Wicked Witch on the Rocks

First Reactions to the Election Result

ww-westminsterThe Wicked Witch of Westminster may not have appreciated what the papers had to say yesterday about the election results.  The Independent had this scathing editorial: “Theresa May needs to face reality after the general election result – The Prime Minister – if indeed it is Ms May who is in office in the weeks ahead – must recognise that the country has had enough of austerity“.

The Evening Standard had this “General election results: Newspapers react with shock to Theresa May’s hung Parliament ‘chaos’ (with a large photograph of a choice selection of the more critical front pages).

The Spectator had this:  ” Catastrophe for the Conservatives as Theresa May blows her majority” – and any number of similar articles.

Ominously, the Torygraph Telegraph had this:  “Theresa May fighting to stay in Downing St as senior Tories ponder leadership challenge“.

The Witch as Caretaker

theresa-may-speechToday, it has become clearer that  that the Conservative Party has had enough of the Wicked Witch and is looking for a replacement.  The Torygraph Telegraph has this: “Two thirds of Tory Party members believe Theresa May should resign after disastrous election results“.  Key points:

  • A snap survey conducted by the Conservative Home website revealed that 60 per cent of party members believe Mrs May should quit while just 37 per cent of the 1,500 members who took part said she should stay in post.
  • Mrs May has abandoned plans for a major reshuffle of her Cabinet amid fears that she cannot afford to alienate senior ministers in the wake of the election.
  • David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, will remain in post despite mounting tensions in Cabinet over his role in Mrs May’s campaign.  Mr Davis is blamed by some of his fellow Cabinet ministers for helping convince Mrs May to call a snap election after promising not to do so.

The Torygraph  Telegraph also has this:  “Ruth Davidson planning Scottish Tory breakaway as she challenges Theresa May’s Brexit plan“.

  • Although it has been mooted for some time, the imminent split between the Scottish and English parties is a direct result of a dramatic deterioration in relations between the Scottish Tory hierarchy in Edinburgh and 10 Downing Street.
  • Fresh from her success in winning an extra 12 Scottish seats in Thursday’s election, at the same time as the Prime Minister was losing 21 constituencies in England, Ms Davidson also vowed to use her Commons votes to prioritise the single market over curbing immigration.
  • This is certain to split Tory ranks as Mrs May has pledged to take the UK out of both the single market and the EU customs union as part of her Brexit negotiations, which begin next week.

Unsurprisingly, the Evening Standard has this: “Theresa May told she has six months in Downing Street as PM picks top team“.

One comment on the Conservative Home website survey “Should the Prime Minister stay or go?”  makes the case:-

“Is it at all conceivable that there are some conservatives with a grain of sense left and who understand you cannot stick two fingers up at 48% of the country ?  May asked for a mandate for Hard Brexit and the country told her they prefer a sixth form Communist with a long history of support for the IRA

There is no mandate to sacrifice the Nation’s prosperity security standing and services on the back of inflantile lies and dog whistle racism, and don’t pretend that was not wot won it.

I have been trying to tell you that in the long term losing Liberal England, business and the young and the moderate was a mistake and that a Party that trashes its entire post-war history is not one anyone can respect for long”.

The Daily Mail has this: “TORIES TURN ON THERESA: Civil war erupts as irate MPs threaten to oust PM by end of the year – but she has to be talked out of resigning on the spot because party is scared of holding another election“.

The Wicked Witch’s two chiefs of staff have just resigned.  See their statements on the Conservative Home website:  Nick Timothy: Why I have resigned as the Prime Minister’s adviser and (much briefer)  EXCLUSIVE. Now Fiona Hill quits too. Here’s her statement.

See also this in the Evening Standard: “Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill resign: Theresa May’s chiefs of staff resign after election disaster

Quod Erat Demonstandum

BattleBus
May’s “Strong & Stable” Battlebus blown over on a motorway

The fact that a  “strong and stable” May battlebus was  blown over on a motorway during the election campaign was prophetic.

The Conservative Party has a short way with leaders who make a mess of elections.  Teresa May wished to improve her majority and instead of doing that she achieved a hung Parliament.  She is now a caretaker Prime Minister and it is very likely that she will be ousted in time for her successor to preside at the next Conservative Party Conference.

Needless to say, various other failed Conservative leaders who campaigned against the Cameron Government in the Referendum are writing for the Torygraph Telegraph.  An example would be the dreadful Ian “do not underestimate the determination of a quiet man” Duncan Smith who is “turning up the volume” in this article: “Conservatives calling for a new leader are inviting Brexit chaos. We must get behind Theresa May“.

Brexit Clowns

timesbrexitclownsUnfortunately, after the disaster of the Referendum, Mrs May stuffed her cabinet with pro Brexit Ministers – notably the three “Brexit Clowns”: David Davis, Boris Johnson and Liam Fox.   These three are perfectly happy to wreck the economy of the UK if need be and they peddle the myth that by leaving the European Union, the UK will be able to negotiate substitute trade deals with other countries.

