A new poll by ICM in the Sunday Express has topline figures, with changes from ICM’s previous poll, of CON 43% (+3), LAB 35% (nc), LDEM 15% (-3). The poll was conducted between November 8th and 10th – Thursday to Saturday – so there does not appear to have been any boost for the government following the announcements in the Queen’s speech and the Lib Dem recovery in the last ICM poll, now looks rather like a blip. They are still up from their very lowest point, when they hit 14% in an ICM poll, but only just. Obviously the figures are a strong contrast with Populus’s a week ago – Populus do use weighting that is somewhat more favourable to Labour than ICM’s, but the difference is relatively small. Chances are one of the two polls is just an outlier thrown up by normal sample error.

If repeated at a general election on a uniform swing these figures would just give the Conservatives an overall majority. It’s often quoted that the Conservative need a lead of around 11 points to win a majority – that’s based on a straight swing from Labour to the Conservatives, if the Lib Dems do badly and the Conservatives pick up seats from them they could win with a smaller lead (and in really swings are not uniform anyway, so any party could easily do better or worse than the uniform swing suggests depending upon how variables like tactical voting pan oout).

As in other recent polls Gordon Brown generally remains ahead of David Cameron asked about personal qualities, being seen as more courageous by 39% to 33%, better at handling the economy by 53% to 28% and as a strong leader. Cameron was seen as the most likeable by 46% to 33% and as most likely to get the issue of immigration right by 45% to 30%. These figures can’t be directly compared to any other recent polls, so we can’t tell if Brown is still falling, steadying or recovering – only that he remains ahead of David Cameron.


71 Responses to “Conservatives remain ahead in latest ICM poll”

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  1. So the Tories creep 8 points ahead. Is this to do with the fact that much of the Queens speech was announced earlier in the year, so GB looked as if he had no fresh, new ideas?? Was the last poll showing a Lab lead of 1 a rogue?? Is the LD fall due to a lack of leader or the fact their leadership race has not caught the imagination yet?? So many questions

  2. An encouraging poll for the Conservatives.

    However, the answers to some of the other questions – particularly the key questions of the economy, and strength, are still pretty good for Labour, but also seem to vary a lot across different polling companies. [Many other surveys show Labour’s lead on the economy diminished sharply – but more because people shifted to a DK position].

    The Tories still have work to do.
    A greater cutting edge and focus on tax helped put them back in the lead.

  3. This latest POLL reconfirms my predictions of a steady decline in the Labour vote which will carry on with the odd blip til the next election .

    I still maintain that if the election had been held in November – the Tories would have won – remembering the 3%+ for the Tories & the 3%- for Labour in elections compared to POLLS & the 6% lead the Tories were carrying in the marginals a month ago .

    An election forecast carried out now :-
    46% Conservative = 378 seats
    32% Labour = 212 seats
    18% Liberal = 30 seats

    Conservative majority = 106

    Many have scoffed at my prtedictions on here – but all have come true so far – watch T.JONES’S ticking clock for me till 2010 . The figures i have worked on above are based on a NOW figure – by 2010 the majority would be much larger .

  4. I am rather surprised LibDem support has fallen by 3% despite the publicity they have had since the resignation of Sir Ming Campbell. I suspect this indicates that whoever succeeds him may receive a bounce in December/January but they will find it difficult to keep up the momentum thereafter.
    An encouraging poll for the Conservatives, yes. I’m glad that it has been acknowledged that we should not base predictions of general elections on uniform swings.

  5. I don’t actually think these personal polls are of any real significance, at least in terms of predicting election results or in comparison to voting intentions.
    Callaghan regularly outpolled Thatcher personally from 1976-1980, but we know who won the 1979 general election.

  6. I agree – but the Tories probably need to shift the ratings on the economy further. They have done so to an extent – but more to do.

  7. Predicting results from POLLS is’nt difficult if you are in touch with public feeling and understand politics

  8. What an awesome fugure for the Tories! 43% is excellent. Can’t ask for much more than that!

    I wonder how Labour will poll in the local elections in May?

