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David cameron

The polls are suddenly suggesting that the Conservatives aren't dead and buried after all and might even have a chance of forming the next government. Professor Mick Temple ponders on the fickle world of politics - and those who report it.

So, the Brown bounce I talked about just a few weeks ago is already over - not so much a bounce, then, but more a soggy squelch. And now there will be no October election, at least according to our incredibly well-informed press. Two weeks ago, Cameron couldn't sell crack to hoodies - now, the Tory party is on its way back as the natural party of government.

Well, up to a point, Lord Copper. For those uninitiated in the delights of Evelyn Waugh's brilliant satire on journalism, Scoop, 'up to a point' means - NO!

This is the silly season for journalists. Any old rubbish will find its way onto the front pages - apparently we've just withdrawn from Basra (shurely shome mishtake) and 'the twins' (no, I don't know who they are either) are devastated at failing to win Big Brother.

Three polls in the last two days have said the gap between the two parties has narrowed. They're given front page prominence by the Conservative press - who don't have a particularly good record of supporting their leader - and all of a sudden, the Tories are buzzing again.

But wait. These polls were taken before yet another resignation, over concern at a swing to the right, cast doubt on Cameron's grip on his party. At the same time, Michael Ancram accuses Dave of squandering Margaret Thatcher's legacy.

How does Ancram know? Every policy release from the Tories is vague, un-costed and couched in a feel-good language that says we're on your side whatever side you're on.

Translated, that means 'we're not ready for government'.

Here's my prediction. If there is no election in the next two months, there will not be an election until 2009. An election now could be justifiably be seen as a new prime minister seeking the endorsement of the electorate. Any other time in the next eighteen months - particularly if the polls showed a big Labour lead - would be seen as merely opportunism.

Brown will now have to wait until four years from 2005 - that's seen as the minimum term governments can serve before cutting and running.

Two years is an eternity in politics. By 2009, Cameron may not even be there. Brown may not even be there! In the meantime, rather than jumping for joy at a few polls, the Conservatives need to tell us what they stand for. Only then will polls give us an indication of just how popular they are with voters.

Can anybody tell us what Cameron's Tories stand for? Leave a comment on the Message Board.

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