Tories’ reliance on working-class in Wales and elsewhere making them less a party of business, think tank director says
The Tories’ dependence on working-class voters in Wales and elsewhere mean they have moved away from being the party of business, the director of communications at one of the UK’s leading free-market think-tanks has said.
Annabel Denham of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) said that the shift in the demographics of Conservatives voters post-Brexit meant that they had moved away from “the conditions that allow businesses to thrive” and that they needed to reclaim their mantle as “the Party of Business”.
“The political realignment that has been underway since 2010 has left the Tories dependent on working class voters in Wales, the Midlands and the North – meaning their change in economic orientation and philosophy may not be a temporary, Covid-driven blip,” she said.
“For those who believe the best prospects for recovery lie in unshackling entrepreneurs, this is a grim prospect.”
The Conservatives won an additional six seats at the 2019 General Election, taking their total to 14.
But Annabel Denham said that the dangers of a leftwards economic shift could not be underestimated, as last summer “polling revealed two-thirds of under-40s want a socialist economic system”.
Writing in the Telegraph, she said that the party could not blame “nationalising railways, bailing out defence contractors or signing us up to a global minimum corporation tax” on the Covid pandemic.
The Institute of Economic Affairs describes itself as “the UK’s original free-market think-tank” and said that its aim was to “promote the intellectual case for a free economy, low taxes, freedom in education, health and welfare and lower levels of regulation”.
But after over 10 years of Conservative government the “total tax take as a proportion of national income is at a 71-year high, on par with Clement Attlee’s post-war socialist government,” Annabel Denham said.
“After ‘getting Brexit done,’ the stage was set for incinerating anti-business EU bureaucracy. But rather than ignite a bonfire of red tape, policymakers are finding new and creative ways to hamstring businesses with pettifogging regulations, like banning ads on yoghurts or jam,” she said.