By Tim Montgomerie
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week in Birmingham I presented a ten step plan to deliver the first
Conservative majority since 1992. The plan is summarised on the new StrongAndCompassionate.com website. Throughout this week I've been blogging on that plan's component parts. You can read through them all by scrolling down this category page. Here is the final instalment.
(Part 10) Three landscape investigations over eighteen months
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This is the beginning of ConservativeHome’s Majority Project. Over the next eighteen months – in three major reports – we will set out a much more detailed blueprint for the Conservative Party.
- In six months we will set out a plan to revitalise ‘The Machine’, answering the kind of questions posed under point seven. We are starting with the machine because it is the most urgent task. We need to be investing, for example, in the internet now, rethinking voter contact networks, utilising incumbency and thinking about how taxpayers are funding the trade union movement – all urgently – if there are to be any political dividends for the Conservative Party by the time of the next election.
- In one year’s time, to coincide with the 2012 Tory Conference, we will set out a statement of Tory values and purpose – ‘The Message’. Our aim is to produce a little blue book celebrating and understanding our past as a party, our greatest achievements and how we should think of ourselves so that we can tell a proper story of ourselves to the next generation of voters.
- Finally, in eighteen months we will publish The Manifesto. This will be a straightforward collection of the best policy ideas from homegrown and international sources. Our focus will be on bolder action on the two key fronts of wealth creation and social solidarity – of strength and compassion.
Many of the themes of this plan to win a majority are about generational change. About a fresh way of thinking about the Conservative mission. One that is informed by the Thatcher years but, importantly, by an accurate remembering of those years – not a distorted focus on its libertarian and more unbending dimensions. But also a generational shift towards remembering the fullness of the conservative tradition. We are the party of wealth creation but also a one nation party. A party that stands with the aspirational but also proudly with those for whom life is a struggle and who will never rise high up on any social ladder.
This Majority plan is about winning the next election but it’s more than that too. It’s about delivering generational change. It’s about recognising that we have struggled to win more than a third of the vote at four successive general elections. The Tony Blair effect and the decline of the two party system are major explanations for that but they are not the only explanations. This Majority Project is about rethinking every aspect of the Conservative Message, Manifesto and Machine so that we recapture the best of our history and become fully equipped to serve our nation again.