Coffee House

Grant Shapps launches Tory target seats campaign

20 December 2012

If the Tories are to win a working majority at the next election, they are going to have to take seats off Labour. Even if the Tories won every single Liberal Democrat seat they are targeting — something that is highly unlikely to happen, they would still only have a majority of one.

Doing this after five years of austerity government is going to be extremely difficult. The Tory strategy for it, involves boosting the party’s vote among groups that the party traditionally underperforms with. Tellingly, Grant Shapps is launching the Tory target seats campaign today in a Hindu temple in Harrow West, a seat where the Tories underperformed last time; the Labour majority there actually went up in 2010. Tory polling suggests that Hindus are more open to voting for the party than many other ethnic groups.

Shapps’ hope is that a long-running ground campaign can enable the Tories to outperform the national swing in these target seats. Certainly, it seems odd that the Tory vote in 2010 was only 0.4 per cent higher than it was in 2001 when Daniel Finkelstein contested the election there as the Tories tried to win it back after losing it in 1997. But one of the challenges for the Tories is that any effort they make will draw a Labour and a union response.

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  • Coffeehousewall

    Sorry, what austerity? We are spending more than any previous Government, and with the largest increase in immigration we must surely be seeing the massive increase in GDP that you usually insist mass immigration brings in its wake.

  • Tolkny

    Surprising he is not focussing on Local Authority elections in May or maybe Tories will just carry on taking places like Essex for granted, I hope so, maybe they will get some surprises!

  • Seasurfer1

    Marriage redefinition has done the tories in – it is a silent disease knawing at the bedrock vote.

    • Coffeehousewall

      I’ll never vote for this Conservative Party. From now on it is UKIP and whatever else appears to represent real conservatism.

  • commentator

    Why does everyone think Cameron wants to win the election? He doesn’t: he is a left-leaning patrician who hates the Party he leads and wants to split it in 2015, with the Tory wets then forming yet another leftwing statist spendthrift authoritarian party with the LibDems. Cameron couldn’t wait to form a Coalition with Clegg and dump all his fraudulent manifesto commitments. His entourage are Lib Dems in all but name. However, he has miscalculated because the Lib Dems have been badly mauled by the Coalition; and most of their supporters have defected to Labour whose visceral hatred of the Tories will never permit a coalition with them. Add onto that the rise of UKIP and the collapse of the party infrastructure which the Tories need to fight an election.

  • Daniel Maris

    This is typical of Grant Shapps.

    Is it really good for politicians to go vote-hunting in Temples, Mosques, Kingdom Halls, Chapels and Churches?

    I say no. It sends entirely the wrong idea, that group-based voting is to be encouraged and acceptable and that religion has a central place in politics.

    Once you go down that road you are simply helping turning your country into a mutually exclusive patchwork of ethnic and religious groups.

    While Shapps thinks he’s being clever, I have no doubt UKIP think he’s being very helpful with that absurd photo.

    • David Lindsay

      There is no point vote-hunting in a Kingdom Hall.

  • andagain

    Somehow,I just do not see the anti-immigration party winning the ethnic minority vote. Clearly, Shapps is trying to minimise the extent of the losses from it.

  • Rockin Ron

    I think the Conservative strategy is to target Conservative/Lib Dem marginals first, then focus on Conservative/Labour marginals. So, they don’t need to win all the Lib Dem marginals because they are relying on winning enough Labour marginals to get an outright majority.
    However, they also have to factor in Independents and UKIP taking votes from Conservative candidates. In 2010, it was these groups that prevented Conservatives winning 20 seats that would have secured a workable majority and that could happen againl.

    • Chris

      The Tory/Libdem marginals will mostly be lost to the tories by voters supporting UKIP.

      More Tories will defect to UKIP than will LibDems, because of Cameron

      This is absolutely inevitable now and cannot be stopped.

      Nothing Shapps can do.

      • Coffeehousewall

        Agreed. I am voting UKIP.

