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So a swing of four per cent. To Labour. In the seats the Tories must win. In a month.

During the heady days of August I seem to recall warning against "hubris". No good saying this is a one-off or that things will swing back as the recession bites. The truth is, we simply don't know how things are going to pan out.

Just goes to prove how perilous it can be to forget Harold Wilson's age-old adage.

'No good saying this is a one-off or that things will swing back as the recession bites'.

Actually that's exactly what any reasonable reading of the situation would lead you to conclude.

Brown has had the best part of a month strutting the internation stage as the saviour of the world.

That has now ended and people are entirely focussed on how perilous their own personal circumstances have become in this land of 'no boom and bust'.

'Ross' - you are a punk of Draper and I claim my £5.

It ain't over yet, Conservative people!

(mind you after watching 'taking liberties' I don't know what to make of this here election... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j21rcnJ3EO8 if anyones interested)

Would 5% be enough to swing a marginal seat like Tynemouth?

Anon, playing with the electoral calculus site gives the following....

Tynemouth seems to be a Labour hold around the 40-60 overall majority point. As the majority approachs 80 or so, Tynemouth falls.

So if you are the PPC for Tynemouth, don't count your chickens.....

Well I am not a Derek Draper stooge and I agree there was too much hubris and back-slapping when the polls were looking good. Now people have - wrongly - swung back to the PM as he paints himself as father of the nation.

We all have a duty to get on the streets telling people why this is all charlatan flummery, otherwise it will stay this way and get even worse in the run up to a General Election when the polls always swing to the Government.

We all know it's going to be a roller-coaster. Let's keep plugging away on the doorsteps. Speaking of which there are 2 local by-elections in Wolverhampton tomorrow.

Thank you Comstock .... I can assure you I'm not the PPC for Tynemouth (or anywhere else for that matter!) The sitting Labour MP might get a slightly better night's sleep now though.

Mike - a reasonable reading from this time in August would have been that Britain entering a recession, unemployment and debt rocketing and the necessity of large-scale bank nationalisation would have meant a further collapse in support for the government and an increase in the Tory lead. The assumption that the polls will return to where they were in August as the election gets closer is a dangerous one. I was making quite a narrow point about hubris and the dangers of getting carried away, such as exhibited yesterday by Stephen Shakespeare.

And whatever "Common Sense" thinks of my opinions or motives, I would point out that I have the balls to use my real name rather than resorting to the Dolly tactic of cowering behind a pseudonym.

The depressing figure is the one which says only 21% believe that our current crisis is caused by Brown's tax and spend policies.

This means that, apart from being slow to develop their own economic policies, the Conservatives are failing to attack the failings of Labour's dire handling of the economy and the levels of national debt sufficiently effectively.

That lightweight number is not good.

And this is just the start. Just wait until Mandelson and Campbell are back in full swing! The next election is back in the balance. Who dares wins!

Forget the polls. Just start attacking Brown. Once the figures on the economy show a recession start running adverts on TV of Brown saying "no more boom and bust". No captions, no straplines, just Brown denying reality over and over again. Better still start with "I said TORY boom and bust" and then show the originals.

Remind people that the recession will be worse than it ought to be because of Brown's management.

Announce some easy policies and dare the government to steal them. We will scrap ID cards and save 10 billion, scrap the email database save more billions, etc. Announce that windfarms are cr*p but tidal barrages work so will build them. These are clear distinctive policies that the govt will not implement and the announcement of them will create MASSIVE problems for the govt. The fact that Cameron announced the scrapping of ID cards made technology vendors draw back because they do not want to put a lot of effort into something the next likely govt will scrap. Announcing more scrapping will cause total chaos for Brown and ensure that these oppressive tracking projects are halted.

Repeatedly denounce Brown, but this must be combined with what Cameron will do. Voters will like the fact that policy is being put forward and the condemnation of Brown and Labour will be there in the background as a subliminal narrative. Eventually it will become established knowledge.

David Parker, I agree that the 21% of respondents being of the view that the current crisis is caused by Brown's tax and spend policies is concerning, although it is intriguing given that 58% of the same respondents think that Brown bears much of the responsibility for the present situation!

Goes to show how fickle people are, we have to keep plugging away ensure Brown is held responsible for our lack of options to do deal with the economic mess.

"...Forget the polls. Just start attacking Brown."

It is interesting, on this comments section, how often Tim has intervened, warning us to "play the ball, not the man".

That advice, it would seem to me, could apply more broadly. The policies of Brown's government are an absolute disaster - the implementation even worse. There the attack should lie, and there are open goals for the taking.

I, for one, am not alone in being more than irritated by the ad hominem tone found here and elsewhere. Personality politics has is place, but there are dangers in taking it to extremes, as Mr Osborne may have just discovered.

"It is interesting, on this comments section, how often Tim has intervened, warning us to "play the ball, not the man""

Consider the point suitably amended. However, it must be remembered that Brown personally assured the country that he had ended Boom and Bust. He then made a big fuss that it was TORY boom and bust.

