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Dave, I think you're probably right on the political dangers of announcing cutting back public sector pensions, but we all know it's a problem that needs facing down sooner rather than later if the country is to avoid bankruptcy.

I would favour a solution involving closing final salary schemes to new members in the public sector and preserving them for current employees. Some of the money saved could be used to increase salaries for new entrants in order to reduce perceived inequalities with current public sector workers. This might make reform more palatable, but we can't have a situation like France where the unions are allowed to block reform indefinitely.

It is worth pointing out that as redundancies are anounced good old NewLab spin could be seen as turning the situation to Labour's advantage. Cameron comes up with sonorous proposals re lending - not exciting, no media interest. Mandalson goes on about nationalising banks or bringing new laws to force banks to lend - exciting, media interest. Mandy is talking rubbish of course but Mr voter sees a possibility of something being done and, anyway, it demonstrates Labour cares.

The Tories are seen as the do nothing party because, traditional, they leave the market to do things rather than "make" the market do things. However, in this case, despite coming out with assorted policies, they rarely mention them and certainly don't put them all together as a programme (at all, never mind not often!). More, as Michael Fallon has pointed out Brown's bank bail out hasn't worked. There are various reasons according to taste but, firstly, you have a Labour government out of it's depth on a subject it knows only enough about to make cheap headline remarks, that dithered despite having a plan handed to them by Sweden and Standard Chartered and paniced at the last minute to get something out in time for PMQs. And there's more. . .

rugfish Keep dreaming! its not over cameron is a long long way from downing street.

The next parliament will be hung and its more likely Labour will still be the largest party and will continue as a minority government with behind the scenes support from the Lib dems.

Cameron will not be prime minister he has blown his chance

Reminds me of a song;

"Rogue, rubbish, rogue, rubbish
Rogue, rogue, rogue."

My first reaction was "eh?!" when I saw this poll - considering other polling organisations saw our lead increase - and the events of last week. This is possibly the most rougue poll since "Dewey defeats Truman" in 1948.

"This poll looks like it has been commissioned by Labour."

P.O.D. playing the misinformation card.

I can't say that I read the Indi these days. I am far more a Guardian, Mail (the wife) and the Times on Sunday type. However when I have read it, I have not detected any strong Labour bias. We know this poll isn’t telling the full story so what exactly is going on.
How Powerful is this Dark Lord.

"This poll looks like it has been commissioned by Labour."

P.O.D. playing the misinformation card.

I can't say that I read the Indi these days. I am far more a Guardian, Mail (the wife) and the Times on Sunday type. However when I have read it, I have not detected any strong Labour bias. We know this poll isn’t telling the full story so what exactly is going on.
How Powerful is this Dark Lord.

It also exposes how grotesquely lopsided our constituency boundaries are, and reminds me of when Mrs. Thatcher was "behind" in polls throughout 1978.

Labour's core voters are returning to them because they are pleased about the 45% top rate income tax and the VAT cut.

The solution is to turn right on the economy and left on sex and drugs. Be free market AND socially liberal and get some of the yellow vote.

If you're stripped down to your core vs Labour's core the Labour Party will win. But if you can get some of the Lib Dem vote and get a result in the mid 40's you can win.

Stop being socially conservative.

Labour's social issue are currently reclassifying cannabis to a class b drug and cracking down on those who use prostitutes.

Legalise weed and brothels and be socially liberal and get the yellow vote too, or just lose again.

It might be worth mentioning that, if we were to assume that this poll is remotely accurate, we'd be talking about a massive swing from Tory to Labour (Comres' last poll had a Conservative lead of 11%) in the teeth not only of a budget largely heralded with distate even by the leftist media, but of the Damian Green affair which, from my experience, seems to have gained surprising notoriety amongst not only the politically minded, but also the average man or woman in the street.

In all honesty, a rational person would find the result bordering on the impossible-though this did not prevent The Independent, and even The Telegraph from printing it as gospel. I suspect that even the Indy's journalists balked at that decision- there was no analysis, which would seem odd if there were any confidence in the figures.

David at Home:

I've read your analysis of Con policy and conclude the following:

You know absolutely NOTHING about Conservative policy. Nothing. Nil. Nata. Nowt. Zero.

I mean, seriously... are you being purposefully misleading? Energy: it's Tory policy merely to erect windmills?? For the love of God, did you just ignore the remaining pages dealing with nuclear power, off-shore wave hubs, energy security etc etc etc??

Tax breaks for married couples: you actually present the OPPOSITE to Con policy here, and quote John Major as justification. Now, I like John but if you hadn't noticed, he and Norma retired some years ago and the new chap (David Cameron, in case you'd missed it) SUPPORTS tax incentives for married couples.

Armed forces: have you ever heard of Patrick Mercer and listened to one thing he has ever said - ever? Clearly not.

Economy: the Cons support a fiscal stimulus based on borrowing... yes that's right, that was precisely the thrust of Osborne's PBR response. Oh, hang on - no he opposed it aggressively and the Con media machine has been on overdrive for two weeks telling the public that this govt is making a HUGE error!

