Project Blueprint Phase 3: The quest for a Conservative majority

By Lord Ashcroft

When I published the first phase of Project Blueprint in May 2011, David Cameron’s first anniversary as Prime Minister, political comment was dominated by the relationship between Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs following the Alternative Vote referendum. At the end of this government’s second full year, the same is happening again in the aftermath of another of the Lib Dems’ doomed attempts to change the constitution, to the yawning indifference of the country at large. What was true a year ago is even truer now: what should matter most to Tories is not the coalition between the parties, but the coalition of voters who will decide whether to elect a Conservative government with an overall majority.


What does and doesn’t matter most to voters about the Libor scandal

By Lord Ashcroft

The following genuine conversation was overheard yesterday on the tube. A man in his twenties was flicking through the Metro. His friend, also in his twenties, glanced over at the front page and said,

“That’s Bob Diamond!”

“Who?” asked Man A.

“The Barclays chief executive. You know.”

Man A frowned at the paper.

“I don’t know the origin of this scandal”.

“He says the Bank of England told them to fix the Libor.”

“What’s the Libor?”

“It’s, like, the interest rate that  banks use to lend to each other. They made it artificially low”.

“So that must have been great for the borrowers, right?”

“No, it was just to make their profits look bigger.”

Man A considered this.

“Apparently it’s going to be sunny at the weekend”.

That may not be everything you need to know about the political implications of the Libor scandal, but it is a good place to start. (more…)

Which party does The Sun support? Do Sun readers know?

By Lord Ashcroft

The Leveson Inquiry, which is now heading towards its second year, has spent the last few weeks considering “the relationship between press and politicians”. It is taken as read that this matters a great deal. An assumption exists that a newspaper may deploy huge influence over the votes of its readers in the service of the party that most pleases its proprietor.

Attention has naturally focused on Britain’s biggest selling daily newspaper, The Sun. But how real is The Sun’s political influence over the public? Leveson has examined minutely the relationships, in the run-up to the last election, between D. Cameron, R. Murdoch, G. Osborne, J. Murdoch, A. Coulson, R. Brooks and her horse – but have most Sun readers even noticed their paper’s support for the Tories?