« Voters see Conservative Party as a drag on Cameron's moderation | Main | Telegraph touts Hague as Party Chairman »


One way to attack Brown is to go on the record about the millions that have been wasted since his appointment as chancellor. This has included heavy taxes on the public and failure to reduce tax overall. In fact the budget is a prime example. I thought the parties reaction (99 Red ballons)was a nice media stunt and thought it worked quite well.

key point: Attack Brown's record on spending, especially on the NHS and the pension system.

Brown needs to be attacked on his record imho and his closeness to Blair's record.

I agree with you that we have to be careful not to reinforce Brown’s “strong” image. Attacks on the “clunking fist” could easily be counterproductive.

I disagree that Brown closeness to Blair is a weakness. Blair is widely seen as having been very successful, albeit sometimes disliked and distrusted.

I believe that Brown’s greatest weakness is that he hides himself and his opinions – currently behind the race for deputy. He must be the most private PM we've ever been about to have.

That's the second time today that I've read an editorial with Grant Shapps' name somehow converted to Schapps.

Schnapps on the brain maybe?

Cameron is not weak. He is resolute in his determination to modernise our party.

Thanks Cardinal. I won't make the mistake a third time.

Labour have long used the trick of taking their own weakness and attaching it to others. I don't think Brown is strong at all, he strikes me as a coward who dissapears when tough decisions have to be made. This is typical of bullies. Paint him as such and then if he tries to attack DC he will look very unpleasant. Meanwhile DC should be ultra-positive all the time and relentlessly set his own forward-looking agenda for Britain. Stick to that and don't be blown off course and you will annihilate Brown and Labour. People dislike negative politics and are looking for direction.


He's strong when it comes to squashing the supporters of proper Tory principles. He's weak when we actually bother to bite back.

Once he is ensconced, will there really be a "Brown" as an independent political entity to attack by himself? Isn't it quite likely that Brown will become inextricably linked with "Labour" in a way that Blair wasn't (Blair was even only semi-attached to the term "New Labour", a term that included Mandelson and Campbell and Brown at least as much as Blair)?

If so, then it seems to me that to attack Brown will be to attack Labour, and the way to do that will be to focus on the Labour side of the equation - Labour's philosophy, its lack of new solutions to today's problems (e.g. delivery in the NHS, or the disempowerment of fathers), its lack of imagination for tomorrow's challenges (e.g. the environment, the next phase of imperialism), its record (where that is weak), its errors (which are many).

Attack Labour and Brown will be damaged automatically. Attack Brown and we will just seem personal, nasty, and young.

Brown's problem is that he is a genuine behind the scenes man. Ruling from behind the throne, but as from June 27th, he has to sit on the thing. This is not his comfort zone. Look for Dummies pushed into the firing line, while General Brown sits in his tent behind the lines.
Brown is congenitally sneaky. Never forget that. Its in his water - in his blood. The leopard cannot change his spots, or the zebra his stripes. He must always have this little circle to do his dirty work. Find out who they are, shouldnt be difficult, and the battle is half won.
Always always read the small print, in what ever Brown says or does. It will be there. Trust me!!!!

Good analysis, though happened to catch the piece on Sky and then turned round to my wife and co-incidentally mentioned that I thought Grant Shapps won the encounter hands down.

Shapps actually made Purnell look attacking and nasty we thought.

Amazing how we all see these things differently.

J. Lockham

"Attacks on the “clunking fist” could easily be counterproductive."
Mark, I disagree with you on that one. Blair got a pat on the back from Brown and the political pundits loved it because they read the situation wrong. The problem was that Blair was telling the truth from long experience, and I don't think it was a full blown "compliment" when he throw the "clunking" bit of it at Cameron.
I cringed when I heard Blair use it and within in a couple of days I was proved right, the journalists may have liked it but the public did not and I am happy for Cameron or any tory MP to keep repeating it as often as possible, it resonates and it works.

