It’s getting harder to know what exactly the Tories can do to lose the election. So far they’ve tried:
· Threatening to increase taxes,
· Taking away the pensions guarantee, against the perceived interests of one of their most loyal groups of voters,
· Refusing to debate with Jeremy Corbyn, despite the popular demand for such debates,
· Transparently refusing to answer any question other than by repeating a mantra including the words strong and stable,
· Resorting to personal insult rather than debating policy,
· Threatening military action against Syria in defiance of a specific House of Commons vote not to do so, and
· Keeping open the option of starting World War 3 by resorting to first use of nuclear weapons
It’s a context in which even May’s talk of leading the world in preventing tourism starts to look like a genuine promise rather than a slip of the tongue. Why not take people’s holidays away as well?
I’m beginning to wonder whether they actually want to lose, and have a back room full of people trying to come up with the most outrageous policy suggestions in the hope that one of them will, eventually, turn people against the Tories and get them off the Brexit petard on which they’ve managed to hoist themselves. So far, none of it seems to be working. Perhaps they’ll really start eating babies next – or perhaps I shouldn’t start giving them ideas.
It says something about the state of politics in the UK that a party can do all of the above and still be so far ahead in the polls. There is, of course, a core vote for all parties; people who will vote for ‘their’ party come hell or high water. For that group, it really doesn’t matter what they say or do – maybe even eating babies. And the polls suggest that Labour might, just about, be down to the level of their core vote. But the polls also suggest that the Tories are running well ahead of their core vote; they are continuing to attract support in large measure from people who are not ‘natural’ or ‘perpetual’ Tories.In theory, this latter group can be swayed between parties on the basis of promises, policies, and perceptions. Yet faced with a choice between a Prime Minister who is unable or unwilling to debate or answer a single question and presenting that as being somehow ‘strong’, and a main opponent who is able to give what are often popular and common sense answers to complex questions and issues, that group are, currently at least, stubbornly standing by their woman. So, what exactly does it take for the Tories to lose?