The failure of the mainstream pollsters to pick this win (only an 18,000 strong on-line Spider Monkey survey had picked the eventual 37/31 Conservative/Labour split) has been put down to the behaviour of the so-called ‘shy Tory’. This term was first coined by John Heyward (now a Conservative MP) when he was John Major’s pollster in the 1992 election to explain why pre-election polls pointing to a Kinnock led Labour victory were wrong. Essentially Tory leaning voters lied to the pollsters.
The Left’s vitriol means conservatives are more likely to stay mum
The left believe they have the moral high ground and to oppose their policies is at best bad and inhumane and at worst, downright evil. More on the left see politics and legislative action as the most important force for good in the world – the power of the state to ensure good outcomes as they see it. More on the right see the state as far from a benign force for good and derive satisfaction outside of politics from family activity, humanitarian efforts in the community and organized religious involvements. This moral superiority the left feel they have infuses their political debating with self-righteous indignation sometimes propelling them to more nasty and personal attacks on their opponents. Opponents are more likely to be labeled with extreme epithets to discount and shut down their views (e.g. homophobe, racist, heartless, greedy, uncaring).
Many on the right quickly tire of these abusive ad hominem attacks. When you add that the left has a core of activists who are driven to the political theatre almost 24/7 and for whom warfare with the right is an article of faith and a rite of passage, it makes for a palpable ‘take no prisoners’ approach to debating their opponents. Ordinary right leaning voters who engage on social media on the issues of the day in the run up to elections are routinely subjected to vitriolic attacks often in an almost coordinated way from a myriad of well-armed and argumentative left leaning activists such that they withdraw from the battlefield and learn to keep their opinions to themselves. Fearing further opprobrium for supporting a right leaning party when asked by a pollster, voters from the right often will either lie as to their party leaning or that they are undecided when they are already a committed Tory voter. The left’s aggressive approach to political debate is one of the biggest reasons for shy Tories.
The writer’s observations bear out my own personal experience as a politician at the hands of the Left, limited as it has been to one term on Auckland Council.
Nothing prepared me for the sheer unadulterated bile and venom that greeted my election and continued unabated for the three years in office. The rot started the day after the election emanating from now hard left Green Party list MP, Denise Roche, and her partner John Stansfield and their supporters. Their vicious invective continues to this day and follows whenever I shine a light on their antics through this blog.
Labour in the UK claimed to have won the Twitter campaign and the social media battle but ended up losing the war that counts – the actual election not realising that the Twittersphere is not the same as swing voter land. The young are disproportionately represented on Twitter and social media debates and they are more likely to tilt left and be vocal about it BUT less likely to vote. The left have rendered open discussion in favour of a number of contentious issues such as immigration reform or against gay marriage and Islamic extremism as not appropriate opinions for citizens to hold in a modern progressive society. They have effectively driven a significant minority of the electorate out of the public square and off the debating stage. The left’s bullying has a number of perverse effects on approved speech thus silencing public dissent. These attempts don’t sway voter opinion in their favour but merely strengthen the resolve of the un-listened-to voters to get out and vote for the leaders and parties the left so despise.
The harder Labour swings to the left the more strident, abusive and remote from the British, and New Zealand, people they become. Their refusal to address the concerns of British voters will see the vacuum left by Labour filled by the United Kingdom Independence Party, who now represents the concerns of the ordinary man or woman in the street. The lessons of the UK election will not be lost on NZ First who are the nearest equivalent to UKIP, except under MMP they actually have a voice in parliament.
Labour has become the party of rich, inner city champagne socialists, and even there they have to share the space with 'grand cru' Greenies.
The political landscape is changing rapidly. Labour is a busted flush, newer parties are on the rise, and shy Tories are the ones putting the Conservatives and National back in power. Last Thursday the shy Tories of Britain had their say, and thank goodness we still have secret ballots so their voice can be heard.