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£4.90 for a pot of tea! ...and nothing with it! Be a good Tory and tell them where to shove it....we like profit but are not mugs.

The above is a footnote to what NuLabour has achieved...our money is worth zot.Sure it is a posh hotel...but to charge that with a straight face shows that the economy has gone very wrong.

Oh my God. Any A listers now feeling like mugs for throwing away a perfectly good job to be slaughtered at the polls. Does the Candidates Department refund your dues?

Four points of note. It's a 'post speech' poll. Secondly the fieldwork for the poll, I presume has been carried out in less than one working day. The Lib Dems are on 13% If that strikes you as peculiar and far too low you are not alone! Finally, our share has not moved, most importantly it's not moved down - Brown adressed Conservatives yesterday and they said in the simplest terms 'no thank you.' I'm looking forward to our response.

The Conservative Party must not use this as an excuse to lurch to the right.

Another piece of news - Andrew Pelling has had the whip suspended

Sun Report on Pelling

If this tells us anything, it's that the polls are ridiculously volatile. Let's not forget, we have the last word in the conference season therefore the words of our leader will probably linger in the minds of the public for longer.

Soon we will see the end of Brown's media coverage monopoly, and the public will have chance to compare the PM who endlessly recycles policies with the young, dynamic leader who has fresh ideas. I believe when the public have made this comparison we will close the gap significantly.

I'm beginning to question YouGov's credibility here. I accept that Brown has a lead in the polls, but to suggest that Labour will get a higher share of the vote than in the 2001 election, let alone the 2005 election, is something I find very hard to believe.

"I've just paid £4.90 for a pot of tea (with no biscuits)!! "

British politics, like the Dorchester, is open to anybody. Provided they're well-connected, or can pay.

Well the Conservatives might be able to see a real result not a poll if the Conservative MP Andrew Pelling MP for Croydon Central is charged with Assault.
A Tory party spokesman said tonight that Andrew Pelling has been suspended while the incident was investigated.
Is this not a marginal seat?
If he is going to be deselected then what will stop Pelling from resigning and forcing a by-election?
Very tricky situation for the Conservatives at the moment.
The last thing they need is an election in a marginal seat.

Ouch! Labour majority of 170 according to ElectoralCalculus.

What has Cameron done to the Tory party?

13% for the Lib Dems!NO way.

I wonder what the polls will look like after David Cameron's conference speech?

He's not had much positive press attention since the conference season began. The parties were even stevens not so long ago - things will change at some point or other.

I - and several thousand others - told you so. The moment the whole Cchange business got going, I smelt a rat. Here, in this and in other dismal polls, that rat is emerging into the open and he has news: the conservative party has been moving in the wrong direction from the moment Howard stepped down. I recall the 05 election in glorious technicolor. I remember the mood that surrounded the results and it did not resemble the gloom of 97 or 01. Indeed, it was Blair who was subdued. He knew he'd lost England. He knew he owed the number of his MPs to a skewed voting system. He knew that he had no moral right to use his Scottish or Welsh constituency MPs for English legislation. Had the tories held their nerve, they could have shown him up for what he was, a lame duck on Celtic life-support. Had they held their nerve the flow of stories and statistics arising from crime and immigration would have vindicated their stance completely. And no, Labour would not have "stolen their clothes" because the Human Rights Act - in which they believe - prevents them from taking any effective action. As for government spending - look at Wanless and consider the waste. The disaster that is the conservative party today is the direct result of Cameron's victory. He cravenly backed down from a number of principled and popular positions in the name of sucking up to the "centre". A cursory glance at British politics should remind anyone of the vapid, touchy, unreliable temperament of your average centrist. And so where is he? Abandoned by the centre, despised by the free marketeers, hated by the academic right, mistrusted by the nationalists and disliked by the old social conservatives. In short, he has demoralised and all but dissolved the right of centre coalition.

They say that when Howard announced his retirement one of his assistants broke down. A tough, professional political operator, this woman wept.

How right she was.

That's what you get for living in London. I'm thinking of moving, and unbelievably Manhattan is looking cheaper (both in property and living costs).

As for the poll, yurrgh. It looks rather like the weakness of the LibDems was disguised by a temporary counterbalance of anti-Blair lefties. Now he's gone, they're all transferred back. I wonder how Brown's Thatcherwannabesocialauthoritarianism will play with them longer term though?

The Liberals won't be happy about this. An early election looks like it could spell disaster for the Liberals. John Redwoods comments 23/09/07 make interesting reading after seeing this poll.

