When Theresa May told a stunned Conservative Party conference in 2002 that some people called them “the nasty party” there was widespread horror, recrimination and an eight year struggle to detoxify the Tory brand. “Our base is too narrow, and so, occasionally are our sympathies”, she said. I agreed back then and agree now. In her other infamous words, “nothing has changed”.
The 2005 ‘are you thinking what we’re thinking’ dog-whistle campaign showed the party wasn't listening. Posters shouted ‘it's not racist to impose limits on immigration’ and asked ‘how would you feel if a bloke on early release attacked your daughter’. Only after a third election defeat in a row were attempts made to clean up the Tory image. In came trainer-wearing, husky-hugging David Cameron with a new tree logo and a dream of the big society.
Read more from Anna Turley for the New Statesman here: https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2018/05/week-has-confirmed-nasty-party-has-never-gone-away