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I am afraid that our front bench has not impressed the floating voters as to where we stand on key issues. There are mixed signals - unco-ordinated I may add, coming from different members of the shadow cabinet.

We are not driving home the fact that Brown has over-borrowed and created something like the Barber boom - if GDP has been growing and as Brown says an unprecedented period of strong growth, why are the Public finances in deficit. Then the question of inflation and unemployment - the Government has ben fudging the figures and yet neither Gideon nor Hammond has even tried to blow holes in their argument. Keeping to Labours spending plans should not be a millstone around our neck and it is not credible either.
The second area is on Law and Order and Immigration. We are not attacking Labours woeful record and their statistical fudge.

People are also not so sure about our green policies - again mixed message.

Until Cameron and his team start a week by week attack strategy, we will note achieve any significant breakthrough.

Looks like the next election will be fought with 6-3% lead, my worry is that we could be heading for a post-election Lib/Lab pact. This must be pointed out to voters all the way through the next election. The need to understand that voting Liberal will mean more Labour and more of the same.

3% lead! Pathetic!

It's worth bearing in mind that Labour and the Lib-Dems have just held their Spring Conferences. The coming Conservatives conference will give them a poll fillip too.

I'm increasingly conserned that DC is increasingly being seen, dare I say as a southern toff. We may find that we pile up votes in the south but not in the north. The trouble with that is simply that we already hold most of the southern seats but we need to win in the midlands and northern marginals.

I also think there are early signs here that Nick Clegg is increasingly being seen as the acceptable face of liberalism and is being seen more as the housewifes choice (Darcy type figure). Whereas DC is being seen more as Mr Snooty ( see Privateeye.)

I doubt if most Voters even know there are spring confrences let alone be influenced by them

A 3% lead isn't surprising. The Liberals have been very much in the public eye (no publicity is bad publicity), also the stridency the Tories have shown over the only issue that matters to them isn't really appealing, few care, even if it gives Dan Hannan something to do and pleases all the blue rinses.

The next Tory poster to say 34% of the population must be grade-A morons and 19% traitors also gives away why the polls aren't looking too good on your side. Hint: "love bombing" tends to work better.

I agree that most voters probably don't know there are spring conferences. However, each party receives more press coverage when there is a conference going on. This can help poll ratings. I suspect that the most significant factor affecting the polls is that Cameron hasn't been on screen as much recently. Increased exposure for Cameron definitely improves our poll ratings.

We should not overreact to a single poll, whether it favours us or Labour. But equally we must not be complacent. Brown has improved his performance and beefed up his team. We must improve our performance and keep working for victory.

And by the way, I think Barney is completely wrong. Working in the North West, I find no evidence here that anyone outside hard core Labour supporters (and not even all of them) regards Cameron as a southern toff.

Lib Dem Troll Alert.... Lovely name though, "Barney Hexham"!!

As for M on the G's comment - I do agree with you up to a point though Europe is certainly not the only issue Conservatives care about, though one would think it from reading Conservative Home!!

There has actually been some confusion over Clegg's recent announcements, rather than any evidcne of him becoming the acceptable face of Liberalism.

I have read articles about Chris Huhne biding his time, Vince Cable preparing for his next tint as leader, and no respect over Clegg's handling of the referendum vote.

And his recent call for a 'new type of politics' is extremely thin on detail. He has basically said absolutely nothing, and several commenatators have noticed that.

But I do agree that we need more, steady and sustained good stuff from our front bench team.

They haven't been idle though as some on here would seem to suggest. The recent report on prison reform had a very favourable response from many quarters.

Barney Hexham
I have some sympathy with what you say, though I think you could be a little more measured.
I do wish Cameron could try to neutralise his upper class accent a la Thatcher and appeal more to middle Britain.
As I am too from foreign climes I fully understand that ones accent can speak volumes about ones beliefs.
Perhaps we need a better mix in the shadow cabinet outside the Notting Hill set

Disappointing poll. Sensible I guess to wait to see if this is confirmed by others.
It does strike me as odd that the Liberal Democrats in particular are up after the media have so decisively turned against their leader.
The trolls always come out to play with bad polls Sally, remember last summer? I'm sure we'll have lots of fun with Barney, Margret on the Gullotine and the class conscious Margarite over the coming weeks and months!

