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Victory2015-181

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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