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In Starmerland, the ladies are not for turning Tory women will decide Sunak's fate

'At the mention of Tony Blair, the same lady hissed.' (Getty)

'At the mention of Tony Blair, the same lady hissed.' (Getty)


June 29, 2024   7 mins

Turn right out of the station, head down past the village green and the yoga studio and the osteopaths, and you will eventually arrive at the pebbledash semi that made Keir Starmer. Once upon a time, Hurst Green may have been a place of struggle and strife for the Starmers, but today it is one of tranquilising Home Counties comfort and wealth, where the gently rolling wooded hills roll give the illusion of isolation without any of the actual discomfort.

In one sense, the road where Starmer grew up — Tanhouse Road — bathes contentedly in this tranquil Surrey slumber. It is a pleasant land preserved like some vision of Danny the Champion of the World by the socialism of Clement Attlee. There is a stream at one end and a pub at the other, as well as a local “gypsy camp” crouching on the hill behind.

It was here that I found myself earlier this week, traipsing around in the heat of the British summer, trying to understand the agonised soul of Tory England as it contemplated its own annihilation. Trapped between the barbarian tribes of Reform, Labour and the Liberal Democrats, it is unsure whether to wave the white flag or to launch a final quiet fight for salvation at the ballot box on Thursday.

And yet, today, you don’t have to walk far from Starmer’s old front door to be shaken from this daydream. The Haycutter, the pub at the end of Starmer’s old road, is a case in point. Though the name nods to the area’s not-so-distant past — the land behind Tanhouse Road, once owned by the Starmers and used as a Donkey Sanctuary, is still used for haymaking by a local farmer — The Haycutter is no drinking hole for farm hands, if it ever was. Instead, it is a place of derivative country chic, all gins and faded wood, Asahi on tap and the obligatory burrata and truffle fries for “starters and nibbles”.

It was here that I found a group of retired women, florally Tory and on the rosĂ©. I mentioned that Starmer had grown up just a few doors down. “Well he should’ve known better, then,” quipped one with an authoritative grin. At the mention of Tony Blair, the same lady hissed. All were dismayed at the state of the country and the idea of a Labour government, but greeted the prospect of Reform becoming the opposition with horror. And yet, they have still not made up their minds who to vote for. “There definitely needs to be a change,” said one. “But frankly there’s no one to change to.” If Sunak had lost these ladies of Surrey, the game was surely up. But had he?

Travelling through the North Downs and into the Kentish Weald beyond — a land now teeming with vineyards rather than hops (for shame) — I encountered this same message of agonised indecision again and again. Even on Tanhouse Road, one woman stopped me as I went poking around looking for clues for the life Starmer once led, and told a similar story: she was unsure who to vote for, and desperately disappointed that, at that moment, no-one had come knocking on her door to persuade her. And she once knew and liked the Starmer family.

For many, it seems, the election has barely even begun to penetrate their lives. There seems to be a hesitation about what to do about it — a bewildered apathy. Most I spoke to wanted the Government squashed, but beyond that were unsure. And this feeling seems to be felt particularly strongly by women.

For Rishi Sunak, however, it is these quietly fuming Tory women of the shires who may now decide the difference between respectable defeat and total humiliation. That at least is the conclusion of a number of Tory pollsters and candidates staring into the abyss.

The pollster Andrew Cooper, for example, who grew up in Surrey and went to school with Starmer before going on to advise David Cameron, told me that these hesitating women were the last great hope for the Conservatives: the new “shy Tories”, as he put it. “Having lived through the 1992-97 period when the polls were wrong because of what became known as the shy Tories,” he said, “I think all of the conditions are there — that we may have shy Tories again.”

And the figures certainly seem to back up his analysis. Even with just a few days to go, a poll shared with UnHerd shows that some 16% of those who voted Conservative in 2019 still don’t know who to vote for. Of these undecideds two-thirds are women. And of these, 70% are over 50, 80% voted Conservative at the last four elections — and the vast majority voted Leave in the EU referendum. They are also disproportionately concentrated in the south of England, with 44% living in the shires around London, while hardly any actually live in the capital itself. Of these women, just 10% say they have ever been tempted to vote Labour and even fewer have thought about backing the Lib Dems. And yet they are still apparently undecided.

So, why the “shyness”? Certainly, the women in the pub could not be described that way. One explanation is simple: like much of the rest of the country, they don’t like the Government — and, even more to the point, they don’t like Rishi Sunak. According to Cooper’s polling of 1,000 one-time Tories, only 5% thought Sunak was strong and only 4% thought he “shared my values.”

For the Conservative campaign, this leaves Sunak in a particularly difficult situation. For these undecided shy Tories, they simply do not want to hear anything about why the Government deserves another chance — because they don’t think it does. “The only thing you can say to them,” Cooper said, “was ‘look, we’re going to lose anyway, and people like you do not want a Labour government with a huge majority, and the only way to avoid that is, is hold your nose and vote Tory again’.”

He points out that, contrary to some arguments that there is nothing Sunak could have done to turn around the Tory party’s fortunes, there has been a steady decline in the proportion of 2019 Conservative voters saying they intend to vote Tory again at the next election. Before “Partygate”, the proportion sticking with the Tories had dropped to 84%. By the height of that crisis, the proportion had dropped significantly into the mid-60s, before falling into the low 50s after Truss’s mini-budget. Since Sunak took over, however, the proportion of 2019 Tory voters who say they will vote Conservative again has plummeted to 44%. “And that’s on Sunak,” as Cooper put it to me.

