Tag Archives: ConservativeHome

Something nasty – why the Tories aren’t making headway

“I saw something nasty in the woodshed”- Ada Doom, ‘Cold Comfort Farm’ by Stella Gibbons
There is some bafflement in the Tory ranks as to why their party isn’t shooting ahead of Labour in the polls. David Cameron is very popular. People think Ed Miliband is a “muppet”. So why aren’t the Conservatives surging ahead?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 32 Comments

LibLink: Stephen Tall – At least five spectres haunt the Lib Dems.

In his fortnightly ConservativeHome column, LDV co-editor Stephen Tall has taken a look at the five fears (the “queasy quintet”, as he terms them) be thinks haunting the Lib Dems. The first two questions – ‘A May massacre?’, ‘Are we becoming irrelevant?’ – are self-explanatory. Here’s what he has to say about the third and fourth fears:

3) Have the Lib Dems done enough in government?

Oh, we have lists of achievements. There isn’t a senior Lib Dem alive who’s won’t rehearse, when challenged “But what have you done?”, the line that the our top 2010 priorities – tax-cuts for low-earners,

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 22 Comments

LibLink: Stephen Tall – Five predictions for 2014

Over on ConHome, LDV’s Stephen Tall has been gazing into his crystal ball.

Here are his first two prophecies:

1) The four current main party leaders – Cameron, Clegg, Miliband and Farage – will still lead their parties in a year’s time. They’ll all face threats. Cameron will when Ukip beats the Conservatives in May’s Euro elections; Clegg will when the Lib Dems likely suffer another disappointing set of results in both the locals and the Euros; Miliband will if Labour gets beaten in the Euros and he is forced into an embarrassing compromise with the union paymasters at the special conference he called in the wake of the Falkirk / Unite row; and Farage will as his party and his leadership comes under closer public scrutiny (as already shown by this week’s ‘reverse ferret’ over admitting only Christian but not Muslim refugees from Syria).

2) The economic recovery will pick up pace and start to be noticed by voters. Growth is forecast to be 2% and unemployment to keep falling – that will start feeding into a more general feel-good factor. However, as real wages won’t begin to rise for another year, you can expect to hear more, much more, from Labour about the ‘cost of living crisis’. Conservatives will hail George Osborne as an economic saviour (as Geoffrey Howe was a generation before) while ignoring how he diluted Plan A when it was failing and how he has back-dated much of the public spending cuts to after the 2015 election. Whatever the facts of the matter, the politics of it is straightforward: a fragile economic recovery suits the Conservatives, who will have only to point at Eds Miliband and Balls and ask “Do you really want to hand the economy back to Labour?” The Lib Dems meanwhile will, I suspect, receive increasing traction for our ‘Stronger economy, fairer society’ pitch to the electorate, acting as a buffer between the worst excesses of either Labour or Conservative single-party rule.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 6 Comments

LibLink: Nick Thornsby – As a Liberal Democrat, I ask, “What are you, our Coalition partners, playing at?”

LibDemVoice’s Nick Thornsby has been on recce behind enemy lines, writing for ConservativeHome on the past week’s Tory implosion over Europe:

It is clear to everyone looking in from the outside that if the Tory Party does not get over itself sharpish, historians will look back at this as the moment the party destined itself to spend another decade, or longer, on the opposition benches. …

As a Liberal Democrat who regrets the passing of the coalition’s early radicalism, and who had hoped that David Cameron and those around him could govern as modern, moderate, sensible Conservatives, this regression is disappointing.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 8 Comments

A Tory-Ukip pact? Up to you, guys. But you do know there’s an easier way, right?

farage and cameronUkip’s spectacular showing at last week’s local elections has got the Tories spooked. The full realisation is sinking in that this may not be a one-off eruption of popular protest.

Nigel Farage’s band of modern-life-is-rubbish disciples will likely top next year’s Euro polls. Such momentum may propel them towards a double-digit general election performance in 2015. If so, the Tories’ hope of a majority is dead: Ed Miliband will become prime minister as leader of the largest single party.

Though the local elections were scarcely a bundle of laughs for …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 47 Comments

Bloggers unite to oppose “botched late-night drafting” that proposes new press/web regulation

I’m one of 17 signatories (on behalf of LibDemVoice) to a letter published in Saturday’s Guardian, reproduced below, which opposes the “fundamental threat” of the draft legislation approved this week by MPs of all parties which would regulate blogs and other small independent news websites.

