Archive for the 'Coalition' Category


Reports two people shot outside Parliament

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017


Let’s hope this doesn’t escalate




If the opposition leader wasn’t so feeble May/Hammond would find it harder to ignore specific manifesto commitments

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

The 2017 version of the pasty tax?

At GE2015, less than two years ago, the Conservative made a very specific pledge – if elected there would be no increase in VAT, National Insurance Contributions or income tax.

Well today’s big budget announcement from the Chancellor that the self-employed are going to see the NI contributions going up is going to be a hard one to explain and we’ve already seen the start of a storm brewing. One section of the working population who’ll be affected are freelance journalists and they are going to remember.

The Spectator’s main story on the budget is headed “Biggest loser from this Budget? The credibility of Tory tax promises”.

Already UKIP have seen an opportunity and their most capable figure Suzanne Evans has already started the attacks.

Fortunately for the blue team they face an official opposition led by the hapless Corbyn who barely mentioned the NI increases in his tedious response.

Very specific manifesto pledges have to be treated with great caution. At the very least Hammond needed to have made a convincing case as to the reason which he failed to do.

A mistake which won’t easily go away.

Mike Smithson


The Russians give Nigel Farage a “knighthood” on their TV channel, RT

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

But he’s not got a PhD or played for Tranmere


Don Brind explores the intriguing silence of Len McCluskey in the post Copeland debate

Monday, February 27th, 2017


Has he started to worry about the Corbyn effect on working class voters?

Some time ago I went up to introduce myself to Angela Rayner. I wanted to congratulate her on her debut speech to the Labour conference as Shadow Education Secretary.

“You don’t need to introduce yourself, she said. “ I know who you are. You helped get me here” She went on to remind me that she had taken part in a training scheme for potential parliamentary candidates organised by Unite. The aim was to make sure that working class candidates who hadn’t been to university and didn’t have working for an MP or a front benchers on their CV had the skills to shine at selection conferences.

It was the brainchild of Unite general gecretary Len McCluskey and senior Unite MP Jon Trickett. I was an enthusiastic (pro bono) trainer because I shared their belief that the Labour party needed more working class MPs.  Angela Rayner is a celebrated product of the scheme and it was because of McCluskey’s role in setting it up that gave him her backing for re-election as general secretary of the country’s biggest union. Nominations have now closed in the contest, which I argued here few weeks ago is a potential game changer for Labour.

Following last week’s two by elections one of Jeremy Corbyn’s union backers, Unison leader, Dave Prentis was quick to come out and declare that Copeland was “disastrous” adding “The blame for these results does not lie solely with Jeremy Corbyn, but he must take responsibility for what happens next.”

By contrast, there was an intriguing silence from Corbyn’s other big union backer Len McCluskey. Was it a sign that he fears the connection could be damaging him? Certainly his challenger Gerard Coyne is making McCluskey’s “obsession with Westminster politics” a key point of attack. He accused him of putting “thousands of pounds of Unite’s money into helping Jeremy Corbyn gain and retain the Labour leadership, knowing that he is a lifelong opponent of nuclear power. What sort of message does that convey to the nearly 3,000 Unite members employed at the Sellafield plant, in Copeland?”

McCluskey is probably still favourite but does his silence suggest he is having doubts about the Corbyn leadership?

I think he should be having a rethink because of the evidence that he is driving away working class voters from Labour

An analysis of polling over the 18 months since Corbyn was elected shows that the drop in Labour’s working class support has been “catastrophic”, according to Theo Bertram, who worked for Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He says: “Labour’s core vote is in crisis. It is collapsing on a scale that is worse than any point in history.”

He says “Jeremy Corbyn may claim to represent the working class but they do not agree. Under his leadership, working class support for Labour is down to 23 points the lowest it has ever been. Since September 2015, Labour has gone from 5 points ahead to 15 points behind the Tories among C2DEs.

Bertram’s killer fact is that “the big change came in the first two months of Corbyn’s leadership.” That collapse was masked by the fact that “David Cameron put off working class voters, Theresa May does not.”

In April 2016, he shows, Cameron had a net satisfaction rating among working class voters of minus 35%. 62% of them thought he was doing a bad job (nearly as many as Corbyn). In July 2016, in her first month as Prime Minister, Theresa May’s net satisfaction rating among working class voters was +16%.

“So while Labour flat-lined under Corbyn, the Tories changed their leader and their working class approval leaped by 51 points.”

