Goodbye to the Month of May

 Is the Wicked Witch a Liar ?

theresa-may-speechThe Independent had this: “Theresa May ‘liar’ song now at number three in iTunes download charts – A petition is gaining traction to make radio stations play the tune“.

The Independent also had this: “General election: Labour close gap on Tories to six points, new poll shows – Labour put on 37 per cent, up three points on a week ago and six points behind the Tories“.

YouGov had this: “Labour’s manifesto launch has gone much better for them than the Conservatives’”  Key points:-

  • For Labour the more “positive” policies received clear cut-through: 32% of people recalled the pledges to axe tuition fees, 21% remembered promises to increase NHS funding, 20% recalled commitments to nationalise the railways, Royal Mail and the National Grid. All of these are also policies which our polling has found the public support, and which are relatively clear and easy to understand.
  • For the Conservatives, though, only one policy was recalled by more than a fifth of voters: the changes to care funding (or, to use the more negative term used by many respondents, the “dementia tax”). The one cut-through promise from the Tory manifesto was both unpopular and complicated, a stark comparison to the more straight-forward and popular pledges made by Labour.

The Independent also had this: “Theresa May’s plan to slash net migration to tens of thousands would double unemployment, study warns – British workers would be the main losers from lower economic growth, research finds“.

The Guardian had this very good sketch by John Grace of the Witch’s performance at the Paxman TV debate: ” ‘It’s very clear’: May disappears into a dreamland of her own – While Jeremy Paxman at least allowed her to get a word in edgeways, Theresa May did her best to fill 22 minutes with the deadest of dead air

ww-westminsterThe Times has this on the Wicked Witch’s Lynton Crosby inspired closing: “May woos working class with tough line on Brexit – PM vows to reject Brussels demands over immigration” – she is going to argue that she is best placed to negotiate Brexit terms.

Whether the end of the month of May will also mean the end of the Wicked Witch of Westminster as Prime Minister, will not be known until the results of the 8th June 2017 General Election are known.

Conservatives should be worried

The Torygraph Telegraph had this: “How likely is the General Election 2017 to result in a hung parliament?“.   The article is noteworthy because after analysis of the most recent You-Gov projections – which are novel and tentative – the article goes on to explain the parliamentary conventions in the event of a “hung” Parliament outcome.

The Telegraph is a broadsheet newspaper of record with an international reputation. In modern times there have always been strong personal links between the paper’s editors and the leadership of the Conservative Party.  The paper’s generally right-wing stance and influence over Conservative activists, explain why it is often referred to as “The Torygraph.   When the Torygraph is worried, so is the Conservative Party.

theresa-may-speechThe Torygraph also had this: “‘Missing, Where’s Theresa?’ Social media roasts Prime Minister for not turning up at BBC debate“.  The article refers to the Twitter reaction which can be seen here: Twitter Government Status page.  Not only is the Torygraph worried, the Conservative Home website has this: “Our survey. The Conservative election campaign fails to enthuse Party members“.

The Independent had this: “Teresa May savaged by party leaders for debate no-show: ‘Good leaders don’t run away’” – there are some good clips of key moments which are being shared on social media.

The front page of The Times (£) had this:  “Poll firm predicts shock losses for Theresa May’s Tories at general election – Controversial YouGov estimate points to hung parliament with 20 fewer seats for May“.  According to The Times report:-

  • The Conservative Party could be in line to lose 20 seats and Labour gain nearly 30 in next week’s general election, according to new modelling by one of the country’s leading pollsters.
  • The central projection of the model, which allows for a wide margin of error, would be a catastrophic outcome for Theresa May, who called the election when polls pointed to a landslide result. Her support appears to have plunged after the poor reception of the party manifesto, including plans to make more elderly voters pay for home care.

The Independent had the story too:  “Tories to fall short of outright majority and face hung parliament, new poll analysis predicts – YouGov predicts the Conservatives may win just 310 seats – 16 shy of an absolute majority“.

It is, however, important to note that YouGov’s predictions are based on fairly new techniques and may not be as accurate as YouGov may hope.  Only the actual election results will determine how accurate they were.

The Independent also had this:  “Theresa May losing the general election would be good for the pound, says JP Morgan – The Conservative’s commitment to hard Brexit is bad for the UK currency, so even a hung parliament could be better than a Tory majority, US bank says“.

brexitgunNote: Teresa May worked for the Bank of England 1997-1983 and from 1985-1997 for the Association of Payment Clearing Services.  It  is quite some achievement for a Conservative PM with that depth of banking background to have the bankers hoping she will lose an election – that’s a fate normally reserved for Labour Prime Ministers!

The Guardian had this by its Political Editor:  “Theresa May gets personal in attack on Jeremy Corbyn as election polls narrow – Tories try to contrast the PM and the Labour leader, who she claims would go ‘alone and naked’ into Brexit negotiations“.

As the Guardian points out, the Wicked Witch’s “outspoken remarks”  represent an attempt by Conservative strategists (i.e the other “dirty digger”, Sir Lynton Crosby) to refocus the prime minister’s message on a direct comparison between herself and her principal opponent on the basis that “ad hominem”  insults are more effective than reasoned debate on the matters in issue.

