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As I was saying on my blog this morning, this might not look bad for the Conservatives at first glance but the recent poll trends will be terrifying CCHQ.

Labour are still in core vote territory and this after not a great week for the Conservative party.It could have been worse but we badly need a coherent narrative for the financial crisis.

It may be 'just one poll' but it is part of a clear direction change from a series of recent polls that should be an urgent wake-up call to Team Cameron.

The lesson to be learned is that the election is still winnable, but the Tories need to offer something the public can understand as a real choice or Cameron really could become the Tory Kinnock.

So I welcome the closer polls as hopefully it will force Team Cameron to offer something bold in order to win (as when they were cornered last year leading to the IHT cut proposal), instead of tiptoeing around to avoid upsetting anyone in a bid to quietly win the election as the anti-Brown vote.

Our failure to give an account of our economic policy is now beginning to worry me.

Well it's a poll for the Indy from a minor operator with unremarkable polling techniques.

What is far more remarkable is the underachievement shown up be the poll of polls.

With sterling tanking, banks derugulated by Brown being bailed out, an underlying colossal failure to regulate the entire personal credit industry now causing misery up and down the land and the value of pension funds decimated, the Conservative leadership has failed almost as spectacularly.

Let's stop pretending this was something that took everyone by surprise. All the fundementals that have led to this turn of events have been widely known for some time. At least a year.

So the Conservative Leadership stands accused of a combination of complacency, misjudgement and a lack of courage.

Given that sorry state of affairs and before we even mention a greek island, there are many reasons to be relieved that we are still leading in the polls.

Let's hope our leadership has been bitchslapped into reality by recent events. They have not earned the right to consider themselves as the government in waiting when they stand accused of behaving much like Liberal Democrat Councillors faced with an unpalatable decision.

You're right Old Hack.

I am amazed that it was only two months ago that Cameron still chose to focus on social rather than economic reform. It beggars belief and shows a team struggling to change their narrative.

Cameron at conference:
"I'm going to be as radical a social reformer as Mrs Thatcher was an economic reformer, and radical social reform is what this country needs right now."

At the height of the biggest economic crisis for 60 years!

"New poll brings us back into hung parliament territory"


And there are still 18 months to go.......

That you are not consistently ahead of a discredited Labour is worrying.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Or, better still, be a Conservative Party.

Offer us something tangibly different to Lab and Lib, along with the confidence that you can & will do your best to achieve what you promise.

Too many hotheads on this thread. There isn't an election tomorrow. Time is against Labour as the drip drip of bad recession related news will kill them politically.

Kinnock failed to win in 1992 because he and Smith proposed the wrong economic policy for a country emerging from recession - though many did not see or feel that so belived we were still in deep do-do!

Cameron has laid out some small steps, a smaller tax increase on small business than Brown, (up from 19p to 20p, rather than 22p) and some minor tweaks, all alongside backing the bank re-financing, which the Treasury developed and which followed what we were talking about last year - but for which Brown has now got the credit.

However, he is right to keep his powder dry. The full extent of the financial and economic crisis is only now revealing itself and it is an economic boom built on debt supported by an asset price bubble which has now burst. His focus on the bare shelves left by Brown's debt binge since 2002 is correct. People need to hear this over and over again so the truth is embedded and no amount of spin can shift it.

Then it will be time for our solutions, but for now those solutions can only be broad brush intentions or events could make them look foolish or they will be nicked by Brown!

GB£.com, yes which sums up the failure of the Shadow Treasury team who allowed Cameron to say rubbish like that at the onset of the biggest economic crisis any of us have faced, for it is evidence they haven't been making any sort of economic case in Shadow Cabinet meetings.

Standing too close to, and supporting the government over the bail-out, has handed the initiative to Gordon Brown. The Conservative leadership should have kicked and screamed while the nation was focused on the crisis. Instead, it stood back and allowed Gordon Brown to rehabiliate himself. The crisis was the time to crucify Brown over the debt-boom that he created, but the opportunity was missed, and the price is being paid.

A golden opportunity has been wasted to explain in plain English why global economic problems have had far worse impact in the UK because of the last 11 years of government policy. The arsonists have been allowed to portray themselves as the fire brigade. Come on, snap out of it, Shadow Treasury team - if you're going to keep missing open goals, it's time for a tactical substitution.

Tony - I don't think it was. If we had, we would have been accused of playing politics, and we would have been. Ok it has given Labour the idea that they have an advantage. The Austrians thought they had an advantage when Napoleon abandoned the Pratzen heights, history records Austerlitz as one of his greatest victories.

From a presentational perspective, Brown is now the puppet of Messrs Blair, Mandelson and Campbell- the science of media manipulation and spin has restarted.
When Brown is saving the world, who in the media cares about what an opposition says?

