Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Message to Tim: Let's Be Patient While We Build a New Conservative Coalition

Yesterday ConservativeHome's Tim Montgomerie wrote a thought-provoking piece for CommentIsFree on why David Cameron can't afford to alienate the Right. Tim is not pleased about the EPP announcement and regards it as a breach of promise. I decided to pen a response, which has just been put up on CommentIs Free. Do read Tim's piece HERE before you read mine. Both are attracting some interesting comments...

Tim Montgomerie is a man the Cameron leadership listens to. His ConservativeHome blog has established itself as the pre-eminent British Conservative website on the net, and his influence now extends far beyond the Conservative Christian Fellowship, with whom he was once exclusively associated. Last week, so sensitive was William Hague about the announcement on leaving the EPP, that he spent half an hour briefing Tim, knowing he was deeply sceptical about the timetable of the departure. I doubt very much whether Hague spent half an hour briefing any of the lobby journalists, but he knew that Tim Montgomerie's reaction on ConservativeHome would help shape the reaction of Party activists in general.

As it turned out, fewer toys were thrown out of the ConservativeHome pram than might have been expected, there were no histrionics from Tory MEPs like Dan Hannan, and apart from a few plaintiff squawks about "broken promises" David Cameron and William Hague can consider it a job well done. When he was leader of the opposition Hague used the phrase "concede and move on". This was a classic re-enactment.
In his
article yesterday on Comment is free Tim Montgomerie took the Cameron leadership to task for its seeming unending ability to announce policies which alienate core Conservative supporters. Tim asserted that it would be impossible to win an election without them and it was about time to pay heed to what they want, as well as the tree hugging, hoodie hugging liberals who seem to be the constant target of the Cameron tanks at the moment. Tim is right, up to a point, but he's also perhaps a little too impatient.

Having been part of David Davis's leadership campaign there are few people in Conservative politics who believe me to be a natural Cameroon. And like Tim and most other Conservative activists there are things which David Cameron has announced which cause me to twitch a little. But for the most part, we keep our noses to the grindstone and don't rock the boat. Why? Because we know that it's necessary and we understand the strategy.

Right from the day he took over the leadership, David Cameron's strategy has been to make the Conservatives more attractive to the centre ground - to the 10 per cent of swing voters who will decide the result of the next election. It's no good appealing to them in the six months before an election. It had to start immediately. Much of the strategy revolves around Cameron himself - he's the key to the image of the whole party. The polls show that the strategy has been very successful and people's views of both Cameron and the Conservative Party have changed beyond recognition. All polls show the party 8-10 points above where it was a year ago, with Cameron easily outstripping both Blair and Brown in popularity.

Where Tim Montgomerie is right, is when he says that David Cameron should not see these extra supporters from the centre ground as a replacement for the 3 or 4 per cent he may lose on the right. For the Conservatives to succeed at the next election, both groups need to be wooed. So the challenge for Cameron is clear - to attract the extra 8-10% from the centre but keep the right on board too.

For let's be under no illusion, the right have other places to go. And if they see the Conservative Party abandoning them they may not just sit on their hands, they may vote for UKIP, the English Democrats or the myriad of other right of centre alternatives.

In his final paragraph Tim Montgomerie writes: "Tory strategists seeking inspiration should look at the world's most successful conservative parties. Conservatives in Australia, America and Canada have won elections by enthusing the aspirant working class voter as well as by reassuring the metropolitan Starbucks voter. David Cameron is the most charismatic politician of his generation and he has time on his side. He should use that time to forge a more balanced strategy."

Bang on. And the beauty of it is that this needn't be done using the shrill language of the last two elections. Cameron can play to his strengths and appeal right across the board in a way that neither Gordon Brown or Ming Campbell can. I hate to say it, but in this regard, David Cameron is indeed our Tony Blair. Blair managed to build a coalition of support in the last three elections from people of both sexes, across all classes and all social groups. That's David Cameron's challenge, and those of us on the right need to be a little less impatient with him as he gets on with the job and creates the new Conservative coalition.


Paul Linford said...

But why are you and Tim, who each run excellent and very widely-read Conservative blogs, choosing to have what is by and large and internal Tory debate on another blog, read by people who mainly vote Lib Dem and Labour?

Anoneumouse said...

"David Cameron is indeed our Tony Blair"

So David Davis was wrong yesterday, when he opined on identity theft.

"ridiculous contention"


Anonymous said...

Maybe l can't think for myself on this occasion......but l agree with you 100%

Ellee Seymour said...

