Communication is everything, as the German Chancellor knows. The British government, which has been as shrewd in PR as few others in Europe since the days of Tony Blair, is currently experiencing the same thing. The announcement by the British Chancellor of the Exchequer that the top tax rate of 45 percent for top earners would be abolished lasted less than ten days. Even an intern in the Treasury Department's press office would probably have recognized that such a move would not sit well with most voters in a time of record inflation.
On Monday morning, just before the Chancellor of the Exchequer's traditional speech at the party congress, a contrite Kwasi Kwarteng declared the about-face: "We understood, we listened." The damage has not been repaired, for three reasons. Those former Labor voters who helped Boris Johnson win the election in 2019 feel confirmed in their old distrust of the Conservatives, who are supposedly only interested in the well-being of the well-off.
A dangerous development for the Tories, who base their parliamentary majority on this group of voters. For the Labor Party, which is 33 points ahead of the Tories in polls, Kwarteng's tax plans and their end are a through ball. Third, in the end, resistance within the faction was the decisive factor in turning things around.
Which leads to the question of what the Conservatives stand for if the parliamentary group and cabinet are so unforgiving. Is it sticking to the course started by Boris Johnson, who anchored his politics to the economic left and culturally to the right of center? Or is it the “necessary change” promoted by Liz Truss, radically cutting back on government gifts and interventions? If the Tories are unaware of this, even the best communication will be of no use.