James, yes, Labour would have accused us of playing politics, but at a time of national crisis we needed to play politics. We should have defended the charge by saying that Labour were trying to deflect from the fact that they were the party, the government, that oversaw the debt-boom and did nothing to end it, or to prepare for the aftermath.

Tony - Yes they would and in the war of attrition that that would have degenerated into, half the country would have switched off. The best strategic skill is knowing when not to fight.

Looking forward, I think the absolute worst error could well be the Tory knee-jerk response to the short-term banking 'stability' we have seen over the past few days.

For Osborne to jump in and brag that the nationalisation (recapitalisation) plan was his idea all along, if and when it blows up and makes the recession worse (banks survive but lending to businesses doesn't increase sufficiently etc), then Osborne will not be able to hide from his ownership of the plan.

I wager that the rehash of the NoW trashy story on Sunday will have weakend our position (slightly) further....

We really should be doing much better against this lumbering. bloated administration......

Where are the attack dogs???? Economy, economy, economy...

For heaven's sake calm down.

Economic circumstances are changing almost daily. What is the point on opining on whether interest dates go up or down if the Bank is going to take a dramatic step in the next few days? Anything we do say will be overtaken by events. For example, just how Keynesian will Darling's approach end up being in reality, and what might we inherit that we couldn't necessarily escape. We can hardly tell them to stop half way through constructing a major transport project. A calm overview of the situation, as we have been getting, suffices.

Why do people feel the need to panic, just like they did last summer. The fundamentals remain as they were. This is a time of great uncertainty for everyone - politically, and in our economic lives - so just calm down.

Let me start by saying that the Conservative Party lost the 2001 and 2005 General Elections, not because we had the wrong policies or the wrong candidates, but because we they failed to make the case for those policies over the previous four or five years.

When David Cameron became leader of the party he set out to "change" its image. What was the result of such change? A new logo, the selection of candidates based on race, gender and sexuality, but not on talent or experience or dedication to the Party. Cameron also placed a huge emphasis on the environment, trashing Grammar Schools, on distancing the Party from business and on not really mentioning Europe or immigration. As a result of all this did the Conservative Party develop a massive lead in the opinion polls? No.

The Conservative's lead in the opinion polls only came after Gordon Brown "bottled" it by failing to hold a General Election. His leadership then went into melt down and as a result the Conservative Party began to move into a pretty good lead in the polls, even though they were saying almost nothing on most subjects.

Now that Brown's leadership is back on track and because the Conservative Party still has nothing to say on the big issues of the day, their lead in the polls is slipping.

The Conservative Party not only has handled the current economic crisis badly, it has also just had a week of bad press courtesy of the hopeless George Osborne!

If the Conservative Party wishes to stay ahead in the polls and wishes to be the Party of Government it needs to buck its ideas up ASAP!

Gloat, gloat, gloat!

Spin your way out of that one DC.

It's your cupboard that is empty despite its fresh lick of paint.

Yes, I know I shouldn't, and I know ukip / traditional conservatism isn't as successful as cameroonism etc etc, just can't resist after three years.

@ Felicity Mountjoy

Ridiculous, complacent comment.

Our poll lead has shrunk from 25% to 8% at a time when it should have increased. Why?


1. We have presented no coherent alternative.

2. We have fumbled around with trite soundbites about leaking roofs and the sun shining.

3. Our Shadow Chancellor made a fool of himself on a yacht near Corfu, when he should have been attacking Labour.

4. Our Shadow Cabinet has been exposed as naive, unworldly, underpowered and inexperienced.

"Yes, I know I shouldn't, and I know ukip / traditional conservatism isn't as successful as cameroonism etc etc, just can't resist after three years."

So given UKIP's failure, what do you suggest?

Felicity Mountjoy said: "Time is against Labour as the drip drip of bad recession related news will kill them politically."

Therein lies our problem as a party. We are sitting on our backsides, letting events take their course and doing little or nothing to advance a Conservative argument.

Sitting back in the hope Labour will implode is a dangerous option. Eventually they will have the field all to themselves and the only narrative out there will be the Labour one. People are seeking real leadership and in the absence of that leadership they will gravitate to the only voice they hear.

We should be explaining why each part of our agenda is relevant not only to addressing the economic crisis we have been dragged into, but strengthening all aspects of modern Britain. If we fail to do that then we do not deserve to form a Government.

We need to give people a positive reason to vote Conservative, not let people be negative in the hope they choose not to vote Labour. We need people to want to come into our tent because of what we will offer, not be content with them refusing to enter Labour's one.

London Tory - No party in the post war period has been 25% ahead at an actual election. I will posit that both the 8 point lead and the 25 point leads are erroneous!

We now need to keep refering to this as the 'Labour-recession' and keep talking about creating the 'New Economy'. Its time to create clear blue water all over again.

Re: Tony Sharp 09:468..

Excellent post - exactly the type of common sense approach we need..

Let's hope the great and the good take the time to read it!

