Last week, in response to this ToryDiary entry, Danny Finkelstein wrote: "The whole point is that the last two Tory campaigns engaged in the argument on tax and spend and lost." I regard this as one of the great myths of the über-modernisers.
Another is that the party shouldn’t talk about immigration (even though it regularly tops lists of voter concerns).
A third is that the Tory grassroots are a problem and need to be confronted (although the grassroots are in many ways more representative of the country and confrontation only undermines one of the three points of the iron triangle of political success – party unity).
One by one the party leadership is wisely rejecting the übers’ myths and the party is strengthening as a result.
Also worth reading is this blog by Tom Clougherty of the Adam Smith Institute. He emphasises the importance of tax transparency. The least popular taxes are the most obvious – stamp duty, council tax, inheritance tax. Making more taxes more transparent will increase public awareness of the scale of Britain’s tax burden.
PS Before anyone says the party can’t just revert to a core vote message… I agree. I listed some of the vital so-called ‘modernisation issues’ here. We also shouldn’t ‘do’ the core vote issues like we used to. Tax relief should be more focused and more ethical. A tough approach to crime needs to be twinned with IDS-inspired ideas to help young people escape the conveyor belt to crime. We shouldn’t be Eurosceptic because we want to be Little Britons but because we aspire to play a full part in the world. On immigration we all need to use David Cameron’s moderate language and he was 100% correct to scrap Michael Howard’s cap on asylum numbers.