Currently the party appears to be drifting with any announcements, such as they are, reminding people of all they dislike about the Cameron project e.g. 1/3 of cabinet to be women.

The party should not worry about Labour stealing our policies. We are in politics to change the weather and if the Government underline how the Conservatives are setting the political direction of the country by pinching our policies, then fine.
For example, inheritance tax arrangements for couples are now much better than 6 months ago thanks to Labour's reaction to the bold policy we announced at conference.

If Labour move onto our territory it creates further opportunities to propose yet more radical ideas and the "ratchet effect" starts to work in our favour.

Shadow cabinet, be bold at Spring Forum.

Usually Populus comes up with the best figures for Labour (though it didn't last month) so I'd expect the Conservative lead to be bigger in ICM, Yougov, and ComRes.

YouGov is the best polling organisation in my opinion - however I tend to add 3% to the YouGov Tory lead to get an idea of what is the state of play in marginal seats.

ComRes overstates our strength, the rest overstate Labour's.

Five or six of these, and then I'll be concerned. The idea that Labour have done anything to warrant a 3% jump is frankly a joke.

"The trolls always come out to play with bad polls Sally, remember last summer?"

How could I ever forget last summer's "TrollFest", Malcolm?!!

The signs of local elections and the parliamentary by elections over the past year is that Labour's vote has been firming up a bit. They are having mid term difficulties, in 2004 indeed the media spent a lot of time talking about hung parliaments, as they did in the early 1990s, 1986 and 1981.

I still think that Labour and Conservative will gain votes and seats and that the Liberal Democrats will slip back, although there is a small possibility that the Liberal Democrats will recover to hold their position resulting in a very similar House of Commons in terms of numbers of seats by party to that in 2005.

I expect that in the coming Local Elections that the Labour vote will go over 30% and the Conservative vote will be similar to what it was in 2004 and in recent years.

There are two Davids on this thread, @ 915 and 1100, making very different points. Please think of using slightly different Names to distinguish yourselves.


The problem is not with Cameron - the same poll shows his personal rating going up yet again -its with too many of his MP's who just want to go back to the old failed agenda. Can we also now get rid of once and for all the idea that being a vehemently Euroscpetic Party is a vote winner.It never has been and is not now.

"Can we also now get rid of once and for all the idea that being a vehemently Euroscpetic Party is a vote winner.It never has been and is not now."

What planet do you live on?

In the recent constituency poll 88% of people voted for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

If we came out (finally) as a fully united eurosceptic party we would win the election by a landslide.

I would prefer to get out altogether.

We would be absolutely guaranteed to win the election.


Shame I can't make the spring do as it would be helpful to explain about how the eu restricts self-government.

Remember "British jobs for British workers?"

Nevertheless we simply do not have an inspirational message. Taxation remains a headline area where can and should do something. In Blackpool it was evident that "only millionaires will pay inheritance tax" was not only a vote winner but an election stopper.

If memory serves household income needs to be c£16k to exceed "poverty" levels. Certainly anybody on incomes of say £12k pays quite a lot of tax and many are then "compensated" through tax credits etc.
I know this sounds somewhat LibDemented but we should take the low paid out of taxation altogether. Tax credit should not go to families not resident in the UK. For the present we can do some things like this without interference from Brussells (post ratification of the ultimate democracy transfer who knows?).

In short let's make some more bigger changes that can transform lives. That will give us the sort of poll leads we need.

