The Corner

Tory Wobbles

This memo (h/t Guido) by a prominent British PR man is a little over the top, and the idea of Ken Clarke as some sort of deus ex machina is unconvincing (the europhiliac Mr. Clarke is a divider, not a uniter), but the broad drift is correct: 

The stakes are now very high. If David Cameron does not become PM on 6/7th May the electoral system will be changed. The first past the post system will be abolished and there will not be a Tory government for a very long time if ever again. Perhaps John Major will go down in history as the last Tory PM…

 

This time all the Tory Party had to do was to ask the electorate a very simple question: “Do you want five more years of Gordon Brown?” The answer would be no. The election campaign strategy was therefore all about giving the electorate the reasons for voting against the PM. The M&C Saatchi adverts were a good start. As I have mused before the Tory opinion poll lead was always based on the public’s loathing of the PM rather than any real affection for David Cameron. The election campaign should therefore have been negative in tone and focused entirely on the PM’s failings. Whatever the focus groups may say negative campaigning works. There doesn’t appear to be any strategy. The ‘big society’ idea has come and now disappeared. The most popular Tory politician Ken Clarke has become the invisible man. He may be campaigning in marginal seats but he should be on our TV screens every morning, noon and night. And then there is the policy that dares not speak its name. Immigration. Every canvasser I have spoken to from every party has told me that the issue that keeps coming up on the doorstep is immigration. This is a Tory issue and yet I am told that there will only be one day when it is raised. What is going on?…

 

So is the election campaign lost for the Tory Party? I don’t think it is. Nick Clegg’s policy agenda is very attackable. As Alan Johnson put it in Saturday’s Times: “The Lib Dems are soft on crime, inept on asylum and bloody dangerous on national security.” How Labour candidates must wish he was the PM…

The Tory Party needs to mobilise its key assets such as Ken Clarke and talk about Tory issues such as low tax, immigration and Europe. It needs to connect with Tory voters and indeed anybody who doesn’t want Gordon Brown for another five years. Thatcher’s great strength was her ability to connect with ordinary voters, particularly those who wanted to better themselves. Politics is all about helping people to realise their dreams. We seem to have forgotten this.

Time for a stiff drink, I reckon. Mind you, if Cameron’s nauseating, nannying ”big society” has been strangled at birth, that will be something to celebrate.

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