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. Parts one, two, three, four, five and six have already been published.
(Part 7) The Conservative Party needs to build a new
get-out-the-vote and voter contact machine for the internet and mobile age.
Political journalists love talking about a
party’s broad message and its manifesto policies but close elections are
decided by the quality of a party’s machine. The first report of the Conservative Majority Project will
focus on how we rebuild our party’s organisational strength at every level.
We’ve identified the following questions that need answers:
1. THIRD PARTIES:
Should Downing Street and Conservative HQ have a powerful external affairs unit
to build deep relations with Britain’s most important third party groups?
2. MOVEMENT: How
can the party strengthen and utilise its relationship with movement groups,
including the Countryside Alliance and the TaxPayers’ Alliance?
3. MINORITIES: What
is the ideal strategy for the Conservatives to reverse our poor performance
within minority communities?
4. FLOATING MEDIA:
How do we encourage Tory MPs to appear more regularly on Breakfast News, Five
Live and the other media platforms that reach more floating voters than Today
5. NEW MEDIA: What
is the best way of sending out big messages during an election campaign? Should
the party be switching from billboard to more direct messaging and internet
What can we learn from America in using Facebook, Twitter and email to
communicate directly with electoral niches?
7. MPs AND MEPs:
How can the party make better use of the time and talents of Tory MPs and MEPs?
8. LOCAL LESSONS:
How have the Conservatives become embedded in lower income wards in
Hammersmith, Wandsworth, Westminster, Trafford and other parts of British local
9. UNIONS: What
steps should be taken to limit taxpayer funding of pro-Labour campaigning by
the trade union movement?
10. BBC MONOPOLY: Should we top-slice the
BBC licence fee to ensure a more diverse supply of broadcast news media?
11. LONDON AND GLOBAL: What general lessons
can we learn from successful electoral campaigns by our own MPs, Boris Johnson
and sister parties in other parts of the world?
12. SCOTLAND AND WALES: Is it time, despite
Murdo Fraser’s defeat, for Ruth Davidson to radically change the Scottish
Party? What can the still troubled Scottish party learn from the success of the
13. GOTV: Could referenda be used to boost
turnout of natural Conservative supporters on election days?
14. CANDIDATES: What kind of person should
we be selecting to be the Tory MPs of the future? To what extent do we need
more diversity of background and regional identity, rather than of gender and
15. FLEET STREET: How can we better work
with the Quad of newspapers who traditionally support the Conservative Party?
16. PARTY FUNDING: How can the internet be
used to diversify party fundraising?
17. YELLOW TO BLUE: Will we take this
once-in-a-generation opportunity to oust Liberal Democrat MPs in the South West
and South East of England? How should we do it?
18. PARTY UNITY: How can Number 10 Downing
Street build better relations with the whole breadth of the Conservative Party?
19. REGIONALISM: Should we have MPs and
peers as spokespeople in target cities and regions, coordinating campaign
themes and media messaging?
20. ACTIVISM: What incentives and models
can be introduced to rebuild the party’s membership and wider supporter base?
21. TARGETING LABOUR: What are Labour’s
weaknesses and how do we target them?
22. APPOINTMENTS: Labour have used public
appointments to frustrate conservatism. How do we counter this?
23. INCUMBENCY: How do we maximise our
advantage of having so many new MPs?
24. DEBATES: When is the best time to hold
them and should they be two or three party debates?
25. RETAIL: Do big or understandable policies
move most votes?
The plan is to answer all of these and related questions in six months.