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Much as it offends my sense of natural justice, it’s still entirely possible that Theresa May is on course for a landslide.
We’ve been told from the horses’ mouths themselves, for example Ben Bradshaw MP and John Woodcock MP, that their strategy has been to tell potential voters to vote Labour. The reason is, “It won’t matter, as Labour doesn’t have a cat in hell’s chance of becoming elected.”
Of course this strategy was easier to sell on the doorstep with such a large polling lead of the Conservatives over Labour.
The experience of the 2015 general election and 2016 EU referendum reinforced the position, as well as the election of Donald Trump, that the polls are ‘unreliable’. The gold standard is what people actually do when it comes to the ballot box.
Of course, there are sorts of reasons why people might not tell pollsters the truth until the last minute. It could well be that there is a swing in the polls, and it happens at the very last minute. There is some evidence, albeit somewhat anecdotal, that this might have happened previously.
There are other reasons – in various combinations, such as the weather, voter turnout, and whether members of the public fundamentally lie to pollsters.
We’ve all been there before where we have seen the dreams of our political parties evaporate as the real results came in. 1992 and 2015 were good examples in my lifetime where I thought Labour was ‘in with the shot’.
But Lord Spencer Livermore and various others have opined on this in slight permutations that the campaign does not fundamentally alter the mood music of the way that voters are feeling.
It is noticeable that in the overwhelmingly negative rhetoric used by Theresa May there has been consistent reference to ‘trust’ – articulated invariably as ‘if 172 Labour MPs can’t work with Jeremy Corbyn, how can he become Proem Minister?’
I have no idea what has been going through the minds of these Labour parliamentarians, save for the fact that the ‘snap general election’ might have caught them by surprise. If they had “trusted” Theresa May, there would be no reason to believe she would go back on her word by wriggling out of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.
However, beware the ideas of March – or in this case May. Theresa May had a perception of a healthy poll lead, so why wouldn’t she ‘go for it’? After all, it is well known that Gordon Brown “dithered” after what has hailed as a good budget by George Osborne, and stumbled on to lose the 2010 general election.
The question of trust in Theresa May is of course nonsensical, given all sorts of others which have materialised, for example costing school dinners or the lack of decrease of inward immigration despite numerous pledges, or failure to meet the deficit targets, but again this election swings onto trust again and again.
That is why, I assume, Sir Lynton Crosby has been getting people to bang on about that Nick Ferrari interview with Diane Abbott, or the Emma Barnett Woman Hour’s interview Diane Abbott, or the Sophy Ridge interview with alleged ‘terrorist sympathiser’ connections of Jeremy Corbyn.
Somehow this torrential avalanche of innuendo, from a Tory sympathetic media, it has been hard to displace, even with the ‘power of social media’, the actual news of catastrophic news on school funding, nurses’ pay, repeatedly missed NHS targets, and so on.
As an example, the lasting memory of Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘Question Time’ debate with Jeremy Corbyn is not a sober, detailed analysis of what had happened in London 1 and Manchester, nor what was about to happen in London 2, but the memory of ten White middle aged men fantasising about a nuclear war with Iran – and “would he or wouldn’t he” press that red button?
It could well be that Theresa May’s dreadful electioneering performances don’t matter. It might indeed be the case that she wins despite Jon Snow not having got an interview off a sitting PM for Channel 4 News for the first time in 14 years.
It could well be that many voters remain ‘undecided’ or positively antagonistic about Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott or John McDonnell, despite the well attended Labour rallies reinforcing the idea of ‘movement’ – snd that Jeremy Corbyn will in fact go the same way as Michael Foot who also had well attended rallies.
It is worth noting, however, that the Labour 2017 manifesto has, despite the usual criticisms of fantasy economics, not been dubbed “the longest suicide note in history”, as allegedly coined by the late Sir Gerald Kaufman.
It could well be ‘Tory arrogance’ that Theresa May wins for an enhanced ‘mandate’ in the Brexit elections.
It could well be that she wins with a landslide – even if that means ‘hard Brexit’ and the NHS and social care collapsing further within five years.
I discovered a new font this week. It’s called “Liberation Serif”.
I’ve never heard of this before.
It’s the font which was used to produce the draft of the 2017 general election Labour manifesto which was leaked to the press.
