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The Mail and Telegraph fail their readers (it's Cameron's job to change that)

No. The Mail and Telegraph have probably accurately judged the reactions of their readers to Brown's speech. Things are desperate if the party is now dependent upon the views of a rag like The Sun.

It is Cameron who failed the party and the country when he presented himself as the 'Heir to Blair'. Thus from the first his challenge was fatally flawed by such a villainous association.

The party made a terrible mistake. It must never be repeated.

I'm afraid that you have answered your own question - ""A large part of their reluctance to attack Gordon Brown is probably rooted in their lack of enthusiasm for David Cameron.""
Given an utterly incoherent and intellectually bankrupt Conservative party led by a self-regarding, socially exclusive group it makes more sense to discount the opposition (if such a word applies) and consider and concentrate on what Gordon Brown is planning to do.
It pains me to say this, but such is the case.
In the meantime, don't shoot the messenger.

The Daily Brownograph has been letting down its readers for a long time now. Heffer is actively campaigning for Brown and Andrew Pierce, well enough said!

Brown's speech was an appeal to disillusioned Tories. I suspect it may well have persuaded a few. The blue backdrop, the thread of Britishness and unity. It was a good solid speech to encourage Tories who are looking for stable leadership to join. I think you put too fine a point on it Editor by pointing out the underlying Socialist tendencies. Browns appeal to disillusioned Tories WAS the story.

As for being an alterbnative to Browns takign apart of Thatcherism,. Cameron does not appear to be in any rush to be that. NHS, education, crime, economy, our key policy platforms are essentially based on Labour's governing of the past ten years. Camerons rejection of Ancrams perfectly sensible pamphlet illustrates this.

Yes Im being negative again...

I agree Ed that DC needs to win them round but he needs his shadow cabinet to contribute to the job. It is due to some factors that are not DC's fault, although his former inadequate press operation has not helped.

The Telegraph has come under the Heffer, Daley right wing influence and wants to force a UKIP agenda on us.

The Mail under Dacre employs far right juornos to attack DC rather than the Govt.

The irony is that Dacre conveniently overlooks the fact that the only chance for supporting marriage and getting an EC referendum is with DC. So where are the principles that Dacre says he has?

Dacre overlooks Gordon's vast expansion in the number of benefit dependents and incentives for one parent families of teenage mothers. Dacre does this country a big disservice.

Cameron has got a great opportunity now to drive home the inability of Gordon Brown to offer anything new.

If he can't manage that, Cameron will be out of a job in the next 12 months.


the Sun got it right - Brown's speech was beyond parody in its clumsy attempts to spin him as a Tory - standing up for Britain ? what about selling our gold and signing the EU treaty w/o a referendum - British jobs for British workers ? tell that to our junior doctors - helping families ? what about the disincentives he has put in the way of two parent families thus doing immeasurable damage British society in the past 10 years - Cameron should rip him apart at Conference

What failures are they, Tim?

Sorry to be an arse, but you've been quite hysterical over the last few days.

It is so very sad to watch two once great papers falling for the transparent Brown game. OK, even if they don't like Cameron (and they're wrong about that) do they honestly think a Labour government would be better for Britain than a Conservative one? Brown has got one thing right - you win elections in the centre, but that's precisely the ground that the Telegraph and Mail want us to abandon. How weird is that?

Sorry if my post wasn't clear Mike but these newspapers who supposedly believe in limited government, an independent nation and strong families should be upholding those things in their news as well as their editorial pages.

Why have I been hysterical btw?

I wonder if the answer is a little more simple.Perhaps the Mail and the Telegraph fear that Brown is going to win and fear for for their commercial interests if they have another few years of Labour gov't.I hope that's not the case but it's a distinct possibility.
It is said that Paul Dacre is friendly with Brown and I wonder too whether that has affected his editorial judgement.It would be a bad failing if it doesn't.
The Telegraph is a slightly different story. There are huge political ructions going on there at the moment.The Editor Will Lewis is more interested in their online offerings than the newspaper and does not have a firm hand on the tiller in providing editorial direction for his journalists. George Jones the political editor and several members of his team are leaving and there is an ideological battle between the Heffer clique and other journalists which is why the leaders on the paper are all over the place at the moment.

On the Labour Party Conference website there are some speeches. For some reason though looking at the comments, parts of the words are missing. The "pee" in "speech" has been removed.

Labour has gone a little bit mad about censoring offensive language, methinks...

When have the Tories ever actually done any of these things?

Moral and social conservatism (which is incompatible with neoliberal economics) is an enormous gap in the market, like support for the Keynes-Beveridge-Attlee Settlement, and like patriotism in all directions (southwards, westwards, and increasingly eastwards as the erosion of sovereignty by globalisation really kicks in). Put them together, and that is here most voters are, across all classes, all parts of the country, and all current party allegiances (if any).

If the Tories don't like Brown's plugging of at least one of these gaps, then they should try pluggng the other two. But there is absolutely no possibility of that under anyone whom the Political and Media Classes might ever permit to become Leader of the Conservative Party.

Brown has placed himself on the moral high ground. I doubt that any true blue Tories will vote labour, they will just sit on their hands paralysed by the lies and contortions which most of the Westminster politicians practice.

HM Opposition has failed in its duty to oppose. They have copied and congratulated Nu Labour, even giving T.Bliar a standing ovation. I feel quite sick.

I watched "Dispatches" last night.

"Nice Work if you can get it".

Politicians; is it one rule for us and another for them? Political journalist Peter Oborne examines the emergence of a new political class that appears to pursue its own interests above that of the country and the British people.

We need a party who will put the people and country first, not a hope with the present incumbents.

It's very simple. The Mail and the Telegraph simply don't care. They don't actually give a damn about support for families, education and health reform, tax cuts or anything else. They just want the rhetoric - like a bastardised right-wing debate club. Brown gives them the 'Britishness' spiel and they're happy to be bought so cheap.