  9. Mike Richardson. Sorry I do question you projection. An opposition party having a lead over the governing party is very normal during mid term, as was the case during the Thatcher governments. A government always recovers ground on an approach to an election and this occurred even during the 1992 to 1997 parliamentary session, when Labour were an incredible 30 % ahead in some polls during 1995, but by early 1997 the leads were smaller with the final result giving Labour a 13 % advantage.

    I cannot help thinking that the big poll leads that Labour had from July to October were due to the prospect of an election. When the election was not called a more normal situation has resumed.

    As for the polls, I have always thought that ICM alway overstated the tories, with Populus overstating Labour. So I would suggest that the tories continue to enjoy a small but potentially fragile lead over Labour, which as has been said is no where near enough to win an elction

  10. I, like Andy D, am a little perplexed by the LibDem result.
    Anyone got any interesting ideas?
    Did the public expect more? Did the talk of Tory panic and Labour celebrations raise expectations only for public interest to fall flat?
    I read a newspaper article suggesting David Cameron’s best policy was to just ignore Clegg etc as an irrelevance. This poll would seem to support that approach.
    Brown’s response to a Nick Clegg leadership will be interesting. Does he lay off in the hope they gather speed and affect Tory popularity?
    Obviously there are risks. If the Gov are unpopular they could let support drift off to a default postion.
    Furthermore, Tories who are regarded, rightly or wrongly, as less likely to vote tactically, could be more willing to do so with a Clegg LibDem party. Does Brown treat them as a threat to the Tories or as Tories-lite threat to him?

  11. I cannot help thinking that the big poll leads that Labour had from July to October were due to the prospect of an election.

    It was only after Labour’s lead evaporated into a Conservative lead did Brown call off the election.

  12. Andy – Thatcher vs Callaghan is regularly brought up as a example of a popular PM losing to a relatively unpopular leader of the opposition. It doesn’t follow that these things don’t matter, only that they aren’t the be all and end all (which I don’t think anyone is seriously suggesting). We can’t tell how much worse Labour would have done in 1979 were it not for Callaghan being preferred to Thatcher.

    Paul Goddard – it didn’t happen in the last two Parliaments (and I’d be careful with looking at 1992-1997 polls, at that point only ICM had really adjusted their methodology to take account of the lessons of 1992, they they were typically recording Labour leads in the high-teens. The government recovered towards 1997, but not by that much) – it’s not a rule set in stone.

    No one can say for certain what causes a change in the polls, but it’s somewhat bizarre to explain the Labour increase in the polls to be all down to a possible general election even before it was being seriously discussed, rather than the more obvious explanation of there being a new Prime Minister who people were well disposed towards.

    JJB – there are lots of different ways of asking about the economy that aren’t necessarily comparable, but on the surface it does appear that questions asking about Brown vs Cameron produces a much larger lead on the economy than Labour v Conservative. Impossible to say which one really means more – do people think to themselves “do I trust Brown or Cameron with the economy?” or do they think “do I trust Labour or the Conservatives?”

    Sally – the most straightforward explanation is just sample error, that they never really rose 3 points in the first place, or haven’t really fallen back in this poll (or probably a combination of the two).

  13. Well I said the Populus/Times poll was a rogue. WMA is 40:36:15. Recently Populus has tended to over-estimate. Nevertheless the C lead on the WMA is 4.1 which is the highest since 3/6/07. I still think we’ll see 43:33 but it’ll take a bit longer.

  14. Paul Goddard: The Conservatives improved their ratings from mid-term while in government, the problem historically is that they have in opposition too. In the last two Parliaments the Labour government lost ground until election day (excluding the fuel crisis blip), they didn’t gain it.

    Nice to see Anthony reference that, not sure I’ve seen him say so before.

  15. Anthony,

    Any word on the sample size of the poll?

  16. Although we tend to talk about the LibDems being squeezed a harsher explaination is that they are strong when others are weak.

    Thus they did well when Labour were seen as unelectable in the days of the SDP, and grew in strength after the election of Blair because the Tories were in a mess.

