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You and Michael Portillo seem to forget that immigration has only become an issue because Newsnight made it one. Had they not mentioned it neither I suspect would Cameron. Having said that I'm glad they did because it is a subject that we need to think through and properly address.
I completely agree with you about the 'politics of and' which seems to me to be simple commonsense.
The Conservative party to be successful has to balance it's wings and take in some of the views of all its supporters.Sometimes I think some of Camerons advisors forget that ,equally so do some of the commentators on this blog.

"I still wish we had not waited until now to fully do so, however. If the 'And theory of Conservatism' had been vigorously pursued by David Cameron from day one - mixing modernising and familiar themes from the off - we would not now have the 'lurch to the right' headlines..".

How fervently I agree with every word, Tim.

I appreciate the reasons (scaremongering from Ed Balls et al) for not promising tax cuts, for not talking about immigration, for not mentioning the EU etc until now but they are all crucially important aspects of government that the tories must have a united view on and not just be entering the debate stage now.

Do you not agree, Tim, with the point I made yesterday and on several other occasions, that language and context are vitally important: I suggested that the way to defuse the "immigration" dilemma is simply to ask critics/interviewers: "which category of immigration are we discussing? Asylum seekers, economic migrants or the illegals?"

Left wing interviewers cannot then then conflate two different categories to their advantage.

To some extent there was a "politics of and" before - the immigration policy was announced on 9th Nov 2006 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/6130080.stm) and build more prisons, border police, marriage tax breaks, etc. have been policy for some time.

It is only now that the narrative has changed (and/or Andy Coulson) that people are noticing.

Gordon Brown must feel like he has a head full of hornets at the moment. Wondering whether to go early, whether the polls are trustworthy, wondering what David Cameron will do next. I really hope Brown does go as early as october because I don't think the 'concerns' about reations to immigration articulated by the smart-set in the media are shared by the average voter. Over the last ten years 2.5 million immigrants have entered our country, equal in number to half the population of Scotland, people are saying enough is enough. Being tough on immigration is a vote winner not a vote loser.

Malcolm: I think the issue is partly one of spin. My understanding is that newspapers were steered to the immigration remarks by David Cameron. The answer given on Newsnight also needs to be understood in the context of the emphasis on crime, Europe and tax that went before. The media had seen three of the four core votes addressed and then the fourth one was too!

David: I certainly agree with you about the need to carefully distinguish between types of immigration/ asylum.

Tim, you may say I told you so, however, politics, as yuo know, can be oblique sometimes. Cameron needed to tack in the opposite direction to get the serious regards to his current position on 'traditional' issues. Had he not gone OTT compasionate first, not that many squeamish swing voters would listen to him now. I believe the tactic has worked, not failed. Anyway, nice problem to have.

I'm wrong about many things Oberon (1) but on this occasion I really do think I was right about the 'And theory'. Yes, there were good arguments for emphasising new issues alongside the old in the early days of Project Cameron but it shouldn't have been 90/10 - more like 66/33. The right-wing press and core supporters would never have got so unhappy and we would have avoided the 'lurch to the right' nonsense.

"but it shouldn't have been 90/10 - more like 66/33."

Exactly. And when talking about the 33% it should be been as supportive and energetic as the 66%, not a begrudging reference or insulting the party members by calling them 'delusional' etc.

However, it is obviously *was* a lurch to the right (and a good thing too), as Cameron had moved so far to the left, it needed a 'lurch' to bring him back to anywhere near to what many would consider a balanced, sensible position.

Tim: Well lets say he was 80-20, and you can go to 70-30. So lets go halfers at 75-25? No honestly, I'm surprised that you think so mant were irritated by the language, if one look scarefully at what was going on it should have been fairly clear that a centre-right manifesto with a robust Tory stance on core themes was going to work. The real sticking point was taxation and public spending. Yes yes yes, I know it's too high already, but if Labour can committ to our spending plans to win power, then why can't we. I know I'd rather start with that position at least & work from there.

