Saturday, 19 January 2013

Don’t Despair Dave Remember 1992

Don’t Despair Dave Remember 1992

The 1992 election was historic for two reasons, the first being it was the fourth Conservative victory on the bounce and no party had done that since the war.  The other reason was that John Major’s Conservatives were not meant to win, at best they were looking at being the biggest party in a hung parliament.  The current mood in the press is a Labour victory in 2015, but even if things don’t pick up the Conservatives can still fight the next election and stand a chance of winning, by doing what they did in 1992.

David Cameron will be more than aware of what happened in 1992, he was after all one of the masterminds behind the campaign.  The question he has to ask himself is can he do it again?  The short answer is yes, all he needs to do is pick holes in Labours economic plan, and that is not exactly hard as the plan Labour current plan is more like a list of complaints about the Tory cuts than a credibly economic plan.  In 1992 the Conservatives showed that Labour was not yet ready to govern by picking holes in their economic plan, basically showing were the sums don’t add up and also how much tax people would pay under Labour and it worked.  This time round showing Labour is not ready for government should be easy.  The Conservatives simply need to attack the fact Labour have not backed a single cut, they refused to cap benefits but capped public sector pay, they could also play the tax card saying how Labour wants the 50p tax despite it raising less money than the current 45p tax.  They can also point out they want to continue borrowing more and more money so they can repeat the “Kinnock’s Double-Whammy” campaign because like in 1992 Labours economic policy will lead to high tax and high inflation.

In 1992 John Major ran a very personal campaign he held rallies on his soapbox and this showed he was more in touch with people than Neil Kinnock who held his rallies in large stadiums and came across as arrogant.  This type of in touch with people campaign will most likely to pay dividend again, David Cameron has a big image problem, he is seen as an out of touch posh boy and using rhetoric like skivers vs strivers is not helping his cause.  For David Cameron to show he is in touch with the voting public he needs to change the tone of his argument rather than skiver vs strivers he needs to explain that welfare reform is a necessary evil  and it is essential to balance the nations books.  Many people will not like this but they will understand it, and it comes across as more compassionate and understanding.  It is the kind of language that says, we understand that many people who draw benefits are just down on their luck.  However, you also have to understand the current system is unsustainable.  Cameron’s current rhetoric makes people on benefits sound like devils that refuse to work and are draining the country dry, the aggressive language used currently will not work in the long run and will further demonise the Tories in the inner cities and in Scotland, it also won’t help win votes amongst those who have recently found themselves unemployed.  So in the run up to the election Cameron needs to change his tone back to the tone of compassionate conservatism, many people do see the argument for his policies but he needs his language to be more in line with, this is essential rather than we don’t care about the poor.

The final piece of the 1992 Conservative victory was Labour leader Neil Kinnock, he just was not prime ministerial, and people just did not trust him.  Luckily the current leader is suffering from the same problem, he is still a figure of fun in many of the papers, many people don’t like the Conservatives but don’t like the idea of Prime Minister Ed Miliband and finally polls say that David Cameron is seen as more Prime Ministerial than Ed.  In the age of the internet and 24 hour news a parties leader is important and it may just like in 92 prove a huge stumbling block for Labour.

So to conclude I would like to see the next election campaign fought on economic grounds, and for the Conservatives to win they need to launch a sustained attack on Labours economic policy as well as showing them up as not ready to govern.  David Cameron needs to change the party rhetoric to a more compassionate tone, to show the conservatives are in touch with voters no more skivers vs strivers move onto the tone of painful but essential.  This compassionate conservatism worked for Major in 92 and it worked for George Bush in 2004 and 2004, it is a tried and tested way of getting Conservative policy accepted by the public at large.  The final point is to emphasise on the party leaders David Cameron is seen as more compassionate and more electable than his party.  The Prime Minister is an asset and one that should be used to show the caring side of the Conservative party, just as Major used his soapbox to show he understood people better than Kinnock, Cameroon must do the rounds to show he understands voters concerns and that they can trust him, in other words dust of the soapbox.  Fighting the next election using a mix of 1992 tactics and compassionate conservative rhetoric will not necessarily win the next election, but it will lead to a much better result than fighting it on right wing rhetoric of the workers and the shirkers.  Which shows the Conservatives to be out of touch and will help Labours cause, it will also do further damage to the Conservative brand.