Archive for the 'David Cameron' Category


Are we really only five months away from Dave’s resignation?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Benedict Brogan wrote the other day

David Cameron will resign if he loses Scotland. A Prime Minister who allows the break-up of the United Kingdom cannot suffer such a statement of no confidence and continue in office.

That much is understood in Downing Street, where a gnawing doubt about the referendum gets worse by the day. The vote takes place in five months this Friday. Angst rather than panic describes the feeling apparent among those involved – but is it just a momentary loss of nerve, or a dawning realisation that something is seriously wrong?

That’s a pretty sensational revelation. I have my doubts, but iff Brogan is right, then it maybe worth reviewing the next Prime Minister market. If Cameron does resign in the wake of a Yes vote, then I think the next Tory leader (and ergo next Prime Minister) will come from the following four.

William Hague – I’ve always viewed him as the if Dave ever fell under a bus candidate. Will he want it? I suspect he may not, but in the scenario of Scotland seceding from the Union, he may.

Theresa May – Who has been quietly impressive at the Home Office, which had turned into a political graveyard for others, as a result, the bookies make it between her and Boris as favourites for the next Tory leader. (As an aside, given the scenario outlined above, I can’t see Boris being able to run in this leadership election)

George Osborne – Two years ago following the omnishambles budget, I would have thought Larry the Cat had a better chance at being next Tory Leader than George. But times change, his personal ratings and the economy have improved, as well at the Tory polling in the aftermath of the budget, it is not as outlandish as it seemed a few years ago.

Philip Hammond – If UKIP maintains or improves on its current polling, then some Tories will conclude their best chance of getting back those Con to UKIP switchers, is to back one of the two Tory cabinet ministers who would vote to leave the EU. (The other Michael Gove, I suspect will be on team Osborne.) Hammond like Theresa May has impressed quietly. That said, he was accused of undermining the No campaign earlier on this week.

Looking at the odds on the next Prime Minster, I’ve backed the above four, they are in some way, proxies for a Yes vote, and at odds of 16/1 and higher, they in my opinion represent better value than the 11/4 you can get on Yes winning in September if Brogan is right.

Odds on the next Prime Minister (as at midnight)




Each day the political potency of the flooding gets bigger

Monday, February 10th, 2014

David Cameron’s response

The judgement on the Environment Agency

Looking at the party splits CON voters are much more likely to blame the Environment Agency than David Cameron. The ones most supportive of the EA are the Lib Dems.

The big worry for both coalition partners is that the quality voters most look for in governments is competancy. Once you’ve lost that then things can get dangerous.


The David Cameron paradox: His “little black book” could form both the CON and LD manifestos

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Cameron in SA

In an interview with Speccie editor, Fraser Nelson David Cameron gives an interesting insight into how his party will present itself at GE2015

“..The coalition is still strong and radical, he says, ‘but because of what I see as the problems facing Britain — and what I want to do next as Prime Minister — I feel very passionately that I want single party government’. It’s strange, I say, he doesn’t come across as a man held captive by the perfidious Liberal Democrats. ‘I don’t believe that you succeed in government by sitting around whingeing about what you can’t do,’ he says. ‘But I’m happy to tell you — and Spectator readers — privately that there’s a good list of things I have put in my little black book that I haven’t been able to do which will form the next Tory manifesto.

That’s fine except it is exactly the message that the Lib Dems will try to put over as well. For their main hope of beating off the CON threat to most of the seats they’ll be defending is that LAB>LD tactical voting to block the Tories continues.

    In this context the more Cameron highlights the things that the LDs have stopped his party doing the more that it makes the case for such anti-CON tactical voting.

The great hope of the Tories is that in the LAB>CON battlegrounds the 2010 LDs will stay with their allegiance and that in the CON>LD ones that LAB voters will stay with the red team.

Concerted tactical voting in both sets of marginal seats makes the CON majority aim that bit more difficult.

Mike Smithson

Blogging from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble since 2004


Will it be English Tories that swings the IndyRef for the Yes Side?

Friday, November 29th, 2013

On the love that might finally dare to speak its name.

For those of us betting and/or wanting Scotland to vote for independence, bar one poll that was commissioned by the SNP, the general thrust of the recent polling hasn’t been favourable for us, so where will this surge in support for the Yes Side come from?