"I don't think Brown is strong at all, he strikes me as a coward who dissapears when tough decisions have to be made. This is typical of bullies."
Matt, you are spot on with that analysis and there is plenty of evidence of this throughout Brown's career. I would say Cameron possesses the same strain of courage that Thatcher had taking a risk and running for the leadership, and then following through with an agenda of change within their own party.
Brown on the other hand has used spin, underhand tactics like briefing, arm twisting and back room deals to manoeuvre his way into his present position. Just look at the people he has surrounded himself with, they lack a political astuteness to "sell" their product and an arrogance that is truly unpleasant.

Nice of you to think of Gideon. Why?

Obviously, the 'hug a hoodie' frame for Cameron's 'all they need is love' speech was a huge success. You don't have to hit the target too often.

I think 'Save Dave' is nicely effective too as it has the benefit of rhyme and highlighting weakness and I guess is part of the attack as it was well quoted yesterday.

Still, Cameron is weak and flip-floppy, so it doesn't really take too much effort to come up with something half-decent.

Brown's interested in the strong/weak axis. He has no charisma so he's trying to build an aura of strength around himself.

Micromanaging Brown style is not strength. Cameron's ability to delegate policy creation and his tolerance of debate looks like weakness. But it's the opposite.

Brown wants to hold the reins too tight. He'll burn his hands.

What a funny thread. I suppose that is what they mean by being savaged by a dead sheep . Every one of those comments tries to make some personal remark about Brown and each sounds like girls in a school playground....it reads so childish like peeved little seven year olds.

Brown will be Prime Minister in a week's time. He then has to deal with the EU. The Summer recess gives lots of time to bed down and everyone else will be on vacation until the Conference Season brings jollity into our lives.

The comparison between Brown and Cameron is relative, it does not take much for a Leader in Office to overshadow an Opposition Leader, and it does not take much to accept the status quo.

Brown has a lot of baggage, but all politicians do. The Devil you know is often preferable to the Devil you don't. After 18 months Cameron has baggage, he has a very inchoate image.

Assertions such as those above just make matters worse with the electorate; it simply decides there is something not quite right, inexperienced, and the risks too high - it was Baldwin Safety First that knew how to stay in office.

If Cameron depends on his groupies to chant descant he is in deep trouble. In fact the credibility of David Davis may be a wasting asset too. Elections focus minds and our system gives the Prime Minister sole power over timing; it is about time the Conservatives gave people a sense of competence and focus on issues which concern voters rather than performing for the media critics.

It is interesting to note that by and large in the world of business, one never directly mentions a competitor to a customer. You would mention the benefits of the product or service you are trying to sell and maybe where appropriate by implication criticise the competition without specifically naming them, so for politics that would translate into using such words as "we will be" and "we won't be".

From what I can tell during the door to door canvass of the constituency.....albeit at an early stage, most people are aware of the failings of the current Government and want to know what we have to offer, and people are quite receptive to the concept that it is "time for a change", and do recognise that the only alternative Government would be a Conservative one.

bluepatriot - Cameron is not weak. He is resolute in his determination to modernise our party.

Nice bit of sarcasm there bluepatriot. It was indeed just about the only thing Dave was resolute about...until the Grammargate U-turn.

Cameron has been very, very, lucky. He's been facing a lame duck opponent who has run his once-superb 'spin' machine right into the ground.

Sadly that's all set to change, and Cameron will rapidly be shown up as a lightweight operator, well endowed with multiple silver spoons, but lacking any genuine experience of life.

The party conference blue-rinse octagenarians may well say 'He's such a nice boy' but it's a grave error to suppose that those sentiments will be shared by the general public when the crunch comes.

"people are quite receptive to the concept that it is "time for a change", and do recognise that the only alternative Government would be a Conservative one"-Paul Kennedy.
It would be nice to think so, but my feeling is that most people do not see the current conservative regime as a "change" from New Labour. So the choice is vote for what you've got already or vote for exactly the same just with a silver spoon in its mouth. Many might just vote for the devil they know. Having voted conservative all my life (starting in the Thatcher years); I don't see any party worth voting for now!

