The Conservative message

Yesterday the Conservative message for the next couple of months was unveiled to some of us.

It is: “We can’t go on like this. Vote for change”

Change includes:

“Change the economy. Back aspiration and opportunity for all. Gordon Brown’s debt, waste and taxes are holding us back and threatening the recovery with higher interest rates”

“Change society. Mend our broken society by encouraging responsibility and backing those who do the right thing.”

“Change politics. Give people more power and control.”

Any comments?

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130 Comments

  1. Tim Almond
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    How does this translate into policies?

  2. Mick Anderson
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Will the ever-more powerful EU allow these changes?

    If it doesn't, will Mr Cameron hold an in/out referendum?

  3. Norman
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    All seem laudable aims and in line with conservative thought.

    How do we change the economy? Cut debt (goes without saying) – will only be done by cutting spending, we can't do it any other way but with large swathes of spending ringfenced or very difficult to cut (e.g. benefits) this may be easier said than done; cut waste – sounds like 'efficiency savings' one of terms that makes me immediately turn off. I hope there is more to this than that and am sure there will be. Taxes – yes, we need urgently to cut taxes, glad that this is now high on the agenda.

    Change society – will be very interested to see the detail in this. I have no idea what the right thing is and how you can define it without classing large numbers as doing the wrong thing. Unless it is crime and I don't think any politician would ever back those who commit crime so it can't be that.

    Change politics – Again I will be interested in how this will be acheived but for the love of God, no more quangos.

    • Yukon
      Posted January 26, 2014 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Define “in line with conservative thought” because it has a lot of differing meanings. I realize that your definition is probably akin to the Republican definition in the USA – lower taxes, reduce welfare, ban abortion, eliminate Obamacare, eliminate entitlements, wage continuous war against non-Christian countries, execute more people, get the black guy out of the White House, etc. etc.

      perhaps you will clearly define your definition of Conservatism?

  4. Ken
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    It sounds good. Punchy and uncomplicated. Can this at last be a clear message that people will hear and understand? We sure do need that.

  5. Kevin Peat
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    "Mend our broken society by encouraging responsibility and backing those who do the right thing."

    Anything about discouraging irresponsibility ? We all know that prisons and penal system have been turned into a joke and then the lefties have the audacity to tell us that it doesn't work. Ditto for the welfare system highlighted superbly in Rich, Famous and Jobless last night. A family of six whose father has barely worked living in a six-bed on £30k per year. That's more than I get and I'm up all hours doing highly responsible work. They can afford to keep dogs – we can't dream of it.

    And I'm sorry – Is the 'I' word still taboo ? It's the one issue that comes up time and again in conversation. People are deeply concerned about it.

  6. Chris M
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Change is too meaningless. If Obama couldn't define it (and certainly cannot live up to the hype) then how can the Conservatives? How about Vote Conservative to secure Great Britain's future or somethign like that which gives a narrative? People don't swallow change at the moment.

    • APL
      Posted March 12, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Chris M: "Change is too meaningless."

      Meaningless? That must be why the Liberals are going to use the term.
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/85643

      I guess the Liberals must be using the same focus group as the Tories to get their slogans.

      It would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic.

      • Chris M
        Posted March 12, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

        Change into what!? Change means anything. Wishy washy. Need to lead not follow.

  7. Colin D.
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Why does the Conservative message ignore the most important change? That change is to acknowledge that the totally undemocratic EU is eating away at our freedoms, our democracy and our nationhood. Like turkeys voting for Christmas, the political parties are almost encouraging their very raison d'etre to drain away. Why have the Conservatives not got the moral courage to stand up and fight for the one thing that is more important than anything else? Not only are they not prepared to FIGHT to maintain this nation's independence, it appears that haven't even the courage to MENTION it.

  8. Peter
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    A bit wambling and unlikely to frighten Brown's bunkerites or buck up those of us who yearn for government to get its noses out of our lives and its hands out of our pockets.

    I am not inspired. I suspect it is a 'don't frighten the horses' message for a short attention span society.

  9. PHM
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    we'll – you are the professional politician so i guess this 'message' thing is your bread and butter.

    but it all is a bit vague to me.

    perhaps if you go into specifics, you alienate potential groups of voters – hence your apathy to do so.

    ie – dismantle the tax credits system, shrink the admin, and raise the BPE means you won't get a whole range of HMRC workers voting for you.

    ie – 'free schools' as Mr Gove proposes means you won't get the education establishment voting for you

    ie – reform Health; Benefits System etc etc.

    Ironically – the one place where i expect you do have widespread support is the proposed 10% cut in MPs. In London, with the Mayor, the Council, The MP and the MEP – we are very over governed & expensively governed. and still the place is a mess; the roads are terrible and traffic does not move.

    (who saw newsnight last night & the footage of Lady Ashton's new office, new entourage, and aspitration to build a new diplomatc corps around the world. no doubt the foreign office is not laying anybody off. a shiny new bureaucracy courtesy of me!)

  10. Simon D
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Excellent stuff – keep it simple.

    However, selling Conservatism in left-liberal Britain is an uphill struggle. In 2005 8.7 million voted Conservative and 15.4 million left-liberal [9.5 million Labour and 5.9 million Lib Dem]. On top of this the electoral system is hideously biased in favour of Labour.

    The 'change' routine was OK for Obama because he was spun as an almost super-human figure. DC and GO (who seem to constitute the entire Shadow Cabinet in terms of visibility) do not fire the enthusiasm of the electorate and lack celebrity charisma.

    The Conservatives must improve their spinning techniques and also unleash the attack dogs on Labour.

    My guess is that there will be lots of empty champagne bottles in the corridors of the BBC on the day after election day with Gordon Brown on the way to the Palace for another five years. How on earth did Team Cameron blow their 10 point lead?

  11. Kevin Lohse
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Haig's declaration of surrender to the EU socialist construct yesterday is one change too many for me. I'll sit on my vote until we have proper conservatives in charge of the Party.
    As for the list above: vaguely worded, noble-sounding soundbites are not a strong message but Blairite spin.

  12. John
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    No mention of the three main issues that concern the majority of voters then? The Party needs to be more vocal on immigration, asylum seekers and membership of the EU. Millions of 'undecided' voters waiting for a clear message on these issues. In the absence of a clear message on these issues the Conservative vote will drain away in a number of directions.

    • SJB
      Posted March 11, 2010 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

      Is the UK's membership of the EU a main issue for most potential voters? Last year's European elections suggest not.

  13. NickD
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Someone said "Vote for Responsibility" would have been better than the rather valueless "Vote for Change". Except that maybe the wider electorate is in debt and has no real desire for responsibility. So I suppose these slogans are as good as we can hope for.

    On that subject, does anyone have figures for the %ge of people who are net debtors (including mortgage debt) versus those who are net savers? I bet that society in terms of numbers as well as in ££ has become more indebted, which encourages voting for Labour irresponsibility. Why vote for sound money when you are a debtor?

  14. tally
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    but Cameron might change his mind again. RDA'S to stay comes to mind after you said they will be abolished. Sorry but the Conservatives are not to be trusted

  15. Diomalco
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    90% of legislation passed, and actions performed by statutary instruments and quangoes in the past 13 years could and should be repealed. The suffocating, expensive, tentacles of the State which crush enterprise and demolish the bare modicum of democracy citizens of this country are allowed should be hacked back to extinction. The first current opposition party which identifies how this is to be achieved will attract the most votes.

