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It's important to bare in mind that all 3 parties top some extent are policking over their attitude towards co-operation - both Gordon Brown and David Cameron are eager to encourage voters for the other parties to vote for them out of a sense that they are going to try to form some kind of consensus including opinions of those from other parties, but they want to have the cushion of a comfortable majority; on the other hand Menzies Campbell has to deal with the problem that people who might vote for the Liberal Democrats might be put off if they think that all the Liberal Democrats might do is to support either the Conservatives or Labour in government; his strategy is that the Liberal Democrats stand for something distinct and are going to effect changes and so he is only likely to accept places in government if there is some kind of joint policy making - so Paddy Ashdown as Northern Ireland Secretary probably would have been acceptable if Gordon Brown had agreed to form a full coalition with the Liberal Democrats with Menzies Campbell even if he wasn't a cabinet minister participating in formulation of government policy; at that point Menzies Campbell could say that he has achieved what no Liberal or Alliance leader had done since the early 1920's and delivered the Liberal Democrats into government, at that point the Liberal Democrats status would rise hugely from a party of protest to a party that voting for them could actually make some kind of difference, which might adversely affect their by-election results in the sense that many merely wanting to protest don't actually want the person elected to actually do anything directly but rather have a catalytic effect on the two main parties, but also might see people seriously consider a Liberal Democrat leader during a General Election as potentially a PM.

It is fair to say that the ICM polls look very odd.

Iain Dale points out it is ONE poll jointly conducted for NOTW and Sunday Telegraph

Traditional Tory

"Someone like David Davis. Make the change at the right time for a 'Davis Bounce' at the next election."

You think changing leader right before an election would win the public over? You must be kidding. That would show desperation and it would guarantee another term in Opposition, maybe without many more seats.

The main problem the Tories have is that:

Brown's getting lots of media attention, partly because his cronies keep creating stories to take the headlines away (see abortive attempt to undermine the US-UK relationship).

The Tories themselves are still prefering to have a good punch-up rather than unite behind the leader they elected.

Or maybe one reason for the disunity is that those who never voted Cameron are digging their heels and are throwing a temper-tantrum on the supermarket floor for the whole electorate to see, until they get their way and dictate who the next leader is.

For all the anti-Camerons, if there was a confidence vote in the Party and Cameron won, would you shut up and let him get on with it? Or would you still scream and complain?

"The Sunday Telegraph has just been in touch to say that they have an ICM survey which also has ICM 7% ahead "

Surely you mean "has LABOUR 7% ahead"

Henry Mayhew

You're assuming everyone here doesn't want to see the Tories fail. You must have realised some people here are either:

*Non-tories trying to whip up more trouble

*Tories who would prefer to see their own party stay in opposition than do better with a leader they don't like

This 'survey' (so described by ICM) was not a voting intentions poll. It asked two questions.

1. which party did you vote for at the last election?

2. which party do you feel warmest to?

1. does not tell you anything about Cameron who arrived since. and 2. is guaranteed to work against Conservative, and might not reflect voting intention.

The two channels using this poll have represented this as a voting intention poll, which it isn't, and they've interpreted it in totally different ways, getting widely different figures - although both interpretations were favourable to Brown of course!

Their figures are all over the shop with 'others' in the Sunday telegraph on 8%, while in the NOTW they are at 24%!

This has been rushed through, probably under pressure from Downing St desperate to get good weekend media, and it's turned into total farce.

Tories who would prefer to see their own party stay in opposition than do better with a leader they don't like

How about Tories who would prefer to see the party win with a leader they do like rather than lose with a loser?

Coming back to the hapless Mr Lit, one of 'David Cameron's Conservatives' since...er...last month, I particularly enjoyed the revelation that he is a 'former male model'.

Whatever happened to the 'A List' pinup; that sweet little chap with the cute bottom who used to be on East Enders?

Right now 'David Cameron's Conservatives' - as opposed to us bog standard Conservatives - need all the flag-waggers they can get.

Now is the time for all good male models...

Well, well, well.

Look at this in the Guardian.

