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You Cameroons have no idea of life outside London. Many, if not most, have large salaries and more money that sense and live in desirable parts of inner London. You are the Tory chattering classes and don't know anything about life, and certainly don't understand typical Tory voters. How many of the environmental campaigners, cheerleaders for Africa, gays and feminists that the Cameroons are trying to impress will actually vote Conservative? My guess is none. If Labour wins big time, we'll be lumbered with the EU constitution and could join the Euro without a referendum and there'll by nothing that the next leader of the party will be able to do about it.

Like I said here last week,Dave has cost us another 2% by moving to Rwanda instead of taking us into full media and public view visiting the Flooded areas surrounded by party activists and supporters.

Another few weeks or so of bad decision making and we will be dead in the water,possibly for ever.

Quite an astute article by Geoffrey Wheatcroft in today's Guardian which ends with the following:

"Maybe the simplest problem of all is that Cameron and his clique have been in adoring thrall to Blair. The opposition front bench includes, after all, Michael Gove, who not long ago wrote: "I can't fight my feelings any more: I love Tony ... as a rightwing polemicist, all I can say looking at Mr Blair now is, what's not to like?" An interesting question, but there was everything for an honourable Tory to dislike about the Blair junta - the meretricious vulgarity, the intellectual dishonesty, the cheap demagoguery, the sheer deadly emptiness at the heart of New Labour.

Anyone who thinks those words exaggerated will find them amply confirmed by reading incomparably the most damaging book ever published about Blair, which is Campbell's diaries. Cameron could do worse than study what Catherine Bennett has rightly called that monumentally lowering book, and say to himself and his colleagues: this is everything we must not be."

David J wrote: "Great politicians, and great parties--those that actually have confidence in their convictions--do not move to the centre ground. They move the centre ground to them."
This surely must be the way forward - the party needs to articulate coherent right of centre policies and argue them with passion and conviction. Not only will this differentiate the party from Labour, but will help attract former conversative voters as well as new voters seeking a genuine alternative. At the moment, in many voters' eyes, what is the point of voting conservative when there is so little to divide the 2 main parties?

Cameron's Conservatives have become a badly timed irrelevance. Brown knows that and realises that he can ignore them. However he knows that he cannot ignore the fact that the BNP ran a campaign in Blair's old constituency for a few months and polled 10% of the vote. He will also realise that once such a party gains credence with the electors and is no longer seen as a taboo party, they could wipe Labour out in their heartlands. Make no mistake, there is a huge seething anger in some towns over the immigration meltdown and Brown must be heartened by the Conservative silence over it. Brown will position himself as an antidote to the Blair poison which caused our porous borders and human rights culture and hope to stem the flow to radical parties.

Actually Optimistictory I didn't ask about Mrs T victories - i was resposnding to MrAngry who did.

I completely agree that the conservatives won with her because she was closer to centre to an extreme left wing labour party of the time plus a badly disunited labour party. She also changed the centre - after she got in power (which is key).

Unity and being seen by majority as close to where they sit - and most people perceive themselves as in the centre - are just basic ingredients to victory for an opposition.

People will vote for people they relate to (like) but competence is essential. DC has both; He has very competently led us to being the largest party in local government by far, to our best local election victory in many years, to an agenda that is not seen as narrow but one that embraces all aspects of concerns of the electorate, to 18 months of opinion poll leads and to a situation where people started to listen to the conservatives again and he has removed the embarrassment factor associated with being a conservative.

I have posted before with my simple belief that we need to decide we want to be in power not opposition and unite behind belief that a conservative government will simply be better for this country than a labour one. (In a previous post I went so far as to say that I would vote for a conservative party that photocopied the labour manifesto as a believe that the same manifesto would be implemented in a better way by people of conservative ideals. Just think of the border police and the city acadamies)

If we unite and regain the will to power we can win. Faced with that will and unity the media will take us more seriously and even start to support or at the very least attack less (why attack ideas your readership after all and why attack a party looking like it will be in power).

We are facing a strong counter attack from Brown and now it looks as part of that he is inciting an internal group to launch an insurgency. Brown is our enemy not DC, we should not follow the nonsense that comes from the likes of Heffer and skulking MPs furtively writing letters to the 1922 committee.

Re davidk and "People will vote for people they relate to (like) but competence is essential. DC has both;": you must be joking. If this is competence I'd hate to see where his incompetence would get us. As for relating
to him: I don't know anyone (thank god) who could related to him.

bill - trite riposte with no substance. I cited way I believe he is more than competent and indeed where he has been successful. And I know many people who do relate to him and like him - certainly more people than relate to our like Brown. But then I support the conservative party as do many people I know.

What a small world it must be.

Jeez - wouldn't like to have most of you lot in the trenches with me - bunch of quitters, cowards and poorly disguised agents for the other side.

Look yourself in the mirror and say you've done all you can - then whinge.

Those that cry "DC would be no better than Labour" - get a grip of reality.

In the 1980s labour had gone so far to the left that Mrs Thatcher was able to shift the centre ground to the right.

I'm not at all convinced that this poll is accurate and it does show a significantly larger lead than other polls produced in the last few days.

Nothing Gordon Brown has done in his first few weeks has changed the fact that the NHS is in acute financial crisis, violent crime is increasing, the immigration system is in chaos, the education system fails too many children, the tax burden on families is too high, the gap between rich and poor is widening, the pensions crisis caused by Gordon Brown's smash and grab raid on pension funds means fewer people have adequate arrangements to pay for their retirement, prisons are at bursting point because for 10 years Gordon Brown wouldn't put funding in to building more prisons and our armed forces have been dangerously over-stretched and under resourced by the government.

