Don’t you know that the Tory party does best when it is seen as the nasty party?
Ed Miliband, according to a leaked report, intends to portray David Cameron as ‘recognisably right wing,’ which is political speak for ‘nasty'. Whoa, Ed. Don’t you know that the Tory party does best when it is seen as the nasty party?
The Tories won three elections in a row under Lady Thatcher, who has somehow not gone down in political lore as Lady Nice. It was in 2002 that Theresa May, then Conservative Party Chairman breached the nasty party guidelines, made a speech telling them all to be nice or lose their seats.
After that speech they became nicer and nicer: to gays, ethnic minorities, the NHS, public spending and single mothers. They became nice to everyone, except of course to one another. In retrospect, this was an error. Voters rejected the Tories at general elections out of confusion and a vague sense that all this ‘niceness’ might be a sign of incompetence (see the Liberal Democrat conundrum pre-Nick Clegg).
The Tory leader who came closest to success was Michael Howard, and that was only because Ann Widdecombe said there was something of the night about him. I suspect that if David Cameron had reverted to the Nasty Party rules, he would have won an outright majority.
Since the riots he has attempted to stem this tide of niceness. Private polls conducted by Lord Ashcroft recently suggest that Mr Cameron may not be regarded as loveable, but he is beginning to be seen as competent and even effective.
The more he enforces the Nasty Guidelines against immigrants, criminals and Nick Clegg, the more the public will want to vote for him. All this nastiness will so distract the Tories that they will be nice to each other – for the next year, at least. Is this what Mr Miliband wants? How stupid can he get?