Do Not Despair of This Election 630

I have had moments in the last few days which led me to feel pretty hopeless. Perhaps the worst was in the ITV debate when Corbyn was roundly jeered by a substantial section of the audience for stating that climate change impacted hardest on the poorest people in the poorest countries. That encapsulated for me the current far right political climate in England, dominated by boorish, selfish stupidity. I do not come from a left wing political background and I have never subscribed to the romanticisation of “the people”. Years living in the UKIP heartland of Ramsgate made me realise that “the people” en masse can be very unpleasant and racist indeed. I have always for that reason eschewed direct democracy and subscribed to a very Burkean view. That however falls down when, as now, you have a political class who are becoming even more base and vicious than the most unpleasant mob. But the growl of that studio audience, infuriated that Corbyn cared about the foreign poor, is a warning klaxon of the state of English society.

A close second despair-inducing moment was Jo Swinson’s interview following the debate when, asked if she would press the nuclear button, she replied without a millisecond of hesitation: “yes”. As I reported last week, when asked at the Lib Dem campaign launch why she would not put Corbyn into Downing St in any circumstances, she had instantly replied that he would not be prepared to instruct submarine commanders to fire nuclear weapons.

The woman is deranged.

I come from a Liberal tradition. Probably the two books which most influence my thinking are On Liberty by John Stuart Mill and Imperialism, A Study by J A Hobson. The line of British liberal thinking that comes down through writers including Hazlitt, Shelley, Byron, Carlyle, Mill, Hobson, Russell and Keynes is a tradition which looks set to disappear from British political thought. That makes me horribly sad. One thing I am sure of is that Swinson has read none of them. That the Lib Dems had moved economically so far to the right was already worrying me. Their completely illiberal opposition to Scottish Independence upset me still further. But that the party to which I belonged for 30 years and which was once led by my friend, the gentle and wise Charlie Kennedy, could now be led by an arm whirling, narcissistic, female version of Dr Strangelove, is beyond my wildest nightmares.

Let me go back to that ITV Debate. It was enormously dispiriting that of a 50 minute debate, 25 minutes were devoted to the subject of Brexit, compared to just one minute on the question of climate change. The Brexit discussion was completely unenlightening, with Johnson booming out “Get Brexit Done” at every opportunity, and even when there was no rational opportunity after the discussion had finally been moved on to other subjects.

I thought Jeremy was slightly under par. There was one point where I think he made a definite mistake. When Johnson claimed the last Labour government bankrupted the country’s finances, Corbyn failed to come back and say that it was the bankers who bankrupted the country’s finances. He could have gone on to add that banking deregulation had been the cause of a decade of global misery and Boris Johnson’s plans for Singapore on Thames would be banking deregulation on steroids.

It is not the first time this election that Labour have failed to point out it was the bankers who crashed the economy. I am not sure why. It may be a desire to seem City-friendly. Corbyn may be held back because, like me, he believes Brown was completely wrong to bail out the bankers with taxpayers’ money, and Corbyn therefore thinks it best to avoid the whole topic for the sake of party unity. Either way, to let Johnson say that Labour spending ruined the economy is to miss an open goal – the bankers are still massively unpopular.

The other point is one where Jeremy actually annoyed me. I cannot tell you how infuriating it was, as a Scot, to see Johnson repeatedly stating that Scotland would not be allowed an Independence referendum, and Corbyn making no effort at all to stand up for the Scottish right of self-determination. Given SNP exclusion from the debate, it was demeaning to see our masters discussing our future with no pretence of giving a hearing to the Scottish point of view.

Corbyn has to tackle this. The Johnson “Labour will give you two referendums” attack line is not being sufficiently countered. For Corbyn to ask Johnson whether he accepts that the Scottish people have the right of self-determination would be a killer question, and Jeremy could ask it quietly and effectively. A large majority of English people are actually perfectly happy for Scotland to have an Independence referendum.

Corbyn has tied himself in knots to accommodate the bitter cabal of Blairites and Orangemen that constitute the majority of the rump Scottish Labour Party, while its membership and voters have defected en masse to the SNP. 40% of the remaining Labour voters support Independence anyway. Rather than put himself in a false position for the sake of hopeless colleagues who have crashed Scottish Labour from domination to 12% of the vote, Corbyn should state his support for the right of the Scottish people to decide – something which I have no doubt he personally believes in, deeply.