The point to make over and over again is Brown is the architect of all those policy disasters not the cure for them. So no I don't think it is plausible that a government with so little to be proud of can be nine points in front just by changing the man at the top.

Oh God, 9% lead for Labour- from yougov! The main problem is Cameron trying to make us sound like ( God help us) the LibbyDems! Unless he ditches large swathes of his 'ok yah' advisors, i have no hopes for him whatsoever. Micheal Howard left too soon. The prune.

Jim Jam, DavidK - Is it possible that CCHQ have convinced themselves that their beliefs represent the middle ground, and are setting conservative party behaviour accordingly, when in truth the vast majority of real middle ground voters have worries and concerns which are increasingly at odds with what they are hearing from us, while Brown, superficially at least, is beginning to appear to be more in tune?

Wouldn't worry too much, Dave will make up a lot of ground during the election campaign, his presentational skills are infinitely better than Brown's. He just needs to prove he has substance, and concentrating on the following issues would help: salvaging the pensions fiasco, more prisons, increased defence spending, making housing more affordable and holding a referendum on the new European Treaty.

PS I really don't feel that actually caring about Rwanda has cost Dave any votes at all, personally I was sickened by the smug chuckling of Brown and Ming at PMQs about the fact that they'd been at the flooding first hand. 2.6 million people died in the Rwandan civil war and we did NOTHING. We owe them! Let's get a sense of perspective.

Patriot I think the starting point must be for us to trust and support the leadership. They have access to more data - polls, research, feedback etc. than any of us and they have been elected to lead.

Yes a reasonable and reasoned argument can be had on forums such as this and elsewhere as to what policies are needed to win the centre ground. And CCHQ is of course capable of making mistakes.

The editor certainly does that but I do believe many of the commentators just make trite emotional outbursts. They seem to conflate what they think and what "traditional" tories think with what the electorate think.

I personally agree with many of the stances DC has taken and can see how they resonate with people I know who support labour, libdems and no one. Some stances have not been ones I personally take but then I don't expect DC to be a clone of my opinions - if I want that I would have to be willing to get elected as an MP then elected leader. He has done that, he is leader. I want him to be PM and I want the conservatives back in power.

If we disagree on particular policies lets debate it but lets get the name calling out and lets accept that there is a very broad spectrum of opinion in the party and an even broader one outside the party. Many people hold opinions in all good faith that I just do not understand but I have to accept that they do. Labour have won three times. I for one don't want to see a fourth victory.

I think CCHQ and the leadership are more right than wrong, I think they have made great strides in 18 months and I think as conservatives we should support them.

The polls are STILL not borne out by any local election results, guys. Caution!

This came over the PA wires this morning:

"The local polls suggest the “Brown bounce” is more of a blip.
Analysis of 12 contests over July, involving more than 20,000 voters, indicate a projected 8.6% Tory lead over Labour.
Allowing for observed differences in party performance between general elections and council polls when they have taken place on the same day, this would indicate a drop of just over 2% since May.
It would also a mean a tiny 0.5% swing to Labour since 2004 when most of the seats up for election next May were last fought.
If there is no general election in October, the 2008 council polls could be critical .
Labour would need to make big gains - the first since 1996 - to give Mr Brown the green light for a June general election.
On current trends this is not guaranteed.
The calculated three-party line-up for July is: C 40.1%; Lab 31.5%; Lib Dem 21.4%."

jimjam: Those that cry "DC would be no better than Labour" - get a grip of reality.

No, we say he is a wet Tory, possibly even a leftie.

Anyway: the point of this thread is: Cameron has no excuses for the bad result as the MPs at least in public support him. In other words, he is the man that never was: the "Heir to Kinnock".

I don't pay much attention to opinion polls which even on the very night before the General Election are usually a bit out one way or another anyway, 2 years away from a General Election they are less use than tea leaves.

I always expected Labour to recover, they obviously aren't going to get back to where they were in 1997 in terms of percentage vote; the fact that Conservative support had already got so low was not just due to rising Labour support in the 1990's, but also because their own supporters lost interest and stopped voting and gains in support by the Liberal Democrats and other parties, so even if Labour's support goes on increasing in terms of total votes over the next few General Elections and even if Labour increases it's majority in the next General Election, the Conservatives can still gain support and increase their number of seats and build for a position to be able to return with a majority government perhaps in 2019 or some time in the 5 years after that.

However if the leadership strategy continues to be to campaign as Blue Labour with a watered down version of New Labour policy then they will offend core Conservative voters and the people he is trying to attract will feel that he is trying to patronise them and in fact the revival in the Conservative Party since about 1999 could well go into reverse.

Brown is now attacking Cameron from the right, not the left. He's rejecting Blairism and seeming more conservative on issues like casinos, cannabis and licensing.
On those issues it's actually a return to more traditional Labour attitudes which were heavily influenced by Methodist, Baptist and Reformed Evangelical theology which was generally prohibitionist and anti-gambling.

Jorgen - just had a look up this thread again. All your posting seem to be just knocking anyone who supports DC with no positive engagement. Jimjam is right in his statement DC would be better than your leader Brown.

davidk - Jorgen et all come into the "poorly disguised" category.

Obviously trolling a conservative website for kicks is the flavour of the month.

Jorgen is a ukipper, is that correct jorgen?