Where the HELL are Cameron and Osbourne? Imagine Labour in opposition pre-1997. They would have authoritative shadow ministers complete with cutting key messages on every radio and TV channel. The newspapers would be full of their cribsheet messages and the activists would have a killer narrative on the doorstep.

Contrast that with our current position of almost being like animals caught in the headlights. Our pathetic front bench can only be found attempting to justify where they go on holiday and who they talk to.

Bring back Ken Clarke! The Labour party would be petrified by someone who's ability far outshines theirs and who's authority with the City and the public is impeccable.

I'm not in the least surprised that the Tory lead is slipping. As Brown digs a deeper and deeper hole for him and us the Tories sit there mesmerised and unable to shoot at an open goal.

The Tory leadership has broken down.

PHI notices it as do the comments in the Independent. The Telegraph today gives Cameron a boost in its page 4 headline but what he actually said is a very small part of the article - correct approach but thin - oh so thin - in substance. A mass rally in Trafalgar might wake the country up.!!

Brown is wrong and his policies will lead us to collapse. His bank bail-outs are malformed and his "borrowing" is suicidal.

This needs shouting from the rooftops not whisperedd as a sondbikte to an odd journalist or interviewer.

Set up a major speech opportunity somewhere and launch a counter-offensive before Brown gets even more momentum.

I want the party to win but this shower - useless.

Oh and send the egotist on a sabbatical somewhere - "The Priory" perhaps.

Even through I am a lifelong tory and former ppc, unless Osbourne and Cameron demonstrate some economic competence soon, come the election I shall hold my nose and put the country's well being before party allegiance and vote Labour.

The stakes are too high for gambling with pr boys.

I am sorry but if you are a true Tory and accept Labour has been incompetent, where is the logic in voting Labour? Never in British political history has there been a PR machine like Labour's. Have you really thought it through?

I advise every one to watch the video that is promoted above in the middle column. David Cameron is very clear in his economic message.

The negative ‘anyone but Brown’ has become the positive ‘anyone but Brown’ is incapable of running the economy. Meanwhile, we now look like schoolboys staring into a sweetie shop window with the shutters coming down.

Tony - I was campaigning in the 87 election at Oxford university when Dave was off on Bullingdon jollies (as refused to join the Conservative Association, and George was in nappies (probably with Miss Whiplash).

The economic situation is precarious and needs firm leadership. Gordon's 3 part rescue package for the banks was spot on. His nationalisation of Northern Rock was, albeit slow, spot on.

I have heard nothing from Cameron or Osbourne on what they would do other than pr soundbites - so, until they show otherwise, which I hope they do, I shall be supporting Labour in the national interest.

That is why I will hold my nose and

True Tory
"That is why I will hold my nose and."

...and what? We need to know ;-)

do the unmentionable, which I couldn't bring myself to write a second time.

I am sorry Felicity, but David's comments in that clip only refer to the delay in paying VAT bills and the proposed freeze on Council Tax for those authorities who can find 2.5% of savings.

While these are things I welcome they are in no way the cornerstone of an economic recovery plan that is urgently needed. Businesses are going under, unemployment is rising, we have record debt and liabilities and Gordon Brown's plan is not fit for purpose. But no Conservative alternative has been articulated.

It is all very well criticising Brown's con trick, but where is our case being advanced? What is our plan that we should be shouting out from the rooftops?

Actually, Felicity is quite right. I'm fairly confident that she isn't saying we should do nothing or that we should be complacent, but she is offering an alternative to the sheer unhinged panic that seems to infect certain supporters of this party from time to time! It is outrageous to attack a contributer as "ridiculous [and] complacent" because they've chosen reasoned and moderate strategy in place of hysterical shouting.

The reality is that our party must challenge the inevitable mistakes that Labour will make over the coming months. It mustn't make rash changes of course regarding economic policy.

Finally, we should be thankful that poll results like this have secured Brown's leadership of the Labour Party until the next election. He's done enough to survive until then. If we take the right decisions between now and then, and if Felicity's drip-drip argument complements those decisions, then Brown won't have done enough to turn his reputation around and win.

True Tory: "The economic situation is precarious and needs firm leadership."

Absolutely. I could not agree with you more.

TT: "Gordon's 3 part rescue package for the banks was spot on."

I disagree with you and there are plenty of true Tories who would too.

TT: "His nationalisation of Northern Rock was, albeit slow, spot on."

Again I completely disagree. There were commercial alternatives that were ignored because of 'rules', which were then torn up to allow a nationalisation.

Perhaps you should indeed be voting Labour if your thinking is so out of kilter with what many 'true Tories' think.

@ Andy

Jeff Randall in the Telegraph summed up Osborne's performance thus;

"when the audience should have been cheering him on, it could not hear his lines'


'zero is the sum of his performance to date'

before concluding;

'George, get your trousers up, liven up, your country needs you !'