While this may be partially true for goods – it is not so for services.  See this report by Grant Thornton: “The impact of ‘Brexit’ on the financial services sector” and also this: “What Is The Economic Impact Of Hard Brexit vs. Soft Brexit?“.

 Key points:-

  • According to initial estimates by the British government, leaving the advantages of EU membership behind and switching to use of WTO trade rules would cost the U.K.’s businesses about £65.5 billion per year (or around US$82 billion). Over a 15-year period, this would lower the country’s GDP by between 5.4% and 9.5%. In addition to lost trade, the U.K. may also be on the hook for paying about £20 billion in unpaid bills to the EU.
  • Analysts believe that the U.K. would find it difficult to replace the lost trade revenues from the EU, which has a consumer market of around 500 million people and a GDP around €12 trillion (US$13 trillion or £10 trillion). About 44% (or £220 billion of £510 billion) of the U.K.’s exports currently go to EU countries. Export trade with the EU is linked to about 12.5% of U.K.’s GDP, while the EU’s trade with the nation is linked to only about 3% of its GDP
  • According to some estimates, the limitation of access to Europe’s financial markets could cost Britain as much as the following: £38 billion in business, £10 billion in tax revenues, and more than 70,000 jobs.  Further, international companies may hesitate to invest and locate in the nation going forward, seeking instead countries that do have access to the EU single market

Some of the background to Brexit issues many be found on the Brexit Issues page.

Hard or Soft Brexit 

The Independent has this: “No matter who forms a government this is the end of hard Brexit – Membership of the single market and customs union, ruled out by May, are now back on the agenda

The Financial Times has this: “Soft Brexit hopes seen providing a cushion for the pound“.

The Express has this: “Britain is heading for ‘SOFT BREXIT’ after shock exit poll, predicts Jack Straw – BRITAIN is heading for “soft Brexit” after the shock exit poll claimed Theresa May and the Conservatives will fail to form a House of Commons majority, according to Jack Straw.

The Economist has a brief explanation: “What is the difference between a “hard” and “soft” Brexit? – Britain faces a pair of distinct choices in its future relationship with the European Union“.

A readable analysis of the differences between “hard” and “soft” Brexit is to be found in this 2016 article in the Independent: “What is the difference between hard and soft Brexit? Everything you need to know – Speculation remains over what kind of relationship the UK will develop with our partners after we leave the bloc“.

The Independent has this: “Hung Parliament: What it could mean for Brexit negotiations” and also this by John Rentoul “The election was supposed to clear the way for leaving the EU, but Theresa May’s failure has put Brexit in doubt – One of of the reasons for calling the election was to win a mandate to overcome House of Lords opposition to the Brexit deal“.

The Guardian/Observer has this: “May wanted a mandate for a hard Brexit. Now Europe expects a softer tone – Prime minister’s crumbling authority offers a new chance for compromise – and the EU could scale back its demands“.

Also this: “Drop hard Brexit plans, demand MPs  – May’s loss of authority means she might have to compromise on her negotiating stance with the EU“.

Serious politicians are calling for a cross-party approach to the Brexit issues and that seems a very sensible idea.

Hung Parliament – 8th June 2016

2The Wicked Witch gets a Hung Parliament

The Independent has this on its front page:  “Mayhem: Britain and Brexit in disarray as PM’s election gamble backfires spectacularly“.

Despite all the newspaper kerfuffle, You-Gov’s new prediction method producing a hung parliament as published over the last few days proved the more accurate:

Party Last Parliament Nos + Provisional New Result Projection – Electoral Calculus Projection – You Gov on 7 June 2017
Conservative (330) (318) 361 (+ 31) 302 ( – 28)
Labour (229) (262)* 216 ( – 13) 269 (+ 40)
Lib Dem (9) (12) 3 ( – 6) 12 (+ 3)
UKIP (1) (0) 0 0 (-1)
Green (1) (1) 1 1
SNP (54) (35) 48 ( – 6) 44 ( – 10)
Plaid Cymru (3) (4) 3 2 (- 1)
DUP  (10) (10) 18 18
Other 2 0 2
Majority Con  72 Hung

* Additional seat added because of recount in Kensington & Chelsea

Note:  The results in Northern Ireland have affected the UK-wide picture.  Seinn Fein now have 7 seats (+3) They will not sit in Parliament.  Therefore the number of MP’s in the UK Parliament will decrease.  That reduces the number of seats a Party needs to have a majority: The number of  seats in the House of Commons are:  650  – less  the 7 Sinn Féin members who will not sit  = 643.

With 643 sitting members, an overall  majority is  323 seats or more.   There is now but one seat undecided (Kensington & Chelsea).  The  The Conservatives can (just) survive with DUP support – but at what price?

The Torygraph Telegraph has this: “Who are the DUP and will they demand a soft Brexit to prop up the Tories?

The Guardian has this review of the Tory press: “Daily Mail and Sun turn on Theresa May for election ‘gamble’ – Newspapers that heavily backed prime minister and attacked Jeremy Corbyn say she has ‘blown it’”.