Kind of amazing that ukippers would rather big up the man that wants to sell us down the river to the USE than support a Eurosceptic like Cam who is committed to a referendum

The Cameroons are in denial. Whilst Gordon Brown has been mapping his way forward project
Cameron has been too busy looking in the rear view mirror. The Cameroons said they wanted the centre ground only it was their imaginary version of it. They have let Gordon Brown occupy it by default. Cameron has been a gift for Gordon Brown.

JimJam I think you are right - guess DC still worries Labour supporters enough for them to troll. We just need to ignore them and stick with our leadership and get DC in as PM

By the way, in case people missed my post

By election results in June show an 8.6% Tory lead over Labour, according to the Press Association.

With referene to gingeral's comments concerning David Cameron's trip to Rwanda Quentin Lett's wrote in the Daily Mail yesterday that when some labour MP was heckling Cameron with cries of "where were you?" about the floods, Cameron ought to have replied "visiting the site of a mass racial murder" and he soon would have shut up.

All your posting seem to be just knocking anyone who supports DC with no positive engagement.

Some of you seem have the attention span of a Cocker Spaniel as you all have read my more detailed arguments in the other threads started yesterday.

No, Tory T, I am not a UKIP'er as I haven't voted for them yet and don't read any UKIP web-site(s). But I will probably vote for them until the Conservative Party gets a Conservative leader.

Tory T is clutching at straws again. As a marketing professional with experience in market research, I must correct his mistaken view that a few council by-elections are a better guide to voting intentions than national opinion polls.

Council by-election results are a MUCH less accurate guide than opinion polls. Statistically, they are a no use at all in predicting general election results. (Yougov got the 2005 result spot on.)

The reason is that electorates in ouncil by-elections do not reflect the national demographics. For example, they can be concentrated in areas where the Conservatives are the dominant party.

Alternatively, local issues can be important that national ones, especially where a council is unpopular or corrupt. So voters may support one party at a local election but another at a general election.

My advice to Tory T is to learn about market research and statistics and to stop making a fool of himself.

I've lifted the following from the Telegraph readers comments, it says it all, sadly.

"Boy Cameron has achieved the remarkable feat of failing to find a way to attack the worst government of my lifetime"

Dismayed, Tory T (and his/her many aliases) are in reality CCHQ. It is his/her sad job to write that kind of stuff. We should all feel sorry for him/her.

Tory T ought to reflect on the fact that those by-elections were in June and that we are only a few days away from August. Cameron's Conservative' poll ratings have collapsed in those few weeks. A week is a long time in politics.....

Jorgen

As someone who has been opposed to Cameron's leadership from day one I must congratulate you on the clarity consistency and intellectual compulsion of your posts. Well done.

Mark it says nothing - many labour trolls have written such before - other than comments can be posted on web site as easily as here. Not sure that gives it some magical potency

Jorgen even if Tory T did work for CCHQ what would be wrong with that - that would make him/her a conservative supporter unlike (by your own admission) your good self.

Dismayed - I do not seek to deny this is a bad poll, I also do not seek to deny that Brown has led a strong attack and has gained a lot of good publicity and as such is ahead in polls. My assertion is that running and scattering before that attack is not likely to lead us to victory.

And another thing Tory T, Gordon Brown has replaced Tony Bliar as PM in those few weeks. Don't you think that may be a factor?

You have not answered my points so I must assume that Jorgen is correct. You seem to be one of the inexperienced Cameroon Sloanes who seem to be running CCHQ.

It is hilarious that anyone who shows any loyalty to the conservative party on this a CONSERVATIVE website is attacked as being a cchq employee by the usual nutters who don't wish the conservative party or its leader well. When the polls were good for cameron they said they didn't believe them but as soon as a bad one comes out they jump all over it as proof the general election is lost, unless of course we adopt a whole set of policies the public took every opportunity not to vote for in the last three general election kickings we took.

Derek K, I am not running and scattering.

The problem is that we have too many inexperienced frontbenchers and party officials who have screwed up.

The poor quality of those who applied for my target seat was frightening. Yet CCHQ ruled that good local candidates, including experienced councillors with banks of personal votes, could not be interviewed. One of our finalists was an A list woman who had been a member of the Party for only a few months!!

My concern is that Cameron and his team are leading us to a disastrous defeat. It is the strategy that is wrong and it must be changed if we are to win.

Thanks, Bill, I enjoy your posts as well. You kept the good work up while I had a brief pause.

davidk, go back and read my comment s-l-o-w-l-y enough for the contents to seep in; I didn't say there was anything wrong with Tory T working for CCHQ.

I do as a foreigner accept that my poor English prevents me from expressing my views as eloquently as the rest of you.

Graham D'Amiral, I have never doubted the opinion polls. Yougov has had an excellent track record in recent years.

Let me know which of these policies that the public objected to at the last three elections.

- Keeping the pound
- Opposition to more powers being transferred to Brussels
- Stricter immigration and asylum laws
- Lower taxes
- Choice in public services
- Tougher sentences for criminals.

Mr D'Amiral

The strong belief that Project Cameron is bad
for conservatism and bad for our nation does not make one a "nutter". As someone who has visited patients in mental hospitals and cared
for people with mental health problems, I assure you of that.

Jorgen

Yes I noticed your absence and this site was the poorer for it. Glad you are back.

I don't sit on the website all day long, "Dismayed". I don't work for cchq - I have a real job - and I am a passionate Eurosceptic and supporter of Cameron.