EU: we didn't support the Lisbon Treaty, we don't support the Euro, we have FUNDAMENTALLY different positions! Lab want an ever closer union despite Brit opinion, Cons want an economic and political relationship with their most important partner... albeit there's some work to do to row back to that status alone.

Your long diatribe totally misrepresents party policy. And as for your SexEd views, well, what a pile of crap. Sex education is not about young people feeling like weirdos if they're virgins for crying out loud, I've never heard anything so patently ignorent. You'd still have creationism taught given half a chance. The introduction of SexEd coincided with many things... should we perhaps thank it for the inexorable advance of the microchip??

Your comments around Civil Ptnrship are just bigoted and shall be ignored.

OnTheJob @ 08.26 - 'As for Labour being ahead in the south east of England even in Hastings people are sick of them.'

Thats good to hear!!!!

Its also good that ITV News casts seem to be reporting the Damian Green business quite straight, and Tom Bradby is definitely NOT taking the government line.

So maybe, shortly, this will affect an honest Poll!!!

was phone canvassing in london recently.. there is alot of hatred for lab but not a great positive vote for us. worryingly people believe brown is doing a good job at the moment with the economy and even those who dislike him are saying that the problems are global issues and question whether we would be better. quite hard to defend when our spending plans are so simialr, we argue against their big debt (rightly) but find it hard to come up with significant savings. Before his party conference speech everyone i spoke to hated brown.. but the venim seemns to have lessened. Another worry is key seats is that lab voters protesting in 2005 about the iraq war may be coming back and as overseas settlers or immigrants have now been here for 5 years + (a good percentage are lab) then the next election is not in the bag- i can't stress harder- WE MUST DO MORE!

This poll may be a rogue for reasons above or may reflect a the beginnings of a shift. I hope that it does not mark a major change against us.
Undoubrdly when far more are on the dole, they must be told, daily, that Labour lost them their jobs as well as their self induced lack of education and motivation that helped screw their firms up.

Interesting post from Tony Walker. I think 2005 did have a somewhat under-stated Labour core vote, as they felt they could afford a protest about Iraq, tuition fees, and other "Tory policies", so the starting position we need a swing for is a bit more than the raw figures suggest.

Nevertheless, I would be absolutely amazed if this wasn't an outlyer poll, and despite not having a great 2 - 3 months, the majority of polls still show a Conservative healthy lead.

Steven[email protected], 2 Dec,

In spite of your status as Buchinghamshire County Councillor your knowledge of Conservative Party policy is woefully deficient.

The Tory Party policy on energy and the environment is to support the Stern Report which will wreck what remains of our industry. True there are a few a few voices of dissent such as Peter Lilley (an honourable man). See here: http://conservativehome.blogs.com/parliament/2008/11/conservative-cl.html#more

Tax incentives for married couples and pensions for young widows: As I wrote, IDS (another honourable man) has been making the right sort of noises but there are no concrete proposals and certainly no intention to reinstate the widows’ pension for young widows. The track record of the last Conservative government was BAD on both these issues.

Economy: The Conservative leadership did not foresee this crash (which has been obvious in the making for at least three years. I even warned my local Tory MP of it). Now that the policy of “sharing the proceeds of growth” has been scrapped, Tory economic policy is opaque but seems to include encouraging the banks to lend more money in a vain attempt to support a falling house prices and reducing interest rates to fuel a continuing consumer binge.

Armed Services: The Tory party, which when in office, drew up the plan to scrap all the military hospitals, has no published intention to increase defence expenditure and no stagey for Afghanistan other than the open ended commitment of the present government. Patrick Mercer (yet another honourable man) was sacked as a Tory spokesman by your Great Leader.

The EU: The Tory Party Leadership has made no commitment to repeal the Lisbon Treaty if, as expected, in comes into force under the present government.

Education: I notice that you make no comment on the refusal of the Tory leadership to extend the selective education system you have in Buchinghamshire to other areas nor on the terrible waste of time and money that is much of higher education. As far as sex education is concerned, the results show it is either ineffective or counterproductive

Marriage: If it is “homophobic” (a made up word which did not exist 20 years ago) to defend the concept of marriage between man and woman then I will happily continue to be so.

I was a Tory voter once but, with the present leadership, I would no more think of voting for your party than I would for New Labour or the BNP.


I understand policy just fine, thank you. But your latest post shows that you're rowing back on your previous comments.

just visit the party website for crying out loud. Of COURSE sustainable energy is promoted as good policy, but Con policy is explicit in not ruling out nuclear – or even coal – power as and where necessary. I believe that is even the wording used. To suggest that our policy is merely 'build windmills' is utterly ridiculous.

Tax incentives:
ah, you admit you were wrong. That's right, IDS – under commission from David Cameron – has recommended tax breaks for married couples, which was accepted by the leadership. So, I'm glad we agree, though I'm surprised that you are surprised that the party hasn't yet published its electoral manifesto... you're clearly a master strategist.

you seem to be changing tack here. Before you suggest we condone Labouresque levels of borrowing to support a fiscal stimulus, now you attack 'sharing the proceeds of growth', and promoting bank lending. Now, if you don't believe that banks need to loosen their lending 'grip' to get liquidity back into the economy, you are either ignorant or mad. Yes, party policy is to facilitate bank lending – but the focus is on small business, not home buying, despite the importance of this.