  • David Lindsay

    David Cameron’s vehicles toured Ealing Southall blasting out in Asian languages that Hindu, Muslim and Sikh festivals would be made public holidays under his party. His “Quality of Life Commission” (don’t laugh, it’s real) then proposed giving the power to decide these things to “local community leaders”. What else will those figures be given the power to decide in return for filling in every postal voting form in their households in the Bullingdon Boys’ interest, and making sure that all their mates did likewise? To the statelets thus created – little Caliphates, little Hindutvas, little Khalistans, and so on – people minded to live in such places will flock from the ends of the earth, entrenching the situation forever.

    The BJP is increasingly headed by the blood-stained Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, and instigator and director of anti-Muslim pogroms; the party’s targets in Orissa, meanwhile, are the Christians. Modi is banned from entering the EU, the US, and other relatively civilised places. However, last month and on David Cameron’s express instructions, he was paid court to by the British High Commissioner to India.

    Well, of course he was. If, say, apartheid South Africa, or Ian Smith’s Rhodesia, or Mussolini’s Italy at least before the alliance with Hitler, were still in existence, then it would be an object of uncritical neoconservative adoration and obedience. Hindutva, the ideological roots of which are entirely Western, would be treated in exactly the same way, and where it is already being attempted, on the backs of hundreds of millions of people, it increasingly is being so treated.

    I am surprised that someone like Liam Fox or Michael Gove, or even Cameron himself, did not turn up to the recent funeral of the odious Bal Thackeray, although Fox might have had some explaining to do over Sri Lanka. But then, would he have had, really? Neocons are never expected to explain their support for Islamists in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Xinjiang, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iraq, Tunisia, Iran (in the form of Jundullah), Lebanon (in supporting the proposed Salafi-led supplanting of the elected government), and now also Syria as assisted by a British and American-armed Turkish, Saudi and Qatari invasion.

    The absence of Netanyahu and Lieberman was understandable under the then circumstances, the bombing of Gaza. But why were the American neocons and their
    pathetic Australian wannabes not there? What else do they have to do these days?

    • Coffeehousewall

      Why should a Hindu or Muslim day become a Public Holiday? We are not allowed to keep St George’s Day, and this is our own country!

  • ben corde

    Trouble is they’re losing votes quicker than gaining them. We were Conservative for years but now we’re fully behind UKIP. I can’t see us going back. Cameron was not just the wrong choice as leader he’s a disaster. They’re completely deluded if they think they stand a snowballs chance in hell in 2015.

    • Mycroft

      So you’re looking forward to all the delights of the Labour government that you’ll help to bring in?

      • David Lindsay

        It would have happened anyway, even if UKIP had never existed.

      • Coffeehousewall

        Labour is the same as Tory is the same as Lib Dem.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    Do those who have down-arrowed my comments disagree that all voters should be treated the sam, or do they think that the tories ought to play the ‘community’ card as other parties do? Why would Hindus living in Harrow, or any other constituency, not have the same interests as the rest? What is Shapps going to do for the Hindu ‘community ‘ that he isn’t going to do for anyone else?

    • AnotherDaveB

      They’re trying to copy the Canadian conservatives:

      “Canada’s Tories grasped that most immigrants lived, at least initially, in areas represented by Left-of-Centre politicians. Because these politicians were the their first contact with Canadian politics, they tended to define the terms in which newcomers viewed the different parties. First impressions count.

      The achievement of the Canadian Conservatives was to put themselves where the migrants were: in the community centres, in the mosques and temples, at the festivals. And to do so, not once or twice, but continuously over many years, until those communities began, in the phrase of the brilliant Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, ‘to vote their values’.”

      • TomTom

        So they focused on Quebec ?

      • Rhoda Klapp

        Well Dave, I understand the theory, but the tories currently are not managing to sell their values to the English middle class. The numbers do not allow for them to replace lost middle class votes (or any other kind) by targeting communities. Looking like all things to all men, tuning your speech to the audience, changing policy to suit focus groups, all those things look like the tactics of desperation. I have no doubt that the Hindu community can smell a loser too.

        • TomTom

          The Hindus feel that Muslims get too much say……it is what Enoch Powell noted from his time in India is called “Communalism” and the Raj played the game for years – he was simply afraid the people who ran The Raj would pull the same stunt in England

          • Rhoda Klapp

            If you are saying it took the Raj to turn Hindus and Moslems against each other then you are less than right. If you are saying the Raj took advantage, that is a way of looking at it. But not very relevant to tories in Harrow, is it?