More usefully, the UK in a Changing Europe project at King’s College, London, has a useful comparison of the party manifestos: “Manifestos hide truth about Brexit – new report from The UK in a Changing Europe shows“.

Stephen Bush had this The Staggers column of the Spectator: “You Gov’s surprise poll shows whoever wins the election, Theresa May will lose – Polls and forecast showing possibility of a hung parliament are a sign of how well the campaign has gone for Jeremy Corbyn“.

He points to the predicted numbers: Conservative 310 (-20);  Labour 257 (+29); Scottish National Party 50 (-6); Liberal Democrats 10 (+2) and then makes the point that the 18 Northern Ireland seats matter and he refers to the polling reported in the Belfast Telegraph: “Poll: UUP to lose Fermanagh – latest predictions for every Northern Ireland constituency“.

In the UK Parliament, Unionists support the Conservatives  while Seinn Fein have a policy of not taking the seats they win.  If  (as in the just dissolved Parliament) 9 Unionists are returned who would vote with the Conservatives – that gives a projected total of 319.  But it is predicted that Seinn Fein might win Fermanagh and South Tyrone.  That would  put the Conservative support on the projected outcome to Con 310 + NI 8 = 318 while the Opposition might be Labour + SNP + Lib-Dems + SDLP + IND = 257+50+10+3+1 = 321.

Then we had the BBC Leaders’ Debate.  The Witch declined to participate and sent Home Secretary Amber Rudd to speak for the Conservatives. Jeremy Corbyn did appear.

John Rentoul wrote this in the Independent: “The seven-way TV debate: the verdict – The two who mattered in this debate were Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. She didn’t turn up and he looked as if he wished he hadn’t either“.  It is a fair summary of the rather messy proceedings.

Rather surprisingly, the Political Correspondent of the Times wrote: “Corbyn builds on TV success in leaders debate“.

The Wicked Witch’s Reaction

The Mail had this: “Only seven days to keep Corbyn out of power, Theresa May warns voters: PM to offer upbeat assessment of Brexit that she says will be derailed if she doesn’t win“.

Of course, one does not expect serious probing journalism from the Mail.  The article had these points:

  • PM warns voters to ensure the ‘promise of Brexit’ isn’t squandered by Corbyn
  • Mrs May says Brexit offers the opportunity to build ‘brighter, fairer future for all’
  • Warns ‘great national mission’ will be derailed if she doesn’t win next week’s vote

It is worth remembering what Mrs May was saying in April 2016 before the referendum. See the text of her speech preserved in aspic on the Conservative Home website:  “Theresa May’s speech on Brexit: full text”  with the following key points:-

  • So my judgement, as Home Secretary, is that remaining a member of the European Union means we will be more secure from crime and terrorism.
  • The EU is a single market of more than 500 million people, representing an economy of almost £11 trillion and a quarter of the world’s GDP.  44 per cent of our goods and services exports go to the EU, compared to five per cent to India and China.
  • We have a trade surplus in services with the rest of the EU of £17 billion.  And the trading relationship is more inter-related than even these figures suggest.  Our exporters rely on inputs from EU companies more than firms from anywhere else: nine per cent of the ‘value added’ of UK exports comes from inputs from within the EU, compared to 2.7 per cent from the United States and 1.3 per cent from China.
  • So the single market accounts for a huge volume of our trade, but if it is completed – so there are genuinely open markets for all services, the digital economy, energy and finance – we would see a dramatic increase in economic growth, for Britain and the rest of Europe.  The Capital Markets Union – initiated and led by Britain – will allow finance to flow freely between member states: the first proposal alone could lead to £110 billion in extra lending to businesses.
  • A completed energy single market could save up to £50 billion per year across the EU by 2030.  And a digital single market is estimated to be worth up to £330 billion a year to the European economy overall.  As Britain is the leading country in Europe when it comes to the digital economy, that is an enormous opportunity for us all. 
  • These changes will mean greater economic growth in Britain, higher wages in Britain and lower prices for consumers – in Britain.  But they will not happen spontaneously and they require British leadership.  And that is a crucial point in this referendum: if we leave the EU it is not just that we might not have access to these parts of the single market – these parts of the single market might never be created at all. 
  • If we were not in the European Union, however, no such deal could have been agreed.  There would be little we could do to stop discriminatory policies being introduced, and London’s position as the world’s leading financial centre would be in danger.  The banks may be unpopular, but this is no small risk: financial services account for more than seven per cent of our economic output, thirteen per cent of our exports, a trade surplus of almost £60 billion – and more than one million British jobs.
  • So this is my analysis of the rights and wrongs, the opportunities and risks, of our membership of the EU – and the reasons I believe it is clearly in our national interest to remain a member of the European Union. 
  • And I want to emphasise that I think we should stay inside the EU not because I think we’re too small to prosper in the world, not because I am pessimistic about Britain’s ability to get things done on the international stage.  I think it’s right for us to remain precisely because I believe in Britain’s strength, in our economic, diplomatic and military clout, because I am optimistic about our future, because I believe in our ability to lead and not just follow.