As much as I hate the nuLieBore regime with a passion so great that I want them to be executed in public and for the whole of my life up until recently a Conservative supporter, I do not see the Tories winning any election in the foreseeable future. If the nuLieBore regime can cause so much suffering to so many people, be proven liars, demonstrate a level of incompetence unsurpassed in British politics and only evade prosecution for corruption typical of a banana republic by the use of dirty tricks to which the British public only give the Conservatives a 5% lead mid-term then there is no chance at a general election.

Although there is a sense of betrayal in the country that is not just centred on nuLieBore; it extends to the Conservatives too. The Conservatives offer no hope, just more of the same.

The apparent tactic of the Conservatives is to accept the declining participation at the polls and to appeal to the few remaining voters by looking the same as the existing government. This is lunacy. The Conservatives need to bring people back to the polling stations. What the people need is hope.

Cameron needs to stop sucking up to nuLieBore and make some serious attacks. I have not forgiven him for leading a standing ovation for B’Liar. He should have shouted something like “we’re going to see you go to gaol, you evil bastard”. That mistake will come back to haunt him. If the Conservatives promised that there would be a full public enquiry into the behaviour of the nuLieBore regime and their donors you will see their funding disappear and the voters come back.

The sad truth is the party's still in a Neil Kinnock phase (although Cameron is much much better than him).

We kind of know we must change the party if we are to be in tune with voters and the country as a whole, but too many members seem to think they don't have to change much and might be able to fool voters into thinking that they've changed.

But the voters are more canny than party activists (and many elected politicians) think and will see through it.

The party still refuses to except the verdict of the crushing defeats it endured in 1997, 2001 and 2005.

Until the membership accepts the voters verdict and the party truly begins to change itself for the better - we will struggle to achieve anything more than a hung parliament at best.

David Cameron and CCHQ are mostly on the right path, but their efforts won't succeed unless the party on the ground also changes.

Nice soundbite TD but totally meaningless. Change to from what to what?

Something very telling about political discourse - look at the category cloud (tag cloud) on the right:

'Opinion Polls' looks like the biggest category.

These polls mean nothing. I'm a Labour supporter and I don't like to see any serious people fretting about what is basically a referendum on the last two weeks' press coverage. Of course, I'm not sayinging we're above such conversations but really folks - opinion polls are based on loaded questions, weighting algorithms, fuzzy stats and about six people in a marginal seat. That's why they vary so much even from each other!

The only things these bloody things do is disenfranchise voters from all sides into worrying about the pointlessness of their vote, strengthen the hand of partisan media and give the political conversation a severe distraction.

Rant over.

TD do you mean change from saying things we believe in to saying things we don't believe in?

peterbuss @1139 "Can we also now get rid of once and for all the idea that being a vehemently Euroscpetic Party is a vote winner."

But the failure to live up to vague half promises on everything to do with Europe puts off a lot of otherwise Tory supporters. The wishy-washy attacks on the government over the EU Treaty have sickened many of us. What IS the party'/s stance now ???

I am one of the -3% in this poll. You can't get to grips with the party at all. They have no theme, nothing to aspire to and what is worse no convictions of any kind.

I remain a conservative but I cannot vote for a wrung-out dish-cloth.

Malcolm, here's brief try with one issue - schools.

We pay more attention to Europe than schools, which is insane given that it affects more people in a more tangible way.

Yet too often our discussions in this area focus on fringe concerns like grammar schools when they should focus on the mainstream schools most people go to.

Even when we have had good policies in this area we undermine them by paying too much attention to the interests of those who are already doing well. The school vouchers idea was a good one - allowing parents a real say over their children's education. But then we go and insist that parents can top up their vouchers.

This means all the good stuff about empowering parents and schools, and disempowering the education status quo is lost because we've insisted that the advantage the better off have is entrenched in our proposed alternative.

We should have rejected the top ups because we should want to help everyone achieve. Adopting that policy without the top ups means we would be challenging an educational establishment that has failed our children, rather than ending up on the defensive because the policy is actually protecting privelege.

