The Conservative Party is engaging in yet another major rebranding exercise, just one election cycle after David Cameron’s ‘detoxification’ strategy failed to win the party a majority in 2010.
Today, Grant Shapps delivers a speech alongside Sir John Major, echoing Tory backbencher Robert Halfon’s claims that the party should become ‘the Worker’s Party’. The strategy has been long thought through, with Halfon spending years at a constituency and national level trying to convince voters that the Conservative Party was about their well-being.
In his speech at Tory HQ, Shapps today claimed that, “The Conservatives are the Worker’s Party and we on your side”, throwing away centuries of Toryism and conservative philosophy in the hopes of attracting a few votes.
Halfon’s former parliamentary staffer, Paul Abbott, is now Chief of Staff to Grant Shapps, which explains a lot of the mechanisms at play when it comes to the ‘major new rebrand’.
And it is a ‘Major’ rebrand in another way too, as the party drafts in former prime minister Sir John Major, in a smart tactical move that will no doubt play off Major’s Brixton, non-public-schoolboy roots.
On UKIP, Shapps today said, “…we have to show people that only Conservatives can deliver real change in Europe: UKIP cannot deliver on anything they promise… They have no plans or policies on the key issues that face Britain… AND, a vote for them would mean one thing only… That it is more likely you get a Labour Government, with Ed Miliband as Prime Minister.”
Where the strategy will leave the Tories in 2015 is still anyone’s guess, but while the majority of the non-metropolitan country calls out for more traditional conservatism, with many abandoning the party over same-sex marriage, a failure to tackle immigration and more, the Conservative Party is once again appealing to a slice of the electorate that it hasn’t traditionally won over.
This could be a disastrous, 2010-esque scenario all over again.