“Then at last his gaze was held: wall upon wall, battlement upon battlement, black, immeasurably strong, mountain of iron, gate of steel, tower of adamant, he saw it: Barad-dur, Fortress of Sauron. All hope left him.”
Yes, my old friend is the man Conservative activists want to climb ever-onwards and upwards towards the topmost tower of the European Union. Here are the results in full.
Daniel Hannan: 31 per cent.
John Redwood: 22 per cent.
Andrew Mitchell: 19 per cent.
Ken Clarke: 9 per cent.
Gisela Stuart: 6 per cent.
Nigel Farage: 5 per cent.
Karren Brady: 3 per cent.
Nick Clegg: 3 per cent.
Baroness Stowell: 1 per cent.
Nadine Dorries: 1 per cent.
Three points are worth noting:
* The members are to the right of party centre…. Between them, Hannan and Redwood took over half the vote. The former’s vote is a tribute to the reach of his Daily Telegraph blog, his books, his YouTube presence, and his reach in a region with (relatively) high Party membership. The latter’s performance also registers the power of blogging: Redwood has been off the Conservative front bench for over ten years, but the fluency and frequency of his blog continues to keep him in the eye of the members.
* …But they have strong loyalist instincts… Andrew Mitchell took the best part of one in five voters, a very creditable performance by a man who left the front bench in controversial circumstances. Ken Clarke came fourth.
* …And the claim that they’ve a soft soft for Nigel Farage is a myth. The poll rather puts into perspective suggestions that the Associations are packed with a pro-Farage fifth column that is straining for its moment to pounce. The UKIP leader was beaten not only by Clarke, but by Labour’s Gisela Stuart. Indeed, he only beat the loathed and despised Nick Clegg by two points. Finally, there were precious few takers for Baroness Stowell or for Nadine.
As I said when introducing this question in the survey, “the whole exercise is highly subjective”…as any list of names will be at this stage.
Among readers of the site as a whole, by the way, Hannan came in slightly higher, Mitchell six points lower, and Farage scored nine per cent while Clarke took seven per cent. I think those differences say quite a bit about the divergence between Tory members’ view and readers of the site’s view: it’s real, but not vast.
The survey as a whole got over 1000 responses from Party members, whose replies are tested against a control panel supplied by YouGov.