    They were at their strongest at the last election when Blair was unpopular over Iraq, but the Tories still didn’t look like they could win.

    With both Labour and the Tories looking like they could potentially win the next election, the Libdems are at there core level of support, about 15%.

    When oe other party is weak they rise by 5% and the weak party falls by 10%, losing some to it’s principle support and some to the LibDems.

    When both are weak they can go up by 10% and reach 25%, with the other two losing close to 20% between them, plus others like the LibDems doing very well.

    If you like you could see the base line for the UK as Labour/Tory about 40% each, LibDem 15%, others 5%. If the Tories or Labour hit 45%, the other won’t go down to 35% but 30% with the LibDems rising to 20%.

    “Others” is harder to factor in because they are mostly on the right, single issue or non UK like the SNP and PC.

    However just as I’ve cautioned that Labour and Tory ( and yes us in the SNP) should fall in to the trap of thinking that people who vote for us are all our supporters rather than a lot of them fair weather friends, so too I think a proportion of LibDem support over the last decade or so has come from disgruntlement with another party rather than actual support.

    So It’s not as if the LibDems are falling so much as that we are now seeing for the first time in a long period just how many (or rather how few) actual LibDems there are.

    Peter.

  17. Great news for the Tories. However, a long way to go. I wonder if the Tories did poll 43% in the next election and win, will they spark a revival in Scotland or will we have future Tory government with a very uneven tally seats between the North and the South than previous ones?

    A little surprised Lib Dems have decreased by 3 after the media attention of the leadership resignation and battle. However, i think they will increase once again when they get their new leader ( who i predict to be Clegg). However, they could be pretty stagnant in the next election with the decision to go to war in Iraq issue faded.

    The positive polls for the Tories i can see continuing to the next election this time around, it’s often the case, after a party with 10 years in charge, people feel they need a change. 10 years is probably the threshold a party can sustain in government with the public on their side. Also, enough time for the opposition to re-package and revitalize themselves.

  18. I don’t think Mike R’s prediction of a 46% Toy vote share is at all likely. Even given the circumstances of 1997, Labout only got just over 44%, so I think its highly unlikely the Tories would manage that.

    I do believe, however, that the Tories will need to be ahead by less than people think to win amajority. I think a 5% lead will give them a majority, and an 8% lead would give them a 50 or so majority, This is mainly because tactical voting will cease to work against them, and may even begin to helkp them if people vote tactically against Labour.

  19. Mike Richardson

    That may be so. But I have been predicting things all over the internet for 3 years now and everyone of them has become very true indeed. However it does not stop people saying I am a paranoid mad conspiracy theorist.

    I will make this prediction on which I would risk my house.

    Cameron will win the next election by a landslide. But we will be in such a mess by then, not even Cameron will be able to save this once great free liberal country from becoming the type of European Fascist state millions died to prevent.

    I stated back in 2005 on Bias BBC, that if Blair won, Brown would soon takeover. When this happens it will be the end of this country as we thought we ever knew it.

    I am very sad to say, I am very rarely wrong about anything to do with politics. The above is a prediction I would gladly lose my house over.

  20. politicaltipster – nope, you’ll probably have to wait until the tables go up on ICM’s website.

  21. Good morning Anthony , I am a little surprised that your thread states that it looks like the LibDem figure in the previous ICM poll was a blip . We have 3 pollsters ComRes , Populus and ICM who use basically the same data collection and we can compare the raw unweighted data . The difference in the published figures will then be down to either sampling variations and/or the difering weighting of each company . Looking at the last polls for each company give the following LibDem raw figures :-
    ComRes 9.8% with 11.9% voting LibDem at the 2005 GE
    Populus 10.2% with 12.0% voting LibDem at the previous GE
    ICM 10.5% with 11.6% voting LibDem at the previous GE .
    It is clear that using the raw data from ComRes and Populus , ICM would have published a LibDem figure of 17 and 18% respectively .
    The raw data from the new ICM poll is now on the ICM site and the raw data figures for LibDems are 7.9% with 9.4% voting LibDem in 2005 . This is clearly out of line with all the 3 previous polls and if one of these polls is a blip , it is clearly this new ICM one which for some reason has sampled a much smaller number of people who voted LibDem in 2005 .
    It is instructive also to look at the same sort of data for Labour and Conservative , The Populus lead for Labour was partly down to methodology but more due to that particular sample having a larger raw data figure for Labour and lower for Conservatives than for the other 3 polls .

