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@Editor
"The previous ICM survey - three weeks ago - found Labour ahead by 12%."

I think that should read 'Conservatives ahead by 12'.

Oops. Indeed it should. I'll correct now Dave. Thanks.

And here's me laying into George Osborne like we're 13 points behind. Then again, what do I know?

I think that by pre-empting Labour's tax cuts we could score a hit. We should propose them but warn against borrowing in order to write out cheques and be prepared to argue against the tide when Labour do just that. Ozzy has the chance for redemption here.

"It appears that the Brown bounce hasn't yet dissipated but it's not close to being enough to win the next election."

Tim, with that polling figure I am not sure we can call it a Brown bounce. More suitable would a move from dire to just bad, this bounce is coming in the Labour heartlands, they are shoring up votes in places they would expect to hold even in a GE meltdown.

Quite simple, we are out of the news right now, but that is all. Its not surprising given the media narrative, buts it was a hit worth taking in that period.
We ran the very real risk of being seen as opportunistic right at the height of the banking meltdown. Cameron and Osborne warned that our polling figures might dip right at the start of this.
As it is, apart from a couple of polls we remain at 40%+, that has got to vindicate that strategy at that time.

It amazes me that some on here cannot, or will not understand the political fall out and damage moving Osborne would have for both Cameron and the party. If we thought that they had a feeding frenzy over Osborne's visit to that yacht, just think about the impact on Cameron this would have. We are out of the limelight, and many on here would love to see us back at the top of the news for all the wrong reasons at this crucial time.
Just like the old days.

It would be the biggest gift possible to Brown and his government at this moment. They are enjoying a small polling bounce which is benefiting them in their heartlands.
If the Tories start to undermine one of their top politicians while the economy is tanking, it will the same old Tories behaving in the same old way. Naval gazing and inward looking at a time when they should be concentrating on putting together their own economic rescue plan for the next GE.

To maintian this sort of lead Cameron must offer some real "change" which he has not. He is not very popular with most of the people I speak to, it's just that Brown is less popular! A promise of an early referendum on Europe, a total stop to immigration, The list that would truly please the British electors is a long one. It just needs the courage to use it. Wake up "Team Cameron"

Chris: It is a Brown bounce in that we were 20% ish ahead and now are down to 12%. I take your general point though.

"Chris: It is a Brown bounce in that we were 20% ish ahead and now are down to 12%."

Tim, I see your point.

Chris D, Entirely agree. We must think long term, not fall into the tactical traps that Brown, Campbell et al are laying for us. We must stick to our guns, remain focussed, work hard and keep at it.

I can't believe the amount of panic on this site. You will win, (subject to no ridiculous mistakes) it's all about by how much. You'd be running round like headless chickens if you were only 5% ahead.

A fairly good poll, although ICM seems to produce polls which fluctuate the Lib Dem figure up and down quite sharply.

I have concerns, however, that the Conservatives are not putting over the economic case as coherently as we should be. The Glenrothes by-election result was probably because the SNP has been badly holed over the banks - if they had their way they would have been on their own. Also, they are acquiring a record.

But there could be a ripple in England aswell if this line that the government is rescuing us from outside events goes unchallenged.

That said - not bad figures.

And the National Party has just won in New Zealand.

"I can't believe the amount of panic on this site. You'd be running round like headless chickens if you were only 5% ahead."

Posted by: resident leftie | November 08, 2008 at 17:01

Ah leftie you obviously havn't been resident long enough to know how Tory headbangers can behave.

The best thing for the Conservatives, will be if Darling goes for tax-cuts, or at least says he is. This is an area where Labour have no traction, whatsoever (Immigration is another), it will remind people that Labour have over-taxed them. The Conservatives can then take on tax-cutting policies and Labour will find it much more difficult to attack them for being "nasty" because of it. The electorate are much more likely to take the Tories seriously on Tax-cuts, and as the IHT proposals proved, they will be very popular. I suspect that Cameron is much more wary of making a load of promises on tax, that the inherited state of government finances, may make very difficult to actually implement.

JJB - I agree, and the Telegraph leader has some warnings for Cameron that the result in Glenrothes was "pitiful".

It could be that the Tories are ahead and Cameron is acting like a dog in the manger because he refuses to capitalise on that lead properly.

"To maintian this sort of lead Cameron must offer some real "change" which he has not. He is not very popular with most of the people I speak to, it's just that Brown is less popular!"

