Why the Tories won’t win a majority at the election

The Tories can’t change this country to make it work for the many not the few because they themselves haven’t changed.


The Tories can’t change this country to make it work for the many not the few because they themselves haven’t changed

Despite the economic recovery, polls show the Tories are still struggling to attract more than a third of voters.

As parliament begins its Christmas recess, it’s worth taking a moment to consider why this is. Clearly the rise of UKIP has hampered their electoral prospects, but much of the damage has been self-inflicted.

Back in 2006, amid scenes of huskies and hoodies, David Cameron launched his modernisation project.

‘Compassionate Conservatism’ was an attempt to de-toxify the Tories and shake off perceptions that they were out of touch – a party for the rich, ignorant of and indifferent to the concerns of ordinary people.

However, since taking power, the Tories have regularly vacated the centre ground, adopting more extreme stances on immigration and welfare in a bid to counter the UKIP threat and placate many of their own back-benchers.

The notorious ‘Go Home or Face Arrest’ vans, and (father of four) Iain Duncan Smith’s latest idea – that child benefit should be limited to two children to encourage ‘behavioural change’, spring to mind.

The Tories could have used their time in government to broaden their appeal by challenging their toxic brand. Instead, they seem to have done everything possible to reinforce it.

In the past few weeks alone we’ve seen a judge rule that former chief whip Andrew Mitchell probably did call police officers ‘plebs’, welfare reform Minister Lord Freud suggest that disabled people are ‘not worth’ the minimum wage, and Tory peer Baroness Jenkin argue that ‘poor people don’t know how to cook’when trying to account for rising food poverty.

While some voters will be willing to overlook these flaws in character if they believe the Tories’ ability to take ‘tough decisions’ is what matters most, this only holds if they are perceived to be competent. And this government’s competence has been called into question with alarming regularity over the last four years.

Take their record on the economy. Despite making it their defining mission in government, the Tories have failed to eradicate the deficit and are nowhere near to balancing the books. As a result, chancellor George Osborne has borrowed in this parliament a staggering £219bn more than he planned in 2010.

And while the economy is finally growing, many are yet to feel the benefits; we are certainly not, as the chancellor would have us believe, ‘all in this together’.

On Cameron’s watch living standards have collapsed. Wages have stagnated, and food banks and zero hour contracts have seemingly become permanent features of our economic landscape.

But it’s not only on the economy that the government has failed to meet its own targets. Cameron pledged to get net migration down to the ‘tens of thousands’ – a target he now admits can’t be met.

And 600 pages rather than the 600 words contained here would be required to do justice to the extent of the chaos that has occurred at the Department for Work and Pensions under Iain Duncan Smith. The amount wasted on IT systems for Universal Credit – incredibly, a project that still hasn’t even been signed off by the Treasury – is now being counted in the hundreds of millions.

Meanwhile, because of the lack of action on the root causes of welfare spending (low pay and high housing costs), the housing benefit bill is rising despite the government’s attempts to bring it down.

The Tories can’t change this country to make it work for the many not the few because they themselves haven’t changed. They are still the same old nasty party.

Their lack of compassion and common decency has been matched only by their incompetence in government. For those of us who care about fairness, social justice and the future of our country, the election can’t come soon enough.

Matthew Whittley is a recent graduate and Labour party member and works as a researcher for a Midlands-based housing association

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56 Responses to “Why the Tories won’t win a majority at the election”

  1. AlanGiles

    What a pity a “recent graduate” has to use the same old threadbare cliche’s (“the many not the few”) – at least no “hard-working families” tosh or “fairness”, so perhaps there is hope for him, but is he not being a little naive?.

    Duncan-Smith’s ” lack of compassion and common decency” seems to be equally matched by the battleaxe Rachel Reeve’s promise to be “tougher than the Tories on welfare”.

    Face it, Mr Whittley there is very little real difference in practical terms between the blue Tories and the “Labour” red Tories.

  2. JoeDM

    Cameroonian trendy-lefty, wet, Tories won’t win because the real Tories will be voting for UKIP.