  16. THE ESSEX BOYS
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the info. Ummmm….

    We've commented quite a bit on the need for a sharper message and manifesto but Essex Boys heads together today and we hope to post a response tonight.

    • THE ESSEX BOYS
      Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      We've had a long afternoon. 5 of us with business experience in large and our own businesses. We've retired happily having made a bob or 2. We know what life's about and, with backgrounds in marketing and general management, we know what folk respond to – and what they don't.

      We are writing this without reading the comments already posted but note, without surprise, that it's a big postbag.

      • THE ESSEX BOYS
        Posted March 11, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

        THE TORY PROPOSALS

        These are pap. The worst of New Labour speak and amateur psycho-babble. No professional communicator has had a hand in this meaningless nonsense which has no doubt been produced by a committee of earnest, inexperienced young people of the kind that Labour openly and regularly derides.

        Oh dear…just listen to the dross…

        Back aspiration and opportunity

        Backing those who do the right thing

        Change society

        Encouraging responsibility

        Give people more power and control

        Do you get our drift?

        NOW…WHAT TO DO AND SAY.

        At this state of play in the polls it's not enough to deride Brown or to rely on his losing just because it's him. David Cameron is not flavour of the month himself. He must be clear, concise and he must attack. Also he's simply not good enough to be a one-man band. He must incorporate on all advertising material a montage of him and solid and respected William Hague in the foreground and Clarke and, semi-reluctantly, Osborne behind him. They are a team. Brown is the one-man band.

        We have reviewed all the proposed messages and slogans we have posted here in the last 12 months and put them into a campaign.

        THE CORE MESSAGE IS:

        VOTE CONSERVATIVE and help us CUT THE NONSENSE.
        * Debt * Waste * Immigration * Red tape * Bliunders & Lies

        THE CONSERVATIVES
        Common Sense & Competence

        There are 3 sub-messages to run in unison and rotation.

        1. CUTTING OUR CLOTH TO FIT OUR BUDGET

        2. WE WILL RUN YOUR GOVERNMENT. YOU RUN YOUR OWN LIFE.

        3. IT'S NOT JUST WHAT YOU SPEND. IT'S THE WAY THAT YOU SPEND IT. THAT'S WHAT GETS RESULTS!

        To supplement this we posted on 2nd March 6 far more relavant and hard-hitting Manifesto pledges which we will post again in the next day or 2.

        We CARE. we have grandchildren we love. We don't want to throw this election away. We must not have 5 more years of hard Labour and Gordon Brown.

        MR CAMERON. BE BOLD.

        • Colin Adkins
          Posted March 12, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

          When are yiu going to form a Party?
          After Cameron looses the election, you can form New Consevatives, I'll vote for you!

      • StevenL
        Posted March 13, 2010 at 2:49 am | Permalink

        "VOTE CONSERVATIVE and help us CUT THE NONSENSE"

        Isn't 'no more nonsense' a bit like 'no more boom and bust'? Other than the fact it'd come back to haunt them I do like it!

  17. Andy Dwelly
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    The trouble is that David Cameron's Conservatives don't appear to represent change at all. The existing policy document's I've read simply talk about different sets of regulations rather than reductions in the amount of red tape.

    There's no coherent plan for dealing with the deficit.

    The behaviour towards the 'Turnip Taliban' suggests that central control will be – if anything – strengthened. This puts the lie to anything smacking of localism.

    There's no realistic prospect of the Conservatives doing anything remotely useful about the EU.

    In other words the big three are offering us a choice of red socialism, light blue socialism, or yellow/green socialism.

    Sorry, but right now I plan to vote UKIP. That's not to say my mind couldn't be changed, there's still a few weeks left.

  18. TK
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Just to state the obvious and its been said many times before. Change is meaningless fluff without solid, clear, simply explained, common-sense, policy.
    Change is what Obama preached and look where his "Change" is now – a poorly thought out floundering catechism. His ratings are following, eg. healthcare or "climate change induced theft, policy failure down the pan.
    Ever since CMD reneged on his cast iron promises his trustworthy status has declined – it can't be a coincidence, people will wonder how he can be trusted on anything.

  19. JimF
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    It's difficult as a responsible citizen, and net contributor to Society and the State, to argue with these, except perhaps trying to threaten us with higher interest rates, which would be Nirvana to many of us.

    Now however put yourself in the position of an out-of-work single mother on benefits, a public servant in a Labour-created non-job, or other net beneficiary of the State. You'd like debt, waste and taxes. They're your bread and butter. The only change you'd vote for would be more of it left in your back pocket at the end of the week.

    Tough to counter that, though. You need something up your sleeve beyond the economic and abstract.

  20. HK
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    The mystifying thing about the Conservatives is that they (though not you, JR) cannot do a better job of conveying how disastrous Labour has actually been.

    There is only a half-hearted disapproval in the way the Conservatives portray Labour, as though the don't really believe Labour have messed up too much. How can people be expected to vote for them, when the Conservatives don't seem to really believe they will be much better than Labour has been?

    Most people stopped believing that Gordon Brown knew what he was doing on the economy a couple of years ago (personally I never understood why he was given that early credit, but I was out of step with general opinion). Even now, though, there seems to be a deference about the Conservatives, as though they think people will consider them rude if they point out that Gordon Brown is totally and monumentally useless.

    What about:

    "Gordon Brown has wrecked the economy. He is not the man to fix it."

  21. Adam
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Yes, I have a comment. Encouraging responsibility and backing those who do the right thing is incompatible with the stated desire to keep interest rates low.

    The purpose of the low interest rate policy is the maintenance of artificially high asset prices in particular house prices. It clearly has little to do with inflation any more looking at the path of CPI data (which in any event drastically underestimates true inflation).

    Not only does this not 'back those who did the right thing' (ie refuse to engage in reckless borrowing), it also discourages responsibility as it increases the number of people who are highly levered to low interest rates as more and more are pulled in to the ponzi scheme.

  22. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Your blog explains the problem. The message is uninspiring and the word 'change' is meaningless to voters without definition and explanation. Voting BNP or UKIP would be a vote for change, although you would argue that it would help Labour stay in office. Do you intend to use this as a headline for a series of policy announcements detailing Conservative ideas for change? I want to hear sound positive reasons for why my vote for change should go to the Conservatives.

  23. WitteringsfromWitney
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Where to start John? At the moment what we have is three parties with the same basic message and policies, the only difference is the methods used to reach the same destination. So what change are we being offered?

    Change the economy? Taxes? Yet Barroso has said that taxes are to become a EU competence. Change society? Whilst we are still subject to ECHR rulings? Whilst we are subject to ECJ rulings?

    Give people more power and control? Power and control which has been steadily usurped by politicians in the first place? How can the Conservatives preach devolution of power, yet continue to maintain membership of the EU who decide 75/80 percent of our laws? And please do not respond about repatriation of powers – we all know that when a freedom is ceded, it is never returned.

    Methinks John, that like Carswell, Hannan, Hollobone and Davies (Philip) you may be in the wrong party.

  24. Ross Grant
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    It is good to see that whilst the economy message rightly comes first we have not lost the point of why the economy needs fixing.

    Action is needed to free people from awful consequences if Brown's toxic legacy is not dealt with.

    To truly change Britain we need positive action. Standing up for people & returning power & responsibility to them is important in achieving that.

