Opinion: Cameron’s ten big mistakes – more please!

In the Telegraph, Tim Montgomerie, editor of ConservativeHome, outlines the results of a recent survey of Tory party members.

1,500 of them were asked to name “what they saw as Cameron’s three biggest errors”. The resulting Top Ten makes an extraordinary epistle from Planet Tory. Several of the points on the list would be regarded by many as Cameron’s greatest non-mistakes:

  • “Supporting climate change policies” – mistake? Well, perhaps only when ConHome add the highly debatable non-sequitur of “…that will increase energy bills”.
  • “U-turn on NHS reforms” – mistake? Hell, no. “Hurrah!” – Say many of us.
  • “Agreement to Nick Clegg’s participation in the election debates” – mistake? If so, more mistakes please.
  • “Not making defence spending a priority” – thank goodness for mistakes like that.
  • “Not campaigning on immigration” – ditto

There’s a few other old Tory favourite “fings ain’t what they used to be” laments implied in the list – like the “mistake” of “opposing grammar schools”.

And there is one “mistake” with which I would agree – the “Big Society” aka “the big platitude”.

But overall, I am left with this reaction upon reading this crie de couer from the Tory heartlands:

Has the news that they didn’t win the last general election not yet reached the Tory faithful?

It seems they have not yet fully digested the news.

You can read the full article at the Telegraph.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • “Has the news that they didn’t win the last general election not yet reached the Tory faithful?”
    But they did win more votes than us, and are still ahead of us in the polls…

  • Well this is clear evidence that Cameron is more in touch with public opinion than the Tory hardcore. Which means that, even though he couldn’t win an election outright, his successor is likely to lead the party to defeat.

    Interesting times given that Cameron is (fatally) weakened over Murdoch and still has to answer very serious questions about what he knew when and why he employed Coulson

  • Don Lawrence 17th Jul '11 - 10:01am

    Perhaps we could have suggestions for inclusion in a list of Nick’s 10 big mistakes.

  • Don Lawrence 17th Jul '11 - 10:02am

    In the interest of balance of course!

  • The Tory mindset is saturated
    With arrogance and hubris. They didn’t win
    Election. Let’s recall too that Labour
    Party has very quickly washed it’s hands of it’s trashing
    0f the economy, pension funds etc.
    Lib Dems have pushed through many good policies
    And have been truly angst ridden over the compromises which
    Have had to be made in coalition under a barrage of
    Tory press attacks.

  • Keith Browning 17th Jul '11 - 10:55am

    I wrote on Day 2 of the ‘hacking saga’ ,when Cameron was still defending his Murdoch cronies that he would be out by Xmas. Now I believe it will be sooner. The Torygraph has already turned on him and the other snippets that are hitting the airwaves suggest this scandal has only just started and will reach deeper than most commentators are openly admitting.

    The Chairman of Tuesday’s showpiece trial has been shown to be a ‘Facebook friend’ of NI and I suspect there are very few at the top of the Tory side of the government who are not on first name terms with at least one member of the Murdoch empire.

    Why do politicians choose to meet these people? Do they ever have lunch with Mrs Goggins, the postmistress, Sam the fireman or Robert, who runs a building firm in West Bromwich?

    Politicians have been rumbled and so it seems have the police. Cameron and his mates just dont get it. NONE of this behaviour is acceptable anywhere else in British society and until the Westminster Village realise this there will be no end to this saga.

  • Andrew Tennant

    When Labour activists accuse us of signing up to a Tory agenda we shouldn’t be shy in pointing out the fallacy of their argument.

    First of all it’s not just Labour activists, secondly Cameron’s agenda is still a Tory agenda and it is that you are accused of signing up to.

  • “The most alarming thing is that 40% do not agree with policies on Climate Change”. There was also a report on Conservative Home last week which claimed that (speaking from memory) 57% of Tory voters wanted us to withdraw from the EU, and only 13% positively supported UK membership. From one point of view both of these are alarming because so totally at odds with the policies that we as Liberal Democrats support, but on the other hand it reinforces the point that we are a restraining influence on the Tories in Coalition. If the hardliners get their way and Cameron is replaced by the time of the next election there will be a very clear wide gulf of blue water separating our policies from those of a much less pragmatic Conservative Party.

  • Keith Browning 17th Jul '11 - 1:57pm

    The traditional Tory vote is dwindling as the years pass and the average age must by touching 80. The Tory right is being held together by a few old buffers, who used to decide the way the country was run before Rupert arrived. Perhaps they now think they can do that again. The Torygraph gives that impression already.

    Please don’t get rid of the Murdochs and let Tebbitt and his cronies back in. I think I’d prefer Rupert !!

  • @Andrew Tennant:

    I’m just wondering if it is possible for you to make a post without mentioning Labour. You do seem a little obsessed..

  • coldcomfort 17th Jul '11 - 5:07pm

    This Torygraph article is actually scary stuff. I’m not so optimistic that the great British Voter will see it for the nonsense it is. I have a feeling it was the recently lamented Rupert who expressed the view that no one got poor by UNDERestimating the intelligence of the British public.

  • Paul Kennedy 17th Jul '11 - 8:51pm

    Labour are important to this discussion because Milliband has adopted a strategy since his election of adopting Liberal Democrat policies (the latest being limits on media ownership) in order to steal our votes. This is almost identical to Cameron’s ‘mistaken’ strategy before the election of stealing our votes by portraying himself as a “liberal” Conservative.

    In response, we need to do two things:
    (a) keep reminding voters that this new-styled “liberal” Labour party had 13 years of absolute power during which it could easily have imposed a more liberal agenda (eg electoral reform and now media plurality) but failed to do so (quite the opposite);
    (b) keep hanging onto our own liberal agenda and don’t get sucked into adopting or defending Tory policies or the status quo.

  • 10 biggest mistakes
    1) Bad choice of Chancellor
    2) Mishandling Defence review
    3) Pre election NHS Pledges
    4) Throwing away an easy GE victory on a nebulous message (big society)
    5) Wrong rightwingers in Cabinet (I’m thinking Fox not Alexander)
    6) Handling of Murdoch
    7) Too many U turns
    8) Too many policies formed on hoof
    9) Getting into Libya without building a broad enough front
    10) Cabinet setup – makes reshuffles difficult – undermines Cameron and Clegg versus the other ministers

  • The NI relationship with the establishment seems to becoming a Muldergate (The South Africa apartheid information scandal)

  • Keith Browning 18th Jul '11 - 7:27pm

    The only one to stand up and defend Cameron today was a monosyllabic, Nick Clegg. All the Tories were ‘away in their constituencies’ and not available for comment.

    He’ll be gone by the weekend. What price the Coalition then??

  • A snowballing conspiracy and a dead whistleblower, its like Blair all over again.

  • Interesting in the light of Cameron;s *heir to Blair” aspiration. Reading his autobiography (which is a great read by the way) Blair spent a lot of time and effort changing the Labour Party to make it electable. There was the symbolism of Clause 4 and the substantial and meaningful like the adoption of neutrality in the Northern Ireland context. As a result he led an electable Labour party to three victories. This poll reveals that the Tories are unreconstructed in just about every sense. They really must dislike Cameron, who actually seems at home with his more centrist, Blairite approach to claiming common ground with people of all shades of opinion. I am constantly surprised by his commitment to oversees aid.

    If he is in trouble he will probably be replaced by a very different character (Liam Fox anyone?), which will probably mean the end of the coalition and, who knows, a Conservative defeat at an early election.

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