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Have they been sitting on you again, editor?

I think some people are beginning to ask themselves what is the point of David Cameron.

Thank You Captain Mainwaring.

I think the Editor has simply kept sight of the fact that he is a Conservative, and wants us to win. We are still ahead in the polls, even at this more difficult time.

Also, we were never going to just coast into Downing Street. It's worth keeping some perspective on the situation.

Don't mention the war. They might not like it.

The simple answer to your question, jorgen, is no.

I have my differences with the leadership but I think Gordon Brown is very beatable and there are many Tory policies (eg on the family, leaving the EPP, borders policing, prisons, skills, opposing HIPS and parliamentary reform) that make me want a Cameron-led Conservative government.

And thank you, David :-)

Talk of CCHQ being close to panic is nonsense.

Hennessey appears to be dumbing down to Melissa Kite's level.

A very good summation by ConHome, much better than anything I have read in the MSM. Well done.

I remain concerned about the inexperience at CCHQ which needs some wiser heads.

That said the polls are showing the predicted (by polls) return of the anti-Blair Labour supporters from the LDs although Yougov consistently under reports the LD figs by several % points.

What we now have to see is how many Labour voters will leave them and go to the Conservatives because of the appointment of Brown/Scottish factor. Previous polls had predicted at least 3%. Therefore October should see the gap widened.

there isn't much point in taking headline polls too seriously until after the party conference season.

Exactly !

Just make sure there is no General Election between Conference 2007 and Conference 2008 if there is not a double-digit poll lead

Well I for one want us to win - and the country cannot - repeat cannnot- afford to be left for another 8 or so years with Gordon Brown at the helm.
I am completely behind DC. He is not perfect, but then none of us are. He is the best we have had since Maggie and he is overall doing a damn good job.


I think this country faces huge both new and developing problems. I am not sure that the Tory leadership with its pell mall rush for power recognises let alone cares about a lot of them. The shopping list of issues you cite when taken together is at once both admirable and frighteningly mundane in a one step forward ten steps back sense. The Tories' form to date gives me absolutely no confidence that they will stop and reverse the New Labour's perpetual revolution.

I can't say that I'm too worried about this poll. Even if we were 20% ahead, I'd still take it with a pinch of salt. That said, I can't help but think the grammar school rows have hurt us a bit. Hopefully, it will be yesterday's chip paper fairly soon.

I don't think the grammar schools or education
more generally is going to go away as a topic if more state schools move towards a lottery based system of selection. Whatever next?

It is quite clear that Dave has been comprehensively rumbled. Michael Howard was reviewing the papers on Andrew Marr's AM this Sunday and the barbed comments in his direction from other guests about the grammar schools fiasco and his refusal to say anything, he just gave a grimacing wincing smile, told us all. Brown will win the next election, which may well come as early as October this year. Then we really will need a rethink and it won't involve hugging hoodies, installing wind turbines or trashing middle class voters who want to do the best for their children.

Will the public go for someone who is principled, strong, decisive and honest, or someone who is charismatic?

That said, I don't think we should worry. As everyone keeps on saying, we have to wait until after conference to know what the true opinion is. Still, it's good to see the Lib Dems down so low.

Tried "charisma" with Blair. Wasn't impressed in the event. Now prefer solidity, in which aspect Brown prevails over Mr C. On the other hand, the latter prevails on policies, albeit needing a bit more structure & focus, e.g. as regards the intention to permit reintroduction of museum etc charges. What bright spark regarded this as a flaming arrow to add to the quiver of headline policies to seduce an eager nation? That should appeal to the less well off that you hope to persuade to vote for you -- yeah right!

No Bill ~ not BEGINNING to ask 'what is the point of David Cameron?' Some of us have been asking that question for the last 18 months


I know. I was against him before the last general election. But the scepticism is spreading.

We abandon many core principles in a mad search for votes, and fail to improve at all in the polls and also have a completely inadequate local election result, and you suggest we should not panic?

Actually I agree. We should calmly adopt a new strategy, perhaps even a new leader. We should think much more carefully about the swing voters we are trying to attract, not blindly appeal to a Notting Hill elite. Of course some policies should be put on the back burner, but we should remember we did not lose in 2001 and 2005 over policy.

The current approach is clearly not working. It is alienating core supporters without winning swing voters. It would not take much of a move to UKIP (probably under-recorded in this poll) for us actually to lose seats. And why should a small-c conservative care if we did?

Well, all 3 of the main parties seem to have something that unites- a 'disquiet' about the party leadership. We have good reason to be slightly wary of Cameron. It's a shame because he started off so well. A barnstorming conference election speech; a CLEAR commitment about the Conservative MEP grouping position in the EP;an effective Party re-branding ( the new logo); and a real substantive debate regarding Party policy. Then it virtually all comes undone by U-Turning over the EP positioning ( for a number of YEARS); making policy on 't hoof before policy reviews have reported back;and an unhealthy flirting with PC-ism. The funny thing is the 'errors' could have been avoided, and ALL the damage Cameron has inflicted on himself avoided too. Despite all this, there is no real appetite for a 'sucession' before the GE ( i suspect another lost opportunity). I'm still willing Cameron to 'pull himself' together but patience is not an infinite resource...

