Saturday, June 03, 2017

UK election

With a week to go, a few unstructured thoughts.

One question is prompted by the narrowing of the Tory lead according to the polls. What's striking is the extent to which the Tory campaign mimics the mistakes of the Clinton campaign against Trump: assuming that the ostensible awfulness of Corbyn was sufficient of itself without having to make a positive case for their own leader, and underestimating the power of a simple but resonant slogan: Make America Great Again, meet For The Many, Not The Few. Indeed, the aping of the Clinton mistakes is so striking, it's almost as if the Tories have a Democratic "strategist" working for their campaign!

Another issue is the dementia tax. In the post-mortems on the small Tory majority, that will be seen as a pivotal moment in the campaign. How did they commit such an unforced error? For one thing, they found themselves the wrong side of how the public thinks about fairness relative to bad luck.

May clearly thought that the switch from Cameron's maximum out-of-pocket on old age care to a guaranteed minimum level of assets that you'd be left with after old age care was a winner, on the logic that rich people would have a more open-ended liability. But Cameron (who, yes, will still go down as the worst PM in British history over Brexit) did have an intuitive sense that people want a limit on how bad things can get for an unlucky family -- and would place a higher weight on that than level of wealth.

When it comes to such uncertainty, people apparently prefer a bad deal (things can get no worse than X) to no deal (you won't lose everything)!

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