Why this terrible Tory campaign needs to change
Never in modern times has the Tory Party started an election campaign with such a good story to tell. Zero inflation. Historically low interest and mortgage rates. Unemployment plummeting. Two million new jobs. Strong economic growth.
All the more surprising then that over the last few weeks when I have dined with politicos they all express incredulity at the complete hopelessness of the Tory election campaign. The Tory Party should be walking this election. Yet they find it difficult to get beyond 35% in the polls and are neck and neck with the Labour Party.
It gets even worse. There appears to be no election campaign whatsoever in Greater London and as a result the Tories could lose up to six seats to the Labour Party in our capital city. Where is Boris?
I have always put the blame for the terrible 2010 campaign firmly on the shoulders of Steve Hilton who is thankfully still in California. Yet the 2015 campaign thus far is just as shambolic.
Not to win a majority against Gordon Brown was bad enough. Not to win a majority against Ed Miliband, a man who makes Michael Foot look normal, would be unforgivable.
I have never been entirely persuaded that Lynton Crosby is a campaigning genius. I wasn't very impressed by his campaign for Michael Howard in 2005 and Boris Johnson very nearly lost in 2012. Indeed on the Sunday evening during the vote counting Team Boris thought that he had lost!
Lynton Crosby might be the right adviser for dull old John Howard in Australia. Is he the right man for David Cameron? I have my doubts ...
I still believe that the Tories will in the end win a majority on 7th May. The British public isn't stupid. Why should they throw away the good times and back a left-wing socialist who wants to control every aspect of their lives, tax people who work hard and support those people who have no intention of ever doing a day's work? They won't ...
In my humble opinion going forward the Tory Party campaign needs to have the following elements:
1. There needs to be a big and positive vision about the sort of society the PM wants to achieve. It is all very well announcing ten policies a day which go over the heads of the electorate. He needs to answer the big question with a big answer.
2. The Tory Party must show that it really understands the pain that many people have had to endure over the last five years. In effect the PM must become more likeable and create a more sympathetic narrative over the next five years. People must genuinely believe that the Tory Party is on their side.
3. The Tory Party message on matters economic is its strongest political card. That said, voters have very short memories and are often ungrateful. It is therefore essential not to just tell people the good news on the economy but to also remind them just how bad things were in 2010.
4. The Tory Party must then show how a strong economy is the only way of funding the public services most popular with voters. This does require the Health and Education Secretaries having a high profile role in the campaign.
5. The Tory Party must also show that it is the party best able to protect us from those who wish to destroy everything we believe in and from those who have no respect for the rule of law. It follows that the Home Secretary and the Defence Secretary must feature strongly in the campaign.
I could go on. The story is so strong that if it is told well it will convince sufficient voters to deliver a Tory majority. The story isn't yet being told!
I am reassuring myself at the moment that it is only a matter of time before the campaign changes gear and the polls start to turn. I hope prayer works ...
The PM has the perfect opportunity thanks to the hard work of the chancellor to win an overall majority for the first time since 1992. He must decide very quickly whether his current advisers are best equipped to help him win decisively on 7th May. It is still not too late ...