General Election Week 7: It’s the final countdown!

**********ROLLING BLOG**********

Another week closer to the election, and another new blog!

For part one (weeks one and two) go here, for part two go here, for part three here, part four, here and part 5 here.

Something that is becoming apparent is what looks like infiltration of left social media groups by faux concerned posts about Labour policy or about Corbyn, McDonnell and Abbott. Similar is going on on right social media groups, but at least that is overt and in response to constant slamming of Labour on those sites. Add this to the ‘dark ads’ (see part 5) the Conservatives have paid to put on streaming sites like youtube, this leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Last week it was the IRA slurs, almost constantly (which did not even recede after Colin Horner was gunned down by the UDA in front of his three year old son) showing that most could not care less about Northern Ireland; rather, it was about creating uncertainty around Corbyn. This attack was in the face of all the evidence in the public domain to prove Corbyn spoke to both sides and was even instrumental in the fragile peace in Ireland. More context and detail (as I knew this was coming) is in the Corbyn blog I wrote over a month ago.

This week it seems to be the LVT (Land Value Tax) in response to all the furore over the Conservatives’ ‘dementia tax’- making the false link that Labour want to take your land as opposed to the Conservatives hovering like vultures over the houses of the elderly and over the school meals of children. I already went into this in the Labour manifesto blog a couple of weeks ago, but more on this is below.

It’s been dubbed the ‘garden tax’ (not true, private individuals’ gardens will not be affected) and the Telegraph and The S*n are screaming that it will treble and replace people’s ‘council tax’ bill. If you’re the Duke of Westminster maybe, but not (as for Labour’s other tax measures) for anyone outside those who earn over £80,000 a year (5% of the country.) Another lie is this direct quote:

Council tax bills would treble for middle-class homeowners under Labour plans to introduce a so-called “garden tax” on the value of land, it was claimed last night. The Labour manifesto contains plans for a Land Value Tax to replace council tax, which would hit people with gardens the hardest. [My italics. And no, it contains the single sentence of having a review of the council tax system.]

thats a lie

They mention scaremongering phrases ‘house prices plummeting’ and ‘food prices rising’ as the tax would also go on agricultural land. Yes LVT would be on the latter as well as land ‘under developement’, but they cannot be described in any way as a ‘garden’- the telegraph need to make up their minds what the LVT actually is! Boris Johnson in the Telegraph article calls it a tax on ‘ordinary working families’. So ‘ordinary working families’ live in houses worth over £300,000 and earn over £80,000 do they. Just shut up, man. Every time you open your mouth you show what a dangerous ars*hole you truly are

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The Telegraph says:

The average house price in England in March 2017 was £232,530, meaning an annual tax bill of £3,837 based on a 3 per cent tax on 55 per cent of the value.

While the figure itself is correct using those percentages, they go on to say it’s a land tax, (which it is); the tax is NOT confirmed at all let alone as being applied to your home in that way! But hey let’s go with this…

  • In Wirral for example current council tax (G) on a house worth that much is £2,726.51. (1.1% of house value)
  • In Tower Hamlets, for another example the tax band (G) on a house worth that much is £2,078.03. (0.8% of house value)
  • In Birmingham you’d pay £2,397.41. (1.1% of house value)
  • In Pembroke in South Wales (again for example) a Band G house means £1632.11 council tax. (0.7% of house value)
  • In Edinburgh you pay £3075.57 and (1.3% of house value)
  • In the City of London people only pay £1,552.00 on Band G! (0.6% of house value!)

You will notice that this is described as an average house value, yet this band (G) is the third highest council tax band! Only H and I are above it. So let’s look at (using the Telegraph MO) how it would affect what the poorest people in society who have managed to buy a house would pay.

Band A covers houses worth up to £44,000 (I’m in Band B.) Currently people in Band A pay

  • In Wirral £1,090.61 (2.4% of house value)
  • in Tower Hamlets £831.21 (1.9% of house value)
  • £958.96 in Birmingham (2.2% of house value)
  • £731.35 in Pembroke  (1.7% of house value)
  • In Edinburgh £1089.75 (2.7% of house value)
  • £620 in the City of London- 1.4% of house value- so theirs would go up a little (if there are even any houses in Band A in this area!)

but

  • can you see how much poorer people are paying proportionally in council tax? Some are paying over double! LVT would HALVE their tax bill, and for some, they’d only be paying 1/3 of current council tax rates.
  • with LVT all these people would in Band A only pay £660.
  • 3% of 55% is 1.6% of your house value. Look at the figures above- whose tax bill is trebled then? I can’t see any.

The figures for the poorer households is worked out by finding 55% of £44,000 then finding 3% of that as in point three above. So even using the Telegraph’s system, most of the poorest would in fact be better off. And people in rental properties would not pay it at all, the burden would fall on the landlords and they will not be able to raise rents to compensate.

How is this fair, for the poorest to be paying in some places almost double what their land is worth?

Or for people in rental property which is dead money to all but the landlords, to be paying at all?

Or that small businesses pay extortionate rental or business rates when instead they could pay LVT if they own the property and a reduced business rate if they don’t own their business premises?

Ridiculous mendacity by the Telegraph to try and scare people. Best instead to read an excellent article on it in the Independent that came out a couple of weeks ago instead- which is here. Or for more detail try the Institute for Economic Affairs’ excellent website and LandValueTax.org.

In fact:

A land/location value tax (LVT), also called a site valuation tax, split rate tax, or site-value rating, is a levy on the unimproved value of land. So your new extension or nice garden makes NO DIFFERENCE to the value. It is an Ad valorem (according to value) tax that, unlike property taxes, disregards the value of buildings, personal property and other improvements.
Land value tax has been referred to as “the perfect tax” and the economic efficiency of a land value tax has been known since the eighteenth century. Many economists since Adam Smith and David Ricardo advocated this tax as the fairest system.
It is a progressive tax, in that the heaviest tax burden would fall on the wealthiest and is already in place in Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan; as well as parts of Australia, Mexico and the United States.

So what’s it all about? This tax would counter current land hoarding practices by the wealthy as detailed here

The Rating (Empty Properties) Act 2007 removed this exemption [of no taxes or rates on empty properties]. We were sceptical about the legislation at the time and events have proved us right. Property owners have been trying to challenge the legislation and have now got their way. The owner of a building in Sunderland took the Valuation Office Agency to court. The case, Newbigin v Monk, went to the Court of Appeal in 2015 and then to the Supreme Court. The decision of this test case, announced on 1st March, was in favour of the owners.