Uur policy offer on the economy is still not strong enough and is tied too closely to the NuLabour years.

I have something to lend Gordon Brown, what do you have?

Tony Sharp - this is no time for silly partisan tribalism.

The 3 part package addressed solvency, liquidity and interbank lending - all 3 areas were required and this approach was then adopted by other nations.

If you this there was a better way what was it?

Similarly do you really think there was an alternative to nationalisation of Northern Rock? I saw the details as it is my line of work - with a £120 billion balance sheet and mark to market valuations on the assets requiring a 20% discount the £20-£30 billion hole dwarfed the tier 1 capital so it was bust.

Again, if there was an alternative ( and not the silly the the Bank of England act as the Government's holding company advocated by boy George) then what was it? Even Loyd's would have walked away when the books were opened.

Seriously - it is not enough to just critisise, you actually have to convinve voters you have some solitions. This is all about confidence, and I have none in the Bully boys.

It's that few percent tarnish on your lead I mentioned because of Osborne. That's going to stick. But, the damage caused by getting rid of him would be more, I think.

Labour hasn't really gained; it's just a swing to the alternative opposition because of the Osborne affair.

As the recession bites, people will start to blame the goverment more, and harden their attitudes.

Really, get some proper small government policies and put them out there. Let the people choose between real alternatives. At the moment, it's just Labour and Not-Labour.

What a load of feeble wussers on this site, the polls drop to 8% up and theres panic, there is not going to be an election until May at the earliest and even thats unlikly, all Cameron has to do is sit tight and snipe away at Brown at every opportunity if he starts giving details of his economic policies it takes the heat off the Labour party and gives Brown openings to attack Cameron.

Unemployment is going up, credit is drying up, when people start feeling insecure they will look around for somebody to blame all Cameron has to do is make sure that it falls on Brown

I do not think anyone who knows me feels I could be accused of being tribal. But that aside, I does seem you have a personal resentment dating back to Oxford.

I am not an expert on the economy by any stretch of the imagination. But I have read other arguments, such as those John Redwood has made, and largely find them more logical than the actions Brown and Darling have taken.

This is an excellent discussion and I do not want to take it off at a tangent. We are in agreement that we as a party should be proposing solutions, not just criticising those of the other parties. It is not clear to many what our solutions are and that is a major problem which underlines a wider issue of missing narrative about what the Conservatives stand for.

Remarkably, I am impressed with resident leftie's comments and it is refreshing to be able to have a grown up response to the "other" side!
As for true tory (troy) sic. Whether or not it is the case, a very non-stylish prose redolent of the Draper re-buttal trolls!!!!!!!!

Bring back tax relief on pension dividends. For Brown to propose the same would be a devastating show of the incompetence displayed in dumping it. Talk of a bank style bail out of pensions/insurers would be unecessary and the market would enjoy a healthy bounce!

Is there not an elephant in the room here?

No one has mentioned that the one publicly recognisable figure in the shadow team whose job is to lead on economics is right now he is the single weakest person available to talk about anything thanks to recent revelations.

Those revelations were minor, but they showed terrible judgement and made him appear to the public as a snide, idiotic, possibly corrupt aristocrat of the most arogant and self indulgent kind.

So with the Treasury team hamstrung maybe the focus should be to find some one else to talk economics for a while.

It is a global recession - so maybe Hague could speak on the international consequences more, emphasising of course that Britain is hit hardest?

the biggest ecomomic crisis since the 1930's and Nu_Con has been found with 'NO Plan'.

i.e GB was right style without substance.

That's why expect the polls to get even closer, with NU_Con now below the 40% for the first time after a long time.

Remember those articles in the summer 'choosing the drapes to No 10/11 / cabinet office etc'.

either a close Major style victory or a NU_CON/LIB coalition with nick clegg dropping all his anti-tory baggage i.e no to euro, more tax cuts

David Cameron has demonstrated weak leadership by failing to do something about 'the Osborne problem'.

"Cameron has to do is make sure that it falls on Brown"

Which is what the Conservatives a failing to do otherwise why are Labour looked on more favourably by the public for their economic competence? That very fact is a damming indictment of the 'effectiveness' of the Shadow Treasury team, who at best serve us up with trite sound bites that really don't nail Brown or his record. Its not as if they have to do any work in amassing some basic facts to clobber brown with for all they have to do is look on this message board, e.g some few economic stats and comparisons Mr Marsden made here on Browns economic record....

The OECD reports that the U.K. house price-to-average income ratio rose from 79.2 in 1997 to 149.3 in 2007. In the U.S., it went up from 87.5 to 109.7

The OECD says that UK household financial liabilities increased from 104.8% in 1997 to 176.9% in 2007 while in the US it went up from 96.2% to 141.2%.

Or of the 1.8 million new home owners Brown s boasts of creating, Experian the credit rating agency estimates some 20% are sub-prime.

