POLITIK | David Cameron måste ta tag i en lång rad problem om han vill att Conservative Party återigen skall bli ett majoritetsparti.
Ett av de riktigt stora problemen är att man är näst intill utplånade i Skottland. Ävven i norra Englands städer har man stora problem.
Ett exempel är Liverpool. Här hamnade partiets kandidat först på sjunde (!) plats i förra årets borgmästarval.
Förutom Labour och Liberal Democrats gick det även bättre för de grönas kandidat, och för en som definierade sig som ”Trade Unionist and Socialist” samt en liberal och en ”independent”.
Last year, Policy Exchange and YouGov carried out a major polling exercise about what voters want, and there are lessons from it for all the main parties. For the Conservatives, it highlights four (overlapping) ways in which the party needs to do better.
First, they need to do better outside their southern heartland. In the south and the east of England the Tories have nine out of every ten seats. In the Midlands they have about half, and in the north less than a third. In Scotland they hold a single seat.
Second, they need to do better in urban areas. The Tory problem in the north and Midlands is a specifically urban one. There are 80 rural seats in the north and the Midlands. The Conservatives hold 57 of them (or 71 per cent). But there are 124 urban parliamentary seats in cities in the north and Midlands, of which the Conservatives hold just 20 – or 16 per cent.
Third, the Conservatives do badly among ethnic minorities. Fewer than one in eight voters of Pakistani origin voted Tory, while nearly six out of ten voted Labour. Among black voters, fewer than one in ten voted Tory and eight out of ten voted Labour. Brit – ain’s ethnic-minority voters are usually concentrated in urban areas.
Finally, the Conservatives need to do better among ordinary working people. Polls show two-thirds of voters agree that “the Conservative Party looks after the interests of the rich, not ordinary people”. Even among Conservative voters, more than a quarter agree. They are voting for the party despite this problem. (And no, that isn’t because these people think they are rich and that they will benefit.)
Although class differences in voting patterns have declined, there are still large numbers of people who think that the party is “not for people like them”. This is a problem for the party everywhere, but particularly outside the south-east. People in the north are more likely to perceive themselves as working class than people doing the same jobs in the south.
So was Tory modernisation off target? What was the first phase of Tory modernisation? Ask a Westminster journalist and he would talk about hugging huskies, promoting greenery and not wearing shoes.
That’s a misleading stereotype. In reality, efforts to reassure voters about the National Health Service and economic competence were much more important. That first phase of modernisation succeeded far enough to make David Cameron Prime Minister, but not to get him a majority. That is because the most important part of the modernisers’ agenda isn’t done yet.
The modernisers “get” the problem, but efforts to address it have been uneven and too limited. The deficit makes it tougher.
Läs mer: Ledaren ”The Tory modernisers cannot allow the dinosaurs to win”.
Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är New Statesman den 11-17 januari 2012 (Lägg märke till dinosauriens monokel. Nice touch!)