But as the election draws to its conclusion, how many of these “shy” Tories will actually hold their noses to save the party? One Tory candidate in the Blue Wall told me the women he had spoken to “don’t want their friends to know they are voting Conservative”. Their husbands were grumpier, he added, and more likely to vote Reform. Another Tory candidate from the Home Counties told me she had certainly noticed women were more undecided in her canvassing: “Definitely.” But why? “They worry about public services [but] they’re not inspired by Keir — they’ve been too equivocal about women’s rights.” From a Tory perspective, J.K. Rowling’s attack on the Labour party last week could not have been better timed.

And yet, there has been little change in the polls. Indeed, there is no guarantee these women and their grumpy husbands will actually turn out to save the Conservatives. In fact, the reality could even be worse. In Tunbridge Wells, half an hour or so away from Hurst Green, I met one elderly couple who, at first, seemed to neatly match Cooper’s analysis of 2019 Tory voters. Yet, in this case it was the husband who was still, reluctantly, planning to vote Tory while the wife was still so furious she had not made up her mind. She might even turn up and spoil her ballot by drawing “a pretty picture” in protest. The shy Tories of 2024 might actually be a mirage — they’re just angry ones.

“The shy Tories of 2024 might actually be a mirage — they’re just angry ones.”

What is so remarkable about this election is that, just five years on, from Johnson’s triumph in 2019, we are contemplating not only the Conservative Party losing control of the Red Wall in the north, but also swathes of the Blue Wall which has for so long stood around London. Is this a part of a permanent change in British politics, the suburbs spreading into the former Conservative heartlands just as urban sprawl of the big Democratic cities of the United States is turning once-safe Republican states like Georgia and Virginia purple?

In private, I was told that Starmer’s campaign director Morgan McSweeney has been warning people that it would be wrong to draw any long term forecasts from the results this Thursday because of the volatile nature of modern politics. The reason for this is that, during the Eighties and Nineties, the vast majority of people always voted for the same party. People tended to have a clear sense of which party protected their interests, making it harder to persuade people to switch. As a result, relatively small swings were required to win elections. In 1979, for example, Margaret Thatcher won with a swing of around 5%. Today, the polls are suggesting Labour could win with a swing four times greater than this. The number of voters each party can count on has shrunk dramatically.

Underneath it all, then, is a new volatility spawned by the confusion voters now feel about which party represents people like them. Are the Tories for the rich or the “left behind”? Are they for the establishment or the Red Wall? And what of Labour? Are they for the forgotten small-town folk or the urban liberals? In Surrey and the Kentish Weald people seemed confused. Among the ladies of the Haycutter, one half-joked about how “common” it was that one of her neighbours was displaying a Vote Labour sign in their front garden. Yet, among the great middle-class sea of urban professionals spreading out from the cities of England, the sentiment is now entirely the other way around. Voting Left is a display of middle class distinction; only the old and the suspect vote otherwise — the sort who still drink in pubs that do not offer burrata.

According to the latest MRP polls, this sea of liberal voters is on course to wash away the last Tory tribes of old England. The great irony, however, is that this wave of Starmerite red may finally wash up on the high ground of Starmer’s conservative Hurst Green. Unless, of course, the angry women of the old world decide, reluctantly, that they must do their duty to save their tribe.


Tom McTague is UnHerd’s Political Editor. He is the author of Betting The House: The Inside Story of the 2017 Election.

TomMcTague

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Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
26 days ago

I still for the life of me cannot grasp how Sunak got the top job in the first place; the man has the charisma of a damp sponge and the administrative skill of a dry one.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
26 days ago

True, but how does Starmer differ from this?

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
26 days ago

That was obviously not the opinion of Tory MPs who backed his coup. The choice of Sunak reflects poorly on all Tory MPs and explains why so few seem able to withstand the tsunami hitting the party by playing on their individual record and personality.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
26 days ago

I think the party didn’t choose Sunak, rather they rejected Truss.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
23 days ago

What choice would you have made? They were not exactly bristling with charismatic leaders. As this article and loads of political analysis made clear, the Tories were haemorrhaging support even under Johnson. Read Ed West. The Tories have for a long time been becoming the party of the old, retired and well heeled. They simply don’t have enough of a thriving social base any more. Cameron couldn’t win ab overall majority in 2010 despite 13 years of Labour government. The victory of Johnson against a disastrous Labour leader was largely an illusion, he went on to betray the Red Wall voters in any case by liberalising the immigration rules further. But National conservatism – or is it Faragism? has minority support in England, let alone the UK.

Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
26 days ago

He got it because Boris backed down under pressure. There is no way he would have won the vote if it had gone to party members. He had already lost out to Liz Truss and that tells all you need to know about the sanity of Conservative Party members out in the sticks!

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
26 days ago

I quite liked Sunak, actually. Although maybe it helps that I don’t live in the UK so I’m not affected by what he does or doesn’t do.
I defended him against the vitriol which I felt stemmed from a kind of allergy to cleverness that a lot of British suffer from and which drove me crazy growing up there. I also stuck up for him against those who were clearly guided more by the green-eyed envy monster than anything else in their criticisms of him. Let’s trash the rich guy because we’re jealous!
It was the D-Day incident that made me finally stop supporting him. What better way to show literally the entire land that you don’t have any clue about how the ordinary person ticks? Trash your premiership in one easy step! It was as emotionally illiterate as it gets and I felt it almost as a personal affront.
Off you toddle, Rishi, love. Don’t let Larry the Downing Street cat scratch you on your way out.

David McKee
David McKee
26 days ago

Tom McTague describes some very unhappy people, but he shows a strange lack of curiosity as to why. “Dismayed at the state of the country” is as far as it gets. Which is odd. The traditional measures of discontent- inflation and unemployment- are in the Conservatives’ favour.

