Europe: If we are bold this is a chance to take 15% of Tory voters from the Tories

The Lib Dems have lost almost 50% of voters between elections only to pick up new voters to replace them. We have obviously been good at attracting new votes but not so good at retaining them. Now we are in Government it may be that this fact is our achilles heal? It is rare for a Governing party to attract new voters, let alone in significant numbers that we need. So what are we to do? Get more strategic.

The first Liberal party to be in Government that anyone can remember and we preside over a damaging position on Europe. But this gives us something to play with. We need to be more strategic over who we stand for and aggressively attract them to the party. We stand for all those in the country who want to see the UK as a strong member of the EU. We stand for those who believe in international co-operation to tackle issues which now transcend national borders. We stand for a strong EU in the world. So where are the people who believe this? Many already vote for the Lib Dems but many more vote for the Tories, Labour or the Greens. So helpfully we have a new poll which shows the views in the Tories:

Clearly those at the left end of the spectrum would fit well into the Lib Dems and they seem to match the 15% of Tory members who share Liberal Democrat concerns that there are dangers in being outside the EU’s inner group. So 15% of the Tory vote should be a direct target for the Lib Dems. We need to see some targeting of them in 2012.

So Chris Huhne’s call that the Tory right wants UK to be semi-detached member of EU was a good one. This focuses attention on the Tory position and gives legitimate fear to those who do not share this view with use of language such as ‘destroy the Union’. However, we would also be wise to take a critical stance towards the EU’s more ridiculous aspects to show that we are not anything-goes-EU plaudits.

It may be that 92% of the Tory party believe Cameron was right to use the ‘veto’ but 5% do not and 54% regard the veto as the start of Britain becoming “more detached” from the EU. This should be used to make those in the Tory party think about why they vote for the Tories. 15% of them should leave, they need to know why and where to go.


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One Response to Europe: If we are bold this is a chance to take 15% of Tory voters from the Tories

  1. Malcolm Baines says:

    This was always surely the partisan political strategy behind joining the Coalition – use it to build links with more liberal minded Tories with a view to splitting them off from the Conservative Party. There have been many defections from the Tories to the Lib Dems over Europe in the last 20 years so it must make sense to see if there is further political advantage to be gained from the issue.

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