Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Task for the Tories

I shan't shed any tears if the Conservatives get no big headlines from their conference. Steady as she goes, should be the motto of the week. Boring is good. The only downside is that if journalists aren't fed stories they tend to go searching for ones which might not be so advantageous.

The key priority this week is for George Osborne and David Cameron to exude gravitas and competence, and show that Labour accusations that they have said nothing about the economic crisis are totally bogus.

I will be blogging from the Blackberry throughout the day, and I suspect the blog will take on the form of a real diary over the next three days as I flit from event to event. Hope you can keep up!

If you're at the conference, do come along to the fringe I am chairing tonight....

Scot Free: What future for the union under a Conservative government?
Jury's Inn
Policy Exchange & Total Politics
Chair: Iain Dale. Speakers: David Mundell MP, Alan Cochrane (Scotland editor, Daily Telegraph), Roger Gough (Policy Exchange), Dr Charlie Jeffery (Edinburgh University)


Unsworth said...

A very good start would be for them to lay out in clear terms just how awful our current economic position really is. The Times today has made some comment, but it's altogether more serious even than that.

The result of Brown's 'Prudence' has been to mortgage the country and everyone in it for a generation.

It's not insurmountable, but it does need proper understanding of the real problems which we all will face for at least a decade.

If Osborne and Campbell can at the very least do that, they'll have done us all a great service.

As to 'journalists' - are there any these days? Take a close look at the BBC, The Mail, etc etc.

Anonymous said...

"What future for the union under a Conservative government"
hopefully none.I'm sick of this britishness crap aimed at England only.

Anonymous said...

I think Dave did ok on the Marr show.

It's difficult for anyone to come out with any firm policies as things are changing from week to week.

All the Tories can do is to lay out how bad things are and expose Browns lies about the level of national debt.

Any policies on personal tax etc. will have to be left for later.

chrismanchester said...

I watched Andrew Marr's interview of Cameron earlier. I think Cameron set out more clearly how a Conservative government would use economic policy to meet challenges such as those at present. I'm just watching Osborne on Sky and he was clerly set out his ideas. As an aside, Marr was a very aggresive interviewer with Cameron, constantly interupting. Contrast that with his more gentle approach with Brown last week.

Anonymous said...


I agree, Marr was much more aggressive and was constantly interrupting.

Old Holborn said...

I'd like to see some headlines from BlueLAbour this week.

1. Dave agrees with Iain Dale that a referendum over Lisbon WILL be held no matter what.

2. Dave will set about untangling the 3000 new laws implemented by ZNL during the last 11 years

3. David Davis will remind himself that he was elected on a civil liberties ticket, so why have we heard bugger all from him?

4. Dave will humbly acknowledge that the State is too large and set about reducing the burden of 7 million government jobs on the much abused tax payer.

5. Dave will instigate a public enquiry into WHY we went into Iraq (and apologise, publicly for his part in it)

6. Dave will announce his intention for a complete overhaul of the BBC and a long overdue reduction in it's services. Four radio channels, two TV channels and an internet new service. No more BBC Albania at MY cost.

7. Dave will stand up and remind him and his 645 colleagues that there are 60 million of us, we pay them, they call us Sir, not the other way round and that we know where they live.

8. Dave will announce that it is the role of the Police to PROTECT us, not film hoodies commiting crimes, whilst eating doughnuts.

9. Dave will announce that just as the Russians couldn't sort out Afghanistan, neither can we. Troops out.

10. Dave will announce that before he forms a new government, he will insist on a full due dilligence audit. I want to know exactly what shit is going to hit the fan once Labour have finished scorching the Earth.

Anonymous said...

It would have been better if Marr had actually allowed Cameron to finish an answer before aggressively butting in all the while(I thought that Cameron was extremely patient and polite throughout) but then again he's obviously smarting(not) from the criticism of his "love-in" with Brown last week and felt that he had to re-establish his credentials as a tough interviewer(of the Conservative Leader) this Sunday

Catosays said...

That's just Marr showing where his feelings lie.
The man's an oaf!

Anonymous said...

the only downside is that if journalists aren't fed stories they tend to go searching for ones which might not be so advantageous.


Are you buy any chance suggesting that there may be skeletons in the cupboard?

Oscar Miller said...