So on the footing that Mrs May’s April 2016 speech represented honestly held beliefs – then it is overwhelmingly in the best interests of the United Kingdom to remain in the Single Market and the Customs Union – even if that means accepting the four freedoms which go with that: the free movement of goods, capital, services, and labour.

The bullet points in the Mail article cannot be reconciled with the speech – and  Mrs May must know that. Either her April 2016 speech was a pack of lies  or her reported contentions in the Mail are a pack of lies.   They cannot both be true.

The Campaign Continues

The Independent also has this “Election 2017: Theresa May to put Brexit at heart of campaign again amid shrinking poll lead – Prime Minister’s renewed pledge to transform the country comes as poll lead falls to three points“.

The Guardian has this incisive op-ed by Anne Perkins: “Theresa May needs Brexit to get her elected – it’s all she has left – The Tories are still favourites to win, but calling a snap election is starting to look foolish, with May’s weaknesses stripping their campaign bare“.

The Evening Standard (now edited by George Osborne) has this:  “UK General Election polls: Jeremy Corbyn in shock surge as Labour leader now more popular than Theresa May in London – Exclusive: Labour enjoys huge 17-point lead in London as Tories face losing seats“.

Ian Duncan Smith (Will Not Be Missed)

The Evening Standard also has this amusing piece on the various fake Tory campaign posters now being seen in London: “Fake Tory posters mocking Theresa May appear at bus stops and on Tube“.

A good selection of downloadable versions may be seen here: Anti Tory Propaganda.

Thus far, a good number of these are appearing at bus stops and in carriages on the Tube.

The Evening Standard also has this: “General Election polls: The four London Tories under threat as polls surge“.  The four Tories named: Gavin Barwell (Croydon Central), James Berry (Kingston & Surbiton), Matthew Offord (Hendon) and Tania Mathias (Twickenham).

The Independent has a similar story about the London situation: “General election poll: Jeremy Corbyn surges ahead of Theresa May in London – The YouGov survey shows Labour surging to a 17 point lead in the UK’s capital

The YouTube version of the Captain SKA song is here:  Captain SKA – Liar Liar GE2017 and it is worth sharing with friends and neighbours during the remaining days until the polls close.

10 days to the Witch’s Brexit Election

Should we trust the Wicked Witch ?

ww-westminsterThe Times had this by its Political Editor, Tim Shipman: “Nervous Tories to relaunch Theresa May’s general election campaign after social care U‑turn – PM’s top two aides squabbled over manifesto“.  The key points of the article are that  Sir Lynton Crosby, the dreadful Australian who is the Tory election strategist,  has ordered a return to what he considers to be the appropriate Tory “core message”:

  • only Theresa May can be trusted to negotiate Brexit“.
  • the Conservative camp has been riven by divisions, with May’s chiefs of staff, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy, at loggerheads over the disastrous Tory policy on social care.
  • a YouGov poll for The Sunday Times shows the Conservatives are on 43% to Labour’s 36%, enough for a Commons majority of 50 but only a third of the lead the Tories had at the start of the campaign.

The Torygraph Telegraph had a rather different message: “Exclusive Telegraph ORB poll: Labour narrows gap to six points as women voters surge towards Jeremy Corbyn“:-

  • The Orb poll has Conservatives on 44% and Labour on 38%
  • The number of women planning to vote Labour has risen from 31% in mid May to 41%.

The Observer had this: “Tory nerves fray as Jeremy Corbyn narrows Theresa May’s lead in new poll

  • 37% of voters have lower opinion of prime minister than at start of month
  • 39% have more positive view of Labour leader

The Independent had this editorial: “The Labour brand has strengthened, and the PM’s leadership weakened, during this fraught campaign – As the election campaign has progressed, it has become clearer that the Prime Minister is not as good at politics as some of her admirers thought she was“.

  • Mr Corbyn’s ratings have improved on every subject surveyed over the past two weeks, while Ms May’s have mostly declined.
  • Mr Corbyn has significant advantages on the NHS, on the interests of “hard-working families” and indeed of “people like me and my family”, and now on protecting “older people who are becoming more dependent on the social care system.
  • Ms May is not as good at politics as some of her admirers thought she was. Her “strong and stable” mantra was already inviting ridicule for its banality when her U-turn on social care exposed its hollowness.

However, this morning’s Independent has this: “Conservatives cancel election campaign relaunch as poll lead over Labour evaporates – Tories decline to say why event was scrapped – a decision taken as news of major poll shift emerges“.

Home-Office-Go-Home-van-007The Torygraph – Telegraph has this: “Theresa May to send out fleet of ‘ad vans’ amid claims her most senior aides are split over party’s strategy“.  Apparently, the aim is to persuade the electorate that she is the best person to negotiate Brexit terms with Brussels.  However, as the Telegraph article points out, this would not be the first time that the Wicked Witch has made use of ad-vans. She once tried them as Home Secretary – and that time the attempt was a total failure – just one person accepted voluntary repatriation – See this 3 year old Guardian article.  The Torygraph – Telegraph article also asserts that the Witch’s team is to make more use of other cabinet ministers, notably Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary and David Davis the Brexit Secretary.

