Why people don’t vote Labour

I’m not rich and nor are most of the people I know. Nor, despite the fact that this is a magazine that is largely written for the benefit of the proprietors of capital intensive businesses, many of whom own that capital, are you, probably, at least not in Bill Gates/Russian kleptocrat/non tax-paying multinational terms. I (and you) find public services very useful. We use the roads, the NHS (even if we have private insurance – those aren’t BUPA ambulances you see rushing through the streets). Even if we don’t send our children to state school (I did and I’m very smug about how well they did, especially compared with the people I know who skinted themselves going private), no-one should be daft enough to think we don’t all benefit from having an educated population.

So why don’t we vote for politicians who are committed to pumping money into public services and making the rich pay for it? If there are any statisticians reading, I know I’m getting all anecdotal here, but I reckon there’s some truth in this. Why is it, that even among people whose earnings are below average and are going to stay that way, what’s supposed to be the workers’ party, the people’s party, can’t guarantee support and, although popular internally, its election of a new leader with rather more socialist views, has, it seems, gone down like a lead balloon with the wider electorate?

In case you were wondering, Kerry McCarthy, the new shadow environment secretary, gave us a graphic reminder recently. The self-styled militant vegan has been telling the papers that meat eaters should be treated in the same way as smokers and targeted with advertising campaigns urging them to become vegetarians. Now, to put it bluntly, I don’t need my life micro-managed by some plonker from the Government and it’s a view shared by just about everyone I know.

If you think I’m being right wing, have a quote from (vegetarian) columnist Barbara Ellen on the Guardian website. “If she carries on like this, she’s not going to be a credible shadow environment secretary.” Quite.

There’s another subject I could have written about at length, but it’ll have to be short. It would have been called ‘Why people don’t trust business’. We spend a lot of time thinking about how to counter the constant drip of attacks on our industry (and others) from campaigners who take an anti-commercial view. Then comes the Volkswagen scandal with a large business apparently caught cheating. Whatever the rights and wrongs actually turn out to be, every anti-business campaigner, every pundit who tells consumers constantly that this industry isn’t to be trusted, has been feeling a little bit more justified recently. Volkswagen has let business down and that includes the business we’re in.

Chris Lyddon
Editor, Farm Business

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