"A large part of their reluctance to attack Gordon Brown is probably rooted in their lack of enthusiasm for David Cameron."

Tim, I agree but I also think that the problem lies with the Telegraph and Daily Mail editorships rather than with Cameron. When tackling this problem we have to recognise that mistakes are being made on the part of these newspapers and their circulation figures reflect that.
Cameron has shown conviction and courage in his time as leader, I think that you know as well I as I do that the personal animosity of some individuals in the Telegraph would have shown through what ever he did over the last 2 years.
On the Daily Mail front, I remember their OTT campaign regarding Cameron's pre politics days as a student, he stuck to his guns on the issue and that resonated with the public and the party membership as the correct and equally tough stance to take.
What we need is objective analysis from both those papers, but if we are not going to get it then the answer is not for Cameron to change his strategy to appeal to the closed ears of either editorship. It would destroy his credibility and all the hard work which has been carried out.
Brown's biggest weakness yesterday was the lack of credibility and trust that his speech generated, I think that both those newspapers are in danger of losing their credibility as the Conservative leaning press.
Watching Head to Head this week David Aaronvitch made the point, if he could give Cameron one helping hand it would be to provide him with a friendly voice from a Conservative leaning newspaper. I agree with that because at the moment there are a few customers out there looking for that too and they are not getting the service from the likes of the Telegraph which is haemorrhaging its long time Conservative readership.

I just have this nagging fear that Brown and The Sun will do a deal and The Sun will look like it's got a victory and, in return, The Sun will back Brown. Am I too cynical?

I am a local Tory Party activist in my own small way. I despair at the manner in which Blair and now Brown get away with their lies, spin, stealth and corruption.The Telegraph and Mail are only a pale immitation of The BBC. Also unreported is Kinnock's weird and foul mouthed tirade of yesterday.David Cameron failed his supporters with that infamous grammar school debacle and is now struggling to carry the grass roots. We are not like the masses Blair appeared to ride roughshod over to win Tory support but sensible (in the main) decent people who deserve better of all our politicians and media.
Whenever the election comes a hung Parliament is still a very real possibility, then watch control freak Brown struggle!

I don't think you are being cynical Jennifer I fear that too although the obvious time to reveal a deal was yesterday.

The English press appear to have missed Wendy Alexander’s assertion yesterday that the Conservative party is in an anti-Union alliance with the SNP:

'Alex Salmond has an ally here in the south: the Tory leader David Cameron. Alex Salmond plans to break up our country with the help of the Tories and together we need to stop them both.

In their desperate attempt to play to a sense of English Nationalism, the Tories will attack our Prime Minister for being a Scot.'

Since when? And since when did Gordon Brown become the defender of the realm given that Gordon is directly responsible for the present constitutional horlicks that spawned English nationalism and has led to nationalist executives in the devolved regions?

Gordon Brown a safe pair of hands? A great strategic thinker? A Great Britain? As signatory to the Scottish Claim of Right and architect of devolution Gordon Brown has managed to make his party unelectable in Scotland and is desperately clinging onto England via a cynical appeal to a sense of British national identity that, directly, by his own actions he has irreparably damaged.

Gordon Brown: 'I'll stand up for you'

Who will stand up for me? Will David Cameron stand up for England?

This does not have to be characterised as anti-Scot but as an appeal to the British sense of fair play. The Scots share the view that the current constitutional settlement is unjust to England and that it is perfectly reasonable and equitable that England should have a national assembly.

So why not?

It was a socialist speech. How could it woo Tories? It might woo a big-government, spin-loving, wooly-headed Tory who hardly paid attention to the speech...

Why don't the papers report what was said? They are reporting about the sort of reports that Brown wants to get. Why don't they just print the meatier bits of his speech and analyse what they actually mean?

Project Cameron left the goal wide open for Gordon Brown to sweep up disaffected Tories. The fact they didn't appear to see it coming says it all.

Anyone remember the Builders episode from Fawlty Towers? Mr O’Reilly’s men foul up what should have been an easy job, then Mr O’Reilly himself, with the assistance of Basil, manages to make the job even worse. (Cue the background singing, going off at a complete tangent for a moment: “Gord the Builder, Have we bodged it, Gord the Builder, Yes we have…)

Now, Dave, while Basil strides off to insert a large garden gnome in Mr O’Reilly, imagine yourself as Mr Stubbs. Sybil has listened to a long and tedious pitch from Mr O’Reilly, and can scarcely believe the sheer brass neck of the man, pretending that nothing is really amiss and that all is generally well, and asking to be kept on simply to put right what he and his gang have been responsible for fouling up. So she asks you exactly what your proposals are to stop the hotel falling down.

Do you tell her that the hotel is inherently sound and has been generally well maintained by Mr O’Reilly over the last 10 years, and recommend little more than a lick of paint here and a lick of paint there just to cover up the cracks, with a wind turbine on the roof? Or do you tell her in plain English that the hotel needs extensive work, explain exactly what the work is, and try your very best to convince her that it would be foolhardy to choose anything other than a clean break with the past?

Your big moment is imminent. You may not get another chance. Use it wisely. And think of the Mail and the Telegraph.

The Editor rightly points out what the Mail and Telegraph supposedly for. Simon Heffer is one of the most articulate advocates of an independent nation and limited government. There has been no evidence that Cameron believes in them. That is why Heffer, and also the likes of Jeff Randall and Richard Littlejohn, attack him.

My wife, who is non-political, hates Brown as much as I do. Watching his speech yesterday, she commented that she felt that Cameron had let her down. He has wasted his undoubted communication skills that enabled him to defeat Davis. By pursuing an unpopular green and Hampstead liberal agenda, she thinks that Cameron to offer a true Conservative alternative.

