You can tell what the Tory focus groups are saying by watching the way the Tories behave. Right now, they are trying to close down the perception that the government has no ideas or purpose, other than the cuts. They know they have no agenda, once the cuts agenda is done.
This explains the flurry of rather pointless ideas announced in the last couple of weeks. Each one of them is half-baked and each one is accompanied with same the line, “Labour did nothing about this in 13 years”.
An example is Theresa May’s call for a consultation of Stop and Search, arguing that the policy tends to target young black males. This got widely reported and became a talking point on the media, even though it was completely shallow. This is not serious policy, just a suggestion that people have a chat about something. Yet every Tory politician took to the air to attack Labour for doing nothing for 13 years.
On health they talk of a £200 deposit for foreigners entering the country. Again, MPs took to the airwaves to claim that Labour did nothing for 13 years of government. There has been little response from Labour to this proposal, but Andy Burnham tells me that he can’t respond as he still doesn’t know the details. He doesn’t object to stopping abuse, but he does object to the idea that Labour had done nothing about the issue previously.
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