Manchester's politics

A gap in the political market

To people who don't follow politics closely in our region, it might appear that Greater Manchester is an undisputed Labour Party stronghold.

However, based on the statistical analysis of the 2017 mayoral election shown in the diagram opposite, I'd argue that nothing could be further from the truth. As the statistics show, our Labour mayor was supported by fewer than 1 in 5 eligible voters (18%).

At council level, 455 out of 655 councillors (69.5%) in Greater Manchester are currently Labour. But there's hardly anywhere in the region where a councillor can claim that more than 15% of their local electorate are voting for them.

I therefore conclude that Greater Manchester is a place where the organised minority (in other words, people who vote) controls the disorganised majority, which makes the drastic mistake of taking no interest in politics and the concept of democracy. 

Unfortunately, this figure tells us everything we need to know about the current state of political apathy in Greater Manchester.

Analysing the gap

As an experienced businessman, I assess market potential every day of my working life. Analysing the political landscape in Greater Manchester is a similar exercise - and a very easy one to call if we measure it from left to right using the diagram below. My recommendations are as follow:

1. From the outset, concede 18% of the vote to Andy Burnham. There's no point trying to change the minds of diehard supporters when resources are low.

2. Formulate a clear message that appeals to the almost 1.5 million (71%) disinterested, disengaged and disillusioned non-voters who currently don't have a political home here in Manchester.

3. Convince people that voting for the Tories, the Liberal Democrats or the Green Party is a wasted vote.

In pure marketing terms, referring to the 71% of non-voters as a 'gap in the market' is misleading. In fact, it's more like a canyon where the diagram below measures the 'market potential' of any new idea that's a viable alternative to what's currently on offer.

With the Green Party at the far left extremity of British politics and the Liberal Democrats in 'No Man's Land' next to the Labour Party, the middle ground is there for the taking here in Manchester. The key message delivered by any new idea must therefore appeal to the central thinking ground that focuses on the environment. (If this was a business product placement exercise, the approach would be to take two failing products - i.e. the Greens and the Liberals - buy them up cheaply, merge them for any worthwhile synergies and release the end result back into the marketplace as the 'New Improved Value Product'.)

It's equally clear that the Tories are wasting their time in Manchester for the foreseeable future, despite their 2019 election performance in the region at national level.