I'm not convinced that voters will be so pro-Labour when it comes to the crunch. Labour are appearing very smug and in love with themselves. One thing the British public doesn't like is a smarmy set of politicans.

Liam Fox popped his head above the parapet today.Where are the rest of the shadow cabinet? Where is Mr Cameron? If i'm reprasentative,there are a lot of very angry,very frustrated Tory supporters out here.For God's sake listen to us!
The polls get worse and all we get is the sound of silence.It may be a very strange analogy but it reminds of when The Queen stayed up in Balmoral after Diana's death.Our party is dying on it's feet!
Mr Brown is somehow succesfully duping people into believing this is a fresh start.People are swallowing it in their millions.What about the last 10 years??? Have they been erased from people's memories? Someone please explain why the official opposition s not hammering home the failures of the past ten years?
The Queen recovered from 1997.She ultimately had the respect of the British people.I don't think they have the same respect for the Tory party not by a long way.On present form they don't desreve it.It's almost like the whole parliamentary party is laying down on the floor to be walked over while their supporters in the country look on in utter disbelief.
Come on! Get up and fight!

But Tim paid for the tea - the market in operation. They know he will pay it so they charge it.

"The Tories are actually on the same standing as they were...." is a sad reflection of contentment with mediocrity, Hey, that's no consolation.

Next, we would be told the not-such-tragic news that we will be away from government for another 5 rather than 10 years!

I hope it's the finest Earl Grey they can find! The poll is bad news, not only are we well behind but the Liberals have gone into freefall and that may mean our great hope, The Ming may have to do the honourable thing. Mr Cameron is going to have to play a blinder next week. Is anyone out there still hopeful we can win th next election?

The Tories are stuck with the core vote of a third. Labour is sweeping up the centre-left votes from the Lib Dems and, presumably, the nationalists.

If the SNP is suffering too, Brown must go for an election, especially these figures if repeated with other polls over the next few days.

The expensive dinners, at several hundred pounds a plate, will taste like gruel tonight.

If an autumn election doesn't happen there must be every chance that Huhne-Clegg-Laws will move against Ming
And who would they put in? If the Liberal Democrats slip back from 2005 they will be blamed, but having dumped 2 leaders in a single parliament then who would pay any attention to them, they would be lucky to get half their 2005 vote let alone come close to holding the votes they got last time.

"I'm beginning to question YouGov's credibility here."
You are not alone, in fact I am wondering about why C4 commissioned a poll which was taken in less than 24 hours right after Brown's speech and blanket coverage from the preceding few days.
If they had done something similar during the Libdem conference and with the Conservatives next week we could have something to compare.
As it is, I feel very uneasy about this type of political brinkmanship from a news programme. This was designed to ramp up the possibility of a Autumn GE and will be used to put more pressure on the Conservatives next week. This is about trying to set the news agenda rather than reporting it.
Why didn't they commission a YouGov poll with the normal fieldwork period.

" I've just paid £4.90 for a pot of tea (with no biscuits)!! "

Reminds me of the brutal 'price shock' I had on being presented with the bill in an Oxford tea-room. There are prices, and then there are 'tourist trap' prices. *shudder*

£4.90 for tea? thats nothing! remember the tory security pass foasco in bournemouth? i paid for hotel, travel, time off work and the muppets couldnt sort out my pass until the last day. total cost of the cock-up? nearly £300 quid. looks like you got off lightly!

Assuming this poll was taken after Mr Brown's conference speach, it seems voters are attracted to his tougher-sounding messages on things like crime, 24hr drinking, down-grading of cannabis. While we need softer centre-ground messages on the NHS and the environment, we must respond to voters concerns about brokenness in society by promising toughness on crime, drugs and security (without ID cards!) and so on. Woolly socially liberal stuff to win over the BBC and metropolitan liberals surely doesn't meet voters concerns nor convey the impression of principled leadership.

Mark- that is precisely what I have been saying for the past 3 months- where is the "Shadow" Cabinet?

The overt and recent disloyalty/apparant disunity of a few people in the party who should have known better is a betrayal of every one of us in Labour marginal seats

Brown is responsible for things that went wrong during the past 10 years- the NHS- as per the latest Wanless report- Foot and Mouth, the Turmoil in the Financial markets- I could go on and on- yet where is there from the Opposition Front Bench any vocal and perceived reaction?

