Conservative parties around the world prospered after the financial crisis. But to prevail now, the Tories need to tell a more optimistic story.by Tim Montgomerie / January 22, 2015 / Leave a comment
Published in February 2015 issue of Prospect Magazine
Voters know what to do in tough times. By 45 per cent to 9 per cent, they trust the Conservatives to take tough decisions, and so they vote Tory. And in happier times? They vote Labour because they think “its heart is in the right place.” Fifty-two per cent think the Conservatives appeal to one section of society rather than to the whole country. Only 20 per cent think the same of Labour. The pattern has asserted itself again and again. Britain embraced Winston Churchill as a war leader, but rejected him for Clement Attlee in 1945 when the nation wanted to “win the peace.” Britons wanted Margaret Thatcher rather than James Callaghan in 1979 to tackle union militancy, but by 1997 they wanted Tony Blair to “save the NHS” and invest in public services. In 2010 they turned towards David Cameron to avert a debt crisis. But what about the coming general election?
The poll in May will be a “no man’s land” election—somewhere between tough times and a more hopeful mood of leaving recession behind. The Prime Minister has, appropriately in one sense, been sending out mixed signa…