Friday, 7 May 2010

Where Did it all Go Wrong?

What a shockingly disappointing night. How I wish my last 'The Final Cut' post had proved to be wrong. But today I am in the same position as a large proportion of the Conservative membership - I have had serious misgivings about the approach taken to this campaign but was living in the futile hope that the Conservative leadership team knew better..

They didn't.

If the Conservatives wanted a clear majority then they needed to communicate with the electorate honestly and openly about the key issues - the real state of the economy being the biggest of these. But the moment they started talking about the problem, they looked at the polling and ran scared from telling the electorate the truth about the horrifying state of the public finances. This was the wrong reaction. They massively under-invested in this winning strategy and then, when they unsurprisingly didn't get a massive early return, shied away from the honest truth. It was a failure of vision and leadership.

The simple underlying truth here is that 'honesty is the best policy' and the Conservatives didn't adopt it.

The leadership got wrapped up in this over simplification that they had to be 'positive' rather than 'negative' and they allowed themselves to interpret the idea of being honest with the electorate about the scale of the problem as being 'negative' - daft.

The result is that the wider electorate have been asked to make a decision without having the facts and worse, they know they haven't had the facts because the media have made it clear to everyone that they haven't. So people have been asked to be decisive without the facts needed to be so - and low and behold - the electorate have been indecisive!

So what now?

Do a deal with the Lib Dems.

If the Lib Dems think that governments can operate without clear majorities then let them prove that by demonstrating that strong government is possible as a result of collaboration between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems. And then, when the electorate is better informed, let's have a referendum on a range of possible electoral systems.

What we need now is a strong, honest government. So let's form a coalition or an alliance and put the ball in the Lib Dem's court to prove that this can work.

If they had won 30 plus percent of the vote then they could have argued for a plunge into PR. But they didn't. So from their minority position let them demonstrate that strong governments are possible without clear majorities such as those most usually produced by first-past-the-post.

And use this as the glue to create the strong government that we have to have now to work in the national interest.

The Conservative membership will moan and grumble but tough. We held our tongues in the hope that DC knew what he was doing it. He didn't - but he still has the responsibility to lead the nation out of this.

Cameron. Get on with it. You have created this mess. Start leading us out of it.. or resign today.


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