  25. A.Sedgwick
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    We are witnessing the Lady High Commissioner spreading her wings. What a farce so much for the importance and tidying up process (Ken Clarke's description) of the Treaty of Lisbon. Paid more than Obama, wants her own plane, squabbling all over the place about who's in charge, regarded as a political nonentity – all so very EU.
    Time for a change DC, be ahead of the game for once, well almost. An in/out referendum is the difference between your political demise and being a roaring success. The fact that you cannot see this will kill off UKIP and BNP, from the country's needs, from the will of the people, from foreseeing the collapse of the federal Europe dream is as significant as your unwillingness to make the commitment. As a result there are 100,000s of us (my guess) who will not vote for you whilst this matter is not addressed. Anything else you say is largely irrelevant to us.

  26. AndyC
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I think the positive economic and social case for a smaller state should be made, loud and proud. You do it, I know, but it's easy to get the impression that the party as a whole would approve of ever-higher public spending, if only it were affordable.

    That's conceding the principle of the argument to Labour, and fights the battle on their territory. It's why the polls have gone wobbly IMO. People don't see all that much difference between the parties, and 'better the devil you know' starts to creep in.

  27. Jim Pearson
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I'd like to see a change in the country's relationship with Europe. Something a little more than renegotiation of our position to a public referenda instead. Maybe asking the public what they want from europe first might give you a better starting position when you do renegotiate, and how far to go.

  28. waramess
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    What an invitation.

    Back aspiration and opportunity? How exactly?

    Gordon Browns debt, waste and taxes are holding us back? This is so but what are the options the Conservatives bring? reduced debt, but how? Nothing credible as yet. Waste? It will of course continue and taxes will be with us forever, albeit with marginally reduced corporation taxes that will be too feeble and far too late to do any real good.

    Change Society and change politics sound just like the sort of rhetoric used by Tony Blair, a man now more distrusted than estate agents and used car salesmen.

    Nothing has been convincingly set out by the Conservatives and so none of the measures envisaged will convince the electorate who must question whether any serious thought has been given to the manner in which they will be delivered.

    The Conservatives have been ambushed by the amateur pink brigade who think they can spin a marketing line without needing to fully flesh it out.

    This government are now a tired old rag-bag of failed initiatives run by a cabinet almost wholly reviled by the electorate, led by a man who is personally disliked and whose economic policies of borrowing more to get out of debt have been rumbled by the electorate. Yet still they narrow the Conservative poll leads week by week.

    No JR, this just will not do. Tell the bringers of pink initiatives to shove off elsewhere with their ideas and give us back our Party.

    In the meantime I will do them the favour of shoving off elsewhere with my vote.

  29. H
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I'm glad to see 'encouraging responsibility' there. How it works out remains to be seen, of course, but it's a nice touch after these last dozen years of the big state.

  30. Javelin
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Yes, but the economy and society is just a symptom of a much deeper problem.

    I fear that the problem is a much deeper attitude of entitlement.

    People in this country look physically flabby and and act mentally flabby.

    My worry is that the boiling frog analogy is relevant to our situation.

  31. TheE17Tory
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Too darn fuzzy, once again! We need hard hitting, easy to grasp core messages and policy! The time for vague pronouncements has gone. Cameron needs to stop allowing Labour to dictate the narrative….these things were fine ayear ago, but we need more specifics now so people know what we stand for…as the bloody polls glaringly show.

  32. Chris
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    If this is what they believe will turn the tables and get a solid victory I fear they are in for a surprise.

    Being less negative may help, e.g. mend our broken society. Instead, improve things for all and strive for fairness for all. Most like to think generally things are OK, politicians giving this blanket negative message are turning people off.

    Stop referring to Gordon's debt etc – it is our debt and this message just reinforces Gordon's status to anyone who follows headlines not politics (which is most people). It just gives him the opportunity to shout about how his actions have saved the world and the debt is just an irrelevant side affect – this is what people want to hear. People will not believe the message on interest rates etc until it happens and is too late. Until then Labour will shout about how they are looking after things for all and will provide official statistics to prove it. Play the ball not the man – if left to his on devices he will soon show his true colours, attacking him makes him seem the victim.

    Backing those who do the right thing – unfortunate turn of phrase when we have been told for the last few years how Labour have been 'doing the right thing' and 'taking the tough decisions because they are the right decisions'. Perhaps something about putting the rights of the citizen before the criminal and, as you say, giving citizens some power back. But indicate how.

    Please improve this as another five years of this is unbearable. Give some positive reasons why we should vote Conservative; but I fear the leaders have been so brought so low they can't see a positive way out. Perhaps your schools policy should be trumpeted. It should not be a Dave v Gordon fight, try injecting some ideology and party aims. Good luck.

  33. Lucy Sharp
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Oh good, the hopey-changey thing. What are they* actually going to do?

    * I would have more faith in this if you were in the Treasury team.

  34. thespecialone
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Yes I have a comment. How about changing the leadership attitude to 'global warming/climate change'. More and more people now believe that there is no such thing as AGW and the whole scam has been debunked so many times over the last few months. I have just seen a piece on ConservativeHome about green policies. I truly do despair when I see that the leadership are intent on believing in man made climate change/global warming and are willing to pump £bns into green jobs that are completely useless and/or not cost-effective.
    Cant the leadership see that the whole agenda is being driven by the EU and the IPCC, both of whom are dubious authorities.
    Just think of the votes if Cameron were to say that energy bills will go down because the Tories refuse to spend taxpayers' money on stupid schemes. If you told them 'we will invest in green energy such as wind turbines. Oh and by the way, they dont work very well, if at all, and your energy bills will rise to pay for them'. How many votes will that get?

    • Eotvos
      Posted March 13, 2010 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      I'm totally in agreement with this poster.

      The myth of AGW is debunked. Just how many smoking guns do the Conservative Party need before they change policy?

      I cannot vote for any party that peddles this nonsense.

      It is unbelievable that Mr Cameron approached Lord Stern, a Labour Party placeman and economist with no scientific background, to promote (or was it advise on) CP energy policy. As for Zac Goldsmith whose claims to fame are that he was expelled from school, has no relevant qualifications and is a muti – millionaire but pays no UK tax but advises Mr Cameron on 'green issues'.

      Abandoning AGW would mean cheaper energy bills, less tax, win votes as a result and open the opportunity for its proponents to go out and find proper jobs.

  35. DennisA
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Change Conservative Energy Policy….

  36. Stuart Fairney
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Such bold policy inititatives really define the word 'empty' You could elect ANYONE on that platform, so vapid is it. Really, do the conservatives want to win?

    Examples

    "Change the economy. Back aspiration and opportunity for all"

    “We can’t go on like this. Vote for change”

    “Change society. Mend our broken society by encouraging responsibility and backing those who do the right thing.”

    and

    “Change politics. Give people more power and control.”

    Blair (Blair!) would have been entirely comfortable with this agenda.

    QED

  37. Michael Lewis
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Conservatives should be 20pts to the good given the state of the economy. Why not? . Seems to be an amateurish campagin so-far. Which is a shame, because the country really does need a change. I just can't quite believe that the polls suggest a hung parliament.
    That said, I don't think loosing the election may not be a bad thing: Brown will be forced into making large numbers of public employees redundant, the next government will be unpopular and probably not last long: a hung parliament and I think we may see two elections in 2010.

  38. APL
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    JR: "It is: “We can’t go on like this. Vote for change”"

    Oh my god! You Tories don't have an original idea in your collective head. Coincidence that 'Change' is the theme for the Tories? No.

    Get rid of your American advisers. They are a waste of your money.

    The Party top knobs need to reconnect to their grass roots. Then you wouldn't have to buy in focus groups and flashy American advisors. You could get all of the advice you need for the price of a Party subscription.