  22. Mark – when I wrote it I hadn’t seen the raw figures. Looking down at the breaks is always risky – you should draw too many firm conclusions – but the difference appears to be a much higher proportion of former Lib Dems saying they’d vote Labour. This poll has 16% of former Lib Dems saying they’d vote Labour, the one with the Lib Dems up to 18% had only 7% off to Labour (I should really go through and look at that over time, see what patterns there are).

    Obviously that could be a switch in support, or could be that random sample error just gave us people more likely to have switched to Labour this month. It appears to be a high figure even by the standards of the “Brown boost”, so perhaps it is this one that’s out of line…not that it really matters until we get some proper post-Huhne or post-Clegg polls for them.

  23. Yes Anthony , that will account for 1% of the fall in LibDem support although strangely it is slightly countered by more Conservatives switching to LibDem in this poll than in the previous one but the major difference as I have said is the very small number of people in this sample who voted LibDem in 2005 . 94 only in this poll compared to 116 in the previous ICM poll . This is out of line with the recent ComRes/Populus/ICM polls but not interestingly with the previous ICM/ST poll at the same stage last month .

  24. As far as I’m aware the samples are collected in EXACTLY the same way on them. The same phones, the same computer software pumping out the random phone numbers – EXACTLY the same, except for timing.

    The recollection of voting Lib Dem does seem to be falling gradually, but only very, very slowly. The whole of past vote is based on the assumption that recalled vote should only change very, very gradually and there shouldn’t be sudden changes (MORI don’t do it because they believe there could be big changes and past vote weighting would falsely iron them out). We should therefore assume that random sample variation just happened to spit out a sample with a low number of past Liberal Democrats that ICM had to weight upwards to get a good sample.

    Interesting though if it was Sunday Telegraph poll that also produced a low number of Lib Dems in the sample – that would be two polls with midweek fieldwork producing a lower number of past Lib Dem voters than polls with weekend fieldwork. Obviously we can’t judge from just a handful of polls, but might be interesting to go back and look to see if there is a pattern of low Lib Dem “yield” in mid-week phone polls.

  25. Anthony , very interesting comment re midweek fieldwork , don’t know the answer to your question though lol .

  26. If the Tories have a lead of, say 5% in the polls at the next General Election and fail to get an overall majority there will be a constituional crisis, not least because of the importance the votes of Scottish and Welsh MPs would assume at Westmnister. This poll is one of many that points to the likelihood of such a situation.

    It follows that the state of the Scottish Nationalist party in the polls is at least as important as that of the Liberal Democrats, but they are conventionally lumped into “others”.

  27. I wonder if the SNP would get any votes if they ran candidates in English Constituencies? I think they would. Quite a lot of English people agree with their policy of Scottish Independence :-P

  28. Frederic – the cross breaks within voting intention polls aren’t particularly accurate, polls are only weighted to be representative of the country as a whole, not within regions. So, for example, while a sample could be 52% women and 48% men, as it should be, you could find that all the men live in the South and all the women live in the North, so the crossbreak for Scotland is made up of all women – not an accurate representation at all. Obviously such an extreme skew is hugely unlikely, but you get my point that just because the national sample is representative regional breaks may not be.

    It’s also the case that sample sizes for Scotland within a GB poll are very small and consequently have a big margin of error. Realistically to draw any conclusions about how well the SNP are doing you’d need to look at a proper Scottish opinion poll, properly weighted to be representative of Scottish voters. If the SNP started getting cited in the headline figures of GB opinion polls people would start drawing conclusions from what would, frankly, be very unreliable information.

