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The public are prepared to give Brown a shot as your relation notes.

Face this reality and deal with it calmly and rationally. The next election is *NOT* the be all and end all. Changing Britain for the better for a whole generation is.

Can we please have some more of the cold realism we saw yesterday from John Sullivan, and prepare properly for the election after next to finally end the madness of constant strategy changes based simply on trying to win the next election?

Cameron has failed. He did some good at first, but overall, as you note, he has simply confused and diluted the message of what the Conservative Party is about until no-one knows any more.

It will take time to correct this, but first, I fear, that there will be a bloody battle with the Cameroons as like their Blairite cousins, they don't leave the stage voluntarily.

People are only prepared to give Brown a go because of a superficial sense of 'newness'. Kick that prop away from him and he is vulnerable especially as outlined above he has been at the top of government not for every single one of the last 10 years. Cameron does need to get a little bit more bite as the public know that he is responsible, modern and nice they need to know whether he is genuine, passionate and capable of the ruthlessness required for the job.

We activists were talking about this at a monthly meeting last night. The heretical thought was put forward that maybe we should NOT win the next election. The chickens are now rapidly heading home to the roost, where they will deposit huge amounts of chicken poo on whosever head is standing beneath them. It should be Brown's head, not our's. We will surely be blamed for it all if we happen to be in power.
Yes we should be planning for the election after next, when the full extent of the damage is visible, the public want it cleared up, and they will be more than willing for us to get on with the job.
I have a feeling it will be a hung parliament in any case, so lets get some feisty marginals voted in, so we can prevent SOME of the future damage Brown is planning. Makes sense????

The Conservative party must really pull out the stops to hammer home the point that the Gordon Brown government is the same government as that led by Tony Blair. I'd like to see visually impacting election broadcasts and posters linking Brown and Blair. Perhaps 3-D type pictures of Blairs face melting and turning into Browns face and then back into Blairs face again. The link must be made. Labour must not be allowed to get away with re-branding themselves as some new party. Advertising is the best way to get the message across.

I think a good slogan would be:

"The more they change, the more they stay the same"

"Perhaps 3-D type pictures of Blairs face melting and turning into Browns face and then back into Blairs face again"

Oh please, you're embarrassing yourself.

Just forget the propaganda, forget the polls, forget the next election and start building a simple, clear and easy to communicate and understand agenda that sets you *apart* from Labour.

Then come back when you can answer this question in 12 words or less with only reference to what you plan to do, not what the others are doing wrong:
"Why should I vote Conservative?"

Spot on, Tim. The public needs to realise that Brown is just as implicated in what went on from 1997-2007. June 2007 is Year Zero - he and Blair had a "Dual Premiership", after all.

'Just forget the propaganda, forget the polls, forget the next election and start building a simple, clear and easy to communicate and understand agenda that sets you *apart* from Labour.'

Oh how true.

Agree with your points Tim.It is not only David Cameron that appears too reasonable it also those few shadow cabinet ministers that ever appear in the media too including amazingly a certain David Davis.We do want to be optimistic about life in Britain but it is also true that we have let the government get away with a tremendous amount in an effort it seems not to oppose for the sake of it.
If I were looking for a doorstep policy I don't think you could go wrong with a commitment to honest open government. The abolition of special advisors who can order civil servants around, ministry presentation to be handled by civil servants,a beefed up standards board with an independant chairman.All this will go someway to try address the very significant distrust of the political class which exists in our country today.
As regards the next election we must fight to win that with all the strength that we can muster. This country deserves better.


None of that will make the slightest bit of difference in building trust once the extension to state funding comes in.

I cannot think of a more big state policy than this, and for Cameron to not just support it but to have been the first to officially propose it, is a disgrace.

State-funded political parties is simply unBritish and undemocratic.

Anyone who says the days of mass party membership is over is wrong. It can be achieved, but not the way the parties are currently behaving.

My relation also told me that they couldn't think of one good reason why they should vote Conservative.

I hope you pointed at your own chest, with a suitably pained expression on your face.

V good points though I don't agree about the Mr Angry thing. I do not want to hear Cameron acting out of character and getting all shouty on the radio. Let the dalek-socialists do that. It's a turn off (I think). Reason must always win out over emotion.

What I would like to see is a much better dissemination of the campaign material which (I presume!) is drawn up by CCHQ and sent to constituency assoc chairs. Why this not available on a website to all members? Labour do this (Justin Hinchcliffe recently got hold of one and circulated it). I never see anything - literally nothing - from CCHQ or my assoc along the lines of "Ten things to say on the doorstep". They do exist. They just don't get spread widely enough -- the party is still acting like some sort of mass membership hierarchy, when it needs to get flatter, more anarchic, and definitely more web-based.