TD, a lot of the stuff coming out of the party is brilliant and makes me really enthusiastic about winning the next election, then we get people like David Cameron and Chris Grayling using stupid and undiplomatic language over issues like welfare reform. Comments like saying the unemployed are at home watching television all day just alienates certain voters. The language ought to be about helping the jobless and creating aspiration rather than just putting people down because they are out of work.

Tony Makara
I quite agree.

I am unable to work and am on incapacity benefit (due to depression) and I find it offensive when people suggest that I am "at home watching television all day".

This couldn't be further from the truth. I regularly go to the gymnasium and still consider myself to be an enthusiastic member of my community.

I am one of those swing voters and am tempted to swing the tory way but of course will not if people suggest I am a scrounger

Sean, politics has to be a compromise. People may believe in grammar schools, but they've almost be abolished and they are realistically not coming back. So instead of mindlessly clinging to issues like that, we should be asking ourselves about what the schools of tomorrow should be like rather than how we can maintain the failed school system of the past.

Of course we can be all fundamentalist about policy, the party's free to do that and the electorate is free to vote for someone else (and recent elections suggest that would be the case). But I'll rather have a party that gets elected and can make a real difference than belong to a talking shop like the Lib Dems or Green Party, even if that means abandoning ideas once thought sacred.

For all of you pointing a finger at DC, particularly Lib Dem Trolls, you might like to look at thre party leader ratings.

1.Only one is showing a consistent rise and enjoys much better ratings across the board than the the other two.

2.One leaders ratings has done particularly badly seeing a significant recent fall [leaving him on a par with Ming].

First prize goes to DC.
Booby prize to Nick Clegg.

For us it leaves the question still, 'Do the public like DC but not us?'. Everytime he enjoys a high profile our ratings go up. The same effect has not been seen these past days with William [much though I love him].

For the Lib Dems it seems clear from this, and their sacking of Ming that any news is better than none, but it is not without a price. When the agenda has moved on, what are you left with? A wounded leader who has descredited himself in the eyes of the media - and it would seem by their leader poll ratings this has not been lost on the public.

As for the poll itself, I can't and won't pretend I would have liked to have seen better, but expectations were raised by the last Populus poll, which was unprecidented for Populus. There was a time when Populus pit us behind even when all others put us ahead.
There is still all to play for and I hope those who complain are doing their bit. If you haven't got time to donate, try and send in some money.

Totally agree with you Tony Makara.


'Do the public like DC but not us?'

If that is the case why at a recent by-elction did the tories slip back to 3rd place when they were listed as "David Camerons Conservative Party" on the ballot paper.

Arabella Humphrey and TD, I think its very sad that politicians of all parties have set themselves of as the judge and jury with regards to who can work and who can't. The polticians should stay out out this and leave the decision to medical professionals. By all means have testing to see if people are on the right type of benefit but let the doctors decide, the way politicians have used those on IB as a political football is disgusting. If a doctor says a patient is unfit for work that should be the end of the matter. Its not for politicians to decide, or to comment on.

Tony Makara.

You are absolutely correct. Icapacity is there for a reason and politicians shouldn't use it as a football to prey on the weakest in society.

Arabella I am sure you are not a shirker and I hope that your trips to the Gym help you overcome your mdisability.

Good Luck.

Will David Cameron's personal ratings improve by insisting on filling 1/3 of Cabinet positions with women, or is his suggestion unwise?

Some views from both sides would be welcome.

TD As far as I can tell, the party has had rather a lot to say about education, rightly.

There is an alternative to the courses of action which you propose, however, which is to persuade people that the things we believe in would benefit them.

Curly, I don't think it will have any effect one way or the other.

It is, however, a silly idea.

This is all detail largely stemming from Cameron's absence from the scene as leader. He seems to be in the business of flitting like a butterfly from one small issue to the next. That's not his job.

His job is to add coherence and an aspiration to all those bits and pieces. How for example is the party going to vote today on Bill Cash's Third Reading amendment? Heaven only knows - we haven't been told - he just rabtits about detail. This amendment matters and his attitude to it does too.

