Tuesday, July 04, 2006

BGE 2005: Part III - Its the economy Dave

It’s the economy, Dave

The authors attribute Labour’s victory to the general perception that the economy was doing fine so hence why change. The Conservatives greater success in London and the South-East is credited to the fact that house prices and the economy has slowed more there than in the rest of the country. London and the South-East suffer especially from higher Stamp Duty costs and stealth taxes, eg the failure to increase the tax allowances by wage inflation has dragged many in the Home Counties into the 40% tax net, whilst much of the additional tax yield is spent in the North. Despite the latest trends, the need of the Conservatives to promote constant and sound economic policies, including tax cuts, remains as vital as ever, yes its still the economy Dave.

One man and his dog

The Study is especially critical of the Tories presentation of Michael Howard as a personality, whilst Labour presented its front-bench as a government. Other Conservative spokesmen got only a fraction of the exposure of their counterparts, and the second most commonly televised individual was Liam Fox, who was well behind Menzies Campbell and Gordon Brown in visibility. Andrew Lansley at Health and Tim Collins at Education were not even in the Top 10 of visible Tories, but Nick Herbert, never previously an MP, and Ann Widdecombe, now a backbencher were. Yet, all the evidence showed that Michael Howard was not voter friendly and the need for a wider front was tactically obvious, a factor compounded when he called Tony Blair a ‘liar’. The LibDems decapitation policy has been seen as a failure, but with hindsight, by keeping the Shadow Chancellor, Home Secretary, Health Secretary and leading female spokesman in their seats, and off national television, its secondary impact of making the Conservatives less look like a government was a success, even if an unintended one.

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