The Times has this: “May sets out Brexit vision to banish campaign wobble – £“.  The article is behind a pay wall but for those who do not have free access, the substance is to be found on the Conservative Home site:

  • Theresa May is to offer voters a vision of how Britain will prosper outside the EU as she seeks to put the Tory election campaign back on track amid claims of infighting.
  • The prime minister will return to the themes of her Lancaster House address – that Brexit will free the UK to build a fairer, richer society – in a keynote campaign speech tomorrow.
  • The more positive message is intended to halt the drop in the Tory poll lead since the party promised to cut pensioner benefits and force thousands more to pay for social care in its manifesto.
  • The Manchester attack a week ago came just after Mrs May caved into pressure from panicking Tory candidates to cap care costs, having first ruled out that option.

The Independent has this: “EMB 9PM Majority of voters want Theresa May to spell out Brexit plans before election – Exclusive: Survey reflects concerns that PM is demanding a ‘blank cheque’ for EU negotiations“.

  • Two out of three people believe that Theresa May should reveal her Brexit strategy more clearly before polling day on 8 June.
  • Many voters share the concerns of pro-Europeans who claim the Prime Minister is seeking a “blank cheque” to take Britain out of the EU on whatever terms she decides.
  • Six out of 10 people (59 per cent) who voted Conservative in 2015 want to know more about Ms May’s intentions on Brexit. So do 76 per cent of Labour voters and 75 per cent of Liberal Democrat supporters at the last election.

brexitgunIf and when we get the Witch’s present view, it will be interesting to compare it with what she said a year ago on 25th April 2016:  “Theresa May’s speech on Brexit: full text“.

The short point is that the Witch is not to be trusted.




Mrs May’s Brexit Election – Update 8

Monday 22nd May – Manchester Tragedy

In the evening of Monday 22nd May 2017, Ariana Grande, a favourite children’s pop star was performing at the Manchester Arena before a largely juvenile audience.  As the performance came to an end, a suicide bomber, now identified as Salman Abedi, a British born Muslim, whose parents came to the UK from Libya, detonated a bomb killing 22 of the audience many of them children and injuring 59 others some of whom are known to be critically ill.  The response of the police and the ambulance services to this tragedy was exemplary.  This page of the Manchester Evening News has details of the victims:  “These are the 22 victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack“.

The Manchester Evening News also commenced a crowd-funding page on Just Giving to support the families of the victims:  “Weʼre raising £2,000,000 to support families of those killed and injured in the Manchester Arena attack“.  One hopes many more people will support this initiative.

ariana grandeAriana Grande cancelled forthcoming concerts in London, Belgium, Poland and Germany, saying she wanted to “pay proper respect to those lost”.    She later announced that she will return to Manchester for a special concert to raise funds for the victims see this report in The Independent: “Ariana Grande to return to Manchester to perform benefit concert“.

Very rightly, the politicians suspended their campaigning for the General Election and the media concentrated on the tragedy which has greatly shocked the nation rather than with electoral issues.  The Conservative and Labour parties later agreed to resume local general election campaigning on Thursday 24th May and national campaigning on Friday 25th May.

Wednesday 24th May 2014

The Independent had this: “Manchester attack: Security services find more explosives in hunt for terror network – One device blown up and real possibility others are yet to be found, The Independent has learned“.

The consensus of the security experts is that others may have been involved and that there is possibly a bomb making factory factory somewhere in the country.  There is consequently a massive police search in progress to discover where that might be and the terrorist threat index which has been raised to “critical” –  its highest level – will stay at that level for the time being.

The Wicked Witch and Terrorism 


ww-westminsterWhile it was entirely right for the parties to suspend campaigning as a mark of respect, Mrs May (aka the Wicked Witch of Westminster) has been on the steps of Downing Street on every possible occasion.

Of course, she is not only the Leader of the Conservative Party.  She remains in office as Prime Minister throughout the election campaign and, as Prime Minister, she has has had a great deal of television air time and press coverage relating to the Manchester attack.   Just about the only thing she refrained from doing was a visit to the hospitals treating the victims – no doubt because HM The Queen did so.

It is right to recall that the Wicked Witch was previously the Home Secretary with responsibility for security and the anti-terrorism strategy.

The Telegraph has this: “Security services missed five opportunities to stop the Manchester bomber“.   If the allegations in this article are correct, Mrs May will need to be able to answer quite a number of questions.

The Independent has this: Theresa May cuts a reassuring figure – but her anti-terrorism plans for the future leave a lot to be desired – Baroness Warsi, the former Tory chairman and first Muslim cabinet minister, says the Prevent brand has become ‘toxic’, while a former adviser on terrorism has told MPs: ‘Prevent has become a more significant source of grievance in affected communities than the police’.

It is worth re-reading this March 2016 Telegraph article: “What is Wahhabism? The reactionary branch of Islam from Saudi Arabia said to be ‘the main source of global terrorism’“.   Since the 1970’s Saudi charities have been funding Wahhabi schools and mosques around the world – including the UK .  And it often a condition that clerics for the funded project travel to Saudi Arabia for indoctrination.   The simple truth is that both the USA and the UK have completely failed to persuade Saudi Arabia do anything to deal with Wahhabism, or Salafism, or Human Rights, or (name whatever).  Why ?  Because arms sales, oil prices and the like take priority.