The New Statesman does the same: “How the right-wing press has turned on Theresa May – As the Tories fail to win a majority, the papers have changed their tune.

The Conservative Home website has this: “Tory MPs. If May gets back to Downing Street, her advisers must go. The Cabinet must take charge. Her Brexit plan will be overhauled.

The Conservative Woman has this: “Cerberus: May’s authority is fatally damaged.

Even The Times has something  disparaging:  “May has no one to blame but herself – The prime minister’s hubris, an addiction to short-term thinking and a surge in the youth vote has sealed her fate” (£)” which includes these comments:-

  • There is a strong critique contained in the difficult night for the Conservative Party and it needs to listen, to be humble, less arrogant and less inclined to hubris.
  • There is also, it has to be said, a vindication for Mr Corbyn and his team who have performed far better than most people thought he could. The silent minority of those who do not vote appear to have been inspired to vote Labour and that is an achievement of the first order. Mr Corbyn often likes to say that he is going nowhere and commentators often joked that it was true. Well, they are not laughing now. Mr Corbyn has won the right to stay on as leader and MPs who do not like that prospect are stuck with him. He has had the night of his life.
  • The opposite applies to Mrs May whose campaign to be prime minister was a thoroughgoing calamity. Her authority is shot to pieces. Even if she can cobble together a government, there is now likely to be another general election in the autumn and Boris Johnson will be installing phone lines in his leadership office by this time tomorrow. She has turned herself into the Lady Jane Grey of British politics. It is a rank humiliation of the kind that it is hard to recall.
  • timesbrexitclownsMichael Gove, Mr Johnson, Liam Fox and Mr Davis need to reflect on what they have done. If it is beyond such arrogant people to contemplate the mess they have landed the country in, we might appeal to their amour propre  and point out the appalling mess they have made of their own party.

The Times article ends with these remarks:-

  • We all thought that Mr Corbyn and his merry band of ex-Marxists were the ideologues in this contest but we were wrong.
  • A ludicrous commitment to a child-like conception of national sovereignty has taken the Conservative Party to the brink of humiliation. That much we can all bear and indeed it would take a heart of stone not to laugh at what happened to them.
  • What these fools have done to Britain we should not forgive and, if and when there is another election, whoever succeeds Mrs May should be duly punished.

ww-westminster

The Wicked Witch of Westminster is not quite dead yet.  But there were some heartfelt comments on the Conservative Home site and The Wicked Witch and her Brexit Clowns should take note of them:-

(1) “Most of the Parliamentary Party are Remainers, now they need to say what they really think.

(2) “Out with the Brexiteers and back in with sensible people. May has paid an entirely predictable price for completely ignoring what half the country thought about the EU and trying to polarise opinion around the view of 20% that it all meant a hard Brexit. The Leave vote never meant that. Her stance was an obvious, elementary and huge mistake. If she does not correct that and go for EEA membership with full freedom of movement, we will within a short time have Corbyn as PM“.

This Guardian Cartoon says it all:   “Steve Bell’s If … Theresa May’s election blast-off “

 

 

Mrs May’s Brexit Election Pt 3 – 6-7 June

Polling  – 6th June

The Independent has this: “General Election Poll: Labour one point behind Tory party in latest poll with two days to go – Survation poll suggests election race is neck and neck“.

Other recently released polls have different results: Ipsos Mori has a Conservative lead of 5 points while  ComRes puts the Conservative lead at 12 points.  Generally pollsters say that their polling predictions have a 3  point margin of error either way.  What the polls do suggest is that Teresa May personal approval ratings are down and Jeremy Corbyn’s are up.

Polling – 7th June

The Independent has this: “Election 2017: Record number of people register to vote on deadline day – Jeremy Corbyn’s party has traditionally attracted more support from young voters“.

  • Record numbers of people signed up to vote on deadline day before registrations closed, with more than 600,000 names added to the electoral roll in the final 24 hours;
  • The figures point to a sharp increase in young voters adding their names to the register, with around two-thirds – 453,000 – of the new voters to sign up on deadline day aged between 18 and 34. 
  • New young voters are expected to boost the Labour vote.

According to Reuters: “May’s Conservatives on course for bigger majority – poll”  The article relies on an Opinium poll which puts the Conservatives at 43% and Labour at 36% – down one point.  The article, however,  points out that Survation only gives the Conservatives a single point advantage.

Amusingly, Reuters also has this: “Butchers give May the cold shoulder at campaign stop

ww-westminsterBritish Prime Minister Theresa May was met with a chorus of boos and shouts of “vote Labour” as she visited London’s biggest meat market in the early hours of the final day of the election campaign.”

The Independent had this towards the end of the day: “Election poll latest: “Theresa May will win biggest Tory landslide since Thatcher, final survey predicts – Exclusive: Eve-of-vote poll by ComRes for The Independent gives Ms May a 10-point lead, indicating an 74-seat majority“.

The Evening Standard has this: “UK General Election polls: How and why Labour closed the gap on the Tories“.  The article makes the very valid point that a lot is going to depend on turnout – especially young voters 71% of whom support Labour.

