Polls narrow again to cut Conservative lead to just five points

by James Elliott

Last night the latest YouGov poll cut the Conservative lead from nine points to just five – in the first survey the pollsters have done since the Manchester terrorist attack on Monday night. YouGov put the Conservatives on 43, Labour on 38, with the Lib Dems and UKIP trailing on 10 and 4 respectively.

This represents a closing of the polls, with the Tories down from 44 and Labour up from 35 in the same poll conducted for the Sunday Times last week. That poll had been conducted on the Thursday and Friday before the tag ‘dementia tax’ had caught on and filtered back through into the news cycle.

This poll was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday this week, after the manifesto had fully sunk in. The results, if played out in the election, could see the Conservative majority cut to just two.  Continue reading →

UKIP launch manifesto calling for zero net migration and burkha bans

by James Elliott

UKIP launched their general election manifesto yesterday, unveiling a document that ranged from the unusual to the unpleasant. Their main pitch is unsurprisingly around Brexit, with the party returning to its role of yesteryear, acting as outriders to the Conservative party, rather than challengers to their dominance on the political right. With May’s calculated pitch to Brexit voters having all but squeezed UKIP out, and the party led by a deeply unpopular charlatan in Paul Nuttall, it remains to be seen what their purpose is.

Nuttall told a press conference that “It is not good enough to light candles and proclaim that extremists will not beat us. Action is required on multiple fronts.” That was immediately followed by controversy as donor Aaron Banks called for ‘internment’, with the support of UKIP MEP Roger Helmer. Continue reading →

Election campaigning resumes today and tomorrow

by James Elliott

General Election campaigning to resume today

After the horrific attacks in Manchester on Monday evening, in which 22 people tragically lost their lives, Theresa May announced that General Election campaigning would be suspended. Campaigning will now resume, starting with local campaigning today followed by national campaigning tomorrow.

Momentum have organised a series of campaigning sessions, including trips to Crewe and Nantwich with candidate Laura Smith and Bolton North East with their candidate David Crosby. You can get more details from Momentum here. Momentum are also holding  Bernie Sanders style training sessions across the country to get you doorstep ready. You can find your nearest training session here. Continue reading →

Theresa May’s Blairite Manifesto

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

Chatting to Alex Nunns on the Twitter earlier, he suggested the Conservative (and Unionist) Manifesto was a Blairite document. And he’s entirely right. Not because of the substance of the politics, but because what Theresa May and “her team” are trying to do with it.

Looking at the manifesto, if Labour’s was the best manifesto I’ve seen then, arguably, the Tory document is probably their least worst. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot that is deeply discomfiting here. Yet at the same time it’s a patrician (matrician?) work invoking the spirit of manor-house-knows-best Toryism of Harold Macmillan and Enoch Powell. All the one nation lines are in there about tackling insecurity, sorting out mental health, and even a pledge promising to eradicate homelessness by 2027. And no, it doesn’t mean dragging them off to the workhouse. There’s some interesting wonkish stuff about investment banks, working with ‘old’ industries, introducing the variously floated ‘T’-levels to replace the plethora of vocationally-based qualifications, redistributing government bureaucracies to outside of London (hurrah!) and a few other things. It’s all there for the regen geeks. Continue reading →

What is the ‘Dementia Tax’?

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

On page 67 of the Conservative Party manifesto (analysis here), Theresa May’s “team” announces a significant shift in the way elderly care is going to be paid for. Their plans have generated a great deal of controversy which, combined with means testing for winter fuel payments and ending the triple lock on pensions, moves the Tories away from protecting pensioners from the squeeze they unnecessarily put on public finances to one where they’re going to have to also pay. It has proven hugely controversial. Some Conservatives are very unhappy with it, and you can bet this view is shared by more than a few of their MPs. Setting aside the politics of the changes and why the Tories have decided to put this policy in their manifesto, what do the measures mean and why is Labour dubbing it the ‘Dementia Tax’. Continue reading →

No houses, no lunches, no foreigners: Theresa May launches her vision for Britain

by James Elliott

Only death and taxes

Theresa May’s shock announcement has been that her next government would make more people pay for their own social care at home. Under new means-testing rules, pensioners would start to pay for care at home as long as they had assets of more than £100,000, rather than the current £23,500, but the new calculation will include pensioners’ homes. This means that thousands more elderly people would be affected and have to pay for their own care. The policy would work by allowing people to run up the costs and pay for it out of their estate when they die. A “death tax”, as opponents have already labelled it. Continue reading →

No Sign of the Liberal Democrat Revival

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

The Liberal Democrats are not having a good election. Bullish coming off the back of a steadily increasing tally of councillors picked up from local authority by-elections, buoyed by a yellow wave of new members that has taken them to over 100,000 members, and their triumph in Richmond, everyone was expecting great things. Well, better things. Then came the local elections, which saw a net loss of council seats (substantially more than a year’s worth of by-election gains) and, despite a local vote tally projected around the 18% mark, their polling numbers are stubbornly low. It might be that Labour are squeezing their vote as the more progressive-minded LibDem voters who returned to the Liberals over the course of the last year have doubled back. This means the notion they’re going to recover loads of seats lost in 2015 is, at the moment, looking fanciful. Continue reading →

What is in the Liberal Democrat manifesto (and what isn’t)

by James Elliott

It was Labour’s turn on Tuesday, and yesterday it was the Lib Dems opportunity to launch their manifesto for the General Election on June 8th. The big themes? Rejoining Europe, smoking weed, and doing both of those outside of a coalition.

According to their website, and re-iterated in the manifesto, the Lib Dems have ruled out any coalitions with either Labour or the Tories, and are are pitching themselves to become the opposition, rather than the government. They claim this is because both parties are too ‘pro-Brexit’, and they won’t support allowing either party to take Britain out of the single market.  Continue reading →

Explaining Laura Kuenssberg’s Bias

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

There’s a headline. It’s from the BBC, written by no less a figure than the corporation’s chief political editor. Not something up to the standards expected, you might say. As readers know, I tend not to moan much about the recipient of the licence fee. As a general rule, its news coverage is much better than most and where it fails in impartiality, it can make up in balance – particularly with regard to its flagship current affairs programme, Question Time. But there have been plenty of Labour people outraged by the behaviour of senior BBC journalists of late. Here are some much-shared and criticised examples. Continue reading →

Labour to stand on most transformative manifesto in living memory

by James Elliott

Yesterday Jeremy Corbyn revealed Labour’s manifesto for the 2017 General Election.

In an event at Bradford University, party activists and the media were treated to the unveiling of the manifesto and a Q&A session with Labour’s leader. The manifesto had been leaked ahead of last Friday’s Clause V meeting, which unanimously agreed the final draft, meaning that many of the policies were already known. Corbyn joked about this in his speech, telling the audience, “You may have seen it before.”

The programme is undoubtedly the most transformative and ambitious in living memory. Comparisons have abounded, including unfavourably with Labour’s ill-fated 1983 manifesto, dubbed by Gerald Kaufman ‘The longest suicide note in history’. Yet what we were presented with yesterday was a fairly moderate, common sense social democratic programme. As the Huffington Post‘s Paul Waugh points out, “This is a 21st century leftism, rolling back some Thatcherite policy while acting on modern problems like the ‘gig’ economy.” Continue reading →

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