            • TomTom

              Look at the history of Commmunal Politics in India and then look at Harrow. You want Hindu Votes as a Bloc then buy them like you buy Muslim Votes – Birmingham knows the price. You clearly do not experience ethnic policies from the Overlord Class or know the sellouts they make. Clearly we live in different countries

              • Rhoda Klapp

                I live in England. There is only one community where I live. Identifying some community for special treatment or promises stinks. Political parties should stay away from that game. I am aware, of course, that they don’t.

                • Coffeehousewall

                  Politicians will do whatever they think is necessary to retain power, influence and wealth.

          • Coffeehousewall

            And he was right. Entirely right.

        • Coffeehousewall

          The English middle class don’t count as far as the unified socialist political class are concerned. They hope we are too conservative to revolt. But they will discover at some point that they were wrong, and that we are funding the nation.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    “Tory polling suggests that Hindus are more open to voting for the party than many other ethnic groups.”

    Unfortunately the other ethnic groups include the English. Or a lot of them, at least.

    • Coffeehousewall

      I’ll not be voting Tory ever again.

  • pigou_a

    11pp down in the polls and Shapps is talking about targeting Labour seats?

    How deluded can you get? Cameron couldn’t even win a majority against Gordon Brown in the middle of the UK’s worst economic recession of all time. Imagine how bad it would be if Labour had a leader people actually liked.

    Anthony Wells is currently predicting around 100 Tory losses in 2015. An even swing would see them lose amongst others Letwin, Chloe Smith, Goldsmith, and Gummer… what you reap is what you sow.

    • Rhoda Klapp

      “Letwin, Chloe Smith, Goldsmith, and Gummer.”

      What’s the bad news?

    • AnotherDaveB

      Polls are a snapshot. The election is two years away.

      If the Conservatives want to improve their vote share, they will have to work for it, but it is not written in stone that Labour will win the 2015 general election.

      • George_Arseborne

        Is that all. Try hard next time

      • David Lindsay

        These snapshots have not varied for an awfully long time now. To continue your mixed metaphor, yes, it is now written in stone that Labour will win the 2015 general election. It has been for years.

    • Anthony Wells

      No I’m not. If there was an election tomorrow, the polls were right and there was a simple uniform swing there would be around 90 net Tory losses. It is NOT a prediction of what will happen in 2015.

      • David Lindsay

        It is what is going to happen in 2015, though.

    • David Lindsay

      Forget 2010. There was no recession on the day of that Election, and Gordon Brown was never as unpopular in the areas where General Elections are won and lost than he was in the South East that is the media’s sole frame of reference. The Conservatives had already won back most of the seats there in 2005.

      No, 2005 is the real story. They couldn’t even beat Tony Blair at the height of the confirmation of what 90 per cent of people had always known, that the basis for the Iraq War was totally false. They were the only “Opposition” that Blair could still have beaten by then. At that point, not five years later, the penny ought to have dropped that that party was finished. But it didn’t. It still hasn’t.

      • AnotherDaveB

        Labour got 29% of the vote in 2010. They got 35% of the vote in 2005.

        • David Lindsay

          But in both cases the Conservatives couldn’t beat them. And it ought to have been far easier in 2005, at the height of the worst foreign policy crisis since September 1939, and with a Prime Minister who was not much liked in the target areas of Scotland, Wales, the North and the Midlands.

          The economic situation was not in fact all that bad in May 2010, and a hell of a lot better than it is now, while the Labour Leader was well-liked in many of the areas where the Conservatives had to win seats, and vastly better-liked in all of them than the Conservative Leader was.

          2005 was the Election that they would have won if they had not been a busted flush. They didn’t, demonstrating that they were and are. It may be taking up to 10 years for some people to notice, but that is a different matter.

          • AnotherDaveB

            “In both cases the Conservatives couldn’t beat them”

            2010 result: Con 36, Lab 29, LD 23 Hung parliament.

