Here is my own contribution to the series:
Hold Brown accountable for the Blair-Brown years. A member of my family told me last week that they would be voting for Gordon Brown. They’ve voted Conservative at the last few elections but felt that Brown deserved "a fair go". It’s urgent that we tackle this. Conservatives need to make it clear that Brown has been at Blair’s side for every big decision that has been taken since 1997. It was Brown who starved the prisons service of resources. It was Brown who forced Blair to go to war on a peacetime budget. For economic reasons it was Brown who encouraged the large-scale immigration. It was Brown who oversaw the waste of the NHS supercomputer, the Olympics cost over-runs and the defrauded benefits system. The attacks shouldn’t be nasty or OTT like the devil eyes ads of 1997. Ideally they’d be funny – Brown won’t enjoy being ridiculed. My own suggestion is inspired by Bill Richardson’s interviews concept. A series of YouTube adverts could portray Mr Brown going for job interviews to be Britain’s next Prime Minister. Behind the desk one victim of crime could ask him about early prisoner releases and his role in underfunding the prison service. A soldier could quiz him on equipment shortages in Afghanistan. A senior could ask him to explain his £100bn raid on pensions. I can’t immediately think of a snappy slogan for the ending.
Find some doorstep policies. My relation also told me that they couldn’t think of one good reason why they should vote Conservative. We soon need to be in a position where every Tory activist can go on to the doorstep and give people solid reasons why they should vote Conservative. Yesterday’s promise to scrap the Human Rights Act was a good start. It is vital that we soon move beyond talk of ‘social responsibility’ – which is philosophically very conservative but almost noone understands – and offer policies that can win over floating voters. Oliver Letwin is currently drawing up a manifesto and I hope it has big sections on social and international justice but it needs cut through, too. A big promise on council or inheritance tax should be on page one. A promise to end early releases and make all violent offenders serve their full sentences should be there. And, of course, a commitment to hold a referendum on the EU Treaty.
David Cameron needs to stop being so reasonable all of the time. The headline opinion polls showing Labour leads of 5%, 6% or 10% don’t worry me as much as the underlying numbers which show Gordon Brown being much more trusted as a potential Prime Minister than David Cameron. An anti-Brown strategy of the kind outlined above should be one part of our pincer movement but David Cameron also needs to move into fifth gear. Listening to him on the Today programme on Monday morning he always appears very reasonable but I hardly ever hear him get passionate. Where is the anger at what Labour has done to Britain? Where is the determination to protect our nation from terrorism? I want to hear a little loss of control from David Cameron in an interview or at PMQs. I want to sense that he has some skin in this game. Voters need to know that here’s a father and husband… a real person as well as a politician.