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

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

Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Duty Manager is required to join one of the ...

Recruitment Genius: Team Leader

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Team Leader is required to join one of the l...

Recruitment Genius: Chef

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Chef is required to join one of the largest ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is required to jo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The 2010-formed Coalition was led by a partly reformed Conservative Party, checked and balanced by Nick Clegg  

How did the Coalition ever manage to work together so harmoniously?

Isabel Hardman
There are around 250 species of bumblebee in the world  

If you want to rumble a bumblebee, now’s your chance

Michael McCarthy
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor