Every party has their own set of policies which broadly align with where on the political spectrum they are, however, given the unexpected nature of the election and some of the issues involved – Brexit, the NHS and more – each of the parties has been following another set of tactics, different from those usually employed. By this I mean the sorts of people that they’re trying to appeal to, the types of policies that they’re unveiling and the way that they are campaigning. So in this post, I thought that I’d explore which tactics each of the main parties are attempting to use.
I think that one phrase nicely sums up the Tory strategy, and there are no prizes for guessing what it is: ‘Strong and Stable’. Theresa May’s main tactic is to sell herself as someone who would be far more competent at leading the UK through Brexit than Jeremy Corbyn. Her team have consistently been attempting to portray the Labour leader and his Shadow Cabinet as a shambles, and May has been attempting to sell herself.
In regards to the sorts of people that she’s trying to win over, the Conservative battle bus has been all over. However, most significantly, May has been spending a lot of time in the North – an area traditionally considered to be a Labour heartland – in an attempt to win over those who distrust Corbyn, and voters who supported UKIP in 2015.
Jeremy Corbyn’s party has placed a much bigger emphasis on policy. His manifesto was clearly aimed at winning over various different groups: scrapping tuition fees for the young, pledging billions for the NHS to try and exploit an area in which the Tories are traditionally considered weak, nationalise the rail services to win over those frustrated by repeated strikes.
The gap between Labour and the Conservatives has closed dramatically in the last few weeks (with the Tory lead dropping from 20+ points to around 10), suggesting that his policies are popular. However, Corbyn has left himself vulnerable to attacks from the right over how all of the policies will be paid for. (If you haven’t watched Diane Abbott’s complete and utter car crash of an interview, you need to watch it here.) Also, he has done little to portray himself as a safe, competent pair of hands which most will argue is where the main weakness lies in Labour’s campaign.
Tim Farron and his party’s main pitch has been to voters dissatisfied with the Brexit result. He’s pledged to hold a second referendum on the terms of a future deal with the EU, and is hoping to win back many of the seats that he lost in the South-West in 2015 to the Tories.
The big Lib Dem names are out on the streets again, with the likes of Vince Cable and Ed Davey (both of whom lost their seats 2 years ago) alongside Nick Clegg and Lynne Featherstone. Farron said a few weeks ago that he wants to replace Labour as the official opposition party. Few will argue against that statement being horrifically ambitious (it would require a swing of over 200 seats from Labour to the Lib Dems), but the party look set to win more seats than they have at present on 8th June.
Paul Nuttall faces a huge uphill struggle at this election to put his party back on track post-Brexit and post-Farage. He has tried to shift the party into a territory similar to the other far-right parties of Europe with policies promoting ‘integration’. Nuttall wants to ban the burka, impose routine checks on those considered at risk of FGM and impose a commitment that Brexit will be completed by the end of 2018.
If last month’s local elections are anything to go by, though, voters have disengaged with the party and it remains unlikely that they will win any seats.