26 February 2007

Us Tories Are Being Far Too Unambitious

We Are Doing Well

In the run-up to last May's elections (after Labour's "worst week"), a yougov poll gave the Tories just a 3% lead over Labour. The actual results turned out as follows - CON 40%, LIB DEM 27%, LAB 26%, indicating that polls continue to understate Conservative votes. The latest Yougov polls give the Tories a 7% lead over Labour. At least as importantly, there is strong evidence that the general public are starting to trust the Tories on the economy again (I always have). In sum, available evidence suggests that the Tories will do even better in May 2007 local elections than in May 2006.

Tory Campaigning Efforts

Conservative Future has adopted a "marginal seats" campaign which is far too conservative (with a little c). Three of the seats targetted (Solihull, Wirral West and Portsmouth North) are notionally Tory under new boundaries anyway! Finchley and Golders Green (Con target no 1!)and Harlow (6) need a fractional swing to be won and even winning the least marginal target seats of Pendle (45) and Worcester (59) would only leave the Tories in hung Parliament territory.

CF Should Aim Higher

Here are the May 2006 local election results in a seat that is Conservative target 185.

Conservative 9421 34%
Labour 7962 29%
Liberal 5103 18%
BNP 3025 11%
Green 2082 8%
Other 104 0%

Considering the momentum is only swinging one way (against the government) who can tell me that we can't win a seat such as this? Actually, lots of people do, but I don't agree with them at all.

Conclusion

I have a nasty feeling that the Tories are aiming far too low at the next election and as a result we will miss out on a majority due to aiming too low. When we win Solihull by 7,500 and Worcester by 5,000, but just miss out in places like Dudley North (103), Reading West (107) and Barrow-in-Furness (115) - thus ending up with a hung Parliament - it will make our campaign decision-making look pretty poor. Let's move the focus to seats that we need for an overall majority. Politics is about taking risks.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

So that's why the LibDems were ringing us up ,sorry guys my vote won't be for sale and the highest bidder will not get it :-) ,but if you want to get me a present.

mens sana said...

On the other hand we had 168 target seats at the last election including many that were completely unwinnable. Given that we have limited resources we absolutely have to make sure that every pound spent on target seats is not wasted on the unwinnable. We have enough of a mountain to climb with the electoral arithmetic as it currently stands without pi**ing our money away on lost causes

Having said that I agree that if the Conservatives have a bit of luck and a following wind they may do much better than is currently predicted by the polls.

Smith said...

Fair comment, the problem is limtied resources. In 2005 the Conservatives moved out resources from South Ribble, thinking it was in the bag to Pendle. We lost both seats.

Praguetory said...

The same can be said in 2005 in Birmingham for Edgbaston and Northfield. I suppose it's a very difficult choice, but in terms of failing to get a majority a miss is as good as a mile.

S Penketh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
S Penketh said...

Well as the Area Chairmen for Greater Mnachester East I can tell you we have set up branches covering the Stockport Area, Tameside area, Rochdale and Oldham council area combined and also the Bury area. Also my boss GMCF chair (who is also my girfriend and chair of Manchester west) is doing the same in her patch. As you can see this areas cover a lot of seats which are not target seats.

Claire Palmer said...

As the CF Exec member with responsibility for building branches in our marginal seats, I thought I should add my comments.
The seats selected by National CF are those that National CF are helping with in terms of time and personal commitments. It should not be underestimated how much work is required in setting up a sustainable branch in each of these target seats. Hopefully by the end of this year from National CF alone we will have active branches in at least 8 or 9 target seats.

Additionally Mark and I (and maybe others) have received a number of requests for help in setting up CF branches which we have done by being at the end of a phone and helping access data of existing members from CCHQ, and providing suggested letters.

Finally, and most importantly, as Stuart indicates, a number of our Area Chairman have done sterling jobs in setting up target seats in their areas. This makes far more sense than me travelling to Manchester to set up a target CF branch. Nick Webb and George Askew are other excellent examples of someone focussing on our target seats.

Hopefully when these branches are set up next year's executive will move on and focus on continuing the good work and building them in more of our seats.

Any help that our members can offer, is gratefully appreciated.

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