The Wilted Rose

Charting Labour meltdown 2007-2010

It will be working-class Northern women who do for Brown

The great Kathy Staff has sadly died.  We never found out the politics of her character on Last of the Summer Wine, but I’m willing to hazard a guess that Nora Batty (the fictional character, not the actress) was  a Tory and that she would have had none of Gordon Brown’s financial & economic nonsense – and that she would have seen our hapless PM with one swoop of her broom.

Ms Yvette Cooper isn’t a Northerner herself: she’s a public schoolgirl who neither understands economics (despite – or because of – being Chief Secretary to the Treasury Numbskulls), nor has any of the financial nous that characterise tough Northern ladies like Mrs Batty.

Labour is doing very badly with women in the opinion polls (around 10 – 12 points (or more) behind the Tories).  In particular, Labour’s advantage in the North is not as good as it should be, and the explanation is quite simple.

In earlier posts, I highlighted (a) how Northern & Scots men aged 35-55 and on benefits were flocking back to Labour; and (b) why the Tories need a Northern strategy.  I managed to offend Kerron Cross (and no doubt other people) with my Rab analogy, but I was just trying to make a point and I apologise if anyone else was offended.

More recent opinion polls have generally confirmed the trend, and though there are no specific figures, it’s fair to say that in the North (whether we are talking about Sunderland, Darlington, parts of Yorkshire, Cheshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, or wherever) Labour will not have as easy a time electorally as one would expect.  Particularly in Greater Manchester, given plans to ignore the congestion charge referendum and press ahead with the scheme.

Once the Tories get their economic strategy – and their Northern strategy, just as importantly together – they will be able to pick off a number of key Northern marginal seats largely on the back of working-class Northern women. Let me empahasise that I’m not characterising Northern women as Nora Batty, but my point above is that she would have seen off Brown with her broom.

And when it comes to the next general election, it will be working-class Northern women who do see off Brown – with one swoop of their metaphorical broom, the vote that women fought so hard to win – and they can make a difference to all our futures by ousting this dreadful Labour Government.

While some sections of the electorate have fallen for the Labour tax con and the apparent “Save the World” reincarnation of Brown, working-class Northern women have not.  It was they (and particularly Catholic women) who, more than any other group, gave Labour the boot in Crewe & Nantwich by switching to the brilliant Tory candidate Edward Timpson.  I remember one such lady on the doorstep in Crewe who told how Brown’s economic policy, including rising food and petrol prices and the abolition of the 10p tax rate, were affecting her and her family – and why she was voting Tory for the first time.

One key element of the Tory Northern Strategy (and their broader economic strategy), therefore, has to be to connect with working-class Northern women in such a way as to reassure them that, while Brownian economic policy means debt and disaster, the Tories’ means prosperity and plenty.

15 December, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment