The Pink ‘Un’s John Burn-Murdoch’s statistical number crunching during the pandemic was compulsive and compelling reading. Today he has shifted from analysing Covid figures to quantifying political policies. He has concluded that the Conservative Party has “become unmoored from the British people” and their own voters ideologically. His article goes on to claim that “the government may have adopted the most extreme economic position of any major party in the developed world”. He further claims “the Tories are the most economically right-wing major party in the developed world”!
The government has announced an energy price cap, which it says will cost £60 billion for the first six months and the industry reportedly expects the total bill to be between £130 billion and £150 billion. That is an intervention in the markets on a scale that former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell once dreamt of, and for which he was condemned as Marxist. Guido is at a loss to understand how that is right-wing or free market. It is the exact opposite. How can a party doing that be the most economically right-wing party in the developed world?
It turns out that FT asked a bunch of academics their opinion. Political “scientists” in universities are not famously politically representative, they’re far to the left of the public even if they are supposedly from “across the political spectrum”. The leftie-lecturer stereotype is well founded. This seems more like a qualitative academic focus group.
The claims from the FT’s comparative analysis of data from the British Election Study are even more bizarre. The usual four-quartered political compass (left/right on economics, up/down social libertarian/authoritarian) chart is supposedly applied to the British electorate. According to the FT there are no right-of-centre, social libertarians in Britain. Not one, with that whole quarter of the chart empty. This will be news to those of us who support keeping the government out of the economy and our bedrooms. The many millions of people who vote Conservative for lower taxes and also want to legalise soft drugs don’t seem to exist either, as far as the FT is concerned…
UPDATE: Guido asked John Burn-Murdoch on Twitter “Do you really believe there are no voters in the bottom right quadrant? My friends feel unseen.” He replied “Not none, but exceptionally few. Less than 4% of people who voted in 2019 are in that quadrant. The chart simplifies the distributions in order to make it readable, but 4% is barely distinguishable from zero.” 4% is very distinguishable from zero. 4% of the electorate would be over a million voters.