Leaks have happened for ages (remember the ‘you leak and I brief?’), so the claim that this is specific to the highly incompetent organisation of the Corbyn leadership is somewhat spurious.
The likelihood is that this 41 page pdf was leaked by a so-called Labour ‘moderate’ who did so with the sole wish of destabilising the Corbyn machine preparing for this shotgun general election.
The problem is – most people who at a push might consider themselves Labour supporters think the programme for government is absolutely brilliant, visionary and inspiring.
And it’s been invigorating and breathtaking to watch Barry Gardiner MP defend various issues, such as promoting world peace rather than detonating nukes, against problematic journalists.
But this is definitely a ‘tale of two elections’.
An antithesis to control freakery, or the Conservative election campaign, is being played out in the social media in a parallel universe where all the bare-faced shameless lying of Theresa May is being systematically exposed (even if through hyperbolic infographics).
This is still very much Theresa May’s election to lose. She may want to call herself ‘strong and stable’ all she likes – but she clearly is is a paranoid control freak as a politician.
As a person, she seems pleasant enough.
It doesn’t take much to work out why the polls are so bad for Jeremy Corbyn and Labour. That is, even if you were a supporter of Labour, you probably would not wish to be open about it to pollsters given the intense hate campaign of all of the print media.
But you would feel perfectly happy to state support for policies, such as rail nationalisation or keeping fox hunting banned.
And the people you can blame for this are the vast majority of the media – especially the toxic nasty vindictive journalists who find themselves unable to criticise the Labour leadership on eminently sensible polices such as abolition of tuition fees.
Any reasonable person would call this policy ‘aspirational’.
I don’t even understand the logic of these mean-minded hacks – the resurgence of the LibDems evidently has not happened, nor is likely to happen in the general election, meaning that the certain ‘left wing newspapers’ have been working hard for an emboldened Tory vote.
Jeremy Corbyn has been completely ‘monstered’ in the media which is why one respondent in Nick Robinson’s focus group this afternoon called him a ‘snake’. And he has been monstered tragically by the vast majority of the parliamentary Labour Party.
About 172 Labour MPs have worked extremely hard at making the Labour Party unelectable. Quite frankly certain MPs should be running as independents to make way for MPs who are more suitable for the next Labour government to uphold the wishes of the current Labour manifesto.
I have found it very hard to like people who’ve been talking about, almost wishing for, a Labour opposition, namely Ben Bradshaw MP, Gordon Brown, and Tom Watson MP.
John Woodcock MP’s politics I find repulsive.
As John Prescott, former leader of the Labour Party, said yesterday about himself, I’ve backed every single leader including interim leader of the Labour Party. This does not mean that I have agreed with everything he or she has said.
This relentless war against Corbyn has been utterly disgusting and shameless. I’ve loyally supported every Labour leader since I became eligible to vote since the 1992 general election. But I do think he’s done his best despite enormous hostility.
I would understand the affection for Theresa May if she was any good – but she isn’t. She notoriously failed to negotiate adequate budgets for the police service against George Osborne as Home Secretary, where she repeatedly failed on the immigration targets set out in the 2010 Conservative general election manifesto.
May has shown herself – through either by chance or by intention – a serial liar. She discounted the possibility of a snap election many times, before, guess what, calling a snap election.
I don’t particularly care about incessant Tory love-ins on LBC, while all Theresa May can muster to make her sound human on LBC and BBC’s One Show is a love for cooking a spit roast or buying and wearing designer shoes.
And even if a young Tory was encouraged to go into politics because of her shoes – that’s feminism for you.
Her utterances of ‘strong and stable’ and ‘avoiding a coalition of chaos’ are intensely robotic and irritating, treating voters like fools.
Yes – even those UKIP voters who are not idiots, but who nevertheless are incapable of getting the names of senior Labour politicians correct on LBC, e.g. “terrorist” John McDonald (not McDonnell), or “smug” Emily Thornton (not Thornberry).
In a sense, the proposed programme for this new Labour programme seeks to redress the faults of the past. But this is no patch for an outdated Windows XP.
This is entirely new software, with new hardware to support it. The hardware is of course the new enhanced infrastructure of the United Kingdom.
I don’t think it’s possible that to argue that this programme abandons any wish to ‘govern from the centre’. If you’re physically disabled like me, you will recognise the clear wish of Government to not give you a personal independence payment after taking away your disability living allowance.