The Telegraph has this: “What is the anti-terror Prevent programme and why is it controversial?” –  The Guardian has this: “UK’s Prevent counter-radicalisation policy ‘badly flawed’ – Justice Initiative report says viewing radical Islam as precursor to terrorism risks human rights and is counterproductive“.

Saturday 27th May 2017

The Independent has this: “Manchester attack: final suspects may have slipped net and fled city, security officials fear – Threat that terror network is in towns with no armed forces

The Torygraph Telegraph has this: “Manchester bomber Salman Abedi’s barber cousin arrested as police say they now have ‘key players’

The Telegraph also has this: “Muslim children and their relatives march to Manchester Arena to show their revulsion at bombing“.

The security issues will continue but the parties are back in election mode.  The Independent has this: “Elections 2017: Poll tracker shows how Labour has steadily eroded Conservative lead – Tracking the overall trend with regular updates from all the mainstream polls“.

The UK Threat Level has now been reduced from “Critical” to “Severe”.

The Guardian has this: “May puts Manchester attack at heart of election with attack on Corbyn – Prime minister targets Labour over national security in row over role of foreign policy in fostering terror as polls show Tory lead is declining“.

So – the election gets tighter and it cannot yet be said that the likely outcome will match the Wicked Witch’s expectations.  The Guardian has this: “Labour poll rise suggests Manchester attack has not boosted Tories – Poll with Conservatives five points ahead of Labour is first since bombing, but shows other factors such as manifestos are at play“.

 The Independent has this: “Young voters have registered to vote in force – Theresa May made a dire mistake underestimating them – The Conservatives bargained on maintaining the older vote and keeping young voter registration low – but it’s all fallen apart“.

The article points out that IPSOS MORI has concluded that 42% of young voters will vote Labour and only 24% will vote Conservative.  Interestingly an online poll of Independent readers gives:  UKIP: 1%, Don’t Knows 2%, Green: 3%, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats: and SNP 5% each and Labour: 80%.

It is too early to sing:  Ding Dong the Witch is dead – but one can hope!

Mrs May’s Brexit Election – Update 7



To vote in the General Election on 8 June, you need to register by 11:59 pm  today 


Ditch the Wicked Witch

Teresa May – The Wicked Witch of Westminster

The Independent had this yesterday: “Conservatives’ rebrand as ‘party of the workers’ failing as they struggle to shake off ‘nasty’ tag, poll shows – Exclusive poll shows 47 per cent of the public think Labour would best represent the working class“.

Don’t let “The Nasty Party” win this election


Pensioners – Mrs May’s Dementia & Death Tax – Pensioner Policies

The Independent had this yesterday:  “Labour are catching up with the Tories, and it’s all because of Theresa May’s self-inflicted wobble over social care  – It is baffling that the Conservative manifesto included a plan to withdraw free care visits from pensioners who own their own home“.

Today, the Independent reports: “Labour slashes Conservative by nine points in latest poll after manifesto launches“.

The Guardian had this yesterday: “Tory social care plans fail to tackle basic funding challenge, IFS says – Institute for Fiscal Studies warns of less generous system, as Labour says ‘savage attack’ on pensioners could sway election” and also this: “Jeremy Corbyn: Theresa May ‘creating war between generations’ – Labour leader calls on prime minister to drop manifesto plans to target pensions, winter fuel allowance and social care“.

Today, the same paper reports: “Theresa May under pressure over ‘dementia tax’ social care shakeup – Plan to make elderly people pay for care in their own home going down badly on doorstep say Conservative candidates“.

The Guardian’s Martin Rowson has a brilliant cartoon:  Brexit and the Tory Social Care Plans

Age UK has this: “Election 2017: Dignity in older age

On the Conservative Home website, Paul Goodman had this yesterday: “Courage means sacrifices. May pays a price for her social care plan in today’s opinion polls.”

Tyne & Wear

The Daily Telegraph has this: “Tories eye chance to ‘bury New Labour’ as support surges in the North East“.   That’s a horrible thought – but it is in the “Torygraph”.

Sunderland has been a shipbuilding town since 1346.  It used to be known as the place “Where Ships are Born”.  Between 1939 and 1945 the Wear’s  yards launched 245 merchant ships totalling 1.5 million tons, a quarter of the merchant tonnage produced in the UK during WW-2.  But post war competition from Japan and elsewhere caused a downturn in demand for Sunderland built ships.  The postwar Conservative governments gave no help to the shipyards any more than to the mines in the surrounding towns and villages.   The only good thing of any real note in Sunderland was the arrival of the Nissan Factory.

It is to be hoped that voters in Sunderland and its hinterlands,  who have suffered so greatly under successive Conservative governments  will bear in mind what is likely to happen if the Nissan Factory is a victim of Brexit – see the post yesterday.

This article in the Sunderland Echo is a little helpful: “How North East voters have reacted to policies announced so far in the General Election“.

