Monday 11 May 2015

Assisting the enemy

There will be as many theories about what caused the election result last Thursday as there are people analysing it.  Most of us will see those things which confirm our own preconceptions, and give rather less weight to those which suggest the opposite.  In reality, there will have been almost as many causes as there were people casting their votes.  Voting is in essence an individual action, prompted by a range of factors including image and emotion as well as policy, tradition and self interest.
Personally, one of my own preconceptions is that elections ought to be about different views of the world, and making a choice between them – first and foremost about policies and programmes rather than personalities and image.  I’m realistic enough to recognise, however, that detailed analysis of policies and programmes is something that only a minority of voters do.  And many voters discount all promises on the basis that they have little expectation that they’ll be honoured anyway.
With that caveat – i.e. that policies are only one small factor in the outcome – I’ll return to last Wednesday’s post about deficit elimination.  In this election, we were faced with a range of parties, all telling us that it was essential to eliminate the deficit, but with only one of them arguing that it needed to be done rapidly and resolutely.  I can’t help wondering whether the fact that the other parties all conceded the basic case for a balanced budget, and then tried to argue for doing it differently or more slowly, didn’t end up helping the Tories overall (except in Scotland, which was obviously a special case). 
When they’re all saying that ‘x’ needs to be done, why wouldn’t people who are convinced by that argument back the one party that says it really is going to do ‘x’?  The case for not needing to do it was never really put at all.

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