By Tim Montgomerie
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The Tories should stop banging on about Europe if they want to win.
The Tories are too hard on immigration and crime.
The Conservatives are homophobic, anti-women and sometimes even racist.
How many times have we heard things like this said by commentators, our opponents and even Tory über-modernisers?
A new YouGov poll for ConHome suggests that these obsessions of the chattering classes are not, actually, the explanation for why Conservatives have struggled to win more than a third of the vote at four successive elections. The reasons are perhaps more straightforward, obvious and, at the same time, more challenging. The party needs to prove that it is committed to the public services and is on the side of ordinary families. To put it another way – our problem is not that we're too right-wing or insufficiently libertarian but that we aren't seen as committed to 'Britain's social contract' – to the NHS, to pensioners, to a basic safety-net.
To summarise the findings we asked people to identify up to THREE big reasons why they are put off supporting the Conservatives. We feature the results on page three of the first edition of ConHome's Party Conference newspaper:
Today ConHome launches StrongAndCompassionate.com – the beginning of an eighteen month search to identify a winning Machine, Message and Manifesto for the party. At the heart of the project is an idea of a 'double lock'. We won't win another parliamentary majority until we convince people that we are as strong as we are compassionate – as capable of ensuring all share in prosperity as well as capable of creating prosperity. By sharing in prosperity I don't mean equality or mass redistribution but we have to be a party that is genuinely one nation – genuinely committed to leaving noone behind or alone as the nation advances.
We've produced a video to launch the campaign and it attempts to remind us of arguably our most outstanding election result of modern times – 1992. That election was a great comeback victory but it was most notable for the fact John Major won more than fourteen million votes. No party had ever won fourteen million votes before that election and no party has ever won as many since. What did we offer in 1992 that so struck home? Kinnock was certainly a help but so was Brown in 2010. It was more than just the failings of our opponent…