Spot of UK politics geekdom. The narrative in the UK at the moment is: if the Tories are winning the argument, how come they ain't surging in the polls? In my opinion, this is the wrong narrative. It ought to be: if the Tories are regarded as such a nasty bunch of billionaire-loving, tax-dodging sleazes, who hate poor people, how come they ain't bombing in the polls?
The answer to all of this, in my humble opinion, is very simple. This election is about jobs. The ones we got, and don't want to lose. Or the ones we want the kids to get.
So it is that Labour make great play of the fact that the CEO of newly-merged chain pharmacy Boots-Alliance-Walgreens, who is worth an estimated $10 billion, dodges UK taxes by living in Monte Carlo.
Frankly, Joe Ordinary doesn't care. He might care in 2020, or 2025. But right now, he wants a job that pays enough that he doesn't need a government handout. And if the Boots guy can sell him cheap pharmaceuticals and give him a job, he doesn't give a toss where Stefano Pessina lives, or how many yachts he owns.
The author of the article linked above thinks that the Tories would be doing better if they did the hoodie-hugging thing all over again. Wrong. The mood of Joe Ordinary changed after the Great Recession.
Again, Joe will feel all gooey and huggy when he feels his job is safe. For all the good news on a UK macro-economic level, Joe ain't stupid. He knows he ain't out of the woods yet.
So. He'll support the boys who are in bed with the billionaires, so he can get a job and cheap groceries. And he'll vote for the guys who want to reduce any drag there may be on his chances for economic survival. Which means the political party which positions itself as anti-Europe, anti-immigrant, tough on welfare recipients, and tough on companies that don't give sensible pay rises. Er. That would be the Tories. Eventually. When people tire of UKIP. Which they seem to be doing already.
Is Joe going to tell the pollsters this? Heck no. It's embarrassing. What folks are telling pollsters at the moment is who they want to vote for, not who they are going to vote for. And come the day, they will not be voting for Miliband.
Check out this article by the Deputy Director of Labour progressive group Progress. It sounds like he's claiming that people on the doorstep are saying: hey, we love Labour, but ...
That's what they ought to be saying. Three months away from a General Election. After the most stringent austerity program ever. After a week which highlighted the close connection between toff Tory Cabinet Ministers and tax-dodging billionaire Tory donors.
Actually, what they are saying is: we hate the Tories, but ...
So what, I hear you say? I've done the door-knocking routine. In what we call a 'caravan' of supporters. A parade of cars arrives. All noise and color. Balloons. Leaflets. Happy smiles. Can we count on you on polling day?
It takes a tough soul to say anything other than the usual litany of side-steps. Er. I'll be there. You know I'll do the right thing. I like the color of your bus.
Yet, here is a seasoned political campaigner letting slip that he heard that the Tories and Labour were neck and neck. That folks were saying anything nice about the Tories. Trust me, you have to read between the lines. Such a response on the doorstep spells looming disaster for Labour.
At this stage of the game, I'm going to stick my neck out a bit further. I think the Tories are going to win, with a very small overall majority. And Labour will actually lose a few seats overall. Not to the Tories. But to SNP (in the main) and to UKIP (a bit; possibly one seat; possibly Grimsby; but lots of votes; which may hand some seats to the Tories).