By Tim Montgomerie
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Nearly two weeks ago ConHome readers ranked the potency of 23 ideas to win the next election. Yesterday I noted the relatively weak showing of changing the leader to Boris Johnson or William Hague. Members said that greater party unity and greater loyalty to David Cameron were more likely to help the Tory cause.
Today I report the strong showing for what I have described as conservatism for the little guy. Dom Raab MP has called it conservatism for the underdog. It's conservatism for Howard's battlers, Reagan's Democrats, Harper's Tim Horton voters, Thatcher's Essex Man. It's a conservative politics that understands that the party cannot win without solidarity with the striving classes. It's the 1992 model when John Major's mix of soapbox-and-Brixton-conservatism saw the party win 14,093,007 votes – more than any British party leader had won before or has won since.
In the list of 23 election-winning policies "A plan to cut taxes and energy bills for ordinary families" came third with a score of 3.52*. Interestingly this was regarded by party members as more potent than other suggestions on Europe, crime, immigration, reform of human rights laws and cutting foreign aid. Despite the caricature of the grassroots as obsessed with so-called 'core vote issues' like Europe they actually understand that a blue collar message is central to Tory hopes.
Other themes of blue collar conservatism received these scores:
- 11th in list was "More northern and working class candidates with experience of life beyond politics", scoring 2.22. This was the very first idea proposed as part of Majority Conservatism.
- 12th was "A new consumer agenda that reduces the power of big banks, energy companies and supermarkets", scoring 2.12. I've recently described this as a conservatism of consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs.
- 13th was "A housebuilding policy for young people", scoring 1.92. A big push towards greater housebuilding was one of Mel Stride MP's four economy-boosting themes, set out on ConHome yesterday.
We'll continue this series on Sunday with a look at the economy and Monday with a look at the potency of policies on Europe.
* Respondents rated ideas on a scale of minus five to plus five (where plus five equals very helpful to Tory election chances).