The good news is that Johnson made an ass of himself in the debate, constantly repeating “Get Brexit Done”, and Corbyn’s insistence on discussing more important issues than Brexit cut through. You Gov’s verdict of a 51 to 49 victory for Johnson was very dubious indeed. But even that would be a major advance for Corbyn given the constant barrage of unfair media demonisation to which he has been subjected in the last five years. Almost seven million people watched the event live, a significant audience. Parity with that audience is a very good start for Labour. I suspect it really went better than that. YouGove have a long and dishonourable history as Tory push pollsters.

There are similarities here to the 2017 election. The chance for both Corbyn and Sturgeon to be seen in election coverage directly by viewers, each arguing their own case, will improve the standing of both with the electors, compared to the unmitigated vilification of normal media. (Sturgeon is being unfairly excluded from key debates but her Dundee speech today was extensively covered).

The Tory campaign of closed workplace addresses, artificial set-up encounters and a constant simple soundbite slogan is repeating the formula that failed so spectacularly in 2017. “Get Brexit Done” is going to annoy voters as much as “Strong and Stable” did, especially if Johnson continues to deploy it whatever the question asked.

I strongly expect we will see the first signs of the opinion polls starting to tighten shortly. I am half-English myself and have no desire to see Johnson inflicted on the population of Newcastle or Liverpool. But I confess I am also comfortable in the certainty that should Johnson win the election, it will precipitate Scottish Independence very soon. Nobody should despair yet. But it is certainly more comfortable to watch this from Edinburgh than from Manchester.


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630 thoughts on “Do Not Despair of This Election

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  • remember kronstadt

    Having signed up to Labour (holding nose and only because of JC) there are many invitations to canvas door to door. As someone who worked in direct marketing and neuromarketing for many years I’d like to know if there’s any evidence that face to face canvassing is effective? Anyone?

    • Loony

      It would seem to me that you have collectively shot yourselves through your collective feet.

      Just take a look at this comments section – here you will find references to “Tory scum” “Blairite scum” and whole host of pejorative terms directed at anyone with the temerity to disagree.

      Most people do not fancy being called scum and so they will simply agree with everything some canvasser has to say. That gets rid of the canvasser without much effort and as a happy side effect provides one small brick in the wall of fake news – something that, in due course, will be magnified by the intellectually hollowed out media.

      When results don’t turn out as you expect then simply assume that your fellow citizens must be infected with every form of bigotry you can imagine. This allows more and more people to be legitimately demonized as “scum” and moves everyone one step closer to some form of civil conflict. Never ever reflect on the use of language by those with whom you agree as a refusal to do so will inoculate you from any form of self doubt and enable a more pure form of hatred to be directed toward those who disagree with you.

      • AKAaka

        Your logic fails you I’m afraid. Probably on purpose 😉

        It is easy to class every Tory voter as Tory scum, or anyone who parrots an antisemitism slur as Blairite scum, but that is your own assumption.

        Actually, Tory scum are the politicians and probably their masters, though they may be worse, who believe the Tory philosophy. Blairite scum are similar, if not the same. The vast majority of the voters who buy into their lies are just you and me in another walk of life, likely and understandably ignorant to what is actually happening via media osmosis, but to call them the scum only makes you ignorant.

        • Loony

          It is not me that is calling anyone scum – so your transference fails I’m afraid. Probably on purpose.

          If you are looking for logic then supporting evidence can be found in the UK Brexit vote and the election of President Trump. If I recall correctly on the eve of the election the NYT carried a headline saying that Clinton was 99% certain to win. How did that work out?

          Take a look at the drive for Scottish independence – see how so many pro-independence agitators are keen to link the position of Scotland with Catalonia. Now look what happened next. In Spain Vox are now the third largest political party with a 15% vote share. It is a racing certainty that they remain someway from peak support. How many Scottish nationalists have accepted that in part they are responsible for creating Vox? Answer none. Ask why. just try to imagine having a sensible conversation with Scottish nationalists about their role in creating fascists in Southern Europe. Yeah I know there are limits to human imagination.

      • George McI

        Yes it’s all just a matter of taste, isn’t it Loony. We are all detached armchair viewers having a jolly discussion about this and that and we must tolerate all shades of opinion etc. Except that we are talking about matters that impact on people’s actual lives in an increasingly devastating way. Hey – but while we’re sharing a bottle of meths under that bridge we’ll still be able to be ever so reasonable.

        • Tom Welsh

          The ability – and willingness – to discuss problems objectively and politely is one of the most important things separating us from the rest of the animal kingdom.

          We give it up at our peril.

        • Loony

          Matters are impacting on peoples lives in an increasingly devastating way because we are at the end of the era of cheap energy. The only choices left are which segments of the population to devastate first. What right do you have to determine that someone you’ve never met is more deserving of devastation than you?