Despite what the judges claim, we would argue that this pulls the rug from under the vacant rating legislation. It gives the green light to owners to leave buildings unoccupied and sites derelict, under the pretext that they are “under redevelopment”. At first sight, one might expect that owners would be keen to avoid having sites vacant. Because of the way the land market and the banking system interact, however, it is often financially advantageous to hold premises and sites vacant, especially at the low points in the land price cycle; there are instances of sites which have been through two cycles whilst remaining vacant for the entire period, despite development consents. This promotes urban decay and ensures that economic recoveries will be retarded when the cycle begins to pick up. [my italics]

Does this sound like ‘stealing someone’s garden’ to you? So let’s move on.

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******Nationalisation******

The first hot topic of the week appears to be this, and Labour are pushing ahead with providing more details on one of their flagship policies. It’s a complex topic and not practical to go into full depth here, but an overview of this, and all the parties’ attitude towards this policy are below. Renewable energy policy was covered in part 5 of the election blogs.

Labour have pages of detail about this in the manifesto, from page 90 onwards covering rail, energy and water companies. Here are some excerpts:

Labour will prioritise public service over private profit.

  1. And we will start by bringing our railways back into public ownership, as franchises expire or, in other cases, with franchise reviews or break clauses.
  2. We will introduce a Public Ownership of the Railways Bill to repeal the Railways Act 1993 under which the Conservatives privatised our railways. In public ownership, we will deliver real improvements for passengers by capping fares, introducing free wi-fi across the network, ensuring safe staffing levels, ending the expansion of driver only operations, and introducing legal duties to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.
  3. Across the country we will enable councils to provide first-class bus services by extending the powers to re-regulate local bus services to all areas that want them, and we will support the creation of municipal bus companies that are publicly run for passengers not profit…
  4. Labour will introduce regulations to designate and protect routes of critical community value, including those that serve local schools, hospitals and isolated settlements in rural areas.
  5. It will be built on the platform of Network Rail, which we will retain whole, working with the devolved administrations… in a publicly owned railway that will leave our roads freer of traffic and our air cleaner [using] British steel, whenever possible.
  6. [They] will complete the HS2 high-speed rail line from London through Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester and then into Scotland, consulting with communities affected about the optimal route. We will link HS2 with other rail investments, such as Crossrail of the North (tying together our great Northern cities)…’ and for the rest, go here.

The Greens too make it very clear:

  1. Return the railways to public ownership and re-regulate buses, investing in increased bus services especially in rural and other poorly served areas.
  2. All public transport should be fully accessible and step-free with a phase-in of free local public transport for young people, students, people with disabilities, and older people.
  3. Invest in regional rail links and electrification of existing rail lines, especially in the South West and North of England, rather than wasting money on HS2 and the national major roads programme.
  4. Cancel all airport expansion and end subsidies on airline fuel.
  5. Invest in low traffic neighbourhoods and safe, convenient networks of routes for walking and cycling, including safe places for learning to cycle, so people of all ages and those with disabilities can choose to make local trips on foot, by bike or mobility scooter.
  6. Help end the public health crisis caused by air pollution by increasing incentives to take diesel vehicles off the roads.

The main difference between Labour and the Greens is over the HS2 network- Labour will finish it but the Greens will not, and divert funds elsewhere.

The Lib Dems have less detail, but do have a plan for reform, from page 62-3 on transport, and passing mentions to cleaner water. Here is some of it (abridged):

  1. Ensure that new rail franchises include a stronger focus on customers…a programme of investment in new stations, lines and modern trains… allow public sector bodies and mutual groups involving staff and passengers to bid for franchises…continue the Access for All programme, improving disabled access to public transport as a key priority.
  2. …Establish government-run companies to take over the running of Southern Rail and Govia Thameslink, with a long-term plan to find more effective and sustainable ways of managing these franchises involving greater powers for local government.
  3. Pursue the electrification of the rail network, improve stations, reopen smaller 63 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017 stations, restore twin-track lines to major routes and proceed with HS2, HS3 and Crossrail 2, including development of a high-speed network stretching to Scotland.
  4. Invest capital in major transport improvements and infrastructure. [with extensive list of these]
  5. Develop a strategic airports policy for the whole of the UK, taking full account of the impacts on climate change and local pollution. We remain opposed to any expansion of Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick and any new airport in the Thames Estuary and will focus instead on improving existing regional airports such as Birmingham and Manchester. We will ensure no net increase in runways across the UK.

So a glimpse of nationalisation here, but only a glimpse. Again the Lib Dems take the centre ground, which is of course their mandate.

The Conservative’s transport policy is all over the place in their manifesto. All I can find is this:

  1. (page 20) A National Productivity Investment Fund. The government will target this spending at areas that are critical for productivity: housing, research and development, economic infrastructure and skills. This will include £740 million of digital infrastructure investment, the largest investment in railways since Victorian times, £1.1 billion to improve local transport and £250 million in skills by the end of 2020…
  2. (page 23) programme of strategic national investments including High Speed 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and the expansion of Heathrow Airport – and we will ensure that these great projects do as much as possible to develop the skills and careers of British workers. We will continue to develop the strategic road network…
  3. (page 24) We will focus on creating extra capacity on the railways, which will ease overcrowding, bring new lines and stations, and improve existing routes – including for freight. We will increase services on our main lines and commuter routes, and launch new services to places which are poorly served or host major new housing projects.
  4. (page 59) We will review rail ticketing, removing complexity and perverse pricing, and introduce a passenger ombudsman to stand up for the interests of rail users suffering a poor deal.
  5. (page 81) use digital technology to improve our railways, so that our roads and tracks can carry more people, faster, more safely and more efficiently.

This honestly sounds cut and pasted from other manifestos, with little to actually deal with the overcrowding, high prices and crumbling infrastructure of our roads and railways. And of course, the railways will be nationalised over their dead bodies.

The SNP manifesto says this

  1. (page 9) We will invest in our transport infrastructure and reduce Air Passenger Duty by 50 per cent during the course of the next Parliament.
  2. (page 19) [continuing to] improv[e] our transport links.
  3. (page 29] [as part of a] long term Scottish energy strategy:… make electricity cleaner, more affordable and more secure for all consumers… a “whole system view” and encompass demand reduction, energy efficiency, a balanced energy generation mix, a role for storage, and the requirement for a low carbon transition in transport and heat use.
  4. (page 31) …committed to increasing low-carbon transport and travel in Scotland and by 2020 we will deliver a Low Carbon Travel and Transport programme with £62.5 million investment to create low carbon infrastructure. We will refresh the National Transport Strategy and review national and local guidance to ensure that communities have a say…
  5. (page 32) …bring forward a Transport Bill to improve bus services, enhance and improve the role of the Scottish Road Works Commissioner and wider road works regulation and to enable and enforce responsible parking…

Like the Conservatives the SNP have been in power for some time, and really should have done some of this already. But their talk does seem more convincing, and their record is better. But again, no sign of nationalisation.

