Tuesday, 6 June 2017
Enough is Enough – Use your Vote on Thursday to Kick the Tories Out
What an extraordinary general election campaign this has been. The Prime Minister, Theresa May surprised everyone with her announcement on 18 April that she was calling a general election for 8 June. No matter the Fixed Term Parliament Act, that was swept aside as though it never existed.
No matter May had been saying for months that there would be no early election, she had changed her mind, she said, because the opposition parties were trying to thwart the will of the people, in implementing the leave decision in the EU referendum. In reality, the opposition were doing their job, in opposing May’s reckless version of Brexit, and the real reason for the snap election was one of cynical political opportunism. 24 points ahead of Labour in the opinion polls, it was too good an opportunity to cement her control of the Tory Party and the wider political landscape.
It all seems like a long time ago now, much has happened in the intervening six weeks of the campaign. The Tory strategy was to keep May away from being questioned too much, and scheduled a series of stage managed events in often remote locations, filled with Tory supporters, with even journalists kept at arms length. This could not hold though, and May agreed to some limited TV engagements with audiences drawn from the public and some questioning from journalists.
May appeared awkward and hollow, in contrast to Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who was relaxed and seemingly quite normal by comparison. Indeed, Labour generally have fought a good campaign, and Corbyn has played a big part in it. The polls started to move away from the Tories, slowly at first, then more rapidly. May’s U-Turn over funding social care by taking all but £100K off those requiring care, including their house, to pay for it, went down badly. It was quickly dubbed the ‘dementia tax’ and the polls narrowed dramatically. A huge own goal by May.
The campaign has been afflicted by two terrorist atrocities one in Manchester and one in London. I feared after the first attack, it would play well for the Tories, but everything just carried on as it had, with the Tories falling in the polls. It may be too soon to judge after the second attack at the weekend, but May has been battling questions about cuts to the police and issues of competence when she was Home Secretary.
As always at elections, the opinion polls have been the subject of much debate. After largely failing to predict the result of the 2015 general election, they have altered their methodology, which basically amounts to discounting certain groups of voters who are mainly supportive of Labour. Those under 25, black and ethnic voters and the older poor, who are less likely to turn out in elections traditionally, are given less weight than other groups of voters. But still Labour has steadily narrowed the gap with the Tories.
Not a single adjusted poll, has given Labour the lead during this campaign, but an interesting analysis in The Independent last week of the Ipsos MORI poll which gave the Tories a 45% to 40% lead, also looked at the raw figures, unadjusted. It gave Labour a 43% to 40% lead. The lesson is clear, if everyone who says that they will vote Labour on Thursday does so, Labour will win the election. It’s as simple as that.
What about the Green Party? I suspect that we have been side-lined somewhat by the Labour surge, and I guess we played into this by trying to form an anti-Tory alliance, and then standing down in several seats to allow Labour or the Lib Dems a better chance of beating the Tories. However, if you are a Green supporter and live in a constituency where the Tories have no chance of winning or the Greens are best placed against them, you should vote Green. Brighton Pavilion of course, Bristol West and the Isle of Wight should be foremost in this list of constituencies. Some local Green Parties are standing in seats which do not fall into this category, and I don't want to contradict them, they know the local situation. But this blog is not only read by Greens, and I'm making a wider appeal here. I will be voting Green myself, but I live in safe Labour seat.
Where there is a chance of either getting or keeping the Tories out, people should vote for the best placed party to beat them. You can check out who this is in your area at Unite Against the Tories website, but there are other guides on the internet.
If you want to see an end to the misery of seven years of Tory austerity policies. If you are disabled and a benefit claimant who has suffered under the Tories cruel regime of benefit cuts. If you are a public sector worker whose wages have fallen by around 14% under the Tories. If you are unemployed. If you are a woman, as Tory cuts have affected women disproportionately. If you are young, burdened with university debt, and see no hope of ever owning a home. If you are old, and worried about losing the value of your house if you fall ill, and the removal of winter fuel allowance and safeguards on your pension. If you are worried about cuts to our police service and security services. If you are low paid. If you are on a zero hours contract. If you are dismayed by cuts to health services and schools, and more privatisation of these services. If you are fed up with the privatisation of our public services to line the pockets of big business. If you care about our environment. If you want to see a fairer taxation system. If you are just about managing. If you would like to see the UK have an ethical foreign policy. If you think fox hunting is barbaric. If you are concerned about the Tories reckless pursuit of the hardest possible Brexit. If you are appalled at the prospect of the UK becoming a xenophobic, insular and nasty country. Make sure you vote.
We are legion. Use your vote to kick the Tories out on Thursday.