We hear from James Kirkup, a resident hack at David Cameron’s fan club newsletter (aka the Telegraph) that the Tory Party machine is now big into “Data Electioneering”. Apparently this is the equivalent of the supermarket loyalty card where you use information gathered at the checkout to decide how you will stock your shelves
It would amass information about voters and seats, information that could be used to ensure that the party knows where the electorate is, what it thinks, what it wants.The result is an extraordinarily extensive – and expensive – programme of opinion polls and focus groups generating huge volumes of data about voters’ views and preferences
In other words the quaintly old fashioned idea of a political party being the coming together of a group of individuals with a common view of political principles and ideas which then seeks to persuade the voters to elect them into government is now so yesterday. Instead you fashion your policies around consumer research, social media reaction and, eventually, product testing. Presumably, after all that, you come up with a to do list which will aim to please mumsnet, greenpeace and the Daily Mail…
Good luck with that.
Of course, it’s all very expensive for the Tories – but when you have the bosses of the big global corporations who do well out of the EU trough and cheap labour via uncontrolled immigration in your pocket then why worry? OK your party membership at local level is collapsing but, like the banks, who needs branches when you can centralise?
Hence the reshuffle, aimed, we are told at
women, especially those with young families. Such women, alongside Ukip supporters who used to vote Tory, were a key audience for the reshuffle, both precisely identified by that polling operation for a data-driven reshuffle that is without precedent in British politics.
Odd, though, that “UKIP supporters” should be furrowing brows amidst all those data drivers at Tory HQ…..UKIP, a party led by political outsiders, permanently cash strapped with only the bare bones of a professional cadre and with no support from any national media outlet yet which consistently polls well ahead of the Liberal Democrats. Enough, if it continues, to possibly win a seat or two, certainly enough to undermine the chances of the Tories getting a working majority in 2015.
There is little evidence yet of a fall in Ukip support now the European Parliament elections have passed, confounding the expectations of pundits who believed the European election victory was the “peak Ukip moment”. Our estimates have Farage’s party at 14.8 per cent, down just 0.1 per cent on last month. The Liberal Democrats, however, continue to slide to new record lows. This month they register just 8.8 per cent, down 0.5 per cent on last month, and an all-time low under our new methodology.
Much ink has been spilt, of course, over a lack of clarity over UKIP’s policies on tax, the NHS etc and, to be fair, some of this criticism has been justified. But then to what extent can people be clear about the policies of the three establishment parties on these issues. However most voters are aware that UKIP wants to withdraw from the EU (not negotiate) and impose stricter controls on immigration – and they say you cannot have one without the other. The three establishment parties claim to be concerned about uncontrolled immigration but don’t really want to leave the EU. They also have hang ups about upsetting the high priests of political correctness in the media. UKIP couldn’t care less about the media, focus groups or pontificating pundits – what you see is what you get and that message has resonated, pitching through all the spin and PR noise of modern politics.
One comment on the Kirkup piece (from Telegraf) encapsulated the vacuity and shallowness of the Tory data obsession “It’s good to know that politics is now simply a marketing campaign involving a brand on an empty box that once used to contain principles.” But then what can you really expect from a party led by “a onetime PR man for ruthlessly profitable trash TV”