Tag Archives: conservatives

Tim Farron – Political Genius?

Tim Farron seems an unlikely candidate for political genius. Some are born a genius. Some work hard at being a genius. Others may just stumble upon something that makes them look like a genius. Farron may just have stumbled on a formula that will lead to the greatest political comeback since the fifth time that Farage un-resigned. 

As an increasingly enthusiastic Remainer (I was ambivalent towards the EU until I listened to the arguments to Leave) I find the political agenda in the UK most bizarre at the moment. It is as if there is one political truth and that truth is called Brexit. And yet no one is prepared to state clearly their ambitions and goals. Other than no longer being a member of the EU, we have no idea what a politician views as a successful Brexit. All we know is that Brexit is Brexit. And that it is red, white and blue. Although I fear that may be because we are bloodied by the process, left a pale imitation of the influential nation we once were and blue from being left out in the cold…..

Yet support for Brexit is the panacea for all political ills. Politicians are falling over themselves for a bit of the Trump zeitgeist. Everyone wants to appeal to the voter with concerns about immigration. Every party wants to make Britain great again (the process of Brexit somewhat ironically raising the prospect of the United Kingdom of Great Britain actually being diminished by the breakdown of the Union). Every political step is taken to appeal to those outside of the “Westminster Bubble” (where I would much rather see money invested in the North than us just being given the name of Powerhouse, which makes us sound like a cut price electrical retailer). 

So the Conservative Party, what passes for the Labour Party and UKIP are all falling over themselves chasing the Brexit supporting public. And in the process they are not seeking to persuade those that have doubts. They are not building consensus. Their rhetoric is all about delivering what the victors wanted. It is about how opposing Brexit is unpatriotic.

And here is where Tim Farron may have just done some simple maths. The next General Election will see a turnout which is lower than the turnout at the EU referendum. But let’s say the turnout mirrored the June turnout. If it did, UKIP, Labour and the Conservatives are chasing 17,410,742 votes. Farron and the LibDems are chasing 16,141,241 votes. They are the only party currently appealing to that demographic directly on this issue, the biggest single issue in politics in my lifetime. The other three want a share of the 52%. The LibDems have 48% all to themselves. 

Of course there are many who will vote at a General Election contrary to their vote in the Referendum. There will be plenty who do not vote at all. There will be plenty who will vote according to their party affiliations, notwithstanding their own views on Brexit. 

There will be many who will not forgive the LibDems for the coalition and for tuition fees. But that was always going to be the case. The LibDems were on the verge of political armageddon. But right now there is a void in politics where the only show in town is Brexit and many of us don’t want to go. Throw into the mix that there will be many long term Labour voters who will not support a Corbyn led party and suddenly Farron may just be bringing his party back from the brink. 

He is the only one making a play for 16 million votes. He will not get them all. But everyone else is leaving him an open goal. And you don’t have to be a genius to put the ball in the back of the net. 

Be Afraid, Very Afraid. 

Now I admit to the fact that, from time to time, I have cause to loathe the Conservative Party. I find myself no longer a supporter of any political party. It is just that, time and time again, I find new depths of despair at the Tories. And this sort of thing is why…..

  
This Tweet has appeared from the official account of the Conservative Party and echoes the comments of Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon. Apparently Corbyn will “all but dismantle the Army.”

Now this is the sort of scare-mongering politics that really is very tired and very tiring. Let us just recall Theresa May chiding the police for crying wolf when it came to police cuts. That is the Home Secretary, someone who has actually cut the provision of things that make us safe, telling off the people who implement the measures to keep us safe on a daily basis. And now the Defence Secretary is saying that we are all less secure in our beds tonight because someone has been elected Leader of the Opposition. 

I tend to think the security of my family has, in fact, been put in jeopardy because there are only a handful of police officers available this evening to cover a huge geographical area in South Manchester. I suspect that the security of my family has diminished because there are criminals who have escaped punishment because of the underfunding of the police and the CPS. We are all less secure because, should something bad happen tonight, the chances are the culprit will not be caught or, if caught, will not be prosecuted or, if prosecuted, will not be convicted. And that all stems from cuts made by the people @CCHQ in the name of austerity. 