CCHQ told the Tories in Hammersmith not to mention tax cuts. They ignored the Boy Scribblers and soundly beat Labour for the first time for ages and HAVE cut taxes. They are extremely popular now. But is CCHQ entirely staffed by NuLabourites?

There's a vacuum where there should be a leader

This is a dreadful poll for us given all that has happened over the last few weeks. But even the poll of polls is now under 39%. This is the same value as in Sep 2006 - Sep 2007, i.e. before the tax fireworks and shows that that boost, which has not been effectively followed up, has worn off.

Hilton's strategy is just plain wrong and it has been consistently wrong since it was started. Decontamination is not enough. The public want hope, the public want answers, the public want another way. They are wise to spin and reassurance and targets and efficiency savings and they loath all politicians.

If the polls continue to improve and the economy continues to worsen, Gordon could go as early as May and certainly by the conference season which he should have done last year.

We have to announce really radical but populist policies to seize the initiative and give a positive reason to vote and to vote Conservative. Failure to do so will mean failure.

Regarding Incapacity Benefit, of course the decision is for doctors whether someone can work or not, but surely the decision about what to then do with people who cannot work is a political one?

What level IB should be? Whether some sort of help should be available to try to help those who might be able to do some types of work to do so? Simply declaring 'incapable of work' is a very blunt assessment.

Or are you suggesting that once signed off, forgotten?

The vilification of the sick and unemployed as lazy, stupid cheats is a nasty piece of dirty trickery to get popular support for the cut in real terms in the level of benefits. Benefit claimants have a pattern of spending that exposes them to energy and food price inflation that is far greater than the population as a whole. Some items have gone up 40%. In real terms benefits have been substantially cut. By portraying claimants in a bad light, they can get away with it. The Conservatives are either too stupid to spot what is going on, or fully agree with this dirty trick.

I (like the vast majority of sick and unemployed) am nothing like the villain that they would have me be. I am desperate to work, but there has been so much damage done that I doubt that I ever will work again without proper help. Grayling’s plan to put me on the chain gang picking up dog mess in the local park is certainly going to help me become a better candidate so that I can beat younger, healthier competitors with more recent technical skills and commercial experience for the dwindling number of vacancies as the recession bites hard. Come to think of it, out in the fresh air, bit of exercise; bring it on.

If the Conservatives want greater support, stop trying to punish people for crimes committed by others. Bring the truly guilty to account and provide practical help for victims like me.

David Bodden, the things you say are very true. The Grayling plans to introduce workfare are nothing more than a punitive measure to punish the unemployed for being unemployed. No doubt those on workfare will be given a special uniform to stigmatize and humiliate them even further. I have argued time and time again that if the market is unable to provide enough jobs then the state should provide waged public works programmes as a halfway house measure between long-term unemployment and work. Such programmes could contain training programmes and recognized awards for skills. I am not a person who advocates a bigger state but I feel governments are paid to do something about unemployment.

The current strategy of shifting the blame onto the jobless isn't going to create one single job. Government has the power to create a trained workforce out of the unemployed but for ideological reasons they won't do it. Workfare is not work and will not create work.

I guarantee that unemployment levels will be just as high at the end of a full term of Conservative government, even two terms. This is because the party leadership shows no understanding of how to solve this problem.

The only way to eradicate unemployment in the long-term is to re-build Britain's manufacturing and agricultural base, the only way to improve the improve the situation in the short-term is through a fully waged public works programme.

"What level IB should be?"

James, obviously different levels of disability should carry different rates of payment. Perhaps there should be different tiers of payment within the main payment.

When Boris loses London. When the Lib Dems surprise everyone with gains in the local elections in May. When Cameron fails to give a straight answer to the question, WILL you hold a referendum on the EU treaty even if ratified?? When Cameron realises that John Redwood would be a far better shadow chancellor. When he realises that his public school inner sanctum does not impress THEN, perhaps, our ratings will be in the 40's where they should be.