Labour is always accusing the tories of this rightward "lurch". It is a clapped out lie but it has conveniently disguised Labour's own relentless drift to the left. Elected on a platform of prudence and patriotism they have taxed us into debt and allowed unbelievable numbers to resettle the UK. Too late to talk of "integration" when you look at the state of Bradford. And into what will the newcomers integrate if they happen to live in Birmingham? The natives will soon be outnumbered as well as demoralised. Indeed, the idigenous population is now largely alienated from its own national, ethnic and religious identities. No wonder all they can do is drink and brawl and murder. A sense of morality first requires a sense of identity - a sense of who you are - and that has been taken away.

This was the revolting spectacle that the tories at last had the courage to address under Michael Howard. Unlike "global warming", it constitutes an immediate, pressing and deadly problem which we could - with a bit of nerve - do something to solve.

Sadly, having got half way to the summit of power in 05, the tories lost their nerve and scurried back to base camp. Meanwhile, Mr Cameron's recent attempt to scrabble up the paths he should never have come down are easily derided, by supporters and opponents alike.

So much for the modernisers, whose project has been decisively discredited.

As for the politics of "and", it is just excess baggage. Because of Mr Cameron's weird grandstanding in northern glaciers, the tories now feel obliged to alienate those who travel by air.

In the Sunday Times yesterday, Michael Portillo addressed the injustices of sudden, unwanted mass immigration but then pulled his usual trick of saying that we just can't discuss it. Why? Because it alienates the liberal middle class. But does it? And if it does, is it not the job of the politician to change minds and win people over? To convince them? This tepid, Europolitical pandering to what is supposed to be the defining view of a particular group merely reinforces the association: "I'm middle class - I couldn't possibly pay attention to the crisis in border control!"

Hard pounding from guns which are stuck to will, over time, begin the process of convincing people. That is what politics is really all about. Not this devious piffle of focus groups and triangulation.

The Conservative party must learn that you campaign from the centre and govern from the right.

So many people here are disappointed by how Cameron never promises tax cuts and rules out grammar schools. But imagine how unpopular Labour would be if cabinet ministers, backbenchers, and activists insisted on 50% tax for those earning over 100K, nationalisation of industries, minimum wage increases, worker's rights, ...

To win swing voters, the Tories must campaign avoiding the traditional issues of the "right", just as Labour have successfully campagined by avoiding the traditional issues of the "left".

To win swing voters, the Tories must campaign avoiding the traditional issues of the "right", just as Labour have successfully campagined by avoiding the traditional issues of the "left".

Posted by: Stephen | September 03, 2007 at 17:30

Well having experienced the amateurish campaigns in 2001 and 2005 I confess none of the parties were particularly relevant to the issues. It was a case of pollute the landscape with moronic posters but avoid the real issues at all costs.

I am fed up of this marketing drivel about brand-positioning - we all know that products are basically the same and most consumer produts aren't even made by the brand-owner so it is all a giant con......political parties are too.

That's the problem. the public has rumbled them all and is bored. I hear more people in everyday conversation say "the country is [email protected]@ked. I am going to sell my house and go abroad." than I ever hear talk of political parties.

Much as it saddens me to admit it Bradford is totally right and is perhaps the only clear thinker on this thread.

It interests me that whatever spin Labour put out ("lurch to the right", "hug a hoodie" etc), large sections of the press appear to repeat. If those parts of the press can't be fair maybe our party needs to pre-empt what Gordon is doing with equally descriptive slogans,

Matt

HAS ANYBODY OF ANY POLITICAL LEANING LISTENED TO THE MUSINGS OF OUR POLITICAL CLASSES.AS A LIFELONG TORY VOTER OR SHOULD I SAY EX TORY VOTER.AS AT THE NEXT ELECTION LIKE MILLIONS OF OTHERS I WILL NOT WASTE MY TIME.BEFORE I GET THAT OLD REFRAIN ABOUT PEOPLE SUFFERING TO GIVE US THE VOTE.IT IS NOT THE GENERAL PUBLIC THAT HAS BROUGHT ME TO THIS.IT IS THE DRIVEL WE HEAR COMING FROM THAT PLAY PEN CALLED THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.PLUS THE CORRUPT IMMORAL WHATS IN IT FOR ME BUNCH THAT INHABIT THE PLACE.AIDED AND ABETTED BY A MEDIA STUFFED WITH TOADIES.BETWEEN THEM THEY HAVE MADE THIS COUNTRY A LAUGHING STOCK.

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