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Let's hope the Telegraph is wrong. I don't understand much about the workings of CCHQ but could somebody please explain to me why we've not selected in every seat already?
I can see lots of reasons why we should have selected early and no reasons at all not to.



Good to see a section on Europe.

Cameron's former Press Secretary was a UKIP candidate in the 1999 European Elections so maybe that was his influence.

I can confirm the newspaper. It is quite good.

The central party has done a better job with ensuring candidates are selected but it is not yet first class. But certain regional people have performed better than others. The lazy and inept need to be cleared out after the election.

The shame is that the full benefit of Lord Ashcroft's influence on campaigning in the marginals needs another year but we do not have that luxury.

The result of the Mayoral primary will be declared just before or at Party Conference. Ballot papers must arrive befoe 26th September when Brown could call the general election.

What happens if Boris Johnson wins by a landslide, as predicted here, and a general election is called? Will Boris stand in Henley or pull out? If he pulls out of the Mayoral race, will there be another ballot?

I have not read or heard definitive answers to these questions. London activists have a right to know.

Newspapers of the sort mentioned are only good for wrapping chips
What the Conservatives desperately need and lack is a hard hiting and respected speaker who can in a few often repeated soundbites expose Gordon Brown for what he is. During the past few days we have had foot and mouth- twice, the Wanless report on the NHS and the Northern Rock crisis. All of these can be laid firmly at GB's door- but where are our people? Where has been the Conservative voice? All we have got- and this is what the public see- is GB coming on the TV when it suits and acting the statesman giving the impression- which clearly is being believed- that all this is nothing to do with him and that he will sort

As for the Gummer- Goldsmith report, all the public perceive from this is that they are going to have to pay to use supermarket car parks.

I fear that dies have already been cast here-the parliamentary party clearly think they will loose as we have heard nothing from them or have they shown any clear commitment or discipline needed to win. As most of them have safe seats and good second incomes,this is hardly surprising

Please oh please, Mr Cameron, can we see you get angry for a change on what GB has made of this country and how he has squandered our taxes. Use the West Lothian question!!
Please also get angry and if need be in public with those in the party who continue to show disunity and ill discipline. It is these people who have done so much harm to all you have tried to do to change this party for the better.

Finally get hold of the Iain Macleod record " In pursuit of Excellence" and get your team to listen to it- I have a copy if you want it. In this you will hear how Harold Wilson was destoyed by the power of speech- in fact he always said Macleod was the one politician he really feared. Is there any one in the Conservative Party today who could put the same fear into Brown? That I am afraid is the sad reality of where we are.

As I've posted elsewhere, but is probably more relevant here:

The Tory conference is a couple of weeks off yet. At the moment, since the policy review by Goldsmith was announced, we have drifted out of the public eye again, and are treading water at best or going backwards in the public eye at worst.

Labour are ahead in the polls and may call an election before, during, or just after our conference. But instead of Labour disrupting the Conservative conference, the Tories should be looking to disrupt theirs.

This could take the form of an announcement on policy or pledge, right slap-bang in the middle of the Labour conference, snatching the headlines and showing that the Conservatives are working hard to win arguments whilst Brown is busy having his love-ins with the unions.

What issue could do this for the Tories I don't know, but it's something Coulson, Hilton etc should be mulling over right now.

I still think Brown will bottle out, to be honest. Whilst it is clearly silly not to be prepared just in case he does call an election. The danger is that he is only dangling us at the end of the string and that whilst everyone gets all worked up over an Autumn election that still holds considerable risk for Labour the good work that has been being done in preparing a proper pitch for an election will unwind.

I reiterate that an election now holds considerable risk for Labour, notably that the financial turmoil hasn't necessarily come to an end. Brown will have to weigh very carefully that a rush to the polls now could all blow up in his face. My suspicion is that he is allowing the speculation because it suits his gamesmanship at the moment.

Our grassroots have not been advised on any "red alert" - how long does it take for the CCHQ to generate the signals, and long does it take before it reaches the ground forces?

Presumably, the autumn in question starts after next week?

The press talks of low Tory morale after the strengthening poll results for Brown. This is a tragedy in the making for it was an inevitable result of removing Blair whom so many Labour voters disliked combined with the continued attack on Tory values and long-term beliefs.

It's not too late if the party would mount a concerted attack on Brown for the F&MD outbreak which he personally caused, for the Northern Wreck shambles caused b y government meddling instead of early prevention, for their consistent raising of stealth taxes one by one. Why is he not lambasted for ruining our defences, for wrecking the NHS and producing an illiterate population?