The by-elections were NOT in June, they were in July.

YAA @ 11.25: yes, it's imprecise to say that Brown is attacking Cameron from the right. This seems to be one of the political grid examples where one axis runs from libertarian to authoritarian and the other from socialist to capitalist. On that analysis, Brown is attempting to gain plaudits in a way that portrays him as more of an authoritarian socialist than he has been so far. Our task when faced with this might sensibly be (1) highlight his personal U-turns e.g. border police (2) keep banging the message home that wasteful and ineffective gestures e.g. 90 days, ID cards, are not the answer (3) take the line that a decision to refrain from doing wrong (in the form of the reversal of Blair's policies on dope, drinking and gambling) is not the same as doing right.

Tory T - read you post at 11.32. You said "By election results in June show an 8.6% Tory lead over Labour, according to the Press Association." Were you lying?

I never claimed that you work for CCHQ. Your posts demonstrate a lack of knowledge in market research, opinion polls and statistics.

Well since millions more people voted Labour at all three of those elections it would suggest those policies didn't make the conservative party an attractive prospect to enough voters.

What would be the point in banging on about Europe, tax cuts, crime and immigration endlessly, we've done that for so long if people don't know we're concerned about those issues by now they never will.

Let's recognise that whilst people want tax cuts they also care about the NHS and Education too, whilst it is imortant that violent offenders do get longer prison sentences, we should also have a policy on crime prevention too. We need a much broader and better ballanced political platform to fight a general elction on than we have offered at the last two general elections.

We do need policies on health and education. The problem is that, under Cameron, we have no substantial policies in those areas.

BTW, immigration is top of voters concern at the moment.

In a previous post I went so far as to say that I would vote for a conservative party that photocopied the labour manifesto as a believe that the same manifesto would be implemented in a better way by people of conservative ideals. Just think of the border police and the city acadamies.

Well Labour has not disowned its 2005 Manifesto....though I understand David Cameron's Conservatives have.....with nothing in its place.....odd.

Well said Dismayed. The Tories should, to use one of Dave's favourite expressions, keep "banging on" about the issues which most concern voters.

Even my old man (a typical 50 something 'gordon brown robbed me of my pension' and generally conservative voter) was saying how well Brown has handled terrorism and floods and if he carries on like this he will vote labour. This coming from a man who with any political conversation usually declines in Gordon Brown is the antichrist etc.
I know Cameron keeps harping on about Labour stealing our ideas, but so what. If Brown keeps his word on Border patrols and sucessfully calls Cameron bluff and continues adding sensible right wing policies he might have my vote too.
I do doubt the accuracy of this poll however.

"Well since millions more people voted Labour at all three of those elections it would suggest those policies didn't make the conservative party an attractive prospect to enough voters. "

Grey men in grey suits I'm afraid. nothing wrong with the policies but Hagues election campaign was a farce, duncan smiths entirely forgettable and Howards was uninspiring and dishonest.

Nothing radical or controversial was brought to the table. Nothing to get excited about.

Cameron isn't doing that either. PR stunts and capturing the middle ground is a bore. We've seen it done better by Blair and now we're wise to it.

Poltics needs to be re-ignited in the UK and only a policy bombshell will do it. Namely a referendum on EU membership. That will have every armchair general leaping out of their armchairs and manning the barricades.

Anything else just isn't eyecatching enough. Unless you talk about massive tax cuts and welfare reform. But that same old tory ground huh?

Cameron would rather bitch about the symptoms rather than examine the causes and make political issues out of them.

He must go.

I don't really understand why people are so surprised by all of this.

Certain people (myself very much included) had been saying for quite a while before the handover from Blair to Brown that things were not going well for Project Cameron.

The poll numbers, although they showed small leads for the Tories, were never good enough since a Brown bounce was inevitable. "Dave" never broke through the 40% mark in a convincing fashion: at the end of Blair, the Labour leader was intensely disliked, scandals and sleazy rocked the government, and yet the tories couldn't produce much more than a few points lead. Cameron's economic philosophy --"sharing the proceeds of growth"-- is intellectually completely incoherent, and as I had been saying for many weeks (for which many here attacked me) it was clear to all good observers of politics that Brown would have Cameron for lunch.

Cameron will have to take very drastic action. He needs to fire Steve Hilton for starters. But is Cameron nimble enough to change course? So far, we haven't seen any evidence.

It is too early to talk about ditching Dave. He must be given the opportunity to admit his mistakes and demonstrate that he can deliver real Conservative policies. One such opportunity would be a vigorous campaign for a referendum on the EU constitutional treaty.

If he fails to grasp that oppportunity, the alternatives are few. Osborne is lightweight. Fox is too neo-con and Hague has gone soft. That leaves only Basher Davis who has shown loyalty, mastered his brief and has the substance to take on The Dour One.

Right, I'm coming late to the wake, but no matter ...

Those who rattle on about the "Brown bounce" are missing another obvious truth. It's not merely a "Brown bounce", but at least as much the working out of the "Blair deflation".

What is happening is that the two main Parties are regaining the track they have been on for recent years. That has been Labour 40%+/- and Conservatives 32%+/-.

It's not so long that we were being told to look far and await the "Tipping Point". It didn't happen: so much for Malcolm Gladwell as an aid to bowel movements.

So, we are obliged to re-consider that either the Conservatives are locked into permanent second place, or all the policy to-and-fro-ing and leadership wobbling of recent years hasn't impressed itself on Joe Citizen.

