Complex Conservatism Could Kill Grassroots Support
The poor local election results should have provided a stark wakeup call for our party to realign its priorities on the issues that really matter to hardworking Britons. Anyone who spent time knocking doors during the local and Mayoral race almost certainly met previously die hard Conservative supporters who felt disillusioned and had decided not to bother going out to vote.
Some commentators have put the drop in Conservative support down to midterm blues, which in some previous election cases is justifiable, particularly when tough decisions have to be made. But in this case, it seemed more likely that the lack of Conservative supporters willing to step out into the wind and rain was triggered by unnecessary pursuit of side issues like wind turbines and Lords Reform. Maybe I’m the exception, but when I speak to people on the doorstep these issues are not only clearly ludicrous to pursue in a tough economic climate, they are completely irrelevant to hardworking people worrying about losing their jobs and paying their rent on time.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the fascinating debate around Lords Reform is a cracking middle class discussion point over a bottle of wine in an expensive London restaurant, but proportionally this is not a luxury afforded to the majority of people in our country. Likewise, a funky agenda like the Big Society would trigger a fascinating discussion at the local debating society, but get out and about and you’ll find there really are more pressing concerns to ponder right now.
Against all the odds, Boris did win the Mayoral election, albeit with a reduced majority. The difference was that Boris ran his re-election campaign on a very clear nine point plan largely made up of traditional, sensible, tangible Conservative promises. This clear approach to pledges obviously chimed well with voters, who could see exactly what they were getting by putting their tick in the Conservative box.
The Conservative Party has and should always be on the side of the hardworking majority and remain in touch with the challenges facing ordinary people. Unfortunately, placing such a huge emphasis on distractions like Lords Reform will cast the impression of a party overlooking the daily issues raised on the doorstep. We should stop trying to be trendy and follow the Boris example of setting out a series of actionable and sensible Conservative policies. Otherwise the notion of Ken’s message that the Conservative Party is living on another planet could begin to take hold.