Tony Lit, as a local businessman, attended both Tory and Labour dinners and had been to a Tory one two weeks before the Labour one - which the Lits were told was a fundraiser for Keith Vaz's personal children's charity

"A Tory spokesman denied their candidate had done anything wrong by attending the dinner, pointing out that he was then in his radio job, before he gave it up a week later to stand in the by-election. 'It's normal for businessmen to do this kind of thing,' he said. 'He'd been at a Conservative party event two weeks before which was also held for the Asian community. Given the importance of Sunrise Radio, it would be odd if he hadn't gone to the dinner.' The spokesman said that they had not yet received an invoice for the £4,000 pledge, which he said would be paid for by Sunrise. He added the Lits had been told the fund-raising event was organised by Labour MP Keith Vaz, and that the money would be going to his charity, Starline, which helps disadvantaged children."


So how do you explain the photograph of a £4800 cheque in favour of the Labour Party, which appears in the Sunday Telegraph?

You might want to read the last line of the quoted paragraph, TT.

That cheque came from the company, owned by his father Avatar and was signed by Avatar - not Tony, as reported.

And they were local businessmen going to community events held by both parties. A Tory event two weeks before the Labour one - Tony Lit went along to that, too. Of course Sunrise had a presence at both, it's how business works, as I said last night.

If Tony Lit was a Labour man why did he go to a Tory event first? He was a business guy going to both. Completely normal.

And btw - the Guardian reported yesterday that Lit told Francis Maude about the dinner and the picture before his selection. Sorry to rain on your anti-Cameron rant, but the party knew all about this on June 28th and did not care.

Raj says that there are, "Tories who would prefer to see their own party stay in opposition than do better with a leader they don't like". There certainly are, and, despite Cameron, I'm not one of them. One of the things I object to so much about Cameron, however, is that he surrounds himself with exactly the class of person Raj claims to object so much to, namely people who have in the past voted against or even worked against the Tory Party winning elections. Green voter Steve Hilton and Jimmy Goldsmith flack Douglas Smith being just two of the most odious examples.

I think we should be concerned by the polls, as well as being a little sceptical. The figures, as many have suggested in the past, are more likely indicative of the media coverage given to Gordon Brown over the past few weeks. Of course, the IDS report has been given great coverage, but over the last three weeks, it seems that no matter what Cameron says, its overshadowed by Brown's Queen's speech of sorts. In my, admittedly optimistic opinion, if the other policy group ideas follow the same track, and Brown continues to underperform at PMQs we shall be seeing a rebalancing in the polls. Brown will be seen as uninspiring, and is frankly not as likeable as Cameron, and voters warm more to DC. We just need to keep our heads!

Tory T, give up on this patently absurd lie that in Britain businessmen 'have' to give money to the Party in office. Maybe they do in Panama, but they certainly don't here. Really, why do you bother telling lies like this? Even taking the lie seriously is so childishly draining as to be demeaning. But let's anyway. What evidence do you have that businessmen, to do business in Britain, are in the widespread habit of giving money to a Party they don't support? Uh, none.

As far as Sunrise is concerned, Tony Lit was MD, so tick the box for complicity there (which you can't escape anyway, as your ludicrous argument appears to be that if businessmen in Britain don't bung the governing party money the Stasi or somesuch will come and pick them up). And as for your citing of the Obs report that Maude knew (and we have to assume Cameron too, though we'll find out soon enough on that score), well, doh. That's exactly the thing that disgusts so many Tories: that Maude and Cameron foisted on Ealing a man who had just signed off on donations to the Labour Party and they knew he had.

Be as obtuse about this as you want, but it stinks and the scale of the press coverage it got this morning only indicates your level of specious denial.

Oh Act, do grow up. It was Avatar Lit that signed the cheque, not Tony, and he was told it was going to a children's charity run by the Labour MP.

Furthermore - let me repeat it slowly in case you didn't get it - Tony Lit, in his Sunrise capacity, went to a Tory event two weeks before the Labour one.

In other words, he went to both. As a non-partisan businessman.

And he made a full disclosure to the party before his selection.

Francis Maude pulled a blinder if he had anything to do with the selection of Tony Lit, who will hugely improve our vote on Thursday and may even pull off a truly shocking win, after his textbook campaign.

If Tony Lit was a Labour man why did he go to a Tory event first? He was a business guy going to both. Completely normal.

Don't be ridiculous.

Many Tory MPs, parliamentary candidates, councillors etc are 'business guys'. Are you seriously suggesting that it would be normal for these people to attend Labour events, authorise donations to the Labour Party, pose with Tony Blair etc?

Lit's father may have signed the cheque, but the candidate is described as 'head' of the radio station. Presumably they are both directors of the company.