'Labour will attack Cameron as weak' - they'll also, I can exclusively reveal, denounce water for being wet, dogs for barking & Michael Portillo for being "just a touch" self-involved.

I'm with Paul Kennedy at 8.19; Cameron et al need to offer an appealing alternative. We need to clearly say what has happened in the past 10 years, without actually mentioning Brown or Labour - and then go on to outline what we would do differently and what we would attempt in order to turn things around.

So, what should we do Traditional Tory?

Politics today is rather like algebra.
We have David as Mr 'X' and Gordon as Mr 'Y'.

Both are mystery men. We don't know what they want to be PM for. When are they going to tell us? And will we believe them when they do?

I agree with much that the editor says and I think it is time David Cameron started to put passion into his message.

However, I think there is another area that the party can use. I've just been listening to Brown at the police conference and the speech was dull and distant. It was hard work to listen to and I'm sure the TV companies will find it hard to spot a genuine soundbyte.

Compared with Cameron's presentation yesterday it was pretty dire.

Even if there is anything imaginative in a Labour's policies people don't realise it and won't really listen if the presentation is dull.

The Conservatives can develop further the theme that Cameron continued yesterday. Labour lacks imagination, has nothing new to say, has run out of good ideas, worn out lacklustre policies and isn't really listening to the people whatever they say - same old labour stuck in the 20th Century and so on.

In this way it also undermines the concept of Brown and Labour being strong. They may have been once upon a time but after 10 years of battling with Blair - they are worn out.

Which then brings you back to the labour governments history and all their continuing incompetence and the role Brown played in it.

Contrast that with the optimistic, forward thinking fresh and vibrant youthful Conservative Party that David Cameron is portraying that is enganging the public and it could make a difference.

In some ways its the reverse of the constrast between Blair and Major back in the 90's.

Key to this will be Coulson making sure that the Conservatives get the right people (Cameron, Hague, Davis etc.)with the right speeches and statements in front of the camera sufficiently to get the message to the people.

Coulson also needs to get some of the next echelon of the Shadow Cabinet up to the same level of presentation.

Finally of course - no more grammar/ museum/ hoodie incidents.

Even if there is anything imaginative in a Labour's policies people don't realise it and won't really listen if the presentation is dull.

Stalin was short and delivered awfully boring speeches for hours and the audience applauded as if their lives depended upon it....he was nowhere near as passionate an orator as that German dictator.

Politics is about Power......Brown has it.....he might even exude power after next week. Be very careful....it is Blair that will look shrivelled and insignificant at the end of this month - and by August he will be a distant memory.

So, what should we do Traditional Tory?

Change the leader.

I agree with Matt Wright @ 23.07:

"I don't think Brown is strong at all, he strikes me as a coward who dissapears when tough decisions have to be made. This is typical of bullies".

The violent disagreements between Blair and Brown over the last 10 years cannot be denied; only before elections do they put on a facade of friendly cooperation that fools few people.

Given Blair's treatment of Brown (and the reneging on the famous Granita promise), Brown - had he had any courage - would have resigned as Chancellor and attacked Blair from the backbenches (as Howe did to Thatcher).

Had Blair had real courage, he would have sacked Brown for his disloyalty.

I think that the tories should (i) attack him with carefully researched facts and figures showing how he has wasted taxpayers' money and (ii) make fun of him to make him lose his cool.

I agree with Paul Kennedy whose point resonates with the second half of my argument. DC needs to be really positive and forward looking and show where he is leading Britain. The idea about social responsibility is a good starting point. If he focuses his ideas and begins to make them more substantive it will add to his charisma. Set the agenda and rise above Labour, fight over the top of them on a strong flight path and make people realise how irrelevant and tired Labour are. Brown will not be able to compete with that no matter how serious and deep he looks. Paul is right about what he learnt from his canvassing.


"David Cameron and George Osborne must certainly avoid direct attacks themselves. They should only ever use surrogate assassins"

Grovel, grovel. Slurp, slurp. Let's let the people who have actually achieved something in their lives take the heat for these two.

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker