Implementing the Boundary Review. Stopping electoral fraud. Steering legislation through the Lords. Getting a grip on appointments. Keeping MPs busy. Much of this series on using the new Conservative majority properly has concentrated on the nuts and bolts of Parliamentary management.
All these are means of delivering the fruits of this month’s election victory and pushing to gain another in five years’ time. However, the latter goal won’t be achieved by implementing the manifesto alone. It will also need the Party machine to be in good shape.
We wrote at the start of this week about the importance of building on CCHQ’s ethnic minority campaigning. But that of course is only part of wider work, which divides into two interconnected parts – the short-term and longer-term.
The short-term is everything to do with winning the next election and those that precede it – advertising, street activity, telephone canvassing, online activity, Facebook, Twitter, action days, by-elections, rapid response, opposition attack, and messaging.
The longer-term is everything to do with building up support more widely – ethnic minority voters, students, membership (and supplements to it), candidate selection, building up support in business and the professions, in universities and civil society: charities, campaign groups, unions.
The two are obviously connected, but there has been an increasing tendency in successive elections for the second to be subordinated to the first. During the recent campaign, Grant Shapps boiled the election down to 11,000 key voters in 23 constituencies.
A healthy Party cannot build elections wins on such a tiny base for long. We have suggested splitting CCHQ into two parts, in order to protect the funds needed for that long-terms campaigning work. That is probably too radical for Lord Feldman’s current review of the Party.
None the less, there must be change if the Party is to win the 40 per cent or so of the vote in 2020 that it should be striving for – more ethnic minority voters, public sector workers, young people and city dwellers in the North and Midlands.