“What matters is that they’ll try”: My focus groups in Doncaster, Morecambe and Tatton

  • 21 June, 2024
  • Politics
  • Polling

This week’s focus group tour takes us to three rather different constituencies in the north of England: Doncaster East & the Isle of Axholme; Morecambe & Lunesdale; and Tatton – George Osborne’s once safe Cheshire seat which is now too close to call, according to recent MRP studies.

The PM being denied Sky TV as a child was the stand-out story of the week for many of our participants: “When I was growing up, nobody had Sky. I had a black and white telly!” “He thinks he was hard up when he was younger because of that. He’s literally never lived.” Some had a degree of sympathy – “I don’t think it’s fair, they’re just jumping on one thing and exaggerating it out of all proportion” – but even they saw a pattern: “Rishi Sunak sometimes doesn’t help himself with some of his comments. They just show how he doesn’t really understand normal people. A lot of what is shown in these memes that everyone is sharing is that we don’t feel like he represents us and knows what it’s like to live in the country, in the real world. I think that’s why they pick on him a lot;” “He gives a sense of entitlement;” “He comes across very awkward. When he talks to members of the public it’s quite cringeful sometimes. Like he’s never been to the pub and had a conversation with anyone;” “Whether you liked Boris or not, at least he went out and about and at least tried to understand – probably didn’t, but at least he made an effort. Whereas Sunak doesn’t seem to have done anything but distance himself from normal working-class people.”

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