Graham Brady has recorded some frank advice to the party for Radio 4’s The World This Weekend (to be broadcast at 1pm today). He started by describing the need to make in-roads outside of liberal metropolitan areas:
"The changes David Cameron has made in the Conservative Party have been very successful in some places, and have been better at reaching out to a more small ‘L’ liberal, metropolitan mindset, but have not been making the same impact further away from London – in the North, in the Midlands, in places which really are an absolutely key electoral battlefield if we’re going to win a general election."
Going back to the issue of grammar schools – on which he resigned – Brady said it demonstrated the need to be on the side of the core conservative principle of aspiration:
"There is a kind of heartstrings tug. I think it goes to the very
core of what the Conservative party is about, which people very often
don’t understand, which is about aspiration, it’s about people having
opportunities. Those are the really emotive things in our politics. The
party seemed to get itself on the wrong side of that, which is a very
dangerous place to be."
He said that Cameron hadn’t got the balance right in the "politics of and":
"I think some of it is about the issues that David Cameron has chosen to focus more on, and some of it is about just tone. And there is a simple fact in political life that some messages and some styles play differently in different parts of the country. None of it is impossible to get over. I think David Cameron had the phrase a few weeks ago I heard him saying that what we needed to be dealing with was the politics of ‘and’ not the politics of ‘or’. Of course you can talk about the environment, and you can give a grittier more relevant message to people in an inner city community who are worried about crime. And that I think is the balance that maybe so far we haven’t quite got right – we need to get that right, and we need to do it quickly."