The first hard truth is that the Tories didn’t win despite austerity, they won because of it. Voters did not reject Labour because they saw it as austerity lite. Voters rejected Labour because they perceived the Party as anti-austerity lite. 58% agree that, ‘we must live within our means so cutting the deficit is the top priority’. Just 16% disagree. Almost all Tories and a majority of Lib Dems and Ukip voters agree.I'm confused about the idea the Tories are deemed economically competent.
Between 2010 and 2015, they managed to deliver Alastair Darling's economic plan - halving the deficit over a parliament.
George Osborne, you'll recall, wanted to eliminate it. He failed, and also strangled growth.
So I think the narrative is not that Labour lost because flaky on the economy but that Labour lost because of the perception that it was flaky on the economy. If anything, the Tories should have been castigated into atoms because of their failure to deliver their plan, their suffocation of the recovery and their reckless over-promising and under-delivering.
Of course, getting people to understand counter intuitive things - that it's not a bad idea to spend on infrastructure to help tomorrow's tax payers today is not actually a bad idea, and that cutting spending reducing economic growth - in an environment where reasoned argument is stifled by the mad wailing of the Mail, is another matter entirely.