I agree with all this, but the trick is being able to connect with voters from all backgrounds, appearing genuine but tough too, make people feel enthused and interested with rock solid policies, instead of turned off by spin and sleaze. We have a looooong way to go yet.

Iain Dale said...

Paul, fair point, but I suspect Tim and I both enjoy winding the Guardian glitterati up by talking Tory politics. Look at the comments. It works.

Anonymous said...

You still don't get it, do you Iain?
Cheering the label on the tin just because it says 'Conservative' is a pretty dim stance to take, especially since the contents show little evidence that there are any Tory ingredients in the mix.

To repeat: IMO there is a danger in that the CP is showing signs of being willing to sacrifice principles for power. In exactly the same way that Labour did in the 90s. With the additional danger that the outcome will be paralleled too.

"Just go along with this, that, or the other folks. Don't worry, it'll be all right, after all we really are Conservatives, aren't we? It's just that it's better if we don't have any Conservative policies."

To put it bluntly: I do not trust Cameron. He's a flannel merchant, a trimmer, an opportunist, with disposable promises, with fluffy sound-bites for the media but with castrating shears at the ready in case anyone mentions party democracy.

And if conservative policies are a no-no, how can he call himself a Conservative?

Anonymous said...

'David Cameron is indeed our Tony Blair'.
Tony Blair,is a liar.Will David Cameron be the same ?

Anonymous said...

Iain, you write:

"And like Tim and most other Conservative activists there are things which David Cameron has announced which cause me to twitch a little. But for the most part, we keep our noses to the grindstone and don't rock the boat. Why? Because we know that it's necessary and we understand the strategy"

I ask the questions 'necessary' to what end? And which ‘strategy’? Necessary for the Tories to win the next election or necessary in order to implement Conservative policies? – the one doesn’t necessarily follow the other, vis the last nine years of NuLabour rule. Is the strategy you refer to ‘ends justify means’?

I fear you are falling into Blair’s trap when he assumes that because he considers himself well meaning and has strong lines of communication with God any ‘means’ justify the ‘end’ of winning the next election. After that he and God will do a pretty straight sort of job. So, if Dave has to persuade/deceive a slug of Guadianistas with tales of hugging hoodies etc. in order to gain power – that’s ok. He’ll be able to withdraw from the EU, cut taxes, reduce the size of Government etc., just as soon as he gets the keys to No. 10 (nudge, nudge, wink, wink but don’t mention the C. word).

What shall it profit a ManChild to inherit the keys to No. 10 and forfeit his integrity?

The Remittance Man said...


I agree with the sentiment, but I still believe DC is turning off his base, without gaining anything at the centre. At least that's what the B&C by-election result looked like to me. I mean where did those 11,000 plus Conservative voters go?

I very much doubt they went over to Labour (which managed to loose 8,000 of its own supporters somewhere) and even if we assign the LibDem and UKIP gains entirely to disatisfied Tories (which is unlikely) that still leaves nearly 9,000 former voters who didn't turn out for the party this time.

Yes, the party has to extend its appeal beyond its traditional supporters but not at the expense of loosing that base. I think the current plan has merit, but needs to be reworked with a view to reassuring the party's core voters. And there may not be as much time as people imagine.

Say Tony is forced out earlier than he would like. Any new leader would face demands to confirm his mandate and may consider it wise to go to the country early. This would especially be the case if he felt that giving the Tories more time would only strengthen their chances of beating him at the scheduled election in late 08 or 09.

Anyway, that's just a thought.


Anonymous said...

where's the wind up? the CiF comments on your article looked quite OK to me

Anonymous said...

Well, there is a hard psephological fact to back up the strategy of pursuing voters in the centre ground, and it is that every vote won from your closest challenger is worth two lost to an also-ran.

Consider a hypothetical lab/con ultra-marginal with ukip also running - vote shares nominally lab 5,000, con 5,000, ukip 500.

If you lose 100 to ukip, then without any other changes Lab win with majority of 100.

However, if that 100 are matched one-for-one with lab->con switchers, then the vote share is now lab 4900, con 5000, ukip 600. i.e. con win with majority of 100.

So electorally, the real danger isn't loss of support at the far-right, but rather making sure that core voters are still sufficiently motivated to turn up and vote for you (witness Bromley - ok, this was a bye-election, but the danger is plain).

This isn't to say that there are no limits (for instance, it is difficult to imagine us advocating renationalisation of key industries), but if faced with the choice of alienating potential UKIP supporters and alienating potential lab switchers, then unfortunately you have to go with the risk of alienating the right.

