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« David Davis: Six priorities for strengthening society | Main | Dr Fox's big picture speech »


James Hellyer

If things are moving that way, it hardly seems sensible to discard hard-won consensus of the last few years and dash to the party's Left with Ken.


On the basis of those numbers, we've got a gap of 0.64 points, and are closing at about 0.2 a year, so we'd be smack on the centre ground in three years time (very flawed extrapolation, but the point applies). Lurching to the Left would simply confuse the picture - we're now only 0.57 Right of Labour, too.

James Hellyer

And Labour becomes more disconnected from their base the further they move to the right. It weakens their core vote. Conversely maintaining the current position strengthens ours.

Michael Fishwick

But you can't win with just your core base! A stronger base isn't the same thing as more votes. How many defeats do we have to suffer before we realise this? Waiting for the extra voters we need to win to come to us is complete madness! We've got to attract voters by becoming attractive through our values, language and behaviour.

James Hellyer

"But you can't win with just your core base!"

And I never said you could.

"A stronger base isn't the same thing as more votes."

A weaker base easily translates into fewer votes (see Labour, election 2005).

"We've got to attract voters by becoming attractive through our values, language and behaviour."

Language and behaviour, yes. Values? Well, our policies do attract people, it's the people selling those policies who then put them off. That's why we need to add to our repertoire to build our support: strong policies on human rights, the environment and helping the vulnerable can not only compliment and work with existing Conservative policies, but actively confound voter expectations.

Michael Fishwick

James, you advocate "maintaining the current position". This is a 'position' which appeals only into the core Conservative vote. And yes a weaker base naturally translates to fewer votes, but its the price you pay in reaching out and in the case of Labour, remaining in power (see election 2005). I agree with your last point, but more than that, since '97 the Party has lacked a big and consistent narrative bringing together all the essential elements which would make the Tory brand an appealing one for mr and mrs voter. I actually think detailed policies are one of the least important elements...successful opposition parties are usually policy-lite.

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