It’s not often you’ll see us, ConservativeHome, LabourList, Guido Fawkes, Liberal Conspiracy and Political Scrapbook agree on something. But what we term the “botched late-night drafting process and complete lack of consultation” has, for once, brought us together. And, as the letter notes, perhaps even more remarkably got Tom Watson and Rupert Murdoch agreeing, too.

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‘Please give generously’: Tories mail-shot supporters asking for donations to fight Lib Dem mansion tax

That’s the story in the Guardian this weekend:

The Conservative party privately sent letters to Tory donors and wealthy homeowners promising to defeat Liberal Democrat plans for a mansion tax at the same time as their coalition partners thought they were negotiating on a version of the proposal ahead of the autumn statement, it emerged on Friday. … The letters were sent by the Conservative treasurers Lord Fink and Michael Farmer in November, when Lib Dem cabinet ministers privately believed there was hope that the Conservatives would agree to two extra higher-rate council tax bands as a way of raising

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Why the Lib Dems are standing for barely half the elected police commissioner posts

With nominations closed and the elections less than a month away, time for a quick recap on where the Lib Dems are at in the forthcoming police commissioner elections.

As ConHome has taken some pleasure in pointing out, the party is standing in 23 out of the 41 contests, little more than half. A little self-righteously, they argue: ‘This is a political party that is supposed to believe in radical change, in making the state more accountable to the citizen, and in boosting local democracy.’

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 19 Comments

ConHome pushes case for Vince Cable as Lib Dem leader. It’s enough to make you wonder why…

You’ve gotta love ConservativeHome. No, really. This morning Tim Montgomerie reports a deliciously mischief-making poll from YouGov, commissioned by the Lord Ashcroft-backed site, comparing the standing of Nick Clegg, Vince Cable and the Liberal Democrats in general.

It won’t surprise anyone to learn that Vince Cable performs better than Nick Clegg in all the measures of leadership qualities asked about. (You can see the results in the graph at the foot of this piece.) This leads Tim to conclude: ‘If the Liberal Democrats are looking for a leader who can increase their electoral competitiveness these are powerful numbers.’

Call me …

Posted in Op-eds and Polls | Also tagged , , , and | 11 Comments

When should the Coalition end? Here’s what our survey said…

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 500 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Three-quarters want Coalition to go on til 2015 – but 40% say it should end early to allow for differentiation

LDV asked: When would you like the Coalition to end?

    10% – As soon as possible, definitely this year
    3% – It should end in 2013
    9% – It should end in 2014
    40% – It should stop shortly before the 2015 general

Posted in LDV Members poll | 5 Comments

Tory MP’s summer resolution: “I am going to learn to love the coalition” (But he’ll still block Lords reform)

There’s an interestingly conciliatory post on ConservativeHome from Tory MP Gary Streeter — introduced as ‘one of the 81 rebels on an EU referendum and one of last week’s 91 rebels on an elected Lords’ — re-committing himself to supporting the Coalition.

… we need a steady hand on the tiller at this time of global crisis. We need stability in government. We need to be able to look ahead for more than just a few months. We need to survive until 2015 and thereafter might even be in

Posted in News | Also tagged | 9 Comments

The word ‘straight’ isn’t homophobic. Now can we get on to the stuff that matters, please?

Two significant events this week in the campaign for equal LGBT rights…

First, as we reported this week, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg asked that the ‘Pride flag’ be flown from Whitehall to symbolise Government support for Saturday’s rally in London. As The Sun’s political editor Tom Newton-Dunn tweeted:

(The picture show here was taken by Verity Harding: you can follow her on Twitter here.)

Secondly, Nick Clegg voiced his personal support for religious gay marriage for those which wish to recognise and celebrate a same-sex union:

… in an interview with the London Evening Standard to mark the World Pride event, Mr Clegg said: “This is a personal view at the moment, but I think that in exactly the same way that we shouldn’t force any church to conduct gay marriage, we shouldn’t stop any church that wants to conduct gay marriage. I don’t see why two individuals who love each other and want to show commitment to each other should not be able to do so in a way that is socially recognised as being marriage.”

A couple of weeks ago, Nick recorded this message — described by Attitude as “a really passionate, well-articulated support for equal marriage” — for Out for Marriage:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 51 Comments

Only 3% swing to Tories in key Con/Lib Dem marginals

The detailed polling by Lord Ashcroft published today on ConservativeHome brings some encouraging news for the Liberal Democrats. In a set of key marginals held by the Conservatives and where the Liberal Democrats were second in 2010, there has only been a modest swing to the Conservatives since May 2010.

