Nadine’s publicity stunt does not look like the triumph she hoped for

By Lord Ashcroft

So Nadine has been evicted from the jungle. Leaving for Australia, she said that taking part in I’m A Celebrity was a golden opportunity to communicate with sixteen million people. Unfortunately, her sixty thousand constituents don’t see it like that.

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Project Red Alert

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By Lord Ashcroft

Like David Cameron, Ed Miliband has an election-winning coalition to build. And like the Prime Minister, he has a dilemma to go with it. Labour’s lead in the polls looks consistent, but is it firm? My latest research report, Project Red Alert, seeks to answer this question.

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A campaign memo to Lynton Crosby

By Lord Ashcroft

Dear Lynton

Congratulations on your appointment. As you probably know, I argued against it. Nothing personal: I wanted to avoid a repeat of 2010, when the campaign was “run” by a group of people with different ideas, none of whom had ultimate authority. It seemed to me that bringing another player to the table which already accommodates David Cameron, George Osborne, Grant Shapps, Andrew Cooper, Stephen Gilbert, Craig Oliver and (sometimes) Steve Hilton could only make this problem worse – especially since the party at last seemed to have landed on a workable strategy, has a campaign plan to go with it and, importantly, is working in harmony.

But now that the decision has been made, I am, as someone who only wants a Conservative majority, keen to help. Here are a few points to bear in mind as you prepare to settle in.

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Corby: A bad result for the Conservatives, but we must keep it in perspective

By Lord Ashcroft

So, a nail-biter in Corby. Would the Liberal Democrats keep their deposit or not? The party scraped 5% in my second poll of the by-election campaign a month ago; on the day itself they failed to reach that threshold by a handful of votes.

At that stage, Labour were 22 points ahead of the Conservatives in voting intention. This finding closely matched Andy Sawford’s 21-point margin of victory, and the Tory-Labour swing. However, the vote share of both main parties was eroded over the final few weeks of the campaign.

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Too many political stories are trivial. That doesn’t mean they don’t matter

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By Lord Ashcroft

It is a frequently heard complaint in Westminster that political reporters and commentators do the public a disservice by obsessing over trivial “process stories” at the expense of things that actually matter.

Certainly it can be exasperating when, as has happened recently, journalists write unhelpful process stories and the following day criticise the government media operation for the proliferation of – guess what – unhelpful process stories. Of course, complaining about the media is not likely to get you very far in politics. And the best way to stop them reporting trivia is to make sure they have something significant to report instead.

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I would be pleased to see Romney defy the odds on Tuesday but I’m not betting on it

By Lord Ashcroft

Towards the end of the Republican Convention this summer the experienced campaign consultant Trygve Olsen advised us how to read the presidential race in the closing weeks. You could tell a lot from where the candidates spent their time, but also what they said: if either side says it is confident, it is too close to call; if one side claims to be enjoying a surge, it means they are going to lose.

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Much aid spending is counter-productive and only serves to fuel corruption

By Lord Ashcroft

To many people, the House of Lords is an anachronism; few of our proceedings capture public attention. Yet one of the reasons I am so proud of the House is the quality of debate. Discussions in the upper chamber can cast fresh light on a subject, free of the partisan ding-dong that so often characterises the Commons.

Last Monday’s discussion on the effectiveness of development aid was a prime example. Wise and experienced speakers on all sides of the House weighed in on a debate which served to underscore the flaws in the government’s international development policy.

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