Saturday, May 06, 2017

Moment from a campaign

Something which struck me this afternoon while canvassing in Cockermouth for the excellent Conservative parliamentary candidate for Workington, Clark Vesey, made me realise how different this election is.

It has never been unusual, and certainly not in West Cumbria, to knock on the door, explain that you are canvassing for the Conservatives, and to be told that the voter you are canvassing has always voted Labour. In the past that was often the end of the conversation.

This afternoon, I knocked on one door, and explained to the resident that I was canvassing for Clark Vesey, the Conservative candidate.

"I've never in my life voted Conservative" he said, and paused.

I waited to see if he would say anything else.

"I've always voted Labour" he said, and paused.

I waited to see if he would say anything else.

"I don't like what Mrs May is doing" he said.

It was only at that point that I was certain he was still voting Labour and that the pauses were the points at which he expected me to leave and not gathering the will to say something different.

Because  this year, almost every other voter who began their response by saying that they've always voted Labour has either said that they're not sure how they're voting this time, or has continued with something like

"But I'm not voting Labour again while Jeremy Corbyn is leader."

or

"But I'm voting Tory this time."

Indeed, that was exactly what another voter said to me less than ten minutes later.


Not surprising really. Here is a "Rant" by Andrew R who tweets as @ExcelPope about the difficult position in which the ineptitude of Corbyn's Labour places intelligent people on the left.

From a slightly different perspective Graeme Archer writes on CapX about

"Labour's fatal betrayal of its own people."

His article is worth quoting from in a bit more detail. Aa he puts it,

"Labour believe it owns the votes of the working-class — people, moreover, that Labour was founded to represent.

"I first became aware of this Labour concept of “voter ownership” because I’m gay. A few years ago, straight Labour activists took to turning up at Pride marches, to jeer “shame” at gay Tories. They still do it; still cannot perceive the obscenity of such action.
 
"Likewise, many working-class voters first developed an allergy to the EU (because of immigration, which was “moderate” New Labour’s fault), and now begin to discover that voting Conservative isn’t the preserve only of Bullingdon toffs.
 
"What, then, is Labour’s reaction?
 
"Is it to be humble? To rethink policies? Or stick with the policies, but explain their rationale and seek to change wider opinion?

"No. “I blame all the Tory scum in this country”, was a typical reaction posted to social media, replicated in hundreds of similar forms throughout the day."

"You don’t get angry with voters like this unless you start from a sense of ownership. Only a claim of possession explains the hysteria about “betrayal”.

"Labour’s tragedy stems from this mistake, which goes way beyond taking people for granted. In a fatal inversion of the truth, Labour acts like the boss-class over its people.
 
"And whatever cognitive dissonance protected some of the Labour council candidates on May 4 — “I can still vote Labour, because I know this guy and he’s a good guy and it won’t affect anything other than the council” — it won’t be available come the general election. Any vote for any Labour candidate will be a vote to make Corbyn Prime Minister.
 
"Liberal-Tory administrations require an opposition; capitalism thrives in democracies.
 
"But no one requires Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour entity, and his party’s fatal inversion — the belief that it owns the working-class, can call them “scum” when their votes go elsewhere.
 
"That it feels so morally superior means June 9 could be the end of New Labour, Corbyn’s Labour, whatever Labour: the end of All Labour. Time for something completely different. Thank God."

You can read the full article here.

2 comments:

Jim said...

Interesting article yesterday from Richard North over on EU Ref on the state of Labour and UKIP at the moment

Chris Whiteside said...

I admit, that is indeed a very interesting article.