But instead the Conservatives talk about sun shining , fixing roofs, burning houses and trying to figure out who set the house alight.

"David Cameron has demonstrated weak leadership by failing to do something about 'the Osborne problem'."

Yes, more people should be fired for not doing anything wrong...

@ David

Osborne has done plenty wrong over the last month !

There are two strategies, either a 'Blame Brown' opposition approach, or to offer a clear, bold plan for the future.

'Blame Brown', the current Tory path, is clearly going to fail because the public see this is a global problem (so you'll never pin the causes on Brown and will look like cheap political point-scorers) and the Tories have supported the proposed solutions so whole-heartedly that Osborne is even bragging that he came up with them in the first place.

So if the public doesn't blame Brown for the causes, and both parties are completely in tandem with the proposed solutions, how is the Tory Party going to generate some clear water?

It is time to offer something that Brown will never offer; an unconditional referendum on Lisbon to enable us to clearly renegotiate our relationship with the EU to free Britain to take the steps it needs to cover fast.

Why vote Conservative? Who is going to vote for a party committed to Labour's profligacy and then share the proceeeds of recession. What planet are the Tories on?

People want more money in their pockets and better services, and better services come from spending money on what matters like hospitals/treatment in the NHS, and not on an army of NHS managers whose salaries have taken up most of the extra £60billion per annum spent on the NHS since 1997 , and still getting it wrong.

Thus the party needs eye watering policies, not Blair Mark 2. The Tory policy should be to create a fairer tax and pension regime and cut public expenditure to match reduced government income - not the other way round.

1)Don't hold Council Tax for 2 years, cut it by 30-40pct. Dismiss many of the expensive bureaucrats and tell public servants that their pensions will only be index linked if they pay the difference from their existing salaries. At present these pensions are approx 30pct of our Council tax bills and rising faster than inflation.
2) Double or triple the old Age Pension for everyone not on a final salary scheme. This would bring us into line with countries like Holland. The alternative is mass poverty in the private sector. This can be paid for by scrapping all the TV/heating allowances etc and cutting welfare benefits ( is it a fifth of the nation now on sickness benefit ???) and the bureaucrats administering these schemes.
3) Scrap capital gains, inheritance tax and stamp duty and reduce corporation tax. They all inhibit enterprise and growth.
4) Support grammar schools as the most coherent way forward to create an elite state sector education. Most of the population have nothing against elites if their children have a chance to benefit and escape their class.It is a middle class hang up about elitism that has wiped out the excellence in the state sector.

To get back in the game, Cameron needs to take a serious look at what the Party stands for economically and to put someone in the portfolio who has a strong intellect and equally robust communication skills. Exit George Osborne. Enter Michael Fallon.

I don't know if CCHQ gets it, but in the real world, then has been a genuine and profound sense of shock for most people at recent economic events. Similarly, the response from the Conservatives has looked weak, indecisive and lacking any consistency or credibility. It's the sort of seismic shift that can change the game entirely. Wake up.

After my previous rant:

David Cameron has proven himself as an adept politician capable of changing up when he needs to get back in the game.

I sincerely believe that Labour is nearly, but not quite finished.

Were we to be consistently leading by over 50% in the polls we may be able to force Labour from power. That is something that cannot come to soon. The longer Brown holds the purse strings, the worse things get and the more damage there is to be undone.

For that reason, Felicity, we cannot play the long game expecting things to come right. We need to be performing at our peak right now.

It no longer matters what Labour says about us. It is far more important what we say and do about ourselves in the eyes of most voters. So we need to have some courage, set aside the memories and demons of past defeats and put faith in the electorate's good judgment.

Cameron has the ability to articulate a tough love message to people that they would buy if it it showed he had a plan, or a vision. In that sense he's got the Obama touch. He just needs to use it.

Sadly that's hard when others are not performing and causing unnecessary difficulties.

Heaven help us if we ever fall behind in the polls. Judging by posts here, there will be many suicide attempts.
Of course there will be "true tories" rejoicing at the demise of the Conservative Party because they have been PPC's before and were not given safe seats by team Cameron.
Here is some advice, take a deep breath, and think .............Crewe and Nantwitch.

Took part in a Yougov poll last night so hopefully we'll have some results soon.

Excellent point, Richard at 9:39. All the most salient "modernising" policies did was to wear away the core vote. Thankfully, we hear little of that sort today. Particularly, I note that the Cameron leadership backed away from further criticism of the grammars - although they haven't got the guts to defend them, either. Infamously, they had actually started using socialist language, too - with talk of "entrenching advantage". The hostility of the grass roots saw that one off.

No - what brought them back from the dead was the thought of a triumphant Brown. I well remember being partially converted to the Cameron cause when I heard Kinnock talk of grinding the right in the dust. Better to unite behind a lily livered compromiser than help swine like the welsh windbag, I thought.