In recent weeks, there’s been a few senior Tories, from current cabinet minister, Eric Pickles, the last Tory Secretary of State of Scotland and the last Tory Prime Minister to win a majority, talking about “From a purely partisan political point of view, the Conservative party would be much better placed without Scotland because some where down the line we have mislaid our Scottish votes” 

Whilst I don’t doubt David Cameron’s desire to keep Scotland in the Union, some Tories (from Cabinet Ministers, MPs, donors and former MPs) may decide it is in their party’s interest for Scotland to vote yes next year, some may decide to intervene/be helpful in the campaign for the Yes side.

As things stand, there is a currently a net 58 non Conservative MPs at Westminster from Scotland. Of the most disappointing performances for the Tories in 2010, the fact there was a net swing from Con to Lab in Scotland in 2010 showed how far the Tories have to go in places where they used to do well in, 18 years earlier John Major won 12 seats in Scotland, which, was crucial to his majority of 21 seats.

The blunt truth of it is this, even on a very good night for the Conservative party in Scotland, the best they could hope for is maybe 2 to 4 seats, which would still leave a net non Conservative 50+ MPs from Scotland. In fact, given the Lib Dem collapse, particularly in Scotland, may end up costing the sole Tory MP in Scotland his seat in 2015.

The above graph, from the Telegraph, shows what Parliament would look like without Scottish MPs at the last General Election.

So how can The Tories help the Yes side? The most obvious and easy way, would be to keep on repeating the Scotland are subsidy junkies myth, and saying they want to be free of the Scottish burden, which will not go down well with Scottish voters.

If the Tories for Scottish Nationalism wanted to be a bit more cuter, they could say, we need Scotland and her oil revenues to remain in the Union, fund current and future conservative/coalition policies. The current coalition policies, which generally are less popular in Scotland than they are in the rest of the UK, over the summer it was said by Henry McLeish that Coalition policies could deliver Scots independence.

The other way The Tories can swing it, will be that, the Independence campaign proper won’t start until May 2014, after the European Elections. My expectation is that UKIP will outpoll the Tories. Were this to happen, there will be Tories, urging Dave to adopt more Eurosceptic and right-wing policies to win the support in 2015 of those who voted UKIP in 2014.

Henry McLeish also recently said

The Prime Minister’s “rich posh image” and “damaging” policies epitomise everything that Scots hate about the Conservatives

He said Mr Cameron is a “much scarier figure than Margaret Thatcher ever was” to Scots and could increase support for independence by as much as five percentage points is he fails to take a back seat in the coming year.

With David Cameron hinting/offering policies in the summer of 2014 that the Scots don’t like, that 5% could become a lot more, a politician with the adroitness of Alex Salmond will be able to ruthlessly exploit to his advantage.

If the European and local elections are particularly grim for the Tory Party, there may well be a Tory leadership election going on concurrently in the last three months of the referendum campaign. A collection of right-wing English Tories fighting for the Tory leadership, that may not be the ideal scenario for Better Together to win the referendum.

It should be remembered, before people engage in major constitutional changes, that things don’t always turn out the way they were envisaged, after all Scottish Devolution according to one of its architects, was meant to kill Scottish Nationalism, stone dead, but in less than ten months time, it maybe the Union that is killed stone dead.

The other prize for the English Tories for Scottish Nationalism, iff, Scotland does vote for Independence, there is a the possibility of disenfranchising Scottish voters from the 2015 General election, which is the only way I can see the Tories winning a majority in 2015. If Labour and or the Lib Dems object, I’m not sure how well that will play with English and Welsh voters (I’m not forgetting Northern Ireland, but there aren’t that many marginal seats there for the Lab/Con/Libs to fight over)

For those hoping or fearing perpetual Tory rule in post Independence United Kingdom, here’s what Parliament would have looked like in past elections without Scotland.



Henry G Manson on Dave and green policy

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Was this a ‘Ratner’ moment for the PM?

Gerald Ratner once famously described his jewellery as “total crap” in an after-dinner speech before seeing the remarks picked up in the press. He mocked his own products and in doing so he fatally undermined his relationship with his customers, which led to a collapse in the businesses’ fortunes.

The Sun’s front page report that Cameron is said to be going around Number 10 saying “we’ve got to get rid of all this green crap” won’t prove as fatal given the environment isn’t top of voter priorities, but could prove corrosive with some non-traditional voters who invested their trust in the Conservative leader over his party.

In the 80s pretty much everyone accepted Ratner’s was cheap and cheerful, but many bought into the mirage of exclusivity for the masses. Few would objectively describe David Cameron’s government as “the greenest ever”, but this week this particular mirage is over too. This isn’t just about the pros and cons of energy levies, HS2 ripping through the Chilterns or renewable energy versus gas. Instead it’s about a core part of David Cameron’s pre-election identity dying before us.

