Coffee House

With one year to go, Cameron has won over his internal swing voters – for now

7 May 2014

It’s a year to go until the longest election campaign finally finishes. Ed Miliband thinks he has more intellectual self-confidence than David Cameron, which since his 2013 autumn conference speech where the Labour leader finally found the courage of his convictions. But David Cameron has more confidence about his own party sticking by him for the campaign at least.

The Prime Minister has mended some relationships, and others are more cordial and banging the Tory drum simply because they want their party to win next year. But it’s fair to say that for the time being the PM has got the contingent of swing voters amongst his own MPs – those who are not his loyal servants but who also don’t hate his guts – working on his side. Those swing voters were very cross with him just over a year ago and it was very easy to get them to list all the ways in which he had wronged them personally and in which he was ruining the party. Now they are keen for victory in 2015, keen for there not to be too much fuss from the awkward squad after the European elections, and even quite keen to help out in ensuring that there isn’t too much fuss.


They’re a mixed group, but many of them are frustrated by the constant will-he-won’t-he business from Boris Johnson, and quite pleased with the way Lynton Crosby has tightened up the party’s messaging. The Prime Minister has even managed to get some troublemakers such as Andrew Bridgen back on board in the name of victory. Sure, he hasn’t converted them to becoming Cameroons, but they’ve got their shoulders to the wheel, and at this stage, that’s all that matters.

These swing MPs won’t bicker publicly unless they’re set a bad example from on high, which is why the Boris question needs answering sooner rather than later, and unless Number 10 manages to muck up the aftermath of the European elections. We all know they are going to be dreadful, but there are plenty of MPs who are not Cameroons and are not gratuitously insulting to Ukip who could be deployed as part of the recovery plan to calm the rest of the party down. And they’re keen to help.

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  • ButcombeMan


    if you measure the success of this post of yours, by the number of hits by subsequent posters who think you have got it all wrong, this article is a complete success, brilliant in fact. Keep it up.

    Surely you do really appreciate that a handful of dissenting MPs keeping quiet and not rumbling dissent, is not the big issue at all for Cameron?

    The BIG issue, is the huge number of previously, absolutely reliable Conservative lifetime VOTERS, who have abandoned Cameron, do not believe in him, in fact are repelled by him and all he stands for.

    No doubt they are all “fruitcakes & nutters”.

    So be it.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Has Hardman resigned for her job as editor of Coffee House and taken the job as Cameron’s head cheer leader (rah-rah skirt and pom-poms and all)? That the Spectator allows such purile propaganda demonstrates how shallow internet political blogging has become. No wonder Miliband considers himself the intellectual superior of Tories (there must be millions of others who do) if this is the quality of drivel they are pumping out.

    Now they are keen for victory in 2015, keen for there not to be too much
    fuss from the awkward squad after the European elections, and even
    quite keen to help out in ensuring that there isn’t too much fuss

    Now let me guess they are virtually all from the 2005 and 2010 intake and all in seats that are less than safe. it’s amazing what collective fear of losing ones job might do.

    .Apart from the occasional shot across the bow to remind Cameron and his acolytes that they are toast in 2015 once they lose the election there will be no fuss even as the Tories are humiliated by the outcome of the Euros.

    After all the serious candidates to replace Cameron have already made their pitches. Now none of them will want to be seen as so disloyal as to cause the party harm at an election out of self interest. Hostilities have been suspended until after Cameron’s resignation in 2015.

    In political terms this is the lull before the storm that’s head toward the Cameroons post 2015.

  • @PhilKean1

    Cameron could win a majority. But he would rather LOSE the election than do what would be necessary to win that majority.

    Ok, here’s a clue. NOT yet realised by CH and other Cameron supporting media.

    Has ANYONE yet heard this statement from David Cameron …….. “Brussels is wanting to force Britain to fully implement the Financial Transaction tax when it is comes into effect across the whole of the EU in 2016″.
    As Britain is NOT part of economic union, and neither do we want to be, It is very clear that imposing the FTT is a step too far and a line that simply must not be crossed.

