Will voters back the coalition over pensions?

Will voters back the coalition over pensions?

..or does it present an opportunity for EdM?

So far there hasn’t been any specific polling on the strike threats over public sector pensions though I would expect the pollsters that are out in the field this weekend, including ICM and I think MORI, will have included something on what could be the big issue in the coming months.

What’s going to be critical is public opinion and whether voters buy the line that all this is inevitable because we are all living longer. If they do then the unions have struggle on their hands and this will be a big feather in the cap of the coalition.

The Lib Dem treasury secretary, Danny Alexander, has received a number of accolades for his handling of things today but will that be sustained if public sector strikes start to have an impact on people’s lives?

What’s quite smart, as the FT reported overnight, is that the very low paid are going to be exempted from most of the measures.

If we move to a prolonged struggle then the unions need to refine their rhetoric. I think they’ve fallen down badly so far and Mark Serwotka of the PCS is not the person to put up as a front man.  It’s a hard one for them to sell anyway because the vast majority of voters are not public sector workers.

And what of Labour? What would Ed Miliband do? Again he needs more specific rhetoric if his party is going to benefit.

Looking back the cleverest move in all of this was the engagement of ex-Labour minister, John Hutton, by the coalition to examine the issue. Alexander has been playing that card well.

Mike Smithson

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