I would much rather that the Defence Secretary spent less time worrying about who will win the 2020 election and a little more time worrying about the state of the Middle East. I would much prefer him to focus on the state of our military under his Government. A military that now has more Generals than tanks. A military that has more horses at its disposal to fight ISIS than the aforesaid tanks. 

The biggest risk to our nation’s security? I would probably put Putin and various terrorists at the head of the queue. The biggest risk to our economy’s security (whatever that actually means)? Well last time round it was the Banks that really screwed the rest of us. Right now I fear the impact of China on the economy more than Jeremy Corbyn. And the biggest threat to my family’s security? The party of law and order. The Conservatives, without a shadow of a doubt. 

So, Mr Fallon, I do not worry about a man who may “all but dismantle the army”. I worry about the Government that already has. 

A Tweet of Contempt

When the analysts sit down to work out the secret behind the so-called rise of UKIP or the reason why turnouts at elections continue to tumble they need to look no further than Chris Skidmore MP for their answer.

Now it may be that Chris Skidmore, MP for Kingswood since 2010, is a splendid constituency MP and all round good egg. It is not really Mr Skidmore that is the problem it is the Tweet that he, or someone on his behalf, posted last night.

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If you cannot make out what it says, he Tweeted “South Glos Euro results – Lab pushed into distant 3rd: Con 20,043, UKIP 24847, Lab 11827, LD 8162, G 5811”.

This is an example of exactly the sort of cheap political point scoring that is turning off the entire nation from taking part in the democratic process. It is also the sort of transparent spin that causes every one of us to mistrust our political figures.

This Tweet, however, goes to the heart of the problem in just 140 characters. Mr Skidmore sought to deflect attention away from the Conservative Party’s defeat by focussing on Labour’s position. As I say, a bit of a cheap political point. A cheap political point clothed in contempt for the electorate.

We can all see that the Conservatives came second. We do not notice that any less because Labour also lost. The fact is that UKIP won. However look at the little things the Tweet contains. The Conservative tally is the only one that contains a comma. The number just looks a little bigger that way. It may be a mistake, it may be the result of the limit of characters on Twitter but a remarkable coincidence that it only appears in the number of votes cast for his party.

And then there is the order of the parties. You will note that Labour is listed third, their position in the election. The Lib Dems and Greens are correctly in fourth and fifth place. It is only the Conservatives and UKIP that have been transposed. UKIP won, yet appear in second place (with their comma-free number). The results are not listed in correct numerical order or alphabetical order. Just in an order that may lead the casual observer to think the Tories won.

This is political spin that says “the voter is so stupid they may just fall for this”. It is not just deflection, it is a cheap shot at deception. A deception that is predicated on the basis that we, the humble proletariat, cannot count, cannot read and cannot think.

This Tweet says everything which is rendering the nation more likely to vote for a dancing dog or the new lead in an Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical than we are to vote for those who will make the big decisions. It is the 140 character representation of every politician who answers for their own failings by pointing out the failings of their opponents. It is every bent statistic traipsed out by a Minister to justify another cut.

We are sick of it. Sick of the meaningless utterances. Sick of the point scoring. Sick of the avoidance of responsibility. Sick of the falsehoods. Sick of being treated with such utter contempt.

I would never vote for a politician who so clearly thinks the citizens that they wish to represent are stupid enough to fall for such cheap tricks. Sadly no politician recognises this. Not Tory, Lib Dem, Labour or UKIP. From ministers making profit from policy, to broken promises to cling to power, to members of the opposition failing to oppose, to casual racism excused by exhaustion the political class believe they can act with impunity because we will not notice.

Well, we notice alright. That is why less than 40% of us turned out to pop an X in a box. It is so often said that people fought to give me and you the right to vote. Those same people fought so we would have leaders better than this. If Milliband, Cameron and Clegg want to know what they have to do to fight off Farage all they have to do is stop treating us like idiots and start earning our vote.

Perhaps we can just start with Mr Skidmore. And a Tweet that says “we lost, we will try to do better by you.”