YouGov has this interesting analysis of how voters see Corbyn and May: “Corbyn vs May: how the public sees the two leaders“.  In essence, the conclusion is that people are increasingly seeing Teresa May in a negative light.

Projections of the Outcome

Martin Baxter’s Electoral Calculus and You-Gov have the projections set out in a table below.  The Electoral Calculus projection is  based on the polling  25 May 2017 to 06 Jun 2017, sampling  13,547 people.

YouGov has introduced a new methodology: “Introducing YouGov’s 2017 election model” and it indicates the probability of a hung parliament.  YouGov relies on  8,664 interviews conducted on 6th June as part of 55,707 interviews in the previous seven days.

Electoral Calculus says this about the new YouGov methodology:-

Electoral Calculus salutes YouGov for their modern approach of combining polls and models to get richer and more insightful predictions. We will know next week whether their approach has got it exactly right this time. If it’s right, then they will be justly celebrated. But even if it isn’t, it is still the right thing to do and the method can be refined in future years to be more accurate. One day, maybe all polling will be like this.”

YouGov’s new Election Centre also seeks to predict the results for each constituency.

What the  Calculations Show

Seats in the House of Commons are:  650  – less expected Sinn Féin members (who do not sit) –  4 = 646.  With 646 sitting members, a majority is  324 seats or more

Party & Last Parliament Nos  Projection – Electoral Calculus Projection – You Gov on 7 June 2017
Conservative (330) 361 (+ 31) 302 ( – 28)
Labour (229) 216 ( – 13) 269 (+ 40)
Lib Dem (9) 3 ( – 6) 12 (+ 3)
UKIP (1) 0 0 (-1)
Green (1) 1 1
SNP (54) 48 ( – 6) 44 ( – 10)
Plaid Cymru (3) 3 2 (- 1)
Ulster Unionists (10) 18 18
Other 2 0 2
Majority Con  72 Hung

ww-westminsterIf the Electoral Calculus projection is right, then the Wicked Witch will be home and dry.     Lord Ashcroft who polls for the Conservatives updated his predictions on June 2nd – “Ashcroft Model update: new potential majorities and seat-by-seat estimates“:

“It is important to remember that we are dealing with probabilities not predictions, and that the result could well fall either side of our central estimates. In the scenario where turnout matches that of 2015, the highest likelihood (35%) is of a Conservative majority between 60 and 79, with a one-in-four chance of a majority between 80 and 99 and a 12% chance of a majority of 100 to 119. But if everyone who says they are certain to vote actually does so, the biggest chance (35%) is of a Tory majority between 40 and 59.”

For the Conservative Party,  a majority of 72 would vindicate the Wicked Witch’s decision to call an election prior to the Brexit negotiations.  However,  it might not be sufficient to enable her to ignore the closet UKIP-supporting  faction on the Conservative benches.

John Rentoul, the Independent’s Chief Political Correspondent writes: “Election 2017: Hung parliament? Tory win? Corbyn as PM? The six possible scenarios“.

On the latest YouGov projection, there may be a hung parliament.  What might that mean?  See this in the Spectator: “Election 2017: what happens if there’s a hung parliament?“.  The explanation given is good – and so are these key conclusions:-

  • If the Conservatives had sufficient numbers to be able to govern with support from the Ulster Unionists, and/or with another party (which is very unlikely).. In that situation, there would be a Conservative Prime Minister, but it wouldn’t be Theresa May. She would have pissed away a small but workable Conservative majority on an election she didn’t have to call.
  • The most likely beneficiary would be David Davis, as he is acceptable to the Brexiteers, and, equally importantly, is getting on in years.
  •  But that’s quite unlikely, because the most plausible hung parliament scenario is this:hung parliament – Labour minority government”.

Labour is  projected by YouGov to achieve 269 seats as opposed to the 229 in the last Parliament.   But 269 seats are not a majority.  Labour would need the support of other parties.  That would not necessarily have to take the form of a coalition – a confidence and supply arrangement would suffice.  It would require the support of all the other parties bar the Ulster Unionists.

According to the Worcester News, the people of the town of Bewdley are planning to erect a statue to Stanley Baldwin and were hoping to invite the PM to unveil it some time in December: “Prime Minister Theresa May MP may unveil statue of three-times PM Stanley Baldwin in Bewdley“.   Whether or not  the Wicked Witch will still be the Prime Minister at the time of the unveiling will be determined within the next few days.

 It is worth remembering that in 1924 Stanley Baldwin was defeated on the King’s Speech vote.  He resigned the next day and the first ever Labour Government (Ramsey MacDonald) took office – but only for nine months.

What went wrong for Teresa May ?

Tom Goodenough writes this in the Spectator: “Has Theresa May’s strong point become her Achilles heel?

The Independent has this:  “Majority of British voters agree with Corbyn’s claim UK foreign policy increases risk of terrorism – Interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have made atrocities on UK soil more likely, majority of public believe.”   According to the article 75% of voters polled agreed with Jeremy Corbyn’s views on this subject.  That was before the latest atrocities in London.

