Timothy Heppell
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The politics of delegitimisation 
Apportioning blame and establishing risk
in Cameron
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Chapter 3 will consider how Conservative strategy towards opposing and undermining Labour evolved during the Cameron era. The chapter will demonstrate how initially when in opposition, the Conservatives set about nullifying the ‘investment under Labour or cuts under the Conservatives’ narrative, which had been so successful for New Labour and Blair in the era of economic prosperity between 1997 and 2007. It will then identify how, in the aftermath of the financial crash, Cameron abandoned this strategy of converging on Labour to neutralise the economy as an electoral issue. The chapter will then explore how the Conservatives set about establishing their narrative of the financial crash – i.e. it was the fault of a profligate Labour government. Apportioning blame was thus central to electoral strategy in 2010, and establishing risk about Labour regaining power was central to electoral strategy in 2015. The chapter will also identify how, alongside emphasising perceptions of economic competence, Conservative strategy also came to revolve around emphasising perceptions of leadership credibility, as Cameron was seen by voters as a more credible political leader than either Brown or Miliband.

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The politics of modernisation and manipulation


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