So let me ask Unherd readers. If you voted Conservative in 2019, but won’t vote Conservative now – why?

Liam F
Liam F
26 days ago
Reply to  David McKee

Can’t speak for others, but for me they are no longer the Conservative Party – they’re socialists now in all but name. We’re skint but they pursue luxury policies, – net zero madness, no control of economic immigration, ineffective policing, and continued expansion of the public sector services without any return. People haven’t deserted the Tories, they’ve deserted us. I would struggle to think of 10 Tory ministers that are worthy of the word competent.

I don’t even know if a “respectable” defeat will be good enough to hold Labours feet to the fire – they would just carry on with the same failed policies. They probably need an near-extinction event so they can rebuild again from first principles.

j watson
j watson
26 days ago
Reply to  Liam F

I think folks sense that the Right has too many contradictions and just gradually, inexorably make things more unequal. Eventually even large chunks of the middle class feel that, and that is what is happening.

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
26 days ago
Reply to  Liam F

It’s a simple fact that all governments eventually run out of talent & ideas.
But what’s added to the Tories woes is that they ever allowed Johnston to become leader & PM. He destroyed both the party’s & the country’s reputation.
Unless to Tories purge themselves of that they’ll be in the wilderness for a generation.
Some commentators think they might never return

Norfolk Sceptic
Norfolk Sceptic
26 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Johnson was the best person remaining for the job of implementing the referendum result, that all Legacy Parties has promised they would do.

That is why the Legacy Parties should be removed from Parliament, both houses!

Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
26 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Talent maybe, but the policies needed to run a country without eventually running out of money,are the same as donkey’s years ago,but noone wants employ them anymore,until they have to,and we are very close to that now,everywhere in the West.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
26 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

When exactly did the Conservatives ever have any talent and ideas post-2010 ? They nicked the Blair/Brown playbook and happily used the same policies.

Arkadian Arkadian
Arkadian Arkadian
26 days ago
Reply to  Liam F

Certainly you could speak for me as I could have written the same comment. 😀
However even Labour winning 600 seats could well be just a flash in the pan, as they offer no alternative, but the same policies with a different colour wallpaper.
We do need the Tory party to go back to basics, renew itself and find candidates of quality, not the usual mix of gullible twats who stumble from one absurd scandal to the next.

Norfolk Sceptic
Norfolk Sceptic
26 days ago

I expect a renewed Tory Party will still have those hiding in the shadows, and HoL, helping to shape a new plan of Managed Decline.

Steven Targett
Steven Targett
26 days ago
Reply to  Liam F

Exactly my feelings too and I suspect many others. Until they become at least a bit right of centre they won’t be getting my vote. And no I don’t mean “far right” either.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
26 days ago
Reply to  David McKee

What message does that send to the Tories? You can eff it all up and we will still vote for you. Brits will have to take their lumps and endure a few years of Labour, who will make things much worse. Of course, you could always vote Reform.

Ash Sangamneheri
Ash Sangamneheri
26 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Reform seems a one man show, a better protest vote seems Lib Dems

Rob N
Rob N
26 days ago

You cannot be serious. The LDs are, hard to imagine, even worse than Labour. And Greens even worse again.

j watson
j watson
26 days ago
Reply to  David McKee

Fundamentally DM it’s because inequality has increased. The way wealth is distributed in the UK has slanted ever more towards the v rich. People don’t easily discern this from what they see politicians say or what they read/hear in the News, but they sense it and they feel it. Here’s an example – these ladies children are probably struggling much more to find secure jobs and housing. That’ll flow through to how their Mum’s sense things are not right.

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
26 days ago
Reply to  j watson

It’s taken a long time for the increasing inequality to take centre stage – the roots of this phase of it go back into the 00s when the housing boom kicked off. How much Labour are actually able to push back on this, or how much they even try, remains to be seen.

Norfolk Sceptic
Norfolk Sceptic
26 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Wealth has migrated to the very rich, in increasing asset values, and the ‘undeserving’ poor, often because the opportunities are lacking, not obvious to them, or they lack family support.

It is the somewhat wealthy that generate new jobs, but many in their 40s and 50s, instead of expanding their company and creating new jobs, are discouraged by increasing taxation, extra regulation and wokery, and retire instead.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
26 days ago

Yes, I’m in my late 40s and semi-retired. Only working to have something to do, but not working too hard because I will be overly taxed.

j watson
j watson
25 days ago

They are encouraged rather to invest in assets because the rate of return is safe and better. R>C as Thomas Piketty put it. It’s the fact tax is lower on asset wealth that perpetuates and extends inequality. So you are correct but I strongly suspect not in the way you meant.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

A tax on wealth would solve every UK economic problem overnight.. Do the maths!

Kevin Ludbrook
Kevin Ludbrook
23 days ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

So I used to get paid well for working very hard but also spent a lot of time and effort doing up what is now a very nice house. I gave up work in my mid 50’s partly because I’d saved well and partly because I have a disabled wife. I live a pretty humble life, no flash cars or holidays. So which mathematical equation do you propose will work out fairly for me? Too many people believe that taxing and spending more is the answer. I wouldn’t want to give a penny more until I see the NHS lose it’s waste or my county council works out why it spends so much on social care – 80% of a billion pound budget. I’m not saying cut, I’m saying stop thinking more spending is the answer.

