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I wonder if "Europe" as an issue would be higher if people realized that immigration cannot be controlled by this country because of the various EU agreements on the "area of freedom and security". For instance, there are common EU asylum policies that we have signed up to.

Europe might also be higher if it was framed in terms of specific issues like the Common Agricultural Policy.

Tax would be higher if voters were asked specific questions about inheritance tax or council tax for example.

When are we going to get policies for sorting out the housing problems in this country. Gordon Brown's proposals for just building upteen thousand homes, most probably in areas at risk of future flooding, has to be constructively opposed. We can surely be more imaginative?

Permission issues are very important -- but it's also worth noting that the hierarchy of priority issues is not uniform.

For significant sections of the population, permission issues are the priority issues.

Thus the mistake we made in 2005 in focusing on the top-5 issues was two-fold: saying nothing on the permission issues and saying nothing on issues considered to be a priority for many key groups of voters.

How many more polls have to be published before people in this party begin to realise that the vast majority of the public couldn't give a monkeys about Europe.

People don't want to frame it in the specific terms of immigration policy or the CAP. Most have better things to do with their time.

Just get over it and move on.

And what two issues are we not allowed to mention - crime and immigration.

Sack Hilton now

Jonathan is quite correct. We have a non-Tory advising the Tory leader as to what he can and cannot do. It is a dreadful state of affairs and I object to my membership fee going to this man.

Even if we do start banging the drum to immigration and crime (of which are hugely inter-connected) we will only be regarded as opportunists and bandwaggon jumpers. We should have made these two key issues the very hallmark of Conservative policy FROM THE START, not 20 months into Cameron's leadership.

Re "Just get over it and move on." Yes lets stop "banging on" about anything we tell you to stop banging on about. LOL.

Now look, I am sure that the member for Rwanda Central as enough on his mind without this. Possibly all his constituents who have been left under several feet of water.

"We should have made these two key issues the very hallmark of Conservative policy FROM THE START, not 20 months into Cameron's leadership."

William Hague's 2001 GE campaign: Key issues - Europe, crime and immigration. Result: Labour landslide

Michael Howard's 2005 GE campaign: Key issues - Crime, immigration and gypsies. Result: Labour landslide

Tony Blair's 1997, 2001 & 2005 GE strategy: the economy, health and education. Result: the most successful Labour leader in history.

Or am I missing something?

"Permission issues" may be very important to a small minority of the population, but you don't win elections on the back of a small minority of the population.

If the EU is not registering as a major issue at the moment then there will be no adverse repercussions when withdrawal becomes our policy, whatever the swivel-eyed europhiles might say.

In reality, our superiors in Brussels must be cackling at the news. They have successfully administered the sleeping draught and are now quietly preparing to smother the electorate.

I agree with you Helen, that not enough people (myself included!) know precisely what we have signed up to ALREADY in the EU, most precisely with regard to immigration and asylum. No doubt someone will post - 'Well it can be found on-line'! - but the average person may be put off by having to try to decipher the legalese that various 'acts' or whatever they are called, are bound to be couched in. Its a pity someone, or a newspaper could think it is worthwhile to 'translate' the relevant (in this instance, immigration and asylum) document into 'spoken' English, and publish it in a newspaper so that we can all read it, or, is this something that is 'not allowed' to happen???

Tie Immigration to Environment and Sustainability (of Britain)....cost of housing for debt-burdened students, and the manpower planning which has British doctors seeking work in Canada or Australia because a Government tampering with the Training and Budget contraints in the NHS not providing enough jobs for the doctors being trained even though we are seriously short of doctors by OECD standards

Make Immigration and Population an integral part of Environmentalism

"Or am I missing something?"

Yes. It was the messenger, not the message. If theres anything that we should of learnt from the past few years, its that.