We've had this dicussion before Chad. As you well know I also oppose state funding. You used to have a remarkable talent for hijacking every thread onto subjects you wish to discuss, please don't do it with this one.

Hello Annabel Herriott

What is earth is going on here, chaps?

"Go back to your constituencies, and prepare for defeat!"

I understand the underlying reasoning that UK plc is sliding toward a clusterbomb of misery but I would agree with James Burdett that:

‘People are only prepared to give Brown a go because of a superficial sense of 'newness'.’

This apparent Brownian invincibility is the familiar bounce of the new rather than a permanent phenomenon. The headlines will change once Gordy is judged to have been too successful and apparently popular and then will come his spectacular fall from grace. It will happen. It always happens.

I agree with Tim that we need to crack on with some USPs to hasten this inevitable fall from grace and I am sorry, but, being identified as the party of England would be a massive and formidable step in the right direction.

>Come back when you can answer this question in 12 words or less with only reference to what you plan to do, not what the others are doing wrong:
"Why should I vote Conservative?"<

A sovereign elected British legislature, free markets, toleration, and ordered liberty.

11 words.

Oh dear, you obviously got out of the wrong side of bed today Malcy, you've already starting insulting every poster you disagree with.

Look back over your posts today. Not very constructive, are they?

Why not cut the crap and stop attacking other posters? I've had more people agreeing with me here than you this week, so who is causing disruption?

I cant agree with anyone who says that we should be thinking about the election after next.

Why not just put forward sensible, serious policies that are long-term in outlook? There is no inherent reason why they shouldn't be immediately appealing. And why should we fear getting into power now? We can always do what Blair did for almost his entire premiership, blame the last lot

A couple of thoughts: (1) it is hard to find any comfort in talk of writing off the next election when this would mean up to five more years of stealth socialism and its ratchet effect, wealth destruction, erosion of freedom and so on - far better to strive to tackle a sick patient's addictions with a strong dose of cold turkey now than plan the liver transplant in five years' time; (2) in response to Think About It's rhetorical question, there can be little or no appeal in merely promising better management of the current status quo, desirable as this may be - if we cannot promise tax cuts and less regulation as a means to improve people's lives, what are we for?

"Hold Brown accountable for the Blair-Brown years"
That has got to be our primary method of attack. If we fail in our objective to discredit Brown then we allow him to portray himself as the change in politics, this is what prompts voters to think we should give him a "fair go".
Solid and consistent policies, much slicker media operation and most importantly a range of Conservative voices on the news in every political story. We have got to chase the media a lot harder to make sure we are heard, this has been one of our weakest area's for a long time.

Freedom through belonging would be my slogan. Institutions (whether family or local community) matter more than anyone noticed in the 80s or 90s, and Tories 'get this' in a way that socialists cannot. It's how I would explain 'social responsibility' which (I disagree with Editor) is the most powerful and best USP we've had in decades.

If i was Brown I would go to the polls soon as he can because he'll get murdered in 12 -18 months when the novelty wears off

"Why not cut the crap and stop attacking other posters? I've had more people agreeing with me here than you this week, so who is causing disruption?"

Childish, but so familiar!

Social Responsibility, if packaged right, could be a very good thing to use at the heart of a policy platform.

12 words or less with only reference to what you plan to do, not what the others are doing wrong:
"Why should I vote Conservative?"

"More prisons. Limited immigration. Less red tape. Safe local hospitals. Pro-Marriage."


"Scrap Human Rights Act. No Identity Cards. English votes for English matters."


"Lower taxes. Border police. Elected police commissioners. More City Academies. Drug Treatment.

"Social Responsibility, if packaged right, could be a very good thing to use at the heart of a policy platform."

I agree James.

Almost all of what you recommend makes sound commonsense but you and many on the blog miss the elephant in the room.

The Mail's poll this week indicates that a large slice of those giving a Labour preference will desert Labour (up to 23% of them ) if Brown breaks his word and denies voters a referendum. So far Cameron-Hague have been excellent in their demands but they have left an exposed flank, They have no sanctions. It is not enough to say "And, of course, a commitment to hold a referendum on the EU Treaty."

This must be spelt out. IF the election precedes the Constitution's ratification and no referendum is promised by Brown what will the party say then?

Will we promise to hold a referendum anyway and abrogate the treaty if the people reject it? (legally possible, and in any case it will not be in force until all 27 countries have ratified it which will take time) .

Unless this exposed flank is covered many eurosceptics will see another "Tory betrayal" looming

We can and should do both anger as well as understanding. They are not incompatible as Tim has pointed out with his "politics of 'and'" theory. It will be interesting to see Anne Widdecombe tackling the benefits culture on the TV tonight. The clips shown so far suggest that she takes a robust approach which will dovetail perfectly with the IDS studies. In this respect, we have much to learn from the Clinton welfare reforms.

