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The party is falling into Gordon Brown's trap. He does not really like Thatcher, he parades her to provoke a reaction from the Conservative Party. As always the party retreats to the comfort zone. Returning to core vote strategy is exactly what Brown wants, Labour will proclaim the party has returned to the "old" issues at the expense of public services and the environment and the Conservatives will achieve 33% of the vote. The party goes on about Europe and immigration at its peril. I will be watching this conference very closely and so will millions of others to see if the Conservative party again turns in on itself and harps on about its own prejudices about tax cuts over quality public services and Europe and immigration over community and enivronment.

Immigration is to do with the EU - like we dont have any choice. Freedom of movement and all that!

Cleo, you claim to be a floating voter. I am not the only one who finds this difficult to reconcile with your particular obsessions.

Foir whom did you vote at the last general election? Have you ever voted Conservative, and if so when?

I'd seek to get the core vote out by promising that a Conservative government would do less.

Less bureaucracy. Less taxes [vastly less taxes], vastly less 'initiatives' and 'programs' and 'strategies'.

Get the Government out of the lives of ordinary people. Promise to set them free to live the lifestyles they want without the 'nasty snoop from Whitehall' jumping on them the moment they want a nice foreign holiday, a decent car, private healthcare/schooling or a patio-heater.

If there's any honest underlying ethos to 'modern conservatism' it's that Government should get out of the way and let the people - motivated by empowered self-interest, entrepreurialism and personal aspiration - flourish.


Do you just cut and paste this post from one thread to another? You seem to post it at least five times a week.

I think every regular reader of this blog knows by know that you don't believe we should ever talk about the EU or Immigration or Tax cuts.

Fortunately you are not leading the Conservative Party.

I'm sure many of those millions watching will be gratifed that the Conservatives are addressing their concerns (unlike the Gordon Brown Party).

I'd rather have a costed tax cut explained to me than a tax rise for the sake of one. I'm not averse to varying tax up or down, but the arguments for continued tax rises right now are weak. The Conservatives should propose a 'bottom up' tax cut for low and middle income earners much needed after the abolition of the 10p start rate.

Traditional Tory I am sorry to say I did not vote at the last general election. My first general election was 1997 and I voted Labour, in 2001 I voted Lib Dem. I voted Conservative in the 2006 vote blue go green local election. I think that makes me a floating voter.

Can we stop all this talk of a "core vote strategy"? It is a media and Labour-inspired soundbite. The party is simply putting an emphasis on the big issues that are of greatest concern to people. These issues do not require policy u-turns, we are just being more vocal about things people care about.

Yes, we campaigned on some of these issues before. So what? Pardon us for saying in 2005 things that are of even greater relevance and importance today. Do you really think Cleo that we should not say what is appropriate today just because we have said it before?

If we want to see change for the better in this country then we need to address the major problems this country faces... crime and security, immigration and migration, the NHS, education and defence. Fighting an election on any other platform will make us irrelevant to the electorate which is crying out for leadership and sound administration.

Yes, voters aren’t interested in the issue of our EU membership – it’s all rather remote compared to hospitals, crime and so on. And one response could be for us to focus on it, as the Ed suggests. But surely Mr Cameron has the communication and leadership skills to alert this nation to what is going on and the importance of our becoming again a free and sovereign nation able to govern ourselves?

No Cleo, you couldn't be more wrong. What Brown wants is for the Conservatives to react to his seeming parking his tanks on our lawn by lurching even further to the Left so that no-one at all votes for us. It is totally and unarguably clear that the strategy to trying to out NuLab New Labour (the Heir to Blair nonsense) has not achieved any shift of left of centre voters to us. What is has done, and will continue to do unless the current realisation that it has failed continues, is to ensure that a) Tory voters don't turn out at all and b) undecided and swing voters can see no difference between Labour and Tory and so opt, as voters normally do, for the devil they know.

People need a reason to vote or to change their vote and being "the same as the other lot, only posher" is not such a reason.

Cleo,it is not about turning to core issues at the expense of community and environment.You need to look closely at the poll details.Electors are confused they don't know what the party stands for.This was always the danger in a strategy built upon the "liberal" agenda which ignored the real arguements for Conservatism.

The tory party was never the nasty party.We lost elections in the past not because people disliked our policy. We allowed the issue of europe to divide us and threw away our image of economic competence under Major.The party cannot allow Brown to get away with the trick of appearing more "conservative" on social issues than us.He is doing this precisely because he knows the key electors hold these views.We have to respond with a coherent and reasoned policy agenda based upon traditional Toryism that exposes Brown weaknesses on his record (Prison early Release ,Immigration,EU referndum committment etc)This will reinvigorate activists and resonate with the public.I would urge everyone to get behind it

Ladies and gentlemen, I suggest that for every Cleo the tory party gains, it loses at least five loyal supporters. Like her illustrious namesake, she is very high maintenance. Let us disregard her siren song and refuse to play the doomed role of Anthony.

Re my post at 2259 yesterday, I meant a response (to voters' lack of interest in the problem of our EU membership) could be for us NOT to focus on it, as the Ed suggests...I may as well repeat my point that surely Mr Cameron has the communication and leadership skills to alert this nation to what is going on and the importance of our becoming again a free and sovereign nation able to govern ourselves?

I think the 'conversation' above with 'Cleo' is very interesting. The centre ground voters don't really buy the leadership's message of change, because they know the real views of the right in the party all to well, they are very vocal. This is the Catch-22 facing Cameron. The more he tries to drag the party onto a popular aganda, the more that the right kick-off, and the more distrusting the public are that Cameron can stick to the ground he says he wants to claim. Our see-saw poll rating can be traced back to this effect. The truth is that the Thatcherites, would rather scupper the ship than sail in a new direction. I can see a split in the party coming unless this is sorted out.

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