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Ken Clarke’s 2015 campaign slogan

27 October 2012

4:34 PM

27 October 2012

4:34 PM

It was not a huge surprise when Ken Clarke rowed back this afternoon on his comments to the Telegraph about tax breaks for married couples. The minister without portfolio was hardly going to get through the first interview he has given since the reshuffle without saying something he would later have to ‘clarify’. But he made another interesting observation to the newspaper about the Tories’ 2015 strategy. He said:

‘If we are back to strong growth by the next election, we probably won’t need to campaign. If at the next election, the economy is in strong normal growth, George Osborne will be given the Companion of Honour or something and we will all get safe back.’

Arguing that anyone who is certain the country is returning to strong growth is ‘being very optimistic’, Clarke adds:

‘What I am confident we will be able to say at the next election is we were a strong hand on the tiller.’

These remarks demonstrate the shift in thinking that has taken place in the Conservative party over the past year. Whereas the original hope was that 2015 would be an election in which David Cameron and George Osborne could point triumphantly at Ed Miliband and Ed Balls and say that they had succeeded in clearing up the mess that Labour had left behind, now the campaign has a rather more nuanced slogan: and this week’s GDP figures have not changed that. Clarke believes that his party will have to draw greater distinctions between its plan and the Balls plan, pointing out that Britain would be even farther behind had Labour been steering the course between 2010 and the 2015 election. Other Conservative MPs are looking increasingly to the welfare budget as a key electoral battleground, where Labour faces its own internal divisions on how far to cut benefits. This will be another example of a ‘strong hand on the tiller’ in 2015.

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Show comments
  • Mythuat24h

    The LibDem vote will mainly go to Labour so it will be more of a two horse race.

  • Dele Cooke

    Constantly repeating that Labour left this country in a mess is a reflection on your lack of research, or you have an agenda for trying to make the public believe it. Our deficit got to its giddy heights because of the urgent need to bail out our blinkered banks.
    Instead of blaming the party that actually saved the Western economy, you should be championing the call for the USA to pay reparations for what their banks deliberately and sadistically inflicted on Europe and Japan. Maybe then your journalism would actually be useful.

    • Thiet ke logo

      First pass the two party disproportionate post of British stupidity is the winner

  • Barbara Stevens

    Welfare is out of control, and needs to be cut. We have a underclass who persistantly live on welfare and don’t even think of working. May be their education is lacking and then we must ask are they really employable? The Conservatives are right to say those in work should not be having less than those out of work. The cap of £26,000 per year is right. However, we must have jobs for them to seek. If not, training programmes for them to take up, and even educational retraining has part of their right to gain benefits. We all have responsiblities to ourselves and to our country as good citizens. In these times of financial stress the state too must show responsiblity, and that means stopping all foreign aid while the homefront suffers. Its time we expected all elected MPs to realise charity really does begin at home. This money could be used for the above to kick start this nation back to respectiblity and working for a living. It needs both state and citizen to agree and join together before its to late.

  • Pakistani dog mess

    First pass the two party disproportionate post of British stupidity is the winner! In Soviet Russia you had a choice of one. In Britain you always have a choice of two.

  • Daniel Maris

    With mass immigration and huge population growth we actually need a GDP increase of about 5-7% just to stand still in terms of people’s disposable income (because we are being hit by a tsunami of infrastructure demands). People are actually suffering a huge fall in their disposable income. Most people on middling incomes have seen a fall of between 10-25% since 2008. Unless mass immigration has magically gone into reverse, I don’t see that pattern changing – there will be further falls in per capita GDP because population continues to grow at such a high rate.

    The problem is we are experiencing population growth reminiscent of the US’s “Gilded Age” – but during that periiod they were hitting growth rates of nearly 7% for real GDP and 4.5% for real (note, real) GDP per capita. But remember America was experiencing that growth in a period when land and labour were cheap and theirs was a virgin country with enormous capacity for growth.

    With the UK’s huge population growth (about 0.6% per annum on the ONS’s projection – about 400,000 per annum up to 2050) and little economic growth, the only result can be de-affluence.

    Another ten years or so of this and we will see increasingly lower middle class people covering the basics -housing, transport, utility and food bills – and little more.

    The outlook is bleak but the government and Osborne in particular continue to follow the mass immigraiton policies that are driving this pauperisation process.

  • In2minds

    ” keeping Ken Clarke away from the media would be a help” – We should remember that Cameron invited KC back into the inner circle so the blame goes to him.

  • Guest
  • Mirtha Tidville

    Isnt it time this EU loving, fat buffoon, retired. We are truely sick of him and his Liberal politics..Take up gardening Ken and leave politics alone

    • Chris

      “We are….” How kind of you to comment your majesty

  • CHF

    “now the campaign has a rather more nuanced slogan”

    Not that the 2010 campaign wasn’t so “nuanced” that my friends would say “I don’t know what he stands for”. Some people just never learn …

  • james102

    One aspect that needs considering is just what is the likely turnout going to be?

    This survey:

    Suggests Labour is going to have a lot of problems motivating their former core voters.

    With very low turnout the Conservatives will need to make sure they don’t lose too many of their own core voters, keeping Ken Clarke away from the media would be a help.

    Could he be provoked to join the LibDems or is he too valuable to them in the Conservative party?

    • RKing

      Could he be provoked to retire and promise he won’t make a comeback….

      Past your sell by date Ken just give up!

    • 2trueblue

      Turnout will be a problem for all the parties. People are jaded by the whole political scene right now, but if there is a message that hits then that will make a difference. Frankly I just do not see it happening.

      • james102

        It will mean that the one that gets their supporters out will win, that is why Ukip is so important.

        The LibDem vote will mainly go to Labour so it will be more of a two horse race.

        Low turnout has been a factor for a number of years; Blair got his overwhelming majority with less than 1 in 4 of the eligible electorate voting Labour.

  • voiceforlogic

    Ken Clarke is reported as saying :-

    “… ‘What I am confident we will be able to say at the next election is we were a strong hand on the tiller.’ ”

    But what he fails to realise is that NOBODY on board can read a compass or the charts – so they do not know where they are heading.