Apparently, when you lose 12,000 votes in a seat as safe as houses, it means that the voters were telling you to change more.
The Tories have lost 12,000 votes in Bromley in exactly the time that David Cameron and his change crusade has been in operation. Please don't insult our intelligence. The people of Bromley were clearly screaming for the change to stop rather than surge ahead. To claim as much makes you look dim and deceitful. I believe we must change but we must do so openly and honestly.
Look at the results and the real story is spelled out. A mere 2,500 of our loss voted elsewhere, but 9,500 people STAYED AT HOME.
The Lib Dem vote rose by only 1,600 votes. Pathetic. And yet, Maude's pathetic, unintelligent line is allowing Simon Hughes and his revolting party to get away with spinning bullshit all over the media. The was no Lib Dem surge, there was no Tory desertion to the Lib Dems.
Eric Forth was a huge right wing national and local political figure. Bob Neill is clearly an uninspiring replacement and a political badge collector. Bromley themselves failed to pick the right candidate for the job - and the job was to replace Eric.
Conservatives in Bromley are a typical Thatcherite fortress into which David Cameron's new style has not yet broken. They have simply told Cameron that they are not yet convinced. They are precisely the sort of Conservative voter who will only march behind Cameron when the polls consistently show that he is going to deliver power.
I had precisely this sort of rebellion in my local election back in May. At least 50 hard line Tories in the village did not vote. They believe they can stop the change and return us to purist but unpopular politics. They would rather lose than change.
Cameron does have to keep the change moving and prove that we can win without these recalcitrant voters. They need time. They will rejoin the party soon enough.
So from here on Maude, try this:
"The Lib Dems gained nothing. They are the nastiest party in this country by a mile.
"Voters in Bromley have enjoyed the representation of Eric Forth, one of our most energetic and vociferous Parliamentarians, for many years.
"Nearly 10,000 Conservative voters stayed at home yesterday. The clear message to us is that core Thatcherite heartlands are not yet convinced that the changes Cameron is introducing will deliver victory.
"We have seen this sort of behaviour before in the local elections, but we will continue to change because nationally the polls are showing that we are making huge progress.
"Our most loyal supporters are our most ardent critics, but we will win their support as we are winning the support of many, many others."
The Lib Dems get me pretty annoyed but it is our incompetent handling of them that really pisses me off.