  3. Russell Haggar

    As you say Matthew several of these points can be discussed in much more detail but you have written a very useful short summary. Thanks

  4. treborc1

    Blue labour and deep Blue Tories nothing at all red in labour..

    You have to love Reeves she drops into New labour mode often and then spends weeks trying to get over it.

    I love the smell of the disabled cooking on gas , no what I means is I like to see disabled cooking on gas, in the end you just know she is more New labour progress then socialist labour.

    As for Miliband dear god if ever labour needed a leader with an ideology guts or just a plan it’s now and look what we have.

  5. treborc1

    What real Tories are they not now in the Progress party.

  6. Leon Wolfeson

    “Real Tories”.

    No True Scotsman.

  7. Robert Livingstone

    ^ Lazy half-arsed stoner revolutionary thinking at it’s worst.
    Try some proper thinking:

    “The moment Ed Miliband said he’ll bring Socialism back to Downing Street”


  8. ForeignRedTory

    Dear recent graduate,

    the real world is not a student union where those who lack life experience worry about consistency or image or similar loads of twaddles. I don’t think you have quite captured real concerns and real reasons why natural Tory-voters ( I admit to being a borderline case since I’ve had to keep my nose firmly shut in the past, quite apart from being an immigrant ) might be so fed-up that they decide to cross party lines and vote for the other chaps – that’s your lot in case you did not get that.

    So – let me give you a few reasons why we might be really so put off that we decide that it is all for the best if Red Ed and his merry boys and girls run this country for 5 years.

    -Preserving the Union: Labour was the only Party who fought all the way to keep this country together, diving into hostile crowds as opposed to only speaking to safe audiences as our dear Cammie did. Kudos to Alistair Darling, first of all.
    – Europe. Another Union that needs to be preserved. Standing up for Europe under conditions only is not much of a commitment.
    – Bedroom tax. You know what? It IS a real put-off for those of us who do give a damn. Shunting people from one part of a Council Estate to another part of a Council Estate is a completely futile exercise – front-pocket back-pocket. That is without going into the financial consequences for those affected – or perhaps afflicted is the word.
    -The growing north-south divide. Bit of a put-off when you live oop North, as I do. At this point in history, I can’t quite shake the feeling that the PM and his Party only represent London and Wessex, and not the country as a whole, that they know it, and act accordingly,
    and are thus unfit to govern the United Kingdom.

    Shambles or Plebgate has got nothing to do with it.

  9. Robert Livingstone

    There is no recovery that has anything to do with the Tories – crashes recover – we are simply where we should have been four years ago, had their Tea Party ideology not screwed the economy.


  10. W.E

    …says a member of the hypocritical fence sitting Labour party. This could’ve been written by just about any tribal Labour member who highlight their favourite shopping list of the Conservatives.

    You realise your own party is sticking with austerity if they form government in May?

  11. AlanGiles

    Do you really think the Blairite PLP – like Tristram Hunt, the friend of Mandelson who was parachuted (like so many other Progress arse-lickers) into a safe seat, Jonathan Reynolds, Chuka Umanna, Caroline Flint et al would ALLOW Miliband to reintroduce socialism ito Labour even if he had the will and backbone to do it?

    Today’s Labour party is full of indentikit career politicians with little real genuine difference from their former student colleagues who choose to wear blue or orange rosettes.

    Of course, they will SAY anything because they are so desperate for power

  12. swat

    Just been thinking that we’ve had the crappiest of Defence Secretaries for the past 50 years. The last good one was old Dennis Healey; after that I think we had John Knott, and briefly Toffy Carrington and creeps like Portillo; and there were also weeds like Des Browne and Hoon and now we’re lumbered with nerds like Hammond and Fallon.
    So when are we going to get a Defence Secretary who looks like a Defence Secretary and talks like a Defence Secretary and not like a civil servant pen pusher taking a sabbatical?
    God help us if we get Croaker next

  13. littleoddsandpieces

    Both the Tories and Labour are calling a surplus the unpaid out state pension since 2013, so beginning the denial of 7 years pension payout to a couple.

