Yes, my feeling of relief at the news of the Labour party getting stuck in the election mud yesterday did induce in me a feeling of mega-smugness but then up steps young Master Fraser Nelson - well, he's 'young' to me! - with two articles in the Telegraph that instantly reproduced my political indigestion! The first burning mouthful, with my added emphasis, contained this warning:
Today’s local election results suggest Corbyn has consolidated the extraoardinary gains made last year. Michael Thrasher, an academic and local authority pollster, has this morning calculated that if they were translated into a general election the Tories would do, if anything, a bit worse than in last year’s election – whereas Corbyn would hold the ground that he gained.
Actually, now that Mr. Fraser mentions it, I was slightly surprised that given the utterly ghastly nature of his 'Momentum' movement 'Jezza' actually did as well as he did! After all . . .
There is no economic trauma. Unemployment stands at a 43-year low, disposable income at an all-time high, income inequality near a 30-year low – not by accident, but because Tory policies have worked. And yet the Tories struggle to establish a lead over Corbyn and John McDonnell, whose radical economic agenda would have been written off as lunacy just a few years ago.
It is time, Mr. Fraser suggests, for the Tory party, whose membership has halved in the last ten years, to look hard at itself. In his second article, he suggests some areas in which they should look hardest beginning with the question: what is the Tory part for? What are its aims and objectives? What is the message that will stir hearts as well as minds in the way that 'Jezza's' obviously has done amongst his followers? Also, and Mr. Fraser believes this is critical, how do the Tory party 'panjandrums' intend to get this message across? The Labour party has used its mainly young supporters who are conversant with the new digital media to great effect. Where and what is the Tory response to these new techniques?
The Tories should be panicking, not wallowing in smugness!