Cameron and his candidate - together with the curiously-named Grant Shapps - now have egg all over their faces, but of course Tory T is happily proclaiming that the grass is blue, today's polls a Cameron triumph etc.

Dream on...

anyone wanting change, including Labour supporters, has to vote Conservative.

It's going to be difficult to explain what "change" might be when the Tories are proposing yet more nannying, yet more welfare spending, are indifferent about the EU, claim to be localist and then act centralist, etc.

Oh Act, do grow up. It was Avatar Lit that signed the cheque, not Tony, and he was told it was going to a children's charity run by the Labour MP.

There were two cheques; the one for £4000 from the 'auction' which may indeed go to some charity and the cheque for £4800 which is made out to that well-known charity, the Labour Party.

Furthermore - let me repeat it slowly in case you didn't get it - Tony Lit, in his Sunrise capacity, went to a Tory event two weeks before the Labour one.

Hedging his bets? I'd say that makes it worse.

If he'd attended Labour events up to, say, last month and then started going to Tory ones, he could at least have argued some kind of Damascene conversion.

As it is, he's all over the place. I hope his domestic life isn't as colourful.

Presumably, in the unlikley event that he's elected to parliament, you will be saying it's OK for him to carry on attending Labour bunfights and having his photo taken with Gordon Brown?

Trad Tory have you any understanding at all of politics, I wonder?

Tory PPCs, councillors, whip-holding peers, and MPs, may have business interests but they are signed up Conservatives.

Tony Lit was not allowed to join the party, although our voter, whilst he was MD of a media outlet. Nor was he then a politician. He was a local business leader and non-partisan community activist.

In his capacity as MD of Sunrise (owned by his Dad Avatar) he attended, within the space of a fortnight, "Asian Community" events run by the Tories, first, and then Labour.

Non partisan business practice!

When he approached us to run, he resigned his job so that he could join the party formally and become partisan. Now as a PPC - wait a minute, a PC, in fact - he would no longer be making non-partisan donations or going to Labour events. Different kettle of fish entirely.

What's your explanation of Lit and Sunrise's support for the Tory asian event two weeks before the Labour one - if he was such a dyed in the wool trot?

Just try for a little bit of realism now and then.

It is hilarious to hear people charge that certain Tories wish to see the party lose.For the past 18 months we have pursued a wrong headed unappealing agenda which has thrown away our advantage in significant policy areas.For example: On Law&Order we are prissoners to hug a hoodie,whether DC used the actual words or not is irrelevant, the elecotrate see us as confused.On Tax,Hard pressed families are given no hope from us.On education we have failed to allign ourselves with aspiration and on Europe Cameron continues within the Federalist EPP.

What was it all for?

Trad Tory have you any understanding at all of politics, I wonder?

Rather more than you and the Cameroon High Command, it would seem.

This story is a total disaster, and the fact that it could apparently have been forseen makes it all the more inexcusable.

Nobody would be interested in the excuses even if they held water, which they don't

In his capacity as MD of Sunrise (owned by his Dad Avatar) he attended, within the space of a fortnight, "Asian Community" events run by the Tories, first, and then Labour.

Oh yes. I'm sure Lord Kalms attends 'Jewish Comminity' events run by Labour and makes out big cheques to Brown. Maybe he gets his wife to sign the cheques just so it's OK.

As a businessman of rather more lilliputian proportions I used to pay £100 for an ad in the local Tory ball programme and give them some prizes for the raffle. It never occurred to me that I should have been giving a helping hand to the Labour Party as well and that had I done so I would have been applauded by right-thinking Tories such as yourself.

One certainly learns something every day.

You are finally realising that the Brown bounce is an updraft and that by selecting Boris for mayor and Lit for Ealing Southall Cameron has made two fatal errors: putting luvvies with style not substance into places which should now go to people with experience of governing or practical politics now that the Labour party has done the same.

I will be watching this site with interest as you all seem to be waking up from the dream and realising it's actually a nightmare. I am holding off rejoining the party until you do something decisive, but it looks as if you have all been found out.

Good luck. See you under the next Leader who I think I already know.

What did FM/DC know about Lit's business dealings/personal political views and when did they know it??? If the spokesman's statement is true...just how were they planning to spin it in the event it became public knowledge...surely a dead cert given it was a Labour party event??? Not in the manner it has just been handled which appears cack-handed to say the least.

Tories who would prefer to see their own party stay in opposition than do better with a leader they don't like

And then there are those who see no point in winning unless the Conservative Party intend to make Conservative policies. Is that so difficult to understand?