When the medicine isn't working, don't persist in poisoning the patient, change the treatment (and the doctor, perhaps). Now, think back: what Conservative medicine did hit the spot? When? Why?

And at that point the wise words of Heffer and his ilk start to sound like an excellent second opinion.

"No, sorry all you Cameroonian ostriches but you are just plain wrong.It isn't a lack of unity that is hindering us it is a lack of principles, policies, ideals and ideas and a serious lack of respect for the wants and needs of Conservative voters."

HERE, HERE, HERE!!!

"No, sorry all you Cameroonian ostriches but you are just plain wrong.It isn't a lack of unity that is hindering us it is a lack of principles, policies, ideals and ideas and a serious lack of respect for the wants and needs of Conservative voters."

HERE, HERE, HERE!!!

Only a few months ago the numbers were the opposite way round. All that is needed is the inevitable first event of incompetance during the Brown govt to end his honeymoon.

The opportunists using these polls to claim Cameron has failed have fallen for Labour's propaganda. It is Brown who is the master of spin, who will say anything to win power. He doesn't believe any of the 'right-wing' policies he is currently trumpeting. Socialism is in his bones and the public will see that eventually.

We just need to hang on, be patient and support the best leader we have.

Dismayed, I see, sorry. My fault. By election results are from July, not June, and show an 8.6% Tory lead, hat tip to poster Richard H at politicalbetting.com who posted the PA story over there

"Support the best leader we have".

I just wish that Cameron was a Conservative Leader rather than a follower of liberal and green opinion, as espoused by the Beeb, Indie and Grauniad .

Dear Mr Brown,

Blitz us with astonishment by announcing an EU referendum and maybe throw in one or two other little headline sweeteners for Middle England, such as exemption of main residence from IHT. (Shan't expect you to do anything about WLQ, as none of your main competitors gives a damn about it either)

Then go for an autumn general election and hit the Tories back into the electoral long grass for a generation or two, assuming they survive at all as a political entity.

Yours in rueful realism
K.S.

...........No, that's certainly not what I want to see happen but it's certainly a stark possibility unless you lot get your @*#es into gear and quick!

Quite right Ken. Brown wants to destroy us and no one on here seems to understand that this disunity is exactly what he wants. However uncomfortable we find it, why can't some people just grin and bear it? The suicidal mentality of some here is selfish considering Cameron's huge mandate to make his changes. If people want to get rid of him, at least wait until after the election. Now is not the time.

Tory T, your apology is accepted.

Even if the by-elections were this month, they are not a reliable guide to national opinion (for the reasons that I gave above).

Opinion pollsters have to use methods that are approved by the British Polling Council. There has been a clear pattern established by the recent polls undertaken by ICM, MORI and Yougov.

You and Tapestry have made fundamental statistical and political errors. Parliamentary and council by-elections in one month cannot be used to project national vote shares. They are useful guides to the effectiveness of campaigning in those ares.

So we can applaud the candidates and activists who campaigned in these by-elections. At the same time, we must criticise CCHQ for the poor results in Ealing Southall and Sedgefield.

I will declare my interest at the start.

I initially supported David Davis in 2005, then switched to Cameron. My first preference though was neither of them, but for the excellent Michael Howard to be persuaded to stay on for a further 2 years. This would have had 2 advantages at least:

1. Ensured the continued discipline of the Parliamentary Party, and continued the increased professionalism- both of which improved beyond recognition when MH took over from IDS,
2. Given Howard the chance to kick off the Policy Review Groups and basically hold the fort for 2 years whilst they produced their findings.

This would have brought us up to roughly now in the electoral cycle. MH could have handed over to Cameron at the same time as Blair handed over to Brown. We would have had a fresh and dynamic new Leader with undoubted PR gifts to offer the electorate- the real "change" candidate as opposed to the Two Old Men From Fife leading the Lib Dems and Labour. And, crucially, Cameron would have been complemented by WEIGHTY policies produced by our Review Groups.

As things stand, it looks at though we have wasted the "Cameron Bounce" on the discredited end of the busted flush Blair regime.

We all have to be honest- including many of the Cameroons who post on this site- and look at the many, minor indicators that keep popping up which still suggest we are not ready to be in Government.

Just in the last ten days- the Tony Lit fiasco, putting Grant Shapps in charge of a crucial by election, Theresa Villiers abysmal parliamentary response to the Rail Strategy. Not to mention the South Staffs Association's continuing reluctance to decide whether they wish to replace the hopeless, pro Labour Govt Patrick Cormack with someone who at least appears interested in politics.

In a nutshell- we dont look serious enough, or give the impression they we want it enough. Offering a city of 7 million people our resident, self publicising Court Jester as a potential Mayor will reinforce that feeling amongst the electorate.

We need to grow up quickly, and develop some policies and PASSION. We are staring straight down the barrel of Defeat No.4 at this rate.

Since when have we been heading for defeat? For a few weeks when Brown has had blanket media coverage and a favourable political climate? Stop panicking, be patient!

It is precisely because they do not oppose Labour that no one wants to vote for them. Furthermore they cannot oppose because they say the same things as the dross already in power. When we add to that the fact that Westminster is just a rubber stamping clearing house for undemocratic EU directives what is the point of our political process?

The core vote has been around 32-33% for the last decade or so. Occasionally, e.g. when we have a new Leader, we gain a few points for up to a year before slipping back to the core vote.