These people have safe seats, second incomes and frankly the majority by their lack of any commitment/determination to win, are happy to stay on the same benches. Their attitude ia a palpable " why bother?"

The tragedy will be that if we lose again, then we will be without many of the young and forward thinking MPS elected last time. All we will be left with will be a rump of the old dinosaur guard and what then will happen to the kind of party we want to be?

Heaven help us!

What we need is some one with real fire in their belly, who can show real anger at what is happening to our country, who is articulate and who can land a few body blows on Brown's sham, spin and humbug which ordinary people can relate to and understand that there is a better way.

This person should also get angry and in public sometimes with those in the party who do not show total commitment to winning by their words and actions.

Is all this too much to ask?

While the headline numbers look bad in this poll, it's worth remembering that all Labour's gains appear to becoming from the Lib-Dem vote. Conservatives would also benefit from the collapse of the Lib-Dem vote.

Where these votes are will also be significant. More Labour voters in Hull will not be much of a help to Labour.

Re: Cleo at 19.22

"The Conservative Party must not use this as an excuse to lurch to the right."

The Conservative Party MUST use this as an excuse to lurch to the right. It has worked splendidly for Mr Broon has it not?

The people, like Simon Denis, shouting "Told you so, shouldn't have elected Dave- it's all his fault" are contradicting themselves.

Please name another person in the entire Conservative Party that would now be AHEAD in the polls. Howard, Davis, Redwood or Fox you say? Since most of the votes have gone from the LibDems to Labour, I hardly think any of these leaders would be doing better.

I know its an awful poll but stop using any flimsy argument you can think of to undermine our leader.

I have watched Jeremy Paxman, on Newnight, take David Milliband apart over Burma. Milliband was either not briefed, lying or both. He looked like a sixth former caught out by his teacher.

Typically, Michael Crick, Newsnight's in-house Labour luvvie, is now fawning over Milliband's speech.

If Brown doesn't go to the country now, he's a fool.

I wouldn't question YouGov credibility chaps they've been pretty good in the past. It is obviously extremely disappointing but the Lib Dems have had an absolutely useless conference and are paying the price.
All I can hope is that those who don't want Brown as Prime Minister work as hard as possible to make our conference a success and that every last one of us works as hard as possible in our constituencies and that the Shadow Cabinet actually do some work and get the Conservative message out.

Totally right Mr B . Simon Denis' post was utterly pointless.We are where we are. If Simon thinks Mr Brown would make a better PM then he should go of and vote for him. If he doesn't, then he should do everything in his power to help David Cameron. It's the only choice that he or anyone else has.


I have come to the conclusion that the opinion polls that have been published over the last three months are a total and utter load of codswallop. I don't know of anyone who is not annoyed in some way or other with Gordon Brown. If you don't believe me go to the BBC News site and have a look at the Have your say section on Gordon's speech. I only got as far as reading the first 15 comments, but every single one was exceedingly critical of Brown's speech and his governance. I've got no idea who is being polled, but I doubt very much that the people selected are a accurate cross section of public opinion. The BBC News site is far from being pro-Tory and from reading the comments it is abundantly clear that Brown is far from popular.

I hope that Gordon will call an early election. He will lose, and lose badly.

Mr B, the only alternative to Cameron is William Hague - whom you failed, probably deliberately, to mention. Friends and relatives say that they would prefer him to be our Leader. He has learned from past experience, experience that Cameron obviously lacks.

"Is anyone out there still hopeful we can win the next election?"

Most definately yes. When the general election comes Gordon Brown will have his broken promises hung out on the washing line every day of a three week campaign. The exposure will expose him. At the moment Labour are getting away with it but that can't last. Interesting to note how Brown is completely dis-associating himself from the political process, as if to appear above it all. Thats because he fears being exposed as being the prime mover in the last ten years of Labour failure. Don't worry Brown can't keep this aloofism up forever. Once he is back in parliament reality is going to kick in for failed Gordon.

Don't get too excited about this YouGov poll please. Firstly YouGov normally compensates for its skewed universe in drawing its sample by using a sample twice the size of the others. This was a very small sample for them. (35% less than usual)

Secondly we have no idea if the DKs, Won;t says, or won 't votes changed at all.

Thirdly we do not know the question posed , the sequence of questions that preceded it (eg did they first ask about the speech itself, thus drawing attention to it?)

"Dodgy polling" is possible as is a leading questionnaire and "skewed reporting" written all over it,

Wait till we've had the full figures not this "headline" rubbish - PLEASE

Moral Minority "I have watched Jeremy Paxman, on Newnight, take David Milliband apart over Burma. Milliband was either not briefed, lying or both. He looked like a sixth former caught out by his teacher."

