MUCH has been written about Boris Johnson’s capture of the ‘Red Wall’ vote in the last election. Most important is that this support was on loan, and could be withdrawn at any time. Tory loyalism is hard to find in these traditionally Labour-held seats, and voters are just as likely not to bother voting at all as they are to vote Conservative again.
As has been the case in most of our recent political engagements, a major factor is immigration. Should patriotic, social conservative voters come to suspect that the rhetoric touted by the ‘Conservatives’ at the end of 2019 was empty, the party will have trouble winning them back.
A Migration Watch UK press release today provides insight into which way support for the Tories in these electorally significant ‘Red Wall’ seats might be heading. Working with Deltapoll, the think tank has found that voters in these constituencies oppose three key elements of Tory proposals on work-based migration by at least two to one.
The government plans to ‘suspend’ its cap on the number of foreign workers entering Britain, a decision opposed by 55 per cent of Red Wallers. Indeed, 72 per cent believe there should be strict controls on immigration by non-UK workers, especially in light of the economy-killing lockdown.
‘This poll is a wake-up call for the government,’ says Alp Mehmet, chairman of Migration Watch UK. ‘They cannot ignore such a clear rejection of key parts of their immigration plans by a majority of Red Wall voters.’
How are the Tories likely to respond? Their handling of the illegal Channel crossings, characterised by tough rhetoric and soft action, leaves much to be desired, and suggests that Boris Johnson is unwilling to fulfil the promises he was elected on. It seems likely that, instead of taking a firm stance on immigration, and prioritising British workers for British jobs, the Prime Minister will continue to say what he thinks we want to hear, whilst acting in his usual liberal manner.
Polls such as this highlight the high demand for patriotic policy-making rather than meaningless words. The latter can keep Johnson’s conservative mask affixed for only so long.
Conservatives must not forget that the Prime Minister has for years argued in favour of amnesty for thousands of illegal immigrants, and has urged patriots to ‘stop moaning about the dam burst’ of immigration. His instincts are not conservative, and neither are his policies. Unless the spin employed by his party is successful (again), genuinely conservative voters – especially in ‘Red Wall’ seats – will punish him at the next election.