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Friday 25 January 2013

Tories’ Dead Cat Splat

After the fawning media coverage of Young Dave’s jolly good speech on the EU, the Tories must have been expecting a positive response. After all, the papers with the biggest circulations, such as the Sun and Daily Mail, had been unequivocally supportive. The Maily Telegraph had been there with them, barring Peter Oborne being the obligatory prophet of doom.

Sadly, the Great British Public do not seem to have appreciated the effort that had been put into Cameron’s speech, and the yet greater effort into portraying it as the product of all that was best of Winshton, Margaret Thatcher, and for the preposterously pompous Simon Heffer, Enoch Powell. The pollsters today bring the first post-speech survey. And the news is dire.

YouGov’s daily poll, the latest sample taken entirely after the Cameron speech, shows a small improvement in Tory numbers, apparently at the expense of UKIP, but Labour is holding steady on 43%, a whole 10% in front. That would translate at a General Election into an overall majority for Mil The Younger of 96 seats. The Tories are doing no better than they were this time last week.

Worse news was brought by Mike Smithson at Political Betting this morning (relaying poll results from Populus), as it was also revealed that just 13% of voters said that Young Dave’s intervention would make them more likely to vote Tory, while a larger 16% said it would make them less likely to. A whopping 71% of respondents didn’t care, and thus a moderately sized hint.

Spot the howler in the Labour numbers

So the message from the public is, as ever, that they don’t see the EU as such a big deal. When Cameron proclaims “I will settle the Europe question with an EU referendum”, Liam Fox drools over the PM offering voters a “real choice, and a sundry craphead at the Express cobbles together “Twenty reasons to cheer leaving the EU”, the reaction out there on the streets is “meh”.

What voters put at the top of their political shopping list is not the EU, but the domestic economy. And the news on that front today is equally grim. Following on the mildly inconvenient news that Channel 4’s Fact Check had rated Young Dave’s claim of “We’re paying down Britain’s debts” as “Fiction”, today has brought the latest GDP figures, which show a 0.3% contraction and a potential triple dip recession.

So those voters seeing the PM, along with neighbour the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the Seventeenth Baronet, and occasional London Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, loudly enjoying their visit to a Davos pizza restaurant where the average cover price was around £45 (wine extra – a lot extra), might not be so impressed with all the hot air expended over the EU.

Cameron should quit screwing around with PR stunts and start doing his job.

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