Yes, he looked totally out of his depth in fact I think both he and Brown are clueless on foreign policy which is truly frightening. It has got to be said the best thing about the Paxman interview was where Miliband was trying to act tough. He had obviously watched Noel Gallagher and decided that he was the role model for toughness, but ironically his limp-wristed attempt remended me of the line in the Blur song "Charmless Man" where the lyrics go 'he would have liked to have been Ronnie Kray, but nature didn't make him that way.' Definately the funniest Paxman Interview I have seen in ages.

Brown won't call an early election. Firstly he is running out of time, and he will be gambling on how our conference goes if he goes before early October. The other reason he won't is that he is instinctively cautious, and has drawn back from risky decisions time and time again historically. Thirdly, they need more funds - much more.

His speech was typical Brown - all sound-bites and no detail. What is it he intends to actually do? Nobody knows! How can the people trust him if he is not prepared to articulate what it is he needs to be trusted on? Reform upon reform upon reform, all centrally driven, before the last change is even embedded - he cannot imagine a way forward that pushes power outwards.

We need to get detailed policy sorted out and then challenge Labour to articulate theirs, properly - and then get the debate going. Until then its his word against ours in a game of hot air and gestures.

Just seen Newsnight- heard about the poll. Thought I might not sleep tonight but I'm abit calmer now I've seen it up close. This poll has obviously been conducted in a rush for whatever reason.Did you see A Neil[Daily Politics] today on why is it Brown's speeches never look so good in the morning? Even the resident Labour pundit admitted late onset dissappointment.
Remember the Budget.

We are finished if that poll is even lightly accurate and where is DC and the front bench team? Pathetic!

I'm not worried by this poll, and was half expecting it.

Coverage of our conference next week will reduce the Labour lead to 5-6%, which I think is where we are at currently.

Have a good cuppa Mr Editor!

Goldie @ 23.05 - So there is some hope then

Gordon Brown and Labour now are convinced that the public believe we are at a Pol Pot style year-zero where the past ten years have been erased. This may well be Labours big mistake, they are already looking complacent, smug, self-congratulatory, already talking about their ten-year-plan. We all need to keep chipping away at the Labour edifice. Every letter to a local or national paper takes the message forward. We all can do our bit to get rid of this lying incompetent Labour government.

Just wait till the Conservative Party conference next week.
The gap will be 20%+
Please, Mr Cameron, I'm not taxed enough, please take even more of my money in order to fight the mythological fight to "stop climate change".
No, please do.
No, really.

Yet more proof, as if the Worcester disaster wasn't enough, that the likes of Cleo are so wrong that they must be living on another planet completely. It is now apparent to all but those who are incapable of removing their heads from the sands of socialism that the Cameron lurch to the left has been a disaster that has brought no electoral benefits at all and will never do so. Unless and until the Conservative party is led by those who understand what a conservative actually is and should be in the 21st century then we are going nowhere and Labour will continue to lead us in both the opinion polls and the real ones.

The electorate have made plain their unwillingness to vote for an heir to Blair and have also made clear their concerns which, appallingly, are being deliberately ignored by the leadership of a party that is now obsessed with that which worries rich, guilt ridden old Etonians and not Worcester woman, or anyone else whose vote would actually win us an election.

If I were going to announce an election, I'd wouldn't do it during my own conference when guaranteed press coverage (in anticipation) anyway but halfway through the opposition leader's speech to avoid him getting any press coverage.

It is amusing to see that this Electoral Calculus result predicts just 1 seat for the LibDems. At least that will make the choice of leader easier!


May i ask what was personalised or an attack?

Paraphrased it wen't roughly as follows:

some guy said "People don't like smarmy politicians" when he was talking about the labour party, and i said "is that why they don't like david cameron and the notting hill set.

surely what that guy said was a personalised attack so why wasn't his comment overwritten?

It was something about people from Eton, Dale.

Simon Denis - The moment the whole Cchange business got going, I smelt a rat...And so where is Cameeron? Abandoned by the centre, despised by the free marketeers, hated by the academic right, mistrusted by the nationalists and disliked by the old social conservatives. In short, he has demoralised and all but dissolved the right of centre coalition.

Simon, that is a superb analysis of the Conservative crisis; one of the best I have ever read on CH - or anywhere else for that matter.