Anonymous said...

There is certainly a problem in being all things to all men and there is a great danger for Conservatives to try to ape the middle ground of New Labour. It’s not working for New Labour any more and people are bored and dissatisfied with it. Forget the lies, deceit, corruption and anything else that New Labour have done, the formula is spent, dead, deceased and trust in anything other than straight forward, common sense policies is not going to work with the general voter. My advice, for what it’s worth, is to get out of the trees and see the real world …and for heaven’s sake stop even thinking about how popular Dave seems to be IN COMPARISON to Blair. Any leader would be popular against that trottel (Austrian German expression for fool, baboon etc.). The real test will only come during an election campaign and then it’ll be too late.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Gary Elsby, you really should get out more, boasting about scoring points on internet message boards is very sad.

strapworld said...


ALL the ukip supporters I met in my short time with ukip once supported the conservatives. Although they are led by knaves and fools (At the moment)please do not underestimate the damage Cameron is doing with his leftie Blairite views.

I am afraid dear Iain your Power at any price is just not good enough. You either have principles or not.

People want a Government that will stop mass immigration. Have a Strong and effective Defence Policy. A fully paid and effective armed services. A law and order policy whereby the Police actually police and are not glorified social workers. A government that will scrap the discredited Human Rights Act and The Health and Safety Regs AND get us out of Europe. We are denied our say on so many things and to see the Conservative party my father lived and died for becoming LabourLite and people like yourself say accept it if we get power! Then all is lost.

iain, please discover your principles again please.

Anonymous said...

Gary Elsby,I didn't know you had been banned by Conhome.I have to commend Tim Montgomorie on his decision not because you are not a Conservative, there are plently of those people from both left and right who post regularly but because you are a boring twat who makes the same points again and again and again whatever the subject of the thread.

Anonymous said...

There is no coalition. The Cameroons are in control and will crush dissent.

Anonymous said...

Afraid I don't agree with you Malcolm.

The truth is that I posted up privately a story that basically disgusts me of the Conservative party and CCO.

This afternoon, I posted to Guido the same story with proof (this time)but I'm not holding my breath on him dishing the shit on his mates like he does on trivial stuff on Labour and Prescott.

Guido is sitting on a story that I believe should be on the 9.o'clock news.

I've been sitting on it for days gathering evidence.

That's why the son of God banned me from his site, not because I bored him with my view of EPP withdrawal.

I have, however, noticed your responses to other bloggers and regard you as quite nasty.

My guess is you are white, middle aged, anti EU and are hopping mad about your own party and everyone elses. You could do a better job, if only they would listen.....etc..

Tim, Guido and 'william' know that this story is a disgrace to politics and all tories will shit themselves once out.


Anonymous said...

I agree with most of what you say, Iain, and I'd say that the Cameron tactics are pretty secure. There aren't many on the traditional right who would vote UKIP in a general election and risk another 5 years of Labour, just as there aren't many on the traditional left who will vote Respect, no matter how out of sympathy with the leadership either camp is.

Speaking as someone who is just the type of voter that David Cameron needs to persuade, I am highly impressed by the tacticsand the presentation, less convinced by the underlying philosophy. I don't just want to save the planet and hug hoodies (though that speech was far better than was reported), I want a Government that understands that as a general rule I know better what to do with my own money than it does. So far, David Cameron has given few clues that he agrees with this philosophy.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same story as our MP's defecting to Labour Gary

Chris Palmer said...

Gary, you seem to have a rather inflated opinion of yourself.

Firstly, you were banned because you were rude, continually abusive and unconstructive - continually ignoring instructions and disregarding topics set in favour of others.

Clearly you did this because you are either, a complete moron or looking to cause trouble - or indeed, both.

But, if you do manage to change your IP address and revisit ConservativeHome, we'll be waiting.

Anonymous said...

The problem with all this 'core vote' stuff is that it is used by rightists to suggest that they are in the majority. They are not, they are not even a large minority of the Tory party and the Tory supporting voters. They have tried for the last fourteen years to take control and have an agenda that would leave us, has left us, in the wilderness.

The favourite tactic is to quote Margaret Thatcher as some sort of totem carved in their own likeness. They have helpfully ( for New Labour) regurgitated Labour propaganda and with the cement of their own hysteria have created a misleading pastiche of her views and the reasons for her success. They forget her success was based on popular support earned by very careful and very cautious policy development. Her fall and the party's nadir came from talking to ourselves and forgetting the reasons for three electoral victories, leading to the unedifying spectacle of a party that was so out of touch that it really thought its corruption, squabbling presumptuousness and incompetence would be submerged by a loathing of the EU. Pace 1997.

