Are the Tories as rattled as they seem?

On foot of Brian’s observation about the way the polls are swinging in the most bizarre way, it might be timely to mention this presser (blogged by David Hughes at the Telegraph) I got during the week from Adam Boulton at Sky News on the debate, which was a deft response to what may have been some pre match nerves from David Cameron:

“David Cameron needs to be careful. The rules he is attacking are those insisted on by the party negotiators during their months of bargaining with the broadcasters.…Ask yourself a simple question: which side, telly or parties, would want a no-holds barred TV scrap and which would want to pin down rules about audience, moderator, questions and debate to protect their man from something going disastrously wrong? … It is not surprising that the parties were nervous and tried to play safe. But if expert negotiators such as Andy Coulson pressed for tighter restrictions than David Cameron says he would like, then they only have themselves to blame … In the end the rules “belong ” to the parties. If the leaders want to lighten things up, that is their choice. As moderator I will insist on fair play but I will not be a jobsworth. My job is to ensure lively, informative and free-flowing debate.”

As my old mucker from the Daily Telegraph Iain Martin notes, sleep deprivation is robbing some Tory frontbenchers of their critical faculties… Meanwhile the dirty war techniques may now be turned on the Lib Dems now they appear to be serious contenders (“a transient phenomenon perhaps, but clear proof of an underlying volatility in the electorate“)…

But is it too late?

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Cameron arrogantly thought he would wipe the floor with Clegg and easily win the beauty contest with Brown.

    Clegg is not incumbered with Tory party baggage and Cameron did not look anything special when up against some one with the benefit of similiar education and public presentation.

    Nick Clegg is no David Davis !

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    I meant to add that Ruperts houndogs had better start snarling and do their masters bidding.

  • articles

    If only gordo could get the great british public to take umbrage at Rupert influencing the election. Come on Mandy, give him a soundbite to stir up the masses, better still give it to Nick Clegg.

  • Greenflag

    So if the great British voting public whom I suspect inhabit the broad centre left of the political spectrum opt to hand the Lib Dems say 100 seats then wherefore UCUNF and Reggie’s cabinet seat ?

    Wherefore DUP ?

    This election threatens to ‘rewrite ‘ British politics and put an end to the undemocratic FPTP system .

    The nonsense that PR would give rise to ‘weak’ government has been belied by the successful examples of most of the democracies in western and northern europe .

  • alan56
  • slug

    “Clegg is not incumbered with Tory party baggage and Cameron did not look anything special when up against some one with the benefit of similiar education and public presentation.”

    Westminster is every bit as posh as Brown.

    I like all three men.

  • Manfarang

    “Clegg is not incumbered with Tory party baggage”
    or in other words Clegg is not a banker.

  • slug

    “Westminster is every bit as posh as Brown.”

    I meant Eton, sorry!

  • If the parliament is indeed hung then this may be the last chance for the Tories or the Labour Party to hold power on their own as surely the LibDems will demand electoral reform.

    Cameron has the cut of the sharp salesman who thought he had sealed the deal only to find that the customer is now not so sure. His tactic in the first debate was to say little and rely on Brown’s unpopularity to keep him ahead – there will now probably need to be a re-think and if Cameron is not rattled then he certainly should be as his, perhaps only oportunity for power, may just be about to slip away.

  • There’s always a wobble in every election campaign (generally the consequence of a “rogue” poll), but never anything like this one.

    There were always those who believed the wheel could come off the Tory unicycle, but no way did we expect something as good as this! A 7% drop in measured support in half-a-week. Note the Andrew Rawnsley point, to my mind a credible one, that lack of funds worked to Clegg’s advantage by not having those expensive transAtlantic gurus:

    The team who prepped Mr Clegg for the debate was entirely home-grown. Danny Alexander, his chief of staff, simply could not afford to import American consultants in the way that Labour and the Tories have. Stylistically, the Lib Dem came over as more naturally British than either of his rivals.

    Finally we might get a democratic Britain (see the next thread). My thought is the LibDems will come out in credit on this one, though not as much as they currently are being trailed. Then they will not, should not, ought not go into any kind of coalition. The phrasing could be “critical support for an agreed programme”. By the sound of the mood music, they will not find too many slammed doors from Labour on that one. In which case, again if there’s any sense among the LibDems, they’ll trade anything and everything for a revised electoral system, something the Tories couldn’t easily give, but which has already had considerable support among the brighter Labourites. Something to thank the bankers for.