  39. Billy Blofeld
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Yes.

    Change How? Change What?

    Are the policies integrated within an overriding vision / philosophy? – As Dan Hannan and Doug Carswell's book The Plan seem to be.

    I really have no idea what the Conservatives stand for, apart from they are:

    1. Not Gordon Brown
    2. They are more like Tony Blair

    Are voters supposed to just trust that the Conservatives are going to deliver the bad tasting medicine that the country very much needs to consume?

    Why should I vote Tory? I can't see the justification……….

  40. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Change our relationship with the European Union? Change the rate of immigration? No doubt it's in there somewhere but sotto voce.

    Total taxes haven't gone up as a % of GDP under Labour. It's just that they have created a very odd pattern of taxation. You can be sure, though, that if they are re-elected, tax increases and reductions in capital expenditure will be their way of dealing with the deficit, and stagflation will return.

    We are going to have to be more explicit about the elimination of waste. George Osborne was on Radio 5 this morning and talked of reducing the Civil Service by a third. I assume that most of the jobs shed will be in Whitehall. North of the Severn to Wash line, a large proportion of the workforce work in the public sector. They will want to know what proportion of them will lose their jobs and what manufacturing and other jobs will take their place.

    Debt is Labour's big negative. They don't really have a clue how to reduce it sufficiently quickly. Like Mr Micawber, they are hoping something will turn up. A small pamphlet, entitled "Our Children's Millstone" and downloadable, would be helpful.

  41. michael mcgrath
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    I believe that we do need the change that you are championing following the years of lies, deceits and incompetence which have brought us to this parlous position.

    However, it is not enough to offer change without backing it up with some concrete proposals, especially in the area of deficit and debt reduction. I appreciate that it may still be too early to start to clarify these matters as the Labour party has form when it comes to stealing other's ideas

    But, if the Conservative party is to win the majority it needs to carry out the necessary reforms, it certainly needs to put flesh on the bones of the present wish list. For example, the pitiful offer of one billion pounds of cuts suggested by the shadow Chancellor is meaningless in face of the cuts actually needed. In comparison, a brief look at the percentage savings achieved by putting MP's expenses on a normal footing is a clear indication of the scale of waste currently awash in the State Sector

  42. Richard Manns
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like the definition of the Tory party as a whole, really.

  43. Kyle
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    That's all well and good, but can we have some substantial details behind those ideas. And promises not aspirations? Please?

    “Change society. Mend our broken society by encouraging responsibility" – by cutting state support like welfare and the NHS? Pretty please?

    “Change politics. Give people more power and control.” By giving us a referendum on the EU? – where most of our laws are made.

    I thought not. Shame, those policies would convince me to vote Tory again.

  44. Publius
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, right. Coke or Pepsi?

  45. Albert Hall
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    sums it up rather nicely.

  46. Josh
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Fine messages but I'm sure we grassroot conservatives would be more enthusiastic if the leadership was competent. It is a very centralised structure, with Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne dictating a very structured message, but then changing their message when it becomes convenient to do so. Mrs Thatcher wasn't often personally popular, but people respected her. Blair tried to be all things to all people, but then he became hated by most people. The early monetarism of the 80's made Mrs T the most hated PM in history, yet she won a landslide in 83. She wasn't very popular in 1987, but she won 13,700,000 votes, the second highest tally in British electoral history until John Major pushed her into third and Attlee into second by scoring 14,000,000.

    The goals are noble, but I'm not sure about the methods and their obsession of fighting a Blairite election campaign based on spin and presentation. We'd feel more comfortable if Cameron had intellectuals like you Mr Redwood in the Cabinet

  47. Ian Smith
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Your message for the next couple of months is the same as it's been for the last few months. So I think it's been unveiled to all of us for some time.
    Can you really go on like this?

  48. Bazman
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Protecting rich Tory chums like Ashcroft who (allegation left out) wants to run the club and many others of his ilk in the City will not bring any changes. It will be a change for the rest of the population not going to work though.

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      They all protect their funders regardless of party, it is child-like to imagine otherwise.

    • Lola
      Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear Oh dear. Lord Paul. Three stooges in the dock. Bernie Ecclestone . Mandleson…… Blairs shredded expenses receipts. Endless troughing MP. Brown's (misleading statements). Do go away you silly man.

  49. Eleanor
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I would suggest that this is a very weak message. Change is all very well, but it rather depends in which direction things are changed as to whether it is a good thing. A lack of direction and confidence seems to be a hallmark of the current conservative party.

  50. Lola
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    I've been thinking about this a lot. Not just for the Conservatives, but what 'sales pitch' can be used to get the Voter to buy a better product from the competing suppliers to New Labour. Trouble is you don't know the product is better until you try it.

    I know Obama used the C word effectively, but as in his hands it was a slogan not a policy and now he's finding that Charisma plus Slogan may get you elected, but boy if you don't deliver……

    If you say change you have to say what to and why and what you're going to be delivered.

    The' we can't go on like this' phrase invites the answer 'Oh yes we can – so up yours.'

    Cameron has a sales job. But he has to have the product or service. The product has to be really good and different from the other supplier, and deliver the same things that people do want at less cost and with more outcomes – doing more for less every day. It may even tell its customers that they can do things better for themselves than it can. So work out what people want.

    So what do we lack now? Freedom. Accountability. Democracy. Financial credibility. Value for Money. Yes all of those and more, but most of all what we lack now is honesty. Brown (spins-ed).

    So how about a series of slogans? 'Vote for Honesty'. 'Vote for Accountability'. 'Vote for Freedom'. 'Vote for value'. and my favourite – 'Vote for Sound Money' (I know I know, no-one will get it, but I can dream). Then attach the 'Vote for the Conservatives'.

    This is the 'my business in one line, my business in one paragraph' thing. The 'what do I say in an elevator when someone askes me what I do' thing. The purpose being to get them, the prospect to say, 'Tell me more'?

    So, in one line –

    'What do you do then?' 'We're a political organisation that tries to deliver the best value services to our clients (voters)'.

    In one paragraph:-

    'Oh yeah? What services are they and how do you do that?' 'Our core strategy is to have clear principles, transparency and honesty. We find if our customers (voters) can see what we're doing and why, and how much it costs' they will buy from (vote for) us again and again. In recent years this business (trade) has been bedevilled by confusion and dishonesty, yet we know it's a service people do value, so we've made our business transparent so our customers know what they are getting. The we make sure we deliver. Of course we know that we can never satisfy all the potential customers but as the impact of what we do is universal we take great care that what we deliver does not damage third parties'.

    'Sounds good. Where can I find out more' …..

    I am no copywriter but you get the idea.

    Generally the UK is ready for Open Politics. I know this. I have built an FS business based on ruthless transparency completely against the grain of the cartelised industry and an unaccountable bureaucratic authoritarian regulator. The customers want what I do. The 'market' knows.

    • Lola
      Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, jst to add – sell the sizzle, not the sausage. Get to peoples emotions. Help them to dream of a better place. For God's sake every day the papers are filled with another bureaucratic nightmare – chipped bins; parking fascists; disfunctional policing; joblessness; shrinking freedom; gaol for landlords who lets someone smoke a cigarette in his house. The world is mad and you do not seem able to create an inspiring message to change this! Good Grief man…………….

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 12, 2010 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        Lola

        Agreed

      • waramess
        Posted March 12, 2010 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        Lola, don't you think it might just be better to have principles. Principles to which people can relate and principles that people know you believe in and that they can trust you to deliver?