This is a solid policy, and is miles away from the public spending/borrowing/Labour rubbish that you accused the party of yesterday.

Liam Fox (shadow defence) was a military doctor for reference. But again, you seem to be using the distant past Tory govt's as a policy book and then, contradictorily, blaming David Cameron for them and claiming they are current policy. The Military Covenant Commission, the commitment to a four-yearly military spending review with the purpose of driving money to the frontline... these are policies that are nothing to do with the rubbish you are quoting.

We are unquivocal on the pound and are unequivocal on our support for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. But you forget, we are in opposition... if the Treaty is ratified (and I don't see how in the time span) then it becomes law, and it'll take a little more than a UKIP ranting to withdraw from it.

I didn't mention this as I was responding to you, and you didn't mention it. Education is central to Conservative policy and the party was clear that in selective areas where demography justified it, new grammar schools would be allowed. However, the focus of the policy is upon a more 'free market' academy system that will offer the International Baccalaureate – a necessary response to this govt's devaluation of our exam system.

Exactly what results do you cite when suggesting that sex education has been ineffective or counter productive... and what criteria for success are you using? A hunch tells me that you are merely using your gut instinct and your version of 'logic'...

Of course it's not homophobic (the etymology of which is Greek I believe...'homo=the same') to support marriage between a man and a woman. And it's worth noting that homophobic is your word, not mine. I said 'bigoted and ignorant'.

David_at_home I don't believe you were ever a Tory voter. I think you were born with UKIP branded across your backside. That's a fine and valid political stance, but if you're going to debate the merits of it at least present our policies accurately and not just what you'd LIKE them to be.

[email protected] 15.17,

Energy (from www.conservatives.com):

“Britain is uniquely placed to be the world’s first low carbon economy: we have the natural resources to generate wind and wave ………There must be no blank cheques for nuclear power; but we need it to remain an option. To enable new nuclear capacity,”

If anything this is even worse than the Labour Party policy. Do you have any idea of the cost of low grade, expensive and intermittent electrical power from wind, waves etc? Do you, and more importantly, do the Cameroons not understand that there is no method of storing large quantities of electrical power when the wind does not blow?

Tax incentives for marriage: Yes there is something being considered (in my very first message I paid tribute to IDS) but it is not specified what and there is no plan to reinstate the widows' pension for young widows.

Economy: There is nothing of substance on www.conservatives.com and no recognition that we require to rebuild our shattered industries. The Cameroons in general and Gorge Osborne in particular, were so busy with their heads firmly in the sand that they did not notice this present financial hurricane until it was upon us so they are hardy fit to assume responsibility for the economy, are they? Nor do they seem to understand the importance of cheap reliable electrical power for all industry.

Defence: There is no commitment to increase defence spending and no sensible way forward about what to do in Afghanistan. Yes, I agree that Liam Fox is an honourable guy (the fourth Tory MP I have commended on this thread) but unfortunately he is not in control.

EU: So what happens if, as expected, the Tories assume power after the Lisbon treaty comes into operation? No-one knows!

Education: The Conservative Party is clear that it will not re-introduce selective education in outside areas (e.g. Bucks) where this is already in force. There is no policy to encourage state school to teach hard subjects (Maths, Science Languages) again in preference to the soft Mickey Mouse stuff which has taken over in so many secondary schools and universities. I’m getting bored with thinking about sex (!!) but if you think sex education in state schools has been a great success then I fear you need to do your homework.

Yes, I was a Conservative voter for every general election up until Maastricht (UKIP did not exist before that time anyway) and for every by-election save one, the election at which Neil Hamilton was first elected for Tatton, and though I would like to claim second sight, in truth, a colleague of mine at work was standing for the Liberals so I voted for him.

This really concerns me. You see, we began this debate because I read your review of party policy and was motivated to explain that nothing of what you said represented Conservative Party policy. Now, however, you are arguing over the merits of actual party policy by responding to my post without recognising that your initial post was deeply fallacious.

There IS a commitment to ensure troops are equipped properly; there IS a commitment to a fundamentally different relationship with Europe, there is a commitment to exploring green energy – but this IS measured by an acknowledgement of the place of nuclear power; there IS a commitment to back the institution of marriage through the tax system; there IS recognition that this govt has destroyed our economy and that we will need to rebuild it through fiscal and monetary discipline, spearheaded by government insurance to increase liquidity; there IS a commitment to ensure that young people can achieve meaningful qualifications (see my earlier point on the International Baccalaureate)...

If you disagree with these measures, then fine. But argue against them, don't just wonder around blaming Cameron for this governments failures... namely under-funding the military, devaluing our examination system, over-borrowing and over-taxing, reneging on its commitment to a Lisbon vote, removing tax breaks for families and so on and so on.

You – and one or two others on here such as Gezmond007 – just stomp around damning the Conservatives for not publishing the election manifesto now, in doing so making Labour and the BBC's job soooooo much easier.

Anything that encourages Brown to "cut and run" is a good thing

Vote for Brown, and get Mandleson.

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