Tories Cannot Be Trusted

This article in the Manchester Evening News may bring back some memories of the Thatcher years: “Remembering the Miners Strike 30 years on“.   Likewise this in The Guardian: “During the miners’ strike, Thatcher’s secret state was the real enemy within – The Tory leader’s eagerness to brand not only miners’ leaders but the Labour party as enemies of democracy was a measure of her extremism and determination for class revenge“.

It wasn’t just the militarised police occupation of the coalfields; the 11,000 arrests, deaths, police assaults, mass jailing and sackings; the roadblocks, fit ups and false prosecutions – most infamously at the Orgreave coking plant where an orgy of police violence in June 1984 was followed by a failed attempt to prosecute 95 miners for riot on the basis of false evidence….It’s that under the prime minister’s guidance, MI5, police Special Branch, GCHQ and the NSA were mobilised not only to spy on the NUM on an industrial scale, but to employ agents provocateurs at the highest level of the union, dirty tricks, slush funds, false allegations, forgeries, phoney cash deposits and multiple secretly sponsored legal actions to break the defence of the mining communities.A generation on, it is clear that the miners’ strike was more than a defence of jobs and communities. It was a challenge to the destructive market and corporate-driven reconstruction of the economy that gave us the crash of 2008. The outcome of the dispute brought us to where we are today: the deregulated, outsourced, zero-hours world of David Cameron’s Britain.”

The Wicked Witch’s lead has shrunk

Can people really think that Teresa May, the Wicked Witch of Westminster, the nastiest Home Secretary since “Something of the night – vampire, Michael Howard“, is to be trusted to look after our interests ?  The latest YouGov figures suggest that the Wicked Witch’s lead has shrunk to 9 points – “Voting Intention: Conservatives 44%, Labour 35% (18-19 May)” – the lowest since the campaign began.  But, alas, the Wicked Witch is still ahead.







Mrs May’s Brexit Election – Update 6

The Wicked Witch’s Manifesto 

The Wicked Witch of Westminster

The Conservative & UKIP Party (once known as the Conservative & Unionist Party),  has now published its Manifesto for the 2017 General Election called by Teresa May (aka The Wicked Witch of Westminster). The other main parties which campaign throughout the United Kingdom:  the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats have also published their manifestos.  Links to these manifestos can be found on the May’s Brexit General Election page.

Needless to say, the newspapers have a lot to say on the key differences and the serious papers have fairly full coverage:-

Friday 19th May 2017 

Interestingly, Frazer Nelson wrote this in the Spectator: “Red Theresa’s manifesto – The Prime Minister’s election strategy is simply to discard ideology“.   Paul Goodman of the  Conservative Home blog also seemed to be worried about Mrs May’s approach: “The Freedom gap“.  Apparently, some Conservatives are worried about the impact of some of Mrs May’s manifesto pledges on longstanding Conservative policies.

Perhaps the most interesting Torygraph Telegraph story was not on the front pages (where it should have been) but buried in the inner pages:  “Cars are Britain’s backbone – here’s what the Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem manifestos mean for motoring“.  It is well worth a read.  The key points are:

  • The UK automotive industry employs over 800,000 people, it exports to over 130 countries around the world.
  • Foreign companies – namely Nissan, Toyota and Honda – build global models in Britain for export to the EU, as well as North America and the rest of the world.
  • More than half the cars we build here are destined for export to Europe.
  • Many of the 800,000 people employed in this industry are understandably worried about their jobs.
  • The UK’s automotive industry depends upon unrestricted access to the single market of Europe for survival.
  • More than three quarters of SMMT members (77 per cent) said that staying in Europe is best for their business when surveyed in 2016.

So if your family, your employer or your region depends on the UK motor industry or its supply chain – you should not be voting for a party which favours a hard Brexit.  Do you want the jobs to move to Belgium or some other EU territory ?

The Evening Standard reported on the polling:  “UK General Election poll: Jeremy Corbyn given boost as Labour narrows gap with Tories after manifesto launch“.

Saturday 20th May 2017

Ashley Cowburn writes this in The Independent: “Theresa May’s immigration pledge could have ‘catastrophic consequences’ for the UK economy – The report adds that politicians have ‘failed to challenge the assumption that less immigration would be good for Britain’“.

The same paper also has this:  “The Conservatives’ immigration policy damages the economy and tears families apart – and now it’s getting worse – Theresa May and Michael Fallon are too afraid to admit to how much it will cost us to cap immigrant numbers. Luckily, I don’t share such a fear ”  Key points:-

  • Reducing immigration to the tens of thousands could have “catastrophic consequences” for the British economy
  • It is a target the Wicked Witch has in the Conservative Manifesto but which she never achieved as Home Secretary since it was introduced by David Cameron in 2009
  • A net migration target of 200,000 is required to avoid collapse – particularly in the NHS and Social Care sectors
  • The policy breaks up families, stops students from studying here, prevents talented people contributing to our economy and makes it harder for Britons who have married someone born abroad to settle here
  • The Conservatives do not even know the cost of the policy.