Glen has it right - but going on past experience requesting this from Cameron is like spitting into the wind. He's got to make some proper solid policy announcements now or let someone else take over and do it for him.

National opinion polls are useless unless weighted by turnout and region.

The simple fact is that Brown has made a disastrous mess on a par with 1931 when at least Labour split....and the Conservatives have not articulated any policy to suggest they would do anything differently.

The fact that Britain has put 33% GDP on the line to stem a banking collapse and the USA put up 6% GDP seems to be ignored.

That Switzerland has 14% GDP from financial services and Britain has 31% GDP from finance is similarly ignored.

That 33% EU credit card debt is in Britain is ignored.

That most of the trading carried out by hedge funds and oil speculators runs through London is ignored.

That Merrill Lynch dumped all its losses in London is ignored; that Lehman Bros. ran large open positions from London but kept the cash in new York is ignored.

The public thinks the Conservatives are compromised because of City interests and that Labour sold out to City interests...and that the general public has mortgaged its children to pay the costs of financial meltdown.

The voters do not believe the Conservatives have any answers and George Osborne is a perfect symbol of that perception. They bark but have no bite so Brown limps on like a lame dog

Relieved by these figures and agree with the above comments that for DC to move Osborne now really would be a hole in our yacht.

@SRN - surprised the IHT cuts were popular, they were only targetted at people wealthy enough to pay IHT. It was more like a combination of factors led to the Cameron bounce and the IHT proposals were the only policy contributions to it. I don't see or hear many people in the street saying the Tory IHT proposal is the main reason they don't like Gordon Brown.

So the Cameroons are convinced that something will turn up. Talk about complacency.

Yeah, it's great we're ahead but.....

I think I'd prefer to be 3 points behind if it would give these people a wake up call.

The reason there's been a Brown bounce, as opposed to a complete collapse in confidence is down to this profound lack of focus among people who were spending time in places they shouldn't be, doing things they should never even contemplate doing, whilst ignoring a building crisis that would affect the lives of millions of people.

Labour know they are behind but think they are back in the game. Not all is lost and that the narrative is now on their side.

What are we doing to change that? Not much apparently.

Morus over at PB.com
has just put up an excellent [email protected] which I think sums up the Cameron/Osborne strategy over the last few weeks.

"They lose nothing by just sitting tght, and letting Brown punch himself out. They won’t gain, but they don’t need to because they have a 13-point lead.

If they try and fight Brown when the media is still hailing him as the great economic saviour, they will do damage to the brand and to their on credibility as political operators.

From the West Wing, Josh and Toby talking about the President’s opponent in the forthcoming election:

JOSH: You wanna beat him.
TOBY: I do, I wanna beat him.
JOSH: Well, that’s a problem for me, because I want to win. You want to beat him, I want to win.

I recognise it must be very frustrating if you are a Tory to see Brown not being ridiculed and blamed for the economic crisis. I’d want to shout it to the world if I believed that too. But David Cameron doesn't exist to see that Brown is treated as he deserves to be - David Cameron is leader because the Conservatives want to *win*. That means shutting up for a few months, and limiting the party’s profile."

There is a real hunger, enthusiasm and political astuteness in our present leadership that has been lacking for so long. They know this Labour government and their main opponent inside out, they have made it their job to know what they are up against.

I keep saying this, Cameron and Osborne has been strategically about 2/3 steps ahead of the government and the political media over the last couple of years. That is why they often seem so out of sync with the media narrative. But they have stuck to their own political game plan rather than being bounced into playing a reactive role to the media.
They have brought us sustained polling leads for a year now, its about time we trusted them a little more and learnt to hold our nerve at every bend on the road.

Basically we need to show some cojones in this party, Brown, Mandelson and Campbell are convinced that if they pull the right levers the old party will reappear fighting each other instead of them. And if that happened, just watch our polling figures plummet. That is why we failed to recover any political ground with the electorate for long.

Just want to say, a la sbjme19, that all this talk of shifting Osbourne around is crackers. No need to starting bawling like spoiled babies just because the lead is down!

