Polls show public support for tougher immigration policy

Prime Minister David Cameron is so far behind in current polls that his party is facing heavy losses in the May county council elections, and would be defeated by a wide margin if a general election were held any time soon.

Cameron prays for victory, but his liberal agenda has turned off traditional Tories

Yet the latest opinion poll by ICM suggests a way out: Cameron’s party would be massively boosted if it took a harder line on the European Union and on immigration.

ICM shows that 75% of voters say the Conservatives would have greater electoral appeal with a tougher immigration policy; 67% agree that a stronger line on the European Union would be beneficial; while 69% believe that the party would fare better if it were seen to be “on the side of traditional families” – a setback to Cameron’s obsession with promoting gay marriage.

Despite this evidence, don’t expect David Cameron to follow this agenda, which would amount to an admission of colossal failure on his part, an admission that he has been wrong to take the Conservative Party in an ever more socially liberal direction since being elected leader in 2005.

Never the bride: today’s Tory rightwingers must avoid the fate of Michael Portillo, long seen as a potential leader, who by the time he found the courage to stand had missed his chance.

Nor can we expect his party to find the courage to remove him in favour of a leader more attuned to actual and potential Conservative voters.  According a new article in the Daily Mail, the No Turning Back group of MPs held a dinner last weekend where an anti-Cameron coup was openly discussed.  Yet the most likely candidates present at the event all have disadvantages: Liam Fox was discredited by a scandal over a web of political donors with links to the Israeli lobby and had to resign; John Redwood is yesterday’s man; while the most likely contender David Davis is unpopular among fellow MPs.

A different section of the Right – less socially conservative than the No Turning Back group but even more tied to the Thatcher agenda of privatisation and shrinking the state – is backing Home Secretary Theresa May, who in her own mind at least is a potential Prime Minister.

Adam Afriyie (here with his second wife Tracy-Ann, formerly married to another leading Tory) is seen by some Conservatives as a potential British Obama

May’s radical tax-cutting agenda is shared by the Tories’ potential Obama – multi-millionaire Adam Afriyie, son of a Ghanaian father and English mother.  He is backed by some of the most influential younger rightwingers, but older heads realise that a black leader would be electoral suicide, and Afriyie might have to wait until the aftermath of defeat for his party to become desperate enough for such a gamble.

By far the most popular Conservative politician remains the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson – but he is not even a Member of Parliament, and unlikely to become one until his second mayoral term expires in 2016.  Johnson’s problem is that by then the Tories will probably have been voted out of office and have already chosen a new leader, in an election he will be unable to contest.

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