        Everything these days gets broken down to a chicken nugget when in reality the consistentcy of politics should be quite different.

        These people are to be elected by us to look after our interests. We instead encourage them to behave like a bunch of fast food salesmen talking themselves into the cash register.

        What more then can we expect?

        • Lola
          Posted March 12, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

          I did say I was not a copy writer. Absolutely. principles have to back up thr presentational skills. Under promise and over deliver. All good business propositions that stand the test of time are built on sound principles. But, you have to communicate those principles, and people react to emotion. You make the greatest sausage in the world. 'We make great suasages' vs 'Sunday morining, latish. You're in bed. (lazy git). Up the stairs comes the scent of sausages grilling. you can see the tabel. the hot buttered toast. the fresh tea. the mustard.' And you're out of bed in a flash.

          Cameron needs to be clear on his principes and then sell them. These principles are easy to enumerate as opposites to New Labour but doing what people want government to do, for less money.

          This is not fast food salemanship. (Which by the way is a foul slur on people doing an honest day work). What good salesmanship is, is it's totally natural. It's not a trick. It's not slick. It cannot be decietful, since you will not get any repeat business. It has to be honest.

  51. Disillusioned
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    That's a fine slogan and something that I think people could get quite excited about, but is that really what Cameron is offering?

    The Conservatives have been unbelievably pathetic in setting out what change really means. "Change the economy" sounds like a good idea, but where is the real action on the deficit? Where is the will to bring down to the top band of income tax? Where is the desire to really balance the budget by taking an axe to the ridiculously bloated structure of the NHS? Are we actually going to get change if we vote Conservative, or is it just more of the same.

    Nice message John, shame about the execution.

  52. JohnRS
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    It all sounds very positive except that most of it is impossible until the EU "elephant in the room is recognised".

    Many areas where we are currently over-controlled, taxed and regulated are now in the power of the EU. With Cameron reneging on his referendum promise and now only having the ridiculous, woolly law on further loss of sovereignty to work with, the relentless march of the bureauocrats will continue. In addition we are currently open to unlimited immigration from the EU, again this is now out of his control. So he might be able to tinker a little with piddling little details but he can do nothing about many key areas.

    We know this, he knows this. Why isn't he facing up to reality?

  53. Slightly Green Conse
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    "We can't go on like this. Vote for change".
    Does that refer to the election message or the party? Just wondered.

    It's a series of phrases, of the genre beloved of PR types, that you can't really disagree with, but at the same time don't really say much.
    The other half of the equation is how effectively it's delivered, and that gives me concern; there seems to be a shortage of spokespeople who can really connect with joe public and get a point across.

  54. Bob
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Are you suggesting that we should get to keep more of what we earn instead of giving it to people who haven't earned it?

    If that were the case, I might be able to afford to pay someone else to maintain my garden and clean my car and other assorted DIY jobs that I can't afford to pay other people for at the moment because I am already paying for them to do nothing.

  55. Steve
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    'Change' is neutral and uninspiring as a slogan. As a vague promise it's probably also been devalued by the first year of the Obama presidency. I think the electorate want to know what this change is, and be reassured that it is going be for the better, not merely reorganising deckchairs. How are these things going to be done?

    So wouldn't it be better to talk positively about goals and aspirations, rather than just pointing out that things aren't very good under the present disgraceful administration? There are any number of reasons not to let this lot back into power; but what reasons are being given to make the Conservatives a desirable 'best' rather than a resigned 'least bad' alternative?

    These statements are platitudes that any sane person is likely to espouse, whatever their political 'colour'. But without a vision to drive them, they are no more than a sounding brass.

  56. Steve Tierney
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    It'd be nice if change included being independent again. But other than, I like it.

  57. gac
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Too much for people to fathom and all are open to the anti Tory – what would you do that Labour won't do?

    Need a bombshell slogan that resonates:-

    Labour isn't working – AGAIN

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      That is a very good slogan if I may say so.

    • APL
      Posted March 11, 2010 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

      Gac: "Labour isn’t working – AGAIN"

      Yes. Or the Demon eyes, with Brown – I can hear the squeal of 'bad taste' now, delicious. But the strap line – "Don't say we didn't warn you."

  58. Corin Vestey
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Change the record?

    Sorry to be flippant, I'm a member of the party, former Deputy Chairman of an association and former council candidate but this backwoodsman, being a swivel-eyed flat-earther fruitcake closet (little Englander?) has had enough 'change'. I've very nearly had enough David Cameron too.

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, being up against in Brown a total failure who has driven the country into unprecedented debt, making us again, the sick man of Northern Europe and worst in the G-20 as well as the small matter of failing to reform any public services and selling us out to the EU via the non-referendum, Cameron should be romping away and the destruction of Labour as a parliamentary party should be at hand.

      It's not. Cameron's strategy seems to have failed* If the tories lose or even narrowly win, we have to see this the failure it would represent.

      *The one caveat I would make is that I don't believe the polls.

  59. Michael Taylor
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    There is so much wrong with this country, and its politico/media establishment, that one barely knows where to start.

    'Change' per se isn't going to do it for me – particularly because most of the change British people have known for the last couple of decades has been for the worse.

    What about: 'Liberty, transparency, and honesty.' That I would vote for.

    • APL
      Posted March 11, 2010 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

      Michael Taylor: "What about: ‘Liberty, transparency, and honesty.’ That I would vote for."

      Me too. But those are sentiments of a real person, not a focus group or an advertising company trying to sell soap powder.

  60. Michael Lewis
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    In a hung parliament, the Lib Dems would push for 'voting reform'. I hope it doesn't happen, but if it does, then I think DC would need to change his choice for chancellor. I think if there is a hung parliament we'd have another election within a year – maybe not enough time for the Lib Dems to steal votes by changing the voting system.

  61. Demetrius
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Change, and large scale change, is going to happen whichever which way, so the issue is about steering change in the right direction. The Conservative problem is that so many are fearful of change, notably in the older age groups more likely to vote and in the public sector and othe clients of the Labour Party.

  62. Javelin
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Just had lunch with head of Fixed Income at a large investment bank.

    He's just sold his house and is renting. His explanation is that house prices are going to crash later nother 20% this year when interest rates pick up suddenly from a combination of either (imported inflation OR lower exchange rates ) AND (a soverign debt crisis OR a surge in unemployed benefits) AND (lower taxes OR low growth).

    In summary he said "It's a perfect storm which ever way you run the models, what ever way the next Government goes it only points one way."

    Not sure I believe him as greed can be expressed as either debt or hard work. It's just a case of a clever Government channelling it.

  63. Derek Buxton
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    What is there to respond to? There is nothing there to win a solitary clap never the loan of votes. The impression given is that there is little difference between Lib/Lab/Con.

    Times are going to be hard for a longish stretch and yet there is no promise of how to bring down the deficit, of sorting out the CO2 scam, a thing that is going to break many people just to line some rich guys pockets, of energy provision when a large part of the supplies are going to shut down. I really despair of this apology for a "conservative party", sorry Mr. Redwood but it is really that bad.

    • APL
      Posted March 11, 2010 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

      Derek Buxton: "of sorting out the CO2 scam,"

      Can't, Cameron has bought into it hook line and sinker.

      • Derek W. Buxton
        Posted March 12, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately that is very true, he can afford it, most of us cannot. It is patently (questionable-ed) on a massive scale. Cameron should ditch the whole thing together with (words left out) Zac.