For me, it would just be 8 words:
"We'll make you safer, healthier, wealthier and happier."

The detail below those four aspirations would show this:

1. Safer
State the independently compiled key crime measures that you pledge to improve by the end of your first term.

2. Healthier
State Britain's current position within the independently compiled international health quality league and pledge to improve this position by the end of your first term.

3. Wealthier
a) Again, state our current position within in the world business competitiveness league and pledge to imporve our position by the end of your first term.

b) Show the current Tax Freedom Day and pledge to make it earlier by the end of your first term.

4. Happier
Finally, take the independent international 'national happiness' league (yes it is compiled) and pledge to improve on our position by the end of your first term.

You can combine broader aspirations with specific measurable goals without getting bogged in policy detail. That is how you build trust, as the public will know that you have 5 years to deliver, and cannot fix the figures.

Such broad but clear pledges could win you the election, and if you deliver (and thus prove your honesty and ability), and you're guaranteed to win the next election after that too, so it is vital to make achieveable pledges.

Said all along that Brown is just as responsible for the screw ups as Blair, the pair were joined at the hip...one spoke, the other spent the loot.
Time that the myth of Browns innocence was challenged, and the spin exposed. Nothing happened in the last 10 years with-out Brown's little initial on the check list.
More of the same please and good show Tim and Co.

This is exactly the point; too much time spent worrying about Brown and how good he looks; too much time spent worrying about the 'will there, won't there' of an Autumn General Election; TOO MUCH TIME spent arguing between people who should normally be political 'friends'.

It simply doesn't matter what any of us say if the voters don't care and are not in tune with it.

Whenever an Election comes and whichever way you look at it, it's the Policies and approach which are going to count. The doorstep matters becuase this is where our real battleground should be. This Party has made massive steps forward at local level by working to meet the thoughts and concerns of real people living real lives.

There have been interesting policy bubbles flaoting to the surface recently which I hope are just the tip of the iceburg which will prove to be the future nemisis of the Brown Titanic. It's time that there was more conviction in what is being put forward and less inclination to worry about soundbites such as Labour trumpeting gleefully that we are leaning to the right.

Time to wake up; we are a party of the right and such ridiculous comments come from a fearful Labour project which knows it's lifetime is at an end, albeit preserved by a few refits, a lick of paint and a new marketing strategy.

Yes; be minded of what Brown and the frowns are up to, but don't let them lead. Our focus must be on what we are doing at whatever stage of the Parliamentary Cycle we are at and in getting it right. That way, nobody would then need to worry if he is about to go to the people or not.

I'm sorry to say this but the die has been cast with regard to public percepttions of both David Cameron and Gordon Brown.

What we are in effect playing for now is the wishy-washy disinterested floating voter who really doesn't notice politics much, is probably more concerned about the pound in his or her pocket and what might happen if he or she fell ill.

Brown has cornered the market on being sobre and statesmanlike thanks to the strategy set up by the likes of Hilton and Co. The perception of Cameron has now been cemented by the media, stereotypes and all.

So we have to bat on with what we have got and try to nail Brown where we can, though I suspect that Brown's record in the past is probably not going to count for much amongst the floaters I've described above.

I'll repeat something I said in another thread. The Brown/Labour offensive against us is not finished. There will probably be some sort of economic sweety handed out by Chancellor Darling which they hope will be their deal clincher. Again, we cannot reverse out of this no-tax-cut line without looking silly and so we risk being outflanked. We have dug in too deeply on that front and should have held our options open whilst emphasising the need to be responsible. So right now we need to be keeping a close eye on the Treasury.

Can we still win?

Despite all I've said above, yes we can. Brown has personality issues, at some point the sobre statesman act has to be shed in the streetfight of a General Election and we need to get under the guy's skin. He's also somewhat limited in how much of bribe he can actually offer if he wants to stay credible. That gives us an opportunity to attack the size and fitness of the state sector.

But we cannot expect to get anywhere unless we go on the offensive, which is why we need more of a deal to sell come the election. Tim's ideas are a good starting point, but I suspect that Team Cameron will need a shake-up if it is to carry off an offensive.

Come back Lynton Crosby all is forgiven! I only half jest.

Just five words words; Great Britain Better Off Out

cameronn- is an abject liability as todays statement on law and order shows, crime is not out of control, and camerons days at oxford, at least worthy of an asbo if not a criminal record are yet to catch up with him. it doesnt help that two of his bullingdon cronies are in the shadow cabinet, not everyone who went to oxford has forgotten darius guppy.

We have blown the next general election. The best we can hope for is to get Cameron out after the next GE, get a proper leader in and then win the next one. And that's still a big ask.