Bertram argues: “Changing leader won’t in itself solve Labour’s core vote problem. But sticking with Corbyn is making things worse. Never has the Tory party had such a big lead among the working class. The longer Corbyn chooses to stay, the more damage he is doing to Labour’s claim to be the party of the working class.”

Frankly, that terrifies me. I hope it’s worrying Len McCluskey.


During February the Tories have defended NINE local by-elections – they only managed to retain TWO

Friday, February 24th, 2017

Harry Hayfield’s Local By-Election Summary : February 2017

February local by election aggregate % vote shares with changes on last time
CON 24%-5
LAB 24%-5
LD 28%+18
UKIP 9%-6
OTH 9%+3

Liberal Democrats 7,162 votes (28% +18% on last time) winning 7 seats (+4 seats on last time)
Labour 6,305 votes (24% -5% on last time) winning 5 seats (+1 seat on last time)
Conservatives 6,255 votes (24% -5% on last time) winning 2 seats (-7 seats on last time)
United Kingdom Independence Party 2,468 votes (9% -6% on last time) winning 1 seat (-1 seat on last time)
Other Parties 2,337 votes (9% +3% on last time) winning 2 seats (+3 seats on last time)
Green Party 959 votes (4% -2% on last time) winning 1 seat (+1 seat on last time)
Independents 493 votes (2% -4% on last time) winning 0 seats (-1 seat on last time)
Liberal Democrat lead of 857 (4%) on a swing from Lab to Lib Dem of 11.5% (No swing from Con to Lab)

Liberal Democrats GAIN Brinsworth and Catcliffe on Rotherham from Lab
Labour GAIN Dinnington on Rotherham from UKIP
Liberal Democrats GAIN Fairford North on Cotswold from Con
Liberal Democrats GAIN Waterside on North Norfolk from Con
United Kingdom Independence Party GAIN Great and Little Oakley on Tendring from Ind
Bollington First GAIN Bollington on Cheshire East from Con
Green Party GAIN Lydbrook and Ruardean on Forest of Dean from UKIP
Residents for Uttlesford GAIN two seats in Elsenham and Henham on Uttlesford from Lib Dem
Liberal Democrats GAIN Emmbrook on Wokingham from Con
Labour GAIN Winklebury on Basingstoke and Deane from Con
Liberal Democrats GAIN Barton on Kettering from Con
Liberal Democrats GAIN Charterlands on South Hams from Con


If Labour don’t take the lead in the polls, is that how John McDonnell topples Jeremy Corbyn?

Friday, February 24th, 2017

If Corbyn is toppled will it be one of his inner circle that wields the dagger?

Earlier on this month John McDonnell gave an interview in which he said the polls will reverse in the next 12 months. We’ve already seen articles saying that McDonnell is taking over. If McDonnell feels that Labour aren’t going to improve, he might end up saying to Corbyn he should stand down.

This chart shows Labour’s continuing decline, surely the likes of McDonnell and Diane Abbott (who has start rebelling against Corbyn) will realise the party they love is at the risk an extinction level election, and will urge Corbyn to stand aside, for the greater good.

If the PLP want to topple Corbyn they might need to start working with John McDonnell, after all it wasn’t just Brutus who was involved in the assassination of another JC, Julius Caesar.



Brexit: We wuz robbed but is Tony the one to stop it.

Monday, February 20th, 2017

Don Brind on the Blair intervention

Like many 48 per centers I believe last year’s referendum victory for Leave was built on a mountain of mendacity, epitomised by that bus promising £350 million for the NHS.

So it was good to hear Tony Blair declare, in his speech to Open Britain last week, that Brexit “will not mean more money for the NHS but less; actually it probably means a wholesale rebalancing of our healthcare towards one based on private as much as public provision.”

I don’t trust Theresa May, now the zealous convert to Leave after being a virtually silent a Remain campaigner. So, again, I enjoyed Blair’s withering assault on her. “The Government are not masters of this situation. They’re not driving this bus. They’re being driven.”

So why did the speech leave me feeling uneasy? And why did Jenny Chapman, MP for Darlington and a member of the Shadow Brexit team tweet: “I defend Tony Blair as a great Labour leader who improved lives of my constituents. I do this a lot. His speech today won’t help.”

Blair says he accepts the result of the referendum and that “there is no widespread appetite to re-think.” He asserts that people voted without knowledge of the terms of Brexit. “As these terms become clear, it is their right to change their will. Our mission is to persuade them to do so.”

But the big question is how do we get from here to there? Who is best placed to get them to think again? Is Tony Blair somebody Leave voters will listen to?

