Archive for the 'David Cameron' Category

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Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his life

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

These don’t appear to be the actions of a PM confident of winning the referendum

Typo alert – The below tweet I think he means Foreign Sec, I hope

TSE



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Cameron can do to the Eurosceptic right in the EURef what he did to Miliband’s LAB and Clegg’s Lib Dems

Monday, April 25th, 2016

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This is about the total destruction of Dave’s opponents

I was very struck last night by the Twreet from politics academic Professor Glen O’Hara on the first week of the referendum campaign.

The reason OUT is so on the defensive at the moment is simply because of the force of the major initiatives from the Cameron team in week one. We have had the Treasury document and the £4,300 claim and then the Obama visit and press conference.

OUT has been totally taken aback by what’s facing them and have responded appallingly in an ill-judged fashion. To get themselves in a position where their only course is to try destroy the reputation of Obama, which Boris stupidly continues this morning, shows how wrong footed they’ve become.

Cooler heads would have kept mum and let the President’s assertions come and go. As it is their current main approach had just made them look weak.

    Boris’s ill-thought out attacks on Obama are as bad a mistake as Labour’s EdStone initiative in the general election. Both came out of panic because of the success of Team Cameron in defining what the election is about.

Is also illustrates the massive weakness of those who want to leave the EU. They simply do not have a figurehead to put the argument in a way that resonates with voters.

What we know about Cameron is that he is totally ruthless when it comes to winning elections. Look at how his team destroyed Clegg in the 2011 AV referendum and then EdM last year. Now it is about undermining the credibility of those who want to leave the EU particularly the Mayor who in February was wavering up to the last moment on which side he should be on.

Let’s see what Week Two brings.

Mike Smithson





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A minority government by another name

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

Con Majority

Alastair Meeks asks how could David Cameron deal with a party within a party?

David Cameron has had a cabal of fierce critics on the Conservative backbenches conspiring against him almost since the moment he became party leader.  In the new Parliament, the cabal has re-emerged and, emboldened by a small Conservative majority in the House of Commons, has periodically pounced to undermine their leadership’s plans on tax credit cuts, Sunday trading and benefit cuts, among other things.  The referendum campaign has brought a new focus to long standing tensions within the Conservative party, with Conservative MPs on either side attacking their fellow Conservatives with gusto.  The bonds of loyalty at a party level are being weakened in some cases and in some cases on the Leave side those bonds are in danger of being replaced with bonds to a much narrower grouping.

A party within a party has not yet formed but the danger is real.  The Conservative majority is currently 12.  A rightwing para-party within the Conservatives would command far more than this number.  If it formed, we would effectively have a minority government with supply and confidence support from a para-party that would dearly love to oust the current Conservative leadership.

Does this matter?  After all, the Conservatives have nearly 100 more seats than Labour.  Well yes it does.  Look at the make-up of the House of Commons:

Cons 331 (including Speaker)

Lab 232*

SNP 56*

Lib Dems 8

DUP 8

Sinn Fein 4

Plaid Cymru 3

SDLP 3

UUP 2

Greens 1

UKIP 1

Independent 1

*Includes MPs who have had the whip suspended

Let’s say that 30 Conservative MPs formed a para-party.  What are David Cameron’s options for ensuring that they cannot hold him to ransom?  The answer is: not very good.  The rest of Parliament is unusually uniformly lined up against him.  So finding new allies would be very tough going.

Labour of course are the Conservatives’ real enemy.  But Labour find themselves in competitive opposition with the SNP, who are anxious to show Scots that they are more effective at confronting the Tories.  There is not the slightest chance of David Cameron getting help from that quarter.

In a different way, the Lib Dems are also in competitive opposition with Labour.  They are anxious to show, post-coalition, as much distance from the Conservatives as possible.  Co-operation would be on the most limited of bases and on very specific topics.  Anyway, there are only eight of them.