So the motto has to be ' never again out of touch and out of contention'. That doesn't mean dumping key concepts or values, rather it is gathering support through placing those values in an up-to-date context that the mass of voters, the majority of whom were not even voting in the heady days of 1979, can relate to.

Building a coalition for government (and we need that and not just a coalition to win an election) requires gaining and, sadly, losing supporters. If the wingnut division of ConservativeHome want to go to UKIP (twinned with the BNP) then that is sad but not unexpected.

I will stay with the party that has had environmental concerns, better state services and social justice in every manifesto since the Second World war, a party that has had success under a variety of leaders that related to the voters and matched the mood: wets like Heath, and clever, determined and careful politicians like Thatcher, statesmen who were looking into state medical services for all and an old age pension well before the First World War (Churchill) and radicals that recognised how the world had changed (like Macmillan – and what a lambasting he got from the wingnuts about 'throwing the Empire away').

Tories are the sensible bedrock of the country that abhors extremism and untamed aggression, that likes its politicians to be reasonable people, with policies that move to a more self disciplined society that has responsibilities as well as rights but wants good public services and less bossiness and greed.

Europe and the EPP come well down their agenda even if they do know or care what it means. Anyone who thinks that grammar schools are a crusade to set the country alight, or causing chaos in the EU machinery will appeal to the normal conservative supporter is really out of touch.

And drawing dodgy conclusions from Bromley without any evidence to back it up is not going to make it so.

Chris Palmer said...

"I've been sitting on it for days gathering evidence." - Gary Elsby

Why don't you just go to the papers then Gary?

Anonymous said...

"Today's Yorkshire Post reports that David Cameron believes that Tory fortunes in the north are still blighted by "difficult decisions that had to be taken... in the 1980s" - particularly with regard to the mining industry. Speaking to a lunch of regional political editors the Tory leader admitted that the party had still got a lot more to do to win back northern seats. "These things take time," he said.

If I remember correctly the Miners Strike took place in 1984. The Tories were still in power in 1997,
which I feel rather disproves Cameron's theory about northern seats; or was it not till 1997 that the miners finally fell in and realised what had happened in 1984 and so decided to make Major responsible. Another case of the Tories fooling themselves just as with their denial of the effect of the EU and immigration on voters.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Now wake up all of you.
Over twenty-five years of uninterrupted Thatcherism have destroyed public faith in the party system. Do you really think the ordinary punter cannot see DC's new populism is a pale copy of Blair's "hey, call me Tony" posturing. And let's face it, neither of them actually has a set of policies. Was it Disraeli who said "there are no principles only expedients? Well the public has caught on at last.
Forget the 3 or 4% of Consetrvative voters who might go to UKIP if they live long enough, worry about the 30 or 40% who might go Lib Dem, Green or None Of The Above.

The Remittance Man said...


I wouldn't say that 11,000 plus voters (basically the majority held by the previous incumbent) is insignificant.Okay, Bromley and Chiselhurst is in real golf club Tory country but so are a lot of other supposedly safe seats.

And if Dave's strategy were working surely the Tories would have gained some votes from the centre to at least balance the ones he might alienate on the right. There was no evidence of this. The party lost damn near all its majority (which I'd guess comes from its traditional supporters who simply stayed at home) and gained sweet fa from the centre. Worse they lost 800 to UKIP. The Labour voters who have had a belly full of Blair either stayed at home or voted LibDem.

I don't deny Iain's contention that the current bunch of successful Conservative Parties in the Anglosphere did so by appealing outside their traditional support base, but I'll wager a pound to a pinch of poo they didn't alienate that same base either.

The Australians, the Canadians and the Americans managed to keep their traditional supporters on side AND win new voters.

If the Tory party is ever to get back into office and undo the damage done to Britain by Blair, sitting around waiting for him to make one mistake too many is not a strategy for success. Dave and the Cameroon Klatch need to find policies that will both draw in new supporters and keep the old ones on side and voting.

The last British Conservative leader to manage that was Mrs Thatcher. Maybe old style Thatcherism isn't the way to go nowadays, but I'd suggest that neither is Dave's touchy feely tree hugging.

Anonymous said...

I guess I must be one of the often derided "core" Tory voters whose views and vote do not seem to matter.