Aye, we're doomed.
Cpl Wilson

I wonder whether half of these post are from Labs or 'Kippers. Everyone agrees the grammar school row was ill-conceived and probably an accident but I defy anyone to say David Cameron has done a bad job. Though the Editor has always struck me as being on the critical side normally, I think the broad thrust of this piece is very accurate, although I do not agree that the results of the policy process will be a good thing (in the short term). I expect that every innovative policy will be met with a chorus of derision in some quarters and sadly this will entrench the perception that we are divided - a line of attack Gordon Brown realises will be fruitful. When NewLab came to power, it was because almost all of the Labour Party was behind the project. I fear it is going to take another defeat to get some of our backbenchers onside.

If the policy ideas are as daft as ending free museums I think we are in trouble, Mr Editor.

LoL. Completely delusional Tim! Perhaps you should rename the site OstrichHome.com. For 'bad' polls, it's always not this reason, not that reason, wait for YouGov etc etc. Embarrassing.

You want to discount polls which contain a 'new leader bounce' but discount the possibility that it might just be the Tories own 'new leader bounce' that has now dropped from the polls, making the current figures very reliable for the reasons you have previoulsy stated.

You do not help your chances of victory when you insist on burying your head in the sand and accepting what is plain for everyone else to see; the popularity of the Cameron Project is slipping away.

If you want to beat Labour, you have to stop acting like Dorothy by thinking that closing your eyes to reality and clicking the heels of your ruby slippers together will make your dreams come true.

As Bill Gates always says, a winner goes looking for the bad news not produces a lame excuse to ignore it. :-)

So Davis Davis and William Hague have been 'deployed' to tell everybody that Cameron has changed his mind and no longer wants to be the 'Heir to Blair'.

With great respect to these two serious grown-up politicians, this isn't their job. Cameron said it and if he's big enough to admit he made a collossal mistake he has to make the admission himself. Who knows? Maybe he'll do that tomorrow.

Strategic "u-turn"...leadership will be 'repositioned'..."Save Dave" operation..."close to panic" atmosphere.

Oh dear. Why not cut the cackle and call it a 'relaunch'?

This is definitely a moment for Private Fraser rather than Corporal Jones.

Just for the record, particularly considering how YouGov is the poll of preference here, here is the Electoral Calculus translation of this poll:

Labour: 332
Tories: 281
LibDems: 6

So Labour keep a majority, but surely the LibDems have a real cause to panic too.

Editor wrote:
"The one number particularly worthy of note in the YouGov poll was the 14% rating for Ming"

Lol Tim. You can't take the Libdem figure as 'worthy' but discount the Tory one!

This is bordering on satire.

Editor "The Chancellor leads on “sticking to his principles” (49%-19%); being "strong" (44%-11%); being "decisive" (38%-12%) and "honesty" (23%-18%). David Cameron's one advantage is on charisma where the Tory leader has a whopping 30% to 4% advantage."

Frankly the above figures are a testament to Labour's spin machine and Brown's honeymoon. Priority number one is to demolish Brown's figures. So to counter Brown's "Principles" lets have every Tory MP go on TV and remind people how Gordon has changed his Golden rule Umpteen times. Lets remind voters how strong Brown was in spending the past 13 years sulking like a spoilt brat. Equally how decisive he was in his failed coup and how that will translate to decisiveness as leader. In terms of honesty lets talk pensions, child tax credits, the last last budget etc etc.
I am sure CCHQ can think of better examples that chime with the population. One thing I wouldn't do is bang on about Brown's Scottishness but I would constantly say how unreasonable the West Lothian Question is with Scottish MPs voting to close English hospitals.

Brown is getting a bounce and he is trying to distance himself from Blair the priority is to negate the bounce and stop the distancing.

Finally as regards Grammar schools personally if I was Cameron I would devolve the decision making down to local authority's (localism at work)

"The one number particularly worthy of note in the YouGov poll was the 14% rating for Ming"

Possibly yet another reason for panic.

How low does LibDem support have to fall before Ming falls on his sword...

...or someone else's?

The Conservative Leadership need to wake up and grasp the reality. The core Conservative supporters do not like the way the Leadership is leading them.

I was at our annual Tory Summer Party on Friday, and one staunch supporter told the Treasurer that he will not be renewing his membership, and the Treasurer was heard to remark "I am getting worried", and so he should be. This was after hearing our Conservative MP's speech on how well they were doing and how they were going to beat Nu Lab. If he thinks he can do it without his core supporters he is in for a shock.