The tragedy is that the Tories let 05 become a defeat when in fact it could have been the first step towards a genuine, right wing victory. Blair had lost scores of MPs; England had voted conservative by 30,000 votes. Together with the new fact of devolution, this looked like entirely delegitimising the Labour government. Add to that the well known inequity of the constituency boundaries, and the reds would have been exposed as a rump government presiding over a Rotten Borough Britain. Even the Beeb was gearing up to accept this narrative.

Instead, we got a cowardly climb down, for which I partially blame Howard himself. No wonder his aides were in tears. With all the immigration scandals and statistics now out there, he could be taking the role of Churchillian prophet. With the massive overspend and fiddled interest rates and rising inflation - same thing.

Why is the Tory party in the grip of this continuing nervous breakdown? Why? Why?

The BBC, SKY, MSM et al, all in the pay of Murdoch. Most of The Cabinet in the pay of Oligarchs. It all makes it difficult to get any message across. However there is a revolution out here in the real world that might sweep Westminster away in the coming years. Conservatives ought to be leading it!

This is to be expected.

Brown's two biggest liabilities were his record and his portrayal as a ditherer.

The extent of the crisis has been big enough to make his record seem irrelevant.

Meanwhile, it's given him the opportunity to take direct and dramatic action, which deals with the ditherer tag.

Still, no need to panic.

It's only a matter of time before the public realise that it's David Cameron who has the seriousness to lead us out of the recession.

After all, he is one of the greatest economic thinkers in politics today.

Along with other people I would express my concern at the party leadership's performance over the last month. For a bunch of "PR kids" it is particularly poor.

The Osborne non-story hasn't helped, as was Labour's intention, but the rest of the shadow cabinet could have done more (with the exception of Alan Duncan). This is a continuous Tory party problem since whenever, apparantly it is seen as unseemly to talk about someone else's subject, or perhaps they are too lazy. Labour never seem to have this problem.

There are many Tory party anouncements from over the last two years, some relevant in any cercumstances, e.g. re BoE, and some not relevant now but may be in 18 months time, e.g. "sharing growth" (which I think is perfectly viable and don't understand the objections). By repeating these existing policies that would mitigate the impression there are non - just PR, looking as if you are trying.

There seem to be large unanswered questions about the bank bail out. Who thought it up? Why was it introduced when it was - just in time for PMQs? What changes did Brown/Darling make and why, e.g. it would appear the FSA came up with such over the top criteria a perfectly good bank like LLoyds had to accept government money? And if you stop banks paying dividends how are they going to raise capital?

Finally, we keep saying we have been governed worse than other Western countries, how about a big yelling do when we slip below Italy for economy size, i.e. Labour have dropped us from fourth to seventh.

Things change from day to day but all the above is just hard work and PR, something the party leaderships seem very poor at doing.

Our poll lead has shrunk from 25% to 8% at a time when it should have increased. Why?

Because the 25% lead was shown in one poll and was never realistic. The average is still 11.6%. And averages are the most important - that's why websites like realclearpolitics use averages to predict results in the US election.

The average has come down, but not by the massive margin you are pointing to.

It's governments that lose elections, witness 1997, John Major's frightened rabbit broadcast when he had found out that John Horham a government minister had issued a leaflet that was against govt policy, and was unable to sack him. (Rumour was the leaflet had been pre-checked by CCO and passed)sealed his fate, but the tide had already turned. 2009 should be interesting, with euros and locals on the same day, especially with Nick Clegg on paternity leave, so Vince Cable will be acting leader of the Lib Dems again. (Wonder who'll get more coverage, Cameron or Cable?)

@ David

I agree with your analysis. I reached the view some while ago that many of our people are just plain lazy. Either that or, like Letwin and Maude for example, they are busy with their 2nd/3rd/4th jobs.

Old Hack - 50% lead? When has that ever happened? Forcing Brown from power is not possible as he still has a more than adequate majority in the Commons.

Nantwich and Crewe was six months ago. If the party had capitalised on that success by doing something concrete we might not be slipping so much now when it matters. Instead they chose to do very little.

The next election is Labour's to win. It's looking more likely that we will rely too much on spin and propaganda and that never goes down too well. My parents were both firm supporters six months ago and while I am too much a party animal to give up the ghost myself, they act as my weathervane. Both are now voting Labour again.

The more we get out and look at what their problems are and come up with viable strategies to fix their issues, then the more we'll win back of that lead. The more we sit around here thinking we are doing well when most of the frontbench are messing around with silly, idle speculative ideas with little basis in reality, the more Labour are likely to take people like my parents - whom we badly need on-side - away back to their camp.

I'm sorry, but all is not particularly well.

The earlier good polls results were taken as an indication that the Conservatives were on the right track, I have believed for a long time that the polls were an indication of anti Labour sentiments rather than pro Conservative.

It is obvious that this is what is lacking in the Conservative approach to the election; the Conservative party needs to offer something the voters want rather than relying on Labour to implode.

