The art of persuasion

June 4, 2015

Diana Beech wants “to see fairness, equality and justice prevail in any policies governing” her country. And then she voted Tory (“Attitude is everything”, Opinion, 21 May). To base one’s voting on defiance of acquaintances’ belligerence is irrational and petulant. If such a voting rationale is a mark of intellect, derision will be attracted whether in loquacious or blunt form. The objectionable belligerence of agonised Leftists will be as sweet music compared with the smug braying of the party that Beech has ushered into unfettered power as it unleashes its particular brand of “fairness”, “equality” and “justice”.

David Webster
Crewe, Cheshire

I’m sure that if people were just a bit more insulting, then Beech would change her vote next time.

All political parties need to persuade people to vote for them in a democracy. A simple truth is that it was not a vote-winning slogan for Labour or Liberal Democrat supporters to say that “voting Tory is voting for your self(ish) interest”; in fact it reinforced the Tory message.

What went wrong was that those on the Left failed to convince more voters that they would be better off and happier in the long term by voting Left. While poverty is bad for the poor, it’s also bad for society not because it’s immoral (preaching wins no votes) but because if you expand an underclass it will undermine society. Unless you are super rich and super mobile, then tearing up society’s contracts will adversely affect you personally when the underclass call time on the system. However, educating, training and supporting those with the least will make you richer (the economy will grow), happier (less crime, less squalor) and more secure (society will be more cohesive).

The relentless demonisation and delegitimisation of the Tory voter by some of those on the Left suggests that they really would rather have an authoritarian messiah rather than have to persuade people who to vote for in a democracy.

James Naismith

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