Hague, IDS, Howard, were all personality free zones who turned the electorate off the moment they opened their mouths. Cameron is not. Most of the reason for Blairs sucess was his immense personal charisma, it wouldnt of mattered what the tories talked about, or who, under the current/recent choices was leading us, none would of come close to Blair. Now we have dull as dishwater Gordon to contend with, things will be a lot easier. (honeymoon period notwithstanding). I think the recent by elections need to be seem for what they are - anomalies, and the local elections more illustrative of what we can expect in a GE.

I think at this point in time the weather could be the biggest influence on policy. Why? England and Wales are under the Environment agency. Whereas Scotland has something called sepa, which is the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

This could be a problem for Brown because obviously as Chancellor and now first Lord of the treasury he has the last say on the environment’s block grant budget: Where as in Scotland it will no doubt come under the devolved settlement. The problem could be even more intensive if after studying spending per head at SEPA (In Scotland and then contrasting it with the environment agency “In England), it was discovered some sort of disparity. Obviously with England patria ting huge tax resources to Scotland, this will not look good if the Scottish areas deference’s are better than the English ones in terms of spending per head etc.

In terms of housing policy: Labour have curtailed the right to buy from young people by increasing the qualifying period for social and local authority tenants to purchase a home from 2 years to 5 years. Thus steeling another rung from the under 30's first step onto the housing ladder. In addition the Labour government relaxed the Buy - to - Let market, raising house prices out of the "normal" under 30's income multiple's.

This has then been compounded by the huge immigration that Labour have uncontrollably embraced. Thus creating further a distortion in the housing market and the low paid person’s remuneration for employment.

I do get confused. One moment, political leaders say that they will courageously lead on policies rather than follow and not be swayed by populist sentiment. Next thing, they’re perusing topics that polls indicate are of concern, or not, to voters so as to tailor policies in tune with populist – oops sorry, now subtlely change the adjective to “popular” – sentiment.

Commenting on Stephan Shakespeare’s column today, Matt Wright urged cohesion and linkage between various policy threads. As several posters have mentioned above, there is linkage between EU and e.g. immigration, agricultural, defence and foreign policies. At present these are not linked in voters’ minds, so perhaps leadership on policy issues requires highlighting to make voters aware that they are interwoven, rather than ignoring them because “voters don’t care”. That’s what joined-up government is supposed to be about and what I hope you aspire to.

Whilst I personally regard the West Lothian Question as only slightly less important than the EU, it is perhaps more of a potential elephant trap for Gordon Brown than for D.C. in the shorter term.
G.B. gained 24,278 votes in his constituency in the 2005 GE. Next in line was SNP with 6062. No doubt this looks like an unassailable majority in his favour. Now look at what happened in May’s Scottish Parliamentary elections.
Kirkcaldy: Scottish Labour Party 10, 627; SNP 8,005.
I know the respective constituency areas aren’t the same and people don’t necessarily vote the same way in UK and Scottish parliamentary elections. Nevertheless it does suggest that a continued Labour majority is not a done deal for G.B.’s seat. There are indications that more people in Scotland voted for SNP than actually desire independence. Is it entirely beyond the realms of possibility that protest voting could render G.B. and some other Labour MPs of Scottish constituencies vulnerable ?

The Tories have the luxury of a little time to devise a properly thought out policy on Scotland generally and the WLQ in particular with potential electoral advantages for both sides of the border. Or maybe just ignore the problem on the grounds that it is an article of faith to believe in nothing other than Union (which, in effect has already been breached anyway) and gaze ineffectually on a situation that will [have already] run out of your control, once in power again?

The new EU Constitutional Treaty is now out.

Take a look on


and get ready to adopt the Euro.

These "salience" polls are usually pretty depressing because they show up people's ignorance. Most of us on here know perfectly well that Europe and tax (not necessarily the overall burden but the details) are always in reality extremely important issues for any Government, and therefore for anyone interested in what is happening politically. The problem is that most people don't think much about what issues may be facing the Government or about politics at all. So they see false connections and do not see the real ones.

