Two days is a long time in pre-election politics
On 28th November Francis Elliott’s triumphalist article in the Times heralded a seat-by-seat analysis based on polling by YouGov for The Times.
But two days later, a BMG poll which questioned 1,663 voters between 27 and 29 November showed that the Conservative lead had ‘narrowed sharply’ (Reuters) – halved when compared with last week’s poll.
Robert Struthers, BMG’s head of polling, said “If this trend continues, this election could be much closer than it looked just a matter of weeks ago.”
Rob Merrick (Independent) points out that the results come at the end of a week when Mr Johnson has faced further criticism on several counts, compounding earlier allegations, including:
- his appalling attitude to single mothers and working-class men
- his unwillingness to face Andrew Neil.
- the early release from prison of the London Bridge attacker and
- his relationship with Donald Trump, who will arrive for a NATO summit in London on Tuesday.
Robert Struthers said there was growing evidence Labour is “starting to build momentum” ahead of the election on 12 December. 73% of those who backed the party at the 2017 election now planning to do the same on 12 December – up from 67% a week ago.
The change in direction is shown above and BMG’s headline voting intention figures take the Conservative lead from a likely majority into possible hung parliament territory. Will this continue and take the Labour Party into the lead?
Comment Writer Jamie Aspden, a third year political science student at the University of Birmingham, argues that that the Conservative Party Conference was the conclusive sign that the government needs to change. A ‘wake-up call’ – read the article here: http://www.redbrick.me/comment/brexit/conservative-party-just-managing/. Some extracts follow.
“For the first time in decades Britain faces the possibility of a truly socialist government, under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn”.
After referring to the lost majority and questionable DUP deal, a Cabinet at war with themselves, little good news along the way and detailing the conference mishaps Aspden comments, “Theresa May has just about managed to get through it, whilst being tripped up by countless political debacles”. He ends:
“If the Conservative Party wishes to keep its reputation as one of the oldest, greatest and most successful political parties in the free world, it needs to get its act together and fast. The cost of indecision is too high.
“The United Kingdom can no longer afford this brand of governance. As at this time, when it faces some of the greatest challenges since the Second World War: an ageing population, a changing climate and the departure from the EU, we need a, dare I say it, ’strong and stable’ government. One with innovative and inspired ideas, and with the unity and discipline needed to enact them. ‘Just about managing’ will no longer cut it.
“For the first time in decades Britain faces the possibility of a truly socialist government, under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. A party which is ‘just about managing’ to hold itself together is of little use in the fight against such an opposition. Instead the party must unite and move forward as one. If not, the electorate will never forgive it for falling apart right at the moment it needed to come together.
“The country deserves and needs a government that succeeds, and it needs it now”.
Does Theresa May have the temperament and inter-personal skills to lead successful Brexit negotiations asks Steve Beauchampé?
Extracts from his blog, “ General Election 2017 – May Plays Her Trump Card”
We don’t have to look far for reasons to believe that the Prime Minister might be a potentially toxic mixture of intensely controlling, highly secretive, overly sensitive and with a touch of the feudal monarch about her. There’s her unwillingness to campaign using little apart from slogans, to debate live with rival party leaders, to encounter voters other than pre-vetted Conservative Party members or to place herself in anything less than totally managed and protected situations. There is surely more to all this than a natural awkwardness or introspection, of being uncomfortable around people; it is about avoiding scrutiny and challenge, it indicates a lack of self-confidence, an inability to think on your feet. And it might also display a degree of paranoia.
. . . there was no Conservative Party leadership contest, merely a coronation, with May anointed before most party members even had the opportunity to hear or scrutinise her policy platform or personal suitability for the post, let alone approve it. Rivals quickly fell by the wayside, with the mildly stubborn Andrea Leadsom’s bid terminated after she was allegedly goaded by the Tory hierarchy into making an unwarranted personal remark about May.
