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I doubt Brown's failure to go to the country will have much traction with the electorate. After all, few voters in 2001 are likely to have been influenced by the intense speculation that Blair had been going to call a snap election in 1999.

Totally agree with you Tim.The way non political anoraks consume political news is very different from the likes of us! The last few months have seen have been a series of peaks and troughs for me after good or bad polls,the antics of Ancram, Mercer, Bercow etc.
Talking to my wife showed me how little this mattered in the real world. She wasn't aware of most of it and felt that the Conservative party still had a chance if an election was called.
She was aware however that many people were feeling that Cameron was a loser which was certainly the media narrative for at least two months prior to our Conference.So no ,the events of the last ten days may not in the end mean that much unless we can retain the initative for many weeks more.
PS Welcome back James Hellyer.

I see the significance as being that he has junked most of the benefit of the doubt and goodwill he had with the media. That's why the PBR con tricks will probably not work for instance.

I think the point with Yellow/Black/Ratner Saturday and the previous few days is that while it has (predictably) had only a minor impact on the electorate at large, (a) the scales have fallen from the eyes of the media when it comes to Brown & co, and (b) we are clearly setting the agenda now.

That won't impact on the voter's perception yet, but they are two vital foundation stones which could bear fruit in 2009 (if we can carry on building!)

Tim, I often do the same with my family, which is why I did not believe the figure about women voters turning to Brown in that YouGov poll during the Labour conference.
In his first few months I have found it quite a stark contrast between men and women voters amongst my family and friends, his behaviour over recent weeks will be a further turn off for women, of that I am sure.
I predict that among the exodus of Libdem voters to both the main parties as politics becomes more polarised, we will see that divide between men and women voters more clearly.
One other thing to note, Brown has damaged his reputation with older more politically savvy voters. One comment from one of my relatives over the weekend sticks out, how can we trust this man to make the right decision on important matters which should be above party politics?

The way to reach the Beltway is via the written press.

Coulson needs higher class support. Its a bit like a Premier League side in decline who signs a star player but doesn't strengthen the rest of the side.

We're on the move - we've got momentum but itstime for the media handling to step up too!

Tim - I think it's absolutely right to take a reality check. There is already a certain defensive backlash setting in amongst Labour supporters. If the Tories seem too triumphalist they will unite the opposition rather as Labour united the Conservative party conference. Ratner Saturday may not (by itself) be as significant as we hope. My view is that this is just the beginning of Brown's blunders and that the message will filter through slowly and surely, rather than in a rush. Many people were willing Brown to do well after the Blair years and it's unlikely they'll let go of their false hopes overnight. The most damning part of Brown's recent performance is not the blunder - but his inability to recover from the blunder and his (quite remarkable)tendency to make matters worse.

The Public doesn't go looking for political news, he/she waits for it to arrive through television and the print media. Thats why its important that the party keeps in the news and more importantly keeps making the news. The Public gave Gordon Brown the benefit of the doubt after his cornonation. There were a number of crises and his response made him look favorable, however events over Ratner saturday made Brown look like a fool in the minds of the public. People often criticize news-management but it really is important to create the right impression with the non-political voter. Tony Blair for all his faults understood that such a process was necessary. The men of advertising know that too, politics is about salesmanship, and selling to many disinterested people.

People who are as arrogant and paranoid as the Great Bottler find it very hard indeed to admit mistakes or learn from them. They re-interpret the facts and lie to themselves, and thence to others, in order not to admit out loud that they were wrong. Listen to his wording at the press conference on Monday, when he states repeatedly "It was me", but at the same time actually distances himself from the decision by saying "As PM, you have a duty to listen". The latter represents what's going on for him internally - passing the buck to those he had a duty to listen to - while the former is what he has decided will SOUND like leadership. The more the public sees the Bottler's internal thought processes, the incongruence therein and the lies that he tells himself, the more they will dislike and distrust him.

The most revealing, Tim, was your family member C, because, as revealed on the threads yesterday and FT comment today, it is wrong. However, as you asked the question very shortly about the Darling announcement, they may have caught up by now. Would be interesting if you ask them on, say, Sunday (gives a chance for week-end etc press comment to have an impact) if they still think the same. If so, and if it is representative, we have a problem.

Gordon Brown's entire personality has been revealed. He is a plagiarist who is remarkably detached from reality and who tragically lacks any moral sensitivity - politically all so un-British.

In a medical analysis, I would suggest he displays some of the characteristics of personality disorder with delusional tendencies.

That's a qualified opinion.

Cutting through all the chaff of Brown's denials about his decision to bin an Autumn GE being influenced by the polls.
The press have not made much of that little hand grenade about Labour robocalling and asking voting intentions a couple of weeks ago. I believe it is now being investigated, but the Beeb have no excuse for not making more of it because Huw Edwards was phoned for gods sake!!!