If one good thing comes out of the impending disaster it must be the end of the now-discredited PC tendency which has done so much to damage the credibility of our party and to alienate its best and most reliable supporters.


Mr B said: "Please name another person in the entire Conservative Party that would now be AHEAD in the polls. Howard, Davis, Redwood or Fox you say? Since most of the votes have gone from the LibDems to Labour, I hardly think any of these leaders would be doing better."

There is a huge section of the public that are simply not interested in what politicians say because politicians do not say relevant things. Most people are absolutely disgusted and scared by what is happening to the UK - the vast amount of people emigrating and hoping to emigrate says a lot!

No party including the Conservatives will dare say those things that need saying most. In a highly affluent area of a midlands marginal seat I am told by business owners and professionals of the need for a radical reforming party. It won't happen and these people are very pessimistic and scared for the future.


Tory spokesman on national TV does effective job of attacking Labour. I am talking about Chris Grayling on GMTV yesterday. The best Tory effort I have seen for a long time (not saying much, I admit). He should have been made Party Chairman. Where is Spelman ?

At the risk of going over old ground, and saying 'I Told You So', a couple of fairly obvious points:

1. The Party should have got on its knees to Michael Howard after 2005 and begged him to stay for 2 more years, both because he was good at OPPOSING, and to give the Policy Reviews a chance to get going. He could have then handed over to ? once their work had been done.
2. We wasted the "Cameron Bounce" from 2005-2007 on a busted flush Cheshire Cat, who was going anyway.
3. Our Shadow Cabinet is lazy, invisible, not credible, and very often a mixture of all 3.
4. The current perception of Trust Fund Tories patronising the voters we need will do for us, 100%, be in no doubt about it.

I cannot wait to see the result in Richmond Park. It will remind me of Patten's defeat in Bath in 1992.

I for one will be shouting "Tory Gain" when Kramer increases her majority.

Tony Makara.With respect why wait til an election campaign to expose Mr Brown's failures? Being the opposition should be a full time job.I am dismayed by the non appearance of the shadow cabinet and Mr Cameron.He is no doubt writing and re-writing his speach depending on whatever the next poll says rather than concentrating and focussing on this governments terrible record

"Our Shadow Cabinet is lazy, invisible, not credible, and very often a mixture of all 3."

Personalised attacks Mr Editor!

From Townhall.com 21.9.2007

(Liberals love to think of themselves as intellectual and nuanced, but liberalism is incredibly simplistic. It's nothing more than "childlike emotionalism applied to adult issues." Very seldom does any issue that doesn't involve pandering to their supporters boil down at its core level to more than feeling "nice" or "mean" to liberals. This makes liberals ill equipped to deal with complex issues.

Since liberals tend to support or oppose policies based on how those policies make them feel about themselves, they do very little intellectual examination of whether the policies they advocate work or not. That's because it doesn't matter to them whether the policy is effective or not; it matters whether advocating the policy makes them feel "good" or "bad," "compassionate" or "stingy," "nice" or "mean.")

A helpful definition from the US. It clearly applies to Brown but it may also explain some of our current difficulties!

To Chris Grayling's credit I emailed him a question about his Portfolio area and got a swift and full answer within 24 hours.

Im still waiting for answers from Michael Gove and George Osborne though.

Obviously it's good (under the circumstances) that our vote has not dipped below the 33% point yet. There are obviously 5% or 6% of the voting population who are wavering between Labour, Lib Dems and us.

Let's see what Cameron and Co can pull out of the bag at our conference. We have to offer a positive vision for a future Britain - not just moaning about how crap things are, but putting forward ideas for how we might make it more bearable.

The Lib Dems are paying the price for announcing at their conference that in their view households earning £70k - ie a couple living together where both earn £35k - are the super rich and should suffer penal taxation.

Green taxes, such as a tax on supermarket car parks, would have a similar effect.

Please, please, do not announce this or anything like it at conference.

I quite agree that we should not confine ourselves to moaning and that we should certainly offer and advocate policies. Those policies, however, should be genuinely conservative: low tax, minimal immigration and academic selection. Let the Tory party speak with its old, sound, trustworthy voice, not with the off-putting metropolitan twang of recent years.

Mr Editor, if you thought the price of your tea was a bit pricey, then dont go to to Padstow and order fish & chips without an overdraft facility in place.