    Therefore, it doesn’t matter how successful I believe any future reform we negotiate is for Britain’s national interest, unless the EU cease trying to force Britain to adopt the FTT, which – as we all know – is a precedent and a Trojan Horse which is effectively a giant step towards ensnaring Britain inside economic and monetary union, we are left with no choice other than to leave the EU”.

    This is not an overstatement of the seriousness of what the EU is trying to do.


    Intelligent patriots understand that the EU’s FTT is crossing the line. Yet have you heard just one, not even a threat, but a warning that Britain would have to leave if the EU persist with this attempt to steal even more UK Sovereignty?

    The reason you haven’t, and are unlikely to hear such words from David Cameron, is simple. He is prepared to stay in the EU under all circumstances.

    Remember that when the MAIN REASON you put your mark against a Cameron candidate is your belief, your hope, that voting Cameron gives you a chance to vote to leave the EU.

    • Blindsideflanker

      Because Cameron is in Government but not in power. Cameron is there to play Westminster games, he is not there because he is driven by political values. As such all EU intrusions into our nation’s sovereignty is something he is happy to accommodate, there is no line the EU can cross that Cameron won’t live with.

      • @PhilKean1

        That there is no line the EU can cross that would trouble Cameron is clear you you and me.

        Why is it NOT clear to the very institutions the British people rely on to hold their Governments to account : the Conservative media?

        • the viceroy’s gin

          It is a Conservative media. All of it.

          Problem is, there is no conservative media.

  • Denis_Cooper

    Good news! Cameron could do a Wilson.

    In his Telegraph Morning Briefing yesterday Benedict Brogan referred to an analysis by a French lawyer which concludes that Cameron would not need any treaty changes to achieve his stated key objectives for renegotiation, and treated that as being good news for Cameron.

    In other words, Cameron’s supposedly fundamental renegotiation of our terms of membership of the EU could turn out to be as superficial and lacking in substance as that achieved by Wilson, which also required no treaty change, but which he then successfully mispresented to the public as being a significant improvement and so managed to get approved in the 1975 referendum.

    Benedict Brogan helpfully provided links both to an FT article:

    “Legal loopholes for David Cameron on EU treaty, says top lawyer”

    and to a draft of the legal analysis:

    As it happens, Open Europe has already done its own analysis:

    and concluded:

    “Interestingly only the point about removing the commitment to “ever closer union” would definitely require treaty change.”

    But even that is questioned by the French lawyer, who thinks that it might be enough to attach a political declaration to the existing treaties.

    Of course the problem with that idea is that a protocol attached to the treaties is legally binding but a declaration is not, in fact it has similar weight to an election manifesto as a statement of intent (honest or otherwise) but not in any way a legal commitment; and the EU institutions, and most especially the EU’s Court of Justice, may well decide that what matters is the solemn commitment to a process of “ever closer union” enshrined in the legally binding treaties, and not any attempt to qualify
    or dilute that commitment through a non-binding declaration.

    • Blindsideflanker

      Cameron’s EU renegotiation was always intended to be a Wilsonian con, it is just a tactical ploy to get him over the next election, just like all the other promises he has given us over the EU, the Cast Iron promise, or the promise to not let matters rest there, they are promises based on tactical ploys, they aren’t based on any deeply held values.

      • Denis_Cooper

        Absolutely, as I have repeatedly warned Daniel Hannan who should know better than to urge people to vote Tory because Cameron has now made yet another promise, which once he is unlikely to fulfil, but if he does fulfil then it will be with the intention of cheating the people in the same way that Wilson did.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          I’d pay money to see Farage question Cameron about this French lawyer’s analysis, and wheedle out a proper answer.

  • George_Arseborne

    Isabel must you put up this rubbish? The Tories are intellectual regressive and Ed Milliband is spot on. When you look at Cameron , you see a blank personality with no mission. Even PR where he is good at is failing him big time

    • McRobbie

      Keep it up, you’ll begin to believe yourself soon. I am somewhat unconvinced that ed the ned has any intellectual content when I hear him jump on the latest bandwagon with childish and unthought out policies..I mean how many times has he spent the banker bonuses he seems determined to use somehow again and again and again. When I look at ed I see an academic millionaire nerd taught everything he know at his dads dinner table and when he speaks he comes over exactly as that. Cameron at least comes over as a leader who will be respected in teh real world..he makes mistakes sure, anyone who actually has to DO anything will make mistakes..he is human after all, eddie is not, he’s a puppet.

