“If you act and work as Conservative in all but name, why not be Conservative?”

The Dissenter has a got a nice piece breaking down the latest ruction inside the Northern Ireland Conservatives… He exams the case being made by some for changing the name of the party, and concludes:

The electorate is not stupid and will look for substance over presentation, a unity of purpose in moving forward and a principle and policy that is coherent, credible and meaningful to them by values (usually historical/familial), present circumstances and future aspiration for themselves and their family. The first thing they will not think about is the name of the Party they are voting for, it will be an affinity and confidence in the values, policy and vision of a real alternative in which they can believe.

If we move away from politics and into the business of branding, of which name and visual image is a small part, we remember the successful Accenture or British Gas, while forgetting the failures such as Consignia or the visual disaster of British Airways World designs. We also neglect the most successful longevity of identity of companies such as Shell, or the ever changing IBM which still manages to remain true to its core purpose of making useful technology for businesses Evolution, not revolution. At the heart of any successful company is a certainty in its purpose and the determination, ideas and aptitude to deliver in such a way that exudes confidence to customers that the product or service is right for them.

The Conservative Party in Scotland and Northern Ireland needs to forget about changing name until they work [out] what they exist to do, and have a clear vision for Scotland or Northern Ireland and a clear idea (policy framework) of how to get there. Otherwise the Party may well invest in a big rebranding only to find that the electorate looks past that branding to see little to make Conservatism, by any name, any more attractive than it ever was.

Hmmm…. That’s a question facing parties a lot larger than the NI Tories…

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  • granni trixie

    Mick: Is a lack of response on Slugger to your post above not reflective of a lack of interest in NI in the Tories? Or just reflective of the preoccupations of Sluggerites?

    Personally I still have an old fashioned (NI-wise) view of that party – associating it with the baggage of Thatcher, rightleaning toffs etc. Ironically, considering they ultimately hold the purse strings, I cannot relate to the Conservative Party as anything to do with “us”.

    The Dissenter: although my analysis seems to relate to branding which replaces an image based on a past perception, a name change is the least of what needs to happen.

  • GT: your point directed to thedissenter and the final paragraph of the article make the same point.

    There may be lack of comment. However, there were over 100 referrals yesterday from the Slugger page to the full article, so there is not disinterest: perhaps ‘just reflective of the preoccupations of Sluggerites’.

  • Dissenter’s post is excellent and hard hitting.

    Perhaps more could have been said about the importance of independence. A centre-right party, by its nature, revolves its policy-making around the interests of the people within its polity. In the era of a devolved United Kingdom, it is important to have centre-right parties which are region-centered and which fight the corner for their own region within a UK centre-right umbrella.

    I agree that you need certainty of purpose and determination but it is hard to develop that certainty and determination without, firstly, becoming independent. Independence is the lightning conductor rod for the ideas and policies which are likely to to facilitate that certainty and determination.

    Re-branding on its own wont do any good but I dont think anybody in the Conservative Party was suggesting that re-branding was a stand-alone objective.

  • Reader

    Seymour Major: In the era of a devolved United Kingdom, it is important to have centre-right parties which are region-centered and which fight the corner for their own region within a UK centre-right umbrella.
    Combining self-reliance, local advocacy and unionism into a single platform is a hugely tricky balancing act, philosophically as well as tactically. Perhaps it would be better for them just to pick two of the three and see how it goes from there?

  • GT – many of us who are desperately interested in Conservative politics in Northern Ireland have been rather busy attending Conference over the past few days.

  • Chekov,

    The matters being discussed at the Conservative Party conference this week are of an extremely serious nature. If people in Northern Ireland were switched on to the things that really matter here, we would not be having endless discussions about the past of Martin McGuinness. You will have noted, of course, that there has not been a single post on Slugger about the Conservative party conference.

    GT has said this,

    “Personally I still have an old fashioned (NI-wise) view of that party – associating it with the baggage of Thatcher, rightleaning toffs etc. Ironically, considering they ultimately hold the purse strings, I cannot relate to the Conservative Party as anything to do with “us”,

    Take a look across Northern Ireland society and you find that is quite a commonly held view of the Conservative Party. At to that the fact that political views of almost all voters in Northern Ireland are pretty well fixed and immutable and you reach the inescapable conclusion that no amount of good that the Conservatives do in office will ever endear them to the Northern Irish electorate.