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It is quite obvious that the announcements on IHT and SDLT caused the poll swing and that Brown's final decision was formed accordingly.

The supposed merits of Cameron's learned-by-heart speech are neither here nor there, as few people heard more than a snippet on TV news.

There was some evidence that the voting public were nervous that reductions in tax spell further deterioration in public services. Either this doesn't apply to IHT and SDLT, or the great British public is having yet another of its neurotic mood swings.

Anyone else have problems with this survey?

I gave a longish 5-point answer to the 'what should the conservatives do next' question and it *appeared* to cause the survey to loop back to the first question (with my answers already in place).

The second time round, I left that particular box empty and then the survey moved correctly to the next question regarding party membership.

Local glitch or broken survey??

Meant to add in box on what Conservatives should do next is get every MP, Peer and party member to sign the Downing Street petition mentioned by Gordon Brown in PMQs!

Let's work on the premise that the major policy announcements at conference were the key contributing factors in stopping the election. Then it is fair to say that Osborne must be said to have performed the best.

However, given the latest bout of policy theft from the Government, could we have done things differently? Would there have been any merit in allowing Brown to call an Autumn election and then hitting him with the big policy announcements?

I know plenty of people that are unhappy with the lack of election. I very much wish we were in a different position: an election looming in November, Brown committed to an unpopular manifesto and the Conservatives surging back into the lead with only three weeks to go....

If only. What next for us? Given that whenever we do come up with good ideas Brown shamelessly robs them, we must be very careful. As we all know, the one big difference is in the modus operandi. Brown will boss from Whitehall and we must even perhaps learn a thing or two from the Lib Dems about putting down strong roots locally and showing how we can really deliver on our promises.

The biggest factors were the performances of David Cameron and George Osborne and the fact that the Conservative party stuck together! I also think Gordon Brown's flawed character was a big factor too. I remember my PE teacher at school telling us if we thought we couldn't jump the hurdles we wouldn't be able to jump the hurdles. Perhaps Gordon Brown, the man who hesitated and allowed Tony Blair to usurp him for the Labour leadership just didn't have the self belief to think he could ever win, even with an eleven point lead in the polls. Does Brown believe in himself?

Anyone who believes that the Conservative poll fightback was based on just one speech or announcement would be wrong, it was the whole package plus Brown's appallingly cynical behaviour that combined to produce the swing.

Brown clearly thinks it was the inheritance tax change that made the difference, otherwise why implement the spoof spouse exemption change in the Pre Budget Report?

Tax is back in play. There is an excellent opportunity for us to campaign in general terms that we will cut taxes, partly offset by a form of rebalancing the tax base as appropriate, partly by offering up some sacrifical quangos or highlighting pointless expenditure programmes. No need for specifics (people on £x income will pay y%), although the back-up work would have to be done.

Welcome back TT - where have you anti-Cameroons been for the last week?

Not you. No Radical Tory. No Moral minority.

Couldn't you cope with the tru-blues all doing so well?


"Tax is back in play"


And no Cameroons can call it a 'right-wing' issue any more, as with the two main parties fighting over tax cuts, tax cutting is the centre-ground issue right now.

Of course the tax cuts made all the difference re the election that never was and probably saved Cameron's career too.

One day, we'll get that May Day Tax Freedom Day....

Completely off thread - Tony Makara - bought a smile to my face; remember being in 5th form to school sports day when as O Level students it was voluntary and we could try any sport we wanted to. Having always been poor at sport I entered the hammer (about 10 feet!), the long jump (unfortunately not 10 feet) and the hurdles (I won!).

It was just that, no pressure, no nerves, no expectation, no problems just ran as fast as I could and leapt over the hurdles (might have caught one or two)

You seem to have missed the point that Labour are increasing taxes (see the IFS analysis covered on p1 of the Telegraph today) and that the Conservatives, for perfectly sensible electoral reasons, have promised to stick their intial spending plans.
You might prefer that the parties were talking about tax cuts, but all they are actually jousting over is where the increases fall.

Stephen 18:17
"You seem to have missed the point"

That's the second time today!

Of course the Labour 'cuts' are a trick, as with the budget, but that simply reinforces that they know it is the issue the public will respond to positively to and want addressed, so Labour have to pretend to be addressing it too.

Yes, I am painfully aware that neither party is seeking, or pledging, or even stating that a lower tax freedom day is a long-term, distant aspiration.

Brown has his 'redistribution' and Cameron has his 'rebalancing' which both leave the overall tax burden exactly where it is now.

However, for me, taxation is a simple measure of government interference in our lives, so I'll continue my lonely quest for a May Day Tax Freedom Day! :-)

Labours Black Brown Saturday
At long last the the spin bowler Brown was given out.Lets hope now the long walk back to the Kirkcaldy pavilion is completed long before 2009.

Ed, I had a problem with the survey; in the "which shadow cabinet member" question, Liam Fox appeared twice. Also, after I answered it, I was asked to answer it again but excluding David Cameron - even though he had not been my choice.