We have relatives who live in seven target seats, currently held by four Lib Dem and three Labour MPs, throughout the country. They too also wanted Cameron to succeed but have been very disappointed with his performance. That's why Brown has an opinion poll lead.

When Conservatives are blaming the Telegraph and the Mail for their poll woes, they are in big trouble. The blame lies with the ineffective leadership and part-time shadow cabinet. They need to change their strategy to win.

General reaction from the commentators at Political Betting was that press reaction to Brown's speech was quite poor.

Peter,the problem is not just rooted in the newsrooms of the Mail and the Telegraph. The truth is that the Conservative electorate is uninspired by David Cameron. These newspapers, who are by their nature commercially astute, are only reflecting what a sizable chunk of their readership feel. Personally, I don't think that they would see much advantage in attacking him if he was both popular and seen to be delivering the goods.

So why do a large number of Conservatives feel this way? Basically, they think that David Cameron is a detatched wealthy liberal who opposes most of the values for which they stand. By far the biggest psychological impact came with the rejection of traditional grammar schools. Whilst it is perfectly true that very few of the electorate currently have a vested interest in the existing grammar schools, on the doorstep it was treated by about 35% (from my rough calculation)as a breach of Conservative principle.

Why? Simply because in many places, particularly the inner cities, parents are really struggling to get the children into selective schools and fear that the only alternative to the local comprehensive is the increasingly expensive private sector.

Other issues that have gone down badly in recent months include the "hug a hoodie" episode, the seeming rejection of tax cuts and the perceived single-issue obsession with green politics. Far from "winning on the centre ground", many of our faithful electorate believe that we have veered off on some fruity philosophical tangent that is not addressing their main concerns.

What have we said recently about reform of the NHS? How are we going to help more people to buy new homes? What is our solution to the current crisis in the immigration system? Where does our education policy for children differ from Labour's? How are we going to seriously go about reducing the ever-increasing overall burden of taxation? Precisely how are the Conservatives going to tackle the ever present problem of the increasing cost of the Council Tax? What are we going to do about the increasing lawlessness in our town centres on weekend evenings? What are our positions on the spread of gun-crime and drugs in society?

These are the questions that I keep being asked as Councillor. Whilst people are keen on recycling, they are not obsessed with green ideology. They are firmly rooted in the centre ground and want to know how we are going to address the issues that concern them in their everyday lives. David Cameron has not yet addressed these and time is fast running out. If we are so scared of being seen as "Right wing" that we fail to take a tough line on these everyday issues we will surely condemn ourselves to many more years of Labour government and, frankly, it will jolly well serve us right.

There is nothing new here. The Conservative party have never been particularly brilliant at selling their policies or challenging the Labour press machine for 20 years or more.

We have never argued the moral and philosophical basis for our policies particularly well in public.

And for ten years we seem to have been happy to let Blair and Brown get away with lies, distortion and spin.

We have failed to challenge the left-wing media re-painting of the Thatcher years, failed to defend our successes and assumed an air of apology for that in which we should show pride.

In failing to defend what we proclaim to believe and in embracing that which we once opposed our party seems to have made itself broadly irrelevant.

We allow the left to caricature us as uncaring, we allow them to repaint our ideals of competition improving quality in all areas of life to only being interested in the rich.

We have revelled in the Alan B'stard stereotype of our MPs rather than laughing at its inaccuracy.

We have failed to defend the vast majority of our MPs from being tarred with the brush of one or two bad eggs. We also failed to point out that our 'sleaze' was one or two individuals, not an endemic abuse of power stemming from the very top.

Our party seems to have given Labour an absolute free rein to paint a distorted vision of our party and our policies since the 80s.

Until we regain our pride and self-belief we can never expect the country to believe in us.

Ed, these papers are going with the flow, surely? But if we want to divert the flow, how about drawing attention to the things that Gordon Brown tried to credit himself with - health (including dentistry) and the NHS?

I have on "Platform" argued for a different health system (http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2007/09/dr-teck-khong-p.html), as the present failing one will ultimately let even more people down on serious ethical issues.

Here is one report that backs up what I say: http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2007/09/dr-teck-khong-p.html

I fear the wider public does not yet know all these "behind-the-scenes" decline; even worse Team Cameron probably doesn't either or has chosen not to hammer Labour on these!

For the record: Here is the Tory reaction.

Genuinely surprised to read these negative comments about the Telegraph's coverage and leanings - I've recently gone back to reading it after some years precisely because IMO it is now beginning to sound like the Conservative Telegraph I remember from some years ago. No, it doesn't follow the party line slavishly, but I respect it all the more for that.

The Express front page is always OTT and usually not actually significant when you read the small print, the Times has sadly drifted substantially leftwards towards Labour, and the Mail I now also struggle with as it has begun to acquire the ability to surprise with some of its comments(apart from Richard Littlejohn).

What is of significant interest I think is the very substantial number of negative comments about Brown on the Guardian's online "Comment is Free" section, and also on the BBC news "have your say" web pages this morning - unless CCHQ has the troops out in force posting there today both of these are encouraging signs that at least some of the electorate are not being taken in by the spin.

I won't be reading the Sun, but again I'm delighted to hear their position on Brown.

I'm looking forward to seeing DC and the troops in the media today dissecting the Brown speech, pointing out its flaws with forensic detail, highlighting all the old broken promises which he was repeating, and artfully hinting at the powerful, solid, confident, statesmanlike and reassuringly true blue messages which we can expect from our own conference.

It promises to be a great day.

A very quiet reaction it must be said. Wont be given much airtime at all though. Hope Lansley is on Newsnight tonight to fight back against Johnsons speech today. We need our frontbenchers out on the prowl.