Plaid Cymru say in their manifesto:

  1. Jonathan Edwards led a grass-roots campaign demanding £4 billion for transport in Wales following the decision to go ahead with the England-only HS2. We will continue to oppose the Tories’ plans to waste £5 billion on renovating the Houses of Parliament and £400 million on Buckingham Palace, so that we can invest in the people of Wales rather than the establishment.
  2. (page 19) Where we are: Our public transport system is not fit for purpose. All of this while England benefits from next-generation trains and high-speed rail links costing £56 billion. Plaid Cymru’s answer: We will introduce a £7.5 billion investment programme to fund vital infrastructure projects throughout Wales. We will press for our fair share of UK infrastructure spend. Where we can be: Upgraded rail and road links, 10,000 extra affordable homes, and new schools and hospitals.
  3. (page 33) Our transport system is not fit for purpose and our links with the rest of the world have been neglected. We cannot afford to be forgotten anymore. Our communities and country need connecting.
  4. (page 34) Plaid Cymru wants to see a real Wales-wide transport system, including re-opening the Carmarthen-Aberystwyth railway, improved Valleys line services, improvements to the A55 and the expansion of the Traws Cymru bus network. We will also ensure that walking and cycling is integrated with bus and rail services.

They have no nationlisation policy either.

UKIP have no plans to nationalise, a fact that brings no surprise. What they do say covers two pages (beware of the potatoes…)

  1. UKIP WILL SCRAP HS2 (detail of this is in the manifesto)
  2.  ENDING ROAD TOLLS [calling them] highway robbery [they] aim to remove existing tolls from publicly owned roads [but most of their reform is around London.]
  3.  SUPPORT THE TRANSITION TO ZERO EMISSION VEHICLES [good idea]
  4.  DEFENDING DIESEL DRIVERS [Here they are right, as diesel was seen as the way to go, but blame the Eu for it] [they propose] A scrappage scheme giving diesel car owners up to £2,000 [and] prevent diesel drivers from being penalised…
  5. SAVING RURAL BUS SERVICES [detail in the manifesto]
  6.  AIR PASSENGER DUTY [will be frozen]
  7.  LONDON AIRPORTS AND THE SOUTH EAST [scrap] the third runway [and build in] Manston Airport in Kent [using an] American logistics company [and] will continue to support the expansion of smaller regional airports.
  8. THE BRITDISC [Here’s the potato! There’s always one!] We will keep a record of all foreign vehicles entering the UK by introducing a windscreen mounted identification tag, which can be purchased prior to entry. This will help identify overseas drivers who break UK traffic laws and facilitate enforcement action, which can be taken prior to exit from the country. [Yikes!]

The Irish parties’ manifestos are coming out (01/06/17) and will be looked out in due course.

*************Climate change***********

Trump forced this onto all the front pages by refusing to sign the Paris Climate agreement today (01/06/17) as he does not ‘believe in’ climate change. Many US state governors are not happy about this latest bout of flying full potato by this man.

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May was at the G7 meeting (see part 5 of the election blogs) where all this was discussed and the she in the UK’s name, declined to sign the joint statement with Germany, Italy and France criticising Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, so that is simply not a response showing any strength., usually one of her staunchest supporters, has said bluntly today: ‘Theresa May masterclass: how to dodge journalists’ questions.’ I have already said in other blogs that the Conservatives are not only not keeping to current clean air agreements, that the courts have found their measures substandard to the point of illegality. Maybe the UK, under May, will be next to leave this group of over 150 countries who are trying to ensure that we don’t totally destroy our planet!?

Corbyn made his position clear today (02/06/17) giving great criticism of Donald Trump saying he has been reckless and dangerous walking away from the Paris Climate Deal, and staggered that May did not sign the letter of criticism (above). For the VT on this go here.

Emily Thornberry added

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How is May even pretending to be a ‘strong and stable’ leader?

This is not the first time I have been forced to concede this election campaign has gone ‘full potato for the Conservatives.

**********What on earth is going on?*********

  • Blatant contempt for younger people’s votes is being made clear by the Conservatives:

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Oh really? Well figures show that 2/3 of younger people do intend to vote, and ICM polled them on their voting intentions:

poll youth voting intention copy

  • Utter contempt for their own constituents- over 75 Conservative MPs haven’t even shown up to their own hustings!
  • Blatant and massive finger up at the poorest earners, as today (03/06/17) they rule out tax rises for the rich but not the poor! And why is Fallon (Defence Secretary and massive apartheid supporter) announcing this and not the the Chancellor of the sodding Exchequer, Undertaker ‘Spreadsh*t’ Hammond? Does May even HAVE a Cabinet right now?
  • Raising a huge up yours finger to those desperately waiting for housing, the Conservatives have already U-turned on their manifesto plan to build more socially rented council housing; and the plan to build genuinely affordable homes has been publicly ditched by housing minister Gavin Barwell. (02/06/17)
  • Going into the realms of taking the p*ss with privatising; to stuff non UK residents (01/06/17) as now the Home Office is about to start charging non-UK residents £5.48 to send a single email enquiry to its visa service. This is the result of outsourcing its visa enquiries service to Sitel UK, a subsidiary of French-owned Acticall Sitel Group. For more on this, read on here.
  • More Conservative MPs found out in tax avoidance schemes and companies. Rudd’s involvement in the Bahamas broke last week, this week (04/06/17) it’s Hannah David, Harrow West Conservative, who owns a 25% stake in HBFS Wealth Management, which specialises in helping wealthy people use tax laws to pay less inheritance tax using tax havens. Her husband owns the other 75%. And you know this is only the tip of the iceberg!

magic money tree forest copy

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  • Another U turn this time (02/06/17) on the ‘school breakfast’ policy. Originally set as a cost of £60 million (6.8p per child) Education Secretary Justine Greening plucks a £174million figure out of the air (oddly enough, very similar to the figure Barry Gardiner, Labour Secretary for International Trade and Climate Change said would be the only way to properly fund this policy).