Also this: “Theresa May’s election campaign is in big trouble when Jeremy Corbyn can turn national security into a strength – The cutting of 20,000 police officers on the Prime Minister’s watch has become a millstone around her neck – and one that the Labour leader is using to his advantage“.

The Guardian has this: “Terrorism top of undecided voters’ concerns after London attack – While the political response has become the most important issue for people in our six key constituencies, views differ on which party they trust to tackle it“.

The Independent has this: “Election 2017: Whitehall is now preparing for a hung parliament, say reports“.   Of course, the mere fact that the civil service is preparing for the possibility does not guarantee that it will happen.

The Guardian has this: “Let’s hope a hung parliament can halt the Brexit disaster – If the SNP or Lib Dems end up holding all the cards come Friday morning, the economic catastrophe of leaving the EU could be averted“.

The Evening Standard has this: “UK General Election polls and odds: Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour slashes Tory lead“.  Key points

  • some polls show the Conservatives’ lead being cut by 16 points in the last month
  • a Survation poll found the Tories on 41.5 per cent and Labour on 40.4 per cent
  • a complex constituency-by-constituency estimate by YouGov suggested the Conservatives could emerge with just 304 seats in the Commons after Thursday’s General Election – down 26 from the end of the previous parliament
  • a YouGov poll for the Evening Standard last week found more voters in London say they think Labour’s leader would make a better Prime Minister than Mrs May. The poll on Thursday gave the Labour a huge 17-point lead over the Conservatives in London

Iron-May-smile-v2

In short, Mr Corbyn has managed to out-campaign the Wicked Witch and to show her up as the Iron Clad leader of the Nasty Party.  Two days from now we will know the outcome of the election.

Should Mr Corbyn do well  in the Election,  Teresa May, the Wicked Witch of Westminster, can only blame herself, her colleagues, her advisers, and (of course) the odious Lynton Crosby.


     Polls open at 7.00 am tomorrow and close at 10.00 pm

The Exit Poll Results will come shortly thereafter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mrs May’s Brexit Election Pt 2 – 4-5 June

Overnight Terror Attack in London

6 people were killed and at least 48 people were injured in a terrorist attack in London.  Some of the injured are in a critical condition. Three male attackers were shot dead by the police.

The best on-line source of information is, of course, the BBC: “London attack: Six killed in vehicle and stabbing incidents“.   The Conservatives, the Labour Party, the Scottish National Party and the Green Party, announced that their national campaigning will be suspended for the day.    UKIP did not suspended its campaign.   The election date cannot be postponed.

Mrs May chaired a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee and made this statement upon its conclusion.  The statement included the following remarks:

We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. Things need to change, and they need to change in 4 important ways.

First, while the recent attacks are not connected by common networks, they are connected in one important sense. They are bound together by the single, evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division, and promotes sectarianism.  It is an ideology that claims our Western values of freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam. It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth.

Defeating this ideology is one of the great challenges of our time. But it cannot be defeated through military intervention alone. It will not be defeated through the maintenance of a permanent, defensive counter-terrorism operation, however skillful its leaders and practitioners. It will only be defeated when we turn people’s minds away from this violence – and make them understand that our values – pluralistic, British values – are superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate.

Second, we cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed. Yet that is precisely what the internet – and the big companies that provide internet-based services – provide. We need to work with allied, democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremism and terrorist planning. And we need to do everything we can at home to reduce the risks of extremism online.

Third, while we need to deprive the extremists of their safe spaces online, we must not forget about the safe spaces that continue to exist in the real world. Yes, that means taking military action to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria. But it also means taking action here at home. While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is – to be frank – far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.

So we need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out – across the public sector and across society. That will require some difficult and often embarrassing conversations, but the whole of our country needs to come together to take on this extremism – and we need to live our lives not in a series of separated, segregated communities but as one truly United Kingdom.

Fourth, we have a robust counter-terrorism strategy that has proved successful over many years. But as the nature of the threat we face becomes more complex, more fragmented, more hidden, especially online, the strategy needs to keep up. So in light of what we are learning about the changing threat, we need to review Britain’s counter-terrorism strategy to make sure the police and security services have all the powers they need.

And if we need to increase the length of custodial sentences for terrorism-related offences, even apparently less serious offences, that is what we will do.

Since the emergence of the threat from Islamist-inspired terrorism, our country has made significant progress in disrupting plots and protecting the public. But it is time to say enough is enough. Everybody needs to go about their lives as they normally would. Our society should continue to function in accordance with our values. But when it comes to taking on extremism and terrorism, things need to change.”

5th June 2016

The Telegraph has a live page relating to the attack: “London Bridge attack latest: ‘Gunshots heard’ as police launch fresh raids in east London after Islamic State claim responsibility“.  One very important part of the reporting relates to what the Metropolitan Police Commissioner said this morning on BBC Radio 4 – which included this:-

The rhetoric that has been coming from Daesh and other organisations has been to encourage people to take action into their own hands, to use low-tech methods, and undoubtedly when people see something which appears from their perverted point of view to be successful some people will be inspired by that, so that is most certainly a possibility.