    So this full and ring fenced National Insurance Fund is not only

    not granting our own money to us since 2013, leaving it sitting pretty in the NI Fund

    that has not needed a top up from tax for decades,

    but is still charging half of the over 60s within the working poor
    the compulsory deductions of 12 per cent from wages per year,
    and burdening their boss with his compulsory share of the NI contribution for employing them.

    Neither Labour nor Tories will repeal the Pension Bills 2010-2014
    now that the economy is said to be getting better, and

    so the new claimants after 2016

    suffer the biggest con in UK history
    of the flat rate pension
    that is not more but less state pension (lots of small print)

    and for a substantial number of these

    women born from 1953 and men born from 1951


    that is sole food and fuel money for a great many in old age


    The pundits say that the Scottish National Party will wipe out all but themselves in Scotland in 2015.

    In England and Wales, the election pundits predict both Tories and Labour will get an equal amount of seats and so be in a hung parliament that could be 4 way coalition, so become entirely paralysed and the Tories still ruling.

    The Tories are aristocracy coming from the public school system that trains into an aristocratic mindset.

    The Tories did the workhouse and the New Poor Law and the Irish Potato Famine, that killed from starvation huge numbers in the not so distant history of the UK.

    England never had the French revolution and so the mindset remains of our ruling elite.

    The real dismay is The Greens, again inside that elite mindset even with their green credentials, because the policies on their website that would have given them a majority government in England and Wales of 303 seats (Labour and Lib Dems’ predicted 2015 seats), is not in The Greens 2015 manifesto.

    The Greens show by this the same lack of care of the sick, disabled, poor, and old of all parties by ignoring those policies. If they had put those unique and new policies into their 2015 manifesto pledges, The Greens would have Greece’s SY.RIZ.A moment and more, that everyone in the world believes that if there is a snap election in the next few weeks into 2015, that they will form a majority government in Greece.

    And a true socialist party would rule England and Wales, and Scotland and Ulster through the UK governance.

    Thus preventing the coming social unrest when the right wing mindset gives us a 1930s state spending, before the 1945 welfare state.

    Because we are not poor because we are feckless, incompetents with a social problem, like politicians and our elite have believed for a thousand years.

    We are exactly the same people as everyone else, just poorer.

    And the poor pay a 90 per cent tax rate, from the 75 per cent of all tax that comes from stealth taxes and VAT. So there is no such thing as someone being economically worthless and not contributing to the tax pool.

    Ms Natalie Bennett is not being courageous enough to bring The Greens into a majority government in 2015 and finish the downward trend giving less than 30 per cent voter turnout.

    The pundits say that the 2015 general election will be the closest to call since 1945.

    In fact it will be the lowest voter turnout in UK history, because the mass of the population have no political representation in Westminster.

  14. Guest

    So, you begin with a rant against education. Then talk about your magical nose.

    Then you ignore other parties, and attack democracy. Right.
    As you push a party of austerity-loving neoliberals.

  15. Leon Wolfeson

    They’re moving right, not left, in their rhetoric. So it’s a moot point anyway.

  16. RogerMcC

    If the Tories are doing this shit it is because they have spent a lot of money on polling that tells them it works.

    The lesson both main parties have drawn from the 2010 election is that thanks to our wonderful electoral system you can win with just a third of the vote (and that the Lib Dems are such political whores that if that doesn’t get you a proper majority they will supply it).

    And the Tories know that between a quarter and a third of the people who tell pollsters they are UKIP now will vote Tory on the day – so a 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 point Labour lead is entirely illusory,

    As for their being the nasty party why on earth should that cost them an election when there are so many millions of our fellow citizens who are every bit as vicious as they are stupid?

    No, they probably will win (and because and not despite of almost everything you list) – the only question is whether they can get a majority of their own and if not whether there will be enough Lib Dems left to sustain them in govt.

