Thursday, August 23, 2007

You'll Win On Health - Just Get It Right

There are three subjects that the electorate care about - health, crime, education. Get those three right and no matter what else is happening you'll win the election. Other issues will have an impact but if you don't get these three core issues right then you're dead in the water. William Hague knows that - about 90% of the country backed the Save the Pound campaign in 2001, people queued up to sign the petition but in the end it didn't change their vote. People care about the environment but will choose who to vote for based on who'll get the yobs off their streets, not who'll save the polar bears. And try being in the line of fire when parents don't get their first choice schools - county councils change hands over these issues.

David Cameron is absolutely right to take Brown on over the Health Service. It's in a shocking state and people care and will choose who to vote for based on who they trust on health. Telling people that despite the spin local hospitals and services are under threat and pledging to protect them is a winning strategy. As long as people have faith you will act on it. Nicola Sturgeon can vouch for that one.

But for god's sake get it right. You had a great start to the week - I bet members loved the thought of a bare-knuckle fight on such a key issue, then it all went wrong. Turns out the research wasn't good enough, local MPs weren't fully on board and then an idiot researcher (probably the same one who bollocksed up in the first place) got bullied into apologising. Things like this detract from the strong central message.

A couple of tips - get your research right from the start and double check the work of 17 year old Emily and Tarquin, make sure the local MPs/PPCs know what's going on in their area and are fully behind it, know that the vested interests (the Trust managers) will come back at you and be ready to take them on too, never apologise to them and for god's sake keep going. Use Andrew Lansley more - he's attractive and appealing to the general public. Oh and yes - keep banging on about health.

Health, crime, education. Might never be the causes de jour - but will always be the things the swing voters care about.

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