"I, for one, am not alone in being more than irritated by the ad hominem tone found here and elsewhere"

I disagree that it is an ad hominem attack. These are normally made on people personally when they possess no policies or positions that can be attacked, but Brown made so many policies his policies that he has left himeself open to attack. I am not calling for Gordon to go because he has a personality defect (I leave that to George Osbourne) I calling him on his policies.

Looking at the longer-term, in the hope that the next Conservative government will be more than a one-term flash in the pan, is seems to me that a little tactical acumen would not go amiss.

While it is great sport to attack the Brown beast, a great number of "his" policies are either not his alone, or are shaped or constrained by external influences.

That not only includes the EU but other agencies, including international bodies such as the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision - which frames most of our high-level banking and financial laws.

Indiscriminately to attack "Brown's" policies, therefore, is to lay the leadership open to later accusations of duplicity when they do not change the policies they have attacked in such a broad-brush fashion.

One is not saying that Brown should not be attacked - of course he should - but a little more precision would not go amiss.

Just watched the C4 poll programme, I'll bet Labour Party HQ were just thrilled to see George Chambers on again. No wonder the Tories have dropped 10% in the marginals: its him!

"Looking at the longer-term, in the hope that the next Conservative government will be more than a one-term flash in the pan"

100% agree!


"Indiscriminately to attack "Brown's" policies, therefore, is to lay the leadership open to later accusations of duplicity when they do not change the policies they have attacked in such a broad-brush fashion."


I would agree with that as well. I never meant "Attack Brown because he is Brown" but we must attack him on those policies and statements that he made his own - "Boom and Bust" is the most obvious. Precision, as you say, is important.

Brown is rather unique. He is intensely unpopular both at large and within Labour. By pointing up his political (not personal) failings there is a double benefit of driving down Labour's rating and causing dissension within Labour.

Of course, as I said originally, I would rather see Cameron bringing forth "big picture" policies and largely ignoring the polls. In these tight economic times I would rather see money being diverted from rubbish like the ID and email databases and ploughed into tidal and nuclear power.

One policy that Cameron would not dare announce would be the break up of the BBC or a drastic rewriting of its charter so that it can be neutered as the Labour Propaganda Unit, but such a change is needed IMO.

I think it was George Bridges, not George Chambers and he was pretty hopeless I have to say.

Points taken, but the heart of our battle is - or should be - a clash of ideologies, conservativism versus socialism. This is bigger and longer-lasting than any of the players, who are - in the greater scheme of things - just placeholders, the temporary guardians of the "faith".

I do worry that politics is getting too personalised. I know it has always been thus, and has to be. You have to front your party with a persona. But it is a question of degree. When the "personality clash" takes over completely, and we see politics in only in terms of that, it becomes devoid of substance.

We are seeing this here and in the USA, and I regard it as an unhealthy and dangerous development.

I do stress, it is a matter of degree. At the moment, I think we have got the balance wrong. It may bring a short-lived advantage but, ultimately, it could backfire on us.

If you are at all interested, I explored this issue on my own blog.

My concern is that the focus on personalities encourages an over-simplistic view of the nature of government which ends up in disillusionment when successive leaders simply cannot deliver.

" the heart of our battle is - or should be - a clash of ideologies, conservativism versus socialism"

Absolutely. I loathe socialism. It seems to be dedicated to holding people down, averaging to the lowest common demoninator and its adherents are filled with zealous intolerance - just nip over to labourhome and see how often words like "fascist" and "hate" pop up.

If you ever get the chance to read a short story by Kurt Vonnegut called "Harrison Beregon" then do so. Sums it all up.

I shall look at your blog. Thanks for the link.

"If you ever get the chance to read a short story by Kurt Vonnegut called 'Harrison Beregon' then do so. Sums it all up."

Likewise. I'll do that.

If it isn't a contradiction in terms, I hate the politics of hate. Through my career, I have never had any time at all for Socialism (except for a brief flirtation when I was young), but I have met many Labour politicians with whom I have disagreed fundamentally but, at the same time, for whom I have had considerable respect as individuals. Their beliefs were sincerely held and, in their own ways, they were honourable men.

The reverse also applies. There are Conservative MPs with whom I am in absolute agreement as to their ideology but who, as individuals, I loathe and detest.

Perhaps what those in the "Westminister bubble" need to realise is that "Tory tribalism", naked in tooth and claw, is as unattractive to outsiders looking in as is the rampant Labour tribalism that we also see.

To an extent, that is one of the reasons why so many people say "a plague on both your houses".

Just relax already! You are going to win unless the Bullingdon Boys really, really screw up. It's going to have to be a bit more obvious than sidling up to dodgy Russians and taking undeclared hospitality.

"You are going to win ..."

I think that is what worries some people!

"What then?" they ask.

"What then?" they ask."

May I refer you to the search terms "Boris Johnson" and "broken pledges" for a pretty good idea of what to expect?

Posted by: Richard North | October 23, 2008 at 01:01

"You are going to win ..."

I think that is what worries some people!

"What then?" they ask.

It certainly scares the crap out of me.


If you ever get the chance to read a short story by Kurt Vonnegut called "Harrison Beregon" then do so. Sums it all up.
Kurt Vonnegut though was an active member of the Socialist Party in the USA right up until his death, his political and social views were not much different from those of Michael Foot.

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