In the News

The cost of living crisis and the red wall

Mike McCartney

31st January 2022

And how this links to voting behaviour

According to the Guardian:

"Boris Johnson has been warned that the future of his Conservative government rests on how it tackles the looming “cost-of-living catastrophe”, as Guardian analysis shows that swathes of Tory-held seats in the “red wall” will be among those hardest hit.

The prime minister is under growing pressure to set out measures to help millions of families avoid crippling rises in food and energy bill in coming months, with some Tory MPs calling for the national insurance rise in April to be delayed or even scrapped.

Analysis of official data by the Guardian shows that nearly 2m households in Conservative seats are already in fuel poverty, according to the UK government’s definition, including more than 194,000 in key red wall seats won from Labour in 2019."

This news has made me think about what the implications would be in terms of voting behaviour.

The modern electorate are more inclined to cast their vote according the rational choice model. The twin sociological and psychological anchors of lass and partisan alignment still heavily shape decisions by voters at the polls, but they don't decide the outcome. It is decisions by the vital swing voters that ultimately determine what the colour of the door at Number 10 will be painted.

As such, it is the 3Ps that matter: past performance, the party leader, and future policies. (We could add a fourth 'P' here for party unity). And so, as things stand, it doesn't look too good for Boris Johnson's government.

Well, at the moment it is Boris Johnson's government, but events this week may well determine how long that remains the case. But whether or not Mr Johnson leads his party into the next election, red wall voters are unlikely to be impressed if they feel abandoned and that the cost of living crisis isn't addressed, coming as it does after stories of a potential series of broken promises about closing the north-south divide (such as a lack of investment in transport).

Read the full report from the Guardian here: https://www.theguardian.com/po...

Mike McCartney

Mike is an experienced A-Level Politics teacher, author and examiner.

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