          • michael norton

            I do not think we are at an end of the era of cheap energy, I think we are entering an era of virtually unlimited, cheap energy. There is almost no end to the amounts of Methane available, even without making Methane.
            There is almost no end to the amounts of coal available, an example is the North Sea is awash with coal.
            Solar energy is unlimited, the cost of the cells is constantly reducing, it will be the cheapest energy for most of the Third World.
            The costs of wind power are going down as technologies improve and as the scale of manufacturing increases.
            There will be a boom in microgenerating in many forms.
            Fracking has released much Methane and Oil that was thought to be out of touch.
            Nuclear is getting ever more expensive, which is why it is in decline.
            When Graphene is able to be manufactured in large quantities and cheaply it will transform the economy
            of everything.

            Cheap energy is just getting started.

          • Loony

            Michael: It is unlikely that your thoughts are correct.

            In 1990 the global average energy cost of energy (ECoE) was 2.9% (This is the percentage amount of energy that needs to be expended in order to access or harness energy).

            By 2000 this ratio had risen to 4.1%. By 2008 it had risen to 5.6% and today stands at 8.1%. Do you spot a trend in place here? Coincidentally this rising ECoE almost exactly tracks declines in prosperity per capita. Thus in the UK prosperity per capita has declined by 11.3% since 2003.

            Maybe graphene is capable of reversing this trend – I have no idea. Conversely I am very certain that fracking, solar, wind and nuclear are all contributing to increasing the ECoE and hence contributing to the decrease in prosperity per capita.

          • George McI

            That doesn’t even make sense. We need to decide who gets the axe. We have no option but to make that decision. And yet we have no right to make that decision?

          • Seb

            Basic state British pension about 100 gbp a week. Share of council tax about 25 gbp a week cost of leaving a one kilowatt fire on for a week with edf about 35 gbp a week. So much for all this theoretical stuff about energy supplies. Why are not people talking about real issues this election? It to is impossible for an old person to live through a cold winter in England if they rely on electricity and are poor. Edf even provides a hi-tech gadget to tell you when you cannot afford heat any longer. Die, or get into unpayable debt.

      • Tom Welsh

        “When results don’t turn out as you expect then simply assume that your fellow citizens must be infected with every form of bigotry you can imagine”.

        And blame the Russians. Don’t forget to blame the Russians.

    • DiggerUK

      Yes. It will have a great effect on you. Do it.
      Instead of being in a keyboard warrior bubble, where reality is easily avoided, you will be out in a genuine world. Step up to the plate and get on the learning curve; if it doesn’t frighten you then you’re not doing it right…_

    • Hatuey

      There’s evidence that face to face sales is effective. I used to be involved in marketing.

      It’s hard to distinguish between sales and political canvassing in any meaningful way, so I guess face to face politics works too.

      • Tom Welsh

        I agree that face-to-face selling is very effective. Many salespeople are charming and pretend to be friendly. Having sold themselves, so to speak, they find it easy to sell whatever goods or services they are getting commission on.

        However, an apparently friendly salesperson must be carefully distinguished from the (possibly shoddy, overpriced or unnecessary) items she is hawking. Not to mention that, as a successful salesperson probably has hundreds or thousands of customers, she can’t very well be genuine friends with all of them.

        The same caution applies in spades to political selling. The person who calls on you to persuade you to vote for Labour or another party may be a lovely person – but that does not say much about what the Labour (or other) party would do if actually elected to office.

    • Chris

      Yes, rk. I believe it is effective, and I have (a tiny amount) of evidence to support that.
      Over very many years canvassing I have spoken to lots of “undecided” voters on their doorsteps, talked to them, identified concerns, explained real party policy vs “what the papers say”, got councillors or (in GEs) PPCs to contact them.
      I have felt that quite a few were persuaded – but that’s a subjective view, not evidence.
      On a very much smaller scale, I know for sure that at least a tiny few were persuaded when I knock on their door again, usually years later, and find they are clear about their political views, and remember our conversation (or the Councillor, or PPC) that crystalised their thinking.
      So it’s well worth doing, by the Many, for the Many.
      You have joined Labour (Hurrah!) so now, please, get to work on this once in a lifetime opportunity to reverse the decline of civilisation in the UK!

      • Tom Welsh

        ‘Over very many years canvassing I have spoken to lots of “undecided” voters on their doorsteps, talked to them, identified concerns, explained real party policy vs “what the papers say”…’

        And when the party you were recommending got elected and came to power, Chris, how many of the policies you attributed to it were really whole-heartedly implemented? And how many of the concerns were properly dealt with?

