The man behind David Cameron's general election success has given a rare analysis on why Labour and Ukip performed so badly in the polls, while claiming Nigel Farage would be better off as a talk show host. Lynton Crosby, who helped shape the Conservative's campaign, gave the breakdown at an Australian British Chamber of Commerce event in Sydney.
The political strategist told Sky News Australia the Tories won the election and secured a majority of MPs in the House of Commons by offering stability in the face of a SNP/Labour government. Crosby described the prime minister as a "steady performer... in an uncertain world" and claimed Labour failed to offer the electorate a clear, consistent plan.
"One of the reasons why Labour did not succeed in the UK in the last election was that they never did the work as an opposition to prepare themselves again for government, and they were very opportunistic in all of what they did in the five years that they were in opposition. So they jumped on various issues, but they never had a story to tell," the Australian politico argued.
Crosby was also critical of the opinion polls in the run-up to the election, which failed to predict the Tories would win a majority. The campaign consultant said commentators and the media had "abdicated too much" to the surveys. "Everything was seen through the prism of what the poll apparently said, rather than us drawing our own conclusions, talking to voters and understanding what really matters to them," Crosby said.
The strategist, once dubbed the "Wizard of Oz", also revealed the Conservatives started to "building on" a campaign to leverage on people's fears that the SNP would push Ed Miliband and Labour around if the parties were voted into government. Crosby said he became aware of this factor after holding a focus group in November 2014, six months ahead of the election.
"In focus groups, people said 'Miliband is a very weak man. If the SNP do really well, and he relies on them to govern, they will push him around'. That was from the mouth of voters. We started building on that," he said. The Conservatives would later unveil billboard posters of a miniature Miliband sitting inside Alex Salmond's jacket pocket, which were dispatched to marginal seats in the middle of England, such as Oxford West and Abingdon.
As for Ukip, thought to have been a right-wing threat to the Tories at election, Crosby claimed the Eurosceptics were a one-man-band. He said: "You should never write anyone off, but they will be a voice of discontent. They are very reliant on the performance of their leader Farage, and even he couldn't win a seat. [It was the] sixth or seventh time he's tried to win a Westminster seat. I think he might be better coming to Australia and doing talk-back radio than trying to run another seat in the UK."