  64. Richard Ritchie
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    It is understandable why the Conservative Party wants to cash in on the desire for change in general, and Gordon Brown in particular. But especially relating to the economy, the country will want to know why a Tory economic policy over five years will be better and different from Labour's. It's not just a question of starting to cut the deficit earlier and quicker. It's also about whether cuts in spending or higher taxes are a preferable method of doing so. Will there be fewer, simpler taxes under the Tories even though revenue remains the same? Will there be newer taxes (for example, a carbon tax)?

    In 1964, Labour's slogan was 13 wasted years. It only just worked, and Labour got in with a tiny majority despite the unpopularity of the Tories and low confidence in the 14th Earl.

    It feels a little as if we are going through a similar period now. That is worrying.

  65. Tony Watts
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Hi John,
    I've subscribed to your daily blog for some time and have always held you in high regard. My thoughts about the Tories ability to govern are mixed to say the least. Recent comments from David Cameron, I won't go in to detail, have persuaded me, a live time conservative, that my vote is not wanted. Add to this the u turn on the Lisbon Treaty and the Lord Ashcroft affair and I feel disinclined to be associated with New Tory.

    We need to encourage manufacturing to survive future financial reversals. We need to be more self sufficient. All the money given to the banks should have been offered directly to industry for long term loans at favourable rates. British companies first, foreign based industries second. We need to make a start and the sooner the better. My two grand children tell me their career advisor recommends forensic science and psychology as their chosen career path. That just about says it all. Regarding the new message, it's short on detail and sounds like the usual spin we have had for years from new labour. The message should be "Out of the EU, out of Afganistan, less immigration and a better more efficiant civil service. Simple.

    Best regards

    Tony

  66. Andrew Hopkins
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    John

    There is an article that I wanted to draw to your attention, and that is the example of New Zealand in the 80's.
    http://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis/archive/is

    These are the policies and messages that we need to put forward I think?

  67. Monty
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Moratorium on immigration.

  68. Iain
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    If you are going to claim to be the party of change then you have to have more substance to it than just uttering the word over and over again. Aspiration and opportunity sounds like motherhood and apple pie. How exactly are the Conservatives going to change our economy? They say they want to rebalance our economy? How are they going to do that? The German and Japanese states have a strategic interest in their industrial base, the British state couldn't care less if city flogs it all off , are they going to change that? They say that they want to instil a savings culture, how? When property speculation gets you ten times the return than if you leave it in a bank, why save?

    Yes we are in one big mess, and yes things need to change, but just repeating the word won't change anything, and from what I see of Conservative policy, they are pretty timid and limited to justify the description of change.

  69. David T
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    The typical British voter fears change.

  70. John
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Yes I have feedback. It's dull, dull, dull, dull, dull.

    It's political newspeak. "Vote for change" is not only condescending and meaningless, it's also blatant plagarism of the Obama campaign and leaves me thinking that Central Office are still starstruck by the US campaign. We've seen it before.

    The poster campaign was also just awful. Whoever is running the Conservative Marketing campaign should be shot. It reeks of playing safe and focus group results. There is no passion, there are no hard hitting message, and it's conveyed in nicey nicey marketing tones, rather than the stirring conviction and anger many people are feeling out here.

    But in my view the problem lies deeper than that. Cameron isn't exactly giving his team much to work with is he? He comes over as a nice boy, but he's not exactly stirring stuff as an orator is he? All nicey media phrases and soundbites. He exhibits only rare willingness to to discuss issues in real depth on TV, and is studiously avoiding pinning himself down to real policies on far too many issues at this point.

    He needs to stop hedging his bests with his messages and start talking in terms that people can understand rather than the pseudo political studies graduate rubbish he keeps coming out with. Does anyone know specifically what "broken Britain" actually means? It's codswallop – you know it and I know it too but he can't help himself. Ditto "sharing the proceeds of growth".

    Gordon Brown has made so many mistakes, has appalling public speaking and interview skills, and is so widely despised that the Poll results really should be 20pts ahead right now. The fact that they are not is a disgrace – a football mascot would get more votes than Brown right now and yet you're squandering rather than cultivating the public's mood for change.

    Try focussing harder on the size of the deficit, the war, the stolen Lisbon treaty vote, the (word left out) record of Peter Mandelson, the river of broken Labour manifesto commitments, the ridiculous size and benefits of Labour's public sector, the increasing snooping and surveillance of the state and the loss of our rights and legal protections, the vast army of Quangos and government funded non-charities.

    As professional politicians you shouldn't find it hard to select some targets. I almost despair at Team Cameron. I almost want to vote UKIP in sheer annoyance.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 12, 2010 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately its very often the result you get when you let PR Men/Woman have control, without giving them a proper and tight remit within which to work.

      I am sure with so many corporate people within the Conservative Party, they should be able to do better than this. If not, then we as a Country really are in trouble.

      This has all the hallmarks of a small focus group, who are out of touch with reality, and do not understand the thoughts and feelings of the General Public at large.

      John please convey the KISS principle to those above.

      KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID.

  71. Mervyn Rosenberg
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    I agree with your changes.
    "We can't go on like this" means, in particular, change the Government.
    I am bemused by the attitude of those who do not find current Conservative policy 100% agreeable and question how they should vote when they already reject 100% of Labours current (and previous) behaviour.
    Most folk with insight don't even agree 100% with themselves from day to day.
    If we want to get rid of the present Goverment we have no choice but to vote Conservative.
    Perhaps that might be our better poster slogan.
    "You can only get THEM out by voting CONSERVATIVE"

  72. Ray Veysey
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    With so many failures of this government to go after why is it that we are still bouncing along at a risky poll level, when we should be out of sight by now ?. It's really frustrating to those watching and desperate for this change we keep hearing about. We must use the same tactics they used on the Major Government, rapid rebuttal, chase after the lies as they are told, I know it's difficult as you haven't got the slavish support from the BBC they had, but a constant assault on the media with rebuttal and exposure of lies is going to get through eventually
    ps I don't mean to say that the Major years as they were portrayed were bad, but you have so much truth to chase, not the lies they used at that time.

  73. English Pensioner
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    If only it were true!
    I am not aware of any country where the government has returned power to the people without an uprising or revolution. Once politicians / civil servants / local officials get hold of power it is virtually impossible to get them to release it.

  74. Pat
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    The reason for change needs hammering home.
    How about a series of ads headlining one reason each, but all with the same slogan at the bottom. e.g. "The government has been sending our troops into battle with poor equipment- we can't etc"; or "This government has taxed final salary pensions out of existance- we can't" etc.
    I'm sure you can think of a few one liners describing things this government is doing, which are wrong and understood to be wrong by the general public. Identity cards? Death taxes? Compulsory dog insurance? Misuse of anti terrorism laws? Lisbon?
    If the other side get personal (likely) reply regarding cash for peerages, Gordon's temper, etc. etc.
    The message only works to bring a campaign together- it won't stand on it's own.

  75. Mark
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Labour messed it up. We'll sort it. That 's the message that is needed. Apply it to every policy area, with a pithy characterisation of Labour's mess and the policy to correct it.

    e.g.. Arming the Army…Labour messed it up…We'll sort it with 'copters and APCs
    Immigration…Labour messed it up… We'll sort it with controls to cut by 75%

    etc.

  76. alan jutson
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    John

    After 13 years of Labour disaster, is this the best your lot can come up with.

    Its no good as a headline or a sound bite, because it needs clarification, and the clarification is weak !!!!!!

