Are the Tories beginning to panic if they have to bring out John Major to warn of the perils of a Labour/SNP alliance?
The sight of a former Prime Minister that used to be portrayed on the Spitting Image satirical programme completely grey and with an overwhelming desire for peas and Curry on the side, may whip up interest for a day or so but it is doubtful if it will substantially change voting intentions in the way that Gordon Brown did in Scotland during the referendum there.
Nevertheless, there is one poll and a survey taken within the construction sector that may give the current incumbent of No 10 Downing Street some cheer.
The first one by Construction Week UK – the event in October at the NEC, Birmingham – shows the Conservative Party well ahead as the one that should be trusted to act in the industry’s interests. (See accompanying news item.) Having said that, there is an apparent disillusionment with all the political parties for neglecting this most important part of the national economy.
The survey by NoPalaver Group, an umbrella company and accountancy service for self-employed contractors, shows that there was an overall net gain of 5,445 construction businesses in 2013, the latest year for which data is available, compared with a net loss of 7,030 construction firms the previous year.
At the start of 2013, the UK had 37,920 fewer registered construction companies than it had at the end of 2008. In 2013, the tide finally began to turn, with more starts than closures.
In total, 38,335 new construction firms opened in the year to 31 December 2013, 31% more than the previous year when 29,295 were set up.
Now, it could be argued that these polls are the ones that should be taken seriously as it comes from the direct views of the industry’s professionals who have to contend with the real world every day of the week, rather than those who inhabit the Westminster ‘bubble’, until they are forced out to win votes.
But we no longer have the business vote and so one person, one vote will be the decider, leaving aside the 7 million or so who decided there was no point in registering at all.
Caption John Major was trying to whip up support for his party but a poll and survey of the construction industry show more points in the Conservatives’ favour than the efforts of a former Prime Minister.