Yes Jorgen it absolutely is. After 10 years in power can you really think of an area of policy where anything the Labour party is proposing is good for the country? You may not agree with all or even much of what the Conservative party is offering but to seemingly prefer to see the Conservative party defeated because you can't get everything you want and therefore help Labour win is unforgivable.

Malcolm, Jorgen is a declared ukip supporter.

Power without principle is barren.
Principle without power is futile.

Who said that before going on to win three elections? Tony Blair.

Cameron needs to say the same to his own party at the Tory conference, as Michael Portillo has suggested.

Cameron should be going further in his reforms than he is now, not limping back to the Daily Mail debating society out on the right-wing.

People calling for another leadership beheading - it would be laughable if it wasn't so pathetic. It's as if the past ten years hasn't happened for you people!

At least when Labour were in their wilderness years they recognised the sheer immensity of the work they needed to do to defeat Thatcher.

10 years in the wilderness for the Tories and some loonies on here still think all we have to do is to revert to a 'traditional' leader figure, get angry about modern society, and the Tories will walk back into government.

It's incredible. It's daft. It's so unbelievably blinkered it's not even funny.

What's not funny Edison is that there are still people like you out there who fail to realise that many of us have absolutely no loyalty to the party simply because of its name and no reason to vote for it if it is not going to follow the policies and beliefs we adhere to.

Simply saying that the Tory party deserves to be in power because it follows a different set of policies to Labour is never going to win you support when your set of policies are seen as no better thatn Labour's. They may indeed be different but so long as they continue to ignore the beliefs and principles of the majority of traditional COnservative voters many of us will continue to state quite clearly that you are no alternative.

"..celebration ... from the leadership's supporters on these boards as more and more conservative principle[s have] been dropped over the past 18 months now looks very hollow." - Centre ground should be common sense and consensual public opinion; much of that is actually conservative AND Tory. We must brand all that powerfully and tie them firmly to our mast.

"I know a number of Labour voters who are saying they won't be voting Labour again. a) they may well abstain b) they will not want to vote for any party that resembles Labour c) it has little importance if Conservative voters feel the same way about their party" - I think we should inter alia recruit many more new members, get the message across but above all be unafraid to represent the silent majority.

"Isn't it about time we stopped responding to what Brown & Labour are doing and concentrate on doing the best that we can as a Party?" - Indeed. Let's pool all our energies and talents onto a unity platform.

Personally I think it's high time that Cameron made some enemies.

The country is crying out for an alternative to the government and unless Cameron is prepared to set out his stall and defend it against the Guardianistas et al then we're going nowhere fast.

Edison Smith - what would you like Cameron to be doing?

Personally I think it's high time that Cameron made some enemies.

>>cough<< Don't you think he has enough already?

On the subject of Lit, can anyone here say hand on heart that they know the man is a Conservative?

Maybe - at best - he has no real political convictions and is just a businessman with an eye for the main chance. Well, fair play to him and good luck to him with his business. But why on earth should we let him stand for us in an important by-election?

PS. Editor - I think your graphic is wrong for the Lib Dems at the moment as the story has them on 19 in the Telegraph and the graphic shows 17.

"On the subject of Lit, can anyone here say hand on heart that they know the man is a Conservative?" - Opportunity or opportunism, or both?!

opportunism, opportunism, opportunism...

That makes him the ideal politician in this post-democratic age!

Thank you Geoffrey. It is wrong. I'll change it in a mo...

Good point. Obviously I meant make some enemies with the enemy rather than with his own supporters.

Unless he starts standing up for some real Tory principles and policies then he's going to let Brown dictate the agenda.

Cut government spending? Oh no, that would be an attack on the vulnerable and vital services. Best not then.

Europe? Don't go there. Could get messy.

Immigration? Best not. Don't want to be labelled a racist.

Crime? Obviously the system is nigh on perfect so no need to say anything here.

Terrorism and Iraq. No, best steer clear.

Exactly WHAT is he going to stand up for and risk a bit of flak from people who are never going to vote Tory anyway?