The Independent has this:  “Theresa May must resign over ‘security failures’ that led to recent terror attacks, says David Cameron’s former policy guru – Steve Hilton accused the Prime Minister and her spin doctors of ‘blame-shifting’ “.

Mrs May was Home Secretary for many years before she became Prime Minister. She has made excessive cuts to budgets and also embraced strategies which are not working – in particular the so-called “Prevent” strategy -and she bears responsibility for that.

The Independent also has this: “I am a serving firearms officer – the Government is wrong to say police cuts have nothing to do with recent attacks“.

Dr Myriam François, a research associate at the Centre of Islamic Studies, SOAS University of London writes this in the Guardian: “Theresa May’s talk about British values puts all Muslims under suspicion – Social cohesion is laudable, but to link it to the terror threat is dangerously confused thinking and stigmatises an entire community“.

Robert Fisk writes this in the Independent: “This is what Theresa May refused to tell you in her schoolyard sermon on terror – The Prime Minister is going to have her ’embarrassing conversations’ with Britain’s Muslims, who have no power to switch off the evil ideology which Wahhabism represents.  She does have that power – but she won’t use it.”

Saudi Sord
Mr Toad participating in a Saudi Ardah Dance

Of course the Wicked Witch is not alone in all of this. Her good friend Donald Trump (aka Mr Toad) and indeed numbers of his predecessors in office have been quite happy to suck up to the Saudis – after all they have an awful lot of oil – and an awful lot of money.    Saudi Arabian funding of mosques and schools outside the kingdom is estimated at US$ 2-3 billion a year.  See this by Adam Deen of Quilliam: “Are Saudi-Funded Mosques Really A Problem In The UK?

The Independent has this:  “General Election: Conservative lead over Labour cut to just one point, new poll finds – Survation poll puts two main parties virtually neck and neck“.

Also this: “London Bridge attack: No legal way to delay general election, David Davis says – Cabinet minister David Davis said the election was ‘locked in’ for 8 June“.

Mr Davis told the BBC: “I’m not sure it can be legally done. In order to do this you’d have to have some change of law I think, and who’s going to do that?  “Parliament no longer exists, I’m not a Member of Parliament for the duration, as are none of the other people who were Members of Parliament“.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, had a sensible view: “Sadiq Khan says election should go ahead to defy London attackers: ‘Terrorists hate Democracy’“.

Coincidentally, Chris Powell writes in the Guardian: “Lynton Crosby’s futile attacks on Corbyn show he’s lost his touch – Last year he tried and failed to portray Sadiq Khan as an extremist sympathiser. This year, again, the public is making up its own mind about Corbyn“.

“Exaggerated assaults on personalities famously don’t work in elections, because we all get to see the candidates on TV and judge them for ourselves. You would have thought Crosby might have learned from his failed attempt to portray Sadiq Khan as an associate of extremists in last year’s London mayoral election. The mild-mannered Khan doesn’t come across as anything like an extremist, and never did.”

ww-westminsterOne might add that the refusal of the Wicked Witch of Westminster to go face to face with Jeremy Corbyn on national television is part of Crosby’s nasty campaign tactics.  It is far easier to smear an opponent in his absence and some of the mud then sticks.  

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan writes this in the Evening Standard: “Sadiq Khan: This sickening act has nothing to do with the Islam I know – To murder innocent  people, especially during Ramadan, is a rejection of the true values of my religion“.

mr-toadOf course, Mr Toad had to send out an offensive tweet about Mr Khan –  “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter.  This YouGov article is relevant: “Majority of Londoners trust Sadiq Khan to make the right decisions on terrorism“.

The Independent has this: “Brexit: Business and security risks of leaving EU data sharing scheme ‘not on Tories’ radar’, experts warn, ‘The danger of an ad-hoc fix is that things fall between the cracks and, for security issues, that would be a significant risk’“.

The Guardian’s William Keegan writes this: “Let’s hope a hung parliament can halt the Brexit disaster – If the SNP or Lib Dems end up holding all the cards come Friday morning, the economic catastrophe of leaving the EU could be averted“.

timesbrexitclownsOne is forced to think that almost anybody would be better placed to negotiate on Brexit than the three “Killer Clowns” chosen by the Wicked Witch: David Davis, Boris Johnson and Liam Fox who were largely chosen to placate the UKIP wing of the Conservative Party rather than for any expertise.

The Shadow Brexit Secretary,  Sir Keir Starmer, KCB, QC , is more impressive than all three of the present Killer Clowns put together.  It is also worth pointing out that there  would quite a lot of expertise on EU matters available to a Labour Government, not least the Labour Members of the House of Lords who have previously served as European Union Commissioners.

Projected Results

Electoral Calculus and YouGov Election Centre have now updated their forecasts.