    I have to say I am very worried, given that DC is supposed to have a PR backgound, I would not have hired him for my business, if these are some of his idea's.

    How about.

    Vote Labour and let the State decide where to spend YOUR MONEY
    Vote Conservative and choose where to spend YOUR MONEY yourself.

    Lower Taxes means more choice.

    UK Government, for UK Citizens, limit the powers of Europe.

    These three thought up in 3 mins.

    Given time I am sure I could do better, but I am tight for time this evening.

    Can you please get someone, to get us excited.

  77. no one
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    How about

    We wont give money away in the aid budget to countries which can get it on the money markets more easily than we can

    We wont continue to give money away in the aid budget to countries decimating our economy unfairly

    We won't print intra company transfer visas like confetti

    Every kid on a sink estate or inner city gets a state funded private education so that there is nobody left without hope within a generation?

    Not so sure the "open source is best" mantra in the technology manifesto makes sense, its better than where we are now, but open source isn't the universal answer to everything, and often software delivered for profit by a coherent team is better than the free stuff with more chaotic input, that manifesto does show a certain amount of bias. But I like the bias against big projects mainly because the public sector doesn't know how to run or buy them properly.

    Give power back to end citizens, choice with the citizen whenever possible, choice of school, real choice of medical provider

    How about "we will implement the policies of abd.org.uk on the roads"

    By the way what is "doing the right thing" for the thousands of middle class folk swapped out of the economy by the Indian nationals here for the Indian outsourcers?

    How about "we will protect your privacy in court if you are the complainant and you are found to be correct" far too much now drops out because folk don't want the publicity and the associated risks

    How about "we are the conservatives for all, working class accents, sink estates, inner cities too! We want to get you the best schools in Europe and freedom from many of the restrictions which limit your ability to succeed. Not just talk about it DO IT"

    How about "We want equality for all and that includes white working class males"

    How about "end of political correctness"

    How about "no more speed cameras"

    How about "if you've had indefinite leave to remain for 5 years or more you're a citizen anyways, less not mess about splitting hairs"

    How about "illegal immigrants held in custody until decision is made or they are deported"

    How about "a crate of beer to each worker on the sleeper trains to Scotland for running the friendliest trains in the UK"

    Ah well I tried

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted March 15, 2010 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Which in fact cause more accidents on motorways and are a classic example of an ill thought, mis-directed policy.
      http://www.safespeed.org.uk/

      This might interest you

  78. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    How about this instead?
    "Under the present circumstances, all things being roughly equal and there being no cause or genuine obstruction in the way of progress, we intend, assuming, of course, that we are elected fairly and squarely by you, the voters of Great Britain and……."
    Damn, the hundred words have run out!
    No, on second thoughts how about this:
    A huge picture of the Brooding Genius at Number Ten gloating.
    Over the top:
    BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU…….

    • A Griffin
      Posted March 12, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      My dystopia mad teenage son did just such a poster for me about a year ago. It has the words 'big brother' at the top over a large picture of Mr Brown's head and hair only (no neck) and underneath 'is watching you'. It graces! my entrance hall and will not be removed until he goes. Everyone who comes to the door sees it and many comment. I have had pleasant political discussions with washing machine repair men, neighbours, my kids friends, postal delivery drivers etc. and may have converted a few to our cause.

  79. chefdave
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    My suggestion is to have the national debt slapped accross a billboard with the caption;

    "Go on vote NuLabour, we dare you".

  80. no one
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    "bin collections once a week"

  81. ps
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Where is the anger?! Where is the hope?!

    ….Labour are a cynical, self serving, destructive,incompetant, dangerous, unpleasant, (some expletives deleted-ed) boring, bureacratic, wasteful scourge that need to be removed from office before the vast majority of the citizens of this once great nation are reduced to hopelessness and poverty.

    This needs to be pointed out in clear terms, not some easy going bullshit.

    The conservatives need to offer hope, responsibility, trust, integrity, good governance. They need to stop taxing people to death & allow opportunity for the future. Where is the fun in this country, even the children have stopped laughing and smiling. For God's sake DC and co make it clear what the choice is and why it is so vital that people make the right choice.

  82. Acorn
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    The only thing that a politician fears is an election. I have bored people to death on this site with my plan to separate the "executive" from the "legislature". I want a fixed term parliament of four years. I want a general election every two years; no politician should be more than two years away from an election; it concentrates their minds; half of MPs could be elected every two years say.

    We have to sort out local government and make it a force that Westminster fears. Coterminous – for all government services -"Unitary Counties / Cities", based on travel to work and play areas preferably. (The ONS Geography Unit has all the data it needs to work this up). We would end up with about 180 Unitary Counties / Cities; one MP and a Chief Executive Mayor each.

    Got any better ideas?

  83. Norman
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    I have read through all these comments and it is a depressing read. I hope the leadership have some startling policy rabbits in the hat to pull out – if they do it's time to get pulling before morale slumps, if not it looks like another five years of Labour.

    Unbelievable.

    Would the last conservative in the Conservative Party please turn out the lights?

    • Norman
      Posted March 12, 2010 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      As an aside I see in the Telegraph this morning that Labour have now pledged not to raise taxes. This in sharp contrast to the David Cameron interview on Dispatches (admittedly I only heard of this second hand) where he said taxes may have to be raised. I can't believe Labour (regardless of how little we think they can be trusted) now have the more fically conservative tax policies.

      I was looking forward to the leadership debates thinking it would be the end of Gordon Brown. Now I am dreading them.

  84. Martin
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    Much of your party's slogans are vague or all things to all men.

    "Give people more power and control." What people , power and control over what?" I want the M4 to be widened. Will I get that power or control – no way!

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 12, 2010 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Martin

      Easy, get rid of the bus lane, and turn it back into an all traffic (except lorries) lane.
      Next to no cost, and it increases present capacity by 50%.
      Well until you get to the elevated section that is.

  85. gac
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    The focus groups say the people want change.

    What the people want is to get on with their lives without the regular kick in the balls, to still have a job next Monday, to not be expected to pay for political mistakes, to put food on the table.

    They see no reason to change from Labour because they do not recognise what change is other than yet another political party.

    Where Mr Cameron and his advisors have got it wrong is that the people expect to suffer for the next 4 years or so and to get poorer. They cannot see this changing whosoever wins the election. All alternatives will bring in a regime of hardship. They are resigned to this fact.

    Hence they are minded to believe Brown when he suggests that his borrowing money will not cost them anything, that it will not come out of their pockets and if it did it is so far in the future that something magical called growth will pay for it, that any austerity regime is again some time in the future, not immediately if those nasty Tories get in.

    Labour spin recognises this and the Labour machine therefore mocks the Tories in the shape of Mr Cameron as being the worst of a bad choice. Better to stay with the devil you know; and the narrowing polls reflect this.

    The people are resigned to 4/5 more years of whatever is in store and are not getting a good reason to switch from the Conservatives.

    Concepts of hope, change, more this or that just do not cut the cake. Neither does being 'reasonable'.

    Media commentators are already putting the Conservatives under severe critique whilst giving Ministers an easy ride. The game is nasty. The way to beat the establishment is to become political guerillas.

  86. THE ESSEX BOYS
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    Having now read all 75 comments – as at midnight – we see we're far from alone in disparaging what is hopefully Tory High Command's first draft!

    We can imagine the horror of our site author when confronted by this nonsense and thank him for bringing it to our attention.

