Monday, 28 May 2007

Advice for Pink Tories from the Jackal author

He wrote The Day of the Jackal, Dogs of War and The Odessa File, and now Frederick Forsyth has advice for Britain's Labour-Lite David Cameron that advisers and enthusiasts of NZ's Labour-Lite John Key might want to take to heart before they get too excited about weekend poll numbers.
It may be that politics is the art of the possible but election-winning is about doing one’s sums: then persuading the maximum number in the maximum constituencies to vote for you. Turning them off, not to mention pee-ing them off, is bad arithmetic.

No one ever got to Downing Street save on the basis of two votes: their own party’s core vote (the loyalists, the traditionalists) and the floating vote – those who have no inbuilt allegiance but make up their minds near the election.

But David has a third category – the walkaway vote. Back in 1992 a staggering 14million voted Tory. Did they all love John Major? No, they knew nothing about him.

They just believed, wrongly, that he wore the mantle of Margaret Thatcher. Sixty months later they realised how wrong they had been and the Tory vote slumped by 4.5million.

Only half a million actually switched to Blair. One million when UK Independence Party/Referendum Party (now UKIP alone) and the other three million stayed at home. After four years of William Hague another 1.5 million stayed at home as the Tory vote slithered down to just over eight million. Thus, 4.5million ex-Tory voters are unaccounted for. Maybe a third have died or emigrated but that still leaves three million out there somewhere.

Dave Cameron needs at least a million of the walkaway vote to convert to the walkback vote. He needs another million of the UKIP vote (overwhelmingly former Conserv­atives) to become the switch-back vote. Then and only then does he need any Lib Dems who prefer him and his ideas to Ming Campbell to change sides.

What he absolutely does not need is to insult the UKIPers (which he has done), convince the walkaway vote to stay away (which appears to be his aim) let alone sneer at the loyalist bloc until they are so fed up they decide to leave as well. That way he will remain Leader of the Opposition for a very long time.

He is being told by the coterie of juveniles and EU fanatics with whom he surrounds himself that it doesn’t matter because offended, disgruntled and insulted Tory loyalists have nowhere else to go come polling day. Big mistake.

I know at least five Tory voters who have decided they simply cannot vote for him. Only the tip of a possible iceberg? Perhaps – but it was the tip of an iceberg that sank the Titanic.

Master David needs every damn vote he can get. Shedding them is not good mathematics.
John Boy supporters might want to think about just who John Boy's shit-eating is peeing off.

In 2002 only 425,000 voters voted National, the party's lowest vote since the invention of the steam wireless. Those voters might be regarded as the core vote, people who would vote National even if a donkey were in charge -- which is what those core National voters voted for that year. In 2005 the Nats more than doubled their vote to 890,000, sucking in an extra 465,000 voters (which included 110,000 voters from ACT, 80,000 or so from NZ First, and perhaps 200,000 or so people who'd stayed home in 2002). These would be your "floating voters."

Of these, anyone voting NZ First has to be regarded as too fickle to be considered reliable. I can't imagine that the 111,000 former ACT voters will sit still too long for policies that promise little more than muesli bars in schools and the retention of every measure that Labour ever introduced; and those voters who stayed home in 2002 can't be relied upon not to do so again. (After all, the same donkey they stayed home to avoid in 2002 will be back up there behind John Boy next year.)

And on top of that if the Nats really do want to govern on their own they'll need to pull an extra 300,000 or so in from somewhere, both new young voters (many of whom can no doubt be as easily seduced as John Boy seems to think we all are) and even some of the 935,00 who voted for Hard Labour last time. So if I were they, I wouldn't get too excited too soon about a popularity contest sans policies. Real elections need real policies more than they need honeymoon smiles.

They might reflect too on what the point would be of getting excited about a government trailing an opposition when there's barely any discernible policy difference between them. It makes no more practical sense than it does political sense.