The latest polls, only weeks after excellent local election results, are absolutely disastrous. This government is held in contempt by large swathes of the electorate. People are fed up with more taxes, regulations and poor public services the nanny state. Yet we are only a couple points ahead in the polls.

My wife, her two sisters and brother went to a grammar school. The grammar school education enabled them to succeed in life. I know that three are staunch Tories. All three say that they will not vote Tory whilst Cameron. They will either abstain or vote for UKIP.

They say that the grammar school fiasco shows that Cameron and his colleagues are rich toffs who do not understand the real world.

My parents, Tory voters all their lives, are also fed up with Cameron. They have worked hard to pay off the mortgages and can now afford the holidays they dreamed of. They are livid that Cameron, with his three homes and huge family inheritance, wants to tax their air travel and holidays.

They are dismayed at the state of the country after 10 years of Blair and could not understand Osborne's ludicrous "heir to Blair" speech. My parents want a real Conservative government that will reverse Blairism not continue it.

Those who are turning against Cameron are the patriotic lower middle classes who were able to make more of their lives under Thatcher. They abandoned the party after the economic mismanagement of Nigel Lawson, negative equity and the ERM fiasco. Many abstained in 1997, 2001 and 2005. They were willing to give Cameron a chance but he is blowing it.

My local Conservative association, in a key target seat, has lost a third of its members in two years. That is the real Cameron effect. Time for a reality check!!

Getting away from the main topic The LibbyDems 'leader' - Ming - will only be despatched to the ether when the libbies have their very own 'Flash Gordon'! Who, oh who will be wearing the 'silver underwear'? My top tips- two '(in)famous' LibbyDem bloggers Stephen 'Don't mention bins' Tall, and Rob 'Ok totty, but no humour' Fenwick! And yes, my tongue is firmly in cheek.

If Cameron saves us from the reheated EU Constitution then a lot will be forgiven.

Quite right, Denis. The EU Constitution gives him a great opportunity to reenergise us grumblers!!!!

I was at a small 'YC reunion' dinner recently.

In the bar one of the guests, a wealthy businessman, kicked off with a remark about 'the schoolboys running the party'

Shaking their heads in disbelief, a former Tory MP and his wife piled in asking why, since 'that appalling man Blair' was on his way out, the Tory leadership saw fit to imitate him.

In order not to detract from the impact of these statements I deliberately voiced my agreement in uncharacteristically low-key terms.

The other guests, several of whom have voiced strong support for Cameron in the past, said absolutely nothing.

A very eloquent silence...

Grow up Simon and take your purile posts somewhere more suitable, e.g. Iain Fail's Diary. True Conservatives are paying a high price for Iain Fail's botched Davis campaign.

The reason for the panic at CCHQ is that members are leaving the party in droves. A quarter to a third since Cameron became leader is typical in most associations. It is not surprising that the party is seeking more taxpayer funding, especially as Coulson, Hilton, Bridges and Eustice are reportedly on huge six-figure salaries (much to the dismay of older members who struggle on their pensions).

Candidates in target seats are finding that there are not enough activists to help them. In many cases, activists were infuriated by the interference of CCHQ during the selection process, e.g. ruling out the previous PPC and other local candidates and insisting on A listers being interviewed instead. Many activists are "striking" in protest.

The party is literally withering and dying but no one at CCHQ seems to be doing anything about it. Another reality check!!

Steady the Buffs! Lets’s hold the line and remind ourselves and the world about David Cameron’s fantastic achievements!

(1) Heir to Blair!
(2) ‘A List’!!
(3) Rides bike to work!!!
(4) Rides bike to work followed by gas-guzzler!!!!
(5) New Tory ‘tree’ doodle unveiled!!!!!
(6) New Tory ‘tree’ doodle costs £40,000
(7) Hug a Hoodie!!!!!!!
(8) Hug a husky!!!!!!!!
(9) Love a Lout!!!!!!!!!
(10)Polly Toynbee greater than Churchill!!!!!!!!!!
(11)Sticks toy windmill on roof of house!!!!!!!!!!!
(12)Upsets neighbours by sticking windmill on roof of house!!!!!!!!!!!!
(13)Abandons windmill and moves out of neighbourhood!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Any more to add to this list?

The last month has highlighted some key weaknesses -- how well DC and his team address these issues over the summer will go a long way to deciding the next election.

That said, the sheer barking-at-the-moon insanity of some of the comments above illustrate why the party will cling to DC come what may.

A good analytical article, unfortunately spoiled by a bunch of loonies commenting on it.

One thing is clear, Cameron has taken a hit on strength and decisiveness because of the partial climbdown on grammars, he shouldn't have done so as strength and decisivenss are important. I hope that the next skirmish sees him stand his ground.

That said, the sheer barking-at-the-moon insanity of some of the comments above

Care to pick out two or three of the posts to which you refer and explain why you consider them to be 'barking'?

I just heard George Osborne on TV saying that there is absolutely no in-party problem over grammar schools because he has only had one letter on the subject.