Some policies that have some merit in that they can be achieved without asking for permission from the EU might be a start, as well as a clear recognition of the shackle’s the EU places on our government to act independently. I for one am fed up with so called Conservative policies that are either dressed up EU legalisation or simply policies that cannot be achieved without a renegotiation of EU treaties, when we all know that will never happen under an administration that will not even face the reality of our membership.

So a clear message to the leader’s of the party give us something to vote for, we know already what we want to vote against: if you are only offering more of the same you do not deserver to call yourselves an opposition.

Ken, I think realistically it was only people within CCHQ who thought the polls were an endorsement of the Conservatives rather than anti-Labour sentiment.

Many people in the grassroots have always argued the poll numbers were soft. Our lead has been overstated, but even that is coming down now. From talking to people on the street it is clear they do not know what we stand for. If there is a message it is not getting through.

Without vociferously pushing a radical and positive agenda - that not only lays bare Labour's poor record but offers real change and improvements in people's everyday lives - the numbers could go anywhere.

@ Louise

Above 50% in the polls is what I mean.

Labour is capable of implosion. Governments can collapse. It's happened before - Ted Heath bottled it in '74 with his 'who governs Britain' election, for instance. Old discredited regimes do fail when pushed hard enough. That can't happen soon enough in my view. We simply cannot afford Labour any more. The longer they stay, the deeper the damage.

Politics is often unpredictable. Oppositions can dominate the political agenda and make the weather. We could be much better positioned to force a government collapse than we are. It seems instead that we are happy to cede the election timetable to Brown.

Your parents acting as a weathervane suggests that we are either not trying or simply don't understand the fears and concerns of ordinary people. That should change. No more fiddling or dodging the tough choices we've ducked for too long.

I agree with you that new strategies and solutions are the way to regain wavering voters. Sadly, thats made more difficult with recent events. People I regard as 'civilians' in the political battle have volunteered to me that they've lost confidence in Osborne. He's finished as Shadow Chancellor.

A crumb of comfort. Brown still doesn't wear the mantle of Prime Minister well. He's simply not got 'it' - gravitas, stature, authority, charisma or whatever it takes to lead this country rather than simply manage it. That is the reason why Labour are still behind. Its time we put this political zombie out of his misery.

Cameron's key quality is his ability to lead and inspire. But every good leader needs to be a bit ruthless from time to time. Hint - now is a good time.

Louise, with all due respect you can't take two people as being indicative of anything - especially if they're your own relatives.

I can tell you about people I know who wouldn't even think about voting Conservative until Cameron became leader. Their views haven't changed with the "Brown the superman" drivel, so why should I feel gloomy due to what your parents think?

Raj - Because the elderly are the bedrock - core - party supporters even if they are not the future, Both are needed and the elderly always VOTE!

And I can tell you as one of the"parents" referred to most of us don't like Cameron but will vote for him if he does a half-decent job, But right now he says nothing and the PHI 100 panel says it is because he has nothing to say.

The PR department needs sacking. They should manufacture an occasion for Cameron to make a major speech rubbishing the "borrowing" frenzy (the econoimists on Sunday wrote his soeech for him there) and spelling out the Tory approach. If the party provides an exclusive platform the media - most of it - will print it. Look how the Telegraph and Sky News valiantly tried to make bricks out of straw today.

"Time is against Labour as the drip drip of bad recession related news will kill them politically."

Really ? Within 6 months of a newly-elected Government it too will be hated just as much - the problems will not go away and Brown has a track record of destroying solutions by wrecking everything he touches.

The Conservatives have no economic policy and no idea what to do...we are back into the 1931-1937 era of clueless government mouthing platitudes and incompetent opposition.

The only politician in 1930s Britain even remotely proposing a solution was Oswald Mosley and he was outflanked by MacDonald at Labour Conference such that he left Labour - as he had left the Conservatives - to create The New Party.

The simple fact is the problems are bigger than the leadership qualities of any of them. There is simply no real understanding of the issues by the political class and how far their collective failure has created this situation. Just as the politicians in Central Europe did not comprehend 1989-90 so those in Western Europe fail to understand that their era is ending.

The political class has lost public support and forfeited all trust. No institutions are able to bind the public to society's pillars - this is getting to be pre-revolutionary

Cameron is no Tory Neil Kinnock; he's more attractive, his voice has a pleasing timbre and he's no windbag. These might seem like superficialities but,in truth,they help win elections.
The downward trend of the polls is concerning, however,but, in all probability, we're still eighteen months from an election.

Because the elderly are the bedrock - core - party supporters even if they are not the future, Both are needed and the elderly always VOTE!

If Louise's parents are "voting Labour again" that means they're not core vote.