    Heh, heh!

  • FitzjamesHorse

    The chances of Reg Empey getting a cabinet seat under Cameron are the same as mine. Well I probably have more chance cos I have a personality.
    The Cabinet seat is destined for our noble friend Trimble.

  • The Cabinet seat is destined for our noble friend Trimble.

    You really think she’s going to win Lagan Valley?

  • FitzjamesHorse

    I dont think the fragrant Daphne can actually be referred to as a “noble friend”. That would for the moment appear to be her ermine clad consort…the noble “Lord” Trimble.

  • lamhdearg

    can someone in the lords hold a cabinet seat?.

  • FitzjamesHorse


  • lamhdearg

    trimble minister for?,

  • FitzjamesHorse

    sorry I pressed send in error.
    “Lord” Mandelson
    “Lady” Royalle…..Ldr of House of Lords
    are both currently in Cabinet.

    “Lord” Adonis …that weird ex SDP guy who is Transport Sec might be a full member also.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    well he was a Law Lecturer, has a Nobel Prize apparently and a Former First Minister in Norn Iron…
    Leader of House of Lords is more or less guaranteed a seat but the current Shadow is Lord Strathclyde and that Lady Wasri, young British Asian will likely get a full cabinet seat.
    Attorney General seems possible for Trimble but I guess hed be grateful for any comeback.

  • lamhdearg

    SLUGGER IS EDUCATIONAL/Trimble is a horse’s ass.

  • Sammy Morse

    The Tories have abandoned carefully a media grid which will have been carefully thought out months ago, and more critically, have stopped pushing their key narrative so they can pump out squeeze lines on the LibDems.

    Not only have some of these been delivered in a way that will do some damage to the Tories (e.g. Cameron’s comments in Gloucester yesterday which implied the Tories were as bad as any other politicians and couldn’t be trusted to put the country’s interests first in the event of a hung parliament), but it keeps the lines they need to be getting into the media off the screens and buried at the back of the papers.

    Finally, the messages themselves are designed around squeezing a LibDem party trailing in third, but one challenging you for first place.

    Who knows how long all this will last? But I’m enjoying it while it does!

  • the old Manxman

    A lot of the Lib Dem rise in support seem to be coming from the under-35’s. Do any of the Slugger gurus have an idea how this will affect the vote of the LD’s sister party, Alliance, especially in E Belfast?

    By the way FJH what makes you think having a personality would help anyone get a place in a Cameron cabinet?

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Old Manxman,
    I didnt say I had a GOOD personality….so I reckon Im qualified for his cabinet.

  • granni trixie

    “On the doorsteps” of EB yesterday found that Naomi, a well known local person, struck a popular chord. Many also wanted to use the canvassing opportunity for engaging in comments about sleeze in other parties (which ofcourse I tried to avoid). The determining factor all over is going to be getting people out to vote.

    Would be surprised if LDs upturn in fortunes had any impact on Alliance support one way or the another.

  • Paddy Matthews

    @ Sammy Morse,

    Lib Dems 33 Con 32 Lab 26 according to YouGov tonight.

    Have you thought about pushing the “vote for the next Westminster government” line yet? 😉

  • lamhdearg

    I believe Naomi will take enough votes off trevor to get peter elected.

  • Mick Fealty


    Sleaze is what others are getting too. But also a reluctance to reveal preferences. There’ve been rumours of a surge for Naomi, but I am not sure how anyone can be sure of anything in this election.

    Apparently Robinson is out on the doorsteps leading the charge, and getting some anger from some individuals. But no evidence that’s that is more than a few disgruntled individuals.

    You’d have to put this in the outside possibility. Reg may have done well to run across the Lough rather than here. The key to it going anywhere other than back to Robinson is David Vance who will have to do some serious damage to the DUP under the waterline.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Mr Fealty,
    I am also unreliably informed by a friend and commentator on my own blog that Ms Long is doing very well in East Belfast.
    But frankly Ringland and Long will do more damage to each other than Vance will do to Robinson.

    A surge for Naomi seems unlikely.
    The key might be the 2,000 votes which are nationalist/republican.
    In 2003 with only 9% of the vote Naomi needed them to be elected on transfers.
    In 2007 with 19% she did not need them.
    But the combined nationalist vote stayed the same at around 6.5%….so nationalists didnt flock to her then.
    Indeed her transfers in 2007 were about 4:1 to unionist parties.
    She needs a lot more of those votes and wont get them.