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« Social justice at the heart of the '48 hour push' | Main | Fill The Empty Chair campaign »



Appealing to what you so engagingly call 'the bottom 25% of society' may well mean peddling a right wing agenda. Weren't these the very voters we chased with our hysterical obsession with imimgration and asylum in May? The price of that was a further decline in our support amongst the critical AB voters and the young.

How can one characterise policies such as referenda on 'repatriating' sovereignty from the EU and uncosted tax cuts, except as right wing? They're not exactly Liberal Democrat are they?


"Among Conservative voters, David Cameron is ahead:
by 45 to 11 on who would be most likely to win a General Election;
by 42 to 15 on who would be 'more in touch with ordinary people';
by 36 to 12 on who would unite the Party;
by 33 to 14 on 'bold, compelling policies on tax, economy and public services'."

Hurray - Cameron's campaign email makes an appearance! ;o) You're absolutely right, michael, but I do think we should be wary of this polling given just how erratic it really is. For me, the reasoning behind the need to have Cameron is much more convincing.

"Appealing to what you so engagingly call 'the bottom 25% of society' may well mean peddling a right wing agenda."

There is appealing to them and *saying* you are appealing to them; two totally different things. That is why we need Cameron.

Sean Fear

Three points Gareth.

1. Our support rose among voters aged 18-34 on May 5th.

2. We need support from all sections of society to win. AB voters aren't the only people whose opinion counts, nor even the most important section of the electorate.

3. If we wanted Lib Dem policies, most of us would be members of the Lib Dems.

Jonathan Sheppard

Hang on - you think you appeal to the botton 25% - the most vulnerable by being right wing? Come on guys!!

And Gareth - I believe that Cameron's view on the EPP hardly categorises him as a Euro enthusiast (and quite rightly too). And surely even though he comments that he wants to share the proceeds of growth between tax cuts and spending, Cameron also admits that taxes are too high and should be cut.

So Gareth - does that make Cameron a right winger too?

These classification are far too blunt in todays political world!


I slightly disagree with Sean Fear because of AB voters.

AB voters as a group are increasing, the Tory main groups of the lower middle-classes and the retired are shrinking.

AB voters have more money which the party needs to harvest.


We dropped to 3rd place among younger voters in May. A disastrous position.

The seats we need to win contain disporportionately high proprtions of AB voters, who have always been the bed rock of our support. They are much more likely to vote. They are, on the whole the opinion formers who make the political 'weather'. I don't want my party to become the 'red neck' party that appeals to male voters over 50, in social classes C2 and DE.

It was tiresomely predicatble that someone would say I was advocating adopting Lib Dem policies. Re-read my post and it is clear that is not the case.


Cameron under fire after criticising charity poster
By Andy McSmith
Published: 09 November 2005
David Cameron, the Conservative leadership candidate, has infuriated a Third World charity by accusing it of helping to turn "profit" and "free trade" into dirty words.

Mr Cameron attacked a Christian Aid poster that compares free trade to a tsunami, suggesting that it was helping to foster what he called Britain's "cultural hostility to capitalism".

He also appeared to take a swipe at Sir Richard Branson, who put in a bid to run the National Lottery, promising that it would be non-profit-making.

"For too many people, profit and free trade are dirty words," he said. "You can see it when our most popular capitalist entrepreneur thinks the best way to win his bid for the National Lottery is to make it 'non-profit'. You can see it in the Christian Aid poster that compares free trade to a tsunami."

But Christian Aid retorted that Mr Cameron's "ill-advised gibe" had completely missed the point of its campaign.

"Christian Aid is not anti-free trade and we have no objection to profit," a spokesman said.

"What we do say is that the way that trade rules have been stacked against poorer countries is neither 'fair' nor 'free' and that developing nations should be entitled to the same measure of protection that developed countries employed on their way to becoming rich.

"We make the comparison with the tsunami to highlight the sad fact that somewhere in the world a child dies needlessly of poverty-related diseases every three seconds."

Kate Green, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, said: "Mr Cameron is right to talk about freeing people from the shackles of poverty, but he needs to explain what he would do to achieve this.

"Compassionate conservatism may be a good soundbite but without a well-thought out approach to tackling the causes and consequences of poverty, David Cameron risks being accused of empty rhetoric."


By appearing to make it up as he goes along (with the exception of education) Cameron is showing himself to be rather gaff prone. Too much more of this and it will unnerve those of us who are optimistic and hopeful that a fresh face will help reconcile voters with the party.


"If his euroscepticism is genuine and one can only believe that it is"

I doubt this. But even if it is, is it practical? He will leave a number of Tory MEPs behind in the group eager to keep hold of their "positions of power" in the Parliament. The ex-EPP MEPs would then proceed to confine their criticism of the European project to the social chapter. Reminds me of the evil revolutionaries who got into Versailles and then did not know what to do. Lots of noise and shouting and then silence.


Gareth you are right. Even Lib Dem voeters don't want Lib Dem policies!

When people vote they are making a statement about their own values and aspirations.

The Party which gets the support of AB voters is the Party which is the natural home for aspiration and ambition.

We've spent the last 8 years being perceived as the natural home for grumpy old men. Defined by what we are against rather than what we are for. The rip up speed humps party.

Cameron understands that we've got to be more idealistic and optimistic. Only them will people say, yes I'm comfortable with the Conservatives. The Bush thing of what's good for me and good for my neighbour.

Populism consolidates current support it doesn't attract new support.