Marr gave a good impression of Humphrys in a grumpy mood (complete with plenty of dismissive hmmms when he did allow Dave to complete a sentence). But Cameron came through very well indeed. And on the sofa at the end Cameron nicely turned his back on Marr - with Amanda helpfully gazing into Dave's eyes while Marr and Aaronovich sat there looking like gooseberries. Dave's final line about our broken PM was masterly. Good start to conference I'd say.

On the subject of boring being good - the last time I heard that line was in relation to Alistair Darling's budget and we all know what happened after that. Mike Smithson at PB has plenty of evidence to show that the more media coverage the better - even negative headlines are better than no headlines.

Anonymous said...

Old Holborn - whilst agreeing with most of your points, quite frankly the least important is concerning ourselves with enquiries into the Iraq war, wasting taxpayers' £millions and Govt time that should be spent on solving problems.

Anonymous said...

Look at he BBC coverage and also what the 'moderators' [sic] let through on the comments to see how they stand on the position of being politically unbiased, and then compare it with the love in that was last weeks coverage from Rowling on.

Prepare for all this to be Labour policy next week.

Anonymous said...

McConnell is an MSP but has come under pressure to resign his seat before replacing Richard Wildash, who ends his term as our man in Lilongwe in January.

Speculation is rife that his resignation from Holyrood is imminent. A Labour source revealed the leadership is considering holding a snap poll in Motherwell and Wishaw on the same day as the Glenrothes by-election on November 6.

The insider said: "They're weighing up whether or not the SNP are likely to win Jack's seat. If they think defeat is on the cards, they will try to wrap up all the bad news on one day while the US elections are still hogging the headlines."

Jeff said...

"Not Flash, Just Cameron"

i don't see it somehow. I think you guys need some good headlines this weekend to make sure Brown's poll bump is short-term.

As a Scot, it sounds like an interesting event tonight. Hope it goes well.

(Don't take much of what Alan Cochrane says too seriously though...)

Anonymous said...

Nope - the Conservatives need to expose every conceivable flaw in the Labour paradigm. There is a lot to shout about 9and not just about the economy) - it just needs to be done seriously.

With the nationalisation of B&B, the public are a bit punch drunk. The Tories need to be like a second in the corner explaining where the punches are coming from.

Don't expect Brown to throw in the towel, rather he will slip an illegal weight into his fighters glove.

Mulligan said...

The BBC will be looking for any angle to hit Cameron with, and no doubt Brown, the responsible, prudent man of substance (sic), will have some sort of Iraq style stunt planned to try and steel conference thunder.

ps last week only friendly Labour hacks were interviewed on BBC about Brown's speech, expect the state broadcaster's lack of balance to be proven by who they invite to critique Cameron's...

Old Holborn said...

The Question Iain and the other Tories need to ask is are they simply happy for Labour to lose the next election or do the Conservatives actually want to win it.

I suspect the former will suffice

Anonymous said...

Alan Duncan was on telly yesterday talking to Andrew Neil. It was an interesting interview. Neil rolled out some pretty searching questions, and he allowed Duncan to answer without interruptions, even though Duncan avoided giving straight answers to most of them, and was careful to keep up an obbligato of attack on poor Gordon's record.

One of his most electrifying assertions was that Gordon was deliberately fouling up the nation's accounts in order to present the incoming Tory Government with a problem. Yes, he actually said this, and it puts him fair and square into the camp of conspiracy theorists. It is exactly the same in essence, if not in scale, with the theory that Bush arranged the 9/11 attack. The similarity is that Brown is deliberately destroying the assets placed in his care in order to make things difficult for his opponents.

A conspiracy theory of this magnitude coming from such a prominent member of the Loyal Opposition who may well be in Government within a year or two merits challenge. What evidence does he have that Brown is doing this deliberately, rather than through the normal process of governmental politico-economic blundering?

This ought to be one for our fearless investigative journalists to go for, like a pack of bull mastiffs attacking - well, a bull. Will they do it?

Nah. But the bloggers might. Mightn't they?

Anonymous said...


Any chance of you gathering and putting out a list of who is blogging from the conference?

Thunderdragon will be there.

I have a conference diary from the Reform team and Garbo on the Conference Floor, and a conference channel on

Anybody else?

Anonymous said...

Come off it Lawson - its clear labour are pouring out unfunded, 'imprudent, spending pledges and policies like there is no tomorrow - and for them there is likely not to be.

Never mind if it stores up massive problems for tomorrow, Brown is only interested in shoring his own position today.

Anonymous said...

A suspicously orchestrated and cherry picked pre-conference attack on Cameron seems to be under way on BBC's Have Your Say at present. Under the topic:

"Will Tory economic plans get your vote?"