It comes as no surprise that Brown is ahead in the polls. I believe that the gap is set to widen further still in the coming months. If I were a betting man I'd put money on Brown's lead becoming a double digit one by Christmas. I'm pretty certain there will be two or three more high profile Tory defections in the coming weeks, each staggered, designed and choreographed to inflict as much damage on the Tory Party as possible. I don't believe that Brown should take all the credit for what will be a terrible few months ahead for the Tory Party. If anything the man that should take the plaudits is David Cameron himself.
Cameron has been utterly useless as Tory leader and he will begin to feel the heat, especially as the moderates look towards Brown and the Right sharpen the knives. I for one will enjoy every moment of it. Maybe when the Party finally realise what an idiot they have leading them they will forced him to resign. The Conservatives will not win the next election - I've always believed that - but at least with a real conservative in charge they might regain enough ground to win the next.

There are a lot of people with psychic powers on this thread, 'Louise' knows who will be our next leader and 'Den' is sure that will be two or three more defections.
I feel humbled to be able to debate in such exalted company! Not.

An interesting post from a LibDem regular on pb.com just now

"Left E & S on Saturday a bit depressed. Really difficult to read -hardly any posters up, though one for the English Democrats was pointed out to me!

I thought it could be a freak with Lit attracting significant numbers, and the Lib Dems having to come from an unpromising situation in only 3 weeks.

It would be very unfair if failure at E & S was hung round Mings neck. But clearly unfairness is par for the political course."

Lit certainly won't be attracting "significant numbers" anymore. Although saying that, plenty of Labour voters will probably give their vote to him since he's one of them anyway.

You lot really are ludicrous. I bet none of you have been to Ealing Southall to leaflet or to canvass; you prefer to sit at home taking pot-shots at the leadership.

Well those of us who have been there can tell you that Tony Lit is going to massively increase our share of the vote in Ealing Southall, and the campaign has been so superb he may even pull off the upset of all time and take the seat.

We are guaranteed a tremendous result, and I bet none of the anti-Cameron crowd will have the guts to come and post on the Tory Diary thread that will discuss the results!

Tory T, if you are correct then I will be utterly delighted and glad to have been proved wrong.

Well that does you credit Mike. And it's not too late to get down there and give the campaign a hand in the crucial last week. We are going to see a vast increase in Tory share and there is the outside chance of being part of something historic, even though we start more than 11,000 votes behind and less than 25% of the vote.

If Lit hadn't signed up the £4000 to Labour, it would have been a great pity. That cheque must have bought more PR for Lit than spending £40 million on advertising. It will have benefited his business, and he has at the same time become a national figure. All told, not a bad evening's work.

What's more it might win him the seat, showing up Gordon Brown being so petty as to raise this as an issue, and the licence problem going back a few years. Have they nothing else to offer after endlessly trawling through his records? Lit must be some kind of saint!!!

For Gordon Brown this week Tony Lit is PENO - Public Enemy Number One. Go Conservatives! Humiliate the Gord.

In response to Malcolm's post; I don't possess psychic powers. I am young, working-class and hold traditional conservative views. I have no real interest in listening to the opinions of the converted. I find debating about some non-entity who donated a few thousand pounds to the Labour Party a little strange.
Politics always seems to crop up in conversation with friends, family and colleagues. Their views are the basis of my judgement on Cameron and the Conservative Party in it's present incarnation. They seem to view the Conservatives under his leadership as a bigger laughing stock now than they were a few years back under the leadership of IDS. I find it hard to stomach when colleagues in the City, once a hotbed of Toryism, say that they would rather suffer the likes of Peter Hain banging on about capping bonuses than see Cameron and Osbourne gain power. What many Tories don't seem to realise is that conviction and principal's are what gained the party respect and in turn got it elected for 4 consecutive terms. Thatcher was a conviction politician, she steam-rolled her opponents and made the Socialist lunatics in the Labour Party accept the reforms she implented in the 1980's. Blair didn't possess any convictions. Cameron doesn't. Brown does. He has a vision, whether you like him or not, he want's to accomplish something with the power he has inherited. That will endure him to the electorate. It's certainly convinced a lot of people I know both Labour and Tory. I myself will vote for Labour if Cameron remains leader of the Conservative Party. As somebody who is a great admirer of Toryism and Margaret Thatcher in particular; I state that soberly. Brown has trancended political barriers and embraces a One-Nation Toryism rooted in fairness, pride and unity. On the other hand we have David Cameron who offers.... well....? That's what it boils down to. A measured man who has accomplished what no other Chacellor in history could (economic growth and stability) and a vacuous media creation who rides a bike to work with a chaffeur in tail. Those who swing elections have already made up their minds. Brown will increase his lead and the polls and secure Labour a fourth consecutive term.

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