      • Blindsideflanker

        Red Ed is beyond contempt, but Cameron a leader? Its a joke, right?

      • Mynydd

        A leader would not lose half his party’s membership in just four years. A leader wound not have internal swing voters to start with. A leader, face with an open goal, would have won the 2010 election. The man is not a leader just a failure.

    • Grey Wolf

      You are right about Cameron. But what is this Miliband worship all about? The guy the other day was squirming in his seat when he came face-to-face with Farage over debating EU issues.

  • you_kid

    When will we see mass defection to UKIP, to separate the wheat from the chaves. Fabricant and his ilk should finally commit to their beliefs rather than stick to what they know. Defecting would mean actually doing some work rather than enjoying the comfort of the bank bench – innit, allowance and expenses spongers?

  • Machina22

    Translation: Tory MPs are terrified of losing their seats at the next election – a prospect which becomes ever more likely with each passing day, as only a quick glance at recent pools will tell you – so they’ve decided that rather than face up to why they won’t win the next election and try to force changes they’ll just stick their heads in the sand and hope for the best.

    And they wonder why we hold them in such contempt.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      That is the excellent political analysis that this Speccie teenager is incapable of providing.

      It’s every man for himself now, for these incumbents. They all know Dave and company are finished, and now they just want to save themselves, and keep their options open when the nut-cuttin’ starts.

  • Mc Kenzie

    Well written Isobel – forget about “journalism” and regurgitate the No 10 line – you’ll go far at the Speccie – #camerooncheerleader

    • John Dalton

      Exactly. Whatever the Spec thinks Cameron might have done within the Westminster bubble, the fact still remains that he has hemorrhaged conservative voters across the country in unprecedented numbers by treating them with such contempt.

      • Alexsandr

        and lost his election machine. Only poster I have seen is a massive UKIP one.

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    Slow news day?

  • Blindsideflanker

    What is Hardman going on about?

    The Conservatives are about to be humiliated at the EU elections.

    What relationships has Cameron mended? What has he done to bring any Conservatives on side. If she thinks that Cameron stopping rubbing Conservatives noses in his modernising rubbish comes anywhere near to mending fences Hardman is sorely deluded.

    • Alexsau91

      They will only be humiliated if they deal with it badly and turn in on themselves, this wouldn’t be the first time a governing party has come third in the European elections, nor would the UK be the only European country which will see this massive rise in Euroskeptic parties.

      • Blindsideflanker

        And so they should turn on Cameron, for instead of consolidating the Conservative party’s grip on the EU sceptic territory, he squandered it by insulting them whilst trying to suck up to the metropolitan set .

        Cameron exchanged many hundreds of thousands of EUsceptic Conservative minded voters for the hope of support from a few homosexuals who wanted to get married, who were never going to vote Conservative in a million years.

        • John Dalton

          That second paragraph is spot on and made me laugh out loud!

      • Alexsandr

        Sceptic is the English spelling . the K is the US spelling…

  • Paul Vickers

    “Cameron has won over his internal swing voters – for now”

    You ARE joking, aren’t you?

    Since 1990 Conservative MPs have consistently backed the wrong choice/s as leader: Cameron v Blair would have been a good contest – in 1997.

    By 2010 what was needed was a rough, street-fighting, non-nonsense, ‘been there, done that, got the T-shirt’ bruiser of a 60+ yo politician from a successful non political career before entering Westminster, who was brought up where economy and even hardship were known and who did NOT have an Oxford PPE degree (OR Law!), but rather a science degree from somewhere like Imperial.

    Whether such an MP exists within the CCHQ-selected MP base, I don’t know, but it’s a damning indictment of them if there are not at least 50 science-educated MPs sitting on their side of the Commons.

    • Blindsideflanker

      Since degree, been there seen that done that, got the T shirt, Industry trouble shooter….you are talking of David Davis aren’t you?

  • Grey Wolf

    What a silly, non-story?

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