As a fully-qualified mental health expert, you might possibly consider having a word with him at the same time.

Reality Check seems to have just outed themselves as a Lib Dem, I appreciate it must have been hard to keep up the pretence. Simon's comments on lib dem bloggers were rather funny I thought.

On a day when their support has gone even further to the cellar it's not surprising that the usual suspects here are even more frothing at the mouth.

How many more lib dems are there here? The really angry ones today I would think are more likely to be so.

So now we know.

I am "tyred" of Pirelli's left wing nonsense.

I have served my Party as an officer, policy adviser and candidate at local, regional and national level for 30 years. I now feel like a stranger in a Europhile social democratic party.

The Conservative Party has been re-captured by the establishment elite. It is like going back to the 1960s when the party was led by Harold MacMillan and Alex Douglas-Hume. They did nothing to reverse the socialism of the Atlee government. Cameron will do nothing to reverse Blairism. And that is modernisation?

Get a sense of humour 'reality check'! It's absolutely essential to have it in politics. One of the main reasons for it is to deal with to**ers/people like you. Oh, and btw: i like 'Liberace's' diary. Bless him! Not sure about his taste in some bloggers though.

"One thing is clear, Cameron has taken a hit on strength and decisiveness because of the partial climbdown on grammars, he shouldn't have done so as strength and decisivenss are important. I hope that the next skirmish sees him stand his ground."

Only if it's an issue worth standing his ground on. Strength is not the same thing as stubborness.

You seem to get angry at lib dem bashing my liberal friend.

I have never done anything apart from being supporti8ve of thae party, even under IDS when it was going in a diffferent direction.

Why can't you do the same?

That is, if it really is your party.

Sean Fear - I usually agreed with Mrs T but, when there were times that I didn't, I was glad that she was decisive and didn't flap around.

For Pirelli's benefit, I am not a Lib Dem and have been a Conservative Party activist and donor for 30 years.

I did not appreciate Simon's attempt to divert the thread from its main subject - Cameron's left wing leadership. I do not give a monkey's about Lib Dem bloggers. They are probably losers like Iain Fail in North Norfolk and the Davis campaign.

Dear me 'reality check' get your facts right. Start at the top of the topic and work your way down. Slowly. Far be it from me to quote an old lefty:- 'don't be a silly billy.'

RC - One thing I said in the last survey is that we should be bashing labour and lib dems much more here, I can't understand anyone who wants this to be a site that navel gazes. There is a government out there that deserves to be brought down and to attack anyone who turnes their fire on our enemies is suspect. There are many commenters who never refer these parties in negative terms, you have to wonder why.

I have never done anything apart from being supporti8ve of thae party, even under IDS when it was going in a diffferent direction

And how, Cardinal, do you suppose 'My party right or wrong' resonates with 'Modern Britain'?

This kind of old-fashioned tribalism is one of the things that really is dying on its feet these days, and that's one change that is a change for the better.

I have always put my country first and my party a long way behind. Political parties are mere tools that assist us to achieve the ideological ends of our choice.

I appreciate, however, that this view will not be shared by everybody.

Seems you have more in common with the old dear with the blue rinse than you might like to suppose.

Let's get back to my main issue - the state of the party. Membership is collapsing all around the country.

The current Tory lead reflects the pathetic performance of Ming Campbell. If Campbell is replaced by a charismatic and clever successor (e.g. Nick Clegg or Chris Huhne), the Tory lead will evaporate.

Cameron should be 10 points clear in the polls given Labour's and the Lib Dem's problems. His problem is that he cannot attract the C1s and C2s.

Brown will win the next election, which may well come as early as October this year.

He won't have an Election if Blair signs an EU Constitution......but he will if he decides to call a Referendum and combine it with an Election

TT - I appreciate that some would call my views on loyalty old fashioned but that doesn't bother me. When I compare any conservative's ideas to labour there is no contest and if any rocking of the boat results in their gaining or keeping power I see that as a betrayal of the country.

Do you really think that principled opposition which ruins the country is better than compromised loyalty?

Reality check: I'm close to deleting your comments. There's a personal meanness to them.

The trouble is that Cameron's "decision" on grammar schools is illogical.

If academic selection at 11 has become "unfair" because nowadays poor but potentially bright children have already fallen behind wealthier but intrinsically
less bright children by the age of 3, then the solution to that problem must be sought in those earlier years, and it must not involve trying to even things up
by deliberately disadvantaging bright middle class children after the age of 11.

We've already seen this with Brown laying into Oxbridge over "elitism" when
the problems they face in finding decent entrants from state schools are not
of their making, but have been generated within those schools and before the children get to those schools.

Not that I'm in favour of snatching new-born babies away from their mothers
and putting them in state creches to start their political indoctrination at the earliest possible age, but clearly there is a real problem with some children
being disadvantaged by their backgrounds more or less from the start.