Re. Hazekl Blears, her comments towards Boris show exactly why I cant wait to see Boris become Mayor of London. Class obsessed champagne socialists like her give politics a bad name.

Sorry, Ed, my failure to mouse-click correctly at 10:45.

This is the link to rationing in the NHS - http://www.doctorportal.co.uk/news/news/NHS_rationing_doctors_call_for_urgent_review.html

It is good to see an MP venture on to this site under his own name but
@Peter Luff
You have made a fatal mistake by listening to received opinion. Elections are not won "from the centre ground": they are won "by offering voters something that they want". That will in general mean that the centre ground will offer more people what they want. BUT

If you have two parties one of which argues for killing the first born and another for killing the third born it doesnt follow that a sneaky change to killing the second born will sweep up the votes "of people in the middle" It is far likelier that the turnout will drop to zero. Or in this case 61%.

Public services have had taxes wasted on them and nothing is better. Thats not what the public wants
We have uncontrolled immigration TNWTPW
We are about to be signed up to the USE TNWTPW

Cameron is part of a three party fix. There is no opposition amongst the political class. Voting can achieve nothing.

The Mail and the Telegraph are still right wing newspapers. They cannot get a right wing government by voting next month. The only way that is going to ever change is to change Cameron so thats what they're doing. Its not rocket science

It's amusing that the Telegraph and Mail hate Cameron so much (by the way, who did those papers support before Thatcher-it couldn't have been the Tories) that they are more welcoming to this speech than the nominally Labour supporting Times, which did a rather good job of picking it to bits.

"For the record: Here is the Tory reaction."

Editor, WOW I am bowled over, Not!

Its not what you might call a passionate counter to Brown's speech is it? 'well he said that 3 times, said something else 4 times....' Is that all Osborne and the Conservative HQ can come up with? Sorry but its pathetic! They should be out there rubbishing it, rubbishing the cant, rubbishing the hypocrisy, rubbishing the lies, rubbishing the double standards, and rubbishing Brown's claims for Britishness. But all we get is 'well we heard that few times before'.

Is a bit of hard graft, application and passion a bit too much to expect from them?

Yes Scotty, there is a definate gap in the market for a Tory leaning newspaper. I understand the newspaper market is a declining one but as a keen propective purchaser, I just can't find one that does the job. I stopped buying the D Telegraph months ago. Thought I must be on my own in thinking they'd all gone mad. I now see from their web site that I'm not alone. I recently posted a comment along the lines that they must be a little more sympathetic to DC's position now that they share it i.e. how do you bring in new voters/readers without alienating the old? It hasn't been posted. May be this time I am alone?

"The Mail and the Telegraph are still right wing newspapers. They cannot get a right wing government by voting next month. The only way that is going to ever change is to change Cameron so thats what they're doing. Its not rocket science"

No, its not rocket science, but neither has it been a successful strategy to elect a right wing government by either newspaper when they had a Conservative leader that ticked all the boxes on their wish list.

Iain, you're absolutely right. The offical party reaction to Gordon Brown's fairytale was nothing short of pathetic.

Brown is acting like its the start of a new era, with a clean slate.

We all know that he has been at the very centre of all the poor decisions and failure to deliver of the Blair years.

The press seem to be lapping it up and letting him get away with it.

Where is the opposition?

Who is shouting from the rooftops, raising the questions Brown doesn't want to hear?

Who sold the gold? Who wrecked the pensions? Who has presided over a tripling of national debt? Who has failed to deliver again and again and again for a decade.

This is no fresh start, this is business as usual.

Re-announcements of policies.... check!

lies and bull.... check!

Fancy soundbites with no meaning... check!

Promises of the impossible... check!

All the hallmarks of New Labour for over a decade, all still right there in plain sight.

The Emperor has no clothes.

"The Emperor has no clothes."

Agreed, but it won't matter unless there is someone out there who can point this out.

Where is the Shadow Cabinet, where are the Conservative MP's, has anyone had sight of one recently? Are we to assume as they have nothing to challenge Gordon Brown on, that they may be down in Bournemouth negotiating with Brown to do a wholesale bunk off to the Labour party?

Sorry earlier link failed (needing log-in), but this is a similar story - http://www.doctorportal.co.uk/medicine/features/NHS_rationing_The_dangers.html?srcFeature=Features

It's time to end the lottery of NHS rationing
2007 Sept 24 "DOCTOR"

"Nine years ago Doctor conducted an investigation into NHS rationing. It found that one in five doctors knew patients who had suffered as a result of treatment rationing and one in 20 knew patients who had died.

Now the number of doctors who have seen patients suffer is at more than half and those who have seen a patient die prematurely because of rationing has shot up to one in six.

That there is rationing in the health service is neither surprising, nor a bad thing. With the Government¹s increasing focus on preventive medicine, the possibilities for 'treatment' are infinite.

But the quiet explosion of the problem over the past decade demands attention. For doctors and patients, it is a matter of life and death.

From Herceptin to Alzheimer's treatments, the subject is never far from the headlines, but this week's survey proves the problem is still growing and the lack of clear guidance continues to create a lottery, undermining confidence in the doctor-patient relationship.

That is why Doctor is this week launching its campaign to Reform NHS Rationing.

Doctor is calling on the Government to commission an independent review of how treatment is rationed in the NHS.

Specifically, Doctor wants to see:

More transparency in how rationing decisions are reached and communicated;
Stronger and wider-ranging guidance either from NICE or another independent source;
Less political interference - from MPs campaigning for certain treatments to individual PCT management decisions.

The contrast between what the Labour spinners want us to think of Brown's Labour (the blue-tinged provincial 1950s bank manager thingy) and Kinnock's 'grind them into the dust' and Milliband's 'ten more years and after that a one party state' offerings is so striking that it ought to be worth a PPB being spent on it. But I am not holding my breath.

