Sunday, 14 June 2015

The Road to 2020

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Conservatives are already thinking about how to win the 2020 Election. According to Matthew D’Ancona, the Conservatives want to use their majority to prove to working people that they are on their side. Generally speaking, I agree with D’Ancona. David Cameron’s 2015 General Election victory gives Conservatives the opportunity to show the British people we want them to have the chance for a better life. However, to some extent, I think D’Ancona overcomplicates what the Conservatives need to do to achieve that.

First, the Conservatives must remember the desire for security is what motivates people to vote. Generally speaking, what the British people desire from government is security. Britons are not, by and large, a nation of politicos. Between elections we do not enjoy, or wish, to spend much time thinking of what’s going on in the Westminster village. Most of us are too busy thinking about how to support our families, get to work, pay for the kids’ school uniforms and lunches, and pay our taxes and bills, to worry about who performed better at Prime Minister’s Questions. We want to feel confident that if we get sick the NHS will be there for us. We want to feel secure about the quality of the schools we can send our children to. Above all we want to feel that the economy is being managed well, so our jobs are not under threat and we can have the security offered by a regular pay packet.

Second, Conservatives must reassure the British people that they were right to believe that difficult decisions are needed to guarantee a secure future, and that they were right to put their trust in the Conservatives to make those difficult decisions. A great deal of politics is decided by reinforcing the positive perceptions people have about you, and the negative perceptions they have of your opponents. Because Britons are not overly interested in politics, we tend to stick to our long-held views about political parties. The key to winning is helping people focus on your strengths and your opponent’s weaknesses. In his article D’Ancona noted one or two particular policies that he feels may hamstring the Conservatives. My contention is if these were as fatal as some think David Cameron would not be our Prime Minister. The British people elected the Conservatives because they trust us to take the difficult decisions to secure Britain’s future. In life, as in politics, often the only choice we have is between something bad and something worse. Growing up as the child of a single mother in South London I saw that on a daily basis. Hardworking people, who struggle to get by on average wages, get this. They live it. The real battle is not about policies themselves but, as D’Ancona himself highlights, why people think you are doing what you do: your motives. Labour will try to reinforce the negative impressions of why Conservatives do what we do. In the face of this attack, Conservatives must explain the reasons for our actions. We must never forget to say why the difficult decisions we are taking are necessary, or to remind people that by taking them we are securing the chance of a better future for them, their families and our country.

The Conservatives won the 2015 General Election because working people felt more security with us than with the alternative. To win in 2020 the Conservatives need to remind the British people they were right to feel this way. Sensible, stable government that shows empathy even when taking difficult decisions, and delivers lower taxes and more jobs is the surest road to 2020. 

No comments:

Post a Comment