~And why does the party leadership shoot itself in the foot with its own stealth taxes on so-called environmental taxes when top of its list should be tax reduction? Why are MPs told to leave all the talk of the EU Constitution and referendum to William Hague? No wonder it doesn't feature as a crucial issue.

These are the kind of reasons that the voters are not listening to politicians. They want to hear robustly some reason to vote Tory - to distinguish the party from failing Labour. But all they get is sweet reasonableness and Osborne promising to do the same as Brown.

I despair.

Christina [Sept 21, 2007 at 17:16], I am equally despondent. Maybe Blackpool will be illuminating!

As noted in this link:


Parliament must be dissolved 17 working days before a general election, therefore meaning Tuesday 2 October if there was to be a 25 October Poll. Brown would presumably have to go to the Queen no later than Monday 1 October if he was to go for it.

Teck's joke is terrible!


Ned's comment was genuinely illuminating!

Oh, all right, I realise that not every Conservative Association has selected a PPC yet. And, clearly, so do you. So how about these: will Labour candidates be stood against Mercer and Bercow, what could those candidates possibly have to say for themselves, would the Tory Whip extend to Mercer and Bercow if they were re-elected without Labour opposition, should it, how would you advocate voting in their respective constituencies under those circumstances, and why?

'go for it Gordon' focus group session from Frank Luntz on tonight's Newsnight. Yeah - that's right - the one who helped propel Cameron to the Tory leadership.

I fail to see any inconsistency.

As for a hard-hitting newspaper in target seats. please spare us such...no doubt it will be delivered by the postman with more junk mail. I think the reflex response of sending yet more junk into people's homes for recycling makes the environmental twaddle just that.

Very few people believe politicians can change anything in the NHS for the better or Schools - people want to opt out or to get out.

Well said, michael m 16:47.

The party needs to be on the attack *all* the time. Instead, the electorate is given the impression that Brown is free to dictate the agenda and that the 'big hitters' in the Conservative party have all retired or been left on the back-benches.

Could someone in or with good knowledge of what is happening in Scotland give us a dispassionate view of Labour's condition there?

I remain of the view that GB will not want to win in England but suffer a series of losses to the Nats in his backyard with all the complications that would bring. Thus what is happening there may yet have a big influence on his thinking.

I thought we'd been on 'red alert' since September



The Labour Party is heading to Bournemouth for its annual conference amid speculation Gordon Brown is preparing to call a general election.

No chance. Gordon is messing with our heads, trying to make us rush to premature and ill-thought-through policy (and spending) commitments and poorly-chosen candidates. There is no way at all he is going to risk losing everything so quickly, having waited so long to be leader. What if he lost - it would go down as amongst the worst political decisions in history! And he *could* lose, regardless of what any opinion poll says before the campaign begins - suppose, for example, that a big high street bank failed during the election campaign.

He would be a coward to go early. He would be saying that he didn't believe that if he ran the country for the next three years then people would be impressed enough to give him a second go. And whatever other criticisms I have of him, I don't think he's a coward.

He's just messing with us, trying to tempt us into making mistakes. Don't let him.

From Tired Tory's blog (frontpage link) on Scottish selections.

"With three 'priority' constituencies deciding to postpone their selection for various reasons, clearly all is not well with the rank and file members.

"One constituency had what I understand to be a fairly heated meeting with Mundell last night. The priority seats had been told they would each be attracting 15-20 candidates who were the "creme de la creme". One seat attracted the grand total of 1 candidate and another had 4. I understand that behind the scenes dealings have seen SCCO begging people to try their hand for seats they dont' want....

The association even tried to get out of the priority list system, but was told that it wasn't allowed............................."


You may be right Andrew - I hope so but fear not.

What is good is that CCHQ has advanced plans should he surprise you!

Any chance of info on the state of our selection in Scotland?

With less than 1 in 5 selected, jokes about Scottish Conservatives being barely alive look sadly true. How do people drawing a salary from party funds in Scotland justify their performance?

Moral minority, thanks for that but if Mundell is leading it why is he about 6 months behind the Welsh?

What about immigration and the EU? Those are the two issues which Cameron has to risk using to turn voters away from Brown. Crime and the NHS will never be enough ammunition.

Greenwich & Woolwich CA have been told a candidate will be imposed in the event of an autumn poll.

In a hypothetical situation in which the parliamentary situation reverted back to more similar to how it had been before the 2005 General Election, if it was an early election I suspect that David Cameron would argue that he had fallen foul of a sneaky tactic by Gordon Brown.