BreakFarSelf-evidently, this is the Wicked Witch’s  sop to UKIP supporters as she seeks to capture their votes to adhere to her new Conservative + UKIP supporters’ club.

It behoves us all to remember that the United Kingdom has a long history of xenophobia which impacts on immigration policy.

Xenophobia probably goes back to the reign of Elizabeth I and the Armada and certainly to the Victorian era – see this article in The Independent: “Pride and prejudice: The Victorian roots of a very British ambivalence to immigration“.

Politicians, particularly Conservatives – and more recently UKIP,  have often sought to pander to prejudice to justify immigration control.  Older people will remember familiar expressions of their youth ranging from: “The Wogs begin at Calais” to the infamous leaflet used in the 1964 Smethwick election  If you want a nigger for a neighbour – Vote Liberal or Labour” – see this Wikipedia page on the Conservative Candidate – Peter Griffiths.

The Brexit campaign certainly involved racism and xenophobia: even the Torygraph Telegraph had this in March 2015: “‘No dogs. No blacks. No Irish’ is now Ukip policy – Nigel Farage has tried to row back his comments about ‘British-born’ workers, but don’t be fooled. This is open, explicit racism“.

See also this June 2016 account in the Guardian: “Brexit has given voice to racism – and too many are complicit

Teresa May – Anti-Immigrant Witch

We should remember that the Wicked Witch has “form” in relation to this issue.  See this by James Kirkup in the Telegraph in October 2015: “Theresa May’s immigration speech is dangerous and factually wrong – The Home Secretary is fanning the flames of prejudice in a cynical attempt to become Conservative leader” .  The author’s conclusion was: “It’s hard to know where to start with Theresa May’s awful, ugly, misleading, cynical and irresponsible speech to the Conservative Party conference today.  If you haven’t seen reports of it, allow me to summarise: “Immigrants are stealing your job, making you poorer and ruining your country. Never mind the facts, just feel angry at foreigners. And make me Conservative leader.”  See also this in on the Politics Home site last year: “Theresa May under fire over ‘xenophobic language’ on foreign workers“.

The New Statesman had this: “Hope not Hate: far-right prejudices have moved into the mainstream – Following the ban on National Action and the murder of Jo Cox MP, what is the state of the far-right in Britain today?

What we witnessed in 2016 was actually the mainstreaming of some of the more ‘palatable’ views of the extreme far-right, with prejudicial views on Muslims, immigration and other minorities ignited by issues such as Brexit and absorbed into more mainstream political discourse.”

However, “Disagree with them or not, neither Theresa May nor Nigel Farage have called for the extermination of immigrants, asylum seekers and fellow politicians – as those within the extreme far-right have often done“.   At least, not yet.

Opinion Polls

The Observer reports the latest Opinium poll: “Tories ahead by 15 points despite gain for Labour, poll finds“.

The YouGov/Times poll: “Voting Intention: Conservatives 45%, Labour 32% (16-17 May) shows voting intention for the Conservatives down significantly to 45% (from 49% at the weekend). Labour meanwhile are on 32% (from 31%), giving the Tories a 13 point lead.

There was a least a very good Guardian cartoon today: “Martin Rowson on Brexit and Tory plans for social care – cartoon“.



Mrs May’s ‘Vanity Election’

Decline in support for the Wicked Witch

According to the most recent Com-Res poll reported in the Independent:

  • The Conservatives still have an 18-point lead, suggesting Theresa May is heading for a majority of 144 seats, the same as Margaret Thatcher’s in 1983.
  • But the Tory lead has been cut from the huge 25-point advantage in the last ComRes poll three weeks ago.
  • The Conservatives are on 48 per cent (down two), Labour on 30 per cent (up five), Liberal Democrats on 10 per cent (down two) and Ukip on 5 per cent (down two).
  • most voters, 53 per cent, “would expect to pay more tax if the Conservatives win the general election than if Labour win it”.

The Guardian has this warning from Gordon Brown: “Theresa May will cause more poverty than Thatcher, Gordon Brown warns – Former prime minister says Tory policies will reverse progress made in tackling poverty under Labour“.

Wicked Witch Brexit Gun

There is little doubt that a majority of voters would be better off under a Labour government than under the Wicked Witch’s  Conservative & UKIP regime which would seek to reward millionaire supporters like Jeremy Hosking with tax breaks – see this in the Guardian: “Millionaire Brexit donor targets 140 remain MPs in general election – Financier Jeremy Hosking takes aim at Labour heartlands and says he wants no backsliding on Europe“.

The Guardian’s Economic Editor writes: “Is Labour’s manifesto living in fantasy land? Quite the opposite – Imperfect it may be, but Labour’s manifesto recognises the economic status quo can’t be kept going for much longer“.  The conclusion of  Mr Elliott’s article puts the case very well:-

Think about this for a moment. Real incomes are falling. Inequality is rising. The NHS  is kept going on a wing and a prayer. The economy is barely rising despite more than eight years of unprecedented stimulus from the Bank of England. Personal debt is heading back towards its previous record levels. International co-operation has rarely been weaker. There is a profound disconnect between the financial markets, where asset prices regularly scale new heights, and the state of the real economy.