UPDATE: The Herald's breakdown of the leading "pockets of support" for each party is instructive.
  • 54.4% of male voters prefer National, while just 29.3% of men prefer Labour.
  • Meanwhile, a whopping 50% of students (and their lecturers?) prefer Labour, that party's leading demographic indicator. Those student loan bribes last election are still paying off.
  • About a quarter of the unemployed prefer the Greens (no surprise, perhaps, for an openly anti-industrial party whose policies would see the number of unemployed explode), and 3.3% of the self-employed prefer ACT -- that party's largest "demographic."
And on that note, I suspect the demographic most strongly represented in the Libertarianz is those who like a drink. At least, that's my own experience. ;^)


  1. There will be a coalition with the Maori Party. ACT will not represented in the next parliament. Write it down.

    Do you ever tire of getting it wrong? Keep posting on things you know something about -- like Rand,
    drinking beer, and farting...

  2. Some advice from someone with a good track record Peter.

    The ACT vote is history -- look for a split between Destiny/Libz. But you MUST totally renounce your Judas Kiss with the Religious Right or else you will get less votes than last time. It was a serious mistake to align yourself with them over hitting kids - as Key knew.

    The religious right should NOT be welcomed into your camp - they are enemies of Libertarianism and Objectivism. You need to have an ARI style purge or else they will bring you down.

  3. I'm afraid Fred lost me with this gem:
    What he absolutely does not need is to insult the UKIPers (which he has done)...

    Let's see - I think there's every need to take every opportunity to 'insult' a squalid pack of Colonel Blimps who make Winston First look like the fraking Libz!

    Forsyth might have a higher tolerance than most for outright fascist xenophobes - there's certainly enough of them in his novels. I just hope David Cameron knows the difference between airport fiction and political reality.

  4. On what I have seen of his performance and background so far, I will not be voting for John. None of the people I know will be either. He just doesn't appear to stand for anything much at all.

    What are his principles? What policies? Does he have any? Or is he another limp compromise? More of the same national party nothingness.

    At least with the cadaverous Helen you know what she represents- collectivism. She's been clear about what that is since her university days.

    So what's the choice- Helen the collectivist versus National the what?

    Naah. I think I'll wait until they've wrecked the show, have a laugh and head off-shore!


  5. PC, despite what you sincerely believe, politics is not about policies.

  6. I like John Key's policies. Not only he has business skills which are applicable to politics, but he's a very attractive man especially to women voters like myself.

  7. "I like John Key's policies."

    You're telepathic? Or do you just like blancmange?

  8. PC said...

    "I like John Key's policies."

    You're telepathic? Or do you just like blancmange?

    Very Funny!


  9. Blancmange has much more substance.

    The similarities between Cameron and Key are evident. Both are warmist-converts and eco-centrists.

    As such, they fall over themselves in their attempts to be all things to everyone.

    In other words, your typical Pink Tory. Neo-Nat, anyone?

  10. I hope Key is siding up to some of this pinko nonsense in order to take the heat out of such side issues.

    Surely I'm not the only one who can recall the televised leaders debates in 05 and how very quickly, especially the TV3 ones, descended into circuses about climate change, nuclear ships & "Don would've done what GW Bush did". Plus a myriad of other he-said, she-said nonsense.

  11. "despite what you sincerely believe, politics is not about policies."

    If politics isn't about policies, then why does it matter which of Tweedledum or Tweedledumber is elected?

  12. Just a note to the always wrong PC and Sycophantic Sus - the ruth is not me. I suspect it is another reincarnation of wicket/paula.

    Good post Craig R, BTW.

  13. Ruth, I thought you were going away for good? (That's RuthAkaAnonymous, not Ruth).

    And yet you keep coming back. Yup. She must fancy you, PC. Rather her than me. (Whoops, not very sycophantic, is it). :)

    But since you persist in hanging around, Ruth, where's your argument with the following?

    "The similarities between Cameron and Key are evident. Both are warmist-converts and eco-centrists."

  14. I'd have to agree with Berend here - politics is about symbolism, not politics. National and Labour have very similar core policies, but the symbolic language they use to describe those policies is the key to which one individual voters decide to support.

  15. Whoops, that's "symbolism not policies."


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