Members of the new ConservativeHome Jury offer their thoughts. These thoughts were first submitted a week ago and appeared in the ConservativeHome Party Conference newspaper.
PAUL ABBOTT: Patrick O'Flynn said it best last week. I paraphrase:
"You can't trust Labour with your money… You can't trust Labour on
immigration." This should be expressed as a relentless focus on the cost
of living. Ed Miliband is still the candidate of higher fuel duty at the
pumps; carbon taxes on your electricity bills; higher interest rates on
your mortgage; and uncapped benefits paid to millionaires. Under him, Labour is
still the party of the poverty trap. But, by contrast, the Conservative
Party is about aspiration: Free childcare for working mothers. A revamped
Right-To-Buy. Cheaper petrol. Cheaper mortgages. A tough cap on welfare. A cap
on immigration. The biggest ever expansion in apprenticeships, and academy
schools. The highest rise in the state pension since the 1940s. These are all
things that Labour voted against and we should remind them of it.
LUKE BOZIER: Say it, and say it again, Labour will say anything it can
in the run up to the election. Are the public really to think that the party
which took British debt over a trillion pounds can be trusted on the economy
again? Are we to think that Ed Miliband is as 'normal' as he suggests? He's as
beltway as it gets.
MAX WIND-COWIE: Labour is at an interesting, dangerous crossroads.
In Lord Glasman and Jon Cruddas they have thinkers determined to sweep the
knee-jerk ultra-liberalism and fabianism of modern Labour awayand to replace it
with a more grounded, small-c conservative message. That should be
sending shivers down all our partisan spines. Simply attacking Ed as
‘red’ won’t work in such circumstances – we need a more nuanced strategy.
We should be hugging the socially conservative instincts of the 'Blue-few'
close and looking to steal their clothes where appropriate while constantly reminding
voters that the bulk of Ed’s party would never let him deliver on 'One Nation'
Labour in Government.
SAMUEL KASUMU: To coin the phrase ‘it’s the economy stupid’. If there is
one issue that every person in the country is conscious of, it’s the current
financial challenges caused by Labour’s inability to manage the public purse.
Whilst most are now bored of simply being reminded that it is Labour’s fault
for the current mess, they will respond to the idea that we are as competent as
ever when it comes to ensuring an economic recovery. We must breathe life into
the economic debate and demonstrate that there is a clear path that includes
support for the most vulnerable, and appreciation for hard work.
ANGIE BRAY MP: We should start attacking Labour off the back of Ed
Miliband’s new adoption of the one-nation slogan and use it to point out that
his speech – far from encapsulating one-nationism – was actually about dividing
the Country into us and them: sectional interests, class warfare, public vs
private, and government vs business (if don’t run your business our way, watch
DAVID NUTTALL MP: Despite promising to end ‘Boom and Bust’ Labour are
the Party who when trusted with the nations finances wrecked the British
economy. They sold off our nations gold reserves. They spent billions of pounds
we did not have increasing the national debt which future generations will have
to pay back. They are essentially a pro-EU party in favour of more government
spending and therefore higher taxes and more borrowing. Voters at the next
election will face a simple choice; Return to the road to ruin under Labour, or
Continue on the road to recovery with the Conservatives.
DOMINIC SCHOFIELD: Firstly we must reject the impulse to dismiss Ed
Miliband as unelectable: his Blue Labour/One Nation narrative has the potential
to resonate with millions of voters, particularly those who perceive themselves
to be in the ‘squeezed middle’. Our attack should be two-pronged: first, focus hard on Labour’s economic record. Remind voters that every Labour
Government starts with promises of fiscal responsibility and ends with a
deficit, empty coffers and higher tax.
Second, develop a genuine One Nation vision and programme for the
economic renewal of the North, South West and Wales to counter Labour’s ‘The
Tories are an uncaring party of the South East’ narrative.
ANDREW BOFF: Expose their policies for what they are: the world's
longest running Ponzi scheme.
DAVID SKELTON: The first priority facing Cameron in
Birmingham is to reclaim the ‘one nation’ banner from Ed Miliband and set out
why the Tory Party is the party of one nation values. Ed Miliband’s speech
still leaves his party vulnerable on economic competence. In our Northern
Lights research, 54% of voters believe that “Labour waste your money… and
can’t be trusted to run the economy.” Miliband’s speech still leaves his party
vulnerable on the issue. Cameron’s other major challenge is to relentlessly focus
on blue collar concerns and cost of living issues. Emphasising job creation and
how the Tories can help voters struggling with squeezing living standards will
help Cameron reach out to the voters he needs to win over in 2015.
RYAN BOURNE: “So far Conservative
attacks have focused on competence: particularly the economic mess Labour
bequeathed the Coalition. It's effective, but becomes less credible over time
when the public want solutions. Attacks on Labour must now be made on a
new front: that it is devoid of the ideas necessary for the problems we face.
Policy initiatives should be attacked as insignificant or damaging, and
Labour's flip-flopping on popular reforms exposed for a lack of conviction. The
Conservatives should use the vacuum of proposals in Miliband's 'One Nation'
vision to define him in the public consciousness. Linking to the tax and spend
of France's Hollande could be a good starting point.”
LORD BATES: Ed Miliband and Ed balls led us into the worst recession
since the 1930s. Labour's recession resulted in the loss of over 1 million
jobs. Labour simply can't be trusted to face up to tough choices necessary to
govern Britain. Britain is now on the long hard road to recovery don't let
Labour wreck it again.
JULIAN BRAZIER MP: We
should stop ad hominem attacks on
Miliband and his team. We should remind people that Labour got the nation
hopelessly into debt and cost out every Labour proposal. We must build third party support for our structural
reform programmes and avoid reforms where we lack the public support of at
least some respected practitioners. Labour find it much harder to fight our
benefit and education reforms than changes in the NHS, where there is a paucity
of doctors and nurses speaking out for change. Be careful on the Police. Where
our partnership with the Lib Dems prevents implementation of popular reforms
which Labour cannot support (eg Human Rights reform, tougher measures on
immigration), make manifesto pledges they cannot match.
JOHN BALD: Ed "Bankruptcy" Balls is a major liability, as shown on
Question Time on Thursday, and he had much the same effect on the school
system, rebuilding everything in sight whether it was necessary or not.
Over generous benefits and destructive immigration remain weaknesses for
which Labour has not yet been forgiven, though the coalition has prevented us
from taking the necessary action. The return of Scargillism in modern
unions might help a little, though they seem to have worked out that it would
be sensible to lie low till after the election. However, Scargill
is an increasingly distant memory for the modern electorate, and I have some
concern that we may be moving into territory where Labour can start to attack