Well that is fine by me. I first registered Cameron about a year before the election when the BBC reported on one of his speeches. It alarmed me then and reading a transcript of the speech which his secretary sent me did nothing to instill confidence. I am afraid to say it has been downhill since then.

I have not and will not renew my party membership. I have always voted to return a Tory to Parliament and even persuaded my former Labour party activist wife to vote Tory at the last election. As things stand we shall not vote for a Cameroon Conservative Party nor I suspect shall members of our family.

Anonymous said...

Mr Elsby,

Why can you inform us of this great scandal here? Or send it to a non-Tory newspaper?

Seeing as Guido is supposedly a libertarian I find it hard to believe he'd be keen on Cameron's Tories.

Anonymous said...

Gary, you really are living in another world. Are you trying to tell me that you are a professional Toey watcher (presumably paid by the Labour party), you have information to finish the Tories but instead of handing it over the the Labour Party communications unit, you send it to Tory bloggers!!

Chris Palmer said...

Ha ha Gary. You are a complete ninny. Denial first, and now the threats of hacking my computer. Go on. Try it. Make my day.

Anonymous said...

"hate to say it, but in this regard, David Cameron is indeed our Tony Blair. Blair managed to build a coalition of support in the last three elections from people of both sexes, across all classes and all social group"

So what? Why do you care about “a coalition of support”? Why do you want power if not to do what you /think/ to be right? If you can't get elected because few want what you believe – well… that’s democracy isn’t it?

The alternative (the NuLab / NuTory) model seems to be figure out what people want and offer just that. This is just grubbing for power for its own sake. I can’t see the point of trying to get power to do thing I don’t actually, deeply, genuinely believe in them. I’d much rather be in opposition, actually opposing and fighting the things I disagree.

Anonymous said...

Gary Elsby
May I apeal to you better side because I know everybody has one. What is wrong with waiting until there is a DC government before ranting like a cross between Tony Ben and Atila the Hun.

There is not so much wrong with Tony Blair. It is his party and the Starlinist statist authoritarian Marxist crazys in his party that are our problem not one man. I dont instictively lie about anything, but if I had his party as my "friends" lieing is the only way I could keep my job. How else is he supposed to raise money for his party post clause 4? The Tories already have all the cream. We have been at it a lot longer than Labour.

As for the classic, "they are all as bad as each other stuff". You are right. I dont trust any politicians, infact I dont trust anyone except my mother, I sugest you start thinking the same.

Making the statements you do are simply imature rude and silly. Do you think you are the only person to work out that politicians lie?As you say Disraeli worked it out over a hundred years ago.

To get elected DC needs 43% of the popular vote at least. Have you ever been in a group where even 43% of people agreed about anything for long? Apart from the fact that it was your turn to buy the next beers.

Politics for a vaste magority of ordinary people has always been electing the better of two evils, thats just HOW IT IS. All the childish rantings in the world , will not ever change this FACT.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

May I say that I have not read such a load of well thought out common sense for a very long time. I just wish I had written that lot myself,Bloody WELL DONE.

I am a Thatcherite from my tit to my toe. I have always considered MT as the true Conservative liberal. The greatest liberater of the human spirit in modern political history.

However I know that a lot of people that have been watching to much BBC TV for the last 30 years or so will not understand a word of what you have written.

Anonymous said...

Reading this thread has really convinced me that something has to be done within the Conservative Party to make the leaders see sense. There has been a lot of near hytericcal comment about the right wing being out of touch, but that is plainly silly comment. I don't give a damn about the right wing and I'm not a hanger, or flogger. We do however have to reach the people and believe me the antics of Dave Cameron so far are so far off target to be almost embarrassing. I have to say that many Conservatives in the past have failed to connect with the will of the people because they have been so far removed from ordinary folk as chalk from cheese. It is a fact that at least 63% of any population are, sorry to say it, simple living folk. These were the former Labour voters, but are rather fickle in their voting habits, most of them thinking it is a waste of time. Catch the imagination of these people and you've cracked it. Start talking to them about being kind to Hoodies and you'll most likely get a smack in the mouth. Likewise if you start telling them about icebergs melting. They're just not bloody well interested. I've done enough canvassing amongst these people and they are the people to touch. Blair has screwed their jobs, lied to them, cheated them and they are just waiting for someone without a plum in his mouth to speak with them on their level, but there's not a lot of Tories that could, or would do that!

strapworld said...

David Kendrick.

