The Conservative Party: Can they win in 2015?
We are now a year away from the general election and some commentators are already hinting towards the inevitability of consecutive hung parliaments. In the remaining months leading up to the election, David Cameron and the Conservatives have some extremely difficult obstacles to overcome, perhaps most potently in the shape of Mr Farage and U.K.I.P.
It seems that at this election, as with the last, that it is not primarily the fortunes of his main opponent that disrupts the Prime Minister in his quest for majority rule. In 2010, this came in the guise of the now beguiled Nick Clegg. Mr Clegg is now a non-entity of a political force, and although often keen to reinforce the Liberal Democrats as a functional party of government, the Lib Dems now carry an air similar to the cast of The Only Way is Essex appearing on Mastermind; confused and totally out of touch with all events around them.
Now, the threat comes from Nigel Farage and UKIP, who has associated himself to the electorate as the man you hear discussing politics at the bar of your local pub, who ‘says things how they are,’ without much inclination towards the consequences of such statements. It is in this that UKIP have found support. It seems clear that the electorate are frankly sick of ‘politician talk,’ and the empty promises that have so often undermined British democracy in recent years.
So how do the Conservatives counter this threat? There has been talk of UKIP stealing moderately safe Conservative seats, and also potentially handing Labour victory in key marginal seats. I don’t buy this argument, simply because it is dependent entirely on UKIP maintaining their popularity up until the election. Secondly, it is also very likely that should this happen, UKIP will also affect Labour’s chances also, so the decline of UKIP is seemingly imperative for either party to win a majority. Time and time again, David Cameron is shown to be a lot more popular than the other party leaders. Ed Miliband is quite frankly not a credible alternative. For a millionaire, career politician to stand and try to complain about the cost of living, especially having been part of a government that penalised the poorest in the country for thirteen years, is beyond hypocritical, and it seems likely that change of leader, or even simply a change of Miliband, would improve their chances of a majority victory.
For victory, the Conservatives must be conservative. They need to talk up the economy, they need to talk up the plans for renegotiation with the EU and also talk tougher on immigration, so as to draw a clear line between themselves and Blair, as has been a title that has blighted the leadership of David Cameron as Conservative leader.
So, can they win? Yes, I believe they can. But they need to listen to the electorate, ACTUALLY listen to the electorate, and continue to reinforce the view that they are a slightly more sensible alternative to UKIP. If they manage this, they will win, if they don’t I foresee a hung parliament, likely with Miliband as Prime Minister and a new Lib Dem leader as his deputy, and also, a new leader for the Conservatives. Surely, after a second failure to gain a majority, the already restless Tory ranks would then turn on Cameron.