    If friends of the party are this damning who needs Labour enemies?
    Please can we be told how our collective views are to be brought to the attention of HQ. Failing that I suggest that we all email camerond@parliament.uk and make a major fuss until he changes his tune.
    Does he really think that psycho-babble plus Samantha on the telly is the answer?

    • waramess
      Posted March 12, 2010 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Bit late for that now, Essex Boys. Only a couple of months to go before the real thing

  87. OurSally
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    There is a German word perfect for this – Makulatur. That is printed matter so worthless that you use it to paper walls before you put the patterned wallpaper up. Nowadays it means written matter without useful content, wasted trees.

    Makulatur. Too little, too late, too empty. What's with this Cameron bloke? Doesn't he want to win?

    Everyone knows what has to be done, everyone, it seems, except the Conservative leadership.

    Just do it, as the adverts say.

  88. Duyfken
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    In times past, the chant used to be "reform", possibly a mite better than "change". However, whatever a Party may use as its watchword, it is the confidence or lack of confidence which the voting public may have in the ability, true intentions and competence of the candidates for power. I feel the Conservatives still have to convince us.

  89. Tony E
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I'm sorry John, but it matters not a bit what any Conservative says – the lobby is so in thrall of Lord Mandleson's regime that anything you say will be either unreported, or reported with a detailed acount of why it is patently rubbish issued by the Government.

    The BBC and Sky news seem to be distinctly 'on message'.

    We have freedom of the press, but they choose not to use it, because it is easier if they are fed lines by a government with close media associations. The news men are not looking forward to a government which doesn't play that game, and they are fighting to maintain their cozy system.

  90. backofanenvelope
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    How about:

    We will hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty?

  91. Sebastian Weetabix
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    "Change" as an abstract concept is not perceived positively by most British people – unlike Americans. Our attitude can best be summed up by the Victorian Judge who said "Change!!! Good God! Are things not bad enough as it is?"

    I imagine Mr Cameron looks at Obama's campaign & thinks "that's what we need". Unfortunately he is wrong, due to the cultural difference between us and the Yanks. He'd be better off sticking to something concrete like "liberty, transparency, honesty" as someone wisely observed in a previous comment. But that means Lord Ashcroft needs to (become a UK taxpayer on all income-ed), otherwise they leave an open goal for Labour & the BBC.

    But if he really wants to win he should offer a simple 'in or out?' referendum – without party whip either way – on EU membership. I suspect the settled feeling of the public is they think they have been conned on the subject of the EU & they don't like what they see. That would neutralise UKIP at a stroke and bring millions of votes back on board.

  92. Alan Wheatley
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Change from a policy of introducing High-Speed rail – so 19th century.

    If it is that damn good for Britain lets see the PRIVATE money flooding in to prove it.

  93. alan jutson
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    John

    Whilst I understand your simple request for comments.

    Your silence with few comments to this large postbag speaks volumes.

    I hope DC listens to your appraisal of this post. Does he not realise the anger that is out here, with us seeing our Country going further down the drain every day that Labour are in power.

    Do Your Party's MP's really understand what is at risk here, with 5 more years of Gordon Browns Communist style of policies in the waiting.

    True Democratic debate in the House of Commons has already been lost under this elected Dictatorship.

  94. Simon Holloway
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Sorry John, but all this "change" nonsense is cosmetic claptrap, and the fact that you ask for feedback craftily proves that you know it.

    The most significant change I want to see is glaringly omitted: a referendum on this country's relationship with the supranational oligarchy aka the EU that now calls the shots. The unconditional ratification of the Lisbon Treaty was the most despicable act of treachery by the Blair/Brown duumvirate (and God knows there are a few to choose from!). Yet, based on the evidence, Mr Cameron clearly lacks the guts to mount a challenge. When he does, or when someone with vision and integrity has replaced him, then I will vote Conservative. Not before. And, please, spare me any nonsense about Sovereignty Bills!

  95. Robert K, Oxford
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    How about this:
    We are a party of liberty, justice and free markets. We wish to remove the barriers to the UK becoming the enterprise capital of the world. We oppose state-sponsored violence. We stand for inalienable property rights. We will cut state spending and taxes. As far as humanly possible will ensure that all the responsibilities the state has assumed for itself are returned to where they belong – to individuals and their local communities.

  96. Freeborn John
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    The message sounds Ok as far it goes, but:
    1. It is very short on detail.
    2. It reminds one if Obama and that he talked about change to get elected but didn't deliver when in office.

    My mind was made up about Cameron when he climbed down on the Lisbon Treaty. No doubt he is telling Sarkozy today that there will be no meaningful change should Cameron win the election. Real change is not on offer on May 6 which is why the Tory vote is so soft. The best possible outcome would be a hung parliament and new Conservative leadership for an October election.

  97. Chalcedon
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Giant repeal act: repeal all acts of parliamet hanstringing business in this country. I realise some of these are EU directives but they should be interpreted loosely. Get rid of the employer NI tax on jobs and create a tax friendly environment for business. Increase the income tax threshold which should see a stimulation of the economy. Extra tax breaks for those who are married (or equivalent). Scrap the human rights act. A bill of rights and responsibilities fashioned on our 1689 bill is a good start. Move to a flat tax rate (make the taxation system simple). Oh, and disband 90% of the Quangos plus stop giving tax payers money to fake charities such as ASH et al. Institgate zero tolerance for breaking the law (but get rid of Nu Labour's 5000 new offences).

  98. Richard Blogger
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    "Any comments?"

    How about "change the record, this one's scratched". You don't seem to realise how tired voters are getting over the constant repeating of a rather dim phrase "we can’t go on like this". By repeating this mantra-wise you are turning voters away from politics, repeating the phrase is making people pledge not to vote at all. That is bad for politics, and is bad for the country.

    So please stop sounding like a scratched record.

  99. Barbara
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    All it needs is four words, as John Lennon said:

    POWER TO THE PEOPLE.

    That would cover the Lisbon scam, the CO2 scam, the MPs' expenses scam, plus all the rest of it, and blow Labour out of the water by taking over their core myth and cutting the ground out from under them.

  100. ps
    Posted March 13, 2010 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    How about

    Labour are a Bloody disaster, vote Conservative

  101. StevenL
    Posted March 13, 2010 at 3:07 am | Permalink

    "…Back aspiration and opportunity for all. Gordon Brown’s debt, waste and taxes are holding us back and threatening the recovery with higher interest rates”

    I agree, so I might just short gilts and vote for Cleggy.

  102. TCD
    Posted March 13, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Dear John,
    Like so many commentators on this site, I am not convinced
    by these slogans. David Cameron has been trying hard to move
    the party away from the 'nasty' image. Even in this he has been
    only moderately successful, partly due to the recent scandals.
    But people are generally convinced that Cameron himself is a
    nice guy with a nice family. In my opinion this is not what
    people are looking for most. They want first and foremost
    somebody who is competent! This is the problem; the Cameron
    clique has not been able to convey an image of competence.
    One does not get the feeling that they really believe in their own
    message: that the country is in dire straights and serious
    sacrifices are necessary. They need to hammer home this message,
    and that Brown is entirely responsible. When Cameron was interviewed
    by Jeff Randall, it was the latter who had to push this message
    whereas Cameron stumbled. On the other hand, Darling gave a very
    determined and self-assured performance. Such impressions matter.

  103. Hazel Edmunds
    Posted March 14, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    One comment stood out for me – "dismantle the Tax Credits system". Please, please DO NOT do that but please consider that this is a BENEFIT and should be administered by a government department that is used to handling making payments. HMRC is totally the WRONG organisation to be paying money out.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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