Apparently the £60 million was because they were only going to give them to 20% of pupils- how is that a universal free breakfast, as their manifesto clearly promises? Funny, I thought if 20% = £60 million, then 100% = £300 million! Simple Maths. So I can only conclude that both figures were pulled from the ether at best.

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  • Tonight (01/06/17) prominent political commentator Owen Jones, who does not always get it right, but has been spot on lately, received this email (see below left), informing the BBC that neither May, nor any Conservative, will be appearing on any BBC or BBC affiliated radio show from now on
  • May has said she will not even appear on Question Time tonight (02/06/17) at the same time as Corbyn! Since when does she get to change the format of the show🤔
  • and people on the Conservatives’ emailing list are getting emails begging them to pass it on. Chain e-mails? Really?
  • Would it have anything to do with Conservative candidate Craig Mackinlay, who is running for South Thanet in the general election, being charged for alleged overspending in the 2015 General Election campaign, as have his election agent and a party activist (Nathan Gray and Marion Little)? 🤔  He is quoted as saying “I’ve done nothing wrong” and that the decision to charge him over 2015 campaign expenses is “shocking”. Nobody is above the law, Craig. Not even Conservatives.
  • A Conservative party spokesman released this statement on the charges. And while they’re right that electoral law is not fit for purpose, this is
    1. how they got away with all the other charges of fraud
    2. how they get away with obscene donations compared to other parties.
    3. how they get away with not prosecuting companies with whom they were complicit in relation to tax avoidance and other dodgy dealings

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    More on the election fraud is in this blog.

 

  • Or is it due out to figures out today (02/06/17) that the UK is now the worst-performing advanced economy in the world after post-B*exit slump? Canada became the last G7 nation to report figures on Wednesday, confirming the UK’s position at the bottom of the list.
  • Let’s have a little recap on all the Conservative failings…

and how they compare to the other parties, on pensions…

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And on B*exit

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So can we assume that the Conservatives’

  1. control freakery,
  2. isolationism,
  3. sheer nastiness
  4. and paranoia

 as discussed in part 1 of the political blogs is now at 100%? May has even refused to talk to Channel 4’s Jon Snow, the first time a sitting PM has done that in his career (06/06/17) There is only a week to go to the elections! I have not known, for thirty years of being involved in politics, anything like it! No wonder the odds for May to keep her PM job has shot out to 20/1.

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And Corbyn knows it. Tonight (06/06/17) his rally in Birmingham was simultaneously broadcast in Brighton, London, Scotland and Warrington, and in Birmingham there were over 10,000 people there. As Steve Coogan, the host at Birmingham said ‘The Tories are taking the p*ss!’

Corbyn is serious about this election. All across less dribbling outlets tonight (06/06/17) is a four point plan that he has for his first day should he be ending up at Number 10 post election. They are:

• Contact Donald Trump and urge him to retract his “unacceptable” remarks about London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan.
Call Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron on Friday to kick off Brexit talks, saying his win would give him a mandate to negotiate tariff-free trade.
• Set a date for a quick budget to implement key policies, including lifting the public sector pay cap.
Confront Saudi Arabia over its funding for terrorist groups.

On the other hand, May is out ‘talking to real voters’ on the street, well in a café. Maybe they should have taken off their Conservative rosettes first! We also saw one of her ‘strong and stable’ vans collapse (nobody was hurt) And maybe she shouldn’t go on about things Diane Abbott and Corbyn said thirty years ago…

While Corbyn is doing Q&As for the music magazine NME and Kerrang! (the issue is not out yet); and scoring the front covers , confirming his B*exit team (Starmer, Gardiner and Thornberry) and concretising the Labour aims

And the polls are closing further, including leader satisfaction ratings by Ipsos Mori, though this could galvanise the Conservative core vote, like it did for ‘leave’ in the referendum, or cause bandwagoning where people vote for the ‘party on the up’…

poll 2nd june ipsos copy

We see former foreign Ambassador Craig Murray release statements like this

craig murray on may being string

more overt displays of anti-Conservative feeling from activists and aggrieved members of the public

and all the MSM have finally caught up with the fact that the Conservative government is failing so badly on pollution control we now have actual smog again.

govt failing on air quality copy

If the frantic smears of recent headlines (07/06/17 and 08/06/17) in the worst right wing rags are any indication, the right have gone into freefall to try and scupper the Labour momentum. These outlets are smearing three Members of the Privy Council with full security clearance the day before the election.

And for sure, some may fall for it. But for most, their confidence in the MSM is already the lowest in the world, and it just will not wash.

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Many other news outlets are looking at this toil foil hattery with some bemusement. And social media commentators are going further, turning it into what it is- a mockery of neoliberal and rightish desperation- and using the hashtag LastMinuteSmears to show it up for what it is. What it will do is push ‘undecideds’ either left or right depending on how much they want to believe the smears allied with how much they agree with May’s shredding of the Human Rights Act. 

Today (07/06/17) while campaigning in the Weaver Vale marginal

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(see ‘seats under scrutiny’ section below) Corbyn said this about this tactic from the right leaning MSM:

“I understand some people have said some very unkind things about me – I forgive them all!… I ask all of you in the few hours that remain to think very hard about the choice before us.”

Diane Abbott, who has been suffering from a diagnosed but not disclosed illness since the Withdrawal from the EU vote, has finally decided she cannot continue her Home Secretary role. After months, even years of racist and sexist hate, where her errors are slammed 100 times more than any Conservative/white/males, which she has dealt with for over thirty years, successfully too for that matter, she has realised that this allied to her illness means she cannot hang on till the election. I can’t imagine pages of vicious attack in the above rags helped. Lyn Brown, Shadow Police Minister, been named acting Home Secretary in the meantime. Brown has hit the ground running too, laying the blame on May for police cuts- and she’s be in a position to know! Of course much of the press has had a field day with Abbott stepping down- The Express claiming essentially it is fake, to many other outlets putting ‘illness’ in inverted commas to indicate some kind of disbelief, and so on. Others have been a lot less b*tchy. And so they should, we didn’t see this attack on May when the PM forgot what town she was in a few weeks back.

This very attitude to invisible illness has been fostered by the MSM for years and has seen thousands of people thrown off DLA and PIP too, when it someone the press feel they can already attack (Abbott because she is a black woman, people on DLA/PIP because ‘they’re all scroungers anyway’.)

******Global issues (for more on this, see this blog)******

 

We know that despite increased military activity, nothing like a peace is near. Is it not time to say, as Corbyn has, that the ‘war on terror’ has not worked and is not working?