But it does seem to me that asking about "pollution and the environment" rather than "global warming and other environmental issues" is bound to score much lower. For most people "pollution" is about oil spills and dirty beaches. Global warming is about our grandchildren.

Also lumping together "defence, foreign affairs and international terrorism" tells you nothing about the people that rate that "issue" highly. It would include people feeling strongly hostile to the Iraq War, people wanting defence spending greatly increased, and people with exaggerated personal fears about being caught in a terrorist attack (most of which in this country is domestic, not international, it now seems).

It is interesting though that housing has moved above education. I wonder whether that is in response to what Brown has been saying or whether this shows how clever he is to have highlighted it? Of course it might be because of interest rates increases, and too expensive houses for the young to get on the ladder - but we know those are economic issues don't we?

In the end, these polls are no substitute for leadership. If there are any MPs who are such fools that they think immigration is the most important issue, they should talk about it all the time even if it moves to bottom of the list (I might not be very keen to re-select them as my candidate, but so be it). If they know Europe remains very important, they must continue to highlight it.

Adopting the Euro would differentiate Dave from the other parties - Does he have a Policy Group on Europe.

Icarus wrote "Adopting the Euro would differentiate Dave from the other parties - Does he have a Policy Group on Europe."

Dave has a Foreign Policy Council, an advisory group, whose members include Douglas Hurd, Chris Patten and Michael Heseltine. Patten's aide in Brussels was Ed Llewellyn, now Cameron's Chief of Staff at CCHQ.

It would not surprise me if those Euro supporters persuaded Dave to abolish the £. He has done everything else that they wanted....

Don't tempt fate, Icarus. The members of Dave's Foreign Policy Council include Patten, Hurd and Heseltine. Ken Clarke chairs his "Democracy" task force.

First Dave reneges on his pledge to leave the EPP immediately after being elected Leader. Would you trust him to keep the Pound?

Sorry for the double post. My first post was not displayed after I sent it.

Because of the summer recess and the outside possibility of an Autumn election, time is no longer on Cameron's side and he can no longer try to sweep under the table issues like the EU, taxation and immigration.

The Party must now produce policies that cohere for all major issues, not just certain priority ones.

A politician who is humble to learn and proud to lead, with an enduring strength of commitment to his or her convictions, provided all those qualities are founded on sound reasoning and honesty, ultimately commands the broadest respect and wins.

Is there any wonder that Cameron is slipping in the polls.

Race relations and immigration are the number one issue of concern to voters and yet 'Dave' rarely mentions the issue!

Making a virtue of 'not for turning' on issues such as immigration, where he is letting down the nation, will lose him not only conservative support but also many floating voters, who have so much to lose from the huge influx of people into Britain, which is changing our very national identity.

When it comes to the crunch, most people would put the fate of the nation before the whims of someone who could rapidly become yesterday's man.

"Immigration and security concern voters most"

This proves that it is time for Dave to get real and start being himself and talk about the things that really matter. Let's face it - does anyone really care about Rwanda?

I suspect that the race-and-immigration answers and the international-relations answers were overlapping - many people answering either question were really finding different ways to talk about "War on terror" matters.

Saying how important crime is to certain people is all very well - and I'm sure that in certain areas it is a major major issue - but the problem with making it a political issue is that then you have to have some credible *answers*. And do we? Do we have any policies that we seriously believe would, over the lifetime of a Parliament, reduce voters' chances of being victims of crime materially, compared with those offered by Labour?

I'm not saying that our policies (if and when we get some) will not be better than Labour's. But will they make a difference over the timescales that make them a key voter concern? I think the answer is: almost certainly not. That doesn't mean that these aren't issues that we should think seriously about and have serious policies to address. But I think it does mean that if we go on about it too much, people will think we're all talk and no action - for we won't be able to offer anything that really meets the short-term concerns people have.

