‘We didn’t see it coming': the Conservatives

Bale, Tim and Webb, Paul (2018) ‘We didn’t see it coming': the Conservatives. Parliamentary Affairs, 71 (suppl1). pp. 46-58. ISSN 0031-2290

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This contribution to the ‘Britain Votes 2017’ special issue of Parliamentary Affairs focuses on the Conservative Party’s campaign. It was a campaign at which everything that could go wrong for the Conservatives did go wrong. The manifesto, which May’s Chief of Staff Nick Timothy believed would be an asset, turned into a liability, confirming the belief of her campaign consultant Lynton Crosby that the contest between the parties needed to be framed in terms of leadership. Unfortunately, however, Theresa May simply wasn’t the kind of presidential politician who could carry that kind of campaign. Nor did Brexit do her or her party as much of a favour as everyone had expected. For one thing, she seemed to think she could get away with mouthing mantras and platitudes about leaving the EU, opening up a vacuum that other issues rushed in to fill. For another, the number of UKIP, older, poorly-educated and working-class voters that the party gained as a result of the government’s tough talk on Europe seems to have been outweighed by the number of younger, better-educated, middle-class, Remain voters who were alienated and infuriated by it. More generally, the Tories suffered because they were unable or unwilling, ideologically or otherwise, to respond convincingly to increasing voter concern about ongoing cuts to key public services.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: British general election 2017
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
Research Centres and Groups: Sussex European Institute
Subjects: J Political Science
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Paul Webb
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2018 10:58
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 16:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/74810

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