I note that the Libdems are running with the poor deal for councils that mean that council tax increases are going to be above inflation, we need to turn our focus onto this PDQ

Old Hack's non-political rellies in London, all rather sceptical out of town middle class swing voters, are distinctly underimpressed by Boris and think Ken will walk it for the sake a more 'serious' opponent.

I too casually ask family and acquantances about current affairs and just listen to see what they mention first, unprompted. My wife is a brilliant sounding board because she is very apolitical and straight to the point. She thought Brown was steady, she now thinks he's a "fake". She worried about DC and now thinks he's "brave".


Referring to your summing up paragraph Tim, regarding the opinion of the average 'Jo' about 'Ratner' saturday, and the public's general apathy as long as they can 'spend'. Thats why in my first post this morning I speculated that when the 'pinch' starts to be felt, Brown will find a way to blame the conservatives for it. It doesn't matter that it is illogical, Brown will spend hours (and enjoy it) finding a plausible way to shed the blame off himself, in the eyes of JO public. David Cameron was quite right when he said that PM Brown was making fools of the public, but unfortunately IF the public don't realise they are being made fools of, they don't understand!!

Lots of posters have said for some time that time is on our side, especially with reference to the economy, but when people start to be made redundant, and the pinch is felt, this Labour government will still attack the Conservatives, because that is the best way to cover up and shield their glaring inefficiencies, waste and greed. So WE have to stop sounding defensive at ANY time, and even being neutral can sound defensive at times. We have plenty to attack about, and every Shadow Minister who is liable to be interviewed should be required to learn off by heart a good collection of the NUMEROUS vast sums of money that this ..... government has wasted, AND the names of the so-called policies that the money has been wasted on!!

At one point it seemed the public were sleepwalking into another 10 years of Labour government, and a Brown one at that.

But the conference season and Brown's blunders have engaged more people in politics - if only temporarily - which partly explains Labour and Tory poll numbers closer to 40% each. The encouraging thing is that when the Tories are given air-time, their poll numbers improve substantially.

The 'Brown Bounce' hardly featured in the M25 marginals, even when Labour were supposedly 10 points ahead nationally. These are Blairite Labour constituencies, and no posturing by Brown will keep them red in my opinion.

Cameron did well today in getting angry. To bastardise a phrase - build a strong and united Opposition, and they will come.

Teck, you are right. Gordon Brown has serious character flaws. He tries to cultivate the image of himself as a solid and measured leader but at todays PMQs we saw David Cameron putting Brown under severe stress, and Brown looked battered, his face looked drawn, whats more his retort was woeful for that of a prime minister. It is becoming more than obvious that Mr Iron is a fake, a clay idol who can be smashed.

Patsy Sergeant - very good advice.

I wrote in yesterday's East Anglian Daily Times (link here if interested: http://www.eadt.co.uk/content/eadt/politics/story.aspx?brand=EADOnline&category=Politics&tBrand=EADOnline&tCategory=zpolitics&itemid=IPED09%20Oct%202007%2010%3A23%3A31%3A697

that Gordon Brown's biggest mistake was upsetting journalists. I and those far grander national hacks were taken for mugs by Brown's spinners in Bournemouth. We were encouraged to write up that a snap election would be called to wipe out the Tories. After October 25 was ruled out, November 1 became the spun date (the Express boldly went on its front page with November 8). We were told lighting up times were being studied, electoral registration officers contacted, and private party polling showed an effete Cameron was being ditched by a movement called Tories for Brown (after Democrats for Reagan). The Telegraph fell for that line.
We all went along with the spin. Why should they lie? So Brown will not be easily forgiven, especially by some very influential journalists, and nor I suspect by Mirror and Guardian writers, who were positively revelling in the upcomimg demise of the Tory Party.
From my drifting out of the Westminster village and into constituencies in which the EADT circulates, I never felt Labour was 11% ahead as one poll suggested. As I've said before, it looks almost impossible for the Tories to win an election, whenever it is held, unless the economy really goes belly up. The electoral maths are stacked too strongly against the party. Best hope for the Tories is a hung parliament with the party the largest in the House. Perhaps we'll then see an anti-Labour coalition formed.
One policy which does find favour in stronger Tory areas is the English Democrat Party's plea for an English Parliament. I can't quite understand why this is not Tory policy - equal devolution to the four home nations with fixed term assembles and a fixed term House of Commons. I would suggest that policing and transport policy should be clawed back from the devolved bodies and become the responsibility of Westminster. It's ludicrous that there is now no national transport strategy and no overall control of policng.

In a nutshell, Patsy at 13.52:

"We have plenty to attack about, and every Shadow Minister who is liable to be interviewed should be required to learn off by heart a good collection of the NUMEROUS vast sums of money that this ..... government has wasted".

I would add: let the be briefed by Jeff Randall.

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