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With Jeremy Corbyn elected as the new Labour Party leader, there are countless individuals within the Conservative camp who are under the impression that the 2020 general election will be something of a formality. Such sentiments are founded with good reason, but one ought not to get carried away – there are still challenges ahead for the Conservative Party, and it must not become complacent.

When David Cameron was installed as the leader of the Conservatives in 2005, he was done so on a pledge that he would modernise the party, henceforth making it an electable force in British politics once again. To a large extent, with policies such as legalising same-sex marriage, raising the personal income allowance, and establishing the national living wage, the party has become pleasingly contemporary – and more in line with public attitudes on social issues, which is something of a necessity to corral votes from moderate, floating voters, who are so easily put off by potentially toxic politics.

There is a danger, however, in that by enjoying a reasonably comfortable majority in the House of Commons, the Conservative Party could abandon the good work it has done up until now and revert to archaic and unpopular policies which put it into the electoral wilderness all of those years ago. This point struck home most demonstrably immediately after the election was won, with news resurfacing that Cameron would consider a vote on legalising fox hunting – a disgusting policy with no place in an enlightened society. Sure enough, whilst such a policy may please some supporters, the party which represents our country’s only viable classically liberal option at the polls should not pander to such minorities – indeed, as in 2004, the majority of public opinion still supports the hunting ban in 2015, according to polling data.

Another destabilising factor in predicting how the next election will play out is of how Corbyn managed to swell Labour Party membership. Clearly, not all who joined did so to pledge honest allegiance to the party, but nevertheless, Labour can probably bank on tapping into a sizeable pool of new energy and enthusiasm by the time 2020 comes around.

Can the Conservative Party hope to do something similar? One could be forgiven for being less than optimistic. The fact is, to great swathes of the British public, the Conservatives are still something of a taboo. Despite the best efforts of Cameron, the party remains saddled with the baggage it acquired decades ago – illustrated with polling which reports that just 29% of people believe Cameron has changed the party in his time as leader. If the Conservatives, too, are going to be able to mobilise an invigorated base of support for their campaigning efforts, change must be forthcoming.

Predictably, there is no silver bullet to this problem and responsibility must be shouldered not only by the party elite, but also its various appendages and affiliates. Of particular interest to me as a student, is the role which university party political societies can play in acting as a bridge to the party itself. Time and time again, I attend talks where MPs stress the benefits which the university society can bring in assisting membership, and providing a ready source of eager campaigners.

Yet from personal experience, the very same societies do little to appeal to exactly the demographics which the Conservative Party so badly needs to establish itself in if it wishes to continue as a legitimate political force in Britain. Black tie dinners, impromptu renditions of ‘God Save the Queen’, and champagne corks flying in a South London curry house are all utterly unnecessary, and whilst they may delight the few, they also repulse the many. Consequently, the society, and by extension the party, are identified as a closed club for the rich and powerful. By excluding even reasonably conservative minded individuals the party is done a great disservice. Not only are the negative perceptions which so many have of the party ever deeper ingrained, but it creates a reluctance on behalf of some to actively help the party in securing future successes.

To correct this, the Conservatives should be advised to work in closer partnership with the network of valuable association and societies which they can depend upon to drum up support when they need it most. Whilst the party ought not to micromanage what are essentially autonomous organisations, a system of guidelines could dramatically help in altering the party’s image for the better.

The consequence of non-action could be disastrous. One cannot be sure of what sort of beast the Labour Party will be in fewer than five years’ time, so the need for the Conservatives to dramatically change perceptions cannot be understated. With membership figures declining, something must be done to reverse the trend. Whilst it will not please all, for Britain to ensure an economically competent future based on the virtues of liberalism, the modernisation started under Cameron must continue.

Eamonn Ives is a student at King’s College and recently completed work experience at Bright Blue