Or we could go with what May is proposing, just like the Middle East hardliners. To confirm that she will essentially tear up the Human Rights Act in the name of security as well as make noises about further stepping up a military presence. Yeah, as that’s been working so well in the past couple of years, hasn’t it?

And she wants to put the detention of suspects back to 28 days as it was under New Labour as part of the Terrorism Act 2006– on her watch it had been put down to 14. (To be fair I was ambivalent in the first place about it being 28 days too. And so was for now-B*exit Secretary David Davis- in 2008 his protest about it going up to 28 days resulted in a by-election in his constituency! If he keeps quiet now, he’s a hypocrite angling for power. After all, he’d just lost a leadership contest back in ’08…)

Keir Starmer, Labour Shadow Secretary for B*exit and twenty years a barrister and QC, spoke up today (07/06/17)- saying what we all thought and knew. That there is NOTHING in the HRA that prevents the apprehension of terrorists or hinders the prevention of terrorism. 

******More dirty campaigning, this time at home******

 

A new election leaflet by the Lib Dems could have been worded better, too. Yes we know about vote splitting thanks to First Past The Post (see the voting blog) but as a party very much in a distant third and often even below UKIP and the Greens, voting Lib Dem no longer ‘keeps out’ another party, except in super marginals. But they are attacking the wrong party, unless they’re looking to join ‘forces’ with the Conservatives post election. All this leaflet does is annoy left AND right voters. 

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But this cr*p needs to stop too. Labour MP Joan Ryan is made to look as if she has done a ‘Woodcock’ and sent an extraordinary letter to former Labour voters in Enfield North where she ‘admits’ that having spoken to many of them she realises they “have more confidence in Theresa May as Prime Minister than they would have in Jeremy Corbyn.” Going on to say “Realistically no one thinks Theresa May will not be Prime Minister, or that she will not have the majority she needs to negotiate Brexit.”

joan-ryan-letter

This is seriously wrong. Think this if you must as much as you want but if you send this to potential voters it’s misuse of your powers as an MP… it’s not even a lame attempt at galvanising the Labour vote! 

On the other side of this, we have mail purporting to be from Labour candidates, but was actually pertaining to the leadership contest, sent out by the Conservatives to make voters think this is from Labour, and about the general election. This could even be what happened to Ryan (can’t see the return address on her mail) but Ryan’s does sound more tailored to the election as opposed to the leadership race. Malhotra isn’t even in a marginal in her Feltham and Heston seat, unlike Ryan in Enfield North!

And Angela Eagle’s, MP for Wallasey, recent letter sounds like a swan song. Now while this may not be a ‘dirty trick’ after her actions over the last year- as some might well want her gone, and others may be desperate for her to stay, depending on how they feel about Corbyn- it is most odd to see an MP with a 37.7% majority sound so uncertain about her future. 

.

**********TV appearances***********

All I am going to say about BBC Question Time last night (02/06/17) is this:

  • I was truly terrified that the old pale stale self-declared as ‘Tory’ males in the audience wanted us all to be vapourised via nuclear bombs and did not want to vote for a PM that would not do this as a primary measure on first or second strike. Was this a blunt attempt to make ‘the young’ not care about the ‘dementia tax’ for the old? We all know the Conservatives try to be masters of Divide And Rule… The only saving grace of that willy waving narrative was the young woman who said what all with common sense and empathy were thinking ‘I don’t know why people in this room are so keen on killing millions of people’ and received the biggest cheer of the night. As Frankie Boyle said later: “All the average British punter wants is to be paid less than £10 an hour and be incinerated in a nuclear holocaust, and good luck to em…” ‘‘Go on Corbyn, push the button, end this misery’’ was the Huffpost’s tagline on it, and I can see why…

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  • That the plant calling for zero hours contracts to carry on, and who described some utopia when some jumped up teenager can dictate to bosses the hours they work and when (er, it’s not been like that since the 80s and even then you usually got 10 hours a week guaranteed, and could do extra hours another week in lieu when you had exams on) needs to get a grip. Workers on ZHCs have NO say in the hours they work. And as social media commentators have noted

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He’s a prep school boy from the top 5%. There is no way in hell his parents are going to see their little darling Ed stuck stacking shelves at Poundland for minimum wage.

  • The plant (the second one on the BBC shows, for the other see this election blog) who moaned about corporation tax and £10 wages when (for the ‘n’th time) all Labour want to do is put the rate back to 2010 levels, and recent Conservative cuts have caused this money hoarding to happen, according to official Government reports! The elite do NOT pay more when tax rates are lower, as another stale male in the audience insisted

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There was more, but that was an utter mess. But like the BBC’s showing of the Leaders’ Debate really (see this election blog).

Corbyn answered fully: May did not.

Corbyn was smeared on issues that have been in the public domain for years proving he did no such thing (like the IRA and Hamas issues and just before the debates, the slur that he ‘honoured’ the Palestinians believed to be responsible for the attacks on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics, when even the Times of Israel admitted last he was in a large cemetery in 2014 and laid wreaths by many graves and stopped by more than one monument) which the MSM tried to run with (a less foamy than the rest of the MSM link, in context here), but it sank like a stone: May only got a few jabs on her and her party’s terrible proven record in power and during the election campaign.

Another smear out and about today (06/06/17), for which I can only find ‘proof’ of on rabid right wing sites like Guido Fawkes, the Daily Mail and Breitbart, were the ‘Corbyn supporters’ shouting ‘gas gas Tel Aviv’ in 2002. NO Jewish outlet or even places like the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 etc ever reported on such a thing. The nearest I found was the Times of Israel talking of Jordanian protests at having an Israeli gas pipeline in their country last year,where vaguely similar comments such as ‘Zionist gas’ were used.

No wonder the Guardian and the New Statesman have ‘declared for Labour’ this week. The NS go further:

Above all, Labour’s historic mission is to redress the power of capital and defend the labour interest for the common good. The mission of the Conservatives is to be the party of the moneyed interest and to defend the market state.

It also appears that May’s/ Lynton Crosby’s/ the Conservatives’ attempts to make this election about B*exit have failed, if top election related Google searches are to be believed.

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polls done in the last couple of days also suggest there is no Conservative surge post Manchester bomb attack, or after the events of last week in politics (again, with the usual caveats about polls! Survation’s recent polling history is most accurate- they correctly extrapolated the Leave result and Trump becoming president. The Yougov result is factoring in the youth vote and the Survation one is not.)

poll opinium 30-31 may copypoll orb end May-June copy

poll survation 3 june copypoll comres 31 may-2 june copy

poll yougov 2 June copy

******Attack in London, 04/06/17******

I wasn’t going to blog about it, but felt in the end I had to. May has played slash and burn bean counter with people’s lives for long enough. The blog is here.