  29. This isn’t particularly scientific, but if you look at the “Current Voting Intentions” graph the Libdem vote seems to be a mirror image of the Labour one.

    Now I am not suggesting that it’s a straight switch between the two, there will certainly be churn between all the main parties, but it does seem that over the last year or so if Labour go up the Libdems go down.

    Peter.

  30. Isn’t the reason for the drop in the Lib.Dem showing simply that the two major parties are blocking the centre ground and thus there is little point in voting for another party? I am sure that as the Iraq effect fades, there will be even less attraction in voting for the third party. I think MR is quite mistaken in his confidence that Cameron will achieve a Blair-like 1997/2001 result at the next election.

  31. Atlas

    “But we will be in such a mess by then, not even Cameron will be able to save this once great free liberal country”

    You seem to bear a heavy burden.
    Put it down occasionally-and have faith.
    Why do I say that?

    AsS you may know The Great Leader has called for a British Motto for British Workers. The feeling of nausea and depression brought on by this news was lifted today at a stroke.

    The great British Public have responded to this announcement with their traditional humour. It is uplifting and reassuring to know that this vital element in our National Psyche lies patiently waiting to express itself.

    And so should you.

    link

  32. In 1997 there was a huge and almost universal feeling that it was “time for a change”. I don’t think we’re really there yet – though we may well be by the next election. I’d guess that Cameron will get a majority of 50-75 unless this government spectacularly implodes: which seems not very likely but by no means impossible.

  33. Why is that the more vocal party supporters-in this case Conservative- cannot stop themselves from making wild claims about landslide victories on the basis of one decent poll result. Well I suppose somebody has to keep the bookies in business….but really Mike Richardson and co not only do you seem to count your chickens before they are hatched but you do so before they are even so much as a twinkle in their mother’s eye. Seriously some of the exchanges between the various sets of supporters over the few months on this site are more on a par with the insults hurled around between Celtic and Rangers football club supporters than the neutral non partisan discussion espoused by our esteemed moderator.

  34. I think that the nature of the lectoral system insulates Labour from a 1997 style wipeout, even if there was a mood for such a great change (which I do believe there is). Even on 27% of the vote in 1983, Labour still won 209 seats, above the Conservatives 198 acheived on 33% in 2005, 166 on 32% in 2001, and 165 on 31% in 1997.

    If Labour even won 32% of the vote they’d still get almost 250 seats and would be in a good position electorally to have a chance of regaining power in the following election.

  35. Nick,

    Where as I tend to agree with you about people being partisan, having been to a few “Old Firm” games, it’s not really in the same league……

    Peter.

  36. For what it’s worth, I think Cameron has a good chance, from recent polls and what some of us think will happen in the economy, of getting a useful majority
    (ie, about 40-50 or so) if an election were held next year. As for Gordon Brown he seems to have stalled in his efforts to come across as some sort of reinvigorating force in the Government. If he doesn’t get started again soon it will be too late and “time for a change” will become apparent.
    Saying that I don’t envy whoever will be in power next time. I have a feeling less easy times lie ahead in the economy and with Europe.

  37. I don’t think we can really make a judgement this far out.

    On the one hand the fact that Brown hasn’t renewed Labour and come across as a new government will give the Tories the ability to go strongly with time for change,.

    howevr it will also be hugely influenced by salience, what the top three issues are when the election comes and who is seen as best on them. If it’s crime immigration and europe the Tories will do well.

    If on the other hand it’s health education and equality Brown will have the upper hand. What will be interesting is to watch as each party trys to both second guess how the publics priorities are changing and get ahead of them and also how they try to move the agenda on to the areas where they are strong.

    Watch also for targeted policies, where the parties come out with an initiative which doesn’t ave broad appeal but means a lot to a minority who’s vote counts. When you look at the numbers potentially libel to inheritance tax it’s small, but the Tory announcement seemed to get a very high percentage of them to look favourably at the Tories.

