Tories facing Party rebrand as Labour's success continues

Labour Leader Ed Miliband is still doing well in opinion polls despite the Tories having turned the economy around Credit: PA

Ben Brogan, my colleague (and friend) from the Telegraph, wrote a very thoughtful column this morning which is worth a read.

The headline above it is 'The baffling recovery of Teflon Labour and Unpopular Ed' and its argument, in short, is that George Osborne has been proved right on the economy and that the Tories ought already to be set fair for victory in 2015 against a Labour Party that is widely blamed for the nation's ills and which is led by a man many voters still can't envisage as a future Prime Minister.

So why do the polls tell a different story?

One simple answer, of course, is that five or more percent of the UKIP vote is probably disaffected Tories or possible Tories, who might come back on election day when it is a clear choice between Dave and Ed.

But given how disgruntled these voters appear to be with politics and politicians in general, I wouldn't bet on it.

Which means the Tories do have a problem.

And it is - still - down to the brand.

Ask people about policy and , whether on welfare, immigration or the economy, the Tories do pretty well.

But telling a pollster which way you are going to vote when we are still eighteen months from an election and no choice is imminent is primarily a matter of sentiment.

So what the polls are telling us is that, despite Iraq and the economic collapse, a lot of people still feel reasonably good about the Labour brand.

Now, maybe, this shouldn't bother the Tory faithful.

Perhaps, come election day, people will engage their heads and disengage their hearts and follow the logic of their policy preferences.

But I wouldn't bet on that, either.

And I don't think quite a lot of the party's thinkers are, which is why arch moderniser Nick Boles today raised the prospect of re-branding the entire party.

David Cameron's and his Party's prospects in the next General Election may rely on much more than an economic recovery Credit: PA

That may have been dismissed by Number Ten, but Nick has always had a reputation for focusing on the brutal truth, which remains that the Tory brand was badly damaged in the eighties and then hammered in the nineties and still hasn't recovered.

The Cameron project made some headway for a while, but seems to have run out of steam.

The Cameroons are debating a lot of potentially quite radical measures - like a dramatic increase in the minimum wage, for instance - but they certainly need to do something.

It is starting to feel as though economic recovery itself may not be enough.