Max Chambers is Head of Crime and Justice at Policy Exchange.
“Britain’s on the right track, don’t turn back”. When George Osborne invoked Margaret Thatcher’s 1983 campaign slogan last year, it was the clearest message about what is set to be the Conservatives’ overarching campaign message at the next general election. But even if green shoots have begun to bear fruit, it is still going to be very hard for the Party to win a majority, especially under the existing boundaries.
Despite a consistent mid-term lead for Labour in the opinion polls, those same polls indicate that the British people would still prefer David Cameron in Downing Street to Ed Miliband. So of course, if the Chancellor’s economic medicine starts to produce results that people can feel, and the Tories can successfully paint Miliband as a risk the country can’t afford to take, the Conservatives could yet turn things around. But given the Tories’ inability to win outright in 2010 despite relatively benign conditions and an unpopular Prime Minister, the best case scenario for the Party, on current trends, is surely another unwelcome coalition.
So while the campaign message may be lifted from 1983, there is no transformative military victory on the horizon. But is there a game-changer out there that could swing the odds in the Tories’ favour? How could the Conservatives get towards the magic 40% figure, which gives them a chance of the 7% lead they need to win that elusive majority?