Opinion: Have the Tories gone mad, or am I missing something?

Just when an election campaign is all getting on top of you, the Tories come along to cheer everyone up. This advert for Conservative candidate Linda Vijeh was being circulated, amid much hilarity, around the Lib Dem organisers this week. Apparently it featured on page 3 of a local newspaper in Dorset. Had the Tories finally gone mad, we speculated? Just what were they thinking in allowing one of their candidates to publish something like this?

Linda Vijeh

So this begs the question again: what are the Tories thinking? Are they trying to be really clever by associating the word “change” with the word Conservatives (see how I’ve changed, geddit?). Or have they finally succumbed to complacency, believing that, since the election is all but won, they might as well crack on with the all-important, Tony Blair-style rebranding exercise, showing how Tories are not really stuffy politicans at all, just ordinary people who have … changed!

Either way, I can’t helping feeling that this advertising campaign will backfire badly on the Tories. At a time of recession, when people are struggling to pay the bills and losing their jobs, the last thing they need to see is politicians poncing about pretending not to be politicians. True, it worked for Boris Johnson in the London mayoral elections, but already Londoners appear to have regretted it (as was made clear in an excellent article on Johnson’s dismal performance by Caroline Pigeon). By the time of the general election, the capital – and everyone else – will almost certainly be looking for a serious, steady hand on the tiller: not a bunch of people desperately pretending to be something they’re not.

If the Conservatives really want to reconnect with “ordinary people” (and I for one believe they don’t care, as long as they get elected), they should stay out of advertising agencies and start knocking on a few doors, like Liberal Democrat candidates are doing up and down the country. Indeed, this was the very advice Cameron gave to Gordon Brown at Prime Minister’s Questions this week. Perhaps he and the Tories should follow it themselves.

* Joe Taylor is Liberal Democrat Organiser for Camborne and Redruth.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • has anyone else noticed the anti-EU adverts that are all over this site and the libdemblogs site?!

  • Lord Rennard the Rotton core of the Liberal Democrats! 🙁

    This is really bad for the LD’s as he is not just a Liberal Democrat Peer but a privately employed person within Liberal Democrat Headquarters. Have you no shame the Peer is a rotten PIG. Just like the dodgy Labour MP’s/Peers and Tory MP’s.

    But you do not condemn and will probably delete this in the usual ILLIBERAL fashion!

  • This appear to be a candidate in Yeovil, Somerset – not Dorset. Either we have made a mistake or they have been advertising their candidates in the wrong county!

    Not sure I understand what the problem is. Sometimes a bit of the homespun, odd, approach does very well – hell we Lib Dems trade on it.

    The word I am hearing is that Somerset (if that is where this is) is looking a lost cause and we are not delivering anywhere near enough literature.

    Has anyone else heard this?

  • Just read what you had to say martin day,could’nt agree more,lord rennard is the illiberal democrats,the blood of the party runs through him.

  • I dont know that Somerset is a lost cause, but the Tories would gain control on a swing of 2%, according to todays Times.

  • tykejohnno & Martin Day,

    I’m sure the question of Mr Rennard’s behaviour will be discussed elsewhere; not sure what it’s got to do with this thread …

    Back on topic,

    The only theory I can offer is that the Tories are now so awash with money that they’ve run out of sensible ways of spending it !!!

  • I agree with Graham P – she comes across as a human being, though I note on her blog that her self-description is “A childless, bitter, sleep deprived, rampant, menopausal, middle aged divorcee” which is not her only example of, shall we say, ‘over-sharing’ on that blog.

  • Alix Mortimer 10th May '09 - 8:57pm

    Agree with Paul & others, I don’t think it’s a bad idea at all. A little too under-designed, perhaps (what did they make it in? Paint?) but a decent concept.

  • Heck of a way to pre-empt the dodgy Facebook photos, though…

  • Linda Vijeh 11th May '09 - 5:55pm

    Thank you all SO much for the extra publicity it is very much appreciated – it is good to see advertising working so well. Please do alert all your members to look out for my ad. this week.

  • I think you should stay clear of shallow, bitchy criticism of local knowledge news about which this author knows too little.
    Linda is well known in our area to have faced the challenge of a terminal illness and only now has reached that crucial 5-year-clear milestone that many cancer patients don’t live to see. Linda raised huge national publicity for the case of wider access to drug cures on the NHS, which the Conservatives have now championed.

  • P.S. And Joe… as for “When people are struggling to pay the bills and losing their jobs”- a bit of tactful research, before shooting your mouth off about how some sick-humoured activists you know had been circulating this advert with ‘much hilarity’, would have taught you how Linda struggled with her own cancer treatment drug & surgery bills, selling her house to finance it, in a trade-off for not losing her life thus her job too. Shame on you.

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