I thought Gisela Stuart's piece in the DT was excellent today. I have potentially trashed her with the Comrades @ http://umbrellog.blogspot.com/

The Sun's efforts should not be sneered at. Its influence is never to be discounted: just ask Moneybags Kinnock.

Its stance reflects Murdoch's lack of enthusiasm for the EU.

To what extent is it thought that the DT and DM's stance reflects their owner's attitudes?

Iain, you are exactly right, but it isn't a recent failing.

For over a decade Labour have been distorting the truth, manipulating the facts and telling outright lies.

Maybe we're too well-mannered. Maybe we don't want to fight negatively.

However we have allowed a set of preconceptions about our party, principles and motives to become embedded in the national psyche and allowed our opponents to get away with murder.

It will take more than smiley Dave stroking huskies to undo twenty years of revelling in a 'nobody likes us and we don't care' image and neglecting to argue our convictions from first principle.

Camerloon has shown "conviction and courgage" as leader, has he? How come we're still in the EPP then?

He'd do a lot better to admit that UKIP weren't racist, and got there first on some good policies, like zero inheritance tax...

So let's get this straight, the following are wrong and are in league with the diabolical Brown: Lady Thatcher, Michael Ancram, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail and all Tory traditionalists. Meanwhile, David Cameron, who supports high taxes, nationalised medicine and comprehensive dumps is the great, white hope of right. Something a bit fishy in that argument, don't you think?

Don't you realise that neither of the papers you attack is an organ of the Tory party? Neither is under any obligation to support the party at all. Their primary duty to their readers is to report the facts. I saw Brown's speech and the papers in question noted the most important fact about it - that although a brazen pretence it was still an impressive performance. Be warned: Brown will appeal hugely to the voters. Why? Because Cameron has chosen not to speak their language and not to address their concerns. Brown has. Even if he never lifts a finger to help, he is telling them that he will. Does Cameron? No. He offers increased taxation on things people enjoy.

As for Mr Luff's points, they are nothing but froth. He endorses the pretence that Brown has occupied the centre ground at the same time as warning us that he will be much, much worse for the country than Cameron. But if they're both in the centre, what's the difference? They'll both presumably be the same. Is it then a matter of competence? Does Mr Cameron's recent intervention on the subject of hospital closures reveal a smooth administrative ability?

When ideologies are betrayed, it comes down to appearances, which is precisely where Brown is immeasurably his opponent's superior.

Cameron has been beaten in his own terms.


politicalbetting.com revealed yesterday that daily sales of the Mail have gone down 60,000 in recent months while the Express has increased by 30,000 and it was felt that this was due to the former's support for Brown while the latter clearly despises him.

Personally, I gave up buying the Mail 2 months ago because I couldn't stomach Dacre's infatuation with the conman Brown any longer, paticularly after his similiar love-in with that other great charlatan Blunkett a couple of years ago.

Dacre needs to wise up before circulation deteriorates further. McKay, Letts, and Litlejohn are still worth reading though. They all have Brown well sussed for the mendacious, ego-mad, control-freak he is.

Gordon Brown has consciously tried to place himself above politics because he has no politics. Nothing to offer except more of the same failiure, repackaged and recycled as new fare. The written media need to be quicker off the mark. The Sun has done well to expose Brown's poverty of policy and other papers need to follow suit. It is intellectually lazy for quality journalists to allow Gordon Brown to get away with such a vacuous speech.

I have just watched the Daily Politics show and I have never seen Kevin Maguire look so glum. What good news he is such an apologist and sycophant of the New labour movement it can only mean trouble at mill.

I thought the Telegraph leader today wasn't too bad.

It basically said Brown is making all the right noises - but they are only noises.

It says there was a lot in the speech for Cameron and the Tories to attack, and they hope they do so successfully.

The Telegraph and the Mail would be insignifican if we had the Sun on our side.

Rag it may be, but also a massive opinion former and - I could be wrong here - the leading selling newspaper? Remember that lightbulb...

It is completely to our fortune that they have taken up this referendum cudgel. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

Coulson should be in contact with its editor, daily.

Re Daly at the Telegraph.

I'm not a big fan of Aaranovitch at the Times, but on News 24's one-on-one program, he showed Daly up as being rather clueless about current politics.

Less political interference - from MPs campaigning for certain treatments to individual PCT management decisions.

I disagree. It’s extraordinarily hard for individuals to challenge the decisions made by any of our monolithic institutions (BBC, NHS, train operators, etc., all included). Representation and intervention by our MPs is part of what they’re there for – an essential place to escalate problems. As a doctor, you may well be blindsided by your faith in your own profession, but remember that the NHS is a fallible public organisation spending public money. MPs not only have a right, they have a duty to take up individual issues on behalf of individuals and groups. Imagine if I was suggesting that you couldn’t take an issue with the Home Office to your MP…

Various postings need a comment. Firstly the Sun is NOT going pro-Tory - essentially it is doing a brilliant job on the EU Referendum. All Brown has to do to stop it being anti-Labour is to give the Referendum.

Secondly Brown didn't gert away with it. I have put out on my lists comments of a vitriolic kind from the FT, of disappointed condescension from Polly Toynbee for a start. Then the Times has numerous put-downs even from Peter Riddell and the Telegraph manages in its leader to say:-

==Gordon Brown signals new chapter of illusions (Leading article)
(- - - - -) as the speech ground on, a different Gordon Brown began to emerge. The Prime Minister behaved for all the world as if he had just stumbled across the scene of a rather nasty accident. It was as if he had had nothing to do with the past decade of New Labour rule, with its unsatisfactory schools and hospitals: yet he was its chief domestic policy architect.
So much money spent yet, judging by yesterday's new statement of ambitions, so much still to do. Some would regard this as a catalogue of failure, and that any government that has not achieved its objectives in a decade is not going to achieve them at all. Not so Mr Brown. For him, this is simply the "next chapter" in the Labour programme. His solutions had one thing in common. They are all built on Labour's fixation with top down, government-knows-best policies. Why should we be surprised? At the Treasury, Mr Brown wanted to pull every string in Whitehall. Now that he has the authority to do so, he has no intention of holding back. (- - - - -)

Yesterday at Bournemouth, the Prime Minister presented a rather juicy target. Here is a Labour Party with little that is new or exciting to say and whose main players have been among the architects of the failures of the past 10 years.

