General Election 2017

What went wrong with the Conservative manifesto?

In short: you need a base to test, think through and defend potential policies before you make them official.

BY Sam Bowman | s8mb   /  2 June 2017

It is clear that the Conservative manifesto has done serious damage to the Party’s electoral prospects.

There is a sharp and deep inflection point in the Conservatives’ lead from the publication of the manifesto. Never before has a party leader changed a manifesto policy mid-campaign, as Mrs May was forced to do last week over social care, which made a mockery of her endless billing of herself as ‘strong and stable’ until then.

Obviously the social care policy was badly misjudged, politically, and alienated the Tory base of home-owning middle class old folk. Strangely this was the policy that was pre-released to the media on the morning of the manifesto launch. Did they think it would be popular?

The ‘Theresa Miliband’ policies – the energy price caps, the meddling in corporate governance, the workers on boards and the requirements that firms publish gender pay ratios – were mostly watered-down, but are still very alienating to liberal Conservatives. The line “Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet. We disagree.” isn’t just horrifying to most younger internet users, it contradicts DCMS’s long-held opposition to moves globally to make it easier for states to regulate the internet…