In the eight seats polled, the Conservative Party has a lead of 8% compared to an actual lead in May 2010 of 2%. This swing of 3% is much smaller than national opinion polls show. The vote share figures are:

Conservative 39% (-2% on May 2010)
Liberal Democrat 31% (-8%)
Labour 19% (+6%)

Con lead

Posted in News and Polls | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

Alex Wilcock writes… Tory boy throws toys out of pram: not exactly Man Bites Dog

British politics is known for its name-calling and point-scoring rather than adult debate, and few sane voters find the bearpit of Prime Minister’s Question Time very edifying. But since no party won the election, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have tried to do the mature thing, with neither getting all of what they want because the voters didn’t give either party absolute power. The voters don’t matter, though, to Tory Boy Tim Montgomerie, who today screams and screams until he’s sick that With every passing day the Liberal Democrats are dragging the Coalition further away from the

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 19 Comments

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

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 21 Comments

An old Liberal Democrat policy rides again courtesy of Iain Duncan Smith (UPDATED)

Unusual political times indeed courtesy of the front page of today’s Times. For a long time a central part of Liberal Democrat welfare policy was to integrate and simplify the tax and benefits system. The policy faded away from the party’s priorities, partly because the details were never that straightforward; for example, how do you integrate a system based on weekly payments and assessments (benefits) with another one based on monthly and annual payments and assessments (tax, particularly income tax and PAYE)?

A large chunk of that policy is now very much back on the political agenda, as ConservativeHome reports:


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Cameron TV meltdown hits YouTube

Yes, it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: David Cameron’s bewildered, stumbling, confused, squirming, befuddled, painful TV interview with broadcaster Martin Popplewell is now available to view on YouTube – over 17,000 people have watched it to date.

LDV highlighted the footage late Tuesday. To give them their due, ConservativeHome didn’t shy away from it either.

The Tory blogger Iain Dale loyally attempted to gloss over Mr Cameron’s dire performance, desperately claiming “I think the inherent problem with the interview was that Cameron didn’t know if he was giving a print interview or a film interview”. Sure thing, Iain – I can see exactly how the confusion arose. After all which senior politician hasn’t wondered, when being interviewed two metres away from a three-person camera crew, “Is this being filmed?”

And Paul Staines’ right-wing Guido Fawkes blog decided to ignore it altogether. Quite right, Paul: much better to devote yourself to your forlorn campaign to persuade people Vince Cable doesn’t understand economics. Good luck with that one – I think your crusade has a way to go.

For those who haven’t yet seen it, then, here is the footage of David Cameron going into meltdown in front of the TV cameras:

Posted in YouTube | Also tagged , , , , and | 10 Comments

No panic here, nothing to see, move along

Two different stories today, unconnected in one way but both – particularly when put together – speaking volumes for the current state of the Conservative Party. Obviously, panic or disagreements are in no way involved. Not at all.

First we have ConservativeHome’s take on the party starting to use YouGov in addition to Populus:

Up until now now the Cameron team has had only Populus telling them what the outside world was thinking. The intelligence from Populus was brought to them by the same team who run operations in the party’s marginal seats. In other words our marginal seats operation wasn’t

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The Alternative ConHome 10-point plan to put the Tory election campaign back on track

With their lead in the latest opinion polls down to just 5% according to one poll, there is clearly a bit of a wobble at Conservative HQ. Right-wing website ConservativeHome has helpfully printed a ten point plan to put the Tory election campaign back on track. Here’s an alternative take on it …

1. Don’t panic

The Corporal Jones approach. Perhaps not the best way to encourage the Conservative grassroots to stay focussed. As all psychologists will tell you, if you tell people not to panic, the one word they remember is – Panic. What the Tories ought to be running …

Posted in Op-eds | 9 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 2 November 2009

With just 59 days til the end of the third millennium’s first decade, we can celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the birth of BBC1, and that it’s 49 years to the day since Penguin Books was found not guilty of obscenity in the Lady Chatterley’s Lover case.

2 Big Stories

Johnson faces backlash over decision to sack drugs advisor

The fall-out continues from Home Secretary Alan Johnson’s decision to sack Professor David Nutt as chair of his scientific advisory body on drugs policy – The Times reports:

The Government is facing mass resignations from the official advisory body on drugs after the sacking

Posted in Daily View and Europe / International | Also tagged , , , , , and | 2 Comments

What does the future hold for British political blogging?

