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Robert H Halfon MP: The Ten Commandments of Blue Collar Conservatism


Robert Halfon is the Member of Parliament for Harlow. Follow Robert on Twitter. This is the text of a talk he gave to ConservativeHome's Victory 2015 Conference.

  1. The first Commandment of Blue Collar Conservatism is not to use the term. Don’t say “blue collar”. This can have negative connotations. Very few British voters will self-identify as “blue collar”.  It also has old fashioned attachments to the phrase.  It also signifies that ‘Conservatism’ on its own is not friendly to lower earners
  2. Blue Collar Conservatism must be Ronseal Conservatism.  It must be easy to define and do what it says on the tin.  Put simply it is about helping lower earners, struggling to make a living.
  3. Blue Collar Conservatism is not about inverted snobbery.    Don’t get hung up about backgrounds.  What people care about is whose side you are on.  David Cameron’s statement “we are not the party of the better off, but the party for the want-to-be-better-off” should be carved on our foreheads.
  4. Blue Collar Conservatism should be the washing line to our policy clothes pegs.  This must be our narrative, informing everything that we do.   We need a washing line, to hold all the clothes pegs of our policies together.
  5. Blue Collar Conservatism should be impact assessed. Every domestic Government policy should have an impact assessment as to whether it helps or hinders Blue Collar Conservatism.
  6. Blue Collar Conservatism should pick some battles to fight. Policies only get attention if there is a real battle to get them through. I would suggest housing and the right to buy; cost of living taxes like fuel duty; the cost of childcare; and Michael Gove’s education reforms. These battles need to be done relentlessly.
  7. Blue Collar Conservatism need an Ed Balls - or at least a Tory version of Ed Balls.  Once we have picked our battles, we need to relentlessly undermine our opponents using both intellectual and personal stories.  A mirror image of what Labour have done on the 50p rate.
  8. Blue Collar Conservatism needs to be counter-intuitive. That means not being afraid to appropriate the language of the left or build alliances with Trade Unions, pressure groups and the Big Society.
  9. Blue Collar Conservatism must be compassionate. Language and manner is incredibly important.  Everything we do should be about helping the poor. 
  10. Blue Collar Conservatism embodies the most enduring of Tory values: Aspiration.

> Previously published in this series: John Stevenson MP on reaching voters in the North.


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