The Telegraph has this interesting piece: “Spanish ministry of defence staff vote thousands of times in Gibraltar poll – Telegraph Gibraltar poll approaches one million votes – after thousands of votes from Spain’s ministry of defence and social media campaign“. One has visions of some elderly officer relic from the dark days of Generalissimo Francisco Franco sitting in a basement of the Spanish Ministry of Defence urging a cohort of members of the Guardia Civil to log on to the Telegraph website to swing the on-line poll. Well, it’s not just the Russians who are in the “fake news” business.
The Wicked Witch of Westminster has pulled a fast one!
With the benefit of hindsight, it is worth reading this article from last Sunday’s Observer: “How May kept her secret – and left rivals scrambling – The PM brilliantly outwitted her opponents after weeks of denying she was going to go to the country“.
“General election campaigns are normally months, even years, in the planning. But when May announced that voters would go to the polls on 8 June 2017, not May 2020, all the parties had to drop everything in an instant. Manifestos that had hardly been thought about had to be finalised within a fortnight, while campaign teams had to be set up from a standing start and parliamentary candidates selected in hundreds of seats within days. In addition, funding had to be organised and donations sought, literature printed, slogans invented, battle buses ordered and painted, and all other priorities shelved.”
Yes, the Wicked Witch has managed to catch all the opposition parties, and in particular the Labour Party, completely on the hop.
A new page has been opened for the May’s Brexit General Election which will be periodically updated.
Yesterday, the Guardian had this: “Labour predicted to lose hundreds of seats in local elections – Party expected to lose 75 councillors in England and more than 100 in Wales, and control of Glasgow and Cardiff city councils“. The article makes the following points:-
- It is unprecedented for a government to call a national general election while local elections are already under way;
- A total of 2,370 council seats are in play and both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats were expected to make gains at the expense of Labour and UKIP;
- The respected Elections Centre in Plymouth forecast net gains of 115 seats for the Conservatives and 85 for the Liberal Democrats and net losses of 75 for Labour and 105 for UKIP;
- It was anticipated that the Greens would be contesting more seats in England and Scotland than UKIP;
- Professor Scully of Cardiff University reported that Labour was expected to lose a lot of seats in Wales and was like to lose control in Cardiff, Swansea and Newport
- Professor Curtice of Strathclyde University predicted that Labour was heading for disaster in Scotland and likely to lose control of all Councils in Scotland.
The Guardian’s view was that the results of the Local Elections will be a key indicator of the likely outcome of the surprise General Election.
However, the Independent has this: “Labour easily beating Tories among voters under 40 despite being 20 points behind overall – The UK’s generational split is bigger than ever“. The article is based on a You-Gov poll: The Demographics Dividing Britain.
It concludes that age rather than class is the new dividing line in British Politics: “The starkest way to show this is to note that Labour is 19% ahead when it comes to 18-24 year-olds and the Conservatives are ahead by 49% among the over 65s. Our analysis suggest that the current tipping point – which is to say the age where voters are more likely to favour the Conservatives over Labour – is 34”
Another key finding was that the more educated a person is – the more likely they are to vote Labour or Liberal Democrat: “Amongst those with no formal qualifications, the Conservative lead by 35%. But when it comes to those with a degree, the Tory lead falls to 8%. Education also shapes other parties’ vote shares. UKIP also struggles amongst highly educated voters, polling four times higher amongst those with no formal qualifications compared to those with a degree.”
As the Independent points out: ” The divide in the poll mirrors the split at the European Union referendum, where older voters pulled Britain out of the European Union against the overwhelming wishes of younger voters.”
No doubt, campaign managers will be taking these findings into account.
Made in Wales
Voters in Wales may remember that when Mrs Thatcher closed Wales, the Welsh Development Agency tried to remedy matters with a Made in Wales advert which 9 years later is still to be found on You-Tube – swiftly followed by a skit on the the BBC’s Not the Nine O’Clock News – Failed in Wales – also to be found on You-Tube.
Perhaps Wales has forgotten what Mrs Thatcher did to Wales – and to the whole of the UK. The Thatcher legacy was de-industrialisation and it still affects us. In 2013 the Financial Times reported that:-
“Manufacturing accounted for around 26 per cent of economic output when Thatcher came to power in 1979; in 2011 it was 10.8 per cent, up slightly from a low of 10.5 per cent in 2009. It employs 2.6m compared with 6.7m in 1979″
“Mr Ford, who joined his family’s business in 1974 as a member of its third generation in the firm, has done better than many: his companies have £11m in turnover and export to 20 countries. But, he adds: “She closed down the mines and let a lot of heavy industry go to the wall. She didn’t encourage manufacturing the way Germany did.” He argues that the loss of heavy industry led to declining demand for engineered products, which affected the supply chain and depressed the economy. It also affected manufacturing’s image, he suggests, contributing to current skill shortages.”
As the Welsh Government has pointed out on 11th April 2017: “European Structural Funds 2014-2020 – Between 2014–2020, Wales will benefit from over £2bn European Structural Funds investment.”
Strange, therefore, that the Wicked Witch is campaigning for a hard Brexit which will damage Wales and seeking to persuade the people of Wales to vote Conservative in her surprise General Election.
The Guardian has this: “Conservatives warned: don’t take ‘landslide’ election win for granted – Strategists fear voters may turn to other parties to reduce scale of anticipated victory as Theresa May tries to woo people away from Labour in Wales“.
The report is useful because it identifies the Conservative target constituencies in Wales.
The Financial Times has this: “What to expect after the UK general election – How the result will shape Brexit, Scotland and Theresa May’s leadership“.
Assuming electoral success – which at the moment seeks likely – it is an interesting piece.
More importantly, the Financial Times has this: “Theresa May refuses to commit to pensions ‘triple lock’ – Policy ensures state pension rises by highest of CPI, earnings growth or 2.5 per cent“.
We pensioners, may find that a pretty depressing notion – especially when coupled with what we see happening to the National Health Service.