Monday, 1 May 2017

Conservatives: the John Lewis of politics?

This week's mayoral election in the West Midlands could well see a surprise victor for the Conservatives in the shape of ex John Lewis boss, Andy Street.

At the weekend an acquaintance was bemoaning how boring the Conservative general election campaign is likely to be and I pointed out that there was a probably not coincidental link between Mr Street’s previous career and the ‘Strong and Stable’ narrative of Theresa May’s pitch for a large  parliamentary majority and indeed, perhaps, of her own personal demeanour.

Just two years after the last election which itself was bookended by two referenda both responsible for their own respective political typhoons Mrs May is seeking to be a reliable captain for the nation as we move on to the next storm; a storm which she didn’t support but is determined to steer us through safely.

If you asked a random hundred people for words to describe the John Lewis business I would put a great deal of money that alongside descriptions like ‘quality’, ‘you know what you are getting’ and possibly even ‘expensive’ you would find those two words favoured so much by Tory strategists ‘strong’ and ‘stable’.

As this election draws nearer I don’t think Mrs May would be displeased for one second in being compared to John Lewis. Not trendy or particularly showy, just very, very good at what they do. At getting the basics right.

It seems to me at least that is what the country needs right now. We don’t necessarily need a charismatic orator, we’ve had plenty of them and look at the mess they can get us into, but rather a decent leader capable of taking the tough decisions which will need to be taken and with a mandate to support her.

Of course thinking about the Conservatives as John Lewis got me wondering what shop Labour may be most like?

Maybe Woolworths? A pick and mix of policies that were popular forty years ago but now, quite possibly about to disappear for ever?

I get a feeling the Liberal Democrats might be like Maplin; exciting and fresh from the outside but in reality just a collection of spare parts.

Any other ideas? Leave a suggestion in the comments below.

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