Friday, May 21, 2010

How worried are the Tories about the Daily Mail?

Ever since the ConDem Coalition was formed, the Daily Mail has been attacking, with a negative story pretty much every day. Their narrative is that the Coalition is attacking Middle Britain, and that Cameron is a desperately weak man who is being walked all over by Clegg, who is really running the country.

This is clearly bothering Cameron, who penned an article in the Mail today with the title Yes, we've ditched some policies but I'm still a Tory PM

The bit that leapt out at me was that he felt it necessary to say that he was "still a Tory" - and predictably, most of the comments responded "no you're not", and talked bitterly about manifesto pledges dropped.

How dangerous is all this for Cameron?

The Daily Mail used to attack Tony Blair relentlessly too, but Blair had the advantage that Labour voters did not read the paper (the "Tony's Tories" who had switched to Labour in '97 read the Times, which remained firmly supportive during Blair's period in office). The Mail had to wait till 2001 to get a scalp with the Cheriegate affair, and then only because the story was taken up by the broadcasters and other news outlets. Blair also had the benefit of vast majorities, which meant that if he lost two or three million voters here or there, it barely dented him in the first ten years.

Cameron does not have a majority in his own right, and can't afford to lose any Tory voters at all. Worse, his voters actually read the Mail and are affected by that paper's narrative.

I'm also struck by how people are mentioning manifestos more and more. Voters don't like being told one thing during a campaign and getting another after the election. Labour was very careful in it's 13 years to honour it's manifestos, even delaying tuition fees so that it could go into the 2001 manifesto so that those who hated it had the chance to vote against. You can count on one hand the manifesto pledges dropped in the last 13 years.

By contrast Cameron has dumped a shedload of pledges in just two weeks, and coupled with his dropping of his "cast iron guarantee" before the election, gives him the aura of a man with no honour. Add to this the accusation that he was "weak" during the negotiations and you get a toxic cocktail.

My assessment of the coalition so far is that the LibDems are having a better press about it. They are on TV all the time, and they seem to have the upper hand. Clegg is handsome, articulate and also seems to be leading his parliamentary party better than Cameron, prompting jealousy amongst Tory MPs. The rivalry between the two groups can only grow.


Anonymous said...

Wow, what sour grapes!

Anonymous said...

Can you indicate which Labour manifesto mass immigration,record debt,two disastrous wars,Lisbon treaty etc etc were mentioned?

Nicky said...

@ Anon: wow, what stupid comments!

You are right, Snowflake - the Mail's lack of support for Cameron is going to turn into a big problem for him.

DevonChap said...

Labour did break a 2005 manifesto commitment. They raised income tax effective before the end of the Parliament.

So not so careful as you say.

snowflake5 said...

DevonChap - are you referring to the 50% tax effective April 2010, a mere month before the May 2010 general election. If that's all you have to sling against Labour after 13 years in office, Labour did really well.

Cameron and co have broken dozens of pledges in just three weeks - he claimed he wasn't going to raise N.I. but is going ahead. he claimed he wasn't going to raise CGT, but he's going to, he claimed he had respect for parliament's ancient traditions but wants to rig things with his 55% vote to dissolve parliament. Voters never git a chance to discuss this stuff at all.