Andrew R
Andrew R
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

I doubt very much in the way you meant JW.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
25 days ago

Wealth has migrated to the very rich.
I know this is the favoured narrative at the moment – but it really is nonsense. The problem in the UK is not that a few people get very rich, but that millions of the wrong people get undeservedly rich. Everyone I know is a millionaire – but I don’t know anyone who got that way by doing something useful. It’s pretty well all thanks to New Labour – and it’s going to get worse under New New Labour.

Norfolk Sceptic
Norfolk Sceptic
26 days ago
Reply to  j watson

A population where all are equal would be dysfunctional. It never works, as it needs increasing authoritarianism for it to continue. Just look at the USSR, China after the revolution and NK as examples.

A school leaver and someone nearing retirement after a successful career cannot be equal: one needs hope, educational opportunities, and a choice of a good career, while the other expects wealth to sustain him/her in retirement, and not be a drain on the taxpayer.

Removing the consequences of inappropriate choices, like choosing an employment inhibiting degree, or the Government continuing NET Zero policies will result in much economic suffering, and anguish, especially for the poor. But then, like all Socialist/Communist policies the goal isn’t the one advertised.

j watson
j watson
25 days ago

Where did the nonsense ‘all equal’ come from NS? Some inequality is both inevitable and necessary. The issue is the degree. Note long term growth rates have dropped as inequality increased. It’s a racket and the distortion you pedal that anyone who suggests wealth distribution fundamentally important to a healthy economy is a Commie means you are either part of the racket or been conned.
Remember for someone to be in debt, and that can include a Govt, someone else has to be in credit. Have a moment to think who’s in credit and how that happened much more last couple of decades.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Much of every country’s debt is owed to its own rich citizens, especially banks, pension funds and insurance funds.. and who owns those pray tell? The obscenely rich who will not redistribute and so the people and country ho broke, so that millionaires can become billionaires. Jusr look at the figures from the last 30 years.. it’s simple arithmetic!

Kevin Ludbrook
Kevin Ludbrook
23 days ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Pension funds and Insurance funds are generally owned by the beneficiaries/members and that includes many people not just ‘the rich’. Where are you getting your data from? It would be interesting to read.

Andrew R
Andrew R
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

We’ve told you many times over JW, stupidly low interest rates, low skill, low wage, part-time service economy propped up by mass immigration. All conceived by New Labour.

j watson
j watson
25 days ago
Reply to  Andrew R

First bits we agree AR – hurrah! Even if all these were conceived by last Lab Govt (and I don’t agree) what you been doing last 14 years? Making it worse perhaps? Making sure the v rich carry on getting even richer?
Sorry you can’t blame an administration of more than a decade ago when the Right been in power ever since. You need to outline why the Right not tackled low skills and low wages? Then the Right has a chance of resurrecting itself.

Andrew R
Andrew R
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Not my responsibilty JW, I didn’t vote for these clowns (I’ve told you this half a dozen times). The Conversatives were happy to go along with Labour’s failed policies, they just sat on their arse for 14 years. Hence the beating they are taking now.

New Labour’s “Third Way” managed to take all of the worst Tory policies and combine then with all the worst Left wing ideologies. It appears the Tories have followed suit.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Sorry you can’t blame an administration of more than a decade ago when the Right been in power ever since.
The ‘Right’, as you describe it, has been in power since 1997 at least. Tell me, who broke the connection between housing costs and interest rates and then pumped ÂŁ400 billion straight into house prices so that people like you would vote for him whilst telling yourselves that doing so makes you ‘progressive’ and ‘nice’.

Peter Dawson
Peter Dawson
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

You haven’t taken into account Fiat “money”-nor the effect of greenfoolery net zero insanity – which puts up the bills of the poor to give subsidies to the rich.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
25 days ago

What’s sought, and desperately needed is NOT equality of outcome but rather equality of opportunity.. The UK is still a class ridden society where rich buffoons like BJ rise to the top and wreck everything while talented people are bypassed in favour of the former.. The obscene greed of the rich means funds are not available to run the country efficiently and that is getting worse and worse!

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

There you go again with the self-serving narrative.
these ladies children are probably struggling much more to find secure jobs and housing. 
It’s not ‘these ladies children’ who are ‘struggling’ – because their parents are millionaires.
You’re just like Starmer, whose property-owning middle class background has somehow been transmogrified into a tale of poverty and deprivation. Sorry, but it really isn’t your class that is having a hard time.

David McKee
David McKee
26 days ago
Reply to  David McKee

I thank Unherd readers for their articulate and temperate answers. This is most helpful.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
26 days ago
Reply to  David McKee

There’s one very.obvious reason why someone who voted Tory in December 2019 may not do so next week – Brexit.

Last time round, the entire country was sick of the anti-democratic parliamentary impasse and only a Tory vote would break it. The political landscape has now changed from that pivotal moment and there’s a sense that nothing of any import will change whichever way one votes. Perhaps Reform will break through, despite the determination of the media (or their own candidates) to hinder them.