Cameron is a dreamer! He is NO leader.

Algie and Jonathan are spot on! The important things are being neglected while our leader is failing to give a proper lead ON ANYTHING and especially on the urgent matter of the day the EU Treaty. That can't wait.

And TD @1252
"asking ourselves about what the schools of tomorrow should be like rather than how we can maintain the failed school system of the past."

Let's get this straight. Grammar schools were a great success - one of the best creations of our education system. They did not fail and those
still left are not failing today. It was the socialists that destroyed them and this daft ineffectual opposition endorses everything that NuLabour does.

TD, I think you need to study what our education policy actually is before suggesting that it's wrong.I strongly suggest however that you don't refer to fellow Conservatives as 'mindless' it doesn't help win debates in my experience!

I really wonder where some of the people contributing to this thread were when CmRes published their last poll showing us 11% ahead. It's only when bad news rears its head do we here from these people.

Its a poll, one poll in a long line of polls between now and then next GE. Its mood music.
Don't feed the trolls, like algie they usually give themselves away when their narrative would be at home on other party blogs. The lack of basic knowledge of recent poll figures is also a give away.

My God! Just read what I've written,it should of course read 'hear' not 'here'.I'll never lecture Jack Stone again!!!

Whether this party is three percent or 11 percent in the lead there is a serious risk of either losing the next election, or having such a small majority to make victory pretty meaningless. It is about time that we woke up to this fact and no amount of glossing over poll statistics will change this fact. Even having an 11 percent lead is not good enough.

What the party needs, and is consistently failing to do, is identify common ground with both labour and conservative supporters. Traditional working class labour supporters are left wing on social issues and right wing on their views regarding issues such as law and order, discipline in the classroom etc. Working class labour supporters should not be confused with the left-wing, PC brigade who have done so much to wreck our country as they have very little in common. We need to stop trying to appease the metropolitan set and the quango types.

People from working class backgrounds have suffered as much as the middle classes under labour. Proposing radical policies that unite all sections of society would be a good start.

Despite the hype that the party is doing this already, the reality is that we are not doing it well enough, publicising it enough or appear passionate about it. The reality, however much we would like to believe otherwise, is that we are staring defeat in the face as things stand at the moment.

"Even having an 11 percent lead is not good enough. "

I'd settle for an 11% lead.

Nick Clegg is shamelessly copying David Cameron at the moment - and quite literally; he is hoping to pick up some of the young voters who have been drawn to DC's more modern approach. But just doing a copy-cat act on-stage, remains what it is, just an act.

Some of the malcontents on this site may actually be Tories. They would be better employed making useful suggestions and lending support to a hard working leader.

Its just one poll taken during the LD spring confernce. basically in polling terms the rest of march is buggered up by the tory confernce and the budget. Then RoPA kicks in with equal TV coverage for the locals. I'd look at the national averages for may when the dust has settled and before everyone begins to drift away for there hols.

Its a long game.

Labourites control the Polling organisations. Producing "convenient" polls for Labour when needed. It is quite a handy poll just before the hype and spin of the Budget. Labour are no where near 3% from the Tories. I bet before the Autumn conferences, we'll find Labour suddenly taking a lead! The polling organisations are part of the same conspiracy that most of the MSM outlets are part of, they are just following Downing street orders.

As one of the malcontents on this site, John, I can assure you that I have been a member of this party since 1976.

I and others have offered endless advice to the leadership over the last 24 months and it has been repeatedly ignored and belittled.

This "de haut, en bas" attitude would be more effective if they rode higher in the polls or if they had not saved their bacon in October only by stealing a tax cut from us that they had spent 18 mths assuring us was political poison.

I come from the new Tory Party
The one with the Leader who's odd
For Cameron talks only to Hilton
And Hilton talks only with God.

Relax everybody....first, 6 months ago, we would have been chuffed at a 3% lead...

