Tag Archives: core vote strategy

Why is our “Core Vote” only middle class metropolitan remainers?

Mark Pack and David Howarth recently wrote the second version of their “core vote” strategy, where they believe we should target those they deem to share our values, usually middle class metropolitan remainers. They believe that we need to tailor our message to these people so they vote for us during the good times and the bad. This report is linked here. Any reference to the report in this article is from this link.

While Mark Pack and David Howarth have the right idea with the plan to build a core vote, they seem to fall into the trap that only those groups that currently vote for us in any significant way share our values. They decide that 38% of the electorate can be defined as “open and tolerant”, based mainly on their answer to the question of how much immigration there should be as well as a range of other questions though these are noted to be less important. I would argue that this narrow way of looking at the question excludes many who would consider voting for the party if we merely appealed to them correctly.

I hesitate to use the term “legitimate concerns” around immigration, as usually they are not concerns based on immigration at all. They are usually concerns about housing, jobs, education and health and the provision of these as the population increases. The lack of provision is not the fault of migrants, it is the fault of a government failing to plan for the future of our vital public services.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 79 Comments

Core vote: A dangerous mirage?

Currently the need to establish a core vote seems, akin to motherhood and apple pie, to be so obviously a good thing that it cannot be questioned. However, at the risk of upsetting friends and others alike, let me raise some concerns.

Firstly, there is the simple truism that in a First Past the Post system you cannot win by playing to your core vote, even if you have one. That is a lesson Republicans and Democrats in the USA have to relearn from time to time. It is a lesson the Conservatives had to learn after Thatcher when Ian Duncan Smith, Michael Howard and even William Hague pandered to the right. It is a lesson Labour had to all so painfully learn after the Bennite manifesto of 1983 dubbed the ‘longest suicide note in history’. The Corbynistas may have to learn it all over again.

Secondly, how long does it take to ‘build a core vote’? The affluent Conservative core vote has always existed with the addition of a section of the working class following astute action by Disraeli from his passing of the Second Reform Act of 1867 onwards. Labour’s core vote –primarily lower income, urban and unionised- was uniting behind them over a century ago; especially after the Liberal Party collapse left the field entirely clear after 1922. How long would it take the Liberal Democrats to establish the loyalty of a similar core vote and at what cost? Some have suggested we should pursue our core even if it puts off ‘mainstream’ and/or floating voters. Really? We should fight elections not to try and win but to try and build a long term core vote?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 34 Comments
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