            2005 result: Con 33, Lab 35, LD 22 Labour majority

            When the election system favours your opponent, beating them means having to do more to win than they do.

            • David Lindsay

              It was the same as it had always been. Somehow, the boundaries suddenly became a problem when the Tories became incapable of winning elections, even against Tony Blair in 2005. Is that going to be the excuse in 2010, or is it going to be UKIP, which increasingly seems to exist for the purpose of excusing Tory uselessness at the polls?

              • William Blakes Ghost

                Well not that useless at the polls given the Tories currently have a majority of around 60 in England even though they need a 12% lead in the polls to win a majority (differential turnout, unequal boundaries sizes and Labour’s rigging of the devolution arrangements are the main reasons for their disadvantage). Its no excuse its reality.

                Its their failure in Scotland in particular that has led to this dreadful coalition

                Why Cameron didn’t make resolving the English question and addressing differential turnout a critical part of the Coalition agreement (as well as the boundary changes) one can only speculate but it was a serious mistake.

                What it has lead to is that the vasty majority of the country is being dictated to by its arse end (Labour’s rotten urban boroughs) as ever.

                • David Lindsay

                  Labour won Chipping Norton this year. It was London that the Conservatives won on the same day.

                  Based on the Rotherham and Middlesbrough results, they can now write off the entire North of England along with Scotland. Corby doesn’t exactly bode well for them in the Midlands, either.

                  We now only await a Southern by-election outside London. Perhaps then they will finally get the message? But probably not.

          • TomTom

            “The economic situation was not in fact all that bad in May 2010″ Not in your world perhaps….but for many people it had been hellish since 2008

  • HooksLaw

    The flaky non left wing LD vote did not help the Conservatives.

    • David Lindsay

      With their proposed withdrawal of pensioners’ bus passes, Winter Fuel Allowances, and free television licenses, the Lib Dems are obviously the Heirs to Thatcher.

      But of course they are. The Institute of Economic Affairs was founded by Liberals, and it is now directed by the Lib Dems’ former Head of Communications, who regularly turns up demanding the abolition of the minimum wage and what have you. Thatcherism has always been a Liberal project, strongly advocated by the Lib Dems’ European partners.

      The Polly Toynbee Fallacy, that the Lib Dems are any sort of left-wing party, “Labour for Southern posh people”, must surely now be finished. Mustn’t it? In point of fact, it has always been Labour that has been Labour for Southern posh people.

      It is just that, until this year’s local elections, most Southern posh people have not wanted to vote Labour. They have in many cases expressed exactly how right-wing they were economically by voting Lib Dem. As, even more forcefully, have the sort of people, posh and otherwise, who have voted Lib Dem in the North.

  • EJ

    Why has my comment not appeared?

    • Archimedes

      It has. You need to get on top of this paranoia thing.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    A challenge for the tories is that here they have plainly failed to convince Forsyth, so the chances of running into anybody more likely to believe in this initiative are minimal.

    I will leave the moral dimension of targeting groups such as Hindus for votes to another time. It smells though. And it carries a high risk, too. Lots of people who live in Harrow are not Hindu. Some of them have stories..

  • EJ

    The photo says it all really.

    The people Shapps should be worrying about are the grass roots conservatives who feel betrayed and demoralised by the lurch to the Left under Cameron. Ditch the spin, the soundbites and the trendy metropolitan PC nonsense and give us principled, patriotic, conservative action on the EU, immigration, crime, the relentless march of the Left etc. Then you might have a hope of winning some of us back. Until I see that – and believe it – it’s UKIP for me.

    • HooksLaw

      One minute you are complaining about the large number of immigrants and next you are saying the conservatives should ignore their vote.

      • Rhoda Klapp

        Immigrants get a vote?

        • Russell

          Immigrants legal, illegal and non-existant get postal votes encouraged by labour.

          • David Lindsay

            Was that how the Conservatives won London and lost Chipping Norton on the same day?

          • TomTom

            Conservatives have been jailed for postal ballot fraud….Labour has no monopoly on fraud when Conservatives and libDems are around

      • EJ

        Yes and yes.

  • TomTom

    Grant Schapps can be Everyone to Anyone with his Joe90 approach to Identities

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