Archive for the 'David Cameron' Category


The Tory leadership contest could be the political equivalent of the Grand National

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

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We can’t assume that the next CON leader will enjoy the same personal premium that Cameron has had

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

ComRes Indy on Sunday/S Mirror poll Sept 19 2015

This could make GE2020 less of a certainty

The big known unknown of British politics is what is going to happen when David Cameron, as he’s said he will, steps down and won’t pursue a third term.

Quite what the timing will be we don’t know but it is highly likely that a new Tory leader will have emerged by the time of the next election and based on current betting the money is going on the Chancellor George Osborne.

What we know about Cameron, particularly from the regular Ipsos-MORI “like him like his party” polling is that he has been a net asset to the Conservative Party not a negative. Having him as leader has added to the overall appeal of the blue team. That contrasted sharply with Labour at the general election when having a Miliband as leader acted as a negative. Ed was less popular than his party while Dave was more popular.

    This, I would suggest, adds to the risk to the Conservatives of Cameron’s departure. The chances are that his successor will NOT enjoy the same personal premium.

The ComRes survey for the Indy on Sunday featured above highlights an issue in relation to George Osborne. Those net favorability numbers are not good for him. In fact he is only one point better than Jeremy Corbyn who is widely regarded as an electoral negative for Labour.

We do know that the appeal of a party leader is central in an election and why numbers like the ones above can be a better indicator of what will happen than the voting intention surveys.

It might, of course, be that if George gets the job then the aura of being Prime Minister will give him a considerable boost but it might not.

Polls numbers like the ComRes favourability ones will take on a greater significance as we get closer to the changeover.

Mike Smithson


UPDATE Corbyn becomes first LAB leader EVER to record negative ratings in his opening Ipsos MORI satisfaction ratings

Thursday, September 24th, 2015


“Call me Dave”: The Ashcroft revelations in the Mail appear to have run out of steam

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

The “revelations” from Day 4 of the Daily Mail’s serialisation of Lord Ashcroft’s unofficial biography of Mr Cameron don’t quite have the potency of what we saw earlier in the week.

There’s nothing on today’s front page that struck me as being a must read and interestingly the amount of space being allocated is declining. That’s the problem with serialisations – you get the really juicy bits in right at the start but you do need to hold back material so that there is something that grabs attention every day.

Of the three areas highlighted this morning just one of them, the breakfast with the Queen, appears to provide new information. But surely don’t all Prime Ministers at some stage experience less comfortable sessions with the monarch during their terms of office?

The other two, foreign aid on which Lord Ashcroft has repeatedly set out his views and what appears to be a reference to Cameron’s Handling of the Leveson Inquiry, are about the politics rather than offering new information.

Maybe there are more goodies to come tomorrow or at the weekend but don’t hold your breath.

The big political issue that the book has raised is the timing of Cameron’s knowledge of Lord Ashcroft non Dom status. That could go on.

Mike Smithson


Damian McBride wonders why there’s been no official denial of the pig story from Team Dave

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

There’s a fascinating critique in the Guardian this morning by Damian McBride on the way the Cameron team has dealt with the allegations being made by Lord Ashcroft, particularly the one about the pig.

He argues strongly that they should have been a total an absolute denial of the story right at the very start and by that not being it has been made the situation far worse.

McBride, of course, worked for Gordon Brown and had a lot of experience of situations like this. He observes:

“.. Perhaps the PM’s spin team decided that responding officially to the pig story would oblige them to respond to potentially more damaging allegations regarding Ashcroft’s non-dom status. Better, instead, to say they were not commenting on any of the book’s contents.

If so, it was a major miscalculation, and one I’d suggest they are too experienced to have made. In the absence of an instant bucket of water, the story has caught fire over the past two days. Not only that, it’s allowed other newspapers to declare open season on Cameron’s private life, as we see from today’s “coke parties” splash in the Sun…

Mike Smithson


Day 3 in the Mail from Lord A looks a bit tamer

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015


The Ashcroft revelations day 2

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

Could this be damaging to Osborne’s succession chances?

One aspect of this which has a betting implication is what the Ashcroft revelations will do to the next CON leader markets?

Is recent months, particularly since the July budget, the sentiment has moved very strongly to the Chancellor, George Osborne. I wonder whether some of the backlash provoked by the tabloid frenzy could impact on him because, after all, Osborne was also a member of the Bullingdon club at Oxford and has had his own share of bad publicity.

It probably does not help Boris Johnson either.

Neither of the other two favourites in the betting markets are white males – Theresa May and Sajid Javid. Maybe if there is an early contest then this would boost their chances.

My own view is that Cameron’s successor could be someone who is not really in the frame at the moment.

All of the above is froff, though, and takes attention away from the most serious political allegation relating to when David Cameron knew of Lord Ashcroft’s tax status which is what the Guardian is focusing on. It was interesting yesterday that this is what SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, chose to raise.

So far we await to see how the official leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, exploits what would seem to be a heaven sent situation.

Let’s see what the Mail will be doing in part 3 tomorrow.

Mike Smithson


This should take the pressure off Mr Corbyn

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Just when you thought politics couldn’t get any weirder.

I thought writing “Jeremy Corbyn has been elected Labour leader” would be the weirdest/unlikeliest PB thread I would write this summer. I was wrong, very wrong as this thread features things you’d expect to read in a Tom Knox novel.

Had this biography come out during the election campaign I suspect it might been a ‘game changer’ but now that Dave has confirmed his plans to stand down they maybe less damaging, unless the photographs alluded to in the story emerge (if they exist.) But for the next few days this will be the only story that will dominate British politics. Some will view think it’s a sin what Cameron did whilst at the other spectrum people will think we’ve all done stupid things when young and every body else somewhere in between.

It may backfire on Lord Ashcroft as some may see this as revenge for not being offered the job Cameron promised him. Hell hath no fury like a donor scorned.

I suspect that these sorts of stories will damage the leadership prospects of Cameron’s contemporaries at Oxford Boris Johnson and George Osborne as they will be perceived as guilty by association and pre-held preceptions as any former public schoolboy will attest to. This might benefit the likes of non Oxbridge types like University of Exeter alumnus Sajid Javid, modesty prevents me from naming the PBer who tipped him in September 2014 at 50/1 as the next Prime Minister after Dave.