Fiona Melville is a political consultant at Apex Communications. She worked for the Conservative Party for four years, in the Political Unit for the 2005 General Election, on David Cameron’s leadership campaign and as Head of External Relations. She is part of the team behind Platform 10.
If he hasn’t yet, David Cameron and his team should read Alistair Campbell’s Diaries. They (and we) should take note especially of the iron focus on victory. Then he should take a deep breath, remember what happened to previous Conservative leaders who abandoned their original modernising instincts, and resolve to continue the programme of change.
CCHQ needs to politicise and beef up its approach – sending a press release out and expecting coverage isn’t enough. Everyone in that building needs to relentlessly promote the value of Conservative ideas.
David cannot give in to the temptation to personalise the attack on Brown. It’s his record, not his personality, that counts. The critique needs to be in terms that voters understand, and the solutions need to be personalised. Now that the policy groups are reporting, it’s time to articulate the vision of how to make Britain a better country.
Remaining in the mainstream of British politics is what counts. Focusing on what affects people’s daily lives is what gave the party its poll lead for 19 of the last 20 months.
The Party needs to make sure that a consistent Conservative message is sustained and coherent. The leadership needs to repeat the same thing over and over again, and make sure that the same message is carried by every single activist, councillor and member.
Now the Policy Groups have reported, David has the opportunity to prove that he can make the tough choices for the good of the country. He mustn’t take the easy, grass-roots pleasing route, but the right one for Britain.
Finally – but perhaps most urgently – David needs to remind us of why we picked him. That sense of optimism and success is what will make him and the Party winners at the general election.
A longer version of Fiona’s piece can be read on Platform 10.
NEXT IN THIS ‘WHAT DAVID CAMERON SHOULD DO NEXT’ SERIES: JAMES FORSYTH AT NOON