Once again, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog are flogging their student loan dead horse for all it is worth, keeping up the pretence first aired by newly anointed teaboy Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn promised to write off all outstanding student debts in the event of a Labour victory in last month’s General Election, which he did not.
Claims to be a journalist. No, don't laugh
The Fawkes claim wormed its way into the right-wing press. It even broke through into the broadcast media, prompting Jezza to be quizzed on the subject during an interview on The Andy Marr Show (tm). It featured on ITV’s Good Morning Britain. This time, surely, The Great Guido had found the magic bullet which would penetrate the aura of straightforward honesty that surrounded Jezza, and shake his credibility.
Sadly though, the news coming out of polling organisation YouGov shows that the Fawkes campaign has progressed not necessarily to their advantage. Far from persuading all those younger voters to abandon Labour, the “story” has registered so poorly that the claims made on student debt have not even persuaded Tory voters. A comparison of polling numbers shows the reality faced by Wickham and his pals.
After the General Election, YouGov surveyed more than 52,600 adults across the UK - a more than representative sample - and asked which party they had voted for. The 18-19 age group had voted 66% Labour and just 19% Tory. For the 20 to 24 age group, the figures were 62% Labour versus 22% Tory. From this, we can say with some confidence that the Tories secured around 21% of the 18 to 24 age group.
And now, the same polling organisation has put the student loan question to voters. Asking “How do you personally interpret the following statement? ‘I don’t see why those [students] that had the historical misfortune to be at University during the £9,000 period should be burdened excessively compared to those that went before or those that came after. I will deal with it’”, the answers dealt a body blow to the Tories and their cheerleaders.
Remember, the question did not include the detail of Corbyn’s NME interview where he talked about ameliorating debt by lengthening payment periods - so the result might be expected to favour the “debt write off promise” claim. But it did not. Of all respondents, only 17% agreed that the quotation meant “those students would have their student debt written off”. Also, only 17% of 18 to 24 year olds agreed that it did.
In other words, fewer voters in the 18 to 24 year age range believe the Fawkes propaganda than voted Tory last month. The Great Guido has not even managed to persuade Tory voters in their target age range that Jezza said what they claimed.
Worse for the Fawkes rabble, an even smaller proportion of older Tory voters agree with Wickham’s pack of lies. There it is, folks: the latest grubby and dishonest campaign to derail Jezza’s reputation as an honest politician has fallen flat on its smug face.
I told Staines and his shower of propagandists that no-one was listening to their claims. YouGov has now confirmed this. Another fine mess, once again.