AC Harper
AC Harper
26 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

Brexit may not be the obvious reason it was previously… but there’s a realisation that the Conservatives and particularly Labour are backsliding on the idea of ‘taking back control’.
Illegal immigration may not be the main disaffection… but failing to control it is.

j watson
j watson
25 days ago
Reply to  AC Harper

And legal migration ACH? You forgot to mention that massively higher than illegal. Embarrassed that Brexit accelerated it perhaps?
It’s not backsliding it’s just quietly recognising what fools we’ve been

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Had you stayed in the EU you could, under the Dublin Agreement, return all of the boat loads back to France! That is why the numbers have increased so much..

j watson
j watson
25 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

Brexit is a quiet, not too often mentioned, additional reason the Tories are about to get properly turfed out. Been a con and a shambles. Folks don’t like admitting they were conned, but they’ll make the con-men pay when they get the chance.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

There’s been no “con” and you know it. Poor implementation, no doubt about that, but all the ‘advertising’ of what different levels of Brexit meant – in addition to the question of in/out – made very little difference to voter intentions. We voted either to remain tied to a corrupt European system that was only going to get worse or at least give ourselves the chance to take our political fortunes into our own hands, for better or worse. The fact that it’s been “worse” so far is actually irrelevant; and it’s certainly not been “worse” than the rest of the continent.
Wishing we were still under the aegis of Ursula Von Der Leyen amounts to a stain on anyone’s credibility.

j watson
j watson
25 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

ÂŁ350m a day into the NHS on a Big Red Bus? A reduction in immigration? Trade deals with the US? That the EU would allow us to keep the benefits of the Single Market? That bureaucracy and paperwork would reduce? Come on LL if it’s not a con it’s idiocy and infantilism that produced all that naivity. Which is it?
As regards VDL et al – you forget we’d have retained a major role in EU leadership. Difficult to know how a counter factual would have played out but inevitably it would be different.
Nonetheless we’re out and not going back anytime soon. The berks that promised so much need to be repeatedly reminded and held accountable. That’s how it works.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

The needle is stuck. You know perfectly well that the principle reason that most people voted for Brexit was out of a desire for self-determination.
The reason that Brexit has been less than a stellar success in other respects is that it has been systematically sabotaged by people like your hero the toolmaker’s son and his cronies in the Oxbridge mafia that rules this country..

j watson
j watson
24 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Nonsense. You no more know why exactly they voted for it than I. In Polling the self determination was behind reducing net migration, but that’s a sample of course.
It’s been sabotaged by it’s own contradictions and the infantalism of those who led the charge,

Peter Dawson
Peter Dawson
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

“we’re out and not going back any time soon”? –
I wouldn’t bet on that – not with whoever gets rid of Starmer to take over the reins of the Labour party – given their mindset likely a dubious DEI hire – anything else would seem – unseemly and divisive. – aye right!

j watson
j watson
24 days ago
Reply to  Peter Dawson

I suspect within 5yrs time we’ll be much closer to the Single Market than now, but it’ll be spun as something slightly different. We will not be back in the political component of the EU. That may take another generations yet.

Kevin Ludbrook
Kevin Ludbrook
23 days ago
Reply to  j watson

They should have written ÂŁ150m on the side, just as effective and closer to the truth. If anyone can tell me a single EU policy that they had the opportunity to vote on I’d be pleased to hear it. Take a look at the EU websites and see how laws are crafted and enacted, see if you think that’s a good way to operate. I agree there is much mess but it is significantly because of a tariff, protectionist and centrist mentality. Is that naĂŻve? I don’t think so, the whole thing could have been worked out better. I hope we are part of an EU again one day – but not this one.

Tim Smith
Tim Smith
26 days ago
Reply to  David McKee

For me the conservatives lack a vision that they can sell. Vote for us because we are not labour is not good enough.

We need the vision of people being able to work hard and being rewarded for their work. Of being able to buy a house. Of the best person getting the job. A vision of people thriving and having free choice again.

Reform for me comes closest to this.

j watson
j watson
25 days ago
Reply to  Tim Smith

Reform and their pot-pourri of racists and crack pots?
The problem is Right wing contradictions cannot be squared – Neo-liberalism and Conservatism run smack into each other. Why not figure that out and stop trying to find scapegoats?

Andrew R
Andrew R
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

What scapegoats JW? TS didn’t mention any in his comment. You do love a good cliche.

j watson
j watson
25 days ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Tories and Right Wing strategy/vision constantly searches for scapegoats AR.

Andrew R
Andrew R
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

The Left: When projection fails, project even harder.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

But wait a minute JW. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a more ardent neo-liberal than you. What are you talking about?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
25 days ago
Reply to  Tim Smith

Ja!

Peter Dawson
Peter Dawson
25 days ago
Reply to  Tim Smith

Reform by a country mile – me too. Despite the clandestine tricks and BBC misquoting Nigel Farage – who was only saying the same thing Boris Johnson said a decade later.

Ernesto Candelabra
Ernesto Candelabra
26 days ago
Reply to  David McKee

Net Zero, Lockdowns.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
26 days ago

Read Can Labour Tame the Civil Service in today’s Unherd for an answer as to why Tory voters might turn to Reform.

It is not a serious party but unless enough voters make it clear they are very unhappy with the direction of travel, the direction of travel will continue.

Graeme Crosby
Graeme Crosby
26 days ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Exactly right.

j watson
j watson
25 days ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

A few Tories will put a cross by Reform. Many are also increasingly repelled. The more sunlight shone on the cretins in Reform the more that’ll happen. Just watch

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Most of the people who will vote Reform are the children of Labour voters who were effectively disenfranchised ever since the Labour Party was hijacked by the neo-liberal yuppies you admire so much.

