Moody blues: Tories try to influence every shade of opinion

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The Independent Online
WILLIAM HAGUE may already have a touch of the blues, but the Tory leader will soon have an entire palette of the colour at his disposal.

The traditional Conservative royal blue is to be superseded by a range of different shades of the colour as part of the drive to "rebrand" the party. Image consultants who are advising the Tories on how to convey a more modern image to voters have concluded that colour should be "targeted" to specific policies and situations. Strategists believe that replacing the uniform blue colour with a paintbox range will enable the Conservatives to send different signals to different groups in society.

A press conference on childcare would have a delicate powder blue backdrop, while a meeting on defence could be perfectly set off by the more macho navy. Briefing documents on the arts might be published in a turquoise cover; papers on the economy in serious grey-blue.

"William has said that blue should remain," a Tory source said. "But people think it should not be seen so much as a colour but a palette. Different shades are appropriate for different issues." (Above, The Independent on Sunday offers some possible names.)

The proposal is part of a wide initiative to reinvent the Tories. Experts are drawing up ideas to replace the "torch of freedom" logo as part of the strategy to create a new corporate image. Even changing the name Conservative - possibly by adding "Modern" or "New" - has not been ruled out. After all, the image-makers argue, it worked for Labour.

Mr Hague believes that the Conservative Party must radically alter public perceptions if it wants to win power again. He thinks Labour's decision to replace the red flag with a rose was instrumental in persuading the public that the party had changed. The Tories have been studying research on the likely mood at the time of the millennium in order to work out what image they should present at the next election.

However, the intention to drop the trademark blue, which has featured on Tory party documents for decades, will infuriate traditionalists.

The plan is being put forward by a committee of "creatives" including James Bethell of the Ministry of Sound nightclub (which is run by New Labour supporter James Palumbo) Katherine Hamnett, the fashion designer, and DJ Bruno Brookes.

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