The mother on Question Time doesn’t need a lecture about voting Tory – LabourList

tax credits question time mother

The video of the tearful mother on Question Time explaining to Cabinet minister Amber Rudd what losing her tax credits will mean is everywhere today. The audience member also revealed that she had voted Conservative in May because, she said, “I thought you were going to be the better chance for me and my children”.

This video has been one of the most emotive examples of the impact of the Tories’ tax credit cuts to date, which is why it has been so widely shared. But the clip has also revealed the more unpleasant side of the left on social media, with people judging this poor woman for the way she voted.

She believed that the Tories would provide a better government for her family. I disagree, but I can relate to that decision. If even she, breaking down on television in desperation, is not good enough for the Labour Party, then who is?

If Labour is to win in 2020 it will need the votes of people like her. In fact, we will also need the votes of people who voted Tory and aren’t being hit by tax credit cuts. This is not up for debate: there is no way to win without their support.

The progressive majority myth, the non-voter myth, the mountain to climb – it all points to winning over Tories.

It’s all well and good sitting there and tweeting how we said this would happen, happy in the knowledge that we are not to blame. Labour does have to shoulder some blame for this, because we did not make a strong enough case that we could support people’s families. That’s why people voted for five more years of David Cameron. An a priori belief that Tories are evil does not amount to a strong enough case for Labour being in power to people who do not share that unshakeable faith.

Fear tactics may be successful in politics, but smug I Told You Sos are not.

This article by Connor Pope first appeared in the LabourList daily email – you can sign up to receive it here.

What’s your own opinion on this issue?

Don’t forget that before the election Cameron promised that he wouldn’t cut tax credits.


Benefit cuts “will involve cuts to benefits” shocker

Budget 2015: cuts to make Daily Mail readers wince, but not just yet

Anyone worried about protecting the welfare state should concentrate on kicking out the Tories – Debbie Abrahams

The welfare state: from hung, drawn and quartered to Tory privatisation

7 thoughts on “The mother on Question Time doesn’t need a lecture about voting Tory – LabourList

  1. The right of Labour say that we should be winning over voters like this lady, of course we should.
    Read a little deeper and you see that Mr Pope is taking an opportunity to take a swipe at the Left
    The author says ‘smug I told you sos’ (from, of course, the left) are not helpful- but could he tell us why did senior Labour right wingers keep telling the electorate Labour would be ‘tougher on welfare than the tories’? Nicola Sturgeon made huge political capital out of the fact that Labour was different but ‘not different enough’. Now, with Corbyn we could have a much better and clearer set of anti austerity policies to win back and win over voters. Tory austerity benefits the 1% but we have to show how anti austerity benefits the 99%.
    BTW, the author denigrates the view (from the left) that we should be enthusing non voters- I disagree as the perception, ‘they’re all the same’ was very widespread and consequently a lot of people didn’t see the point of voting. We should be offering the thousands who didn’t vote a reason to support Labour and a credible, clear alternative for those who voted tory.


    1. ALL of Labour, right or left, would agree that we need to be winning over as much of the electorate as we can. Without compromising our core values and principles. This provides us with an example of one way that can be done. Labour introduced tax credits, in fact it was Blair that introduced them. Corbyn has no intention of scrapping them. So in this sense right and left divisions within the party are meaningless.

      I took Connor’s article at face value. He also makes a good case for the LP to be clearer about what we will offer ordinary people. I don’t see that as in anyway a “denigration” of the left. I agree that the allthesame myth was all-pervasive. But you have also fallen for it in your claim about Labour’s intention towards welfare.

      But that myth won’t be possible again with such a clearly contrasted opposition leader – Jeremy Corbyn.

      Reeves has never said she or Labour would be “tougher on welfare than the Tories” and was misquoted – mostly by the Greens. Here is the evidence (on the link to the Hansard Parliamentary record,) though Reeves herself issued a statement about this, too –


      1. Well, that’s what Kate Green says that Reeves said she said. Why was it with Reeves that the claimant bashing headline was always followed by a complicated low-key clarification available only to those who tracked down the small print? Possibly because she was dog-whistling out of both sides of her mouth, loudest on the right?

        But that was Labour then. Labour now needs to embrace and welcome newly enlightened Tory voters, without falling for the temptation of singing comforting Tory tunes to them. Those of us who have suffered because of their actions, whatever their excuses, may very well feel a bit sour about it, though.


      2. The Hansard record is probably the best means of establishing the truth of this. It’s all very well and good saying we should embrace newly enlightened tory voters – and I agree – but recall that prior to the election, many members of the public strongly supported welfare cuts. But only for other people, eh?

        I’m sick and disabled. Yes, I have suffered and I’m a little “sour.” But quite properly so. This said, I feel sorry for Michelle Dorrell. And I understand that not everyone pays close attention to detail, or realises that the Tories are the biggest of liars. Until they are confronted with proof in their own realm of experience.


  2. I agree with the artical to a certain degree but I think people like that lady voted Tory because of fear, fear of a Labour party being pressurised by SNP. A lot of views that I have heard from English voters was that the polls in Scotland were showing a landslide for the SNP, which turned out true.
    So we have to win over the Liberal voters who were abandoning the the party and traditionally would have voted Labour but fear set in on the power that Scotland would have over the whole of the UK if they did.


    1. It’s a shame because Miliband made it clear he wouldn’t be manipulated by the SNP on the live TV debates, yet people still believed the tory propaganda and lies. Ditto over the economy. It’s a shame people don’t pay closer attention to details and see through the media and tory lies


  3. Have to admit I felt bad for her, but agree that Labour needs to win people like this over.

    They also need to win those that do not cast their vote over. Have met a few no voters this year. Most on the run up to the election. One in particular I found to be rather frustrating because he was constantly saying that he hated Cameron and that all the political parties were the same. So I tried to point out differences at the time between Tory and Labour policies at the time, which completely fell on deaf ears. Few weeks after the election I met this guy again. He started to moan about Cameron getting in again. So ask him if he voted. He said no. At which point I just walked away. It’s quite frustrating.

    A woman at one of the local stores here does not vote either. When I asked why she said, “I don’t really understand it all”. Which with the level of political spin is hardly surprising. Am hoping that The Corbynator can win people like this over.

    We can only hope that the lady on question time and incidents like this begin to change the political conversation to an extent that the Tory narratives that many have fallen for begin to get drowned out. The last thing we need is for them to be in power for another 18 years.

    Liked by 1 person

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