Peter Dawson
Peter Dawson
25 days ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

But they are a serious party – with some seriously well thought out and workable policies.
Read the “contract” – and compare what the rest are offering – if you can cut through to their core meaning.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
26 days ago
Reply to  David McKee

Why, you ask?
Because the Tories are bunch of mindless jerks who’ll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

Red Reynard
Red Reynard
26 days ago
Reply to  David McKee

14 years on, and the effects of the Osborne/Camaron austerity experiment can still be seen and felt.
14 years on, and the ‘long march’ of DIE continues through our institutions unchecked.
14 years on, and the pernicious invasion of women’s spaces by men in dresses continues unopposed.
14 years on, and the corrosive social/economic effect of untramelled imigration continues unabated.
14 years, and the economy still remains teetering on the brink of collapse.
14 years on, and section 20 evictions are at an all-time high.
14 years on, and no-one beyond the trough-golloping Westminster/Super-wealthy lotus eaters feel any better off than they did fifteen years ago.
Sunak; go, just begone.
Annihilation is the only solution.
All the best, whoever and wherever you are – and may God have mercy on us all

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
25 days ago
Reply to  Red Reynard

..yeah, but apart from all that…

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
26 days ago
Reply to  David McKee

He does describe why. He only seems to be interviewing women and it is stated clearly that they don’t want to vote Labour because of trans stuff.

Anthony Roe
Anthony Roe
26 days ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

They still want to ‘be kind’ have acceptable beliefs and they all drink wine not beer (too common), Nigel Farrage take note.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
23 days ago
Reply to  David McKee

Because they are an utter divided rabble might be something to do with it, and offer nothing in economic issues that Labour doesn’t say it will follow.

Of course Labour could swing well to the Left, but voters largely vote against governments, especially divided ones, rather than FOR oppositions.

j watson
j watson
26 days ago

Interesting snapshot.
This isn’t a new issue but the demographic of these ladies ought to mean they are starting to worry a bit more about accessing health and social care. They are likely to need increasing amounts of both, as will their husbands. I understand a Care Home provider has recently closed it’s facility in Hurst Green – economics – and yet as is so often the case many of us don’t realise what we needed from the public realm until too late.

Dr E C
Dr E C
26 days ago
Reply to  j watson

I’m not convinced these well-to-do ladies are voting on the basis of their own healthcare. According to Matt Goodwin’s continuous polling, this election is above all the immigration election.
Especially since October 7th, people up and down the country are looking at the immigration numbers – illegal but above all legal – , the rapid changing of Britain’s culture, the hostility towards the host nation, crime and a massive struggle for resources, and wondering how on earth this happened on a Conservative Government’s watch.

Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
26 days ago
Reply to  Dr E C

It happened because any semblance of economic growth in the UK is a result of cheap labour rather than increased productivity. This the route we chose to take. Too much money going into Tory coffers from housebuilders and private equity both reliant on cheap labour.

j watson
j watson
25 days ago
Reply to  Dr E C

They may not DEC, but perhaps they should be. Just round the corner they’ll start needing these things alot more. Happens to us all. And then you find the immigrant caring for you wasn’t so bad after all.

Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
26 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Yes we all need public services but unless we can produce sufficient economic growth the cash to fund them wont be enough

j watson
j watson
25 days ago
Reply to  Gordon Welford

Agree, although we need to do something about wealth distribution too. It’s suppressing growth. There ain’t going to be anything but anaemic growth if an increasing proportion struggle to make ends meet and asset wealth flows inexorably into an ever smaller number of hands.

Andrew R
Andrew R
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Funny, that’s what happens with artifically low interest rates and importing millions of people, who’d guessed.

j watson
j watson
25 days ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Certainly your first point played a role. The over reliance on monetary levers rather the fiscal driven further inequality. The 2nd much less than you think (although net migration needs to be lower). It is a useful scapegoat for those who don’t want to fully grasp why we’ve had increasing asset concentration and thus increasing inequality.

Andrew R
Andrew R
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

There you go yet again with scapegoat.

It’s quite simple mass immigration and low interest rates paradoxically suppress growth over time, why? It’s because businesses have no need to raise wages when their employees can simply borrow money at a low rate. Meanwhile people who are already asset rich can simply accquire more assets increasing the value of said assets.

With a low skil, part-time service economy there’s little need to offer substantive training or for a company to innovate. These jobs offer little in the way of improved career prospects, so there is high churn.

We have hava a university sector dependent on foreign students because of Blair’s ludicrous idea of getting 50% of school leavers into university studying degrees of marginal value. The cost of which is unlikely to be paid back.

The Tories have cut back public expenditure all across the board while still following Labour immigration policy of allowing 250 – 300k people in per year. I assuming it was down to special pleading by those business interests.

But yeah, I’m scapegoating immigrants for this 32 year old sh1tsh0w of incompetent governance.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

When Theresa May suggested in 2017 that these people might use some of their property wealth to pay for their social care the loudest howls of outrage came from the Guardian. Remember the ‘dementia tax’. The problem isn’t just one branch of the middle class, it’s the parasitism of the class as a whole – and particularly the boomers.

David Morley
David Morley
26 days ago

God these women sound awful. They’re a walking advert for a wealth tax – shame Starmer has ruled that out.

Dr E C
Dr E C
20 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

The comments section is never complete until you crowbar something misogynistic into it, regardless of topic.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
26 days ago

The political reality of my half a century in the UK, of the old demography based voting patterns where most people stuck to the same party so the small number of people who switched effectively decided the election result, is very clearly rapidly decaying. Unsurprisingly, ten million extra people over the last quarter of a century (three million in just the last five years) has that effect – as in, they are obviously not going to vote in the same patterns as the indigenous population used to. But it’s not just that. The zoomers (both indigenous and recently arrived) are inherently volatile notwithstanding that right now the majority appear to tack left, so I don’t think anything of they will vote going forward is predictable. No doubt large numbers will shift right as has already happened in Italy and France, but in any case fragmentation is coming. Most interesting of all, these changes around them is forcing a change out of the settled-for-decades voting of older generations – the idea that places in Surrey and Kent would ever *not* vote Conservative would have been unthinkable to me even three years ago, but that old reality is now gone.