  17. robertcp

    The Tories will almost certainly not get a majority in 2015 but I will not be surprised if there is another Conservative-led government. It could be argued that a coalition of conservatives and right-wing liberals has been the typical government in British politics. The Tories have only been unelectable on their own since they stopped being a liberal and conservative party during the 1990s. That is why they needed the support of people like Clegg and Laws in 2010.

    A site like Left Foot Forward should be discussing what Labour can do to ensure that Labour leads a coalition or minority government in 2015.

  18. ForeignRedTory

    To your regret, but to the delight of the vast majority of voters, Militant Tendency is dead, gone, rotten, forgotten. Have a good day.

  19. ForeignRedTory

    In most European countries these days, Defence really is just another Civil Service branch, as well it should under current conditions. The Cold War IS over, and MoD’s are more janitors of a capacity that will be required in the distant future than Firebreathers in charge of assembling and outfitting huge forces.

    And obviously, it shows in the officials running MoDs..Do you think that Mrs Hennis-Plaschaert or Mr Le Drian impress anyone? Both of them appear to have more of a Civil Service background than a Military background. And probably that is more relevant to their tasks at hand than astute wonkery of gadgets and deathrays.

  20. David Lindsay

    Labour is seven points ahead. Seven. The Lib Dems are on five per cent. Five.

    The party led by the Deputy Prime Minister has an entire showing of two less than the Labour lead over the Conservatives.

  21. AlanGiles

    Seven. Yes Seven. At this late stage, with a deeply unpopular coalition government, David, I don’t think you can afford to feel complacenent. If Miliband was believable and had any sort of credence with the public, that figure would be Twenty. Twenty.

    People know that one bunch of incompetent “managers” mouthing platitudes, and buzzwords (“fair”, “hard-working families”, “one nation”) will be replaced (possibly) by another doing exactly the same thing. Also the polls are very mallable. Another poll last week put them neck and neck. Neck and neck, David.

  22. swat

    Agree, Scrap TRIDENT now. But its Ministers make policy and take the decisions; not civil servants. Its Civil Servants that plan possible policies for Govt. Thats why so many of Tory ‘Policies’ are carried forward into a Labour Govt , and vice versa. So, perhaps its the Civil Servants that have the last laugh after all, and could say ‘We told you so’.

  23. Selohesra

    Whilst they wont get a majority they may well get a greater % of vote than Labour (and almost certainly a greater % of English vote) – that will make next coalition interesting

  24. ForeignRedTory

    No argument from me there. The higher the level of accountability we demand from our Govenments, the higher their incentive to hide behind experts and quango’s. and the greater the influence ( up to dominance ) of the Civil Service.

    I am HIGHLY in favour of replacing Trident with something like Iron Dome – but I do not think that it will save money. ( I think that warding off blows is under current conditions a much more reliable bet than threathening to bump off a billion foreigners when it comes to National Security. But that is a debate which belongs at Cabinet level – not at the level of a debate within the MoD. And it does put the moral dilemmas associated with nuclear weaponry behind us.)

  25. ForeignRedTory

    What’s the last time Labour commanded anything resembling 20% lead over ( Con + Lib)? I reckon that must have been the Blair Era. There is no prospect of the British Electorate endorsing anything much to the Left of Tony Blair, and you do well to simply forget about the possibility.

    I think we can also probabky forget about Labour coopting the Libs. That Party will be so thoroughly bruised that the minimum concessions necessary to induce them would be simply preposterously large – sheer ‘wag the dog’ stuff.

    But the good news remains that the UK Polling Report http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/ still indicates an outright Win for Labour, if not quite of the proportions I should prefer.

  26. W.E

    Yes because it’s so offensive to suggest that welfare reform is such a bad thing…

    Why doesn’t the left detach itself from the welfare state for once and take some responsibility for itself?

  27. W.E

    Because people know that state socialism bankrupts the economy?

  28. AlanGiles

    It would be a brave man who predicted the outcome of the 2015 election. The fact remains though an inept and unpopular coaltion is in power yet the Labour lead is reckoned between 1% and 7%, and then you have to allow for a margin of error.

