Cameron keeping it simple as he eyes up a working majority

Written by George Pascoe-Watson on 11 February 2015 in Opinion
The Tory campaign message will be straightforward: God knows what Britain will get if Ed Miliband leads a coalition government with Alex Salmond

David Cameron is inspired by an ad campaign which rocked the New Zealand general election. It will underpin his message to British voters as he sharpens the Conservative focus in the run-up to May 7.

The victorious National Party in New Zealand ran footage of a well-drilled rowing team powering through the water to the finishing line. The oarsmen pull together in unison with discipline and focus.

The image contrasts with a boat with carrying a hotchpotch of individuals, all wearing different colours, all pull their oars in different directions. The boat simply goes round and round in circles. Chaos ensues.

Mr Cameron’s message will be simple: God knows what Britain will get if Ed Miliband leads a coalition government with Alex Salmond and his SNP lieutenants.

The PM will deliver a stark warning to the voters of Britain just as John Key’s National Party did Down Under last September.

We are currently heading in the right direction and doing very well indeed. There is stability and a crystal clear focus on delivery.

Don’t risk Britain’s progress by the prospect of chaos under a ragbag of political parties pulling in different directions.

Mr Cameron’s aim is to raise the prospect of the effects of a chaotic government – the unforeseen circumstances. Interest rates would rise, he will say, as would taxation.

The Premier privately believes he is on course to be the largest single party in this General Election. The quest is now for him to push on and deliver a working majority. This is the goal in Conservative sights.

He and those around him believe the General Election will be fought as 650 by-elections.  

The swingometers of previous General Elections have already become redundant, pollsters say. What matters is incumbency, local issues, popularity and profile of the sitting MP.

The 40 most marginal Conservative MPs know this well. They are under orders to work their patch hard.

Grant Shapps’s volunteer army of supporters are mobilised and are touring the doors making their pitch in each and every marginal. And their message will echo that of the PM: confidence versus chaos.

There is also a belief that Ed Miliband’s attempt to put the NHS at the heart of his campaign is not landing.

Voters understand it’s a much more complex argument than just throwing money at the problem.

They “get” that an ageing population and ever-more sophisticated medicines and treatments are an enormous challenge whoever is in power.

They also believe Mr Cameron’s commitment to the health service.

The PM’s own intimate and tragic knowledge of the NHS is testament to his support of it, polling shows.

Some in the Premier’s camp think that Mr Miliband’s wings have been clipped by his ambition of “weaponising” the NHS in this campaign. He has failed to kill the row and it seems to have knocked the pace out of his attack.

The other threat on the horizon is Labour’s attack on big business, corporate greed and the perceived association with the Conservative Party.

But again those at the heart of the Cameron machine are defiant. Hence this week’s parody of Neil Kinnock’s “I warn you” speech in 1992.

“I warn you not to aspire to aspire, to work, to turn a profit, to build something better,” the PM goaded.

Mr Cameron believes that voters understand the need for business to succeed because it means jobs, a higher standard of living, chances for peoples’ kids to get on in life.

He will relentlessly point out that his government has introduced more measures to tackle tax avoidance measures than any other.

A friend says: “Business generates wealth.  David is very much ‘no’ to tax avoidance but ‘yes’ to helping people becoming entrepreneurs.

“Most people understand that. Most people work for a company and they trust that company to do the right thing.

“Labour are wrong to vilify business and the fact they are doing so means they are actually the ones who are out of touch.”

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