It seems to me we are still in-flight in the shifts, with a large number of people resolved to vote one way, but outright lying to those around them about which way, including to the pollsters, so the potential for a kneecapping for the pollsters is on the cards.

Anthony Roe
Anthony Roe
26 days ago

It is still possible, just, to live in Hurst Green and imagine you are still in England. Your son may be gay and work for the Home Office, your daughter living with her boyfriend in Portugal. Keep your head down and under no circumstances visit London.

j watson
j watson
25 days ago
Reply to  Anthony Roe

Although London is probably subsidising your neighbourhood?
Not that this is a good thing, but it is a reality

Emre S
Emre S
24 days ago
Reply to  j watson

This is the irony of all the situation. Without London, the inflated life styles of the English wouldn’t be possible, UK would become a country that looked like an extended Northern Ireland.

David Harris
David Harris
26 days ago

“a new volatility spawned by the confusion voters now feel about which party represents people like them. ”

That’s because there is NO difference between them. We have a ConLabLib uniparty that agrees on almost everything (check what they do not what they say). If anyone is still voting Lib, Lab or Con then they have no right whatsoever to complain about the growing public sector, Net Zero, woke institutions, high taxes, or out of control immigration – since the ConLabLib uniparty will pursue them regardless. Labour will get in anyway this year so if you care for your country vote Reform in ’24. And again in ’29.

Elon Workman
Elon Workman
26 days ago

Wales an Scotland have always been leaning to the left and once England is lost there is unlikely ever to be a Conservative government again. The 2019 coalition of Northern and Midlands ex Labour voters backing the Conservatives was always likely to be unstable particularly when the corona virus struck and what when on in 10 Downing Street between March 2020 and July 2022 ; this together with the Liz Truss fiasco doomed the Conservative Party. Rishi Sunak is not inspirational and has been badly let down by his advisors for reasons which are obvious; but in my view he has steadied the ship and judging by what some economic commentators have said will hand over to Keir Starmer and the incoming Labour government an economy which has improved slightly since he took over in October 2022. I accept though that the biggest failure will be in the pledge to stop the boats and illegal immigration which I understand has increased by a further 50,000 over the last twenty months.

j watson
j watson
25 days ago
Reply to  Elon Workman

Stopping the Boats not the biggest thing. Vast majority want that to happen but the reason the Right has lost it is it thinks this is what really troubles people day in day out. It’s the cost of living whilst you watch public services degrade too. The Right has no answers other than to find a scapegoat – which is where the Boats come in handy.

Andrew R
Andrew R
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Importing hundreds of thousands of people, and allowing tens of thousands to just rock up to the shore year on year will have no impact on public services what so ever. Let’s just carry on doing that shall we and see what happens in the next five years.

j watson
j watson
25 days ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Alot of the legals of course are to staff things like social care. What would you do? Just close Care Homes and remove Home Care packages? Given many families would then have to give up work to look after elderly relatives how do you see that as aiding growth?
We have a workforce problem. It can’t be solved instantly and we’ve wasted 14yrs.
As regards the illegals, why not intro ID cards and stop them disappearing into the black economy? 14 years.

Andrew R
Andrew R
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

The situation can’t carry on as it is. Change will have to come, slowly and painful as it is. Maybe Labour can finally come up with policies that allow business and families to adapt to the massive social challenges the country has faced over the last 30 years rather than allow more and more people in to a system that is already at breaking point

With a low skill, mass immigration economy it’s unsuprising it led to a people trafficking black economy one.

Blair belatedly realised this a few years after his disasterous policy of allowing mass immigration (putting the cart before the horse) by then it was too late.

j watson
j watson
24 days ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Blair, in case you hadn’t clicked, not been in power for 16 years.
The question more pertinent – given the Right wants much less net migration why’s it done so little to wean us off that reliance? And why hasn’t it intro’d ID cards to tackle the separate but important, trade in illegals?
I mean for heavens sake why?
Could it just be the Right needs to always have the scapegoat and dog whistle?
Or alternatively is bankrolled by Businesses that resist blocks on migration?
Right has to grasp this and be honest. Blaming Blair isn’t helpful It’s like the woke-ist adult still blaming one’s parents for one’s lot in life when in their mid 30s!

Andrew R
Andrew R
24 days ago
Reply to  j watson

You repeating the same thing over and over again doesn’t make it true, it does make you come over as deranged!

Andrew R
Andrew R
24 days ago
Reply to  j watson

This further down the column, a reply to an earlier comment of yours. I guess you ignored it…

There you go yet again with scapegoat.

It’s quite simple mass immigration and low interest rates paradoxically suppress growth over time, why? It’s because businesses have no need to raise wages when their employees can simply borrow money at a low rate. Meanwhile people who are already asset rich can simply accquire more assets increasing the value of said assets.

With a low skil, part-time service economy there’s little need to offer substantive training or for a company to innovate. These jobs offer little in the way of improved career prospects, so there is high churn.

We have hava a university sector dependent on foreign students because of Blair’s ludicrous idea of getting 50% of school leavers into university studying degrees of marginal value. The cost of which is unlikely to be paid back.

The Tories have cut back public expenditure all across the board while still following Labour immigration policy of allowing 250 – 300k people in per year. I assuming it was down to special pleading by those business interests.

But yeah, I’m scapegoating immigrants for this 32 year old sh1tsh0w of incompetent governance.

j watson
j watson
23 days ago
Reply to  Andrew R

But you are scapegoating them AR, repeatedly. Boats aside the Tories asked them to come here in ever greater numbers to fill skill shortages. Why not focus more of your comments on what we have to do to reduce reliance and how we might have to invest to help with that strategy? You never do which means you aren’t really about solving the problem.

