Sunday, March 30, 2008

Losing touch

There is a must read piece of commentary today in the Sunday Telegraph from the Spectator's editor Matthew d'Ancona that argues Brown has lost touch with the voters. d'Ancona's point is that people are no longer believing what he says about the economy because they tend to look at their own situation and do their economic that way. One point that struck me as needing to be extended though was this,
Suddenly, the talk at middle-class tables is less about Poppy's cello lessons and the simply divine Tuscan villa that Hugo has found: it is about bills, the credit crunch, banks collapsing, negative equity, repossessions, standing orders, school fees. The point is not that outright calamity has struck many people yet. It is that, for the first time in more than a decade, the chatterers fear it might.
It is not just the middle-classes that are having these discussions now. All you have to do is listen to the conversations on buses in South-East London to realise that the situation is far worse for Brown. Those people that Blair wooed away from the Tories are undoubtedly going to be lost by Brown, his greater problem is that the traditional working-class are feeling that same pinch too, even with their tax credits, and allegedly better-off status that Brown boasts about.

Ministers are well aware of this change, and arguably slow decline, in faith with the Labour Party from those they consider their traditional vote. The Health minister Ivan Lewis has told the News of the World that Labour has become the party of the Establishment and it is failing ordinary people. When Thatcher won in 1979 and subsequent elections it was the ordinary people that voted for her. It won't really come down to class, it will come down to how people see their world, and it is not as rosey as the Government's statistics say it is.


Anonymous said...

Spot on And I thought D'ancona's article was on the money as always. The point is will the gap be wide enough at the election for the Tories to have an overall majority. That Labour has already lost the election is a done deal.

Anonymous said...

I just wish the Government would stop lying. The whole country except MPs on their scandalous expense fiddles, know that prices are going through the roof.

How Brown can stand up in Parliament and say with a straight face that inflation is just 2 percent beggars belief.

Wouldn't it be far more healthy to admit that there is a major problem with the economy and explain what is being done about it.

Oh and as for blaming the USA subprime mortgage market for all our woes really pisses me off.

Why can't they tell it as it really is just for once? They may be surprised that people react in an intellegent way.

Anonymous said...

Do you know I think a lot of this could come down to MP's expenses... The problem is they really DO NOT live in the real world, they have a nice wage which is basically for investment because everything they need/want is available to them for free on expenses - second home, furnishing second home, transport, food, whatever. They really do not notice that inflation is more like 5% than 2% because they pay for NOTHING themselves. Therefore they really DO believe that inflation is low.

Sort out the expenses issue, so they have to pay for their own shit, and they would pretty soon notice inflation.

I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt here, I accept the (likely) possibility that they are just lying fucking scum.


Anonymous said...

After Darling's budget, commentators on the BBC were saying that he had been rather optimistic, and that if his projections of good times ahead come unstuck, then he might not wish to win the next election.

Now when even the BBC are showing signs of a little understanding of the size of the problem, it must be real indeed!

So, in true conspiracy theory style, building on Dizzy's final paragraph, I wonder if ministers have already given up any hope of winning at the next election, and are now merely trying to poison the well for those who follow?

Anonymous said...

How true. Not an hour ago I overheard two people on my local high talking about house and how they wouldn't buy one in the current economic climate.

The rising cost of living is hitting everyone, except those with the title MP.

kinglear said...

Iain Dale has a thing about sick man of Europe ie Great Britain.
It was last talked of at the end of the 60's and 70's, both periods preceded by Labour rule ( or cockup depending on the way you look at it). Now we have esxactlty the same thing. Hopefully we will have 15 years of Tory rule to sort out some of the mess, none of which is getting less at the moment.

Alex said...

Was Brown ever really in touch with the voters? It seems that Blair could read the mood of the nation, but Brown has never appeared to have the knack of empathinsing with the voters.