Given the scope for governments potentially using an early election at a time when their chief rival is least prepared, is there not perhaps an argument for setting at least a 3.5 year limit before which the election could not be called on the advice of the PM and perhaps adding other criteria before then such as requiring a referendum to be held or requiring a certain minimum number of signatures to effect a kind of recall before then, because those voting for a party might not feel the election was neccessary or requiring a confidence motion to trigger an early election (which would put government MPs in the embarrassing position of having to vote against the government if there was to be an early election), but might vote because they wanted the incumbent to remain in government.

"Moral minority, thanks for that but if Mundell is leading it why is he about 6 months behind the Welsh?"

I would like to explain but the Editor would overwrite my comments on Mr Mundell's shortcomings. My low opinion of Mundell is shared by Conservative MSPs and activists north of the Border. How he survived the reshuffle is a mystery. Cameron must be a fan.

The time has come for LIAM FOX to give a barnstorming performance at the conference. Knocking Brown for 6 sixes!!

Liam Fox is the laddie. Back him

I find talk rather strange; I can see reasons both for and against it. All but the first two,three weeks of his premiership have been during the summer recess. Before the grammar schools crisis, when Cameron was trumping Brown at PMQ and Browns skills in the chamber were lacking, things looked pretty promising. Had Brown became PM half way through the session not at the end of it, the real Gordon would have shown his colours. Instead Gordon, much like all politicians has had to make do with grand statements the summer. The Conservatives have been undergoing policy reviews (emphasis on review) that wouldn't have got a look in had it been during parliament.

I can see why Brown would therefore want to go before the end of the recess; because when push comes to shove; getting votes through parliament, day to day crises and the typical procedures of the Commons he will look more amateur and less statesman like than he appars to do so at present.

We all know Brown is abrasive, poor at concesus and with an angry undertone and that cannot be carefully managed under the spotlight of parliament.

Has anyone else thought about this?

It's looking possible, not yet probable, that Cameron will get his wish. In June he taunted Blair and Brown, demanding a General Election so he can't complain if one happens (The same applies to Ming Campbell as well).
The clunking fist is aiming for the Tory head.
The Tories and Lib Dems face a hammering if it is next month. Prepare to see Putney, Hemel Hempstead and Croydon Central fall to Labour. We may pick up some Lib Dem seats such as Winchester, Romsey, Portsmouth South, but don't bank on it.
HOWEVER, the political situation in Scotland may stop an October poll. Labour could lose up to a dozen seats to the SNP, very embarrassing for Brown.
When the Tory history of the period from the outstanding May 2006 local election results is written, it will have chapters on grammar schools, museum admission charges, the Brown bounce, the floods and Rwanda, foot-and-mouth, and Osborne-Northern Rock.
One last point. Brown's tough talking on Mugabe is another pointer to the way he is smoothing up to Middle England.

YouGov poll and commentary now online on the Telegraph site. Not good reading:


Remind me which ministerial scalps has the "great" Liam Fox got in past 2 years?

I know my memory might be failing now I've reached the ripe old age of 33 but I'd swear I recall David Cameron calling for a general election when Tony Blair stepped down.

Looks like you might get your wish, David!

My prediction is that Brown will go for 1st December and, being no-spin Brown, will announce it straight after Cameron's conference speech.

The economy is on its way down, so he's got to go as soon as possible -- but he'll want us guessing throughout conference.

Brown will win the election, but not by the predicted landslide.

"Brown will win the election, but not by the predicted landslide"

I agree. It's quite rare for a sitting government to increase their majority after a while in office.

A majority of 30-40 seats would do nicely thank you.

"Brown will win the election, but not by the predicted landslide"

"I agree. It's quite rare for a sitting government to increase their majority after a while in office."

But then it's almost unheard of for a government to be so far ahead of the official opposition half-way through a third term in Office. The Labour Party will starkly increase their majority if Brown goes to the polls this side of the New Year.

As for a 30-40 seat majority - that's just not realistic. In truth, you're looking at about a 100 seat majority - another landslide victory.

As Fleixstowe Fiddler says, the Cameron era will solely be known for the "chapters on grammar schools, museum admission charges, the Brown bounce, the floods and Rwanda, foot-and-mouth, and Osborne-Northern Rock."

If Brown does call an election for before the New Year, it would be very interesting to see what Cameron and his 'inner-circle' do in the event of such a Brown-ite landslide. Will he try to hang-on, a la Neil Kinnock after 1987?

Looks like CCHQ have finally woken up to the fact that an October election is a fairly strong possibility! 8-)

I agree. It's quite rare for a sitting government to increase their majority after a while in office.