      • Herbie

        I was under the impression that it was Cambridge Analytica wot won it.

        Is this incorrect?

        They used direct and targeted marketing on social media, collating previously expressed preferences and so on.

        Dunno, perhaps it’s doorstepping for the modern age.

  • Brianfujisan

    Oor Nicola was By Miles the best on Leaders QT tonight.

    Answered Questions Flawlessly.. no Bullshitting around..She had wee Fiona Sussed, and sorted her out too.

    The evil bbC did have a couple of Stitch up jobs on the go

    1, Helping Swinson avoid audience response to her WMD’s Lies..Kinda important that..Especially to us that can see the Submarines from our Window.
    2, ignorance..Or Lies about Scotland’s knife crime

    The Blond haired Cretin at the end was Em, A Tory.. A Famed for lying Tory.. ( Mind you, So is Swinson.. A lying Tory that is )

    It’s All Very well the ‘ I’m All Right ‘ Scot’s voting Tory, LibDems, Labour

    But If by some Miracle WMD Worshiping Swinson becomes PM..the Scottish Government should Declare UDI, That very same day.

    • Pyewacket

      Another gem from Miss Swinson tonight, in response to a member of the audience refuting the claim that Corbyn is antisemitic. She replied that she knew he was because Luciana Berger and Louise Ellman had told her so. Mmmm must be true then.

      • S

        Jo Swinson starting attacking Corbyn for antisemitism before any questioner had mentioned it or Corbyn. And it felt really non-genuine. To suffer antisemitism is really horrible. I think it’s really offensive that Jo Swinson tried to make political capital out of it.

        The Daily Mail are now going all out on this one. Maybe DM readers like to think they are not racist.

        • Herbie

          “To suffer antisemitism is really horrible. I think it’s really offensive that Jo Swinson tried to make political capital out of it.”

          You’re absolutely correct.

          Disgusting tactics from the Lib Dems, as per usual.

          Been caught at this many times before.

          I mean, Jeremy Corbyn, the most insipid inoffensive snowflake since the birth of Bambi.

          Is compared to Hitler!

          That’s her pitch?

        • Peter Close

          Actually, the very first question put to Corbyn (well, not a question, but an angry accusation) was about the Ruth Smeeth incident in June 2016. The BBC featured it as their single example of a tough question:

          Q: I look at a video of Ruth Smeeth online where she was in a press conference with you and Ruth Smeeth – a Jewish MP – was heckled out of that press conference with you. At the end of the press conference there you are chatting to that same heckler. I don’t buy this “nice old grandpa”.

          A: Nobody should suffer any abuse in public life or privately. Nobody should suffer abuse and many women Labour MPs, Ruth Smeeth included, have suffered the most unbelievable levels of abuse. And it was a Labour MP Jo Cox who was murdered because she stood up in public life… Bad behaviour, misogynism, racism in any form is absolutely not acceptable in any form whatsoever in my party or in society.

          When Ruth Smeeth was mentioned, I thought this was going to be an antisemitism accusation, because I well remembered the incident. The BBC obligingly printed the original story immediately after the Q and A:

          In 2016, Labour MP Ruth Smeeth called for Jeremy Corbyn to “resign immediately” for what she saw as his failure to intervene when “anti-Semitic slurs” were directed towards her in front of him.

          Ms Smeeth walked out of a press conference held to launch a report on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

          “It is beyond belief that someone could come to the launch of a report on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party and espouse such vile conspiracy theories about Jewish people,” Ms Smeeth said in a statement at the time.

          “The leader of my own party stood by and did absolutely nothing.”

          Why didn’t Mr Angry make those killer points? – antisemitic abuse of a Jewish woman! at a Labour meeting! right in front of Corbyn! he did nothing about it!

          Well, presumably because it turned out that Smeeth was… well, gravely mistaken – there was no antisemitic abuse. The ‘abuser’ was Marc Wadsworth, a well-known black activist. He claimed that he had not abused Smeeth at all, but had criticised her for conferring with a Telegraph journalist. He had not known who she was, and had not known she was Jewish. He was immediately suspended from the party.

          However, many people who had been present subsequently posted video footage, taken on phones, which supported Wadsworth’s account. Certainly he had been angry with Smeeth, but he had said nothing which could remotely be described as antisemitic. Smeeth did not apologise, or withdraw her accusations, but did delete the tweet in which they were made.

          Two years later, Wadsworth’s disciplinary hearing took place. Some 50 Labour MPs and peers (all white, and all well-known opponents of Corbyn), led by Jess Phillips, declared themselves to be a ‘protective escort’ and marched with Smeeth to the hearing, where a few supporters of Wadsworth, mostly black, were standing outside quietly holding placards. This seemed to be a fairly clear dogwhistle that a white woman was not safe on the streets from a black man.

