Friday, 26 February 2010

One in three Tory candidates oppose party policy

The New Statesman magazine has a special look at the Conservative Party this week and, to assist their coverage, the commissioned a poll of Conservative candidates from ComRes.

Those of us who aren't in the Tory Party often make the criticism that they don't really have a lot of policies. We point out that their only confirmed tax policy is a tax cut for dead millionaires. Given the paucity of policy in this area, you would have thought that they would have managed to get all their candidates signed up to it.

But no. According to the ComRes poll, more than one in three Tory candidates disagree with the policy of an immediate cut in inheritance tax. How on earth are these people Conservative candidates if they disagree with George Osborne's one and only policy?

Another fascinating finding from the same poll concerns Tory attitudes to the death penalty. There are clearly deep divisions on the issues, but the finding that most intrigues me is that one in nine Tory candidates don't know whether or not they support the death penalty.

I have always found that the death penalty is one of those clear cut issues. I am absolutely opposed to it but I know that there are many who are in favour. It is one of those issues that you think about fairly early in any political consciousness and you stick to your view. For a politician not to have a view just seems pretty extraordinary to me.

So what does this mean?

It seems to me that there are lots of Tory candidates who are not really signed up to the Conservative agenda and some who simply don't know what they think on key issues. There was the story recently of the Conservative candidate who expects to be able to spend just one and a half days a week in London. Put together, this would tend to spell trouble for David Cameron, particularly if he does not have a commanding majority in Parliament. It's all very well wanting to have MPs who are not party automatons - that's good. But if those same peope don't have a clue on the big issues then that spells trouble.

No comments: