Why the Tories Won – review

29 Mar

In some ways this book was written for me. I am fascinated by elections and campaign techniques. And as I don’t live in the UK I missed the day-to-day drama of the 2015 election.

A simple answer to the question posed in the book titles is by getting more votes than the others.Behind this though is that the Conservatives ran a structured micro campaign similar to those explained in various books about Obama’s 2008 and 2012 election victories, of which Jim Messina, one of the stars of this book, played a role.

The key to this victory as Ross explains was a fear of the SNP propping up a Labour Government and Labours inability to sound reassuring or convincing about this not being the case. This for many Liberal Democrats forced them to stay awake at night anguishing over kilted shortbread eating krankie loving plotters trying to unpick their barnett formulae while they weren’t looking. Well I perhaps paraphrase but it seemed as irrational as this. UKIP voters too it seemed had a similar nightmare where Russ Abbott dressed up as CU jimmy and bonded Englishmen to some form of European union in a concrete cast.

Did the Conservatives over egg the negativity? Perhaps, but as Lynton Crosby claims through the book the job was to win the election. Ross doesn’t really give us an understanding of why the Labour party were inept at dealing with several of the obvious problems in their campaign and perhaps it was just overall leadership they lacked. The book has an excellent pace and is easy to read, though an index would have helped. I am also at a loss to understand why a 6 week campaign is a short campaign but presume this is in the modern parlance what we used to think of as the near campaign ?

I also have to wonder what the reference on page 280 is to ? Ross says that Cameron in increasing his majority has achieved a feat not achieved in peacetime since Anthony Eden in 1955. This phrase is strange on a number of levels. Firstly lets assume he is classing the 1983 election as a khaki one , its pushing it a bit. There had been a minor skirmish a year earlier. But what then does Ross think was going on in 1959 when Macmillan increased the Conservative number of seats from 345 to 365 and the majority from 60 to 100 ?

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