Seats in the House of Commons  = 650  less Sinn Féin 4 = 646 so  323 +1 = Majority

Party & Last Parliament Nos  Projection – Electoral Calculus Projection – You Gov on 5 June 2017
Conservative (330) 361 (+ 31) 305 ( – 25)
Labour (229) 216 ( – 13) 268 (+ 39)
Lib Dem (9) 3 ( – 6) 13 (+ 4)
UKIP (1) 0 0
Green (1) 1 1
SNP (54) 48 ( – 6) 42  ( – 12)
Plaid Cymru (3) 3 2 (- 1)
Ulster Unionists (10) 18 18
Other 2 0 1
Majority Con  38 Hung

If the Electoral Calculus projection is right, then the Wicked Witch is home and dry.  But her projected majority has gone down from 74 in the last forecast to 38 in the present issue.    Still a majority of 38 would be a lot better than one of 7.

On the latest YouGov projection, there will still be a hung parliament.  Mrs May would need a further gain to be able to achieve a majority or to continue with Unionist support.

Labour is now projected by YouGov to achieve 268 seats as opposed to the 257 in the 2nd June prediction.  But with 268 seats and the support of all the all the other parties save the Ulster Unionists, Mr Corbyn could be the next Prime Minister.

YouGov’s new Election Centre also seeks to predict the results for each constituency.

Mrs May’s Brexit Election Pt 1 – 2-3 June

 2nd June 2017

It is worth taking a look at the BBC’s poll tracker:  “Election 2017 poll tracker: How the parties compare“.  The Conservatives are trending downwards quite dramatically and Labour improving.  One poll has Labour on its highest rating in any poll since 2014.

The London Evening Standard has this: “UK General Election polls: Labour narrows gap again as women and middle-aged voters desert Theresa May“.

  • Before the Tory manifesto raised care costs and scrapped free meals for infants, women were dividing 49-35 for the Conservatives over Labour. Now that gap has closed to 45-44. Among people aged 35-54 there has been an even more dramatic switch.
  • Before the social care row they split 52-34 for the Conservatives. Now they divide 36 for the Conservatives and 46 for Labour. In other words, they have switched sides.
  • Among older voters, aged 55+, satisfaction with May has dropped from 70 to 57, though she is still positive on balance.
  • Satisfaction with Mrs May among all voters is down from 55 to 43 per cent, her lowest ratings to date.

The Torygraph Telegraph has this (based on the same poll): “Jeremy Corbyn approval ratings rise as Theresa May’s popularity hits record low“.

The Conservative Home website has another report from Lord Ashcroft: “Lord Ashcroft: “She called the snap election, and can’t be bothered turning up to it”. My final general election focus groups“.  His Lordship has been sniffing around Wales.  Some of the comments from electors he interviewed are worth reading.  More usefully, YouGov has also been to Wales: “Voting Intention (Wales): Conservatives 35%, Labour 46% (29-31 May)“.

This article in the Spectator is worth reading: “After Theresa May’s missteps, a Corbyn victory is no longer inconceivable“.   The article comes to a damning conclusion: Teresa May has not attempted to sell Conservatism to the public – but to sell herself.

ww-westminsterOne wonders if the Spectator article is a warning to the Wicked Witch.  She called this election.  The Conservative Party tends to have a short way with leaders who do not do well in elections and this was an election she decided to call early rather than seeing out the full term of the Parliament.

According to Reuters: “May’s lead over Labour shrinks to 5 points – Ipsos MORI poll

The Independent has this: “Labour will attempt to form minority government if election ends in hung parliament – The admission from Emily Thornberry – just one week before the election – comes after a polling company’s model suggested Britain could be heading into hung Parliament territory“.  NB: The model is the YouGov model.

We have the first BBC “Leader Debates” this evening.  In reality, this will not be a debate between The Wicked Witch and Jeremy Corbyn, because the Witch has refused to debate with him.  Instead they will appear consecutively and respond to audience questions.

3rd June 2017

The Guardian has this: “Question Time leaders’ special: panel verdict – Theresa May was wooden, Jeremy Corbyn spruced up and emollient. But will this TV showdown actually change anything?”.

Also this: “Finally, the ‘scaremongers’ of Brexit are being proved right – It’s taken a year, but as Britain’s economy slumps and inflation bites, the warnings about the costs of our vote to leave the EU are coming true“.

This article reminds us that the economic consequences of the Brexit vote are beginning to bite.

The Torygraph – Telegraph has this assessment by Charles Moore: “Mrs May is no longer winning the battle for authenticity – Mr Corbyn is” (£).

The Independent has this: “Tories U-turn on plan to build more socially rented council housing – Plan to build genuinely affordable homes ditched by housing minister“.  That is yet another Manifesto U-Turn.

Also this: “Election 2017: Campaigners launch final push to block hard Brexit MPs – Open Britain is targeting thousands of voters through social media and grassroots campaigning in key seats“.

Also this: “Labour ahead of Conservatives in unadjusted poll of voters – Overall result for Ipsos Mori still shows Theresa May ahead by five points – but the gap is narrowing in Jeremy Corbyn’s favour“.

