In His Desperation Cameron Turns To God

by George_East on April 17, 2014

God MichelanageloI wrote yesterday about the signs of panic in the Toryverse about the stubborn polling of UKIP and the refusal of the British public to accept the heavily pushed conservative narrative (swallowed by 90% of the Westminster Village), that it is Labour who is in trouble and that the Tories are on a glide path to victory as a result of the genius of David Cameron and George Osborne (I will write more on the weirdness of this narrative in due course).  

My view is that the true story, if only one chooses to look, is the increasing signs of desperation in the Tory ranks.  The budget was supposed to kill the UKIP fox and put the Tories back into the lead for the first time in three years.    Initially the polls did narrow, but in the last week or so they appear to have reverted back to pretty much where they were before the budget: a Labour lead of on 5 or so points, on average.  The Tories appear to be struggling to get out of the low to mid-30s. 

Realistically unless the Tories poll 40% or thereabouts they have no chance of an overall majority given that they need to have a clear lead of at least 7% over Labour (and according to Mike Smithson of Political Betting more like a 9% lead if they want to be sure). 

There are two primary obstacles to this.  One is the stickiness of the defecting Lib Dem vote.  Approximately a third of the Lib Dem vote in 2010 moved rapidly across to the Labour column, once Nick Clegg got in bed with the Tories and has steadfastedly stayed in the red column ever since.   This group are the most enthusiastic about Ed Miliband and there is absolutely no sign of them returning to the Lib Dems.   Some of this is no doubt explained by the fact that amongst their number will be long time Labour voters who defected to the Lib Dems in 2005 over Iraq.  Many of these voters are strongly of the left and are highly unlikely to be fooled by the Lib Dems again and even less likely to vote Tory.  There is on this analysis little that David Cameron can do about this group of voters.

The second obstacle though is the UKIP vote.   This is the stuff of Tory nightmares.  The right’s very own SDP – splitting the nature conservative coalition and letting in the left.   The UKIP vote remains in double figures across all polling companies, from the relatively modest 11% seen in recent Yougov polls to the 20% in last weekend’s ComRes poll.  At the last election UKIP scored less than 3%.    It is pretty difficult to see UKIP doing anything like as bad as that at the next election and it would seem that there are a group of anti-Cameron conservative voters who are unamenable to the argument that a vote for UKIP would let Labour in, as they (extraordinarily from the left’s perspective) do not see him as a conservative at all.

It is therefore important to have the former conservative voting UKIP identifying voters in mind when viewing anything that the Tories currently do.  As Alistair Campbell has observed on many an occasion Cameron’s conservatives are all short term political tactics and no long term political strategy. 

So for Easter Weekend we have David Cameron’s big announcement about his personal evangelism about his Christian faith and how it provides him with his moral compass (I will leave others to comment on the disjunction between this professed faith and the surge in the number of people reliant upon food banks under his administration).    This should be taken with an almighty (or maybe the Almighty’s) pinch of salt.  A couple of weeks back we have had the positively cringe worthy declaration by Cameron that Jesus invented the Big Society.   Yet only two years ago David Cameron described his faith as fading in and out like the reception of Magic FM in the Chilterns.   

The explanation for this is far more likely to be found in the need to pitch himself as a more traditional kind of Tory to the UKIP inclined shires (who left the party in droves, particularly after Cameron’s support for gay marriage).   He is not, I suspect, doing God because God is his thing, but rather because he thinks that he needs to do God to impress those for whom God is their thing.  

I doubt it will work.  It is a tactic of desperation, not least because it is extremely difficult to take Dave as sincere about anything.  He is an empty shell of a PR man and increasingly self-evidently no more than that.   Many UKIPers have seen right through him and it will take a lot more than another stunt to bring them round.

 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jackie_South April 17, 2014 at 1:28 pm

I actually canvassed Jesus at the weekend (well, a Jesus – there is a growing Latin American community in my part of London). I can therefore confirm that Jesus is voting Labour this May!

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Fionauk512 April 17, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Cameron’s religious conviction is about as convincing as Redwood’s rendition of the Welsh National anthem whilst Welsh Secretary, some time ago for sure but perfectly illustrative of the lack of any real passion. He’s fooling no one.

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