In many cases it would help if the mother had the financial, practical and emotional support of a husband, but obviously nobody wants to say that.

Reality check's point is like reality check himself- pointless. What is he getting at? Since when does party membership equal success in General Elections? The party only has itself to blame about declining membership. I recall when Bliar got elected as Labour leader there were masses of adverts in the press about joining Labour. The same should have been done when DC himself was elected. I recall the cost was lowered too. Do local associations go out in electoral wards and actively engage people about joining the party? Do they heck. The remedy to stemming declining membership is obvious- actively canvass in 'safe seats' then campaign as a collective unit from outlying areas in 'marginals'. And a good advertising campaign about joining the Party across the media would not go amiss either. Btw- hasn't RC hijacked the main topic also from the main point (ie) the YG poll)? To**er.

My response to Pirelli's loyalty challenge is that Cameron's policies that are similar those of Labour and the Lib Dems that I want to bash on this site.

Cameron offers no real alternative to Blairism or even Brownism. Traditional Conservative supporters, such as in my family, are appalled and are leaving the Party after decades of support.

All the associations in my area are losing members at an unsustainable rate. Taxpayers' money may compensate for loss of donation income but the party "generals" cannot win battles without "infantry" on the ground.

Simon: You'll be the next to be deleted. Putting asterisks in your post does not excuse abuse.

Telling off accepted Ed! You can delete the asterixes!

CP: we should be bashing labour and lib dems much more here

No, Cameron is supposed to bash Labour and Lib Dems. He is not supposed to take their policies, nor to bash Conservative voters.

Simon asked "Do local associations go out in electoral wards and actively engage people about joining the party? Do they heck."

In my area there are three target seats. Activists are out campaigning every week.

I did not hijack the thread- see my comment about the party merely taking votes from the Lib Dems due to its poor Leader. Labour is back at the level of support it got at the general election in 2005.

If pointing out the failings of Cameron and his cronies is "mean", I am guilty as charged.

This discussion is a nonsense. We are at 37pc. Hardly changed. Talk of mountains and molehills.

Approaching this from a different angle, I was very much moved by the Falklands memorials earlier this week, both at the memories of the event but also at the memories of what once was. As I walked outside however I was taken by how much things have changed and how different the challenges that we now face are.

What is it that we are conserving? Our heritage, our culture and our principles I would hope but, in that changing world, what that means to the next generations is something different. They know little of the Falklands and of the dark days of the seventies, for example, what they need to be assured of is our conservation of resources, of our liberties and of our sense of fair play (often termed equality nowadays).

I just feel that some are trying to cling on to an unattainable past, conservatism is more dynamic than that and I rather feel that there is more of it in the party now than a few years ago.

I've been in an elegiac mood this week but we owe future generations something better than the past.

Yougov accurately predicted the result of the last general election. It is the pollster that I trust more than the others.

The Conservatives have dropped several points, in several polls, in just a few weeks after the local elections. Swing voters are returning to Labour and we can thank Uncle Ming for the tiny poll lead.

This has happened when Labour's spin machine has been concentrating on Blair's departure, Brown's future Premiership and the Deputy Leadership. Cameron has had an easy ride in the last few weeks and is slipping in the polls.

CCHQ knows that Brown will turn the spin machine on Cameron as soon as he is PM. If Brown can gain a "honeymoon" poll lead by the autumn, he could call an early general election.

The unions will find the necessary cash and activists in return for legislative concessions from Brown. The problem for Cameron is that local Conservative parties are in crisis. There are fewer activists than ever, especially in target seats. Labour could out-campaign the Conservatives and win a fourth term.

Felicity, the molehill is becoming a mountain. The Conservatives do not have equipment or the sherpas to climb it.

I'm not that fussed about the polling data at present. All of the pollsters questioned during this week said that they won't be useful for a while (CR aren't worthy of comment due to their poor track record).

One factor which a lot of people tend to forget when talking about an Autumn election is:
a) Labour just lost loads of councillors, and consequently won't have as many people to knock on doors. Without foot soldiers Labour won't stand a chance.
b) Labour struggled to find enough money to fund this leadership election, does anyone seriously think that they can scrape together enough cash for a decent general election campaign?
c) Polling is just a measure of popular opinion, it doesn't take into account where the support lies. 37% can win an election if the support lies in the right places, Labour has shown us that. Brown isn't going to chance his dream to get a real mandate when he doesn't need to.

Reading some of the comments, I despair that there are certain elements in the party who are just content to fight on the policies/issues that lost us the last 2 elections - I rejoined the party because Cameron is leading it- I am one of the few who was saying he would be leader immediately before the 2005 Election. What his knockers have to recognise and accept is that this country has changed socially and whether we like it or not, we have to change as well.

It's been a bad couple of months. But then again, February and March looked like landslide territory. It's worth noting that the polling on May 3rd was actually at the higher range of these spot polls. Maybe the Shy Tory Factor still endures.