Today (05/06/17), Corbyn has backed calls for May to resign over this blatant figure fudging and blaming others for the police and public services cuts,

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here explained again, by Ben Priestly, NPO for Unison today on the BBC, that have caused destabilisation of British security! Corbyn said he was responding to concerns from all parties, including Conservatives, to make this demand, including David Cameron’s former policy advisor, Steve Hilton. Iain Duncan Smith also put the boot in on the radio this morning. And Jim Gamble, the former head of Special Branch in Belfast, agrees. As does Cressida Dick, London Metropolitan Police Commissioner. The MSM have leapt on this, unsurprisingly but few are criticising Corbyn now. And he has been clear, in the VT he clearly says the best way for the public to ensure she ‘resigns’ is by means of the ballot box on Thursday- he is not leading the calls for her resignation.

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.

In light of what’s happened for the Conservatives, again, to be buying local newspapers’ front pages today (05/06/17) with their £millions of donations AGAIN, jut like they did before the local elections, with (below) depicted as NEWS, is crass, cold and repugnant.

No to mention this (see below) that does not have approval from Dover District  Council!

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This, like the newspaper wraps, is clear misuse of funds by Conservatives and Conservative supporting wealthy individuals. Or Arron Banks, wealthy one-time pro UKIP agitator and one of the funders of the B*exit campaign, some are suggesting. If done as a joke by an individual, then nobody’s laughing who has seen it, except at whoever did it. And those things aren’t cheap (though the ‘joke’ is…) As many have noted, the flag is upside down, which traditionally is the code for a ship in distress. Though it would be gratifying to think whoever did this was that sophisticated, the cynic in me says, nope, just ignorant. Who are the ‘fingers’ for?

  1. Terrorists?
  2. The EU?
  3. People in Dorset (as that is the direction in which it is pointing)?

I can’t imagine it’ll stay up long. A bit like the Conservative campaign in general.

.

May has not been able to control anything in this election, least of all the narrative. Except for a flew diehards, this election is not about B*exit and hasn’t been since week one. Prominent and well known spokespeople from

  1. media outlets (as seen above)
  2. to footballers like Southall and Collymore; and other sportsmen (like Ronnie O’Sullivan and Sir Bradley Wiggins)
  3. to comedians (like Ricky Gervais and Jeremy Hardy)
  4. to actors (like Richard Wilson aka ‘Victor Meldrew’ and Daniel Radcliffe (of Harry Potter ‘fame’)
  5. to music artists from Charlotte Church to Stormzy to Rag ‘n’ Bone man
  6. to economists (150 of them!) like Richard Murphy
  7. to scientists (Stephen Hawking for one)
  8. to Bl**rite blowhards like Alan Johnson (see this election blog) and Alastair Campbell who only weeks ago said it was his daily mission to destroy Corbyn, and whom John McDonnell called a ****ing ****hole last year (though oddly enough the articles declaring Campbell’s ‘mission’ seem to have been removed from all news sites, and I’ve had a really good look…)
  9. to doctors

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have said the Conservatives are not an option for them in the name of

  • the NHS,
  • reversing cuts
  • UK foreign policy
  • housing
  • social care
  • education
  • ‘dementia tax’
  • Labour’s tax reforms
  • and stopping the DWP’s stomp on the poor and disabled.

Not seeing B*exit mentioned at all.

They are just some of many supporters. Here’s a fuller list:

list of pro corbyn celebs copy

All are using the Labour manifesto as the reason for their change or mind or their increased pro Labour stance. And still more, globally are mortified at The Donald

donald

aka Mango Mussolini aka Lord Dampnut (thanks to Canadian comedian Colin Mochrie for that one) after his vicious online attacks on Labour London Mayor Sadiq Khan, using it as political fuel to bolster his (Trump’s) travel ban policy. Mochrie goes further and calls for a ‘drivel ban’. 😂 Yet more are disgusted that May won’t defend Khan or delay or stop Trump’s highly unpopular visit to the UK. Corbyn said he would at the very least, delay it.

.

 

******Education******

Another issue for which the Conservatives are rightly being attacked is on education. It is part of a whole scale attack across the board from the poor to the disabled to pensioners, and now, school children.

After the 6.8p per meal fiasco (as talked of above) for breakfasts to ‘replace’ free school hot lunches, which if we look at Cumbrian local government funding available right now for example, is less than the PERCENTAGE added on to current funding, and isn’t allowed to be much higher due to funding cuts even for the lunches:

cumbria school meals charge copy

  • we see that headteachers are sending actual begging letters home to parents for basic supplies like pencils and glue, and for free help in classrooms from parents

Slide16

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Here’s a handy site to show just how much your kids’ school will lose.

Labour want and have pledged to inject over £25billion into a “national education service” in England in its manifesto, among other policies.

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The Lib Dems pledge a £7billion boost in education spending, and extending free school meals to all primary school pupils- Labour want all children at school to have a free hot lunch. The Greens oppose the Conservatives’ privatisation and commercialisation of schools, colleges, and universities which is making access to a good education dependent on financial privilege- same as Labour, and like Labour want to scrap university tuition fees; the Lib Dems wish to reduce them but not remove them. Even UKIP want to scrap tuition fees if only for science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine students, to open a grammar school in every town; and stop tuition fees being paid for courses which do not lead at least two thirds of students into into a graduate level job, or a job corresponding to their degree, within five years after graduation. But they also want to scrap sex and relationship education for children under the age of 11 and charge ‘foreign’ university students much more to come here. Comes to something when UKIP again sound more progressive than the Conservatives!

It’s hard to believe that some polls are actually stagnating in the wake of the past couple of days, for example:

CON: 43% (-)
LAB: 36% (-1)
LDEM: 8% (+2)
UKIP: 5% (-)
GRN: 2%(-)

(via @OpiniumResearch / 04 – 06 Jun) as you can see, there’s almost no change from their last poll. Their lead by the Conservatives is the widest of all the polls but even theirs has narrowed considerably since April.

Others show similar lack of movement. Though Survation’s bucks that trend a little.

Though to be honest now (07/06/17) it is a case of alea iacta est and it is unlikely anything short of a major european war being declared will affect voter intentions to any great degree.

Today (07/06/17) some polls show a slight Labour decline, possibly down to the right wing rag smearing. But it is not diverting votes to the Conservatives either. 