Between now and the election, whenever it comes, the Tories must target these failings with passion, energy and conviction. There is all to play for.

Editor, no matter how much you bang on about how Brown's speech is reversing Thatcherism, it won't wash with the general public.

Most people saw yesterday's speech (including the Telegraph and Daily Mail) as Brown edging into Tory heartlands.

As I said yesterday, if you are going to attack Brown then at least attack him for the right things. Hysterical comments like he's reversing Thatcherism (especially when Cameron is doing exactly the same) just comes across as childish and looks like we haven't really got any real arguments against what he said.

Who can blame the newspapers' reactions? They want a right-wing leader of the Conservatives and that's not what we have, so of course they're going to give Brown a chance. Why isn't Cameron out and about attacking Brown's speech? We haven't seen him or heard from him for days on end. Same goes for much of the Shadow Cabinet.

Come *on*, guys! Really. Politicians and political parties complaining about the press is about as useful a sailors complaining about the winds and the tides. We have to use the press, tame it, make it serve us. Complaining about the Telegraph, saying that it's plotting against us, or that the Mail has been "bought" somehow by Brown is real "Planet Conference" stuff - only marginally more valuable than suggestions that men from Mars built the pyramids.

This week is Labour Party conference, and yesterday the new Prime Minister gave his first speech to that Conference. Is it really a surprise that newspapers made it a big story and gave prominence to Labour's narrative about itself?

Next week it will be our turn. And our task will be to make the most of our opportunity - as the Editor implied.

You persist in this false dichotomy. The alternative to Cameron is not IDS. The right has learned its lesson. The Conservative left in its recent triumphalism has behaved like the Bourbons, who on returning to power "had remembered nothing and forgotten nothing."

The nation doesn't want "heir to Blair". It wants new thinking. Answers to the problems of Britain. Until a Party offers those answers (believable new answers) only the tribal loyalists will vote and we have proved in 3 elections that Labour has more of those than we do. Hilton's strategy has been quite simply wrong. We must energise the lost voters of 1992. Our voters stopped voting. We are not going to get switches from these tribal loyalists but only from none of the above. Labours missing voters voted LD. They are now returning home. We are about to be slaughtered.

Its too late to do anything about it now. Cameron must have his car wreck and take Gorgeous and Hilton with him. Its not going to be pretty but, as a rejectee from the candidates list, the schadenfreude is going to be orgasmic.

Ditch Cameron and get five more years (or more) of Brown.

For all Dave's alleged wishy-washiness is that what you really want because I sure as hell don't.

Mark Fulford (Sept 25, 2007 at 13:18), the original purpose (further upstream from your post) of referring to that article was to hightlight the need for uniformity and consistency of access in the overall rationing process.

Of course, I would not disagree at all with parliamentary involvement but I believe that the author was trying to allude to the fact that piecemeal promotion of a single issue or segment by MPs merely prejudices another segment of healthcare provision.

It is inescapable that the whole funding process and management ethos of our health system must change. Too much waste and bureaucracy is handicapping a better healthcare system.

No, I am not blinded. That is why I am dismounting from the NHS to rescue a system in decline.

Your 2.15pm update is VERY informative Tim.

"The right has learned its lesson"

No, it hasn't, otherwise it would be willing to swing in behind the leader and stop insisting on a perverse form of conservative ideological purity.

For the right to have learned it's lesson, it would adopt a pragmatic approach. It hasn't.

I would greatly welcome the chance to contribute, if I may.

We need to broadcast the party's commitment to overturn the illiberal Hunting Act at next week's conference. To my mind there has not been nearly enough debate or coverage about this, and it is about time the party repaid the enormous debt it owes hunt supporters throughout the land who won the party well over sixty seats at the last election. Without their effort on the doorsteps Labour would have won by yet another landslide and the Commons would be even more urban-centric than it currently is. The next election would certainly be out of reach of the Conservatives had it not been for the efforts of these unsung heroes.

Come on Mr Cameron show us you really care about saving rural England and reintroducing the sport of foxhunting. We're fed up to the back teeth with your 'modernising' agenda which panders to gays, single mothers and other minorities. What about honest decent countryfolk?

Simple Simon, whilst I have no real axe to grind with the hunting lobby, it is not an issue that affects the day to day lives of the people who will win the election.

I can't think of anything more likely to make us look out of touch with the country with the NHS in meltdown, our schools turning out university entrants who can't read, write or add up and the economy walking a knife-edge than for us to make hunting a major issue.

i What about honest decent countryfolk?

Gays, single mothers and ethnic minorities aren't honest, decent or country folk? Interesting.......

I beg to differ, Mr Christie. Why have 59% of the Great British public stated that they supported hunting in a Countryside Alliance opinion poll?

This issue may not affect our urban-based cousins, but the party needs to articulate its support for the repeal of the Hunting Act to the likes of Joe Public from Croydon. It is an issue of utmost importance for, as the late Roy Jenkins once said, the Hunting Act is the greatest attack on civil liberties. Joe Public may not hunt, but he is instinctively against nanny-state intrusion into our private lives - hence his opposition to the Hunting Act.

I resent your claim that a strong defence of hunting will make us look 'out of touch'. How dare you! It is about time you remembered the support the hunting community gave to hundreds of Conservative candidates at the last election, resulting in well over sixty urban-minded anti-hunting socialists replaced with rural-minded Conservative MPs. Without their support you would not be contemplating Conservative victory at the next election.