An interesting and heartening poll and one which we all want to believe in. I think we would be wrong to ignore political perceptions among the electorate, though. Louise continues to shout for policy announcements @ 17.26. However in the financial and economic sectors, events have been changing so rapidly that it really would have been unwise, verging on the suicidal in my view, to start offering policies that are likely to be out of date before the end of the week. It is surely a matter of balance and timing and events will prove one way or the other if the current reluctance to show even a glimpse of ankle is right. And the trouble is that most other policies are deeply affected by finance and economics.
It looks like a time for still more patience and perhaps it would be sensible if we don`t give the media too much ammunition when we start offering boundless criticisms of our own Shadow Ministers. We are rather inclined to do Labour`s work for them. Constructive criticism is one thing; vendetta quite another!

I accept that Cameron's recent responses have been based entirely upon electoral tactical considerations, rather than upon trying to convey a sense of a major vision for a radical change in the ailing British political culture.

Tactically, he may well be right, in that he may well become the next Prime Minister, but I suspect that this may be more by default rather than by enthusiastic popular acclaim, and by a smaller margin than current polls would suggest.

I think that what the British electorate desperately want to see (but, so far, in vain) is a bold and charismatic leader, prepared to criticise the current political establishment, in Brussels as well as Westminster and to make CREDIBLE and sincere proposals for changes in the status quo, where, thanks to Blair, our executive is no longer answerable to Parliament.

Tories should run with "It's Time For Change" slogan. And suffix it with "...in your pocket".

(Incidentally, that would work for Asda too.)

We would be wise to learn some lessons form the last few weeks. Yes we are ahead but also Labour have been clever with their spin. Yes Labour remains unpopular but people want the Conservative party to start spelling out their position. Yes Cameron is good but the rest of the team needs to up the game as well. The election is now much nearer, even if Brown does wait 18 months. Remember you can't fatten a pig on market day.

"Where there is no vision, the people perish" is the recorded wisdom of King Solomon (Proverb 29:18). Britain needs the vision to fully restore and honour its Covenant constitution under statute law still in force; i.e. "the Laws and Customs" of the Realm which our Head of State, on behalf of the people, promised on oath to uphold on June 2 1953.
The adoption of Will of the State under the alien constitution of the EU is to betray (at law) this vision and means that our superior form of government of "The Queen-in-Parliament under God" will increasingly become a vacuum for which the Electorate will turn away from voting in a General Election.

Michael, we are certainly lost as a nation and have become second-rate. What we need is leadership, and as you say vision. Its not enough for senior politicians to be mere custodians who manage the affairs of the state.

How refreshing it was last week to hear David Cameron taking a stand over the slipshod standards of the BBC. Too often in the past politicians have been prepared to look the other way in some belief that to interfere was to impose on freedom.

As I've said several times in these forums we shouldn't see moralizing as a negative term, standing up for what is right is the right thing to do. Our nation needs moral leadership and a new moral vision for the 21st century.

Labour have made great play about Brown's financial adroitness in handling the credit crunch and his relative recovery in the Poll ratings. However, he must be exposed for his mishandling of the economy that has exacerbated this financial tsunami. His 'spin doctors' are managing to hide the facts with some success and thus treating the electorate with contempt.

Brown must be exposed as the charlatan of this 'bail out' plan for the economy. It is not his ideas that are being practised here. These plagiarized plans have their origins in historical financial theory (1920s - 30s & 40s)promoted by Keynes and advocated by a former infamous Labour Minister, Sir Oswald Mosley. A fact the Labour spinning machine dearly wants to go unnoticed.

If the electorate were to realise Brown is planning to spend his way out of recession,based on out of date economic theories, they would realise this is an ill-conceived solution and an anathema to Keynesian thinking.

It has been said many times,that there is nothing as rediculous as a politician that makes himself 'the slave to some defunct economist'.

Once the electorate realise Brown is the architect that brought our economy precipitously close to collapse, his Poll ratings, like his bounce will collapse simultaneously.

As a regular visitor to this excellent site I am always amazed at your capacity to interpret polls in whatever way you see suits your purpose. Can I suggest that for Brown and Labour things still look difficult but not impossible. I do not sense some great swelling of mood as I did between 92 -97 nor do I sense that the public are inspired by Cameron and co. Rather I feel people are withholding their final judgements. If you look at some of the poll ratings M Thatcher achieved between 80 - 83 you would have been forgiven for thinking that the SDP or even M Foot would be nthe next PM. I also recall Kinnock being 21 points ahead and winning Staffordhsire East on a huge swing prior to 92. You are not there yet.

