Lord Wei is a Conservative member of the House of Lords. He is a co-founder of Teach First, a social entrepreneur, and a former government adviser.
It really feels like many in the party have already begun to throw in the towel. Which is unfortunate because the country actually needs us to take action, innovate and solve problems.
We cannot bring hope and solutions to challenges like the NHS, illegal immigration, and the cost of living without winning the right to govern for longer than two years, since some of the answers to these issues require more time than the current electoral cycle offers.
So how can we give ourselves a better chance of winning the next election?
Well, we need to do more than what we are doing now. The current strategy appears to be basically not to mess up too much, to stabilise the markets, reduce the political infighting we have seen the last five or more years, and avoid controversial legislation that might suck up much needed Parliamentary time.
The Prime Minister has made a good start with this strategy, and his five pledges build on that solid start to focus on delivery around the most potent crises of the day.
The problem with this is that it won’t necessarily help you win given the current headwinds, just lose less dramatically, because it focuses on limiting damage rather than giving positive reasons to vote Conservative.
In short, the numbers from this approach might not quite add up enough to win the next general election.
We need to win over more people than our historic base and red wall voters, especially given many are choosing to abstain or vote for other parties. But winning over others, swing voters who need more reasons to vote for us, needs to be done in smarter ways, that don’t cost too much money, and which the other side cannot easily copy politically, so that a clear choice exists between us and them.
Based on this set of filters, there are at least five sizeable target groups one might choose to aim for. Each one needs to be studied and a clear offer quickly put together and trialled while we are still in office.
The biggest issue that is going to affect women in the coming years politically, and certainly under a Labour administration, is going to be the erosion of their rights by the introduction of pro trans-legislation, particularly self identification without the need for medical proof.
A clear offer to protect the rights of women in places they consider to be important such as in the domains of sport, changing rooms and public loos, and in environments where safeguarding is key, must be articulated.
On top of that we need to be supporting families much more and their freedom to choose how they raise their kids and their financial choices generally.
Labour instinctively want to nanny and take over the role of parents such as by championing the registration of all children not in schools, and forcing those whose education ideologically they disagree with to go into schooling where they can more directly control the curriculum.
Labour also struggle to justify supporting marriage which puts more money into the hands of both women and their spouses and reduces costs for the state by creating more stability for the raising of children. We can champion women instead and their rights to live and raise their families in a free, safe and well supported environment.
Speaking of childcare, if you have not noticed, Millennials have been having babies lately. Often with huge student debts and unaffordable housing costs, they are now and soon going to be faced with enormous childcare costs and patchy provision.
One way to tackle this is to massively incentivise and ramp up (through start-up grants, business rates relief, and vouchers) the provision of cooperative childcare options, in which one or both parents can offset the normal costs of childcare by providing a half day or more a week of time to serve in the nursery, with the funds paid in by parents mainly used to hire a professional coordinator who can help train the caregivers.
Not only would this put more money into the pockets of parents and families because it is much less costly, but will also likely improve the quality of care, and this policy would be hard for Labour again to copy because it puts parents instead of the state in the driving seat.
Students and graduates
Any support given must be linked with tackling the high levels of woke indoctrination they face at university.
One approach might be to offer debt relief or forgiveness as prizes for those students and graduates who can pass national tests in which they achieve the highest scores for tolerance of other viewpoints, lateral thinking, and critical thinking.
Students could have their debts paid off based on their ranking in such awards, both at the level of the university and nationally, and institutions could themselves have their funding increased or decreased based on how many prize winners they have as students or alumni (with funds saved from institutions shut or trimmed down recycled into the funding of more prizes).
Employers might also find it useful to help them identify the best talent. The funds required to do this would be much lower than instigating more universal debt forgiveness à la Joe Biden, but if communicated correctly could give a strong reason for students and graduates to vote Conservative, and help tackle out of control wokery in tertiary education.
For men from left behind communities a massive expansion of apprenticeships is needed but in which they are incentivised and backed to over time (part-)own the machines and automation that they actually help introduce into their existing or chosen industries – essentially by being helped to form employee maker guilds with capital ownership or option rights.
By doing so we can break the stronghold of the unions and Labour, who tend to seek to make productivity and automation an enemy of workers, and instead share part of the savings, bonuses, and upside generated with smaller pools of workers who agree to upskill and introduce new time and money saving technologies.
A special scheme to provide accommodation for such workers in empty shops and offices, helping to be guardians of them while they train, could also help them access housing, introducing creative maker talent back into our town centres whilst creating hope, particularly for men who tend not to ever have priority on social housing lists and even get kicked out of social housing when they turn 18.
Often unnecessarily alienated in the quest to get to net zero, we can win over drivers (of cars and vans) by capping the ability of councils and mayors to milk them financially through low emissions charging schemes, overly high parking costs, and the creation of low traffic neighbourhoods that just create more reasons to fine drivers.
Most drivers do not live in the biggest cities and cannot access public transport easily or use alternatives, especially those in rural and suburban parts of the country.
We can however still incentivise more sustainable travel, reduce traffic, and create income for councils by identifying and deregulating the creation of sites around the country where people could park and charge up their cars and switch to other modes of transport to go into our towns and high streets, in exchange for fuel vouchers that reduce their fuel duty and costs.
If you scrapped and saved the money spent on most of our restrictive measures placed on drivers around the country you would have a significant pot to divert to these incentives.
Again, such a policy would be hard for the opposition to copy given their ideological fixation on controlling what are perceived to be negative human behaviours (through fines and charges) and reducing economic demand, versus encouraging growth, freedom to choose and rewarding positive behaviour.
So there is everything still to play for, and recent polls suggest there are still many largely silent voters who would consider voting Conservative despite the current atmosphere of doom and gloom, if we can give them good reasons to do so.
We must not give up hope, but instead give hope to our people out there who need us to win despite everything that has happened – to safeguard their freedoms, to be fiscally responsible, lower their costs of living, and to give them a clear choice at the next election.