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« Fantasy Shadow Cabinet - progress report | Main | Highlights of David Cameron's CBI speech »



Of course DD can't, so his supporters have to ask ourselves: what next? No question, of course, that we must give Cameron full support. But can we in any way influence him in our direction?

I listened to the Humphrys interviews this morning. As a media performance, very good from Cameron. But I'm coming to the point of thinking it all 'weasel words'. If I hear 'share the proceeds of growth' much more, I shall vomit like the ladee in Little Britain. Doesn't he understand that growth comes as a result of a strong economy, which is created by the tax regime? Are there really so few Tories who understand basic economics? (You don't have to agree with what I said, but you have to engage with the issue if you are to be taken seriously).

Maybe it's not that he's ignorant about tax, maybe it's just that he sees this as a temporary necessary subterfuge. I bloody hope so. If so, I still think he's wrong to go about it in this way, but at least it might mean we do get a functioning tax policy for this country sooner rather than later-never.

If it turns out that Cameron is as weak-minded as he sometimes appears (before you all start flaming, I don't think he really can be weak-minded), and if he subverts vital Conservative ideas, then we will not owe him blind loyalty. But I'm sure it won't come to this.


Weren't the 2001 Yougov polls carried out in the same way and weren't they spot on in predicting the winner? Can anyone confirm this?

40% of votes may be up for grabs, but what has Davis pulled out of the has to earn them? In contrast, Cameron has grown into the role since his QT performance.

Tory T

Opinion research reveals one fact very clearly: voters do not believe politicians who promise tax cuts. Worse, they are easily persuaded that "tax cut" equals less money for schools and hospitals. That's the way it is. A Cameron government could change this by "sharing the proceeds of growth" with taxpayers as well as consumers of public servics. But to campaign now on a tax cutting agenda would be classic ''shout louder" politics. Remember - show don't tell.


You're right Michael. YouGov did accurately predict the scale of IDS' 2001 victory. The results of this site's internet poll are also predicting a big win for DC (of which more soon). But, then again, if DD's so-called internet party exists anywhere it exists on!


Editor, that's a good point. There is strong David Davis support on this site. Also, Davis's point infers that his supporters are a hidden mass of members who don't use the internet...which means they are unlikely to be very active activists and not very like most voters who use the internet either at home, at work or in local libraries, cafes etc. So what does this say about Team Davis perceptions of his own supporters? I have an idea.

I'm 99% sure Cameron is going to win this well. But I am hearing that this 40% who haven't voted is causing some in the Party last minute nervousness.

It's pretty hard to imagine with the massive media support, parliamentary support and polling support that we aren't going to elect Cameron.

Oberon Houston

Camerons percieved big lead could actually be very dangerous for him. With so many ballot papers still sitting on the mantlepiece, people might think its in the bag for him and send a message by voting for Davis. Big percieved leads early on in a campaign are, perversly, a huge headache for campaign managers. Thi sis why Cameron is still pushing for every single vote.

henry curteis

Check out Bagehot in this week's Economist. They're really pi$$ed that Cameron has decided to pull out of the EPP saying this is his only mistake.

If anyone can pull off a Conservative programme under the noses of a left-wing Europhile media, Cameron can. He has to sound as if he doesn't really believe in Conservative policies, be charming, answer all those impertinent questions and then be managerial enough if he wins the election (leadership and general) to implement a Conservative programme.

The real clue as to what he really believes is the fact that so many MP's and MEP's from the new localists, eurosceptics and so-called right-wingers, have backed him. They could have backed Liam Fox but went for Cameron.

For those in any doubt as to the EPP pull-out decision, please read
Why the Economist takes it upon itself to advocate membership of a party (EPP) where corruption and croneyism are the norm, is a puzzle I have yet to fathom.

Michael McGowan

And having elected Cameron, then what? Anatole Kaletsky's article in today's "Times" is interesting in two respects: (i) it makes the correct point that neither candidate is in fact offering any radical alternative to New Labour, despite the hyperbole from Camp Cameron about Davis' supposedly extreme rightwing platform; and (ii) shorn of soundbites about "sharing the fruits of growth" etc etc, the Cameron formula is almost impossible to distinguish not just from what Blair is offering but from what Brown is offering too. So how is Cameron going to persuade the electorate in 2009 that they should vote for him rather than Gordon Brown?

Oberon, I think members yet to vote will want to show our opponents and the country that we are united and will vote Cameron on the basis that he looks extremely likely to win.

Sending messages in a leadership contest would be political madness. Surely members will want to give the next leader a clear madate to lead?


I don't think 40% of votes are available. With an 80% turnout that would leave about 1/3 of votes actually available.


Michael M - the argument that to beat a Party which is currently winning elections requires a 'radical alternative' holds no logic.

We need to produce a better alternative.

You don't win the dog show by entering a chicken.

