Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Jon Williams on the Tories and the "Squeezed Middle".
This is a very instructive article from Lord Ashcroft on many levels. It seems the Tories intent is to highjack Ed Miliband’s "squeezed middle" slogan whilst reducing its impact with the wider electorate.
Lord Ashcroft has a lofty position in Tory party and has finances to support their activities, such as commissioning polls, rather incisively, in marginal constituencies. The general thread of the article is a repositioning Tory policy towards Labour’s “getting the economy growing and creating jobs” as one of the most important issues facing Britain. He also highlights reducing the deficit, whilst important, shouldn’t be at the expense of job creation.
The centre ground is shifting leftwards when one of the Tories key supporters thinks the Tories should be “the party of the many, not the few” and makes a case to keep the 50p tax rate. If this is true Ed Miliband needs to move quickly to reinforce Labour’s message to the electorate in these marginal constituencies and the rest of the UK.
Leadership was a plus for David Cameron, but not so for Ed Miliband. Labour should use this information as confirmation it’s moving in the right direction. When support for the Tories has been on average the same as the last General Election there is hope for Labour. Ed needs to show more leadership qualities and communicate his (Labour) ideas to the electorate, before the Tories claim them all.
The article includes the following key sections, The emphasis is mine -
"How can the Conservatives expand their vote share at a time of flat or declining living standards? Again, economic competence and leadership hold the key. My research has found that former Labour voters who now think the Tories have the best approach to the economy are 157 times as likely to say they will vote Conservative as those who don’t think that.....A recent poll I conducted in marginal constituencies found that getting the economy growing and creating jobs is seen by some distance to be the most important issue facing Britain. Dealing with the deficit and the debt came further down the list – below the NHS, immigration and education. The Government argues, rightly, that controlling the deficit is a prerequisite for a sustainable recovery. But many feel that it is pursuing deficit reduction at the expense of job creation, rather than as a means to it. The Tories are thought to have the best approach on debt – but the voters they need to win over are less certain there are policies for growth.....The Tories in particular need to show that they are the party of the many, not the few, that they are on the side of the hard-pressed, not just the rich – a case which will be harder to make if scrapping the 50p tax rate seems to be top of the agenda.....If anything, the importance of leadership will grow as the next election nears."