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…)

Feltham & Heston: should Labour be doing better?

By Lord Ashcroft

Labour are 22 points ahead in the Feltham & Heston by-election, according to my latest poll. With a 52% vote share in the week before polling day, Seema Malhotra seems to be on course for what looks like a convincing victory.


The ChEx Factor

By Lord Ashcroft

The ChEx Factor: Economic Leadership In Hard Times explores how voters see the economy, what most concerns them, how they think the government is handling things, and what – if anything – would be different if Labour were in power. In this research I have also taken the opportunity to find out what voters think about the Chancellor and his Labour shadow, Ed Balls.

In the Autumn Statement, voters will be more impressed to hear honest gloom from Mr Osborne than a cheerful assessment that seems to deny the evidence of their own eyes. Few believe there is much that he, or any government, could do today to overcome the economic crisis.


On cuts, voters can see the bigger picture

By Lord Ashcroft

Anyone listening to the BBC’s coverage of the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review could be forgiven for thinking that all civilised life was about to come to an end. One after another, lobby groups and special interests dependent on the state’s borrowed money are wheeled out to explain why they should be exempt from the squeeze. They sometimes admit that spending has to be cut – just cut from somewhere else. Undoubtedly some decisions will be painful and important services will have to find difficult savings. But the evidence is that beyond Westminster and the broadcasting studios, people are rather more stoical and realistic about the cuts than most news reports would lead you to believe.