The party should not be hiding support for the hunting community; it should be shouting it from the rooftops.

It is possible to work for all people in society whether,gay,single parent,ethnic minority,country folk and yes even those poor blinkered folk who condemn the above groups.The very people who are keeping the Tories out of power.Why blame newspapers when the Tory party is doing very well at damaging itself all on it's own?
I'm a Thatcherite but a Thatcherite who has realised things have moved on.We are endebted to Lady Thatcher but that does not mean we must continue to steer the same course.Those battles were won back then.Labour is nearer the centre because of those Tory years.We have to fight today's battles now though but too many Tories are stuck in the past and as long as that is the case we will never get back into government.

Simple Simon, they might well support it when asked about is specifically in a poll, however if you asked them to name the five or ten things they are most concerned about in Britain today I'd be interested to see where hunting appears on the list. Indeed I'd be surprised if hunting made it onto many people's list outside those directly affected by the ban.

I'm very aware of the support the pro-hunting lobby gave and are prepared to give again. However, how many of the actual voters in those seats were aware that it was pro-hunt folk shoving leaflets through their doors?

I was at the Take Your Seat day last year and I have no problem at all with the offer of help to any candidate prepared to sign to say they will support a repeal of the ban.

By all means the party should pledge to repeal the ban, and give total cast-iron assurances to the hunting lobby that it will introduce a bill in Government time to do just that.

However, I repeat my belief that to make hunting some sort of major issue will give entirely the wrong impression. We have a top-tier crammed with Old Etonians and their ilk and to make this issue some sort of main theme would be an open goal for the Labour Party.

Millibands speech is full of mindless platitudes even for him. Seems to want a fresh start after the Iraq debacle. No chance!
He also if I understand him correctly has ruled out a referendum on the EU Constitution.The Sun won't be happy, neither am I.It does seem now that there is no deal between Murdoch and Brown.
I always thought Straw and Beckett were useless Foreign Sec's but they seem charimatic compared to this bloke.

Michael Davidson @1339 - Generally speaking the columnists have given Brown an extremely rough ride even in papers that tend towards Labour.

The NEWS columns certainly played the Labour-spin of appealing to Conservatives. That's the message the hacks were fed.

I don't think that speech repeating all he's said for the last 10 years will do him any good in the long run.

But as Littlejohn cries out to Cameron in anguish :-"IT'S TIME TO 'REACH OUT' TO THE TORIES, DAVE
If Gordon does decide to go to the country, Call Me Dave will have to raise his game.
He hasn't only got to win swing marginals, he's got to convince traditional Tories to turn out, too"

Jonathan. "We need to re-energise the lost voters from 1992"

Unfortunately a fair chunck of them have since died. But I take your point, we need to address the problem of the 15% or so of the electorate who have given up voting.


When was the last 85% turnout in an election?

Cameron is paying the price now for his neglect of press handling and downgrading of the press office!

He should have appointed a proper press secretary straight away when elected leader, set up a rapid rebuttal unit, attack unit etc. Instead he thought he only neeeded to concentrate on broadcast and internet and image.

Substance still counts.

Cameron is seen by the Mail and the Telegraph as a loser. Support for him now gives them nothing. Sadly DC is a nice man but ineffectual. He wants to be loved by the metropolitan elite but fails to realise they will never support the Tory party no matter how many times he insults the membership.

The Cameroon junta thought they could blow Brown away but have been totally outwitted by him. They have failed to offer a genuine programme for change but have continued to push for a set of eccentric policies that do not appeal to the electorate.

In any other occupation DC would be asked to clear his desk and take a holiday.

Mr Christie, why is the 'modern' Conservative Party so afraid to take advantage of its support for repeal of the dreaded ban?

The muted assurances to hunt supporters remind me of those given by the socialists to their supporters during the 1990s. Weasel words count for nothing; it took seven years of relentless lobbying and £1m of funding from the animal rights' nutters before the socialists appeased their backbenchers with a ban. Will honest countryfolk need to engage in similar tactics within the Conservative Party?

I am not alone in fearing the Machiavellian tendencies of our leadership. Reluctance to declare support for repeal, and failure to make the most of the opportunity this offers, fosters suspicion and resentment amongst hunt supporters who were so critical to the party during the last election.


Exactly, Spud. Your post shows that the conservatives after Howard have learnt nothing from the great man himself and little from their opponents. The way to power cannot be reduced to some clever wheeze of triangulation. There are no magic bullets in politics. The absence of rebuttal and attack units is evident in the way that "hug a hoody" has become an albatross. As for Clause Four and the Big Tent, they are inapplicable to the conservatives, whose power rested not on blurring edges and reducing turnout - Labour's way - but on dividing the country 60/40 and dividing the 60 in turn. The way to do that is to be unashamedly right wing. This creates knee jerks on the left which tear up any chance of a "popular front" coalition with the centre. In a first past the post system this then delivers genuinely conservative rule. The problem can be expressed another way, by saying that whilst the right wing core is larger than the left, the centre is generally less willing to join it. That is a profound and probably unalterable condition of British politics. To admit to being on the right is to find oneself pitied, resented, patronised, despised or feared by all sorts of ordinary liberals and pinkos, who are used to each others' little ways. Look at the way Eliasch behaves when the going gets tough - or that woman from Brighton. Most centrists cannot take the right. There are such things as "right wing liberals" but they usually only find their true political bearings when the chips are down.

spud (at 16:01), like you and many others, I too am disappointed that our Team's attack on Labour seems limp, to say the least. Did you say ...substance? deja vu?

I hope we have a rousing conference!

Simple Simon. I'm not saying that the party shouldn't give a straight, unequivocal commitment to repeal the ban.

