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General Election Week 2 – The ‘cut throughs’

This is where we focus on what the average voter in the average constituency has actually noticed this last week. Let’s deal with the obvious upfront: Nige is back! That is almost all that voters will remember from this last week, apart from maybe the tetchy first TV debate.

However, we do have a new election category, as we do every election, this time brought to us by the pollster More in Common: ‘Whitby Woman’ will apparently decide this election. She is female, is around 60, owns her own home, didn’t go to university and lives in a small town (like Whitby in North Yorkshire). She voted for Brexit, and for the Tories in 2019. She is “instinctively conservative” (small c) and has traditional values. She is very receptive to the security messaging and particularly cares about protecting the pensions triple lock, apparently.

So, other than the Farage and TV debate moments, what might Whitby Woman have noticed this week? Probably that Labour had a few self-inflicted own goals.

Labour’s Diane Abbott farrago went on for way too long, with Captain Flip Flop going back and forth all week on whether he would let her stand. His deputy, Angela Rayner, relatively quiet for some weeks whilst HMRC and the police inspected her living arrangements, now reprieved, bossed Starmer around and he buckled. Diane the Famous Mathematician will be a Labour candidate after all. The economy is saved! Lucky her, because the night of the Labour long knives killed off several other less well known Left wingers in the pre-election candidate purge.

When is an energy company not an energy company? When it’s called GB Energy, becomes an “investment vehicle” by press release overnight and takes pride of place in the Labour manifesto. As a policy, it seems to have much of the energy industry perplexed. It has done well to make it this far though; Ed Miliband’s centrepiece £28bn green pledge got junked before the election was even called having been Labour’s previous big idea.

After a tricky week, Labour tried to reseize the agenda on Saturday with big economic talk but then got bogged down yet again on Sunday as ‘Keir’s peers’ became a thing, ermine apparently being offered around to old timers to move up to the Lords so that Keir’s retinue of fan boys can get their hands on nice winnable seats.

Trying to seize the media airwave agenda again on Monday, Labour talked up how strong they are on defence. It is interesting how much time Labour feel they need to use up rectifying the sins on Labour leaders’ past - Brown and the economy, Corbyn and defence.

The Tories bumbled along with their low octane core vote giveaways but then got hit with a slew of bad polls, suggesting various versions of total annihilation, with all the competing pollsters pouring scorn on each other’s homework. Mostly the Tories had a quiet, unremarkable week, letting Labour beat themselves up in public before they got ‘poll-axed’. Which is a problem because they desperately need some truly remarkable weeks to stop the rot and flip the polls around, hence Sunak’s punchy TV debate performance. But then old Nigel has now properly screwed their campaign up.

The Lib Dems continued enjoying themselves with their everyday photo op high jinks. We presume there is someone on Lib Dem staff who asks the question each morning: ‘what funny thing can we get Ed to do today?’ This week’s fun included a new policy demanding ten premier league matches shown on free to view channels each season. We kid ye not. Dealing with the big issues, one at a time. (Are we sure their election team hasn’t been infiltrated by the Tories?)

And of course, all the three main parties promised not to raise any taxes. Which literally no one believes.

In Stateside election news, Trump was inevitably convicted in New York. We’re sure it was all very impartial, what with the charge being beyond its statute of limitations, being a federal misdemeanour (ie less serious) but being prosecuted as a state felony (ie more serious), the prosecutor being a Democrat elected on a ticket to ‘get Trump’, the judge being a Biden donor and the jury being drawn from an electorate that votes 85% Democrat. Can’t see any problems there. The Donald’s poll ratings went up and he raised more money, obviously.

Helpfully the junior doctors announced their latest strike for the week before polling day. It’s about pay not politics, honest!

Anyway, how much of that landed with Whitby Woman is unclear. Maybe the only things she really heard were that Farage is back and two blokes had an argument on TV. How much of that will remain in her memory banks by polling day is doubtful.

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