Tory Bingo: This depressing display of all-round political incompetence not only patronised the working-class — it let Labour off the hook

Ed Miliband’s response to the Budget was disastrously bad

Share

It wasn’t a great Budget. George Osborne is far too political. Worse than Gordon Brown in the way he recites slogans that bear no relation to facts. He made one important reform to one kind of pension, but the rest was trivia, some of it of a populist kind.

Nothing wrong with a bit of populism. The Conservative Party does have a problem with older working-class voters who have defected to Ukip, and so a penny off a pint of beer and a halving of the tax on bingo might have been effective naked politics.

But the advert put together by Tory HQ last night to promote the beer and bingo tax cuts was one of the most embarrassing political campaigns ever seen. Not only did someone come up with the line, “To help hardworking people do more of the things they enjoy,” but it went out on the Twitter account of Grant Shapps, the Tory chairman, without anyone spotting the crashing condescension of the “they”.

The message could not have been clearer if it had said: “WE sophisticated sons of the high-born play at politics; THEY drink beer and play bingo.” Everything about it was disastrous. Its pronouns bore the same unconscious elitism of the Second World War poster that was much disliked at the time: “Your courage, your cheerfulness, your resolution will bring us victory.” And that was 75 years ago.

It was much and rightly mocked the internet over last night. No sooner had people worked out that it was not a spoof itself than the spoofs started to appear: “I say, you there! How is your whippet? Jolly good, jolly good. Carry on.” 

It wasn’t just the patronising assumption that the Conservative Party was granting the right of “they”, the working class, to enjoy their simple pleasures that was wrong. There was also the “help” for people to “do more” drinking beer and playing bingo. After the Chancellor’s reference in his Budget speech to “responsible drinkers” the idea that he was promoting “more” drinking was as foolish as it was unconvincing. A penny off a pint? Let us go down to the pub and drink one per cent more than we usually do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, all right. It was only one Facebook advert, a silly mistake. The row about it might even have drawn more attention to popular tax cuts. Beer drinkers and bingo players were resolutely un-offended on the radio phone-ins this morning.

 

But it did distract from what might otherwise have been the greater embarrassment of the Labour Party. Ed Miliband’s response to the Budget was disastrously bad. He failed to refer to any measures in it at all in his free association of “Bullingdon”, “tax cuts for the rich” and “cost of living crisis”. Ed Balls, meanwhile, managed to avoid the most obvious political trap, by saying that Labour would not vote against capping the cost of welfare, but even this morning could not decide whether the pensions change was good or bad.

What a depressing spectacle of political games-playing, incompetence and utter uselessness all round.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have previous experience...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently  

Shia LaBeouf to Luis Suárez: Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Ellen E Jones
Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay's Chris Martin “consciously uncoupled” in March  

My best and worst stories of 2014

Simmy Richman
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015