Cameron does need to get his act together on public relations. CCHQ is criminally sloppy. The grass roots also need to actually read some policies before going off on their reactionary diatribes. That means you too, Tim.

Take the issue of Europe. It was a Conservative that took us into the EC in the first place. Labour wanted us out. Margaret Thatcher signed the Single European Act. Michael Foot promised withdrawal. John Major signed the Maastricht Treaty. William Hague took the party into the alliance with the federalists in Brussels in the first place. The idea that people have joined the Conservative party because of its Eurosceptic credentials seems painfully ignorant to me. Cammy seems like one of the more Eurosceptic leaders we've had of late. I'm not keen on the EU either, but the reactionary anti-EU extremists constantly trying to bring down the party remind me more of Militant Tendency.

Josh is mistaken. It was Chris Patten, when Party Chairman under John Major, who took the Conservatives (the European Democrats in the European Parliament) into an alliance with the Europeam Peopple's Party. William Hague merely maintained the status quo.

My Conservative MP has said that he wants to woo the Lib/Dims because without their support the Tories cannot gain power. Power seems to be the only thing he is bothered about, not policies.

He recently stood up at a meeting and told elderly Tories that they were no longer needed. Well I've news for him, it is these self same elderly Tories who run the branches, hold coffee mornings, recruit members, raise money for the Party. If he thinks the "new Lib/dim recruits will help when it comes to the election he's in for a shock.

This used to be one of the safest Tory seats in the country, and now it is a marginal, and this isn't the only Constituency which has lost it's safe seat status.

Chris, Labour's majority is effectively reduced to about 40, with boundary changes. It's possible they can pick up a couple of seats from the Lib Dems, but Lib Dem MPs are very good at clinging on, even if their party is doing badly overall.

There are seats in the South which I just can't see Labour holding under any circumstances like Watford, Wansdyke, the Swindons, the Kent marginals, Battersea etc. So, I think the best that Labour could hope for is a single-figure majority.

I apologise for the typos above. Michael Miller and Josh seem to think that Cameron's opponents are social reactionaries. That is not the case. Many are liberal free marketeers who believe that Cameron is taking the Party back to the elitist paternalism of the fifties, sixties and early seventies.

I voted for Cameron in the hope that he would take the party in a libertarian direction. Davis was too authoritarian for me(and his campaign was pathetic too). In practice, Cameron has embraced the mixed economy, statist environmentalism and political correctness.

I used to be an enthusistic supporter of the European Union. I now oppose it, not for nationalistic reasons but because it is corrupt, protectionist and anti-democratic. It is the pro-EU fanatics who are the true authoritarians and reactionaries.

Cameron's supporters, like the EU fanatics, have resorted to smearing their opponents as reactionary nationalists. Coincidence? Non!

Sean Fear,
Thats pretty much my understanding of the situation. There are a good few seats which although labour now are definitely going to change hands come what may. This is why I can't imagine Gordon risking it.

Not sure what will happen with Watford as it's now a threeway. It's possible that the Lib Dems could take it, but Clare Ward might still slip through if the Conservatives also do well in gaining swing voters.

We should pick up Winchester with little effort, Oaten has only held the seat due to a strong personal vote. His antics last year will also have damaged the Lib Dem's standing there.

I'm pretty confident that Caroline Noakes can win Southampton North and Romsey, but I know Labour activists campaigned for the Lib Dems there last time just to keep us out.

Eastleigh should be marginal... doesn't look like it's going to stay that way unless we get a candidate in there quick. No idea if Conor Burns is going for third time lucky.

Come on Ed and Dep Ed

Many have said worse - not least TomTom. But you do not seem to get upset if you agreer with them!

Is your real problem that you have been made to lool stupid?

Sorry - that should be "look stupid". Too much wine with lunch methinks.

I'm hardly pro-EU. I wouldn't shed a tear if we withdrew tomorrow. But the "grass roots" panning Cammy because he isn't giving the institution the finger from day one is just non-sensical.

Aye, we're doomed.
Cpl Wilson

Posted by: Not So Great Gatsby

You should watch the series before you confuse Sgt Wilson with Pte Frazer. The latter was a lugubrious Scotsman and undertaker - the former was a Deputy Bank Manager.....and his expression was We're all doomed....aye

Not a great poll but then after the last few weeks we should not be suprised. But where is the Labour bounce? The deputy leadership campaign is almost over and Brown has done his tour of Britain. I suppose the best that can be said is that there have been no huge gaffes. Not much enthusiasm either. I really think we should be quite pleased with this. Has Brown any rabbits to pull out of the hat?

My guess, malcolm, is that Brown is waiting until he is Number Ten. That will be the period when it'll be important to hold our nerve as a party.

The big issue that no one is discussing is the negative Ming factor. The Lib Dem MPs will not tolerate this poor polling performance for much longer. Ming will be gone by the end of the year unless there is a speedy improvement.

