Conservatives in need of a more positive vision?

Over on Conservative Home today, Paul Goodman has an interesting piece arguing that the Tory Party needs a more positive vision. He quotes from some recent comments by Treasury Minister, Nicky Morgan, who claims that, in the mind of the public, Conservative policy is notable more for what it doesn’t want than what it does. After some thought, I’m finding it hard to disagree. Anyone who has fought a safe seat knows that the tribal vote is alive and well, despite it often being hard to get a cigarette paper between some of the policies of the major parties. The social memories which keep voters loyal do seem to depend upon positive and negative characterisations which paint Labour as the party for workers and for social justice, while the Tories are against degradation of British values and against economic decline. But however crude this might seem, the principal messages coming from Tory HQ at the moment are: stop debt, curb immigration and halt welfare exploitation – all negative. However popular these policies may or may not be, negative messages do not add up to a positive vision and can also run the risk of populism. One of the most frequently voiced opinions of disaffected voters is: what’s the point? Cameron would do well to turn his attention to consolidating a positive, distinctive vision to answer them.

Luke de Pulford