A majority of 30-40 seats would do nicely thank you
These things can go up and down - a majority of 200 can turn to a hairline majority or no majority at all and then go back up again, it can go up and down. People are too used to how things were in the 2nd half of the 20th century, there is no reason to assume that is some kind of norm, anymore than you can assume that the weather patterns of the 2nd half of the 20th century would repeat.

If the campaign moves onto questioning why the election is being held early it could get very hairy, Gordon Brown after all can't say he needs a bigger majority, he can't say it's because he might not get a majority later on for some reason or other, is there really some crisis that the election needs to be got over for and he and many around him already said that he didn't need to hold an election soon because he was part of New Labour and we don't live in a Presidential system - a perfectly reasonable answer, but if he goes early it will come back to haunt him. I rather think that going after only 2.5 years and getting anything less than the same majority would be seen as a failure, and by-elections could whittle Labour's majority down to very low levels even by the end of 4 years and governments with very small majorities usually do struggle, they have less leeway to dictate the agenda.

I rather think Menzies Campbell would have a field day in any Autumn election - maybe the Conservatives would only get a third of the vote, but the Liberal Democrats might even end up improving their position a bit, in such a situation Menzies Campbell is a hero and Gordon Brown and David Cameron return to parliament still in position, but rather subdued. If people are doubtful of David amd Gordon then Ming benefits.

My prediction is that Brown will go for 1st December
There have been elections on various days of the week, usually a Thursday, so far as I am aware there has never been a Saturday General Election before!

Stephen - I think Cameron will try and hang on even if Brown defeats him with a huge majority. Cameron tends to be stubborn. For example I hear he's going to show a video of the Rwanda trip at the conference. Sensible people would ignore that whole affair and make no reference to it. Not him, he's stuck in his ways and lacks humility

My prediction is that Brown will go for 1st December
There would be protests from The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland about it being on a Saturday because they reckon the Lords Day runs from Sundown on Saturday to Sundown on Sunday (and the Lords Day in the others runs for the whole Sunday which is why playgrounds in the Highlands & Islands get padlocked throughout the weekend). Also it would mean that in strongly Evangelical areas especially in parts of the Highlands and Wales that counting could not begin until Monday, so I rather think a Saturday election is improbable.

My prediction is that Brown will go for 1st December

I am very sorry - I meant November. Thursday, 1st November. It's been a long week!

Why don't the Tories say, they won't be printing any campaign literature so as to reduce their carbon footprint.

Why don't the Tories say, they won't be printing any campaign literature so as to reduce their carbon footprint.

Because knowing the Party and it's distructive disunity, an Association somewhere somehow will take it upon themselves to ignore CCHQ and publish a shed load of pamphlets, and the media will have a field day.

Besides, the footsoldiers need to feel like they're doing something tangible. You've got to feed the beast!

"We all know Brown is abrasive, poor at concesus and with an angry undertone and that cannot be carefully managed under the spotlight of parliament.

Has anyone else thought about this?"

Afleitch, I think you have a point there.

To me, an election next month seems more likely than not now - the first time I have held that opinion. Brown seems to have weathered everything that has been thrown at him with, frustratingly, no change in the polls.

However, there are a few more boxes for him to tick before going ahead:
- How to neutralise the EU treaty issue, at least to a degree?
- Ensure there are no distracting events in the calendar for next month (there are some postal strikes due presently).
- Be as confident as possible that Foot & Month / financial crises are either over or under control.

Sort them and, if I were him, I would go.

Scotty has just beamed Edison Smith down from another planet! It's life, Dave, but not as we know it.

Speaking with a broad spectrum of people over the past couple of days, my anxieties are confirmed - that from their perspectives we seem to have a surreal inability to focus on major real-life issues upon which sound policies should be built and proffered by heavyweight bellowing politicians who have incisive communication skills.

In short, we seem to have missed the mark in terms of policies, and our lead team is flaccid. An august party like ours with a history of unimpeachable brilliance can and must do better.

CCHQ might be on Red Alert, but its release of the last tranche of seats seems to be stuck on amber. "Hello, anybody home...?" (psst: OK, I hear a stampede!)

I say that we are Brown puppet. There will not be an election till at the very earliest May next year (I still think thats pretty early for him). All Brown has been doing is showing a bit of flesh and teasing us with his wares (Sorry for the mental picture so early in the day but I feel its appropriate) and we are jumping on it, transfixed by the implied meaning.

We need to act more rationally. Brown has no acheivements of his own and will not throw his characteristic cautious side into the wind when he has another 2 1/2 years to do it. If he times it just right, he could indeed put the Tories out of business.