The real polling contest will be Brown versus Cameron versus Clegg/Huhne or even Davey. The Lib Dems would regain supporters from both the Conservatives and Labour.

The Brown bounce is very likely. He would rather fight Ming. Why is no one talking about a general election in October?

I just heard George Osborne on TV saying that there is absolutely no in-party problem over grammar schools because he has only had one letter on the subject.

That would not surprise me. He is MP for Tatton with wards like Knutsford, Alderley Edge, Mobberley, Wilmlsow - this is one of the wealthiest areas in Britain after Kensington & Chelsea and Westminister - I should think these parents are using fee-paying schools whether Manchester Grammar School or The King's School in Macclesfield but hardly likely that they are using State Schools at all.

"But the "grass roots" panning Cammy because he isn't giving the institution the finger from day one is just non-sensical."

It's better to try and clear up the spilled milk, rather than endlessly crying about it.

"But the "grass roots" panning Cammy because he isn't giving the institution the finger from day one is just non-sensical."

"The finger" is not required, just criticism of EU failures. There is no comment from cameron, Hague or other frontbenchers about the EU plan to adopt the Constitution as a treaty.

Graham Brady, former Shadow Europe Minister, is a vocal opponent of Euro-federalism. Was that the real reason he was pushed out?

The Editor rightly drew attention to the difference between Kirkhope's press release and his speech.

This week's policy discussion has been dominated by Clarke and Heseltine, members of Cameron's Foreign Policy Council.

The reality is that we are back to Major's "heart of EU" policy. I hope, but doubt, that Cameron will call for a referndum on the new constitutional treaty. If he does not, many MPs and most activists will be furious. This will be the first true test of Cameron's leadership skills.

Labour's coffers are empty at the moment, they won't go to the country until they've raised some money

The unions will cough up the cash. Brown could give them more taxpayers' cash through the trade union modernisation scam.

The Lib Dems will be hard up if they have to cough up the £2.5 million they received from a convicted fraudster.

It would not be a surprise to me if Brown announced the general election at the Labour conference. It could cause the Conservatives to cancel their conference in Blackpool. Labour needs the Blackpool seats but had suffered huge losses in the local elections.

Reality check,
I'd agree with you that the unions would cough up the cash if it were any time but the present. With the Cash for Honours investigation still going on, and investigations into the Smith Institute becoming a distinct possibility I don't think Gordon is going to want to add another corruption charge to this governments already tainted reputation any time soon.

More depressing than the polls are those who are taking an almost rabid delight in a less than fantastic poll. Perhaps Labour's right and the party doesn't want to win enough yet - or perhaps the paleo-conservatives on this thread represent the irrelevant UKIP more than the Tory Party.

Reality Check@16:09

David Cameron has already called for a referendum if any proposal transfers more power to the EU last Sunday.

William Hague called for a it in response to Margaret Becketts statement a week ago Thursday in parliament.

George Osborne has reiterated it today on the politics show.

Cameron has repeatedly made it clear that he is against the constitution.

Labour just lost loads of councillors, and consequently won't have as many people to knock on doors.

Is this observation based upon actual experience of cynical and self-serving behaviour by ex-councillors?

If so, I hope that experience does not relate to the Conservative Party.

Perhaps I am being overly idealistic but I would expect that disappointed former councillors of all parties would still be prepared to knock on doors for their parliamentary candidates.

After all, many of them may wish to be selected again in the future.

By combining a Referendum with a General Election the government can let the Conservatives and UKIP fight it out....after all the Euro Elections are on 11 June 2009 so the General Election can be combined with that, or with a Referendum.......

Traditional Tory,
I haven't done research into this personally, but I've heard this point reiterated time and time again on this site by various posters.

Over the years it has become apparent that in order to even have a shot at winning the parliamentary seat you need to have a decent base of local councillors. With a councillor you not only get their efforts, but the efforts of their spouse and sometimes their children or friends.

Micheal Howard was good on the Marr show this morning as a paper reviewer saying in his gravest tones that the planned EU constitution/treaty is a "shocking deceit" as revealed by the leaked email from Angela Merkel. Saved Nigel Farage from having to say it. I hope Dave gets round to making his position clear, otherwise this post from someone earlier is bang on: "I now feel like a stranger in a Europhile social democratic party."

It's true that local councillors, together with their friends and families form a cadre of support in active and fully viable political associations.

And it's also true that in areas where there have been no councillors elected for years, associations become moribund. This, of course, can be a chicken and egg process.

But that doesn't mean that you can, in effect, stand the facts on their head and argue that most councillors who lose their seats stomp off into the sunset and never work for the party again.

Yes there are a minority of people who behave exactly like that, but I'll let you into a secret.

They're usually the ones who did damn all in the first place and expected everyone else to do all the work for them.

Dave Wilson@18:00:

See my post@17:26

Yeah, but is he really angry about it?