I don't see any problem with have a robust policy in immigration, but the trick is to include it, play it down and play up the 'positive' policies. Peoheple will notice we have it there, but if we bang on the table about it the impression we will give is that we are 'enthusiasts' - not good. Cool measured and reasonable. Yet there are strict limits, but lets talk about education and health. Labour wouldn't have a clue what to do. In 2005 we dug our own hole by focusing on the negative aspects of policy rather than just leaving it in there for the hacks to find and talking about the positive stuff.

Immigration has been out of control ever since Labour came to office. The future Conservative government has to tackle the problem with a set of intitatives to ensure that people cannot enter the country unless they have a recognised skill and speak fluent English. Immigration is a question of logistics. We cannot support the vast majority of people wanting to come into our country with housing or jobs.

1% of voters regard Europe as the most important issue and most of the posts here are going on about Europe?? It is not going to win the election.

I am surprised that immigration polls so highly but the party cannot make the same mistake as in 2005 when the party became the negative about immigration party.

I am surprised that immigration polls so highly
You shouldn't be, Cleo.
Do not think for one minute that immigration is something only White English people worry about.

The Indian shopkeeper, the Polish Plumber and the Nigerian Taxi Driver are also wondering why their kids are in schools that feel more like a United Nations cultural show providing an inferior education to wherever the English kids have run off to.
I've met so many people who just want their kids to fit in and be prepared for the real world, not just to celebrate their "diversity" and sub-bi-lingual skills.

They are also worried about a backlash if people suddenly decide that the minority of immigrant trouble-makers are not worth the hassle of the rest of the law-abiding majority.

No one wants to live in fear, and make no mistake, immigration will be a high priority for such people as well.

Yes the findings on what concerns people makes sense although the security issue will go up and down depending on any recent incidents. The recent bombing attempts are fresh in peoples minds. Other than that the underlying main issues are as before - NHS, Crime, Eductaion, Economy. We need to focus on the key issues. Security is part of the crime heading so we are still looking at exactly the same issues we have needed to focus on for a long time.


I agree that the EU is not the biggest issue for many of the voters, but that is because political leaders have failed to make the case strongly enough and often enough. The EU is crucial to our immigration policy and our law and order policy. It affects our housing and our transport and our hospitals - through the massive immigration.

I have not spoken to anyone, whether it be taxi drivers of NHS staff, who do not have a keen dislike of the amount of illegal immigration in this country.

Terrorism just exacerbates the perceived problems.

I have just watched Panorama, which was about the problems that Slough faces, because of government underestimates about the number of immigrants arriving.

It was interesting to see that some of the sternest critics were themselves from established immigrant communities ranging from first generation to (probably) third generation.

Do we have any policies that we seriously believe would, over the lifetime of a Parliament, reduce voters' chances of being victims of crime materially,

Some of the problems were caused byu Conservatives in government - regionalising police forces - funny how ondon got to keep a metropolitan police force rather than having it merged into Thames Valley.

The only reason we see any focus on the cities is because they are supposedly harbouring lots of Al-Qaeda cells....so it takes foreign terrorists for us to get policing !

Building prisons and letting the crime families that cause most crime spend every day of a long sentence behind bars is better than the revolving door approach and hot-bedding of the Labour era -

The Indian shopkeeper, the Polish Plumber and the Nigerian Taxi Driver

I was having a chat with what you PC-types called an "Asian" shop-assistant - no he spoke no Chinese - and he was complaining about all the foreigners coming in and taking jobs - that is even worse in ethnic groups with higher than average levels of unemployment - fear of wage cuts and being replaced by cheaper workers - as happened in Metalbox and other companies where the workforce is exchaned for non-unionised foreign abour

In a year or so when imported labour qualifies for benefits tax credits should explode - falling wages with government guarantees on minimum incomes....and of course housing benefit and free school meals....just as the economy tanks.

Last night on German TV they showed a Polish farmer in Masuria - he planned to go to Ukraine where farmland was better and said his neighbour's wife was working in a care home in Italy just to earn enough money to pay taxes in Poland...they were going bust inside the EU and people were looking elsewhere to survive.

