James Forsyth

Cameron needs to show that life is better under the Conservatives

Cameron needs to show that life is better under the Conservatives
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The election of a new Labour leader means that proper politics has resumed. David Cameron now knows who he needs to beat to win the next election. As I argue in the magazine this week (subscribers), if the Tories are to secure a majority in 2015, they’ll need to do better among those in households with an income of thirty-odd thousand or so, what pollsters call the C1s.

The last time the Tories won outright, they got 52 percent of the C1 vote—more than double Labour’s total. But in 1997, Labor and the Tories split this group evenly. The Tories have never fully recovered from this.  In 2010, the Tories garnered 39 percent with this group, a mere three percent swing since 2005. Tory candidates say that these voters just couldn’t see how they would benefit from a Tory government.

But this Conservative-led government has actually got a good story to tell about what it is doing for C1s. It is raising income tax thresholds to £10,000 which benefits most those households made up of, what one Tory strategist, calls ‘Cameron couples’, those where both people are on more than £10,000 a year but less than £43,000 a year.

Its school reform programme will massively benefit these Cameron couples. It will lead to good local schools for couples who can’t afford to pay a premium to live in the catchment area of an outstanding school to or send their children private. While elected police commissioners will make the police concentrate on the crimes that make life most difficult.

The Tories should use their conference in Birmingham to tell these people what they are doing to make sure that their lives are, as the slogan use to have it, better under the Conservatives.