Cameron (like Hague, IDS and Howard) enjoyed a poll bounce and has now slipped back to the core of 32-33%. Brown is not enjoying the bounce, he has recovered the support that was temporarily lost.

The problems that we face are more fundamental. Voting patterns seem to be entrenched. Re-branding is not enough to make the permanent breakthrough that is required.

"We need to grow up quickly, and develop some policies and PASSION. We are staring straight down the barrel of Defeat No.4 at this rate. "

No-one beleives Cameron has any passion. He looks like he's reading from a scriipt in his head prepared for him by a focus group. He is a phoney. Duncan smith is a man of passion and conviction. Cameron is a spiv.

I echo the sentiments above... what does it matter if the tories are defeated anyway? It's not like anyone is keen to address the fact that westminster has few powers left.

"Re-branding is not enough to make the permanent breakthrough that is required."

rebranding convinces no-one.

Some people on this board think it is our divine right to rule and will not accept we could face a fourth defeat.

Some say "now is not the time to rock the boat" - It should be our destiny to rule.


Let me bring reality home. The flippant, vacuous and arrogant approach of the Cameron team will lead us to the electoral wilderness.

I never thougt I would have to contemplate this but the Labour Party faced 18 yrs of opposition and we may be heading toward equaling that figure - now is the time to act or we can sit back an face obscurity, whilst Brown brings our once great Nation to its knees.

Dismayed at 14.59 may have a point. But I also think the Cameroon project has pretty much done itself in. Traditional Conservatives have had enough of one failed stunt after another, stunts which have not appear capable of delivering the votes they were intended to. Talk about organising a booze up in a brewery.

I bow to nobody in my loathing for Alistair Campbell, but his diaries really should be mandatory reading for every Tory -including the entire parliamentary party and Shadow Cabinet.

94-97 is a text book lesson in how a serious Opposition schemes, plans, plots and yes WORKS to win an Election.

By contrast, we have got Dave in his mud hut in Rwanda, Tony Lit posting love letters to Tony Blair, and Boris pedalling through the streets of London with his breakfast down the front of his shirt.

Its "ok yah" politics gone mad.

I repeat- the British people will only elect grown ups. Get serious.

"whilst Brown brings our once great Nation to its knees."

Yes because schools used to be excellent and hosptials used to be clean and efficient and the army used to be well equipped and the maggie and major did everything they could to stop power being handed to brussels.

The tories NEVER used the welfare system and universities to mask youth unemployment and the streets were so safe and immigration never used to be a problem.

The fact is, this country is long past being on its knees. It's face down in a puddle of its own urine.. Getting this country back on its knees would be a goood start.

But as usual the EU is the elephant in the room that everyone can see but will not talk about.

And anyone wonders why turnout is low and tories stay at home? So long as real opportunity to affect change is denied them and access to the mechanisms of democracy is limited to a privelaged few, there will be nothing other than contempt or apathy directed at the political establishment.

I notice that one knee jerk reaction to criticism seems to be that traditional policies have lost us every election since '97, therefore they must be wrong. Nobody seems to be willing to accept that it might just have been apalling campaigns, lacklustre delivery and an air of incompetence which lost. Labour won in '97 by virtually promising a conservative manifesto without the buffoonery of the past few years. They won the next election because the electorate were prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt, and the last because we failed, abysmally, to skewer them over Iraq.

There was a live television program the evening before the election in which Blair and Michael Howard were both asked questions by a studio audience. I watched, open mouthed, as Michael Howard declared in answer to one question that he still supported the invasion of Iraq, and I nearly didn't vote at all the following day. My guess is that thousands of people who would otherwise have voted conservative to punish labour for the Iraq debacle stayed away in disgust.

In recent months I have been similarly staggered to hear both DC and Hague say, on air, that even knowing all that we know now about the lack of WMD etc etc, they would still have supported the invasion of Iraq had they been in power. This when the vast majority of people in this country were appalled at the invasion and are even more sickened now that we know the entire episode has been a charade. And we talk about capturing the middle ground?

This is the politics of suicide. The invasion of Iraq remains a stain on our national conscience which must not be swept under the carpet. A commitment to a full investigation should we win would win instant support.

That aside there is nothing wrong with traditional conservative values and policies; firmly, confidently and competently presented they are exactly what the middle ground are desperate for.

In the absence of any party offering them, many more voters will sit on their hands this time, the default will be the existing government spinning a right wing agenda, and we will lose again.

Surely one of the problems from 1997 onwards - and a problem that's getting worse rather than better - is the whole Gerald Ratner exercise whereby the main message senior party figures project to the public is that 'the Party must change', which even the public is clever enough to decode as 'there is something incredibly wrong with the Party so you probably shouldn't consider voting for it in its current form'.

The Campbell diaries are interesting on this point, because at various points before 1997 there was clearly anxiety about 'trashing the brand', and in general New Labour's architects were careful to make their party look as united, positive and unproblematic as possible. They also did not spend all their time carefully briefing the media about how they were trying to make the party appear to be one thing or another, and instead, let the media have the fun of figuring this out for themselves. That, at least, left at least the faintest possibility (for everyone - media, public, party members too) that something genuinely exciting and attractive was happening to Labour, rather than underlining once again what a basket-case the party had been.

Sorry to sound like the most banal sort of self-help book, but it's hard to attract love or admiration from others when you're drowning in self-loathing. Whatever its ideological predilections, a successful Tory leadership (don't worry, one will come along one of these decades) will have to remind the Conservative party and the wider world of a central truth, which is that the natural state of at least a small majority of the British electorate is small-c conservative (a point that New Labour's architects very much grasped) and that those who have worked hard for the Conservative party over the years should be proud of all they have done, and full of enthusiasm to get on with all they have to do.