This article suggests that the outcome of the election may depend on the percentage of younger voters who actually turn out to vote.

theresa-may-speechAlso this: “General election poll: Theresa May’s approval ratings plummet as majority of people dissatisfied with her leadership – The findings suggest 50 per cent of people are dissatisfied with the prime minister, while only 43 per cent are satisfied“.

Also this : “Election 2017: How generous of Theresa May to take responsibility for Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit shambles – You should know by now that only Theresa May, and not Jeremy Corbyn, can be trusted not to get the best deal for Britain“.

Also this: “If the polls are right, then it’s all over for Teresa May – and that’s bad for Brexit – Anything less than than a substantially increased Conservative majority will amount to a defeat for Teresa May.  If she fails to achieve it, it is hard to see how her position will be tenable – either as leader of her party, or as head of a government set to steer the bargaining with Brussels“.

Possibly, the best analysis in the broadsheets was this piece by Martin Kettle in the Guardian: “Theresa May is too cowardly to allow the Brexit election we so badly need – Britain is caught in a trap of the prime minister’s making: between a Europe it rejects and an America it should reject. Which is the real ally?

But the Torygraph also has this: “No income tax rises for high earners under Tory government, minister reveals“.  The  person who made this announcement was Tory Grandee, Sir Michael Cathel Fallon KCB, PC, the present Secretary for Defence,  who is standing for re-election in Sevenoaks.

ww-westminster
No tax increases for the rich says the Wicked Witch

This statement will hardly enthuse a State Registered Nurse, or a Care Worker obliged to go to a food bank to feed her children,  now to vote Conservative.  But the policy statement has been defended by Boris Johnson PC, the present Foreign Secretary who is standing for re-election in Uxbridge & South Ruislip and by the Wicked Witch herself.   Whether the statement is true or false why was it necessary to release it right now ?   To encourage the poor to vote Conservative ? Surely not. 

The Evening Standard has this: “General Election polls: The four London Tories under threat as polls surge – At the start of May, five Labour marginals looked at risk. Now four Tories appear to be“.  The article says that its estimates are in part “based on YouGov polling”.

Just before 10 pm the Independent published this: “General Election: Conservative lead over Labour cut to just one point, new poll finds – Survation poll puts two main parties virtually neck and neck“.

Shortly after that the Independent published this: “Keir Starmer reveals details of Labour’s plan for Brexit if they win the election – Exclusive: Sir Keir tells The Independent how his party’s approach differs from Theresa May’s“.

Weekend Reading

The Spectator has this splendid essay by Rod Liddle: “This is the worst Tory election campaign ever – Theresa May has the warmth, wit and oratorical ability of a fridge-freezer. Jeremy Corbyn is doing far better“.

Also this by Tom Goodenough: “Corbyn bursts through 40 per cent in latest Ipsos Mori poll“.

The New Statesman has this: “What’s gone wrong with the Conservative campaign? – Theresa May’s weaknesses and a lack of popular policies have driven the Tories backwards“.

Post Election Scenarios 

Under the UK’s first past the post system, it is not the number of votes cast which determines the outcome of an election, but the numbers of MPs elected for each party.

If one party gets more than half of the total 323 MPs then that party is able to form a government.  If no party gets 323 MPs elected, then the Parliament is “hung”.  In that event, a new government can really only be formed by means of agreements between parties such as a coalition agreement or what is known as a “confidence and supply” agreement.

Here are estimates of the probable distribution of MPs after the election on 8th June.

Seats in the House of Commons  = 650  less Sinn Féin 4 = 646 so  323 +1 = Majority

Party & Last Parliament Nos  Projection – Electoral Calculus Projection – You Gov on 3 June 2017*
Conservative (330) 362 (+ 32) 308 ( – 22)
Labour (229) 213 ( – 16) 261 (+ 32)
Lib Dem (9) 3 ( – 6) 10 (+ 1)
UKIP (1) 0 0
Green (1) 1 1
SNP (54) 50 ( – 4) 47  ( – 7)
Plaid Cymru (3) 3 2 (- 1)
Ulster Unionists (10) 18 18
Other 2 0 2
Majority Con  74 Hung

* These are updated figures posted by YouGov on 3rd June 2017 at 1.21 pm. YouGov says these estimates will be updated daily between now and 8th June.

YouGov’s new Election Centre also seeks to predict the results for each constituency. 

If the Electoral Calculus projection is right, then the Wicked Witch is home and dry.  On the present YouGov projection, there will be a hung parliament.

If the Conservatives fall short of 324 by less than 18 then it might be possible for the Conservatives to continue in government by means of  a coalition or a “confidence and supply” arrangement with the Ulster Unionists.  Likewise, if Labour were to be the largest party but with fewer than 324 MP’s some similar arrangement might be possible with, say, the Liberal Democrats or the SNP.

And if you wish something to reflect on over the week-end:- try the Guardian’s Cartoons.  This one was rather good:

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