The most recomended responses are totally at odds with the voting on recent topics of this sort by BBC HYS. The most recomended posts:

"David Cameron is a human embodiement of a failed bank."
This country was financialy sound when Labour gained power in 1997...So yes I so do trust their economic policies and the sooner the Tories are in power the better.
previous Tory government...systematically destroyed British industry...I'll never vote for the party no matter what they promise.
There is no way on earth that David Cameron is going to produce the set of tight regulations we need to prevent this from happening again

Be sure to vote!

DocRichard said...

Come off it yourself Trevorsden, with shiny brass knobs on. I agree that Labour is pouring out unfunded, imprudent spending pledges and policies like there is no tomorrow. That is not in question. One of their financial outpourings is going to be a wave of bank nationalisations in a doomed attempt to prevent the waters of market reality from inundating the low-lying lands of the vaccuum of debt at the heart of the financial system. The Tories (minus a few hardened ideological free-marketeers) are set to back that That is not at issue.

The issue is Alan Duncan's clearly stated allegation that poor Gordon is doing this deliberately, in order to sh*t in the earphones of the next (Tory) government. Assertions of that magnitude require evidence. Your evidence is?

Old Holborn said...

Auntie Flo, That'll be the brand new online "Rapid Rebuttal Unit" from Labour then

Anonymous said...

Osbourne is a serious impediment for the Tories. He comes across as shifty and lightweight, who can't think on his feet once the soundbites are delivered. Moreover he's never had a real job in his life. Dodgy candidate for Chancellor.

Somebody with experience and gravitas would help enormously.

Anonymous said...

So far, it's daft Duncan and sad Auntie flo.
Come on you conspiracy theorists, lets have you.

Anonymous said...

Cameron should bring back a couple of the Big Beasts. Osborne is definitely a light weight.

Inviting David Davis back into the cabinet would be a good move too.

Anonymous said...

What will the future of the Union be under the Conservatives?

Short. Scotland still hasn't forgiven you.

Anonymous said...

Marvellous isn't it. On the BBC message board they are now having a go at Maggie, wanting to know why she has not said anything about the financial crisis.

Just shows what cretins they are.

Lola said...

Is Gordon destroying the nations finances on purpose or just as a byproduct of his profligate policies? Difficult to call really. Certainly his policies are about creating a dependent client state, which to mind is a deliberate challenge to those who would reform this. Taking benefits away once given is very very difficult. Leaving the next administration with such huge debts is less likely to be deliberate as Gordon wants to win the next election. Why leave yourself in such dire straights?

The real problem is to get the Voter to realise just how desparate Gordon's tenure as Chancellor was.

Anonymous said...

Please tell me anyone. When Scotland goes independent (the English won't be asked the question) who, in all of those gravy-trainers in the House of Commons would you want negotiating on England's behalf?
There is not one I would trust to fight England's corner.
Maybe this could be asked at the "Scot free" fringe meeting.

Anonymous said...

Dave and the Tories are still in denial about the future of the Union. Assuming they win the next election they are going to get hit very shortly after being elected by a Salmond going in for the kill.
At present Salmond is training all his fire onto Labour. Top SNP priority is to destroy Labour in Scotland as the party of gocvernment. Thus Glenrothes and then (?)Motherwell and Wishaw.
The guns are not trained on the Tories for now, indeed they are said to be having talks!
Dave appears to have misinterpreted this temporary relief as a signal that they can do business with the SNP.

He is dreaming. Nothing could be further from reality. The Tories are totally unequiped to deal with Salmond as they have not studied the SNP case and typically are ignorant of Union history. Just batting on about the virtues of the Union won't do it. Ignoring an increasingly fedup England is also asking for trouble for the key here is that it is England which, given the opportunity, is much more likely to end the Union than is Scotland.

Little sign so far from the Tories that they have given any thought to all this other than to try and supress the whole thing by accepting discrimination against England and hoping the English just shut up.
Strikes me the tories ought to preempt the whole problem by manifesto-supporting English devolution ie an English parliament or they are going to get into serious trouble early on in a Tory government.

And thats not even mentioning the economic situation.

Anonymous said...

Richard Lawson said...

"But the bloggers might. Mightn't they?"

Nope. Little Dunky obviously found the accusation on the net - it was loony bloggers who started it. Just shows that, apart from repeating smears, the tories really have nothing to say.