Where did it all go wrong for Tories In Eastleigh?

If you really want to know what happened in Eastleigh then just listen to all those solid, life-long Conservatives who have jumped ship. They will tell you

by Steve Tierney on 4 March 2013 08:31

Everybody is asking: “What happened in Eastleigh?” They want to examine the numbers, to try and see what the streams of statistics are saying. They want to analyse the ground campaign to see if there were errors in voter identification or volunteer coordination. They want to find somebody to blame; the candidate, MPs, the local association.

Outside of the political bubble, any grassroots member – indeed many people who are just interested bystanders – could tell them the problem without time and expense.

The problem is that Conservative voters are sick of being force-fed liberal and social democratic policies. When they see a grand announcement about one of the things they actually do care about hit the media they are sick of it leading to absolutely nothing. They are sick of U-Turns on Conservative policies while the Liberal ones seem to be railroaded through with a frightening intensity.

They are sick of the sly sidestepping of issues: talking about cutting immigration instead of migration, confusing debt and deficit. They are tired of being told that their values and their beliefs and their politics – honed over a lifetime of experience and activism – are “old-fashioned” and out of date.

Even the opposition must be looking in amazement as the Conservative party tries desperately to morph itself into some alien shape. It dons the language of the left like ill-fitting clothes and then wonders why people laugh at the strange way it looks.

While our leadership and their advisors keep shrieking about how we must not “swing to the right” they ignore two vital things. First, that there is nothing wrong with “the right”, such as it can be determined in the modern world. I’m not even sure anybody really knows what “the right” is anymore. But I do know that many in this country are sick to the back teeth of all this something-for-nothing Magic Money tree nonsense. Some solid economic right-wingery is precisely what the doctor ordered.

The second is that it is not a swing to the right that people want to see, so much as a swing towards what the everyday person understands as Conservatism. We’ve slipped into enemy territory and made a permanent home there. It’s not healthy.

If you really want to know what happened in Eastleigh then just listen to all those solid, life-long Conservatives who have jumped ship. They will tell you. They want to vote Conservative – but they are not sure they know where it is. We urgently need to remind them, before it is too late.

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