    Nothing though can help the poverty of the quality and imagination of the current “top politicians” of all parties, or the gurning Mr. Farage

  29. ForeignRedTory

    Then I suggest you abandon all pretense that policies not in the bounds of those advertised by those’ top politicians’ of all parties have a role to play.

  30. Guest

    Forget a massive part of the electorate being represented, right, the left are not part of your democracy.

    You’re a good right winger.

    Your beloved Blair managed to bleed millions of votes moving right, and it’s still not enough for you.

  31. Guest

    Keep saying that there’s no altyernative to keep shrinking the GDP, that wages must keep falling, that the rich must get richer, that the deaths you evidently glory in must happen.

    You’re a good right winger, again.

  32. Leon Wolfeson

    7? Which polls would that be? The largest lead in December has been 5 points, and that’s Optimum, who tend to give Labour a larger lead. YouGov is averaging about +1.

  33. Leon Wolfeson

    It’s a disconnected copy/paste rant he does.

  34. Guest

    No surprise you don’t have the faintest idea what Iron Dome is for. As you try and bump off only the British, right.

    Keep hating on those evil quangos like the Courts Service and Meat Hygiene Board.

  35. Guest

    No surprise you want to murder everyone on the left with your revisionist history, as you support your beloved Coalition.

    You don’t speak for the majority of anything but your personalities.

  36. Guest

    No surprise you want to kill off more poor people and hand ever-more power to corperate interests, as you call for ever-more cuts, ever more job replavement with workfare and try and conflate starving people with “reform”.

    Pay tax!

  37. Guest

    Ah yes, because the Nordics, Germany…

    Oh wait, you’re wrong. Even America didn’t follow us down your path which is still smashing wages, but yet you’re frantic to continue that trend. For obvious reasons.

  38. David Lindsay

    It’s been seven twice in the last week, including yesterday.

  39. David Lindsay

    UKIP is no longer even mentioned except as part of some joke story or other.

    Farage’s personal ratings, which are the basis of his party’s success, are in freefall. Don’t bet against no UKIP seats at all. None.

    But what of the SNP? Since it has ruled out propping up a Conservative Government under any circumstance, a vote for that party at the General Election would still be a vote for a Labour Government.

    In any case, there is every sign of a comfortable Labour majority, which will be like every previous comfortable Labour majority in that it would still exist if every seat in Scotland were taken out.

  40. Leon Wolfeson

    Hmm…not seeing those on UK Polling Report (yet, anyway).

  41. David Lindsay

    Well, one of them was on the front page of The Observer. You need to get out more.

    Or even just use Twitter. They were both all over that as well, including angry Tories.

  42. Leon Wolfeson

    I edited, it’s in the text and not the right hand summary of polls.

    I don’t tend to bother with other sources for polls because the sort of statistical abuse they routinely use just pisses me off.

    The angry Tories are idiots, there’s no overall movement towards Labour, who are still managing to fail to put forward a decent platform.

  43. Leon Wolfeson

    No, see, there’s this thing called “left” in the title there. Which means it’s not a Laborite site.

    And Labour offer the left next to nothing.

    Also, afaik, the likely partners of the Tories are the SNP. Who, I note, have not commented on the fact that their budgeting for independence was done on a minimum oil price of $99/barrel.

  44. Leon Wolfeson

    Actually, if you’re simply averaging polls, it’s +1.6 for Labour. Which is within the margin for error for either winning. And that’s been stable for November and through December so far.

    (See: UK Polling Report commentary)

    It’s the trends which matter. And they don’t look good for Labour, which is their fault.

  45. robertcp

    You are entitled to your opinion.

  46. treborc1

    And then died a dead at the hands of Progress Jesus if you think this pile of excrement is to the left god help us.

  47. treborc1

    [email protected] me the Tories are doing a pretty good job of proving you wrong.

  48. treborc1

    How many points is Ed Miliband own vote on, this is where you will find the winner coming from .

    If people do not see Ed Miliband as being the leader of the party then sadly he will lose.

  49. Leon Wolfeson

    No, it’s not an opinion that Labour’s abandoned the left. That’s based on policy analysis.

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