This one, from Panelbase, shows the Westminster voting intention as utterly static:

CON: 44% (-)
LAB: 36% (-)
LDEM: 7% (-)
UKIP: 5% (-)
GRN: 2% (-1)

(via @PanelbaseMD / 02 – 07 Jun)

And Qriously, a relatively new polling company, whose clients include Netflix and Vodaphone, polled 2,213 people. Their results over a poll all this week and out today (07/06/17) show:

Labour on 41.3 % of the vote and the Conservatives at 38.5%, making the final result too close to call because the difference falls within the 3.2 per cent margin of error. This ‘margin’ is one of my many issues and caveats with polls.

“This is the first poll that gives an outright lead for Labour,” Christopher Kahler, Qriously’s CEO, says. “But our results are not wildly out of line with what other polls are predicting. It’s generally agreed that it will be a close-run election.”

Turnout is predicted to be high at around 70%. “Turnout estimate has increased from a few weeks ago, when we had 60%,” Kahler continues. “We think this might be because the outcome is no longer a foregone conclusion, which in turn has come from an unexpectedly strong Labour performance.” The poll puts the Liberal Democrats on 6%, the Scottish National Party at 3.8% and UKIP on 3%. The number of undecided voters is at 14% and there does not seem to be a Green result.

Turnout is being reported as huge from booths all over the country, even from 7 a.m.

And as polling has now started, this blog is at an end. Please check out the election results blog for further updates.

.

 

**********Seats under scrutiny this week**********

(For other vital seats, and seats of interest, see the end of the other election blogs.)

Weaver Vale

Weaver Vale was created in 1997 from parts of Eddisbury, Tatton, Halton, and Warrington South, when the number of constituencies in Cheshire was increased from 10 to 11. From the 1997 general election, the seat was held by the Labour Party’s Mike Hall, who first entered Parliament in 1992 for Warrington South. Labour held the seat relatively easily in the succeeding two general elections however lost the 2010 election here on a swing of 8.15% with minor boundary changes mentioned likely affecting this swing. In February 2010 Hall, who had held announced that he was standing down in 2010 for health reasons. The present MP is Conservative Graham Evans, elected at the 2010 general election.

  • But in 2015 Evans’ majority was super marginal- just 806 votes (1.7%) on a low to middling 68.5% voter turnout, down 2.4% from 2010.
  • The vote share in 2015 went as follows- Conservative: 20,227 (43.2%; a +4.6 swing); Labour’s Julia Tickridge with 19,421 (41.4%; a +5.2 swing); for UKIP Amos Wright 4,547 (9.7%; a +7.4 swing); the what is now ‘usual’ Liberal Democrat post-coalition collapse with Mary Di Mauro (1,395 votes, 3%, a massive −15.7 swing away); and for the Greens Chris Copeman 1,183 (2.5%; a +1.8 swing.)
  • In 2017 Evans will be standing. Others are: Labour’s Mike Amesbury, for the Greens Chris Copeman again and for the Liberal Democrats Paul Roberts. Mike has much prominent public support, with high profile Labour activists like Eddie Izzard coming to campaign in the area.
  • Evans campaigned for remain and the result was as close as you can imagine, with 50.6% voting leave and a 74.5% turnout, higher than the national average. It is hard to glean from this therefore whether that will bring any votes back to the Lib Dems on this issue.
  • The Electoral Calculus has this seat at a 68% chance of a Conservative hold, but it is hard to work out why they think this. Though the area has a high health and wages rating (with half describing themselves as well off and in good health) but Lord Ashcroft polling sees this area as very much under successful attack by Labour. Evans concedes that the over 65s in the area suffer from fuel poverty and there is a high rate of deaths due to faulty portable fires here, as well as from the cold. Removing the winter fuel payment would not go down well.
  • The 2015 16 Patient Participation Report for the area also shows 60% of the over 65s here suffer from dementia, which is a terribly high amount. So another Conservative measure is not going to be well received. And as house prices in the area, even for shared housing which starts at £135,000 (50% of the house value) few are going to have much to leave to their families once they have passed.

It would not be rash to predict that this seat could swing back to Labour, even with UKIP not standing in order not to split the ‘right wing’ vote.

Darlington

A Labour seat, and with a 3,158 vote (7.7%) majority, which is a negative swing of -0.2% and a low-ish 62% turnout, this according to current thinking is a marginal seat. It was created in 1868, and has seen all three main parties hold the seat over the years.

darlington copy

It took two decades after the creation of the Labour for them to get a foothold here but once they did, it has been a straight Labour/Conservative seat ever since, and have held it since 1992.

  • In 2015, the five best known parties all stood, and this is their vote share: Labour’s Jenny Chapman held the seat with 17,637 votes (42.9%, +3.5 swing); Conservative Peter Cuthbertson was second with 14,479 votes (35.2% +3.7 swing); for UKIP, David Hodgson (5,392 votes, 13.1% +10.3 swing); for the Liberal Democrats Anne-Marie Curry (1,966 votes, 4.8% and the now typical collapse post coalition negative swing of -18.6%); and new Green Michael Cherrington with 1,444 votes (3.5%). Chapman is standing again, as is Cuthbertson and Curry, with new candidates for UKIP (Kevin Brack) and for the Greens; Matthew Snedker.
  • The seat is a Leave area with 56.2% of the vote and a turnout of 71%. 94% of the area is white British and profession are almost equally spread from professional/administration to being in the care sector. Up to 34% of the area are over 65 (which is quite high) and 8% are declared as suffering from mental illness.
  • The previous MP Alan Milburn who held the seat for Labour from 1992-2005 managed to keep the majority in the 20%+ region but the turnout was a few percentage points lower than in 2015 and the Lib Dems were usually the vote splitter. So this seat is pretty static really.
  • Apart from the Lib Dem loss of vote, I can’t see much change in this area, but anticipate a Labour hold, especially after it came out this week that Conservative candidate Cuthbertson wrote blogs full of what is basically hate speech: anti-gay; unscientifically and rabidly pro-life; and wanting women’s sexual history to be told in full in rape trials, calling them ‘promiscuous’ and of ‘low morals’. Labour MPs for Denton and Reddish, Andrew Gwynne, and for Hemsworth, Jon Trickett, are leading calls for him to stand down immediately.

Ellesmere Port and Neston

A Labour hold since 1992, this seat has been Justin Madders since 2015 after long standing Labour MP Andrew Miller stood down. His majority is 6,275 votes (13.4%) with a turnout of 68.6% and an overall swing +1.8%. So while it’s not a marginal, Madders is what is described as ‘relatively safe’.

