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« Q12: Leadership Election Process | Main | Elsewhere on »



I just think that if Davis were leader and came really close people would be wise to suppose that he would not step down (I think the same is true of Cameron). But a defeat that does not come close I think at this point would be seen as a failure of the strategy chosen by whoever is successful--obviously a huge amount can happen in four or five years but old controversies in the party have now essentially been replaced by a disagreement crystalised by the two remaining candidates. Do we downgrade some of our conservative beliefs, eg tax cuts, to win or do we win by giving some of those beliefs more prominence? Similary, do we speak to a compassion agenda by offering new conservative policies or do we seek to add on other policies, eg more spending, in order to win? If Cameron or Davis lost the next election, or at least failed to come close, I think their opponents within the party would blame the defeat on their approach.

By last leadership bid I take Davis to mean that he thinks he will win the next election or at least come very close, thus removing the demand for a leadership election.


I honestly don't know if Davis meant he would be to old come 2009 to then become PM in 2014 or if he just wouldn't want to mount another leadership bid.

I think you are right about the strategy loyal - its the mods V the rockers - even though Davis is dressing his bid up as 'modern conservatives' and sending out some very mixed messages in the process.

Thing is, you can adapt or even change a strategy - it's much harder to change the perception of an individual. As Neil Kinnock found.

Kinnock changed everything about his Party and in the end realised they had to change him for John Smith.


It is hard to change perception about an individual but the less favoured personality isn't always the one to lose out: Thatcher versus Callaghan is a classic example.

But I think Cameron supporters should be clear about what they mean by "core vote" or "rockers." Davis is not proposing a narrow focus on immigration or the euro or some of the other electorally minor issues upon which the party has recently placed a strong emphasis. Nor is he suggesting that social conservatism should be a big part of the party's agenda. And his tax cutting plans have more in common with previous good election years rather than the approach the party took the last three times. Whether you agree with it or not, Davis is not simply proposing a repeat of the past eight years.


I agree with much of that loyal - but the overall focus of the Davis message is too narrow - made up of issues which have been used to strengthen our core vote - tax cuts, europe, grammar schools.

The outlook, language and tone isn't sufficient to suggest a modernising agenda of the sort 'modern conservatives' implies.

Yes, I agree - Thatcher grew into the role. Problem was she couldn't stop growing! Though once the media label you as a loser (or a thug), its really hard to overcome it. Obviously so - as voters look at you through the eyes of the media.

particularly so in recent times. I'm thinking of Hague.


Well, Cameron wants to exaggerate the extent to which Davis is "core vote" because he thinks that will help him win this election (if Davis isn't "core vote" then why not vote for the person members trust more on policy?). Davis wants to emphasise traditional Tory ideas he doesn't want to abandon later, like tax cuts, because he thinks that will help him win the votes of Tory members.


Because we are electing a leader not a walking manifesto.

I want the whole Party to be part of policy development in the early days of Cameron's leadership. I'm happy and reassured with his policy direction and particulary his modernising message - which I think will attract floating voters for the first time in many years.

We saw last night the folly of Davis having boxed himself in with detailed tax cuts - he wasn't able to say it was a promise. He said it was a strategy. What the hell does that mean? It's falling apart before he's even begun.

Barbara Villiers

Yes, Michael, but we still don't know what David Cameron wants to DO.

If we are just electing a poster boy then I'm afraid he just isn't cute enough.

I'm not sure now we know that Davis will do what he said he would.

I have a 'strategy' for winning the lottery...

Daniel Vince-Archer

"I want the whole Party to be part of policy development in the early days of Cameron's leadership."

Do you honestly believe the whole party will be part of policy development under a Cameron leadership? Surely choosing a man who has yet to offer any specific detail about what he stands for and what he will do as leader will mean giving that man carte blanche to take the party in whichever direction he likes and promote a stream of undesirable policies under the Conservative banner and rebuff any attempt to hold him to account with the line that this is what Conservative members voted for?

(Sorry about the long question - bad English is the bastard offspring of tiredness!)


Well let's hear this strategy anonymous,I need the money!

James Maskell

Use the same numbers each week instead of doing lucky dips. You have a better chance of your numbers coming up that way. I should know, I work at a shop selling the Lottery.

Mark Fulford

James, I hope that's in jest.

James Maskell

I was being serious! Malcolm asked for the strategy for the Lottery. I was just imparting my knowledge. It works though.

Mark Fulford



Thanks James.Didn't realise it was you.Not sure if it makes a difference though!
I think you're right about DC ,he's going to win and this contest is starting to get boring.I hope at the London hustings he answers questions in a more straightfoward way than up to now.

John Moss

On the "working mother" point, the facts speak for themselves. The children of parents who both work have poorer outcomes that those of parents where one stays at home to look after the children, certainly for the first 2-3 years of their lives. we should not be afraid of saying so.

I suggest you look at Friday 11th's Guardian and the piece on the mother who wanted to know about abortion advice to her under-age daughters.

The opening paragraph is truly scary. Some socialist do-gooder basically saying that the notion of parents knowing what is best for their children is "outdated, represents a paternalistic approach and contradicts social changes in Western Europe"

Her name in Nathalie Lieven and she represents the Family Planning Association. I suspect we will see her popping up as a Labour or Lib-Dem candidate sometime soon.


Note that even though its mothers who usually complain about under 16s being given contraception or abortion advice without parents being told it's a "paternalistic approach".
Funny that parents are involved for under age smoking or drinking but not illegal sex - on radio this week someone (possibly the same Nathalie Lieven) said that children should be given contraceptive advice without parental involvement because they were worried their parents would disapprove - d*** right.
If we refused all contraception to children under 16 would there be an increase or decrease in births to under age mothers?

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