Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hot Buttons In Bracknell

Mr and Mrs Tyler spent this morning campaigning with Iain Dale in the centre of Bracknell. As you probably know, Mr D is running in the primary election to select the town's next Conservative parliamentary candidate.

Campaigning is always interesting because you get to talk to so many complete strangers. And you get to hear what real voters are concerned about, direct from them, unadulterated by pollsters or focus group.

So what do you reckon were today's unprompted hot buttons?

Ed Miliband's epoch-shaping proposals for the forthcoming climate change summit, perhaps?

Er, no.

The latest exciting plans for Bracknell from the South East Regional Development Agency?


Bracknell Council's latest Tweet?

No... none of the above.

Give up?

I'll tell you:
  1. Gordo - unelected, incompetent, despised - "he has to go" (I paraphrase - it was generally expressed rather more colourfully)
  2. Immigration - "completely out of control... I don't care what the EU says - it must be stopped"
  3. Welfare scroungers - "like all these girls who keep having kids to stay on benefits and get council houses"
  4. EU referendum - "we've been lied to" (nobody mentioned the Lisbon Treaty - they want a referendum on the entire deal)

OK, not a random survey, and many people didn't want anything to do with a Tory canvasser. But interesting nevertheless.

You may also be wondering why our dire economy didn't feature. The answer is that with all its high tech employers, Bracknell seems to have escaped the worst of the recession (eg unemployment on the claimant count is just 2.4%, the lowest in the South East).

The best of luck to Iain in the primary next Saturday.

PS Various correspondents have asked what we make of today's Guardian "investigation" into the TPA. The G's message seems to be that the TPA is a front for the Tory Party, funded by a bunch of tax exiles and staffed by sinister extremists. Speaking for myself, I haven't yet met any of these people. And the idea that the TPA is a Tory front is ludicrous. The whole point of why the TPA was set up - and certainly why I got involved - was that the Tory leadership had become so limp wristed on tax and spend. Which is why we have been so critical of Tory policies over these last four years (eg on "sharing the proceeds of growth"). Sure, I'm pleased that they have now picked up some of our ideas (eg some of the proposals from our recent cuts paper), but they are most certainly not pulling our strings. And I fully expect we will be a pain in the Cam/Os backside once they are in power. Yes, I happen to be a Tory Party member, but irrespective of party, the TPA is campaigning for lower taxes and smaller better government. There is a mountain to climb.


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