Over the next few days and during the Labour conference, Tory activists will be distributing a hard-hitting newspaper in target seats. All target seats were invited to take the newspaper and approximately seventy accepted the offer.
The main themes of the newspaper are crime and the NHS – the balanced themes which saw Tory ratings improve at the end of August and which ConservativeHome hopes will be central to the Blackpool Party Conference. A large number of policy group ideas will be formally adopted – and rejected – by David Cameron in Blackpool. An insider tells me that most Conservative activists will be pleased with the response that the leadership plans to give to Gummer-Goldsmith.
The campaign newspaper also has brief sections that individual candidates have personalised and a brief section on Europe – spotlighting Gordon Brown’s broken promise on a referendum.
CCHQ is now on a maximum level of readiness – red alert for an autumn election. A manifesto is drafted. A programme of events for David Cameron is ready. 25th October is the likeliest date although Gordon Brown won’t be making a final decision until he has spoken at next week’s Labour conference and reactions to his performance have been focus-grouped.
This morning’s Telegraph reported that "private Labour polls show that when people are asked who they intend to vote for the party figures reflect the national polls â a lead of between five and 10 points. But," the newspaper’s political editor continues, "when asked if there was an election in the next few weeks how would you vote, the figure for Labour shoots up to a strong double-digit lead." Let’s hope that that is Brownite spin.
I have asked CCHQ to deny speculation that, in the event of an autumn poll, candidates will be imposed on seats that have not yet selected.
5.15pm: UNCONFIRMED but I understand that there’s a bad YouGov poll in tomorrow’s Telegraph and a ‘go for it Gordon’ focus group session from Frank Luntz on tonight’s Newsnight. Yeah – that’s right – the one who helped propel Cameron to the Tory leadership.