Whatever obvious reasons are behind Brown's dithering and final decision, - speeches by Cameron, Osborne, etc, one comment made to me several times is "Now we know what the Tories believe". All speeches hung together coherently and clearly, and the result was a compassionate (IDS, etc.) and yet right of centre (tax cuts,etc.)philosophy and vision. What emerged on the Wednesday, perhaps as planned, was a way forward that you could believe in and a no-nonsense leader. There was hope for our country - this was the note that Blair struck,and then lost.

Yes, sorry about that Alex - Liam's name does appear twice in the answers to one question. I'll consolidate the answers when I draw up the results. The second question is a little untidy if you didn't answer David Cameron yourself to the first question but we wanted to find how much people thought DC was the decisive figure when compared to other leading players but we then thought it best to exclude him so that we/ you could assess which other shadow cabinet member made the biggest difference.

Sorry to learn of your difficulties Mike H. I can't explain them!

It was David Camerons speech that clinched it, yes, we had excellent speeches all through conference not least from George Osborne, but they were on the whole single issue/subject speeches. Where David Cameron excelled was that he had to pull all those threads together, not, i might add, with a rabble rousing speech - which would have been easy - but one that clearly spelled out the problems and how we would deal with them one by one.
This was an extremely difficult speech to put together but put it together he did and what a brilliant job he made of it.
It was a terrific conference all round made all the better by most of the action taking place within the Winter Gardens so it was always a very "busy" place.
To top it all of course the best fish & chips in the UK.

PS re the election survey, I duly filled in everything and the site said it would email me to click the link and register my vote. Some 3 hours later still no email, is this the way they keep the numbers down.

I think that the tax announcements were the most important turning point although the mood of unity at conference and the reaction to Brown's trip to Iraq must be close.

For me, the nice thing about tax policy is that it can be framed in terms that are really easy to understand. Within a sentence people can have an unambiguous policy. One of the most difficult things to this time has been knowing precisely what out policies are; if someone stops you on the doorstep and asks about eduction, for instance, you can talk about some excellent _ideas_ but until recently have had no firm position to defend. This is changing and it is making a huge difference.

In terms of ministers I would go for Osbourne just because he had the lucky job of setting the tax policies and did it well. An honourable mention should go to John Major (not a shadow minister I know, but hey lets give him his dues) because he articulated the objections to Brown's Iraq trip extremely well.

As for the future; I personally would like to see a lot more policy set so that we really have something to sell to people. But the most important thing is to keep that feeling of unity.

Welcome back TT - where have you anti-Cameroons been for the last week?

As a matter of fact I have been staying on a lovely island where the Punch and Judy antics of the UK's political pygmies arouse no interest whatsoever.

Yes, I wish I'd stayed there too.

So do I Traditional Tory


Was it fantasy island?

Steve Green - that comment was good for a chuckle!!!

Several elements came together to provide the come back. Overall the feeling that we were putting across what we stand for, illustrated by some initial policies on issues people are concerned about. The general feeling of unity and purpose which people thought would not emerge but did. The contrast with Brown who is increasingly being rumbled by the public. Finally The DC speech pulled it all together very well. We have to build on the coherence now,


Ted, at my old school they never allowed us to try the hammer, the shot was my prefered projectile! I always loved the 1500 meters and watching all the sprinters struggle. Yes, we've all knocked down a hurdle or two. If you were at school in the early seventies like me you will probably remember how the high jump was performed with a sand landing, the schools today wouldn't dare do that through fear of ligiation. Also included in our PE was ballroom dancing, boys and girls doing the 'Hesitation Waltz' (Now there is one for Gordon brown) ballroom dancing should be brought back as it was great fun.

Bloody Hell, Tony, you've brought back some memories. I remember doing - the hammer, shot, javelin (!!) long jump, high jump (scissors - does anybody use that technique nowadays!!!). Also climbing ropes in the gym (if you fell off it would be hard luck!). God I could go on. No doubt there not allowed to do this nowadays cos of 'elth-n-safety,


Matt Wright, you are forgetting the glory of the cross-country run which always seemed to take place when it was hailstone weather. I can't ever recall the girls at my school doing cross-country, it seems that was a punishment designed for males only. The bizarre sensation of being so cold it was impossible to button the shirt or tie a windsor knot.

Yes, the gym ropes and the dreaded wallbars from which people were made to hang to stengthen the arms and shoulders. How about having to lift those medecin balls? Looking back I think the PE regime was a lot tougher thirty-five years ago than it is today.

There is no doubt that youngsters nowadays are out of shape, its shocking to see young girls looking so slobbish, thirty years ago an overweight teenager was pretty rare, now a lot of these poor kids are so fat they look really ill. A lot is to do with the snacking culture, supermarkets selling these multipacks full of crisps and chocolate bars. Where thirty years ago a lid might have one bag of crisps nowadays they think nothing of going through several packs.

What Should the Conservatives Do Next? - Keep our nerve, Stay United, Stay "on message" and Don't be Complacent or Cocky!

Oh dear - you've brought back memories of the ghastly gym lessons at school!!!! I was a bit of a porker and I remember the shame of "thundering" up to the horse, jumping and failing to get over it and everyone sniggering!!! As for the ropes, I simply could not get the hang of them at all.

