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As Paul wrote in this morning’s ToryDiary:

“Later today, we will run what about ten of them told us, verbatim and without comment.  Readers will see that there is concern, but no wobble, let alone panic – at least yet.  They will note that the morale of Tory MPs seems to be higher than is justified by the polls, strictly speaking.”

Here they are, drawn from MPs in a wide range of areas, types of seat and sizes of majority:

MP 1:

“Panic would be far too strong a word. But there is a puzzled unease about why the polls aren’t moving – and candidates in the marginals are much more aware of polling in their individual seats. Lynton was emphatic at a weekly meeting of the ’22 recently that we’re not, repeat not, fighting a negative campaign, but I think that people want more positivity – more of a sense of the sunlit uplands. And I’ve definitely had donors in my seat – the kind of people who give money at election time – complaining about the anti-Miliband adverts.”

MP 2:

“On the plus side, the quality of the literature is fantastic. On, the minus, the computers really don’t work – the election day software has not been tested yet. I sit in a northern seat, and what’s not simply seen in London by most observers is the way in which Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse campaigning has really got under Labour’s skin up here. People are waking up to the fact that the infrastructure’s going in – that railway lines are going in and road surfaces are being improved. Ministers are being very effectively deployed.”

MP 3:

“The campaign should continue to talk more about the economy in English – which means more emphasis on jobs and less on the deficit. With Greece, Putin and ISIS all in the frame, the link between foreign policy and domestic security is becoming more important, so Cameron should contrast his experience with Miliband’s inexperience. Finally, we need to see more of the top team on TV than just Cameron and Osborne, whose presence alone points to the “party of the rich problem.”

MP 4:

“I’m a subscriber to the 1992 theory: in other words, that the electorate will come to a decision very late on. It won’t take a definitive view before Easter or the Budget. We certainly need more of a sense of optimism – to show that a strong economy means a stronger NHS and better schools and improved public services. I note that CCHQ has picked up the anxiety about seats outside the 40/40 that some of us have been going on about…and is now referring to the 50/50. I’ve had no complaints from voters about negative campaigning at all.”

MP 5:

“There’s that moment in the long-distance race when the bell sounds, and the man who’s going to win gets his head up and ‘kicks’ – in other words, goes for it. I don’t think that moment’s come yet, or that it will until after the budget. Talking to colleagues in marginal seats, I’d be hard-pressed to name people who think that they’re done for. Using the team more? Yes, I’d like to see more of May, Javid and Morgan, but you media guys only tend to report what Cameron and perhaps Osborne are doing.”

MP 6:

“The campaign lacks warmth, and a sense of social responsibility. And, yes, not enough people are feeling the benefit of recovery, too many others have defected to UKIP and will stick with them – and the “party of the rich” problem remains. But there’s a very limited amount we can do about this in the short-term. We are where we are, and under the present leadership the campaign that’s we’re running is the right campaign for the short-term. I’m concerned that we’re irresolute and exposed on the defence spending issue.”

MP 7:

“Am I being complacent in saying that a lot’s going right? We concentrating on the economy, we haven’t been distracted on to immigration and Europe – we’re trying to frame the choice. But it’s true that there’s still this privilege problem, so it’s important that there are some measures in the budget that help to tackle this: more action on tax evasion, perhaps more money for the NHS, some tax help in the right areas. On the team, they should deploy Ken Clarke on the economy during the campaign itself. Oh, and talking of campaigning, I did a day with Cameron recently: hell, he was good. I don’t think that Labour MPs are saying the same about Miliband.”

MP 8:

“It’s not at all bad on the doorstep. The Labour vote is very soft, some UKIP support is coming back to us – and the computers do work. Furthermore, activists are coming out to canvass in greater numbers at weekends. However, I don’t think Lynton has scraped all the barnacles off the boat yet: why are we persevering with the plain packaging plan, for example? Yes, I do think some Cabinet Ministers could have more of a role. And one or two at least have definitely been into Downing Street to say so.”

MP 9:

“Overall, I’m quite positive about the campaign…the messaging is much more focused than last time and the delivery is much more professional. Essentially, we want to bring everything back to the economy and I think that’s working pretty well. From a local perspective, the national message is also feeding through more effectively into local messages, too. It’s early days, and there have been unhelpful mishaps like the Rifkind affair, which wasn’t handled well at the top. The 40/40 system is definitely working well for me, though I’m sure it’s irritating some of those who aren’t in 40/40 seats. We’ve got more activists on the ground than last time, and the supply of stuff for them to deliver is better planned, too.”

MP 10:

“I’d say the campaign is not bad – we could do with being a few points up in the polls by now…bearing in mind how unpopular Miliband is, we really ought to be further ahead. I don’t know if the intention is to leave it to the media to scrutinise UKIP, but I feel we ought to hold them to account ourselves – particularly on the economy… In terms of personalities, obviously having an eclectic mix of personnel can only be a good thing. One of our greatest advantages is the team of intelligent, personable characters we can call on….The thing that has really struck me so far has been the regional Long Term Economic Plan announcements – I applaud that, they’re very good.”

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