Predictions that the next general election will be the one in which the internet will make a huge impact have regularly come and gone. Post-Obama ready yourself for another such clutch of predictions, but underneath this punditry froth the internet has got on with quietly shifting the way politics works. It’s been more at the unglamorous organisational end (imagine trying to organise a campaign without email) than at the eye-catching systems-shattering dramatic end beloved of pundits, but it’s been a major change nonetheless.

Following in the footsteps of email, blogging has also established a firm place in the logistics of politics, even if its impact on the overall style and conduct of politics is less clear and less dramatic. Blogs have become a key news medium for people involved in or significantly interested in politics, they have become a key part of the flow of news to and from journalists and for some MPs and candidates they reach local audiences large enough to be a significant factor in their election efforts.

Posted in Online politics | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , and | 5 Comments

The leaders’ debate – is it really now game on?

Fair play to Sky News. It’s a month since the broadcaster upped the ante on a leaders’ debate, with Adam Boulton launching a full-throated campaign – including writing for LDV – for Nick Clegg, Gordon Brown and David Cameron to debate each other in the lead-up to general election day.

The result? The AP tells us a deal has now been reached between the broadcasters:

Broadcasters have written to Britain’s main political parties proposing a series of televised debates before the general election. The BBC, Sky News television, and ITV have written to the leaders of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties with a joint proposal for three live televised debates before the election, which must be called by the middle of next year.

Posted in General Election and News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 12 Comments

Death by bar chart? Tories plotting to kill in Norwich North

ConservativeHome proudly announces the start of the Tory by-election campaign in Norwich North by posting Tories begin Norwich North campaign with attempt to kill off third parties.

And this is how they plan to do it:
Conservative bar chart for Norwich North
Look at the heights of the bars – they don’t even match the percentages. The Labour and Lib Dem results have been depressed and Green and UKIP have been artificially inflated.

From ConservativeHome:

Within minutes of Ian Gibson announcing his resignation as MP for Norwich North

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged and | 49 Comments

The Great Expectations Game

Earlier this week, I blogged about the ‘expectations game’, the way in which post-election analysis can be spun, and speculated that the Lib Dems were being set up for a fall. In fact, though, the reporting of the party’s performance has been generally fair. For instance, here’s Tony Travers in today’s Guardian:

The national equivalent vote share put the Conservatives on 38%, the Liberal Dems on 28%, Labour on 23% and “others” on 11%. Compared with 2008, the Tories are down five points, Labour down one point, the Lib Dems up one point and Others up by

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 29 Comments

William Hague’s sideswipe at Alan Duncan

Over at ConservativeHome they’ve got an interview with William Hague, in which he makes this comment about Have I Got News For You:

I took the view that appearing on it is not compatible with being on the Front Bench.

Now, who’s recently appeared on that show? His fellow Conservative front bencher, Alan Duncan. Oops.

Or maybe not so oops, given the frequent political chatter that Alan Duncan won’t make it into any future Conservative Cabinet, his little expenses problem, his forgetfulness when it comes to policy ideas, his secret funding controversy and his donation from a …

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Where I disagree with ConHome over the BNP’s Buckingham Palace Invitation

There will be – and should be – widespread disgust at the suggestion that BNP leader Nick Griffin is going to attend a Buckingham Palace garden party, hosted by HM the Queen. For the overwhelming majority of Britons who support racial and cultural diversity, it is offensive to see the British National Party attending a function hosted by the Head of State in honour of public service. It would be embarrassing for the Queen herself, who has been rightly keen to emphasise she is constitutional monarch for Britons of all faiths and races.

However, it would be mistaken to focus …

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LabourList, meet the Electoral Commission; Electoral Commission meet LabourList

Who exactly is funding LabourList? That’s the question which is beginning to be asked in the wake of ‘Smeargate’, in which Gordon Brown’s chief spin-doctor, Damian McBride, conspired with the website’s founding editor Derek Draper to defame various Tory figures.

It’s a question of keen interest to us here at Lib Dem Voice. We’re an independent website run by a volunteer collective of seven party members, including one (departing) member of the party’s Cowley Street staff. Our running costs are – just about – covered through a combination of advertising revenue and those readers who are kind enough to donate to LDV.

