A month a go I wrote a rather unflattering blog comparing Liz Truss with Jeremy Corbyn – 2 party leaders loved by their party activists, but not by their fellow MPs.
Since them a few newspapers have picked up on the similarity:
Recent opinion polls show the Conservative trailing Labour by 20-30 points, some of the most dramatic polling I have ever seen. Normally a new PM gets a bounce in the polls, not Liz.
A lot has talked about the disastrous budget, but one of the most striking things about watching the Conservative Party conference is how many people they really dislike. During the party conference I made a list of people who were denounced from the conference stage:
Young people who do vocational degrees,
Young people who don’t do vocational degrees,
People who work from home,
Tweeters, and podcasters,
International Financial Markets,
People who watch the BBC,
People who appear on the BBC,
Anyone on benefits,
Public sector workers,
Pronouns and people who use them,
Footballers who campaign against poverty, in fact footballers in general, or anyone whose become rich by the own talent and not by inheritance
The IMF, and probably EMF as well, give that their music taste is stuck in the 90s.
This is the end game of 12 years of culture wars – they bolstered their own electoral support by creating a longer and longer list of bogeymen. This was always a finite number of categories who could be included before they ended up adding the vast majority of the electorate to their shit list. This is the point we are at now.
Sadly this is similar to where Labour has found itself over the last few years: Sun readers were thickies, Daily Mail readers were racists. Bankers were parasites as was anyone who worked in financial services. The police were fascists an so were the army. White working class men were Ukippers.
Don’t get me wrong I dislike the Sun as much as anyone – I was in Liverpool when Hillsborough happened and I saw the reaction to that disgusting Sun headline. The Sun is an awful paper. But there are still more Labour voters who read the Sun and the Mail than read the Guardian or the Morning Star. Insulting people is a poor way to win votes as Labour found out in 2019. Hate the people who own the Sun, not the people who read it.
Labour has changed the tone of it’s communications recently and is doing better, it just needs to be less dull. It is still possible for the Tories to do the same. But looking at the crowd in the hall listening to Truss’s speech I think it might take a few General Election defeats to make them change their minds – grievance, neurosis and self pity have become powerful motivating factors on the right which has coagulating into a toxic mix of anger, nostalgia and ideology. I can’t see them returning to reality any time soon.
Before 2019 is clear Labour were in for a thrashing – voters were dead set of giving Labour a punishment beating. Right now the Tories are in the same place but worse – people are looking forward to handing them an absolute spanking at the ballot box – I talk to people who fantasise about another Portillo moment. This mood is contagious.
And I don’t think that there is much the Tories can do to change their mind.