Mr Denis 11:18. Sir that part of the electorate that actually have children , who are can not afford private school and are not sure of their offspring's genius will not vote for a selective education system.
It's like asking a parent "which two- thirds of your children would you like to de-select?"
Who was it on this site who said "if anyone mentions Grammar Schools at the Conf , they should be taken out and shot" Less drastically ,please please read my comments on behaviour at the Conf. on the Cartlon Dinner bit of this site

"It's like asking a parent "which two- thirds of your children would you like to de-select?"

The answer being of course, none.

They should all get the chance to take the entrance exam, and that will be the judge of whether they have the ability to get into selective education.

And yes, I am a parent (5 and counting) and yes I've used a mixture of state and private education based on each child's needs as an individual.

The kids are indiviudals after all, so why would parents look for a one-size fits no-one solution?

To Northernhousewife

Dear Lady, I must draw to your attention a recent poll which found that six out of ten now favour a selective education system. No surprises there as the comprehensives have brought nothing but illiteracy. As to those who fear that a selective system will damage the majority, the statistics perpetually refute this contention. Take Germany for example, where selection ensures that the academically "bottom" forty per cent is some two years ahead of our own in essential skills and accomplishments. Further evidence in favour of selection may be seen in the superior performances of children over all in those LEAs which have retained grammars and secondary moderns. Since these are the facts do we not have an inescapable duty to broadcast them and to propose appropriate action? Do you imagine that the parents of bullied, crushed, frustrated children will thank you for continuing to heap them in purposeless dumps? These schools are ugly, indisciplined and faceless institutions. They neither train their charges in skills nor offer them culture. How can you rise to defend this shameful, infamous, brutal schooling system which was introduced with the sole aim of levelling people down? It is unconservative, it is unviable and it is contemptibly unjust.

Re Simon Dennis' comments about Germany: anyone who knows better please correct me, but I think one difference is that in Britain before comprehensive schools there were effectively only two options, with 80% of children sent to the less prestigious one.

In Germany I understand that there are more than two types of school. It is therefore not the case that the majority who do not get into the most academic schools are thereby labelled as having "failed" the selection. Perhaps this makes the system more widely accepted.

I went to a Comprehensive myself and from personal experience, while they are not all bad, they are simply not the way to give abler and more hard working children of all backgrounds the confidence and learning to make the most of their abilities.

The people who most strongly defend the Comprehensive system tend to be of the old style collectivist mentality, and think that a system that is superficially 'fair' is better than one that genuinely helps individuals and this country to be successful. The long-term harm that letting that attitude determine policy will do to everyone's welfare should be obvious to anyone who stops to think about it.

I know that it would be difficult to move the whole country over to a Grammar/ Technical/ Secondary Modern three option system now. However, we could achieve a more flexible sytem more easily with a move towards education vouchers and maximum school and parental choice, including paying part of the fees for a subsidised place at a private school for some people.

Mr Noble You have at least had the choice of being able to use private eduacation .It gives you an option not available to all: a place to go if you are stuck and therefore you clearly can not understand the terror many parents feel at not having a good local school.Many parents are not able to transport their children to various locations in any event. In rural areas public transport is limited and unpunctual [if it exists]and may have to be paid for.
Most people in Britain could not afford to have 5 children and maintain the middle class lifestyle to which eveyone aspires ,let alone send any of them to private school.
Such is the resentment of private education in Britain that in a recent survey 2/3 of the public said it should be band! I do not speak as a green-eyed monster [my own were in state and are now in private] but I am at least able to be sympathic to friends and strangers , who on average income , do not have that option and whose very normal average children would not get into a grammar school even if it existed They fear it's existance might indeed make their situation worse.By definition ,most children are average. Grammar schools are wonderful and we all have a very clear idea what one is. Woolly phrases like "schools to meet the individual needs of the rest" will not do.People either do not have a clear idea what that means or , worse still, the do-- an it's called a secondary modern!People of average intelligence are just that - average , not stupid.

Simon Denis:I must draw to your attention a recent poll which found that six out of ten now favour a selective education system. No surprises there as the comprehensives have brought nothing but illiteracy.

Er, being picky, your evidence suggests the comprehensives also appear to have brought about a situation where 60% of people don't want comprehesives. Perhaps they're working better than we thought?

"and therefore you clearly can not understand the terror many parents feel at not having a good local school

Hi, NorthernHousewife, I came from a poorer family and was educated at grammar school (the alternative being the local comp full of skinheads), so I know exactly how hard it is for parents who cannot afford private schools and what a difference grammar schools make in such a situation.