Hornsey fame?


Iain Dale said...

Pulsar, so you want Labour to be reelected then?

bt - you are deliberately misinterpreting what I wrote. At no time did I say we should ditch our principles.

malcolm, when I said that I meant that like Tony Blair, David Cameron has a reach across society which IDS and MH did not have.

Iain Dale said...

Gary Elsby is henceforth banned from making comments on this site.

He has encouraged law breaking and frankly has just become a bit of a bore.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Phone Cam Foolery. Cameron is a loser. As far as I am concerned, he is coasting on Empty.

And even if the Tories get in, as PCF notes, the electorate will vote them out again fast as they are hit by the cold reality that they voted in another Tony Blair, whom they loathe.

David Davis is a winner.

Dave did a Tonyesque trick at their last Conference. He gave a speech without notes. So how does this piece of cheap theatricality qualify him to be the prime minister of one of the world's most important countries? It was as pointless and empty as any of the Blairesqueries we have grown so nauseated by over the past nine years.

The next election will signal the collapse of the major parties and anyone who doesn't think the middle class conservative thinker will not desert to UKIP (Nigel Farage is far more impressive than is Dave) and even the BNP.

Dave may get some Lib-Dems with his Huskie Pics and his windmill on his roof, but he will alienate core Tories who want to see socialist ideas rooted out of schools, political correctness (thought fascism) clubbed to death, the public sector slice 'n' diced, the destruction of the family halted and reversed, a moratorium on immigration and 'asylum seekers', and illegals sent back (or sent anywhere).

Chris Palmer said...

"Gary Elsby is henceforth banned from making comments on this site.

He has encouraged law breaking and frankly has just become a bit of a bore
." - Iain Dale

Nice one Iain!!

Anonymous said...

Thank god he's gone. The man's an utter loon. Wonder what this evidence he claims to be sitting on actually is?

At least if someone hacks into our computers, we'll know who it is.

Anonymous said...

Verity and PCF speak for me too.

Cameron seemed a desperate attempt by the party to emulate a Blair-style leader. (Why!?) Many were prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, but oh dear... Big Bloody Mistake.

What a lot of people want is someone to just do the basics - no wanky glacier jaunts or hoodie love-ins.

In no particular order...

1. Stop taxing ordinary people 'til the pips squeak. And then pissing all the money away.

2. Educate kids to at least be able to read, write and do basic maths by the time they leave school. This may involve some discipline. How Victorian.

3. Locate and (gasp!) lock up criminals. For repeat offenders, make this for a long time.

4. Have a referendum on our membership of the EU. And leave if the demand is there. It is only a political organisation, after all.

5. Have a reliable, safe and accountable health service. Realise that this paid-for service is not a sacred cow that is above criticism.

6. Stop the Orwellian PC thought policing that now pervades our whole society.

7. Halt unlimited immigration.

So who do such people vote for?

Lab? No.
Con? Er, I think not.
Lib? (Hell, no!)

Not much left, is there?

And people wonder why the electorate dislike politicians and don't turn out to vote.

The Conservatives should be light years ahead of Labour in the polls. I cannot recall a more sleazy, disliked and just plain USELESS government.

Bill Kearns said...

It is important to remember that party members are a small percentage of the total electorate.

The membership (for instance) of the Labour Party is less than 200,000 where as there are about 44,000,000 registered voters in the United Kingdom. That is to say members of the Labour Party represent less than half of one percent of those registered to vote at a General Election. The position in the other main parties is no better.

Accordingly the end game of winning elections has to be be policies that are attractive to the majority and the faithful will have to lump them.

Anonymous said...

I'm worried about the number of head-in-the-sand reactionaries on Tim's website (so unlike himself) who would rather a very right wing Tory opposition to a Conservative Government.
What is it that attracts them to another 4 or 5 years of Labour?

Anonymous said...

I would prefer a "right wing" (you can define your own terms but in my book I guess right of centre)opposition to a left of centre one or none at all. I am equally concerned by views which often strike me as unconservative.

As for the size of party memberships, that may be a fair point. However just because members are a self selecting group it does not necessarily follow that some if not many so called right wing views are not only reflected in the electorate as a whole but more widely so than in any one party.

Anonymous said...

TM sometimes shows his more headbanger side. He's a Christian conservative first and a Conservative second. It's rather like the Christian conservatives in the States who now assume that one cannot be an athiest, or gay, or pro choice and also be a Republican. His attempts to associate ConHome with pro-life campaigns have certainly put me off.