and fees, and so on.

Likewise Chris Grayling. Given the fact that there are now 130,000 signatures on the Downing Street petition against road pricing and vehicle tracking, with over 5 weeks to go before closure, isn't there just as much scope to make something of this, even if it called for a U-turn higher up? Any Labour allegation of opportunism would fade quickly, but clear opposition to Big Brother bleeding the motorist dry would pay dividends in the long term.

"It seems a pity, Valedictoryan, that you should show such sensitivity"

Stick your neck in.

I tick the "Don't Know" box when I have no opinion to give either way on their output. I know who they are, and what they are meant to be doing, but the questionnaire does not give me an option to say that I neither approve nor disapprove of their performance. Given the trappist silence of some of them, this is a box I will doubtless keep ticking.

Realise this might sound like an anti-DC point but until we have clear policies or clarity of message I'd personally prefer we only put up spokespeople when they have a point to make - too often our Shadow minister makes an appearance on the media and are un-prepared for the obvious questions -"what would you do then?" being the most obvious. So we are better putting up David Davis, David Cameron, George Osborne, William Hague who can speak with some authorithy.

Chris Grayling will be a lamb to the slaughter as all the green questions are put to him - so if you are against road pricing what would you do to.... Caroline Spellman "so what do you propose to do to bring down council tax?".

I am quite at ease with the strategy of waiting until Brown before putting our policies out there but the cost of that is that many of the shadow cabinet are circumscribed in what they can say and are better working with the working parties/commissions rather than working the media circuit.

That doesn't though explain why Liam Fox is failing to make more of an impact on Armed Forces (£2.3bn refurbishing the MOD while service families are in poor accomodation, Army in Afghanistan & Iraq poorly equipped while literally fighting for their lives, talk of mothballing half the fleet and delaying promotions etc.)

I am sure that if you had a poll of Conservatives in Wales you would have had a very different response in respect of Cheryl.
She has done and is doing a tremendous amount for Wales and is one of the driving forces that is seeing the resurgence of Conservatives throughout Wales.
I will of course remind you of all my postings about Wales when we win in May.

The Shadow Cabinet suffer from the same problem as most of the party leadership; they seem unable to say anything in a way that the media think worthwhile reporting. Most press releases seem to use the same sort of language a "Sir Humphrey" would use and this does not resonate with most voters and gives the party an old fashioned stuffy image.

Worse, attacks on Labour just seem to be superficial and obvious. So while there is a small score for a day, the issue is soon forgotten. E.G. the recent issues about military and prison funding. As well is highlighting the imediate, Shadow Cabinet views should go on to the fundementals that both problems are down to a Chancellor only interested in headlines operating almost entirely by shortermism which is mostly focused on the vast bulk of party supporters and M.P.s who are not interested in the military or sorting out criminals. Presumable this would be a no no since it would mean Fox and Davis are straying off their remit.

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