As an parent, I have had to face the real strain of multiple private schools fees too because the local rural schools were not up to scratch. I have seen how Private schools fees (for those with more than one child) have become completely unaffordable too.

I see education vouchers as the answer for parents to spend at the educational establishment of their choice (whether grammar, relgious, specialised in another area or whatever) but as no party is offering that, and as I only have one chance to give my kids a decent education, I've done what a lot of others have done and emigrated to a country with a better education system.

I work in a modern comprehensive school (err... sorry, specialist college.)

If you don't work in a school, let me tell you that anything you thought you knew about falling standards in education probably isn't as bad as the reality.

It isn't the fault of the students, and in most cases it isn't the fault of the teachers.

The college I work at offers qualifications in 'Adult Literacy' and 'Adult Numeracy'. They are supposed to be the equivalent of GCSEs.

They are multiple-choice tests on a standard of literacy and numeracy I'd expect from reasonably bright primary school children. Not GCSE. The school loves it, its a quick and easy way to make the results look better. Its the kids who are being conned.

There are students here who will go through the school and come out with a clutch of GCSE passes at grades E and F.

Can anyone please explain what the point is of forcing these kids to study subjects they know they're no good at, that their teachers know they're no good at to gain a low-grade qualification that's going to do nothing for them in later life. What use is a grade F GCSE in Geography?

Instead of turning these kids out at 16 with their self-esteem shot to pieces because all they've ever been taught is stuff they're no good at, wouldn't it be better to have an education system that could identify what they were good at and develop those skills and talents?

According to the "Polls" English people must love this.....


Dear... well..all.I'm not an apologist for Comprehensives. I went to one. A really really bad one - under Tory rule since Mrs T did not liberally scatter the country with Grammar schools as far as I can remember. . Nor I confess do I have the answer to our educational woes. The problem is that people in my area view the policy with suspicion, at best. Parents and grandparents would support them if they knew their children were certain to be admitted, but that can hardly be squared with selective education. They remember the local Grammar fondly but they also remember the alternative. The problem it seems to me is that even if a comprehensive[small "c"] policy were drawn up we do not have the credibility in the country to sell it over and above a substantial amount of negative experience.
[Apparently there was a time when nearly everone in Sheffield went to a G.S. as they were all graded!]
But in the meantime it is not a vote winner and certainly not worth undermining your party leader for.
I note that Mr Noble to whom my reply is at least partially directed is no longer in the country.
I wonder what the view is like out of your window? As a small matter of interest ,mine is of a Yorkshire constituancy with a tiny Labour majority [which actually increased under Michael Howard - from about 300 to about 600] We have a smsll mountain to climb but we can make it if you don't make life difficult for us.I want the seat right now more than I want an ill-tempered debating society.
As to Mr Denis who subtley implied I was not a real conversative because I was not prepared to wave a grammar school banner- uncalled for sir-I have earnt my stripes. I guees you didn't read my addition to Dave/Dinner at the Carlton.


Mr Christie I agree. I only volunteer in school.
Even though I went to a Comp. I do have professional qualifications[not in teaching]but am now one of Brown's Mrs Nobody's- voluntary work [not the glam kind] kids, helping friend's who go out to work and oh helping my husband Mr Self-employed fight off Mr B.
The issue you raise is very true- as long as good teachers have the right surroundings, power and resources the biggest deficit comes with those lower down - we need a clear and careful policy for those who do not suit an academic education and it would have to be seen to be working eg. test schools before we could go any further with a suspicious public. We would be accused of secondary moderns bythe back door but to do that - we need to win my seat!

No, O housewife from the the Frozen North, I have not implied that YOU are not a conservative, merely that your views on education do not partake of your broader wisdom.

You refer to good local schools. I too support such institutions. They are known as grammars and secondary moderns. Whilst it is true to say that in some ways the current comp is a sort of secondary modern writ large, the difference lies in the size and in the attempted spread of intake. It also lies - as Mr Christie so ably pointed out - in the futile attempt to foist a truncated academic curriculum on pupils whose need is for a trade or a vocation. Germany wisely and compassionately caters for such pupils as well as for the academically bright. We used to do the same. Go to any of the surviving secondary moderns and you'll find that they offer a far less depressing spectacle than the vast majority of dumprehensives. The pupils are led forward at a pace which they find congenial. The sort of educational options and career paths which are unfolded before them suit their talents. No, this does not condemn them to unambitious paths in life because, as we all know, a man or a woman who is able to make a go of things in a practical sense, working and earning before the age of twenty-five, is quite capable of moving further up the ladder; further at any rate than pupils offered drugs, bullying, left ideology and pointless dreams, the staple diet of the "local school" today.