Nobody (except indirectly Edward Huxley) has picked up the point that the polls point to a landslide Tory victory if Brown breaks his promise and denies a referendum, as long as Cameron keeps steady on the subject and also closes the exposed flank.

There's no need for all this defeatism. There's an open goal - Go for it!

OK most eurosceptics want out, but most of them see that half a loaf is better than none and a reformed EU would be an improvement - as most voters think.

I like Graemes "Freedom through belonging". Andrew Lillico's slogan is certainly clever but (no offence Andrew) its really just a menu or list. That has been our problem for a long time now. We have to get across what we stand for as something that grabs you as one coherent proposition. That should be illustrated by just a few bold, practical ideas that make people sit up and notice us. Then it should all be repeated over and over again until it sinks in with voters.


"It was Brown who forced Blair to go to war on a peacetime budget"

LOL. Is that the worst. Not only was it Brown who did not pay for the war but he voted for it.

"What we are in effect playing for now is the wishy-washy disinterested floating voter who really doesn't notice politics much, is probably more concerned about the pound in his or her pocket and what might happen if he or she fell ill."

An image that struck me as I walked home from work yesterday was of some grand Napoleonic feast* with Brown, Blair (we can't forget Mr Blair), Ed Balls, etc., 's heads superimposed. *cough*yes, slightly ripping off that Economist cover*cough*

Underneath this portrait of Brownley largesse, in massive, Helvetica letters: BRITAIN IS MASSIVELY IN DEBT.

(maybe underneath in smaller print, the actual figure of national debt and a line like "with inflation rising, the writing is on the wall for Ex-Chancellor Brown" see the OT reference chiz chiz)

I like to think that explains the supposed Brown economic miracle in a way the man in the street can understand: "why, I could of course live the life of riley if I just borrowed a ridiculous amount of money - though this would of course be a silly idea. Is this how Mr Brown ran the economy?" And at the same time, hitting the notes of (1) state-funded extravagance and (2) our unelected leader's undemocratic claim to the (metaphorical) throne.

"(1) state-funded extravagance""

I agree, but then it is worth noting that the average tax freedom day (the measure of state spending against GDP) under Labour over the past 10 years is the same as it was under the last 10 years of the Tories (30th May).

If you use the Tories whole term of office (which I agree is unfair as they inherited a basket case of an economy) then the Tory TFD would be 5th June, almost a week later than Labour!

The unavoidable truth from these independent stats (Adam Smith Institute) is that Labour have not imposed a higher *overall* tax burden on us than the Tories.

That's why Cameron talks of 'rebalancing' of the tax system. He's not going to reduce the TFD, just move the costs around.

The frame of 'low tax Tories' is untrue. Overall they have taxed us no less than Labour has.

Where to start? You asked for a slogan, Tim. What about "Labour isn't working - again" or "Has Labour failed YOU?" "How has Labour failed YOU?".

Tim, you haven't mentioned (as far as I know) the excellent book by David Owen, The Hubris Syndrome. It clinically exposes the reasons for Blair's incompetence and says on page 103: "The full Cabinet essentially acted as a rubber stamp on decisions which Blair and a small coterie of colleagues and advisers took in No 10 on foreign policy".

Owen added the illuminating remark: "What was even more unusual was that a somewhat similar procedure was operating for Brown's decisions on economic policy".

He concluded: "This dual arrangement, meekly accepted by the British Cabinet, meant they were comprehensively bypassed".

Things can only get worse? :P

people always give a new person a honeymoon - new CEO, new centre-forward signing for your team , new vicar teacher or candle-stick maker. Polls reflect that.

An election now is a bit different in this context - it is not the 'should I give the benefit of the doubt for a few weeks or months' but rather 5 years. Quite a bit can happen.

“Hold Brown accountable for the Blair-Brown years” Why let Blair off the hook? A commitment to arrest both Blair and Brown within 24 hours of winning the election and putting them on trial for their domestic and international crimes would bring a landslide victory.

I really like the idea of coming up with six policies to sell to people on the doorstep. I really do welcome that. When can we have it please. Also, don't forget the old folks they are large percentage of the electorate we need to make much more out of this pension theft thing.

I couldn't agree more about the 'passion'. My parents have got so fedup with all of the three mainstream parties that they have become SNP supporters. They believe in Salmond's conviction because he has got exactly what you say 'passion'. Many people in Scotland can see that quality about him too.

My dad was involved in politics over fifty years ago (started off in Dundee as a trade unionist)and he says that politics has lost a lot of its passion. It's ALL too stage managed and its spinning out of control.

By the way he was a dedicated Tory for the last 45 years. He saw sense, but then he lost it again.

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