There are 486 million people in the EU with the right to live here - but we don't know if the government has budgeted for the school places and hospitals - it seems too busy closing them. Do we start fighting over resources - is this what happens when you put rats in a cage with too little food ?

Is it all art of a game by politicians - testing to destruction ?

With a MORI poll giving Labour a 6% lead and security people's number one concern - it's surely time to expose Labour's deliberate appeasement of Islamist organisations at home and abroad.
Overseas: David Millband called for an Isreali ceasefire when Israel responded robustly after Iranian backed Hezbollah made a 2-3 mile incursion into Isreal and Kidnapped 2 Isreali soldiers. Small wonder Iran didn't fear to make an similar 2-3 mile incursion into Iraqi waters a few months later and kidnap british sailors. Now Gordon Brown promotes him to foreign secretary - and virtually his first public statement is to praise Hamas - another radical islamist terrorist group (now also financed by Iran) and ideologically committed to the destruction of Isreal - the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.
At Home: In june this year the government 'welcomed' a report on Islam in British universities it had commissioned from Dr Attaullah Siddiqui of the Islamic Foundation - the largest british Islamist organisation. The Islamic Foundation is ideaologically committed to creating an Islamic state with sharia law in Britian. The report's main recommendations included -proposing that the main Islamic subjects in British universities should only be taught by Muslims not non by Muslims....
I could go on...!
Dr Martin Parsons

A new EU tax as reported in the EUReferendum blog. Do you think that the BBC and politicians will be keen to let us know the source responsible for the tax? (No more than they will be keen to let us know the source for the other 70/80% of legislation)

"A new provision in the treaty-to-be, lifted almost intact from the failed constitution, allows the EU to define its own taxes in order to fund its ever-expanding budget and powers"

Fear, anger and contempt are powerful emotions far more useful than compassion or voting blue to get green when trying to win an election. The EU is not being linked to the causes of alarm, decay and distrust, consensus politics rule. Dave must show greater passion and conviction especially in his approach to English voters. Certainly so if he is to get my vote.

This is the sort of thing that could be used as regards the ineffectualities of the current EU system:

"WINE makers are given nearly £1 billion a year by Europe's taxpayers and produce vast amounts of wine that no-one wants to buy, a committee of peers said yesterday.

The regime of regulations and subsidies for European wine makers is "unsustainable" and should be reformed, the House of Lords European Union committee urged."

The EU ought to be a biggish issue because of the amount of legislation that comes from there, sometimes through Parliament that has no right to reject it and sometimes bypassing Parliament altogether. All those red lines went some time ago. The new treaty just appeared in French on the website even though the IGC is supposed to decide on it. People who say get over it and move on do not seem to realize that we are doing just that: moving on away from democracy (left that one behind some time ago) and de facto independence. What is the definition of a sovereign state? It legislates for itself and controls its taxes. We have neither. Why do you guys want to win elections?

I’m surprised by this poll, as we’ve always been told that the NHS and public services are the voters’ top concerns. Now the NHS is well down at 7%. So, if this poll is to be believed, it’s ‘core vote’ issues that concern voters more now. Would reluctance to talk about these issues that worry voters be one reason why we are not doing as well as we should in the polls? Dr Martin Parson’s contribution (2206) is interesting, but would our policy, particularly Middle E policy, be much better now? As for the EU, surely leadership should be shown to raise public awareness of the importance of the issue. Or, is our leadership being led rather than leading? Not much chance if (as stated by No EUro at 1805) Mr Cameron’s Foreign Policy Council includes Patten, Hurd and Heseltine. Worrying indeed.

I meant not much chance of leading opublic opinion to see the importance of the EU issue.

There is much to be said for the thesis that people do not concern themselves with things that they cannot change and over which they have no control.

Easily coming into that category is the EU. But, if we do get a referendum, you can expect the EU to climb rapidly up the political agenda, especially as people start to make the links between the EU and some of the policies that affect them, like immigration.

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