    It will be intersting to see how Camerons reported stance on rape helps the Tory vote, especially among women.

    Peter.

  38. Whittingham,

    For me the Tory recovery in Scotland won’t begin in earnest until their NEXT spell in opposition, once they have proved as a government that they aren’t utterly anti-Scottish (which I suspect is a popular perception north of the border)

  39. Hi Anthony,

    You used to occasionally report on the political content of the Brand Index polls, but I’ve not seen this recently. I was wondering if you had decided not to feature these anymore, or whether YouGov didn’t want the figures to be used in this way.

    The Brand Index also includes a positive/negative impressions question featuring a number of politicians, and a “who would be the best party to handle…” question. It would be interesting to see how these have changed over the past couple of months.

    Jon

  40. Jon – they were published because of a link up with IG Index. That came to an end, so the figures aren’t being published at the moment.

  41. Colin
    My favourite motto was,

    DIPSO, FATSO, ASBO, TESCO.

  42. As stated earlier we may (but personally I dont believe we will) end up with a 5-7% Tory victory at the next election and still not have a majority Conservative government. This after Labour has been ruling with a majority of 60 odd with less then 36% of total votes cast. This is plainly crazy, and will cause a constitutional crisis never experienced to my knowledge ever before.

    But the point is. Why is it that nothing is going to be done about this possibility now, and nothing will be done in the future even if it happens?

    In my opinion it is because elections are scams and shams. The election result has already been decided, bar the exact details already. At a place a long way away from Westminster and by people that have either never been elected by anyone or have not been for quite some time.

    Our ruling political elites contempt for our hard earned voting rights has never been so high not to say complete, since any form of parliamentary elections first started, back in the middle ages.

  43. Forgot to mention.All on here who are predicting a Conservative landslide.Get your money over to Politicalbetting.com.They still have Labour as odds on to win the election.You could make thousands.

    What do Bookies know about betting,eh?

  44. Well, we have now seen a consistent run of polls with Conservatives ahead, so we can safely assume that Brown’s Bounce is over.

    What then is the outcome compared to the position earlier this year ?

    First the good news for Brown, Labour is still in the mid 30s compared to low thirties seen for about a year from April 2006 toMay 2007.

    However, that gain is offset by Conservatives being consistently at or above 40% as opposed to high 30s, ocassionaly touching 40%.

    The clear losers are the Lib Dems, and, despite a leadership election, I don’t see that changing on a sustained basis until we ge close o an actual general election.

    What does this mean for predicting result of next election ? On balance I would say that Labour will lose the election, not just in terms of losing thei majority, but also in not being the largest party. Whether Cameron actually pulls off a majority, still less a working majority, is still open to events.

    One further point to note. Historically we can see the following trends in the latter stages of a parliament and during the actual campaign:

    – there is a swing of between 2-5% from Lab to Con in the 12-18 months before polling. Note, contrary to popular belief, this has historically been a Lab-Con swing and not a swing back to the incumbent government. The latter myth arose mainly due to the preponderence of Conservative governments since the war.

    – during the last four weeks there will be changes of about:
    + 1-3 % on Con share of vote
    + 2-3% on LD share of vote
    – 2-5% on Lab share of vote

    It is difficult to say how much of this is due to churn between parties or differential turnout, but an increase in LD vote at expense of Labour during the campaign has been a regular feature since 1983.

    Whether this will happen again next time is not certain, but it should be considereed more likely than that there will be a swing back to Labour during the campaign. I am sure that Brown was aware of this, hence his decision not to risk an election on polls that only showed him “winning” a majority of about 25.

  45. If it is the case that we will have a Tory government by next election, then i have a theory, though far-fetched, that they could unintentially break up the United Kingdom, and the SNP, if strong in government could have their way for an independent Scotland.

    The SNP will be desperate to have a referendum for independence, before the next Scottish parliament election because Labour are likely to return to power in the next one.

    With a Tory government the SNP will have a stronger case to put forward why people should say yes to an independent Scotland. Yes, the Tories could be on course for 2 or 3 gains in Scotland next election, but it’s not on par with the 11 seats they had under John Major, and to the SNP, that will still look like the Tories will never be trusted by Scotland.

