The shy Tory voter versus the shy Labour voter (waiting for those hard left policies) – updated

The go left young man, go left strategy is a view of many in the Labour Party in New Zealand, Australia and the UK is if they present hard left policies to the electorate, they will mobilise many more votes from people who are currently don’t vote or who are mysteriously parking their vote with the Tory party or other centre parties.

Michael Foot’s attempt at to get out shy Labour voters with a hard left campaign in the 1983 British general election, which lead to his manifesto earning the title the longest suicide note in history.

The eight foot high stone monolith Ed Miliband planned to erect in the garden of number 10 Downing Street, if he could get planning permission, was dubbed the heaviest suicide note in history.

The New Zealand Labour Party went left at the 2014 general election and for its troubles earned its lowest party vote since the party was founded in 1919.

Central to the strategy of the New Zealand Labour Party in the 2014 general election was mobilising non-voters in their working-class electorates.

The median voter theorem be dammed! The New Zealand Labour Party in the 2014 general election honestly believed that hard left policies would induce these non-voters to vote.

These non-voters are called the missing million by the New Zealand left . Almost one million people did not vote in 2014; 250,683 were not enrolled, while 694,120 were enrolled but did not turn out to vote. Many of these voters were thought to be just parking their vote pending the arrival of true believers to lead the Labour Party if the Left over Left is to be believed! Many of these non-voters are younger voters who generally are more likely to vote left.

The Internet – Mana party also spent an immense amount of the $4 million donated by in trying to turn out to the youth voter as well.

Chris Trotter was wise and prophetic on go left young man, go left and the shy Labour voters will come:

[T]he Left has been given an extraordinary opportunity to prove that it still has something to offer New Zealand …..

If Cunliffe and McCarten are allowed to fail, the Right of the Labour Party and their fellow travellers in the broader labour movement (all the people who worked so hard to prevent Cunliffe rising to the leadership) will say:

“Well, you got your wish. You elected a leader pledged to take Labour to the Left. And just look what happened. Middle New Zealand ran screaming into the arms of John Key and Labour ended up with a [pitiful] Party Vote …

So don’t you dare try peddling that ‘If we build a left-wing Labour Party they will come’ line ever again! You did – and they didn’t.”

Be in no doubt that this will happen – just as it did in the years after the British Labour Party’s crushing defeat in the general election of 1983. The Labour Right called Labour’s socialist manifesto “the longest suicide note in history” and the long-march towards Blairism … began.

The most obvious flaw in the missing million and non-voter argument where they are waiting for true believers to offer hard left policies is a countries with much higher rates of voter turnouts and compulsory voting are not more likely to have left-wing governments.


There is much more evidence of shy Tory voters rather than shy Labour voters.

Shy Tory voters is a name invented by British opinion polling companies in the 1990s. The share of the vote won by the Tories in elections was substantially higher than the proportion of people in opinion polls who said they would vote for the party.

The final opinion polls gave the Tories between 38% and 39% of the vote – 1% behind the Labour Party. In the final results, the Conservatives had a lead of 7.6% over Labour and won their fourth successive general election.

Because of this turnout of shy Tory voters, the Tories won 3 million more votes than the Labour Party. This 14 million votes was more votes than they or any other British political party is ever won in a British general election, breaking the record set by Labour in 1951.

In a subsequent marketing research port, it was found a significant number of Tory party supporters refusing to disclose their voting intentions both the opinion poll companies, and exit polls.

This shy Tory factor is so large that opinion poll companies attempt to account for it in the weights they assign in their opinion polls surveys.

One of the explanations behind the turnout of the shy Tory vote in the 2015 British general election was a fear that a Labour Party minority government would be be holding to the hard left Scottish nationalists.

A number of British media commentators talked about running into many ordinary people expressing that very fear and they were undecided voters. About 20% of British voters were undecided on the eve the election, which is an unusually high amount.

Ironically, Neil Kinnock, the British Labour Party leader in the 1992 election, warned of a shy Tory factor a few days before the current British general election.

Tony Blair was much blunter a few months before the British general election about the relevance of the median voter theorem  to British politics and the future of the British Labour Party. The most electorally successful politician in Labour history said that May’s general election risks becomes one in which a

traditional left-wing party competes with a traditional right-wing party, with the traditional result.

Asked by the Economist magazine if he meant that the Conservatives would win the general election in those circumstances, Mr Blair replied: “Yes, that is what happens.”

The post-mortem by the New Statesman called “10 delusions about the Labour defeat to watch out for” equally blunt about the role of Tony Blair in rescuing British labour from permanent oblivion:

Many of your drinks will be prompted by variations on this perennial theme. Labour accepted the austerity narrative. Labour weren’t green enough. Labour weren’t radical (which has somehow come to be used as a synonym for left-wing).

Given that the last time Labour won an election without Tony Blair was 1974 it’s hard to believe people still think the answer is to move left. But people still do. I sort of love these people for their stubbornness. But I don’t want them picking the next leader.

The shy Tory vote stirred by the fears of a hard left government happened in the 2014 New Zealand general election. On the Monday night for the election that Saturday, the Internet – Mana party board had an hour of television for their Moment of Truth. This included Edward Snowden beamed in  from Moscow put forward a whole range of bizarre conspiratorial theories about NASA surveillance of New Zealand and analysis by base in Auckland.

David Farrar reported that in Tuesday night opinion polling, the National party’s party vote rose from 44% to 47%. In the subsequent general election that Saturday, the national party led all night for the first time. It won as many votes as it did in the previous election when it was expected to lose votes because the national party government was going into its third term.

One reason  for shy Tory voters is expressive voting. People obtain more sense of identity by proclaiming themselves to be a left-wing voter than they do from saying that they are a right-wing voter.

The expressive aspect of voting is “action that is undertaken for its own sake rather than to bring about particular consequences” (Brennan and Lomasky 1993, 25). There is almost never a causal connection between an individual’s vote and the associated electoral outcome. Hence, a vote is not disciplined by opportunity cost.

With no opportunity cost of how you vote in terms of deciding the outcome, people vote expressively to affirm their identity. Voting is about who and what you boo and cheer for and how you present yourself to the world.

Through the fatal conceit and the pretence to knowledge, a left-wing vote allows people to identify with doing good and changing the world for the better. No point in voting that way if you don’t go around thumping your chest proclaiming yourself as doing good for others by voting Left including telling the truth to polling companies.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Jim Rose
    Aug 04, 2015 @ 21:18:07

    Reblogged this on Utopia – you are standing in it! and commented:

    via CentreRight: Margaret Thatcher’s greatest achievement: New Labour.



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