There is a problem with the survey. On the select from the Shadow Cabinet pages, with Other there is no box to click, so while you can give an Other you have to name a Shadow Cabinet member as well...

Was it fantasy island?

No, I rather think that was the one I escaped from.

I daresay we shall not have to wait long before the bungling realities of Hug-a-Hutu and Grammargate kick back in again.

Re: school sports. The chief advantage of being librarian was that I could lock myself away for the afternoon until the whole disagreeable nonsense was over. We had quite a good poker club going until it all ended in tears.

Bluepatriot, I was on holiday visiting relatives who do not have a computer or internet connection. Family comes before politics! However, I managed to make a couple of posts from an internet cafe that you seem to have missed.

The "tru-blues", as you call them, are doing well because Cameron and Osborne finally bit the bullet and announced a tax cut policy. It was sheer desperation. If they had been brave to announce tax cuts earlier, Brown would never have enjoyed his 10% poll lead and we would have spared the election fever.

Perhaps you would like to comment on the judicial rubbishing of Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" film. Zac Goldsmith has commented that he regularly introduces the film. Peter Ainsworth smeared the Competitive Enterprise Institute for criticising the film . The CEI has been proved right. I await the apologies and resignations of Goldsmith and Ainsworth for spreading Gore's lies and using them to justify socialist policies that would ruin Britain's economy.

The Conservatives should back the Pro-referendum rally outside Parliament on the 27th of this month. The failure of the Conservative Party and Open Europe to support the rally is a disgrace.

I fear that Open Europe is a Europhile front whose purpose is to siphon support from genuinely Eurosceptic and Euro-realist organisations.

Moral Minority:I fear that Open Europe is a Europhile front whose purpose is to siphon support from genuinely Eurosceptic and Euro-realist organisations.

Not really on topic, but it looks like being a slow Friday afternoon, so: care to share any evidence with us? I'd genuinely like to know your grounds for thinking this.

MM's grounds are merely that it doesn't advocate withdrawal. The suggestion that it is a europhile front is patently absurd.

"What Should the Conservatives Do Next? - Keep our nerve, Stay United, Stay "on message" and Don't be Complacent or Cocky!"

Sally Roberts, agreed, but they also have to be well briefed and up for sticking the political knife into Labour, certainly not let Labour get away with what they have been.

Last night Caroline Spelman on Question Time was poor, apart from allowing that oaf Mackenzie appear as the defacto spokesman for the Conservatives, she wasn't really able to rubbish the Labour attack from Harriett Harman or return the attack with interest.

Who selects the Conservative spokesman to go on these shows?

Open Europe only campaigns for reform and market liberalisation, not the repatriation of powers to the UK Parliament. If the EU demanded more powers to enforce market liberalisation, Open Europe would probably support it. The formation of Global Vision reflected growing Tory Eurosceptic dissatisfaction with Open Europe.

The Pro-Referendum Rally is supported by The Bruges Group, Democracy Movement, The Freedom Association, the Liberal Party, the English Democrats and UKIP. The Greens may support it too. The Steering Group is chaired by a Conservative MP, Bob Spink. Yet the Conservative Party and Open Europe have declined invitations to support the ONLY Pro-Referendum rally. We need to know why.

The big question is what will be the Tory Party and Open Europe's policy if Brown implements his plan to ratify the new Treaty without a referendum. That is the 800 pound gorilla in the room that they ignore. At that point, the proverbial "reform" Emperor will have no clothes. The Eurosceptics will finally have to choose between the EU Leviathan Super-State or Parliamentary democracy, i.e. withdrawal. If the Conservative Party chooses the EU Leviathan, UKIP gorilla will bite back in the June 2009 Euro-elections, probably the date of the next general election too.

Moral Minority: thank you for explaining your position. Although I'm sure their non-attendance at your rally will deal it a massive body blow, I'm not sure you've quite made your case that Open Europe is a spoof organisation established to undermine Eurosceptics from within.

I've no idea why the Conservative Party has refused to attend your rally. Do you think that accusing them of being Brussels stooges makes them more or less willing to associate with you? Has anyone asked them?

William, it's not my rally as I'm not on the steering committee. The Conservative Party was asked to support the Pro-Referendum rally but refused (as did Open Europe). I have heard that Tory MPs have been told by the Whips and/or CCHQ not support it because it is a UKIP front - despite it being chaired by a Tory MP and supported by other parties.

I am astounded that the Conservative Party is making no effort to organise mass action in favour of a Referendum. Petitions have little or no effect on the Government. The Countryside Alliance rally was attended by nearly half a million people. It's membership profile mirrors that of the Conservative Party. Perhaps the Eurofanatical Tory MEPs (most of the delegation) are telling Cameron to keep quiet and not upset their co-colloborators in the EPP.

The Pro-Referendum Rally is the ideal opportunity to demonstrate that there is huge support for a referendum. By refusing to support it, the Conservative Party is giving comfort, even tacit support, to the Eurofascists who want to destroy our Parliamentary democracy.

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