Zac Goldsmith MP is credited with influencing Cameron’s environmental understanding and commitment when in Opposition. Goldsmith has now said tea-room chatter among Conservatives is on the lines of “if the PM can so casually drop something that was so central to his identity, he can drop anything.”

Are such levels of pragmatism such a bad thing in politics? For Cameron, yes. If Ed Miliband were in business he’d be in Research and Development but for David Cameron it’s sales. But a salesman can never, ever afford to trash his product and ridicule his customers without doing undermining himself and the chances of selling new products in the future diminishes.

Lynton Crobsy might think the “green crap” remarks will play well with UKIP supporters although some may not have forgiven past promises they feel ought to have been honoured. UKIP voters will likely be more numerous than those who ‘voted blue to go green’ in 2010. But put alongside the wiping of pledges and youtube speeches from the web and the message is a Cameron pledge, no matter how sincere it seems, can expire at any time.

The Tory leader remains more popular than his party and so what happens to his standing will have a disproportionate impact on the next election. If a promise from David Cameron is proven to be worth the same as a pair of Ratner’s earrings then that is problematic for the Prime Minister.

Henry G Manson


GE2015 could be decided by whether enough people have felt the benefit of this ‘economic recovery’

Friday, November 8th, 2013


Henry G Manson on Ed and Dave’s big gambles

These last few months have witnessed David Cameron and Ed Miliband place a sizeable political wager against each other, with the keys to Downing Street at stake. The Conservative leader believes the economy will show positive signs of recovery by 2015 and enough indication that the government has made good on its promise to repair the economy. The Labour leader on the other hand is gambling that even with 6 more quarters of economic growth, not enough people will feel the benefit and in fact things could still feel worse for them and their families.

    Instinctively you might think that it’s the Labour leader who is taking the biggest risk. But some of the deepseated problems in the economy mean that it’s not functioning in the same way as in previous recoveries.

It seems likely that people will continue to experience a decline in living standards even with modest growth. Labour are highlighting how 39 out of 40 months under the Coalition government wages have fallen in real terms compared to prices and I wouldn’t bet against that bleak run continuing for some time yet.  

Somewhat surprisingly the Conservatives still don’t have a policy on energy that stands up to Labour’s. Many bills are expected to continue to rise ahead of inflation.  Up to half of the government’s cuts for this parliament are still to take place. Meanwhile he growth of minimum wage jobs, zero hour contracts, part-time work when wanting full-time hours might be enough to drag unemployment figures down, but they’re hardly a return to the good times for those concerned.

There could be a revival in the housing market (that goes beyond Russian oligarchs buying up London real estate) but Mike has already highlighted how an increase in house prices could cause more voter disapproval than approval. So what exactly will it take for the majority of the public around the country to feel better off? And do the Conservatives still have time to deliver it in the next 18 months?

Possibly the most dangerous scenario is for Conservative ministers to be explaining how things are indeed better while they’re going downhill for many individuals. This is why Labour’s charges of being ‘out of touch’ could really land home. GDP figures simply won’t win votes on their own.

Of the two I currently believe Ed Miliband has the value bet, but David Cameron is the one in power and still has a window of opportunity to actually do something. His party isn’t predisposed to market intervention but I really don’t believe the Conservatives can afford to risk a ‘steady as you go’ Autumn Statement.

Henry G Manson


Miliband’s energy price freeze might or might not be good economics – but it’s certainly good politics

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Cameron needs a much better response than we saw at PMQs

Our first session of PMQs since the start of September and as the above Tweets from Nick Robinson and Andrew Sparrow show it was Miliband’s energy price freeze which was setting the agenda – something that happens very rarely for an opposition leader.

Given that this was announced in Brighton more than a fortnight ago it was surprising that Cameron and the Tories have not yet forumulated a stronger response.

    In many ways this reminds me of George Osborne’s move on inheritance tax on the Monday of the Tory conference in October 2007.

Whatever the finer details it proved to be a game-changer in terms of the political narrative – which for all of the previous three months had been totally dominated by Gordon Brown.

Even when Alastair Darling was able to announce something similar later in the month it appeared as though he was copying Osbo’s idea.

So likewise if George is able to produce his own measure on energy price in the autumn statement it will look as though it is in response to Miliband.

Mike Smithson

For the latest polling and political betting news


It looks like Dave’s reshuffle is really on…

Sunday, October 6th, 2013