Regarding the EU, given Blair rode out bigger things than the EU, I dont think Brown is really that concerned about it. All he has to do is ride it out. In 12 months time most of the public will have forgotten about it. The Reform Treaty matters a lot less to the general public than many of us Eurosceptics think.

As a loyal supporter of the government I'm eagerly looking forward to the next election.

No time can be too soon to enjoy the forthcoming humiliation of the Tories and the end of Cameron's short-lived career.

My message to the Prime Minister is -- Bring it on!!

Alistair (Sept 22, 2007 @10:01), you want to see a catastrophe and the cataclysm? Hmmm

Cameron wont leave after one election. There is unfortunately no one else ready to take over should Cameron go.

Cameron wont leave after one election. There is unfortunately no one else ready to take over should Cameron go.

I'm not so sure. Criticisms of Cameron have already reached a pitch that could never have been envisaged even six months ago.

Only last night I was dining with three Conservative councillors, all of whom attacked Cameron and Osborne in terms of anger and contempt.

An election defeat could provide the catalyst for all-out war, or, far better, a graceful departure and handover to a 'safe pair of hands'.

The party is split and deeply unhappy. It will find a healer in Davis, Hague or possibly Fox.

James Maskell (Sept 22, 2007 at 10:30), from my recollection, there were other contenders at the time of the leadership election - Malcolm Rifkind, Ken Clarke, Liam Fox and David Davies - so I am not sure about your assertion that there is no one to take over in the event of a catastrophic defeat.

Project Cameron has made the Tories the object
of contempt and derision. From chocolate oranges to electoral meltdown in one fell swoop.

Liam Fox and David Davies -

David Davies did not stand.....David Davis did

Unfortunately, James Maskell is right in saying that the EU Con/Treaty matters less to the general public than many of us eurosceptics believe. That is why Brown may try to make a ratification of it without a referendum a part of the Labour manifesto.

There is no doubt that people are slowly beginning to realise that the EU does have a greater effect upon their personal lives than they had previously understood and this will become increasingly evident as the implications of the new treaty (such as EU tax raising powers) begin to take effect.

There is therefore a strong incentive for Brown to seek to ratify the Con/Treaty in Parliament but with the appearance of public consent rather than by force at the earliest possible opportunity and before public resentment against EU measures begins to dominate the political argument. Were the election to be delayed until the present Government was approaching full term euroscepticism might well by then be sufficient to defeat the Government.

If, on the other hand, Brown opts for an early election and secures a new mandate, the results of any subsequent elections, so far as Britain is concerned, will be largely irrelevant, since our own Parliament will be no more than an added layer in the bureaucracy of Brussels and the tax burden of the so called citizens of the EU.

There is unfortunately no one else ready to take over should Cameron go.
Whatever you may think of them, at any one time there are always others waiting to take over and also those who might get pressed into it:
Labour: Ed Balls, David Milliband, Ed Milliband, Alistair Darling, Jack Straw, Caroline Flint, John Hutton and a number of others.

Conservative: David Davis, Edward Leigh, Michael Ancram, Peter Lilley, Stephen Dorrell, William Hague, Theresa May, Theresa Villiers, IDS, John Redwood, Priti Patel (one of the Conservative's safest seats and soon could well be a leadership contender) and a number of others.

Liberal Democrats: Vincent Cable, Chris Huhne, Nick Clegg, David Laws, Lembit Opik, Sarah Teather and Julia Goldsworthy.

DUP: Jeffrey Donaldson, Willie McCrea, Peter Robinson and Iris Robinson.

Every parliamentary party has someone else who can takeover.

There will not be an election this year. Brown is just playing games: the risk for him is much too great. Nor does the argument that we called for one in June really wash: by not calling an election immediately Brown denied the validity that it was "needed". Therefore if he goes now it will be seen as just naked opportunism. It would not even be beyond the wit of the opposition to start a bank run on some other building society turned bank would it? Just need about 150 people forming queues at a few branches in easy reach of regional TV stations...As for foot and mouth, sadly that is happening even without any outside intervention.

Editor - "activists will be pleased with the response to Goldsmith". If that means a few flawed proposals, such as supermarket parking charges, rejected, then fine. But if it means you expect a rejection of the whole thrust of the report's recommendations, then Cameron's (and our) credibility will be shot to pieces, and our moral authority pretty much destroyed also. I do not think this is any more likely to happen than an election this year.

TomTom (Sept 22, 2007 at 15:25), my apologies for genuine typographical error of homophone names. I do know of "the 2 Davids" - David Davis is the MP of my in-laws in rural Yorkshire.

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