Needless to say, pretending to be a Green party, or claiming Blairite heritage, or changing the logo, or mutilating the organisation of conference, or taking an approach to candidate selection that discourages long-time activists, or cuddling up to Polly Toynbee, doesn't quite hit the mark.

Yes Drusilla, you are right. As a Tory I don't
care a fig about Polly Toynbee's views and it would disturb me if another Tory did. Nor do I care where retailers place chocolate oranges. After all when I was a kid we had whole shops given over to sweets.

"If we unite and regain the will to power we can win. Faced with that will and unity the media will take us more seriously and even start to support or at the very least attack less (why attack ideas your readership after all and why attack a party looking like it will be in power)."

I agree DavidK, in fact a united and motivated Conservative party is all that will blunt this venom from certain media outlets and the trolls out in force on this site.
I hope that every MP is now on a rota signed up for duty over the summer. I hope that all that extra staff at CCHQ are working hard to monitor all media stories and ready to play hard ball in demanding corrections or retractions when conjecture is put forward as fact or when they have no evidence to back up an assertion they report as fact.
We need all our media performers to be on hand at any time to appear on news channels to put forward our case, attack Brown and Labour and most importantly to show just how serious we really are about gaining power. Andy Coulson will need to get a firm grip and a tight ship up and running but he will also need a tight, loyal and motivated Parliamentary party to work with not a bunch of individuals who think that they can run an individual agenda within the party at the moment. Attacking Brown, preparing for a possible GE and getting our policies packaged and presented by a passionate, unified and focussed Conservative party is a must.
David Cameron was quite right to ask the 1922 committee for the right to clear all media interviews and announcements through CCHQ, until we realise that THE whole party needs to get its media act together then he or any other leader might as well just not bother.
We have done the naval gazing, bitching and thrown just about every kind of damaging grenade at each other in the party for 17 years. I would just once like to see us turn it all on the Labour party and their chums in the Libdems in a concentrated attack because I think that is the only way we can really blunt this media onslaught.
Until I see all of the above being implemented right across the party by MP's and grass roots then I don't think those criticising David Cameron have a leg to stand on!


The core vote has been around 32-33% for the last decade or so. Occasionally, e.g. when we have a new Leader, we gain a few points for up to a year before slipping back to the core vote.
Quoting percentage vote isn't much use - the Conservative vote has gone up from 30.7% in 1997 to 32.2% in 2005, but as with the 1979-92 period this conceals the fact that turnout varied hugely and that it wasn't all the same people voting Conservative in each General Election - in 1997 it was 9.6 million people, in 2001 it was about 8.35 million, in 2005 it was up to 8.77 million

Hypothesis: Its the economy, stupid.

The problem with the Cameron conservative party is not Cameron, but Osborne. The reason the Tories currently have no detailed policies on anything is because they are mortally afraid that the minute anything involving spending is proposed they (ie George) will be cut to ribbons on the financial details.
There's nothing wrong with Cameron wanting to be the heir to Blair. The problem is that Blair always had Brown - serious, prudent, intelligent, competent Brown - in the background to reassure people that however lightweight Blair might appear the business of government would be in safe, Scottish hands. Whereas Dave has George.
The Tories can't propose detailed policies on any of the areas where they are strong and/or Brown is weak - Home Affairs, Border Control, Defence, Education, Health - until they have a Shadow Chancellor who is able to not only make, but win, the economic argument against Brown. Until the Tories fight Brown on the economy, nothing else they say or do is going to have any credibility.

Discuss.

Scotty at 16:53.

Excellent post of which I wholeheartedly agree.

Cameron should pay a price for his slack approach to campaigning. He may well keep his own job but he should sacrifice Osborne.

It is time to have someone with a bit of experience and bite in this role - the disasters of Portillo, Osborne, Letwin as Shadow Chancellor are frankly embarrassing.

If he can't find anyone with an edge he'll have to try Redwood but I am sure he can find a candidate who understand economics and is not as lightweight as Boy George.

"David Cameron was quite right to ask the 1922 committee for the right to clear all media interviews and announcements through CCHQ".

That is Cameroon-speak for "we need to suppress dissent". Thatcher and Major did not make such demands of the 1992 Committee, traditionally independent of the schoolboys in CCHQ. It just proves that Cameron is a wet authoritarian rather than the liberal that he claims to be.

This discussion has been a really good set of posts. Hope to God that Dave reads 'em....

Can't tell you how much my heart leapt when Dave mentioned the word "immigration" on his trip to Africa. I experienced a Tory frisson that I have not felt in a long time.

I know it's only a start....and can we start mentioning a flat tax again?

Just watched the rerun of This Week on BBC Parliament.

Kelvin MacKenzie is such a salivating idiot, pointing his finger at Portillo like a spoilt child - it was hilarious! (though a nation must have switched off...)

He's looking more and more like Greg Dyke as the years wear on.

Portillo's put-downs of him were excellent and Diane Abbott's face was a picture.

Then I switched over and watched Cameron being interviewed on Channel Five. Really insightful questions there - not. "What are your favourite TV programs?...."* and "Football or cricket?..."** among others.

I wasn't sure if Cameron has been told to look more serious and weighty, or if it is just that he hasn't had much sleep this past week...