  • In the 2015 general election, the vote share ran as follows: Madders 22,316 (47.8%; a swing of +3.1%); Conservative Katherine Fletcher with 34.3% of the vote, which was a negative swing of −0.5%); for UKIP, Jonathan Starkey with 12%; a +8.3% swing); for the Liberal Democrats Trish Derraugh with 3.3%, which was yet another post coalition crash of negative −11.7%) and for the Greens, new candidate Michelle Palmer with 990 votes (2.1%).
  • This time, all 5 parties are standing again. Madders again of course, new Conservative Nigel Jones, new Liberal Democrat Ed Gough, new for UKIP Fred Fricker, and new for the Greens, Steven Baker.
  • The Council there is under NOC (no overall control)- Labour have 23 councillors, the Conservatives 17 and the Liberal Democrat 2.
  • The age range of the area is a fairly even spread, with 19% of residents being over 65, 8.8% of people considered as severely disabled, and 9.6% mildly disabled- just higher the national average. 10.4% of residents class their general health as ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’.
  • I can’t see the Conservatives’ flagship policies going down well here, and with the leave vote at an inconclusive 50.6% here (74.5% turnout), little likelihood of a Lib Dem surge with their flagship EU policy either.
  • And Madders comes across as a decent guy, taking time out to write a reply to a little boy, who was upset at the state of his local playground, this week; and letting him know he’d got onto the Council about it.

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Enfield North

Held by Labour MP Joan Ryan, who wrote that ill-advised letter above in the ‘What on Earth is going on?’ section of the blog, and foolishly so, as she’s in a super marginal. Her majority is just 1,086 votes (2.4%, with a turnout of just 67.7%, which was a +0.6% general swing and to Labour. They gained this seat from the Conservatives in 2015. The constituency was created in 1974, and held by Labour till 1979, when the Conservatives gained it and held it till 1997- as it was then that the Labour landslide kicked in. Ryan held the seat with a slowly diminishing majority till 2010 when her usual Conservative rival Nick de Bois grabbed it. In 2015, the swing, just, went back to her.

  • In 2017, the ‘big five’ are standing. For UKIP Deborah Cairns again; for the Liberal Democrats Nicholas da Costa; for the Conservatives long time rival Nick de Bois is back; and for the Greens Bill Linton. Ryan will be standing once more for Labour. And in 2015 the vote share went like this: Labour– 20,172 votes (43.7%; +5.2 swing); Conservative Nick de Bois with 41.4%; a small negative −0.9% swing; UKIP’s Deborah Cairns with 9.0% (+6.8 swing); Green David Flint  with 2.8% (+1.7 swing) and for the Liberal Democrats Cara Jenkinson with 2.3% (the now usual negative swing of −9.9%.)
  • With property prices in Enfield up by 13.4% from 2015, and 3.5% adults under 65 in residential or nursing homes (the England average was 14.2) and for the ver 65s, the figure was 4% per 100,000, (the England average was 67%) many receive care at home so the Conservatives’ ‘dementia tax’ would hit them hard, and 55.1% of them have access to social care funding (much higher than the England average of 26.3%).
  • The area was 55.8% to remain in the EU referendum.
  • For the first few weeks of the election build up, candidates around her area put Sadiq Khan on their literature and not Corbyn but that too may well have been misjudged. The polls (see above) show a huge swing to pro Corbyn tendencies beyond the left of the party.
  • So while she could hold the seat, it is of import as traditionally, from its creation in 1974 until 2015, Enfield North was considered a ‘bellwether’ (indicator of overall election voting likelihood) of the national result. But Joan Ryan defied that trend when winning the seat back from  de Bois as the Conservatives won overall. This seat for more than one reason will be a ‘suck it and see’ and we can only hope her stupid letter does not cost her votes.

Croydon Central

This is a Conservative supermarginal- Gavin Barwell narrowly held the seat in 2015. His majority was 165 seats, which is 0.3%; which is -5.91% swing away from 2010 and a -2.8% swing overall. Turnout was 52,941, which was middling level of 67.7%, +2.2% up from 2010. In second place was Labour’s Sarah Jones with 42.7%, which was a sizeable +9.1 swing. The other parties were in the far distance- UKIP’s Peter Staveley with 9.1% (+7.1% swing); the Greens’ Esther Sutton with 2.7% (+1.6% swing) and the typical Liberal Democrat collapse with James Fearnley of 2.2%; a negative swing of −11%.

  • In 2017 BarwellJones and Staveley are standing again, as well as the following: the Christian Peoples’ John Boadu; for the Greens, Tracey Hague; for the Liberal Democrats Gill Hickson; and an Independent Don Locke.
  • The local paper doesn’t seem to be a fan of Barwell. In May they said:

WALTER CRONXITE, our political editor, asks the burning question of the General Election campaign in Croydon:is gaffe-prone Gavin scared of f*cking up? Or is he just frit?
Has Gavin Barwell lost the confidence of his party leader, Theresa Mayhem?”

Gavin Barwell, the Conservative MP for Croydon Central since 2010, has pulled out of a debate on education with Labour’s General Election candidate, Sarah Jones, which he’d agreed to take part in.

Cornwall.

Many Cornish seats may see an unprecedented change of colour this election. Usually very Conservative indeed, all across the region we are seeing swings to Labour or Lib Dem in the polls– the vote prediction is almost evenly split, with the Conservatives on 23%, while Labour and the Liberal Democrats are both on 22%, but a collapse in support for UKIP as I predicted after the local election results and EU referendum.

  • The Truro and Falmouth seat looks like an incredibly close battle, with the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives splitting the vote in Truro.
  • Labour has seen a surge of support in Falmouth and Penryn.
  • The St Ives seat is also split, with the Conservatives clearly leading the way in Helston but the Liberal Democrats have the majority of support in Penzance, St Ives and West Cornwall.
  • Labour dominate in the Camborne, Redruth and Hayle seat, with a four point lead over the Conservatives.
  • South East Cornwall looks secure for the Conservatives; they have a 10% lead over the Liberal Democrats in second place.
  • the Newquay and St Austell seat could go down to the wire, with Labour just leading the way with 20% support, with the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives just behind with 17% support each.

However, more than a third of voters say they are yet to make up their minds.
But Conservative candidates like the former MP for South East Cornwall, Sheryll Murray, aren’t helping themselves. Today (04/06/17) she had an unexpectedly rough ride at her hustings, and became the centre of a row with constituents after she said she “really pleased we have foodbanks” in the area, and then threatened to phone the police on an audience member who challenged her words!

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