7 min learn
David Barnard was shocked to fulfill Boris Johnson halfway by means of a marketing campaign video for the Conservative social gathering. The freeway upkeep employee from Bolton had simply voted Tory for the primary time. As Johnson marks one 12 months in Downing Avenue, what has Barnard manufactured from the PM’s first twelve months in workplace?
David Barnard was having a cigarette outdoors a movie studio in central London. The 33-year-old was about to be interviewed for a Conservative social gathering video, the main points of which had but to be made clear. As 4 police bikes circled the constructing, he knew one thing was afoot. “That’s a bit strange,” he thought to himself.
Occasion members within the north west had been requested to recommend first time Tory voters who may wish to function in a promotional marketing campaign. Barnard, although initially reluctant, was put ahead by his buddy Stuart, and had travelled down from Egerton in Bolton in a single day.
Barnard, who works in freeway upkeep, met the temporary: he had switched from Labour to the Tories on the 2019 election. His was certainly one of many essential votes secured by the Conservatives in Labour’s so-called crimson wall (his constituency of Bolton North East turned blue).
Sitting down for the recording, he mentioned: “When I voted Conservative for the first time it was something new, something I never thought I would do.”
Unbeknownst to Barnard, the prime minister was watching on. “I got there on Friday morning to find out it was just going to be me. Halfway through the interview, Boris just walked in,” he tells The Home Dwell. They continued speaking for round twenty minutes after filming, throughout which period Barnard requested for a selfie, confirmed him photos of his canine, and invited the prime minister to his marriage ceremony.
The ensuing marketing campaign video, printed in February, strengthened the Conservatives’ message of honouring individuals who “lent” their vote to the social gathering in December. “Now we are the party that speaks for everyone,” the PM proudly boasted.
However whereas the Tories have been driving excessive on the time, an almighty storm was already raging the world over. And although bruised and battered by the 2019 basic election, Labour was quickly to be underneath new management.
In order Johnson finishes his first 12 months in workplace, what has Barnard manufactured from the prime minister’s efficiency? And can the Conservatives be getting his vote subsequent time round?
“Christ, it was a hell of a year for him to take over.”
Barnard is just not improper: up to now twelve months, Britain has left the European Union, tens of 1000’s of individuals have died in a pandemic that has additionally ravaged the UK economic system, the Conservatives have received a basic election, and protests have unfold throughout the west at racial inequalities.
“All I can say is thank God it wasn’t Jeremy Corbyn in charge because we probably would have had Churchill’s statue floating in the Thames and the furlough scheme money would have been spent on trains and trees,” quips Barnard, who counts himself as a former admirer of the ex-Labour chief (“the extra I listened to him, the extra it felt like they have been extra preoccupied with activism and the looks of an ethical superiority”).
Barnard comes from a Labour voting household. Within the clip, he spoke of how he had grown up “with the impression that Labour was the party of the working man”. After the video got here out, rumours swirled on Twitter that he was really an actor named Tarquin from Clapham in south London (on Twitter, Barnard refers to himself as ‘David B aka Tarquin’, in homage to the false claims).
In 2016 Barnard voted for Brexit, setting in practice his depature from Labour. “For me, it was more a case of feeling the Labour party were moving further and further away from me, and the Conservatives were filling that void, rather than me being massively enthusiastic about the Conservatives,” he says.
With that in thoughts, what has he manufactured from Johnson’s efforts thus far? He has been thrilled by the appointment of Rishi Sunak, whom he dubs “one of the best chancellors we’ve had in a long time”. “At the last financial crash, Labour was very keen to bailout the banks and this time it seems that Boris and Rishi are more concerned about bailing out the people with the furlough scheme, which is really positive,” he says.
He does have a number of considerations, nevertheless. Whereas he has been impressed with Britain’s stance on Hong Kong, he laments the “silence” from the UK Authorities on the therapy of the Uighurs in China. “I would prefer to see Boris and the British government set an example and make a stand against that,” he says.
For me, it was extra a case of feeling the Labour social gathering have been transferring additional and additional away from me, and the Conservatives have been filling that void, somewhat than me being massively enthusiastic concerning the Conservatives
On the pandemic, he’s additionally mildly crucial. “Boris needs to be a lot clearer with his delivery, especially in the midst of a major health crisis. It is very important to be extremely precise with the message that you want to deliver,” he argues. “I don’t have a problem with the message that he is delivering, it’s normally just the way that he is doing it that I sometimes cringe at a little bit.”
As for look, Barnard says Johnson “has got to get his hair sorted” (he jokingly presents to lend the PM his flatcap or put him in contact with a number of barbers in Bolton).
“He’s done well. He’s certainly under the microscope with everything that’s going on, but there are certainly some encouraging things to take from it,” he says, citing NHS spending and commitments to put money into the north.
However is there house for Keir Starmer to lure him again to Labour? Presently, it appears to be like uncertain. “Labour at the moment have got a real problem where they’re just preoccupied with trying to appear morally superior, rather than providing sensible, pragmatic policies. They just seem far too preoccupied with making themselves look good rather than actually providing anything of substance,” he says.
Whereas he praises Starmer for “purging” the frontbench of “Corbyn’s folks”, notes his efforts in tackling anti-Semitism, and expresses admiration for the likes of Kate Inexperienced and Lisa Nandy, he feels the Labour chief is just too involved with appearances. “He jumped on the Black Lives Matter bandwagon so quick that he should have sprained an ankle,” he says.
On the probabilities of the Conservatives hanging onto Labour’s crimson wall, he predicts: “It’s not going to be a case of Boris keeping it, it’s more a case of Labour losing it. It’s theirs to lose and they’ve done it through ignoring people on the Brexit vote and pushing for really woke policies and ideas.”
He provides: “It is these sorts of things that are pushing people away from Labour, rather than the Conservatives drawing them in.”
Barnard, who’s contemplating working to develop into a councillor, says he’s more likely to vote Conservative on the subsequent election. “There is certainly nothing that has put me off it,” he says. He’s assured that Johnson’s dedication to funding within the north will even materialise.
If issues have been working easily, if he was working on full steam, I believe we might see the very best of him
“He has realised that the important aspect to our economy is the workers. If your workers are paid then they’re able to put that back into the economy through spending, buying, going to restaurants, the cinema – whatever it is. That’s what keeps the economy moving. That is its bloodline,” he says.
“You’ve got to support that. You’ve got to have the focus of your support on the workers. That’s what has been encouraging for me, especially with Rishi Sunak, that is what he seems to have grabbed.”
Protecting maintain of voters akin to Barnard will likely be key for the Conservatives. The PM has touted infrastructure spending because the central tenet of his financial restoration plan and has vowed to unfold progress evenly throughout the nation. Assembly that pledge – and making certain individuals are not left behind – will likely be important to repeating the electoral success he noticed in December 2019.
Requested to grade Johnson’s first 12 months, Barnard says: “I’d probably say a B. He’s certainly had some things thrown at him that would be difficult for any leader. This is him coping in a crisis. If things were running smoothly, if he was operating on full steam, I think we would see the best of him.”