1997 was a heavy defeat for the Conservative and Unionist Party. The word unionist was much mocked as the part was annihilated outside England. The Tories came third in Scotland and had no seats whereas the fourth placed LIb Dems won 10 seats. In Wales the Conservatives were still the second largest party and had no MPs despite getting as many votes as the Lib Dems and Plaid Cymru combined both of whom won constituencies.
The Tory Party was greying. It appeared to hav little appeal beyond the southern English bourgeoisie in the countryside.
Even in 2005 things looked bleak. The Conservatives did not connect well with ethnic minorities and the Young. The ethnic minorities are growing fast.
In 2004 Robert Kilroy _Silk said that the Tory Party was dying. To many it seemed to be plausible. The party was not about o vanish but perhaps to stagnate and then decline and decline<.
Now the Conservatives have increased their share of the vote for the fifth election in a row. It is unprecedented for any party to do that. They have won over many ethnic minority people especially Indians. The party is doing better in urban area/ The party is a major force in Wales and Scotland. In nothern England the party has a serious presence/. One weak area is the Young. The Conservatives need to do much better with the youth vote especially students. People tend to become Conservative as they get older. But Labour performed so strongly among the Young that the Tories cannot afford to be complacent. Young people gradually turning into Tories will not happen automatically.