Saturday, 16 April 2011

What might have been for the Conservatives

Simon Richards, Director of The Freedom Association posts on their website and revisits, in his words, "the woeful Tory 2010 general election campaign".
"I know the first anniversary of last year's General Election itself is not yet upon us, but it is a year since the election campaign and, as it happens, I'm back in Shipley, where I spent a working holiday then, helping Philip Davies [..... ] get re-elected. Philip himself did spectacularly well. Shipley was Labour's target seat number 7, but he achieved a massive 9.7% swing, increasing his majority from a mere 422 votes to 9,944. As they say - result!"
 "I'm reminded of the despair we felt at the completely unavoidable Tory own goal of agreeing to the Leaders' Debates on TV. I recall the voters' complete lack of connection with the Big Society message on which David Cameron based his campaign. Field Marshal Slim, who pushed the Japanese out of Burma in the Second World War, wrote a book called Defeat into Victory, but David Cameron turned Victory into Defeat. When I think of that lamentably inept election campaign, I'm reminded of Diana Ross opening the 1994 World Cup by taking a stage-managed penalty kick - and missing the goal altogether.

As Philip's result demonstrated, it didn't have to be like that. His strongly Conservative message went down well on the doorstep. The same was true for Philip Hollobone, Douglas Carswell, Gordon Henderson and other supporters of our Better Off Out campaign, all of whom performed dramatically better than the Tories nationally. For years the political establishment has peddled the myth that the Conservatives lost elections because they were too Eurosceptic and too 'right wing'. The evidence suggests otherwise - quite apart from Margaret Thatcher's own record of three successive landslide General Election victories.
 Hmm, in respect of Davies and Hollobone I strongly suspect that it was the calibre and principled beliefs of both that was a big element in their increased majorities - plus of course they are Conservatives in the accepted sense of the word "Conservative", unlike the Leader of their party!

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