Fraser Nelson

Why the government is in so much trouble

Why the government is in so much trouble
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The most important political story on the internet is nothing written by a journalist, but the reaction being posted to on the lost data catastrophe. From the BBC to our own Coffee House, people are pledging to shut down bank accounts and vote Labour out. They seem utterly unmoved by assurances that all is well, and no one is really at risk.  En route to PMQs, I bumped into a minister and we got talking about this. "Who on earth are these people?" he asked.

The answer: the British public. People who live miles away from the Westminster village, who switch off when politics comes on television, the type who queued outside Northern Rock to withdraw savings because they did not trust a syllable of the reassurances uttered by this government. They are the people who celebrated the Queen's golden jubilee to the bafflement of the media and political class; the people who Tony Blair understood instinctively and spoke for so eloquently on the death of Diana ten years ago. 

And they are back, as if in a bookend to the Blair years, to vent what can only be described as raw, visceral hatred towards this government. And Westminster looks at such people with as much bewilderment as it did the week after Diana's death.

This is why the lost data is so devastating. It has struck a nerve with millions, in a way that few policy announcements can.

If peoples reaction seems irrational to Westminster insiders now (just as it did with Diana) then it shows how little Westminster understands Britain. It may not have felt like it in the village, but we have just witnessed Labour's Black Tuesday. And the fallout may only have just begun.

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

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