Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Poll: Tories more disunited than Labour

A poll reported in the Independent (from Communicate Research) shows that voters think the Tories are more disunited than Labour:

Asked which leader would be able to keep his party united, 40 per cent said Mr Brown and only 37 per cent said Mr Cameron. A similar poll a month ago showed that 64 per cent thought Labour were divided, compared with only 36 per cent who thought the Tories were disunited.

There is also bad news for Cameron personally:

Asked who would make the best Prime Minister, 40 per cent said Mr Brown and 32 per cent said Mr Cameron.

It seems remarkable that Cameron has got himself into this mess. On his blog, John Redwood says that the Grammar schools announcement was debated in the Shadow Cabinet before the Willetts speech, but was not "tweaked" sufficiently based on the feedback from the shadow ministers.

Graham Brady said on PM last night that he was not concerned too much about the policy on Grammar schools. It was the statement in Willetts' speech contending that Grammar schools impede social mobility that got him angry.

It seems Cameron was trying to be clever and using the speech as a way of bashing the Tory paradigm - i.e proving that the Tories had changed. In the process he has proved that they haven't changed. Clever Stuff.

Compare this policy announcement with the way Menzies Campbell handled the Green Tax and Trident policy decisions for the LibDems. Campbell's policy handling makes him look like a heavyweight champion to Cameron's flyweight novice.

So where does Cameron go from here? Given that it was not the policy that seemed to cause the problem, but the hostility to Grammar schools expressed in Willetts' speech, it would not seem to be a big problem to fix. But you never know....

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