"The Conservative Party has been re-captured by the establishment elite. It is like going back to the 1960s when the party was led by Harold MacMillan and Alex Douglas-Hume."

That is unfair: the first people to bash Cameron were as a rule from "the establishment". Sir Nicholas Soames all but finished off his political career with his comments on Cameron ("weirdo ideas" etc...).
The older London Westminster and Kensington gentlemen have been not-so-privately muttering about how much they dislike Cameron since the A-List affair, since they heard for example that cameron was blanking his old boss norman lamont, and since their hero Tebbit started making them pay attention to what Cameron was about.
The regulars at the Carlton Club dislike Cameron as well.
It is only a very small clique of fashionistas and their female hangers on who fall all over him.
Anyway the Notting Hill set don't exist, the people pointed to are just a bunch of jounalists and boyish politicians who take themselves very seriously and have hyped themselves up.

Comments have touched on membership but membership of politicial parties has been steadily declining for years barring the odd spike here and there.

Lets be honest, lots of people joined the Conservatives years ago because they were generally aspirational and wanted to meet people and get married. In the country the young farmers was the other organisation they joined. Now people do lots of other things and younger people are not party politically orientated in the same way.

Most of the decline in our membership is because that older group (who joined socially) are now sadly passing away being in their 80s and older.

There are no simple magic solutions to raising membership and in fact maybe we should be asking what we really mean and what of membership. There are other ways we can get activists and money without people necessarily joining the party,


What Matt Wright says is of course true, but in the long run it could endanger the Conservative Party's dominance on the right.

If the party losed its 'social' membership and sinks towards the numerical level of, say, UKIP or the BNP, it will be seen as just another competing groupuscule on the right, and treated accordingly.

However, aren't we missing the point here?

We've been told for months that 'The Cameron Effect' was going to produced a huge upsurge in membership.

Has this turned out to be all smoke and mirrors?

I'm not convinced any leader of any mainstream party nowadays is going to produce massive and sustainable upsurges in their party membership. I've always taken talk of big rises in membership with a pinch of salt. We still do appear to have quite a lot more members that the other parties and from local knowledge this does appear to stack up. On some of the other comments re Labour, don't forget they are struggling on the ground.

Losing councillors is a problem as we know from the past and from talking to Labour councillors and activists I know that they are short of money and very disillusioned. They accept that the pendulum is going our way generally. So we must not be tempted to turn our fire on oursleves,


Firstly, apologies - this is going to range a little off-topic, but I think it's important.

There are other ways we can get activists and money without people necessarily joining the party

I agree, Matt - and I think that the fact that we will probably focus on recruiting both members and registered supportes is a step forward. Some people will pay an annual subscription, some might give a one-off donation to support a local campaign we're doing, some people are willing to deliver a couple of hundred leaflets where they live, while some just want to be kept well-informed on what we're up to. Maybe it reflects our lives, but people's involvement in politics also needs to become more flexible.

Our internal processes and systems probably haven't been as good as they could be at capturing and supporting this in recent years, but we're getting better. While membership is absolutely vital, members would probably be the first to acknowledge how when we talk about building a wider coalition, we mean in terms of practical, financial and logistical support as well as electoral votes.

"We abandon many core principles in a mad search for votes, and fail to improve at all in the polls and also have a completely inadequate local election result, and you suggest we should not panic?" - William MacDougall.

Inadequate local election results? I don't think you can call 911 gains "inadequate"

Brown will win the next election, which may well come as early as October this year.
It won't, probably Labour support will rise over the summer, but Gordon Brown doesn't want to win an election (especially the first one with him as leader) with a reduced majority or no majority at all - he will want to see Labour win a 4th election with more than 35% or 36% of the vote, what he will be looking for is a victory with a sharply increased Labour vote in absolute terms and closer to the percentage vote of 2001 in a situation in which whether the Conservatives get a third of the vote, 35% of the vote or even close to 40% of the vote that Labour will still win, and if that happens he will make endless speeches about how Labour have come through fire and survived, and that the Conservative Party while remaining a threat have failed again, but that the country is safe with Labour - something along those lines.

Whereas an Autumn election in a situation in which Labour is apparently still not fully recovered to where it was before 2003, with still a lot to do in Iraq and so the potential of an issue that the Liberal Democrats can exploit and maybe even hold onto the support that they gained off Labour in 2005, which would leave Labour relying on the Conservatives failing to make much progress votewise in order for them to win again.

Even Harold Wilson didn't always succeed in early elections - the 1970 General Election which the Conservatives won unexpectedly and the October 1974 General Election despite Edward Heath being still Conservative leader only had limited success - in fact the only time that such a strategy of holding an early election has worked since 1945 for a government has been for Harold Wilson while Edward Heath was Conservative leader, because it worked people assume that somehow Harold Wilson was some kind of elections genius when in fact he might just have been lucky that he wasn't faced by someone more electable.

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