* Midsomer Murders and Neighbours.
** Cricket.

I'll allow him Neighbours: at least the weather is better in Oz. But Midsomer Murders?

As for This Week, the only person worth watching is Andrew Neill (although if it was a toss up between listening to Mackenzie and Portillo, the former would win any day in my book).

"That is Cameroon-speak for "we need to suppress dissent". Thatcher and Major did not make such demands of the 1992 Committee, traditionally independent of the schoolboys in CCHQ. It just proves that Cameron is a wet authoritarian rather than the liberal that he claims to be."

I knew you were an ill informed troll but at least check your history!

Mrs Thatcher did not just use that handbag as an accessory and more than one MP felt the full weight of it or had to duck to avoid it. It was also the last time I can remember a Conservative party which appeared united and loyal but more importantly really hungry for power.
As for Major, well he tried to face down what he termed the "b*******s" by putting his leadership on the line and the rest is history. 3 GE defeats, 5 leaders and less than 200 MP's. Maybe it is time that the 1922 committee started doing something about those statistics!
When posters like you start excepting that open dissent within the party is what got us into this mess and left us with a Brown government we might start winning again. Kelvin McKenzie last night was the best example I have seen yet of someone who does not care about this party and is prepared to damage it beyond repair because of a personal and downright vindictive dislike of one man.
Sad really.

No, Dismayed, you're wrong - these elections are a good indication of where we are in the FPTP system. I suggest you read Sean Fear's new piece on politicalbetting on the seats Labour must retain (and won't) in the South East to keep its majority.

"excepting" or "accepting"

It is hilarious to see the Cameroons talk up Portillo's "performance" last night. He said that Conservatives, even under Dave, will never win another general election. Doh!!

Project Cameron is in a mess of its own making but its supporters are blaming everyone else.

Tory T, with respect, our Masonic colleague Sean Fear is not a professional market researcher and forecaster. I am.

According to these figures Labour would double its majority to over 130 seats. Brown would regain seats such as Braintree, Shipley, Gravesham and Clwyd North.

Tom M and TomTom: very valid points, not only about George Osborne but also for identifying John Redwood as ideally suited to the Shadow Chancellor role. It simply does not inspire confidence to see an heir to a fortune in his thirties, who has only ever worked in politics since university, walked straight into the safe seat squandered by Neil Hamilton, and has no obvious first hand experience of wealth creation or preservation, looking to follow in the footsteps of such great predecessors as Howe and Lawson. Bringing Redwood back would at least reintroduce experience in a comparable manner to Michael Howard's unexpected return to the frontline.

Clearly the party wants to become a right-wing debating society. This debate is doing only Brown good and making the Conservatives look inward looking and irrelevant.

Cleo

What's wrong with being right wing? Have you got an issue with it?

It is not going to win an election just as it did not win 1997, 2001 and 2005.

Dismayed, Sean Fear has expertise in local election results as a campaigner of many years and assn chairman that a "market researcher" cannot touch. Anybody can enter the figures into Baxter. It is when you look at a) real election results and b) real individual constituencies that you get a true picture.

Furthermore, Sean Fear is a pessimist politically. He never overestimates the Tories chances and (like most commentators who looked, like you are doing, only at the polls) he underestimated our results in the local elections substantially for two years running.

His analysis therefore doesn't even present a "good day" scenario for the Tories.

Your doom and gloom is blinkered and fails to understand what actual voting patterns continue to reveal - a Tory lead.

Clearly the party wants to become a right-wing debating society. This debate is doing only Brown good and making the Conservatives look inward looking and irrelevant.

Posted by: Cleo | July 27, 2007 at 19:50

I have no idea what the party wants you seem to be so well informed on such matters Cleo. The Conservatives are "irrelevant" as you put it...you are obviously in the know as they say.

You are obviously too young to know how people used to debate issues, your generation is too wedded to the Fuehrerprinzip where you fall into line and click your heels together - in your case it would be BDM....those days are long gone.

Now it is a case of persuasion and setting out a policy...sorry..the thought of policy in connection with the current Conservarive Party would require it to stop spinning like a top and select a direction.

When you're spinning right and left all becomes a blur. It is all so old fashioned anyway basing political directions on something from the French Revolutionary Assembly but I suppose if you work in the media where mediocrity in thought and deed is sine qua non, such simplicities are de rigeur.

So do try and slip out of your straitjacket Cleo and try to discuss....you must have something less neurotic to say than don't discuss. One failing in politics is for political activists to think they know more than the general public whereas they know at best - a lot about a little - whereas collectively the voters know a lot about a lot

Cleo

Firstly I do not think and you cannot prove that the Tories have been out of power because they were/are right wing. There are a variety of factors at play of which the most important is the economy which the lefties band europhiles in the party ruined.

Secondly if the Tories are no longer to represent "right wing" views (and there is an open debate as to what that means and if ther is fair), let's make it clear to the electorate that there is no chose between the three main parties.

Tory T, I do not use "Baxter" and have my own forecasting models. I used them to forecast the 2001 and 2005 general election results and pick up a few grand from the bookies.

BTW, I have been an association chairman, national officer and Parliamentary candidate.

Forecast all you like but this is one poll just as the by-elections were just 2 by-election. Brown has got his bounce, has managed to portray himself as the change, has been relatively good with the various crises that have arisen since he took over. At the same time the Conservatives are backstabbing (have been for months) and calling for a return to the core vote strategy. Brown will continue to bounce until there is unity in the Conservative Party.

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