I can't help thinking that you have a point Rob with everything that has been happening yopu would think we would still be 20 + points clear. I have a theory that Labour's vote is not as low as the polls suggest and that come election time in the secrecy of the polling booths many pencils will hover and put a cross next to Labour, as people cling to nurse.

Helen is partly right - we are in a close race. I also fear Labour will stoke up fears amongst benefits claimants and public sector workers against the spectre of a Tory government.

But to remain this far ahead even when we have not put over much of a case for 5 or 6 weeks suggests we can do better.

We MUST get behind the party leadership at the moment. Osborne, Cameron et al have got us this far ahead - why try and bring down that team now?

Labour are gunning for George. We need to stop friendly fire and protect him.

(Was going to post something similar in another thread, but computer I was using at time had an awful connection)

Labour strategy is to big Brown as the saviour of the economy and claim Tories are fed up with Osborne.
There are far too many useful idiots on this site who aid and abet the enemy.

Chris: It is a Brown bounce in that we were 20% ish ahead and now are down to 12%. I take your general point though.

Tim, I don't believe the 20% lead was ever sustainable. Labour only got silly leads in polls before 1997 because the agencies didn't weight the work. Most commentators will say they're more accurate now.

Anyway, good news for the Tories and bad news for Brown. He's still way behind even while Cameron plays the waiting game. Why put your cards on the table with up to 18 months before an election? Taunt and tease the government with enough tit-bits to keep people interested. But avoid giving away too much - Labour have been trying to poach policy yet again, so limit their chances.

I would suggest to emphasise areas that they can't backtrack on easily. E.g. give them a good kicking over ID cards and the big planned data databases. We're talking over £10 billion in costs. Pledge to scrap the whole thing and put the money towards tax cuts, more support for people who need it, more Police, better equipment for our services, whatever. Just expose the obvious waste in Labour's spending plans and don't let them get away with it.

Also agree with comments re support for Obsourne.

Question to any doubters. Why would Labour be trying to claim his scalp if he's doing more harm than good to the Conservative Party?

I'll answer it for you. Because they know he's a clever man and if he gets kicked off the front bench/moved sideways his influence will be reduced and he won't be coming up with those clever ideas in 2010 because more ambitious people will keep him down to get noticed.

Either some people here supposedly in the Conservative Party are very stupid or they're not in the party at all....

@John, 18.52 - there are a lot of things the Tories could be saying now that they aren't. They could be putting out a robust solution to the problems, and making sure we have an idea what we would do as a long-term economic plan, much in the way that Margaret Thatcher did in the late seventies. "Policies" is not strictly accurate a term, it's shorthand for "tell us what you would do, Cam, not only in this situation but over the long run as a general philosophy, in words that a Sun reader can understand". He had an excellent opportunity to put that across on Monday - but he used the opportunity there to take a swipe at the BBC, a debate which is now largely over and forgotten.

I can't find a single headline about the Tories on the entire BBC front page. Michael Howard would have had two or three mentions, if only for sacking Boris Johnson again. Goodness only knows why we are leading in the polls.

@Raj - just because we are Conservatives doesn't mean we have to agree with your statement about Osborne. FWIW it's now neither here nor there whether he goes or not, to me anyway, but he'd do a better job if he made more noise on things. You stand or fail on your own merits.

This is too good too good not to share.
Gordon Brown on America has embraced the values of progress

The comments thread brings Gordon back down to planet earth, and in the Guardian too!

Oops, apologies for the double "too good", my keyboard is very temperamental at the moment.

I have come to the conclusion we need to be 45% Guido and 55% ConHome!

Was the fieldwork for this done before or after Glenrothes?

I'm afraid the Tory lead is a result of negative thinking about Labour not positive thinking about anything Cameron etc., has done so far as they have simply not been attacking the government at all. It is certainly time for a change - Redwood or Clarke for Osborne.

All that has happened in the polls is that Labour has stopped being abysmal and is now just rubbish - enough to get back some of its core support from the Lib Dems and SNP. Our own ratings not greatly affected.

Brown is borrowing to spend, we could borrow to fund tax cuts so people could spend.

Basic Tory principle. People will spend their money more wisely than the Government will spend it on their behalf. If we're not prepared to take some flak and have the usual barrage of "TORY CUTS" thrown at us to defend that one, we might as well all give up!