Second- there is no way this poll is correct-why would 34 % of Britain vote for this bunch of incompetent losers?

Third...in case the poll is correct, who would want to govern Britain with 34 % of the nation being moronic losers.

Too harsh?

Eugene. A little.

Apologies for the above post...Labour has a bedrock of 25 % who would vote for them even if they promised hell and whatever has been said in the book of Revelations (just like the Tories have a bedrock of 25 %).Only 9 % too many....not a massive amount...just a group that remain to be convinced by Conservatives...well...thanks to Gordon being a weed, we have time to work on that 9 %.Time is on the Conservatives side.

I think its very sad that politicians of all parties have set themselves of as the judge and jury with regards to who can work and who can't. The polticians should stay out out this and leave the decision to medical professionals, just as cost implications of medical treatment have to be considered and doctors in some cases may have to be forbidden from providing certain treatments for cost reasons.
Because of the potential costs of such benefits it is not practical to just leave such decisions to doctors.

James, obviously different levels of disability should carry different rates of payment. Perhaps there should be different tiers of payment within the main payment.
There already are, there are different components of Disability Living Allowance and Incapacity Benefit and Industrial Injuries Benefit rates are to some extent based on degree of disablement as calculated.

Problems with this are that it inevitably is based on a points system and cannot take into account all the myriad of problems in peoples lives, it is not practical to leave it to doctors to decide what amounts should be paid so such systems have to be based on a limited set of criteria.

It is too complicated as it is and if anything there should be fewer different components - severely disabled people should get the same amount whatever age they are I think, the more complicated the system the more form filling there will need to be, and the more people who are most in need will end up missing out on help.

There arguments about definitions of severe disability and implications on society of how much benefit is paid (if any) and with what conditions that go well beyond the training of a doctor of medicine.

"Because of the potential costs of such benefits it is not practical to just leave such decisions to doctors"

Yet Another Anon, it is precisely because politicians have a vested interest in trying to make such savings that they should not be the ones making the decisions. Of course I fully support any politician who trys to save money, but not if its at the expense of a person's health. Let the doctors make the assessment, although as Dr Teck Khong pointed it can be unfair to leave that decision exclusively to the family GP. However the doctors expertise should be the derermining factor and not the politician's agenda.

However the doctors expertise should be the derermining factor and not the politician's agenda.
Someone has to set the rules by which things operate, the world is imperfect and so naturally the rules are imperfect, all the time decisions are taken as to what to do with resources - to hold down taxation and to keep spending within set budgets, decisions have to be taken that someonetimes do mean someone not having an operation or getting a drug treatment because the money is not available to fund it, or that a certain medical condition is not classified as being part of severe disability because with all priorities taken into account it is decided that the money is not available to fund it - there's no way around this, minimising bureacracy and prioritising spending and avoiding increased spending all have to play their part.

It's the same with railways, the military, teachers, Local Government, police, social services - all have parameters set for them and have to have limitations put on them however high their budgets are so that they don't overspend, and even then in some circumstances they can end up going overbudget.

Every single major political party would accept that there has to be limits that do mean that sometimes someone may be denied benefits, or have less benefit than they need because it has been decided that to provide it in the case of people in their particular situation is not affordable or is impractical for reasons of effects that such a policy may have on society.

peterbuss - what large parts of the public object to is not a 'stridently Eurosceptic policy' - they are not keen on the Euro or the Lisbon Treaty, and still cling to traditional UK-style passport covers.

What has been wrong in the past is to major on meaningless slogans like "In Europe and not ruled by it" that are at odds with reality - EU members must obey all European legislation.

Reality is also that a British government is banned from doing anything that might conflict with EU obligations, such as deport habitual criminals who enjoy residence here because of their 'EU citizenship'.

This constraint limits the scope for clear blue water against Labour. For instance, a chancellor is obliged to run our economy for the benefit of Europe as a whole, not just the UK, read the treaties...

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