Voter registration, not the manifestos, could have the biggest impact on this Election

Voter registration, not the manifestos, could have the biggest impact on this Election

I’m losing 10lbs before Christmas. Well, to clarify I’m just not putting on 10lbs before Christmas so it means I’ll be 10lbs lighter than I might have been. I’m being very clear. It’s a 10lb loss.

50,000 new nurses anyone? A peculiar definition in the Conservative manifesto that includes adding up actual numbers that would be retained under a new regime. It has played badly. In a campaign where politicians are regularly being asked why voters should trust them, it’s an unnecessary error from an otherwise sure-footed Conservative campaign.

The more interesting NHS pledge that we saw in last weekend’s Tory manifesto is the reversal of the removal of the nurses’ bursary. It was originally removed to expand the numbers that could be trained – and to make sure that the subsidies were not effectively financing other countries’ health systems. But this reversal will be welcomed as nurses entering training has fallen.

Overall though, the Conservative manifesto is cautious. We were badly burnt by the last one that is credited with losing the lead that we had in the middle of the campaign. I remember the horror in 2017 of trying to explain the new social care policy on the door step. This time, big issues, except the chosen one of Brexit, are being avoided.

Labour’s manifesto did not have the impact they would have desired.  Their advance announcement of free broadband landed well in media terms but little else has permeated through the noise.  The announcement that the 4 million women who lost out from the pension age change from 60 to 65 will be compensated is the final sign that they do not expect to get in and implement any policies.  They estimate that this will cost £58 billion. I’ve seen estimates over £80 billion. Added to already huge spending commitments these sums are just undeliverable, without punitive taxes on all taxpayers which they won’t want to do.

The Lib Dems are still being ignored. None of their policies have been heard, and their manifesto was drowned out by the Prince Andrew interview. Voters complain about Boris and Corbyn but still they don’t turn to the Lib Dems. It is one of the surprises of this General Election and I suspect is partially down to continued legacy perceptions of the Coalition with the Conservatives from 2010 to 2015.

So, the manifestos are unlikely to have played a big role in shifting the outcome. More important is likely to be voter registration – which is up dramatically. It’s happened at a rate of 54 per cent faster than ahead of the 2017 Election. And young people under 24 are the group where the Conservative party support has fallen since 2017. So strong voter registration, combined with tactical voting mean it’s still an uncertain outcome whatever the polls are predicting.

Now, back to that Christmas cake and my pounds to “lose”.

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