Darling has raised personal allowances to offset the 10p tax rate losses and given everybody a tax cut of sorts, but just for this year. Is he really going to end that in April next year? I doubt it. My bet is he will extend that for another year and we ought perhaps to pre-empt that and suggest it before the PBR, possibly even with a few tweaks to allow us to say we would keep it in Government.

@Comstock - from the BBC - "ICM interviewed 1,005 adults by telephone on November 5 and 6."

just because we are Conservatives doesn't mean we have to agree with your statement about Osborne

What, that Labour want him gone because he's a threat to them? You don't have to agree with me on anything, only that some things are so obviously good for the Tories and bad for Labour that any Tory would see that.

Get the "Rednecks" out of No 10. Sooner the better.

People may want change but they will not get it as long as 75% of our laws are imposed from Brussels. The rednecks (NuLiebour) will simply be replaced by bluenecks (BluLiebour). We will not get change until we leave the EU dictatorship.

Just a thought. I want us to be ahead of the polls on election day and I am not too concerned about now. We just need to keep working until then while the Gay Gordoners dig their hole deeper. And, while I'm about it; David, don't tell them a damned thing, until you're good and ready.

By the way, Blair's idea of "exemplary leadership" is a world adrift from mine.

And talking of Blair...why wasn't he at the Cenotaph this morning as all other living former Prime Ministers were?

Anon, Thatcher and Major are the only two other living ex-Premiers - not a big club! Bliar was probably on a paid jolly this weekend.

Try as I might (and I really would like to)I cannot forsee any real change taking effect with a Cameron goverment. There is no exciting thinker. Why not during this severe financial downturn, turn to the country and ask for policies of and for the people from the people. There might be quite a lot of clear thinking people out there, even those who vote for other parties, with a fresh new idea. Paul Whitehouse's window cleaner is probably not the only person to give our problems a bit of thought and feel they have some answers. the cloistered world of the professional politician and their assistants seems to restrict the production of new ideas for the sake of playing it safe.

I'm upset by the ongoing criticism of George Osborne.
Mr.Osborne had the measure of Brown and was seriously outsmarting him in debates before Gordo elected himself to the position of PM.

Darling was never quick enough dodge being skewered by Osborne, and Osborne's conference speeches took the media by storm.

The over-the-top media storm has been engineered by Campbell/Mandelson/Draper...that says enough surely! Conservatives should not join in.
Osborne did NOTHING WRONG and should stay in post

"And talking of Blair...why wasn't he at the Cenotaph this morning as all other living former Prime Ministers were?"

I would have expected Blair to be there today, especially in light of the fact that there are soldiers who have died, been injured and still serving in the two war zones he sent them too whilst PM!

I think this poll indicates how lucky Gordon Brown was to have a by-election on his home turf - most of the rest of the country would have swung in our favour.

Chris D - your double "too good" was easily excused - if it were me, I'd have put in a few more -- fantastic link thanks.

re: ex-PMs at the Cenotaph

I beleive Thatcher and Major would un-hesitatingly see themselves as part of the fabric of british history - they gave themselves 100% to the job and (whatever your view on their abilities) they truly served britain.

I don't beleive blair ever 'served' - he led the UK by the nose for a while (quite a long while) and when he got bored, handed the UK over to his mate brown - in the end I beleive both Blair and Brown will always think that the british public were never quite 'good enough' for them - whereas quite the reverse is true.

It takes a big man to admit a mistake, which is why you will never hear blair or brown appologise.

I'm sure lib Dems are going to gain Bosworth at the next election.

The 2007 counsel elections were fabulous for the lib Dems!! with stupendous momentom, the result will be

Lib dem 33,000
Con 14,000
Lab 10,000
ukip 500

Er, yes, now about the 6% lead in the Populus survey...

We have not won the next general election yet. The polls suggest that we are heading back to the days when a hung parliament looked likely. There was a point when Margaret Thatcher was the most unpopular PM on record, yet she won the next election comfortably. Who would have really given Major a snowballs chance? and yet ! There is at least one thing that David can do to improve his chances and I afraid it means moving George sideways. We need a big hitter and preferably a real beast as the shadow chancellor. George would be well suited to the foreign Office I suspect. There does that keep you happy Eton elitist

Dare I say...REDWOOD.....stop tittering Swine the guy has real talent. I think its time to forgive him for not being able to speak Welsh.

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