Thursday 2 July 2009

The new Tories; same as the old Tories?

The Guardian has an interesting news report on a new ConservativeHome poll of Tory prospective candidates in winnable seats.

Bad news for the idea that all MPs ought to use the state education system for their children. (Education select committee chair Barry Sheerman suggested David Cameron's intention to opt for state schools could establish a cross-party consensus on this).

Unfortunately not: 9% of Tory candidates agree with that, and 91% disagree. (And 91% also oppose the goal of 50% of school leavers going to education).

The Guardian also suggests very weak support for the party's policy of protecting international development spending.

But there are two ways in which Conservative next generation opinion is probably significantly different than in the past.

The strength of Euroscepticism in the party is striking and has grown considerably over a generation or two:

Asked if a Conservative government should retain Britain's current relationship with the EU, only 7% agree. A total of 46% agree that some powers should be repatriated and 41% think there should be a fundamental renegotiation of Britain's membership of the EU.

Most surprising of all, what happened to Tory Unionism? 47% of Tory candidates say they would not be unhappy if Scotland became independent, against 53% who disagree.

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