Back in October, as we discussed inviting donations, I checked the site’s position with the Electoral Commission in order to ensure that our understanding of the law was still in line with the Commission’s:

In order to ensure that we do not run into any compliance issues either as our financial activities grow or as a general election nears, we would be grateful for guidance from the Electoral Commission:

1. Under what, if any, circumstances would donations to Liberal Democrat Voice be covered by the legislation regarding permissibility and declaration of donations?
2. Under what, if any, circumstances would our activity be regarded as campaign activity that would then be regulated either as third party activity or as part of the Liberal Democrats?
3. Are there any other issues which you wish to draw our attention to that are not covered by the previous questions?

The full reply I received from the Electoral Commission is printed at the foot of this article*, but here’s the crucial part:

Thank you for your email asking for some advice on whether or not Lib Dem Voice is covered by donation controls. From what you have said, I think that it is. This is because groups whose membership consists wholly or mainly of members of a particular registered party are ‘members associations’ under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA).

Which begs the question: does the Electoral Commission think that LabourList (an organisation mainly, if not totally, run by Labour Party members) should also be covered by these same donation controls?

Assuming the answer is yes, then we shouldn’t have long to wait to find out who the main backers are of LabourList – any donations over £5,000 in cash or in kind from the same source must be reported to the Electoral Commission within 30 days of LabourList accepting them. (In the case of several smaller donations, e.g. monthly provision of office or IT services in kind, then they become declarable when the total value in the year hits £5,000.)

Indeed, given LabourList has been going for more than 30 days, then any donations, such as initial donations of money or provision of IT services for free, should have been declared by now and one would expect them to have appeared on the Electoral Commission’s website already.

(The timescale for declaring donations to members associations is different from donations to parties. Parties have to declare their donations each quarter, and they are then published shortly afterwards by the Electoral Commission. Donations to members associations, whether cash or in kind, have to be declared and should then be published, on a much quicker timescale.)

I’ve submitted an inquiry to the Electoral Commission to confirm my understanding of the rules. Perhaps then we’ll find out who LabourList really has received largesse from?

In the interests of balance, I should add that I would assume ConservativeHome is also covered by the same Electoral Commission rules. It is a matter of public record that the site is owned by Stephan Shakespeare (though you have to search some to find this information in the About ConHome section of the site). I can, as yet, find no references to his presumably pretty hefty ongoing donations to ConservativeHome – including paying for two full-time members of staff – on the Electoral Commission’s website.

For the record, I should note that Lib Dem Voice has yet to receive a donation large enough to necessitate us to trouble the Electoral Commission. But there’s always a first time if you fancy putting our skills to the test. 🙂

* Full text of email from Electoral Commission follows:

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Nick unveils his Plan for Reform on MPs’ expenses

Earlier today LDV reported on The Times’s splash that Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg would be proposing that MPs should be forced to sell their second homes and return most of the profits to the taxpayer. In fact, his plans for reform of MPs’ expenses is far more far-reaching than that, and are published in full over at nickclegg.com, and covered here on the BBC.

Here’s Nick’s reasoning behind his Plan for Reform:

MPs’ Expenses, My Plan for Reform – Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal Democrats

The ongoing controversy over the expenses system is having a hugely damaging

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

Conservative Party faces investigation over controversial donations from Said family

The Electoral Commission is investigating tens of thousands of pounds the Conservative Party has received from the Said family, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Wafic Said was a key figure in the highly controversial Al-Yamamah arms deal between Saudi Arabia and the UK. Allegations of corruption surrounding the deal were being investigated by staff at Britain’s Serious Fraud Office – until they were ordered to drop the investigation because it was supposedly against the national interest. Tough on crime? Only when it suits.

Although the Liberal Democrats – and Norman Lamb in particular – have been vocal in their criticisms of …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 1 Comment

Video: LDV, ConHome and LabourList debate online campaigning

Lib Dem Voice’s Mark Pack, ConservativeHome’s Jonathan Isaby and LabourList’s Derek Draper discussed online campaigning in a Hansard Society event held in Parliament yesterday.

The event was chaired by Dr Laura Miller from the Hansard Society eDemocracy programme.

From the Society’s website:

This event discussed the use of online strategies and their increasing importance, encouragement of grass-roots activism and ability to enable mass mobilisation. But there is no guarantee that the cooption of online strategies will guarantee electoral success or promote healthy dialogue between politicians and citizens.

You can watch the video here.

Posted in Online politics and Site news | Also tagged , , and | 2 Comments

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