A bellicose and bunker-like attitude towards the most important negotiations this country has faced in decades
Theresa May’s most memorable contributions to the remainder of 2016 were her revelations to October’s Conservative Party annual conference that the UK would leave both the Single Market and Customs Union as well as end the free movement of workers, with the formal process of departing the EU commencing by the end of March 2017. None of this had been agreed beforehand by the Cabinet.
When the High Court ruled that Parliament, and not the Prime Minister, had the authority to determine when Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which commences our exiting the EU, could be invoked, May was furious, ordering a government challenge in the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, she permitted Justice Secretary Liz Truss to rail against the judges and failed to intervene to de-escalate tensions both when a Daily Mail front page headline called those judges ‘Enemies of the People’ and when a tirade of online abuse was directed against Gina Miller, who had brought the case.
After government defeat in the Supreme Court, May watched the subsequent House of Lords debate on the Article 50 Bill, staring at Peers from the steps of the royal throne . . .
Having stolen UKIP’s mantle (move much further to the right and the BNP might start to get nervous) Theresa May now seems to be taking cues from US President Donald Trump. Yes there were some leaks against her from EU officials, but then Whitehall also regularly leaks to its political advantage. But Theresa May’s speech outside No. 10 last week was designed to create the illusion of shady foreigners out to get Britain, before claiming that only she can save the country from them. Works every time!
May’s rage against the Brussels machine came only a day after she had revelled in claiming that the next person to find out that she was “a bloody difficult woman” would be European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Although I suspect that she’ll quickly find out that the other 27 EU heads of state and their negotiators can be even more ‘bloody difficult’ should Britain’s attitude be to go looking for a punch up. And if she continues on a confrontational course, Theresa May might now learn that the election of the strongly pro-EU Emmanuel Macron as French President will make her already difficult task just that little bit tougher. . .
Little wonder that many in Brussels are becoming tired with Britain, with its accusations and insults and with our Prime Minister’s testy approach when goodwill, reciprocity and a modicum of inter-personal skills might bring far greater rewards.
Such a bellicose and bunker-like attitude towards the most important negotiations this country has faced in decades, if not centuries, might well bring Theresa May a substantial General Election victory. Yet the country that she is creating has deepening political fissures, geographically and generationally, that both the forthcoming election and the Prime Minister’s anti-consensual and seemingly joyless leadership style appear to be exacerbating. It is a deeply unedifying spectacle. Given all of the above, do I really want to give Theresa May a mandate to negotiate my country’s future?
May 8th 2017
Blair’s Labour Party: nothing more than a second-hand, bewildered Conservative Party?
I don’t mind if Jeremy Corbyn is electable or not. What matters to me is that we now have a caring credible force to hinder the Conservative Party which, under the austerity green light, is removing many of the achievements that working people have gained over the centuries.
Jeremy Corbyn has finally given Labour some kind of moral compass. I’m an SNP supporter but I respect the fact that Mr Corbyn represents Keir Hardie’s Labour style. (Keir Hardie, right)
He is more representative of the British public as a whole, far more than the dozen or so self-serving Tory millionaires sitting round the table will ever be.
The only delusion I can see is the suggestion that this wrecking ball of a government has any kind of mandate, considering the lack lustre electoral result it scraped through on in May.
Who needs a Labour Party that is nothing more than a second-hand, bewildered Conservative Party?
Time will tell if Labour actually does what it pledges and fights austerity and Trident in a progressive alliance with the SNP, the Greens and Plaid Cymru.
Extracts from the Plastic Hippo site:
After all this time it seems that it is the electorate that decides the outcome of an election and not the media, the chattering classes floating high above us in the Westminster bubble or even this new-fangled social media malarkey.
It is outrageous that voters should overturn the decision of political commentators, pundits, hacks, pollsters and generously funded spin doctors.
This is a situation, my friends, that threatens national security and the very future of parliamentary democracy. We need Gulags to treat these mentally unstable deviants and re-educate them to vote correctly . . .