Of the smaller parties, Sinn Fein don’t turn up, Plaid Cymru and the Greens are like-minded with the SNP and the SDLP is like-minded with Labour.  Lady Sylvia Hermon is independent but much more pro-Labour than pro-Conservative.  David Cameron can forget about help from any of them.

The UUP are a more hopeful prospect for support.  The Conservatives have a Nobel Prize winner in their ranks in the House of Lords – David Trimble, who hopped across from the UUP in 2007.  So David Cameron can hope for help there.  But they have only 2 MPs.

That leaves the DUP and UKIP.  UKIP’s MP, Douglas Carswell, is really an independent clad in purple, but his dislike of David Cameron is evidently intense, judging from his twitter feed.  The DUP come from the same ideological stream as the putative para-party – opposition to gay marriage, socially conservative, keen on populist spending for their client base.  They are far more likely to ally with the para-party than David Cameron’s Conservatives.

We don’t need to get into precise numbers to see that if the Conservative rightwing para-party commanded 30 or so Conservative MPs, David Cameron would be beholden to them on the current Parliamentary groupings.  They could wield a lot of power.

Is there anything that he could do to break a para-party’s grip over him?  Candidly, even the remoter options don’t look good.  His best remaining option to marginalise their influence is to hope for the Labour party also to splinter.  If he were able to make a generous and open offer to Blairite MPs, offering them substantial concessions on policy, he might hope for their support.  But the experience of the Lib Dems is very fresh in all politicians’ minds and the Blairites, even if they were minded to break with the rest of Labour, would need more than that.  Unless they were themselves hard-pressed, I’d expect them to be looking for a no-compete agreement at the next election so that they did not find themselves devoured by their erstwhile allies in the same way as Nick Clegg’s troops.

We’re starting to get into the realms of political novels now.  And that’s my point.  Coming back from flights of fancy, if the Conservative party fractures into smaller blocks, David Cameron will face agonising problems of party management.  He’s always been poor at that and he is unlikely to start getting better once he’s alienated large numbers of his MPs over the referendum campaign.  So his best practical option is to stop the blocks forming in the first place.  That may be easier said than done.  His retirement announcement may after all have been very well-timed.

Alastair Meeks



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Cameron’s biggest EURef error could be diverting from Wilson’s winning 1975 template

Monday, April 18th, 2016

A debut guest post by TC

Up to the point of announcing the date of the referendum, Cameron had been following the example set by Harold Wilson.  In 1975 Wilson was faced with a split in his party and cabinet over the European EC question.  To address this problem, Wilson’s response was to have a renegotiation of our terms with the EC and then have a referendum to decide whether we remained or left.  The Wilson cabinet was also allowed to campaign for either side.

Up to that stage Cameron has followed Wilson’s plan.  However, since the announcement Cameron has diverged from the Wilson plan in one major aspect.   In 1975 Wilson chose to stay aloof from the campaigning letting his pro-EC ministers such as Roy Jenkins play the key roles in communicating the case for staying in the EC.    The result of this was that it never did become a referendum about Wilson’s government and it was less acrimonious for the Labour party.

Cameron has chosen a different course and has clearly decided to front the REMAIN campaign.  As a result, his political fortunes are becoming intertwined with the outcome of the referendum.  Even solid Europhile supporters such as Ken Clarke now openly talk about the fact that Cameron will resign if the people vote for LEAVE.

Therefore nine weeks from the referendum vote, it is in danger of becoming for some voters, particularly left wing leaning voters, an opportunity to send a message to Cameron and Osborne.  “Just vote LEAVE to kick them out.”

Every time that Cameron and Osborne appear in the media advocating REMAIN, they cement in some voters minds the fact that they are part of REMAIN.   If this continues, far from being an asset to REMAIN, Cameron and Osborne may become, its biggest liability. It is better for referendums that they should avoid being viewed as an opportunity to “kick the Government”.  Cameron is creating that opportunity.