They certainly won’t be listening to Ed Vulliamy in the Observer that” Corbyn and his MPs want to appease xenophobia in Labour heartlands, at whatever price of principle, to keep their seats warm at Westminster.

Such patronising tosh is not only unfair to Labour MPs, it part of the Brexit problem. “In politics, firstly, you have to earn the right to be heard” says Labour backbencher Wes Streeting in a wide-ranging New Statesman article that deserves to be as widely read as the Blair speech.

Streeting, a frequent Corbyn critic and a “Blairite” to leadership loyalists, represents Ilford North on the London Essex border which voted narrowly to Remain. He, nonetheless followed Jeremy Corbyn’s lead in voting to trigger Article 50. He explained his reasoning in a joint article with Chuka Umunna

Defying the referendum result, they say, would “deepen Labour and the country’s divisions and undermine our ability to build a coalition uniting the cities with the towns and country, the young with the old, immigrant with settled communities, the north with the south.
“We have to build this coalition in order to win an election to form a Labour government.”

The fact is that if Tony Blair’s dream of beating Brexit is to be realised it will Labour MPs who will do the hard graft of persuading Leave voters to think again.

Don Brind


Losses for the LDs and Tories in latest local elections plus preview of one more contest tonight

Friday, February 17th, 2017

Bollington on Cheshire East (Con defence, resignation of sitting member)
Result: Bollington First 939 (51% +14%), Conservative 319 (17% -14%), Labour 239 (13% -8%), Liberal Democrat 198 (11% unchanged), Green 162 (9%, no candidate at last election)
Bollington First GAIN from Conservative with a majority of 620 (33%) on a swing of 14% from Conservative to Bolington First

St. Thomas on Dudley (Lab defence, resignation of sitting member)
Result: Labour 1,466 (61% +4%), United Kingdom Independence Party 653 (27% +5%), Conservative 249 (10% -6%), Green Party 52 (2% -2%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 813 (34%) on a swing of 0.5% from Labour to United Kingdom Independence Party

Burton on East Staffordshire (Lib Dem defence, resignation of sitting member)
Result: Liberal Democrat 271 (53% +6%), Labour 127 (25% -5%), United Kingdom Independence Party 60 (12%, no candidate at last election), Conservative 56 (11% -12%)
Liberal Democrat HOLD with a majority of 144 (28%) on a swong of 5.5% from Labour to Liberal Democrat

Lydbrook and Ruardean on Forest of Dean (Ind defence, elected as United Kingdom Independence Party)
Result: Green Party 360 (35% +19%), Conservative 248 (24% +7%), Labour 231 (23% +1%), United Kingdom Independence Party 113 (11% -10%), Liberal Democrat 67 (7%, no candidate at last election)
Green Party GAIN from Independent with a majority of 112 (11%) on a swing of 6% from Conservative to Green

Failsworth East on Oldham (Lab defence, resignation of sitting member)
Result: Labour 829 (58% +4%), Conservative 360 (25% +8%), United Kingdom Independence Party 166 (12% -12%), Green Party 49 (4% +1%), Liberal Democrat 16 (1% -1%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 469 (33%) on a swing of 2% from Labour to Conservative

Elsenham and Henham on Uttlesford (Two Lib Dem defences, resignations of sitting members)
Result: Emboldened denotes elected
Residents for Uttlesford 834 E, 716 E (59%, no candidates at last election)
Liberal Democrats 316, 259 (23% -24%)
Conservatives 141, 120 (10% -11%)
United Kingdom Independence Party 68, 64 (5%, no candidates at last election)
Labour 39, 28 (3% -2%)
Green Party 8, 6 (1%, no candidates at last election)
Two Residents for Uttlesford GAINS from Liberal Democrats

Emmbrook on Wokingham (Con defence, resignation of sitting member)
Result of council at last election (2016): Conservatives 48, Liberal Democrats 5, Labour 1 (Conservative majority of 42)
Result of ward at last election (2014): Conservative 1,085 (38%), Liberal Democrat 1,074 (37%), United Kingdom Independence Party 447 (16%), Labour 287 (10%)
EU Referendum Result: REMAIN 55,272 (57%) LEAVE 42,229 (43%) on a turnout of 79%
Candidates duly nominated: Christopher Everett (Lab), Kevin Morgan (Con), Phil Ray (UKIP), Imogen Shepherd-Dubey (Lib Dem)
Weather at the close of polls: Cloudy but dry, 6°C
Estimate: Too close to call between Conservative and Liberal Democrat