So, that is that. After weeks of campaigning we are down to one mammoth push today. The polls are inconclusive – at the moment my reading of them suggests we may not quite get the 310 seats realistically required to form a majority government. It is close and much will come down to the operation today. Will the Conservative tactic of concentrating resources in key target marginals be the difference? It is cold and calculated, but you win Parliament by winning most seats, not be winning most votes. Can the Conservatives get out all their core supporters to the ballot box? Will the huge numbers of ‘undecideds’ actually go to the polling booths? – if they do the polls may prove miles out and it is anyone’s game. All this vapid speculation will sort itself out from 10pm this evening. I’ll be at the Count at the National Indoor Arena – wishing good luck to all Conservative candidates but particularly Nusrat Ghani in Ladywood and Mother and Son Deidre and Bobby Alden in Edgbaston and Erdington respectively.
I voted by post a few days ago (for Nigel Dawkins here in Selly Oak). For me it isn’t a tribal allegience – I am a newish member and convert to the Tories. There are a couple of big themes which have led me to believe in the Cameron agenda – it is these that have convinced me:
- The ‘Big Society’ Agenda. OK – I admit this doesn’t land on the doorstep at all. But for me this is the core of the new brand of Cameron Conservatism. Thatcher famously said “There is no such thing as society” – Cameron, disagree’s wholeheartedly: “There is such a thing as society – it is just not the same thing as the state”. Somehow over time the left have claimed words like “social justice” and “progressive politics” as if that language is exclusive to them. What nonsense. The “Big Society” idea is ‘progressive politics’ in the literal sense and when implemented will lead to greater social justice. Cameron’s message encapsulates my own personal centre right philosophy.
- Avoiding our own Greek Tragedy. We all pity the feckless individuals who get credit card bills showing them overdrawn and who have interest payments they can’t afford but who keep on spending regardless. Yet a vote for Labour would be endorsing this behaviour at the nation state level. It is heartbreaking that many cuts will need to be made whoever wins the election – the caricature of the Tories somehow taking glee from wielding an axe is wide of the mark. If we don’t want to end up cap-in-hand to the IMF/Euro partners with the even more brutal austerity measures they would demand then we have to make very tough choices ourselves now. It is fantasy to pretend otherwise. The Conservatives want to avoid the bailiffs, Labour wish to wait for them.
- Michael Gove’s policies on education.
- Creating a new age in Government transparency by pushing out all government data into the public domain. It is a geeky thing and another one that doesn’t land on the doorstep – but the effect will be revolutionary in driving better government.
- David Cameron, Michael Gove, Liam Fox, William Hague , Ken Clarke
- Gordon Brown, Harriet Harman, Bob Ainsworth, Peter Mandleson, Charlie Wheelan
Not everyone will agree with the above. Different people will pick different reasons to support the Party – many people will be unconvinced and stick with what they know. That’s democracy. Here’s hoping for a decent turnout and enough people deciding that 13 years is time enough to get over their anti-Tory reservations, recognise the party has changed, and put an x in the box that will get us over that 310 seat line so we can do what is necessary to get our Society back on track.