Conservative election strategist Sir Lynton Crosby has blamed the media for stoking up a “mob mentality” around issues such as Black Lives Matter, the #MeToo movement and even the Arab Spring.
In a rare podcast interview with Sky News, Sir Lynton – who masterminded many of the Conservative election victories in recent decades – warned the coverage of these matters “alienates many, many voters”.
He also dismissed the fall in Tory opinion polls following the Dominic Cummings lockdown affair, saying it was another symptom of the same issue.
Image: Ed Conway speaks to Sir Lynton Crosby and Sajid Javid
“I despair about the focus on public opinion polls – they’re just pop quizzes,” he said.
“They don’t truly reflect underlying sentiment. You tend to get a period when there’s a mob mentality in the media.
“One minute it might be what Dominic Cummings has done.
“The next, understandably something like Black Lives Matter, then before that we had the Arab Spring – where apparently the whole Middle East was going to change in four months… and things have gone pretty much back to the way they were – and the #MeToo movement and all of these things.
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“I just think there’s a tendency to grab issues and elevate the intensity of debate around them in a way that actually alienates many, many voters.”
But Sir Lynton, who was talking to former chancellor Sajid Javid and Sky’s economics editor Ed Conway in The World Tomorrow podcast, added that the Black Lives Matter movement could end up deciding the US election.
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“One of the things that I think President Trump was counting on was suppressed black and minority, Hispanic and so forth, turnout,” he said.
“The question now is, what does this focus on issues of race in America mean for the turnout of those groups at the next election?”
Sir Lyton said he expects the turnout to be higher than predicted, with many BAME people supporting Mr Trump’s rival Joe Biden.
He believes the vote will be “incredibly close”, and added: “I wouldn’t call it either way to be honest.”
Image: The World Tomorrow podcast
Turning his attention to the coronavirus pandemic, Sir Lynton said one consequence of COVID-19 was that businesses and households would be more keenly focused on existential questions than other issues which have until now dominated debate, such as the environment or equality.
“They’re important issues,” he said. “But now for some businesses they’re important, but they’re not immediate.”
Sir Lynton said companies are currently focusing on “sheer survival”, while many people have had to prioritise having a job and looking after their family.
As a result, he said, there may be a “stalling” on some other issues.
“David Cameron used to say you can’t have a strong health system or a good education system if you don’t have a strong economy,” he said.
“Well, you can’t have a company that focuses on the broader social issues… if it’s not making a profit.”
Sir Lynton said COVID-19 had changed the complexion of public opinion and politics – perhaps permanently – with people becoming far more focused on localism than globalism.
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“Economic sovereignty is about the over-reliance on any one country or one company or one source of supply, the over-reliance on a particular country or region as a market, the resilience in our supply chains, the questioning of just-in-time manufacturing.
“I think going forward, you’ll see a focus on economic sovereignty, ensuring supply chains, resilience, a focus on energy security, medical supplies, technology and financial security. I think across the world there will be a change.”
Asked what that meant for future election campaigns, Sir Lynton said: “Fundamentally, people want elections to be about the future.
“The future is uncertain at present. So those who can help people think about the future and those who can demonstrate that they’ve got a clear plan for the future will get a better response from the voters.”
Source : Sky News