Andrew R
Andrew R
23 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Are you really this stupid

Andrew R
Andrew R
23 days ago
Reply to  j watson

JW prove to me that you aren’t a psychopath. You can’t because you a psychopath since all left wingers are psychopaths.

kate Dunlop
kate Dunlop
26 days ago

No, it is not only a “sea of liberal voters” or “grumpy” men that will end the Tories. They have committed suicide with a record of broken promises including their wholesale betrayal on Brexit, Covid, Lockdowns, Enforced mass poisoning by “vaccines”, record levels of taxation, immigration -“legal and illegal,” the wholesale promotion of transgender cultism, the net-zero racket, pandering to the “religion of love”, greed, and their abject disregard for the wishes of those who pay their salaries.
They lied, and continue to lie. What is worse, is the alternative- with even Novarra Media identifying Starmer as the biggest liar of all.

j watson
j watson
25 days ago
Reply to  kate Dunlop

One senses you are going to have a very peaceful and happy next 5 years KD.

Iwan Hughes
Iwan Hughes
26 days ago

Interesting, for the location, that nobody has mentioned the Lib Dems, traditionally the southern Tory voters’ protest of choice. And I can’t see these ladies switching from Conservative to Labour, maybe in the red wall. So the choice seems to be: stay with the Conservatives, pretty pictures on the ballot paper, or Reform, although the sight of their ‘brutal and licentious soldiery’ may be putting off those of a sensitive disposition.

Jo Jo
Jo Jo
26 days ago

No mention of Reform? I think a number of ‘Tory Ladies’ are at minimum thinking about voting Reform.

Doug Bodde
Doug Bodde
26 days ago

Western voters have two choices Melei or the rest of the wretched socialist lot.

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
26 days ago

I live in a part of Surrey (not that far from where Starmer grew up) where you don’t have to travel far to find areas where the average house price is ÂŁ10M, but in what you would imagine to be the heart of Tory town, all you see are yellow Lib Dem lawn signs. It is so over for the Tories.

Agnes Aurelius
Agnes Aurelius
26 days ago

They’ll vote reform, you’ll see.

j watson
j watson
25 days ago
Reply to  Agnes Aurelius

And deserve everything they get.

Andrew R
Andrew R
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

A Labour government?

j watson
j watson
25 days ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Yes that is certainly more likely if they vote for the racists and Putin apologists in Reform. But what they also then get is buckets of embarrassment as it becomes daily more obvious what sort of cretins Reform actually attract as prospective candidates. Nobody can say they weren’t warned.

Andrew R
Andrew R
25 days ago
Reply to  j watson

They can always vote for the two largest parties who are responsible for this economic and social death spiral that we are in. Reform is a product of both Labour and Conservative parties contempt for the electorate.

In 2019 I spoilt my ballot paper, on this occasion I will vote for the Independent candidate. The Independents in my area are doing a good job of holding Welsh Labour to account. I’d like to think he has a good chance, perhaps gaining votes from disaffected Welsh Labour and Tories voters. It’s more than likely however that Reform will split the vote.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
25 days ago

A vote for Reform is a vote for the swivel eyed loons, racists and flat out nutcases that the party is made up of. Is that really what the genteel ladies of the home counties want? Seems unlikely. They’ll stay home as watch as the Tories are swept away in an historic Labour landslide.

Dr E C
Dr E C
20 days ago

I’m so sick of the R word. Your worldview has led to travesties like this: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2024/06/28/german-woman-given-harsher-sentence-than-rapist-for-calling/

Christiane F Hankinson
Christiane F Hankinson
25 days ago

Two things come to my mind.
The first is the complete avoidance of the quality of the local candidates that they might be voting for. To an extent we vote for a party but we also vote for our political representative. Although I consider myself a long time Labour supporter I am not voting Labour this time because of my local candidate and in the past have voted for a Lib Dem because of his local excellence. We do live in a parliamentary democracy and are not voting for a president.
The second point is the largely ignored issue of the anger of women tired of having their sex ignored and attempts to legally erase even the word woman. Starmer has been wishy washy on this Sunak is largely ignored but it Badenoch who is standing up to the luvvies who’ve drunk the trans cool aid and is standing up for women. There are no women in the shadow cabinet doing the same. Nor the greens or the Lib Dem’s. There are a few candidates that are against their party’s flow, one would vote for them. It is causing a tsunami of potential spoiled ballot papers and many conservatives to stay in the fold. And I also remember it was Liz Truss who was the first politician to publicly say that women had vaginas when everyone else was scared to.

Dylan Blackhurst
Dylan Blackhurst
25 days ago

I find it strange in an age where identity is sooooo important, how little has been made of the fact that Sunak, for all his faults, is our first person of colour PM. And a Hindu for that matter.

Is it because, the UK is not the hot bed of racism that much of the left would like us to believe?

Or maybe Hindus are now white adjacent?

Maybe, the important thing is, and always has been class. Which weirdly is the very thing that our Labour Party seems to have lost interest in.

Rather Not
Rather Not
25 days ago

The 2019 Tory vote was artificially inflated thanks to Jeremy Corbyn.
Many switherers could see Johnson was a charlatan but were horrified at the thought of Corbyn becoming prime minister.

Peter Dawson
Peter Dawson
25 days ago

Both Starmer and Sunak are Davos day boys – slumming it among hoi polloi waiting for a prefect’s badge.

Peter Dawson
Peter Dawson
25 days ago

Posted in error.