Why, O Wife from the sub-arctic zone, do you persist in a failure to register and recognise that this is even so?

I see that Northernhousewife (do housewives still exist north of Watford?)claims to send her children to private chools yet doesn't think that the option of grammar schools should be permitted to those who are unable to afford the fees.

Frankly I don't believe this person is what he/she claims to be. The posts are crude caricatures, larded with deliberate spelling and punctuation mistakes..

CCHQ troll.

Mr Denis.
How persuasive you are.
Perhaps you would like to you to attempt to persuade God's county - after the next election - and definitely after the party con.
Eloquent though you undoubtably are, you might have to tone down you style abit.
As for "frozen north" - at the risk of starting another little spat - we have global warming up 'ere too you know.

Traditional Tory
The media caricature of a Tory has always been that of an arrogant man. Your spelling may be spot on. Your manners and judgement are not.
I am all that I am save the usual exaggerated silliness about the north. I feel no need to justify or explain myself.

The media caricature of a Tory has always been that of an arrogant man. Your spelling may be spot on. Your manners and judgement are not.

Yes, Northernhousewfe (sic), it is often said that I do not suffer fools gladly.

I can spell irony.

Editor, you may allow him to reply to this and know it will be the last word . I am happy to let him have it in the safe knowledge he will only he will continue to prove my point.
I must go and walk the whippets.

Just to get back to the original subject for a second. I've been trawling through the many comments from the public which have appeared against articles on the internet sites of the UK dailies over the past three days to see if there is any discernable sense of mood in the feedback they provide.

Astonishingly, given the state of the polls, they are almost unanimously negative about Brown. Yes you can find the odd supportive post, but easily the overwhelming trend is against him. For me this was most noticeable in the Guardian, probably because it's the place I least expected to find criticism of the Dear Leader, but a look at the "comment is free" area reveals that even some of the Guardian articles themselves are negative and at least one is quite scathing.

As a result a strange, odd feeling seems to hang over the web concerning Brown. It's a little like a hushed pregnant silence in a crowded theatre when your instinct tells you that the script calls for cheering and rapturous applause, the cast are standing quietly on stage waiting for the clapping to start, but the silence is so pervasive you could hear a pin drop, and it's all about to become very, very embarrassing.

There are positive articles in some cases certainly, though most are muted, and although the clear impression is that the intention is for Brown to appear as the solid, reliable, unifying, all embracing elder statesman who is going to solve all our problems and the world's as well as he towers above the political scene, I get the distinct feeling that somewhere a little boy is shouting that the emperor has no clothes, and the crowds are beginning to notice.

It has always been about survival of the fittest and always will be. Government is now the barrier and is perverting the process. Foot and Mouth, Northern Rock, Immigration, all now sponsored by the State.

Obviously it's good (under the circumstances) that our vote has not dipped below the 33% point yet
Of course it is more than about percentages - after all if the Conservatives got 33% and that was 8 million votes that would be very bad, if they got 33% and that was 10 million votes then that would actually be far and away their strongest vote since 1992 and would keep the pressure on Labour to maintain their vote up. As the saying goes "There are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics".

After watching more clips of Gordon Brown at the Labour conference, I think it is unlikely he will use poll ratings as a major basis for deciding on an early election. The anxiety whipped up in these threads has not considered the low statistical significance of the sample sizes and, more importantly, overlooked Gordon Brown's need to evaluate the Tory conference and the public response to it.

In fact, he doesn't have to go to the country at all until expiry of the present term. So, he could be trying to use this "prerogative" period to foment unrest within the Conservatives.

Unless we have a shambolic conference, more internal sniping, defections, daft policies and political "own goals", I believe Gordon Brown will continue to tease and taunt but not act on an early election.

The strategies for winning the next General Election are therefore all too obvious.

Yes, Northernhousewfe (sic), it is often said that I do not suffer fools gladly.

Posted by: Traditional Tory | September 26, 2007 at 18:52

I totally agree with you TT. That is the reason I look out for your contributions.
They are brutally honest, you hit the nail on the head, you call a spade a spade and while I will never agree with some of your principles and convictions, I always admire your stance.
I still find you THE most sensible contributer to this blog-site one of the very few with their feet firmly on the ground and a reality check on things as they are and not the way you would like them to be.
Keep it up!.

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