TC has been a regular PB poster to several years



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CON voters give Dave a net 24% lead over Boris on whose EU statements/claims are trusted

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

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Why LEAVE has to undermine the PM

It is said, though I have no independent verification, that the Lynton Crosby analysis of the referendum is that the outers have to totally undermine Cameron’s reputation if they are to have a chance.

With Corbyn now coming off the fence which should encourage the Labour IN vote current CON voters are a major battleground between IN and OUT. The polls vary but all have LEAVE ahead amongst this voting segment but the gap needs to be significantly larger than it is. The above chart is a good illustration of why the CON vote could be decisive.

As can be seen at the moment David Cameron enjoys a very significant net lead over Boris Johnson when it comes to who Conservative voters trust on comments and statements in relation to the referendum.

Now the Mayor has become the de facto head of LEAVE numbers like these look set to give us good pointers.

Mike Smithson





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Whittingdale: Will he survive or not survive?

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

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How would you bet?

No doubt we will be getting betting markets in the next day or so on whether the culture secretary is going to remain in his job following the revelations that have just come out.

Labour has, predictably, gone on the offensive saying that he cannot carry out his role because of what has happened. Number 10 is for the moment staying by their man.

Cameron has a reputation for not wanting to be pushed and you can look back at instances like with the Jeremy Hunt, when he was in the same culture secretary role four years ago, looking dead and buried but hung on and continues to play a big part in government now as health Secretary.

Clearly with the May 5th elections and the referendum looming this has come at an unfortunate time for the government my guess is that Cameron will try to stick by his initial position and hope the issue falls away.

Whittingdale’s position is further complicated by the fact that he is one of the cabinet ministers who is on the LEAVE side in the referendum debate.

It will be interesting to see the odds that the bookmakers are likely to offer.

It used to be that the major political bookmakers had ongoing markets on which cabinet minister would be next to leave. I cannot see one at the moment

Mike Smithson





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We need to re-think next CON leader betting following Cameron’s rough week on his financial affairs

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

Dave’s successor will have had a much more humble upbringing

One consequence I’d suggest of the past week’s revelations relating to David Cameron is that his successor will come from a very different sort of background. Next time the party will not choose a “posh boy who doesn’t know the price of bread” to use the Nadine Dorries quote.

For the big political damage from this whole affair has been the reminder that the Boris Johnson’s, Osborne’s or Cameron’s experience of this world is something that is alien to the vast majority of people in the country.

Whether the Prime Minister was involved in a tax avoidance scheme or not is almost irrelevant – the big problem for him is that it reminds us of his background.

So I would suggest that we can now rule out Boris Johnson and George Osborne from the next Conservative leadership race.

Looking around this could enhance Theresa May’s chances as well as Sajid Javid’s. It could also help the big mover at the moment Michael Gove who topped the latest ConHome member next leader survey.

Other possibilities with back stories closer to John Major than David Cameron are newly promoted Stephen Crabb and Liz Truss. I got 150/1 on the latter on Betfair yesterday.

At the right price all the names highlghted are worth a punt.

Mike Smithson





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The May elections less than 4 weeks away – Why so few Tories are raising their voices against Cameron

Friday, April 8th, 2016

On May 5th more than 2,000 Conservatives will be putting themselves forward as candidates for local councils, the Scottish and Welsh parliaments, the London Assembly as well as for police commissioners in every part of England apart from the capital. There are also mayoral elections in London and Bristol.

In this context almost all the activists and other associated with the parties are on their best behaviour not to do anything that could undermine their party position in a sensitive election period.

What many who follow politics but aren’t players don’t fully appreciate is that for local party machines the local council elections are of the highest importance perhaps even more important than general elections. Activists might have worked for four years to, say, win back a seat lost in 2012 and there will be little tolerance of anybody who appears to undermine their efforts.

This is why there are so few Tory voices being raised at the moment against Cameron. They don’t want to be accused of rocking the boat.

So all the attacks are coming from other parties and it sounds so predictable.

If Cameron, as is likely, hangs on until May 5th then his position could be reinforced by expected gains for his party on that day.

Mike Smithson