When I listened to a recent political podcast, an expert, supposedly guiding the Clegg and Miliband era, was talking with complete disdain about the notion of the Left being viewed as being charitable to the vulnerable.
This was exactly the same snootiness that I found utterly contemptible form Rachel Reeves in her bid for government.
It was the same detachment from the reality of lives of people with disability which led out of touch Harriet Harman MP to instruct Labour to abstain from the repellent welfare reforms from the Conservatives.
The only Labour leadership candidate who did not abstain, of course, was Jeremy Corbyn.
The main reason many people deserted Labour during the Blair, Brown and Miliband years – years before Corbyn – was that Labour seemed to be reckless in looking after groups of people
. While Lord Mandelson, who has subsequently claimed that he campaigns every day to get rid of Corbyn, was ‘intensely relaxed’ about people getting rich, it is clear that ‘none of the above’ would have called time on aggressive tax avoidance or the cuts in corporation tax at a time when social care funding has been on its knees.
The NHS has been subject to ‘efficiency savings’, when these are essentially cuts to control workforce costs as envisaged by the management consultants McKinseys. Together with crippling private finance initiative debts, it is easy to understand why the NHS is so susceptible to a cyberattack or continuing problems in patient safety.
The economy is clearly not working for all. Gas bills continue to be astronomic while the shareholders make a tidy profit.
UKIP voters have now all been effectively been safely rehoused in the Conservative Party, and see immigration as the cause of the problems.
The East Coast train line was handed to private shareholders even though the franchise had been returning a healthy surplus to the taxpayer.
To give the Labour top team credit, its manifesto is about to claim a desire to stay in the customs union or single market even if means that the economy will be better off (according to the draft).
To allow Labour some praiseand in particular Jeremy Corbyn, Labour has not signed up to this ‘immigrant bashing’ narrative at all.
The Conservative led-administrations from 2010 have clearly not been at the centre, but in fact very right wing. To give them credit, McDonnell and Corbyn have made clearly the argument that the austerity agenda has not only failed, but it was a political not economic choice.
National debt has gone through the roof, substantially more in 7 years of Conservative-led government than from 13 years of the previous Labour administrations.
Those pesky unconscionable utilities bills, due to a broken privatised economy, are still here. All of this contributes to nurses having to go to food banks to make ends meet.
The lie that ‘politics won from centre’ is further compounded by the fact there are clearly some very nasty, bigoted, racist people who have found themselves in UKIP.
Strangely enough, the BBC have found a group of people who used to be Labour voters who now will vote May, but it is obvious that these people voting May have gone via UKIP in the meantime. Contrary to the highly biased narrative which Kuennsberg and Robinson have tried to portray, arguably, there is not an army of floating voters about to vote Tory, in the same way Cardiff was not won by the end by the Conservatives.
The attack that the programme is a ‘throwback to 70s’ no longer has any teeth as this was an era when it was more affordable to buy a house or to leave university without crippling debt.
The worldwide ‘cyberattack’ on the NHS served to highlight how a lean approach to management does not leave too much lee way for safety even if the minor thing goes wrong.
The decision made in 2015 to save money by not patching up out of date Microsoft Windows XP has come back to bite the Scrooge-like management of the NHS on the arse.
The culure of running the NHS with the bare minimum of resources is one which makes its own workforce feel deeply undervalued – and the lack of investment in people in the workforce is symbolised by the lack of salary increase for years
Critics have thrown every random attack to the leaked draft manifesto. Firstly, it is claimed ‘it is a wishlist with no vision’.
I completely disagree .
You have to be an extremely mean-minded Blairite to say that rebooting the National Health Service and introducing a National Care Service or National Education Service comprises ‘no vision’.
There is a vision in wanting to do something about the number of homeless people sleeping on cardboard boxes on the street – a direct result of economic inequality and ‘market forces’.
Secondly, it is time and again claimed that the manifesto will be uncosted. It is well known that there is a small team which has been pouring over the costings repeatedly, to ensure that they are perfect when published.
And it’s a bit rich to attack Labour for this when it is the Brexit, as negotiated by Theresa May, which is likely to result in a 60-100 billion Euro as a one-off divorce settlement.
The Tories have no vision, and yet this is a truly radical, transformative agenda for government for Labour, comparable in my view to the 1945 Clement Attlee government.
Time to give Jeremy Corbyn a second chance. Vote Labour.