I'm saying that with all the other problems in the country it isn't on most people's radar as an important issue.

Rant and rave all you like, but the fact is for the vast majority of people in this country hunting is an irrelevance and for our party to turn it into a big issue again will not go down well.

The voters who will decide the next election are concerned about the NHS, education, whether they will still be able to pay their mortgage in 6 months, crime, immigration.

If Dave and all his posh mates suddenly start trying to turn the hunting ban into a major issue Labour will eat them for breakfast. The voting public won't see it as brave libertarian Conservatives defending the rights of a minority.

Labour and their friends at the BBC will portray it as posh Eton toffs trying to get back their upper class fun. It might be inaccurate in the extreme, but it will stick.

The time to reward the unsung heroes is if and when we are in office.

Look, I am a profundly disenfranchised former Conservative voter. How about about a suitably stinging riposte from Dave or Gideon about Trevor Philips' desire to re-write Britain's history to make it more multi-cultural? Sadly, he'll probably agree with the moron. When will someone in the Conservative Party actually bloody well stand up for Britain and its traditions and not pander to the notion that our nation's greatness started on 1st May 1997?

" Look at the way Eliasch behaves when the going gets tough - or that woman from Brighton. "

Yes, I also see this fraying of support the result of a lack of leadership and purpose. For when you look at the reasons for these defections, the stated reasons don't add up, for Cameron has been bending over backwards to these peoples point of view. So its not the 'modernisation', its just that these people are politically weak, and though they won't admit it, its not the modernisation which is the issue, its the lack of presence, leadership, and direction, that these people need to follow, and aren't getting from Cameron.

In fact I wonder if this modernisation is in fact a big error, for these political cross dressers don't really want to have their views entertained, for the territory they occupy is politically empty, what they really need is strong leadership, essentially they need someone to follow and be told what to think.

"The absence of rebuttal and attack units is evident"

And no more evident than in the last few days when Conservative party has all but disappeared from view.

Yesterday we had Osborne's pathetic attempt to comment on Brown's speech, today I see Lansley has commented on Johnson’s English NHS plans…

” His rhetoric for change is unconvincing after ten years of missed opportunities and contradictory reforms."

Not what you would call a passionate attack on Labour’s policy, when thousands of people have been dying due to dirty hospitals, and when the Conservatives had policies to confront the problems years ago, and made it an issue at the last election. Lansley should be blowing a gasket in anger at the cost in lives at Labour’s delay and failure.

As has been said many times: New Labour or Blue Labour, it's the same thing. Why vote for Cameron when you can have the real thing. Both support the transfer of power to Brussels.

Simple Simon: Putting hunting on top of the priority list would emphasise the "toff" image Cameron has with some. For myself, it's the one policy where I'm dead certain myself and Mr Cameron agree upon. The ban will be repealed in our first term back in office (if we get back under Cameron).

Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph know their readers by now. The Conservative Party apparently still don't and will pay the price at the next election.

I thought the funniest part of Brown's speech was when he mentioned his 'favourite' parable, the parable of the talents. He then went on as if it was the parable of skills.

The talent in the parable, is a large quantity of money.

If Brown doesn't let Labour down, then I guess we're all going to be living in Paradise next year. Shame it took him so long.

David @14:28

The right has learned its lesson and is signed up to the "politics of and". DC is not prepared to deliver however on the right's half. The right has tried sitting down and shutting up during DC's glory days when his success justified his peculiarities but now he can't deliver success, he isn't worth the compromise.

@Mike Christie

61% + 15% = 76%

GCSE Maths Grade A* = O Level Maths Grade 6

Iain (Sept 25, 2007 at 17:52), yes, it is extremely upsetting to find this absence of killer instinct. I remember it from Michael Howard's days and it seems the same is being repeated, continued.

Then, I said clean hospitals do not constitute health policy. It is at best a directive. They are still talking about the same narrow issue and not the entire picture. All politicians seem capable of thinking about are little pieces of activities, not wholesome and substantial policies!

What about crime, or immigration? What good comes to a big nation that pussy-foots around? Maybe, devolution is a symptom of the breakdown, the decline, of greatness!

Those who have the power do not use it, or even seem to know how to use it. No hope for 'mere' mortals, then?

"That is the Conservative leader's main task in Blackpool next week. He has to enthuse the Conservative media and the Conservative base."

I'm sorry to say this, but we are into major u-turn territory if the Leader attempts this, desirable and sensible though it is. Cameron's fragile credibility would be completely shot by such a reversal.

The die is now cast and we are stuck with the Hilton agenda. Only time and space would give us the opportunity to credibly alter our policy trajectory back towards planet earth where we may reconnect with voters aspirations and values, which the DM and the DT seek to reflect.

The good news, if you can welcome it as such, is that expactations of the Conservative Party conference are now so low that virtually any outcome short of a bloodbath may be regarded as a success.

"61% + 15% = 76%"

Ah, I seem to have suffered a failure of logic. Or maybe I'm just too ambitious!

One thing that can be fairly said is that Cameron has consistently spoken about his concern for social responsibility/crime. He also said the NHS should be the other major issue. It would not in anyway be a change of tack, or any kind of lurch, to focus on those issues. It would be a good move to pull together the threads of policy ideas under 2 or 3 few themes that the public have a chance of getting the message about. It's also clearly the case that when he has been pushing those issues hard, especially crime, we have done better in the polls. For my part I've said before many times, none of this is about left-right or defining centre in terms of left-right although we do need to broaden our support base. In conclusion its not about either-or but it is about finding common ground over the main issues people are concerned about and actually vote about. In that sense the big four issues still are - Crime, Health, Education, Economy. Key is to build a positive sense of what the party stands for and where it wishes to lead Britain, through what people are interested in and concerned about.


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