There is a bit of the no-brainer about all of this, that when the cuts started... well, erm, cutting, that people were going to get a bit miffed. Two things on that: Well, serves you right obviously comes to mind. The Tories said they were going to cut, and they're cutting. And people don't like it, apparently. Which begs the question as to why we elected them with a workable majority so that they could implement their agenda unopposed... oh. Wait.
But also it's the Tories own fault if they're not loved right now, because they are cutting more than they have to. Yes, they are. Don't believe the hype, don't fall for the scare stories. They were always going to cut more than they have to. The are Conservatives. That's what they do.
But I'm confused by a couple of points raised by Peter Kellner's commentary. He explains that the public are getting disillusioned with the new coalition government much faster than they did with Labour from 1997. The statistics bear this up. However, Kellner's decisive interpretation of this seems a bit odd.
Plainly, part of the problem is that many voters are growing queasy about the coming spending cuts. No longer is it possible for most of us to believe that these will be confined to efficiency savings and services that affect other people. David Cameron’s warning that ‘we are all in this together’ is proving to be alarmingly true.First, no, we're not all in this together, as the Tories' posh-boys, I suspect, will somehow survive these cuts relatively unscathed. Call it a hunch. But, no, it's not 'plain', Peter, no. Surely another -- perhaps even more likely -- explanation is that many Lib Dem voters are not happy that the party they voted for went into coalition with the Tories and so sycophantically support an agenda almost completely opposite to that on which they stood? Which surely the statistics themselves imply?
While approval for the coalition has risen among Tory voters, from 80% in mid-June to 84% , which is to be expected as they get to see cut in public spending beyond their wettest, wildest dreams, the situation amongst people who voted for the Lib Dems is rather different:
Among those who voted Lib Dem on May 6, opinions are divided: just 40% approve of the coalition’s performance, while 36% disapprove. No wonder Lib Dem support has slumped since the coalition was formed. Indeed, of those who voted Lib Dem on May 6, just 46% would vote for the party if an election were held now, while 18% would vote Labour, 9% Conservative and 5% for other parties; 22% are ‘don’t knows’ or ‘won’t votes’.So Kellner's assumption that the coalition, who swept to power with 61% of the vote between them, is losing support now because of the cuts themselves seems like an assumption unsupported by the facts, doesn't it? I'm not saying that we can know for sure that the low approval rating for the coalition is due to disaffected Lib Dem voters, but isn't that the Lib Dem portion of that 61% are saying, 'Whoa!' -- because Lib Dems are like that -- 'Hold on one second here. I don't remember voting for this. I don't think I like this. No sir. Not one bit.'
Ok. It's how I feel, stupidly lured into voting Lib Dem as I was. So surely everyone else naive enough to vote Lib Dem agrees with me?