Now ask yourself this. If any of the above rings true, what is the real fantasy: Labour’s idea that income, wealth and power should be a bit more evenly distributed or the idea that the current state of affairs can be sustained for very much longer?

A Coronation for the Witch?

Teresa May – a bit brassy & thinks she’s a sovereign

The Guardian has this article on the Witch’s Campaign strategists: “Who is behind the Tory election campaign? – From Lynton Crosby to lesser-known Westminster strategists, here are the people with the ear of Theresa May”.   The participation of the odious Sir Lynton Crosby – see his Wikipedia entry – is a guarantee that every possible dirty trick will be used by the May campaign.

The Independent has this: “If Corbyn has ‘deserted’ the working class, what exactly have the Tories been doing for the past seven years? – Over her time in government, May has consistently voted against the interests of those from lower socioeconomic groups“.

Calling a general election at this time was unnecessary.  Funnily enough, the Sun (hardly a Labour supporting paper) has this: “Angry Tory MPs hit out at Theresa May’s ‘unnecessary’ snap election as they fear Lib Dem fightback will see them lose seats“.

True enough.  This has been the shortest Parliament for 45 years.  There was no need for it.  It is a “vanity election”.

May’s Conservative & UKIP Party

The Conservative & UKIP Party

The Financial Times has this: “Honorary consuls struggle with Brexit caseload – Volunteers inundated with queries about EU passports and UK residency” – it’s quite a fun read, but we can understand that all these people are listening posts for their respective governments and they will be hearing of the distress being caused to many EU nationals – not least by the notorious 85 page form described in this FT article: “EU citizens face 85-page ‘nightmare’ Brexit Britain form – Foreigners living in UK left in ‘limbo’ by onerous red tape for residence“.

The Guardian has this opinion piece: “The Tories beat Ukip. But they must not become Ukip – in winning over the populist right, Theresa May must not allow her party to be infected by their ugly and divisive politics“.  Good advice – but given too late.

brexitgun Therefore it was good to see the Brexit Gun photograph on the front page of yesterday’s Independent as a link to this:  “Third of people considering tactical voting at general election to block Tories’ hard Brexit, poll reveals – Exclusive: Backers of system say move could seriously derail Theresa May’s landslide”  The article suggests that many voters would be willing to vote tactically to avoid May’s UKIP style “hard brexit” leaving the UK outside the single market and the customs union and it refers specifically to the Open Britain website.

The Independent has an article: “Nigel Farage says Teresa May is winning because she has stolen all his policies“.   For once, the odious Farage may be speaking the truth.

The Independent also had this: “Conservatives lead over Labour narrows slightly as Theresa May’s approval rating declines – Tories heading for clear majority, according to polls, but are down from massive 24-point lead in April”

The Guardian has this: “Conservatives to retain ‘tens of thousands’ immigration pledge – Theresa May confirms promise will be in Tory manifesto despite previous failure to get anywhere near target

The present full name of the party which, unfortunately,  the Wicked Witch of Westminster now leads, is “The Conservative & Unionist Party“. Now, it has in reality become “The Conservative and UKIP Party” because the Wicked Witch is fighting the upcoming general election on a UKIP platform.

Macron is the Next President of France

8May1945The news of a successful Presidential campaign by Emile Macron against Marine Le Pen (National Front) first came last night courtesy of BBC News.  The French equivalent of UKIP lost with 33.9% of the votes against the 66.10% for President-elected Macron.   It was good this morning to see the outgoing and incoming Presidents participating together at the ceremonies commemorating the end of WW2 in Europe on 8th May 1945.

Today, the Independent has this: “In Le Pen defeat, Europe’s far right wave crashes to a halt“.  The article points out that far right anti-immigration parties are crashing across Europe.  It is thoroughly unlikely that France’s approach to Brexit will be any more friendly with President Macron who is Europhile rather than Eurosceptic.

The Guardian reports: “UK can expect Macron to be tough on Brexit, key adviser warns – Jean Pisani-Ferry says French president-elect will not seek to punish Britain for leaving EU, but is keen to strengthen bloc“.

The Financial Times has this “Britain views Macron as a tough Brexit negotiating partner – May urges voters to give her as strong a mandate as French president-elect“.

The Evening Standard has this: “Emmanuel Macron bids to lure City bankers to Paris after sweeping to victory in French presidential race“.

It is also worth looking at this report in the Express from February this year: “Pay up Britain’ Le Pen rival Emmanuel Macron hints UK should pay for migrants in France“.

One has to treat any article in the Express with a degree of scepticism, but is it worth remembering that President-elect Macron has his principal residence in Le Touquet and he votes there in French elections.   Le Touquet is in the Pas-de-Calais Department and he has therefore every good reason to be very well informed about the pressures on the region around Calais from migrants seeking to enter the UK.  The Anglo-French Le Touquet Agreement (which provides for juxtaposed immigration controls between France and England) may well be the reason why  the Pas-de-Calais and the Nord  were the two French Departments which he did not win in the Presidential race.

Therefore it may well be that France will now wish abrogate or at least to renegotiate the Le Touquet Agreement – the more so if the UK opts for a Hard Brexit.