Thursday 11 August 2022

How to win people to the Tory cause?


Last week, the frontrunner for the Conservative leadership declared that young people are natural Conservatives, and gave as proof the fact that so many of them are involved in ‘side hustles’ alongside their day jobs. Those interested in facts and evidence may care to note that poll after poll shows the reverse (young people are actually turning against the Tories) but then the sub-group ‘those interested in facts and evidence’ is not one to which Truss, or indeed many other Tories, choose to belong. Interestingly, and probably by complete coincidence, there was an article in the Sunday Times this week (paywall) which drew attention to the same issue, highlighting that an increasing number of young people are indeed attempting to monetise their hobbies. It did, however, put rather a different gloss on the matter, by explaining that they are doing it largely as a means of making ends meet in an economy that otherwise leaves them struggling.

Whilst there are, no doubt, a small number who have found that they can make more on their ‘side hustles’ than in their main job, that is far from being the norm. In essence, Truss seems to believe that people who feel themselves forced into spending long hours of their ‘free time’ working to earn an hourly rate well below the national minimum wage, whilst also holding down a full-time job, are showing an entrepreneurial spirit which makes them natural Conservatives. It’s a scenario which is open to at least one other possible interpretation about their potential support for a party whose policies have put them in that position. As a way of persuading low income groups to vote Conservative, it’s up there with one of the other core beliefs of her cult, which is that cutting public services to enable the government to cut taxes so that people keeping more of ‘their own money’ can spend more than the amount saved on buying the same services privately is going to make people feel more well-off and correspondingly grateful.

It's an ‘interesting’ approach to both economics and politics, which is certain to collide with reality in the near future. But then ‘believers in reality’ is another sub-group from which most Tories have long since checked out.

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