Also whilst it is important to encourage the core vote to, well, vote it is more important to get people in no-man's land to vote your way too. In 1997, 2001 and 2005 the core vote did squat for the party. In fact when I was helping in 2005 the core vote couldn't be bothered to leaflet in our area on the day and left it to us younger "less reliable" types. When we are respected by the "core vote" and not used as pack mules people like myself will respect them more too.


Do you really think you're going to achieve anything with your post at 17.39? Twit.

There vis a clear downward trend for the Tories in the polls. The Conservative poll lead should be increasing, not decreasing, in troubled economic times.

Conservative MPs, both on the front and back benches, are very worried that Brown and Darling have economic credibility that Cameron and Osborne. They believe that thr "Cameron Project" is finished. If the poll lead disappears over the coming months, they will turn to Hague to provide decisive leadership,

There vis a clear downward trend for the Tories in the polls.

At worst it's glacial. At best their position is steady.

If the poll lead disappears over the coming months, they will turn to Hague to provide decisive leadership

Hahahaha, yes I'm sure you'd love a repeat of 2001 wouldn't you!

An issue for the Conservatives is that the events are so huge, and Brown and his party's failings so vast, that it is difficult to know where to start in terms of attacking Labour in a way that will resonate with the public.

What we need - and as previously discussed on a previous thread - is a simple slogan/soundbite that is an effective and immediate way to convey to Joe Public on the doostep and in the media.

ConHome, like last year, should run a competition for posters that best pin Brown and Labour to their failings, but with more emphasis on the actual slogan than the image.

Remember that brilliant poster of 'Crash Gordon'?

It is worth remembering we often had much bleaker polling results than this the last time we were in Opposition in the late 1970s.
I am confident we will see our lead rise substantially by the end of December.

"The political class has lost public support and forfeited all trust. No institutions are able to bind the public to society's pillars - this is getting to be pre-revolutionary"

Tom Tom, yes I've been thinking along those lines as well and while still trying to formulate my ideas on the issue feel there is a decadence at the heart of the British establishment that really believes in nothing, has no values, and above all has no national purpose. This is complimented by our politicians whose appeal to the electorate is that they will be less useless then the other lot, hardly an exciting proposition that certainly doesn’t deal with the issue facing us.

Sorry Raj, but the Conservative poll lead has halved in the last few weeks. It was over 20%. Such ridiculous spinning suggests that you work at CCHQ. If you do, try speaking to MPs about what they really think about the Bullingdon Boys performance.

Perhaps you could comment on Boris's ridiculous "spend spend spend" article in today's Telegraph. He even implores the Queen to buy more dresses just three weeks after Hardy Amies went into administration.

You could not make it up!! The Bullingdon Boys are soooo out of touch!!!

It was over 20%.

And all the pundits, including Mike Smithson, said it was not sustainable because it was the only polling agency to give a lead like that. I'm talking about the polling average.

Such ridiculous spinning suggests that you work at CCHQ.

I would say that you're selective quoting of facts suggest that you're a troll - Labour or otherwise.

Perhaps you could comment on Boris's ridiculous "spend spend spend" article in today's Telegraph.

What, like Gordo Broon and his chums have been advocating?

"What, like Gordo Broon and his chums have been advocating?"

Raj's anti-Scottish prejudice is illuminating. Typical of the nasty party! He refuses to deny that he works for CCHQ. Perhaps that why the Scots hate the Tories.

He admits that Boris is advocating a Brownite spending spree - not surprising as the Tories have supported Brown's spending plans since Dave became leader.

Blue Labour, Blue Danger!

BTW, I am libertarian ex-Conservative PPC.

Raj's anti-Scottish prejudice is illuminating.

Why, because I mock a Scottish Prime Minister? Talk about PC gone mad. You're not Libertarian at all!

You also didn't answer my question. How is Boris' ideas about "spend, spend, spend" any different from what this gov has been advocating?

Perhaps that why the Scots hate the Tories.

Not as much as they "hate" the Lib Dems based on the last Scottish election results.

He admits that Boris is advocating a Brownite spending spree

No, I asked if they were the same.

You were a Conservative PPC Libertarian?I find that very hard to believe.We must have been desperate.If your standard of debating is illustrated by your comments on this blog you would not have had my vote.

Something has happened in the Labour party since the crash. It is now united with a strong sense of purpose and duty, the chance finally to throw of the shackles of Thatcherism. Any anti-Brown voices are completely quelled this side of the election. We will at least go down with a fight and knock the edge off any Tory majority.

And if the Tories get jittery when they are this far ahead, there is a very outside chance of a hung parliament. I seriously doubt it though.

Lowering interest rates is not a policy. He shouldn't be calling for this. Moreover, they did this in Japan and it didn't work.

Thanks Tony Sharp: yes I agree the grassroots see things differently, there seems to be a chasm between normal Conservative voters and the leadership of the party.

I have a pact with Libertarian.
I won't say who he is as long as he doesn't say who Gloy Plopwell is.

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