Michael McGowan

Your oh-so-clever-clever answer, Michael, misses the point completely. I didn't say that a "radical alternative" was needed, nor did Kaletsky. That's an invention on your part. But talking of "better alternatives", query whether Do-Nothing Dave's sales pitch in 2009 should be to do the same as Gordon Brown's.....especially as Brown is an experienced politician who has run the economy for nearly a decade quite competently. But then I suppose I am ignoring Cameron's charismatic Midas Touch.....which is going to have millions of floating voters swooning at the polling station as they flock to vote for The Boy Wonder.

Bernard Matthews

Michael: "You don't win the dog show by entering a chicken."

But that assumes that everyone's a dog breeder - what happens if you're a chicken farmer? ie, if you're fundamentally different to the other lot.

The ultimate logical conclusion of accepting the Blair settlement (including the Blair assumptions of what elections are about) is that we all join the Labour Party.

I don't see the point of trying to out-Blair the Blairites. If Conservatives disagree with the Labour agenda, (and I always thought we did) shouldn't we actually offer the voters something different? I mean, if we really mean all that stuff about being in it for the good of the country and all that.

Sean Fear

Am I the only one who has the impression that the Economist's Bagehot column (in fact almost its entire British coverage) is written by Tony Blair, or at any rate, someone pretty close to him?

Daniel Vince-Archer

"You don't win the dog show by entering a chicken."

Like the analogy Michael. To take it a bit further though, you don't win the dog show by entering a clone of the show-off poodle that's won the last three dog shows just at the time when the judges have signalled they're looking for something different.


"it makes the correct point that neither candidate is in fact offering any radical alternative to New Labour" - Did Kaletsky say this or not? I may be missing the point.

If not, what is your point Michael M? If you agree that we wont win the next election by offering a radical alternative, then we've got to offer a better alternative.

There are a million and one ways we can do that, each and every one of them rooted in Conservative values which have always been more in tune with the character of Britain than Labour values.

To suggest that Cameron is going to photocopy Labour's manifesto and push a cushion up his shirt to look like Gord makes for a simple argument on this site, but it isn't all that likely.

Barbara Villiers

Voting for somebody because they are going to win? What kind of nonsense is that?

Jack Stone

Firstly the idea that the polls are wrong because there internet based are nonsense. People who have access to the internet will as past polls have proved vote in exactly the same way as those who do not.
David Cameron is offering something differant from Blair. He seems to me to be offering a politics that gives power from the bottom up not the top down. He listens where Blair lectures. He believes in self responsibility not the nanny state.
He is also offering something differant from the right-wing agenda that Davis is promising and that as lead to defeat at the last two elections but he as no alternative to do this as if the party offers the same right-wing nonsense yet again it will go down to defeat yet again,

Barbara Villiers


When are you going to get those spelling lessons?

James Hellyer

What is this "radical alternative" vs "better alternative" semantic battle? Can't something radical also be better? We tried the soggy middle ground at the last election, and that didn't go too well.

James Hellyer

"He listens where Blair lectures."

Apart from where teachers are concerned. And Conservatives in the most marginal seats. Obviously.


Daniel - Yes, that's a good point. But I'm saying to win the dog show - our poodle must be better than Labour's poodle. If poodles have won the last three dog shows, then we should enter a poodle too, but of the very finest Conservative pedigree!

James, yes a radical alternative could be better - but would it attract enough support to win an election? Probably not. We'd frighten the horses.

I seem to be mentally at some agricultural show today.


Please someone prove to me (Daniel will do): where on earth is this so called evidence that the public are supposedly fed up with Blair and his "style"?

Don't get me wrong, I loath the man and I accept that his own backbenchers are certainly fed up with him. If I was to be perfectly honest, I am SO relieved that we are going to be fighting that glum and uncharismatic Brown at the next election rather than Blair. With all due respect, the public demonstrated overwhelmingly support for Blair at the last GE only a few months ago. I suggest this show of support was more for Blair than the loathesome Labour Party itself that after 3 parliaments is reaching the end of its natural life span.

I think some are confusing Blair's politics, which has admittantly run its course with his political style: American-like image led politics. This is what the public respond to, and for better or worse, is here to stay.

Michael McGowan

Sean, as so often I agree with you: the Bagehot column always works from the premise that New Labour is wonderful and that the Tory Party should model itself as New Labour-lite. Another publication, I'm afraid, whose journalists always want to be on the winning side.

Jack, you ought to read Kaletsky's article. He doesn't criticise Cameron, he merely observes (being after all a New Labour-inclining commentator). But what he does say is that shorn of soundbites such as the ones in your post, there is very little to differentiate David Cameron's ideas from those of T. Blair and G. Brown.


With all due respect, the public demonstrated overwhelmingly support for Blair at the last GE only a few months ago. I suggest this show of support was more for Blair than the loathesome Labour Party itself

Yes on the lowest share of eligible voters of any government defending its record - 21.6% - is hardly a glittering mandate. It is simply that the Conservative Party was too amateurish to harvest lots of dormant votes.

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