What has “dinner-gate” done to CON majority hopes?
There is a theory shared by a number of political scientists that scandals like the current one over Number 10 dinners for Tory donors are much more damaging in the eyes of voters than things like the economy.
The Major government came to an end in May 1997 because it looked tired and, more importantly, sleazy. One scandal after another had undermined the party in the eyes of the public. They couldn’t seem to do anything right even though, it will be recalled, that the economy had recovered sharply by that point. Even on election day ICM had the Tories ahead of Labour on this measure.
A massive issue for the blues is that summed up by the finding in last night’s ComRes poll that 66% agreed that the measures announced in the Budget show that the Conservatives are the party of the rich, against 27% disagreeing. That’s the perception and dinner-gate simply reinforced the public view.
It’s not helped, of course, that David Cameron is the first Tory PM in nearly half a century who went to a public school – in his case Eton with all that entails.
On top of that Osborne and others have elite public school/Oxbridge backgrounds and the leadership can appear to be very detached from the vast majority of voters.
Tim Montgomerie was right, I believe, in his analysis earlier in the month that class was the big challenge for the blues. To secure an overall majority they need to be much less sectional.