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« Brian Jenner on Mrs T | Main | Hannah Parker: Painting and Positioning »

October 04, 2006


Simon Turton

Yes... a hangover could well be in order when we get to the next election, because despite everyone in the party willing things to happen, as of now it ain't!

I am quite active in my local association and the average age must be late-60s; me in my v. early 40s is frequently described as "young", which is extremely flattering.

However, my main point is that there will be an increasing mismatch between the message from the metropolitan-focused leadership and the opinions at the grassroots. Those in their 60s and 70s will remember the Thatcher years and what led up to that historic election win in 1979: stagflation and unruly unions, to say the least.

Those of my generation and younger, for whom politics is a massive turn-off, there is a need and desire to see something different again.

The me-too approach to politics, as with brands, means that the premium brand wins the day. I don't for one minute believe that Labour is a premium brand any longer (it is quite tarnished now) but the Tory position of copying and trying to better Labour policies is nothing but folly.

The grassroots activists - those who will be door-knocking and really trying to sell the message - will find it hard to motivate themselves when all they will be able to do is repeat Labour policies in Tory clothes (mixed metaphors notwithstanding!).

Cameron is right that the party needs to (and I hate the phrase) re-connect with the people, but perhaps they should have asked the grassroots what the main issues to voters are. It would have given a steer to the direction that the party should be going.

Unfortunately, Cameron's approach has been to throw out the baby with the proverbial bathwater. So, all we have to entice the electorate is a trendy new logo (they think) that could be applied to anything to do with timber, the Green Party or a symbol for a woodland visitor attraction. We have no policies whatsoever, but we do seem to have a list of what they won't be doing.

If I am disillusioned after this week in Bournemouth, the party doesn't stand a chance of winning the floating voter; no, they're now looking at the LibDems (at least they seem to have some policies).

I hope that between now and the next election that Cameron and his team start differentiating themselves from Labour; that they do come up with some real eye-catching and even controversial policies; that they stop imitating the on-message approach that New Labour used (we've now all seen that before) and that they start behaving like a real opposition party.

Talking of that drink...

Yours sincerely

Simon Turton

James Maskell

I thought we were promised more policy? That was I was expecting from this Conference. I feel very disappointed.


You're always disappointed these days James.

Ernesto Rebelde

Power to the people.

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