    The SNP could smear the Tories as “The England Party” and that since they were mainly helped by south England, they would regard them as out of touch, out of sight from Scottish issues. This could happen but fortunately, right now the SNP are not doing a good job ruling the Scottish government but you never know.

  46. Whitt, and In my opinion that would not be a disaster for the Tories either. Get rid of the Scottish and welsh MPs and the Tories will have More chance of staying in power!

  47. Nick Keanes mate

    That’s weird given that politicalbetting is a blog about betting and not a bookies and that Betfair (the main site they reference) has had the Tories as favourites over Labour to win the next election for a little while now. As was posted at the politicalbetting blog. Although No Overall Majority (Hung Parliament) is still the favourite.

    If you’re going to make claims next time try to avoid ones which are factually incorrect.

    Present Betfair odds for “Most Seats”: Labour 2.06 | Conservatives 1.96
    Present Betfair odds for “Overall Majority”: No Overall Majority: 2.5 | Labour 3.3 | Conservatives 3.2

  48. Right now, I feel correctly, the SNP is campaigning on being “Scotland’s Party”.

    That is put across as a positive thing and it has gone well with Scots who, polls show, think the SNP is the party most likely to “stand up for Scotland”. Although it isn’t a smeer as such, there is the implication that if your not us then your less likely to “stand up for Scotland”, sort of guilt by association.

    I remember Walter Mondale saying that the problem with fighting against Reagan was that,

    ” If he’s for God, America, and the Flag, what does that leave the rest of us”.

    One of the things that came out clearly from the scottish social attitudes survey was that the SNP was thought to have the most positive attitude and that got us votes. I think with the current background it would be tactically inempt to start being negitive or smeering anyone.

    The SNP right now seems to have captured the public mood and to lesser extent so has Cameron.

    I also think that talk of the loss of Scotland being good for the tories is somewhat bizarre.

    The Tories are still avowedly a unionist party and have maintaining it as a core principle.

    In the same way as Thatcherism damaged the Tories critically in Scotland because it went against what many Scottish Tories believed, so too those who would sacrifice Scotland for a Tory government miss the extent that this would be percieved widely as a party putting power before principle (one of the reasons Labour keeps trying to make the accusation stick).

    I suspect that for a lot of life long Tories losing scotland to form a government might be like cutting off a leg to get a Blue Badge for parking.

    Cameron has to balance between the sense of grievence being felt in the shires where he needs to target votes with alienating core tory voters elsewhere. hence all the english grand committee ideas and talk of reviewing barnet.

    He has to say “Britains Broke I’ll fix it”, rather than “Britains fine” or “Britains broke lets bin it”. Labour are still saying “Britains Fine”, were Saying “Bin it”.

    Peter.

  49. All the attention both here, and increasingly in the Press is what Labour’s opponents are saying-their thoughts for the future-their ideas for the changes they advocate.

    It leaves one wondering what Brown can do to get off “the back foot” he seems rooted on.
    And it isn’t I hope too partisan, to see a winter ahead which will tend to keep him there:-

    Oil prices escalating-basic winter heating costs for those on modest incomes becoming unaffordable-the elderly at risk.

    Food prices rocketing-particularly staples like bread and milk.

    Avian influenza-Christmas Turkey supply and price disrupted.

    Events like these may have their source in the booming economies of Asia ,rather than Downing Street-but if added to the continued drip of “incompetent administration” stories , the emergence of a serious economic downturn,and house price falls, will the electorate bother to separate them out?

    And in the New Year-2008/9 Council Tax announcements ( The SNP getting a deal to freeze Scotland’s?)-Pensioners remembering they have just been told their State Pension is the worst in EU-English Local Council Elections.

    It looks like a sticky wicket to me ?

  50. If scotland became independent,the conservatives would never be out of power in england,bar a few blips.how is it bizarre,if you are a conservative,to want scotland independent?

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