19/04/2017 Leave a comment
Do the Tories have shares in IPSOS MORI or maybe whoever it is that prints election pamphlets? They do seem keen to send a lot of business their way these days. Anyway, another election. So let’s think about what we might be able to vote for.
A politician can be this:
An elected individual who fights for what is good for the people and whose views are immune to those of special interest groups or the press.
A politician can also be this:
An elected individual who fights for the views of special interest groups and the press and whose views are immune to what is good for the people.
If I were assessing Theresa May, I’d be giving her a 0/10 on the first definition and a 10/10 on the second. Both paths can lead to political success but in fairness to Theresa, the second one is much, much easier.
In the first one, you have to properly understand myriad complex issues, explain these to voters in terms that they may understand, form policies based on them and explain how these policies address these issues. You have to continually measure how your policies are doing and adjust them based on the evidence. It’s really hard work.
In the second one, you just need to read The Sun and The Daily Mail every morning and just do what they said, safe in the knowledge that it will be popular with an awful lot of people. Sure it means that Rupert Murdoch and Paul Dacre are effectively running the country but look how popular you are with such little effort!
Theresa is calling an election because she is way ahead in the opinion polls. Let’s not kid ourselves with thinking there might be anything more altruistic than this. She believes that, in current circumstances with no coherent opposition, she can get a huge majority for the next five years. She is probably also more than a bit concerned about what the electorate will think when they start to see the reality of what she will actually get in her negotiations with the EU. Didn’t work out for David, did it? Better to do this now, before reality kicks in.
One of my friends told me yesterday that the result isn’t clear cut because opinion polls have been shown to be wrong a lot recently – 2015 general election, EU referendum, 2016 US election etc.
That’s true but it misses something that looks fairly obvious to me. Those opinion polls were always wrong in the same direction. They underestimated two things:
- The effectiveness of the right-wing press with biased and fake news
- In the voting booth a voter is more likely to be evil than when people are watching
Neither of these things gives me confidence that the polls are wrong in a good direction. If anything, they are probably underestimating the Tory lead.
So where are we? Jeremy Corbyn has seven weeks to convince voters of something he has drastically failed to do in the last two years – that The Labour Party is ready for government. And he’ll need to do it with the vast majority of the press against him.
And Theresa? She might be awful when it comes to the good of the people but to give her her dues, she’s great when it comes to opportunistic power grabs. You might not like it but you have to admit, for a politician that cares only about power and cares nothing for the good of the people, it’s a fairly astute move.
So, anyway. Do whatever you can with your vote to stop the inevitable but don’t get your hopes up.
This is going to hurt.
P.S. I stole the title of the blogpost from Adam Kay’s upcoming book, “This is going to hurt”. It’s probably the best book ever written and you can pre-order it now. He is one of the most fantastic people I know and I am so proud of him for writing it.