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Does the coalition make a Tory outright victory harder?

October 7th, 2010


Final week campaign poster – May 2010

How will the blue team campaign next time?

We all remember the closing stages of the May general election. The Lib Dems had surged following the debates and the Tories launched a furious campaign warning of what would happen if there was a hung parliament.

In broad terms it worked – certainly in impeding the move to the yellows. But the blues were still 18 seats short of an overall majority and Cameron had to do a deal.

If the coalition runs for its planned five years then how do the partners campaign – for the main plank of both with be their record. The LDs will seek to highlight the areas of policy where they say they made a difference and the Tories will try to make the case to rule on their own.

But if the coalition is seen to have been successful then Cameron, if he’s still there, has quite a challenge persuading voters that they opt for something different. And the yellows will be warning of the danger of an unfettered Tory party being given full power.

The general rule at elections is that there are two big propositions – “it’s time for change” versus “don’t take the risk of doing something differently”. The Tories will be trying to make the former case.

One of the interesting features in Birmingham this week is that you could hardly see the word “Conservative” anywhere. There was almost no branding. It was though they were trying to hide their real identity.

Maybe they saw the big challenge of the conference as selling the deal with Nick Clegg to the party but you would have expected to see the Tory logo featured somewhere.

We are in interesting times.

Mike Smithson