The media and all the other political parties and some elements of the Parliamentary Labour Party styled the by election as a grand “referendum” on an unelectable Labour leader and informed us with certainty that the weird, beardy terrorist sympathiser would be history within days. The character assassination of Corbyn was unrelenting as vultures circled a dead man crawling.
With some Labour MPs putting much more effort into deposing their own leader than they ever did to remove Cameron, his end seemed inevitable
It is true that the debate on airstrikes over Syria displayed parliament at its best. Sombre, considered and, for the most part, dignified, the contributions from MPs from all parties gave an alternative to the usual Punch and Judy shouting match.
Corbyn, after defying the party whip on so many occasions, offered his MPs a free vote; the other parties did not
The new rules of engagement in politics clearly state that the words “our brave” must be used in advance of the words “armed forces” and the words “barbaric” and “death cult” must be used before and after any reference to “IS/ISIL/ISIS/Daesh”. Failure to do so is taken as clear evidence of terrorist sympathies. Similarly, any reference to Jeremy Corbyn must be prefaced by a scornful yet dismissive put down.
But so far Corbyn sounds like he is talking quite a bit of sense
It may be sacrilegious to suggest but so far Corbyn sounds like he is talking quite a bit of sense. He said in an interview that Labour MPs should listen to constituents, vote with their conscience and not hide behind a party whip.
Yet again, his words were deliberately and maliciously misinterpreted and headlines and sound bites went along the lines of: “Corbyn threatens Labour MPs” – “No hiding place for rebels who defy Comrade Jeremy”. It all became rather silly.
Those that spoke in favour of bombing did so with compassion and more than a little conscience. Hilary Benn in particular delivered an astonishingly powerful speech supporting the motion but his conclusion, sadly, missed the basic premise.
The basic premise is that without a clear strategy, cogent tactical objectives and any thought given to an achievable exit plan, bombing will escalate the problem and will result in further atrocities
The oratory was brilliant but the logic is flawed. Benn, and others in the Labour Party, have been fooled by Cameron and have signed up for yet another intractable and endless Middle Eastern war.
There are cynics that might suggest that some Labour MPs did not vote for bombing Syria but instead voted for bombing Corbyn, but that is clearly barking mad Trotsky propaganda
The claims and counter-claims of bullying, harassment, intimidation and threats from various factions within the Labour Party has turned the news agenda away from joining in with an air war into a story about the divisions within Labour.
ISIL and the Tories are delighted
The chattering classes were as wide of the mark as a bomb landing on a school rather than a terrorist training camp. The narrative has undergone a suddenly change and now the media talk of “local issues” and a “popular candidate” rather than a judgement on Corbyn . . . Earlier in the week the BBC helpfully pointed out that 25% of the Oldham electorate were of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin and our intrepid reporter stated that they were worried about having their state benefits removed. That must have been a very thorough survey.
When the result was declared the BBC inaccurately reported a reduced majority and the next day ran three voxpops from Oldham voters complaining about Corbyn – the Plastic Hippo then debunks this, giving the stats seen on this graphic:
He ends: “Only a complete fool would attempt to tell the public what to think or to tell them how to vote and only a complete fool assumes that the public are inherently foolish and therefore easily fooled.
“As the current government continues to treat us with contempt, a credible opposition is needed more than ever and the squabbling egos in the Labour Party need to be reminded that unity is strength . . .”
Read in full here:
- Or see: https://twitter.com/theplastichippo
- Or re NHS and Jeremy Hunt (apart from the last sentence) https://theplastichippo.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/trust-nhs/#more-4917: “When it comes to trust, and I might be alone in this, I would prefer to have a qualified medical professional with years of experience wielding the scalpel than some shifty politician who seems only capable of opening brown envelopes from Murdoch, the drug companies and private health insurance corporations. We must all join together in the sincere wish that Jeremy Hunt does not fall ill and require the attention of NHS staff. They, or course, would provide the very best of medical care and do all in their powers to make him well again just as they do for the rest of us.”