Peter Harrison

I am a little surprised at the number of people who think this poll is inconsistent. There are some minor oddities (and there must be some questions about its accuracy) but on the whole it is clear:

- Davis is, according to this poll, in the lead amongst those who vote Conservative
- Cameron is, according to this poll, in the lead amongst floating voters (hence the fact that he comes out much better against GB than does DD - that part of the poll includes ALL voters, not just those who vote Conservative)

This poll tells us nothing about who is in the lead amongst party members. Speaking as a neutral (and someone who doesn't have a vote anyway), I think this poll is bad news for Davis as it tends to confirm the Cameron campaign's view that a Cameron led Conservative party is more likely to win the next General Election.

We shouldn't be about getting power at all costs, but without power we can't bring our policies into effect. We need a leader who:

- has the right policies
- can win the next General Election

We don't want to go down the Labour route of having electing a leader who wins elections but politically belongs in another party. I don't think that is a danger as both of the Davids seem to agree on basic Conservative principles. Others may, of course, disagree.

I can't say I'm surprised by the results of this poll. DD's policy announcements have clearly been aimed at the core vote. Yes, these are things that matter to most people, but they are not currently the most important issues as far as non-Conservative voters are concerned. They don't decide how they will vote based on these issues. We can (and should) argue that they should, but the fact is that, right now, other issues are viewed as being more important.

Winning the next General Election requires us to regain the lead on issues where Labour are currently viewed as being ahead, or at least narrow Labour's lead enough to neutralise the issue, and set the political agenda such that our issues (i.e. the ones where we are perceived as being ahead of Labour) are at the front of people's minds.

The question for the party should be which candidate is best able to achieve this. Right now the answer would appear to be DC but it may be that DD can change that with some good performances on Newsnight, etc. and some non-core vote policy announcements. The next few weeks will be interesting!

Sean Fear

"I don't want my party to become the 'red neck' party that appeals to male voters over 50, in social classes C2 and DE."

What a revealing comment.

GOP man

Gareth said: "during the 2000 primaries, when things went badly for Bush at the start, he also abandoned his centrist stance and pandered to Republican die hards. His ratings amongst Repubicans improved at the same rate that his support amongst voters declined. DC should not make the same error."

I'm a dumb colonial. Remind me who became President in 2000. Is he the same guy who won in 2004?

Sean Fear

Yes, Gareth would say he got the support of the "wrong sort" of voters.


Well said Peter!!! Though I'm not sure Davis making non core vote announcements would help - because you then start sending out mixed messages.

The narrative has got to be clear andthe strategy consistent. Davis has adopted a populist narrative and core vote strategy, boxing himself in with policy details and excluding the Party in the process.

He's got to stick with what he's chosen. The irony could be that Cameron is equally consistent with a narrative and strategy which would win us an election, but lose him the leadership race.


It is indeed revealing and is meant to be. It's at the heart of the choice we're being asked to make.

I'm a metropolitan liberal and proud of it. I believe in economic and social liberalism. I want to see a tory party that trusts people to make decisions about their economic well being AND their personal well being.

I don't want to be in a party that is grumpy, backward looking, ill at ease with the world as it is and socially reactionary.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Remind me who became President in 2000."

I believe Al Gore got the most votes and would have been declared winner in Florida (and therefore have secured victory in the electoral college) if Bush's cronies hadn't stepped in. And I say this as somebody who supported Bush at the time.

GOP man. Put the Bush analogy to one side and take Hague who started by trying to reach out and ended on a core vote strategy to save his own skin. The result was one extra seat net having lost 171 four years earlier!

Howard did the same. We went from the British Dream to an Asylum & immigration scream! Our share of the vote didn't budge.


The 2000 election was effectively a dead heat, when Bush ought to have romped home. He saw his lead steadlily dwindle down to zero.

You are indeed a dumb colonial if you think that the British electorate is anything like the American. 50% of the electorate here do not describe themselves as born again Christians. Abortion is a non-issue here. We have no equivalent of the virulent hostility to central govt. that exists in swathes of America. We have no bible belt and no deep South. A Bush agenda here would make Michael Foot look populist.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"You are indeed a dumb colonial if you think that the British electorate is anything like the American."

It was you that first made the comparison, Gareth.

Sean Fear

Gareth, how would you go about appealing to voters in places like Enfield North, Harlow, Swindon, Crawley, Dudley, or are they unworthy of your attention?



Your list consists of seats we failed to win in 2001 or 2005, despite vigorously pursuing a populist right wing agenda. Did the voters in these seats reject us because we were insufficiently right wing? I think not.

We'll win these seats, together with Birmingham Edgbaston, Bristol West, the Leeds seats, Battersea, Cardiff North etc etc, by fighting and winning on the centre ground, where the electorate is.

Sean Fear

After all, these are all key marginal seats, which have very large numbers of working class voters with such horribly socially conservative views.

"You are indeed a dumb colonial if you think that the British electorate is anything like the American."

It was you that first made the comparison, Gareth."

True. I made the point that, in 2000, Bush squandered his lead amongst the electorate as whole in order to win the primaries. That decision nearly cost him victory. To retort, as GOP man did, with the inevitable 'Bush won anyway' point, implies that we can chase rightwards but still win. I was merely pointing out that an electorate that considers universal health care as akin to state communism is not really like our own.

Sean Fear

My list contains seats we achieved good swings in on May 5th.

We won't win them though if we just write off a huge chunk of the electorate in the way you seem to be advocating. The electorate aren't attracted by social snobbery.

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