Election 2019: Isaac Levido secured Tory triumph with skill and sharp slogan
Posted on December 15th, 2019

Extract from Times (UK)  Report

Inside the Conservative Party’s headquarters, the chants began shortly after the exit poll was announced.

With the Tories heading for a landslide, the assembled staffers erupted in a chorus of oh, Isaac Levido” in tribute to the softly spoken Australian who had led them to victory.

Nobody in the CCHQ sweepstake had predicted that the Tories were on course for a majority of nearly 80.

The Tories’ slogan get Brexit done”, combined with their relentless determination to stay on message, had paid dividends.

Mr Johnson and his team settled on the slogan shortly before the party conference in September. In focus groups they found it appealed to both Brexiteers and those who were wanting to move on.

The Tories presented voters with a choice between getting Brexit done and more dither and delay. By contrast Labour presented voters with a variety of messages and policies designed to appeal to different groups.

When someone walks into a polling booth they’re answering a question,” Mr Levido said. The successful campaign frames the questions that voters are asking. What was the question that Labour was asking?”

From the off, the team had united behind Mr Levido. Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s most senior adviser, deferred to him along with the rest of the Downing Street team. Lee [Cain, the Tories’ director of communications] and Isaac hadn’t even spoken to each other before the summer,” said one adviser. But it wasn’t an issue. The line of authority was crystal clear, and it stopped with Isaac.”

The campaign had barely begun when the Tories had to show a ruthlessness that is fast becoming one of the cornerstones of Mr Johnson’s leadership. Alun Cairns, the Welsh secretary, was sacked hours after it emerged that a former aide had been accused of sabotaging a rape trial.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the Commons, was barred from doing interviews after appearing to suggest that the victims of the Grenfell fire should have used their common sense” and fled the building.

The Tories also knew there was a path to victory. Theresa May had first identified the Red Wall” of seats stretching across north Wales, the northwest, the Midlands and the northeast — seats that had historically voted Labour but backed Leave in the EU referendum.

They were effectively finishing the job Mrs May had started with a more charismatic candidate. They were also determined to avoid the pitfalls of 2017.

Their response to Labour’s policy announcements and a glut of retail offers such as free broadband typified the approach. Instead of engaging with the policies themselves, the Tories focused on the cost of Corbyn” and the catastrophic” risk they posed to the economy.

A lot of MPs are former barristers and think it’s all about winning the argument,” a campaign source said. It’s not. It’s about getting your message across as many times as possible.”

The Conservative Party’s manifesto was a deliberately slimmed-down affair. Sajid Javid, the chancellor, argued for tight fiscal rules and the publication of full costings.

Amid reports of tensions between the Treasury and Downing Street, Mr Javid and Mr Johnson met two days before the campaign began and signed off the approach. Mr Levido is said to have supported Mr Javid in his push for fiscal rules.

Contentious policies were ditched. An early draft of the manifesto included a commitment to a national care system, broadly similar to Labour’s plans for a national care service. In the end it was replaced with a broad commitment to cross-party talks.

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