I gather that almost all internal polling is about the party (and Cameron’s) standing – not on policies. Since Michael Howard left, for example, there have been no polls conducted on crime. Conservatives are having very depressed discussions with each other at the moment, asking the whereabouts of this wider cause they’re supposed to be fighting for. Since I wrote that piece about the drift in CCHQ the week before last (and the talented people who are slowly quitting) several people have told me “alas, you’re right”. Concern about short-termism and poll-based policymaking is rife. I suspect this latest paternity leave announcement will do nothing for this sinking morale.
Mr Cameron has plenty of good ideas, but he needs to mould them into a discernable Tory mission. He did that in Blackpool last October, when his back was against the wall. Let’s see if he can do it in Gateshead this weekend.