          At the hearing, nothing was said about antisemitism. Wadsworth was expelled for bringing the party into disrepute.

          The BBC report on Saturday said nothing of this. Not did it mention that Mr Angry was in fact a South African
          Tory activist named Ryan Jacobsz who had already appeared on Question Time three times, although this soon spread across the internet:

          Pictures showed the trivial but amusing fact that Mr Jacobsz (like Dominic Cummings) apparently owns only one shirt.

          I posted most of the above on The Guardian CiF on Saturday, but it was immediately deleted, as were two more versions, radically trimmed, omitting everything about the Smeeth-Wadsworth incident, but suggesting that people make their own enquiries and draw their own conclusions.

          Here are two further accounts of the episode. Spot the difference!

          • glenn_uk

            Very good post – I think you should put it as a stand-alone post, though, as new readers are unlikely to see it this far back in the discussion.

          • Godolphin

            I’ve seen it Glenn, great refutation Peter. It’s disappointing that some of the best journalism is found on blogs such as this.

          • Redsheepothefamily96

            An excellent post well worthy of an independent post of it’s own as glenn_uk suggests.

    • Tom Welsh

      Oor Nicola is in the enviable position of not having to offer policies for advancing the interests of everyone in the UK. All she has to concern herself with is a relative handful of Scots who want to leave the UK behind anyway.

      A far easier proposition than facing up to the problems of the whole country. Not to mention that, if Scotland does become independent, the Scots will find that their troubles are just beginning.

      When you live in a country with a tropical climate and infested with mosquitoes, it doesn’t do you much good to climb into a boat and row out on a lake. It will be just as hot and humid, there is no shelter from the sun, and the mosquitoes gather in even greater numbers over water.

  • Allan Howard

    I posted a comment earlier about the so-called Campaign Against Antisemitism, and how I came across an article on their website about Jeremy Corbyn which was a pack of lies. And now I’ve just come across what must be the most absurd allegation of anti-semitism EVER!
    In the Daily Mail. I mean if you haven’t heard about this one, you just won’t believe it’s for real. But it is! Here’s the headline, and then the three sub-headlines, and then the first paragraph:

    Jewish campaigners accuse Jeremy Corbyn of ‘trying to underscore’ dead paedophile ‘Jeffrey Epstein’s Jewishness’ as Labour leader’s pronunciation of ‘Epschteen’ blows up into ANOTHER full-blown anti-Semitism row

    Corbyn accused of trying to make Epstein sound ‘more Jewish’ in TV debate
    He called the convicted sex offender ‘Epschteen’, sparking fury on social media
    Campaign Against Antisemitism attacked ‘bizarre … inconsistent pronunciation’

    Jewish campaigners tore into Jeremy Corbyn today after he mis-pronounced the name of notorious society paedophile Jeffrey Epstein in front of millions of people on live television.


    And who WERE these so-called ‘Jewish Campaigners’? Yes, it was our good friends at the Campaign Against Antisemitism, and THIS is what is says in relation to THEM:

    A spokesman for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: ‘Jeremy Corbyn’s risible attempt to deceive viewers about his handling of Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis was compounded by his bizarre and inconsistent pronunciation of the Jewish surname of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, referring to him at one point as ”Epschteen”.

    ‘Mr Corbyn’s abhorrent record on Jews certainly raises questions as to whether the Labour leader was attempting to underscore Mr Epstein’s Jewishness.’


    And the DM have very kindly included a separate section entitled ‘Why are people saying ‘Epschteen’ is anti-Semitic?’ so as to help us all understand. How very very thoughtful of them! Oh, right, and they’ve got a video clip of it, but the sound appears to have been disabled!!

    PS It was probably just a simple case of Jeremy having not put his teeth in properly!

      • Herbie

        “Was Epstein actually Jewish? When I saw that cross, I thought either he was a Christian….”

        Surely his “lifestyle” is one which depends upon the killing of the Christ?

    • pete

      Re the sound appears to be disabled…
      You have to click on the sound icon to switch the sound on. It doesn’t sound to me like Mr Corbyn had any serious pronounciation problems, so this is probably the Daily Fail just drawing our attention to the possible faith of Mr Epstein for what ever purpose that might be.

    • Redsheepothefamily96

      Allan, this will be the same daily fail that supported the nazi party will it not? Now assuming some false moral high ground!

  • N_

    I offer the following thought on the context of this election…

    We pretty much all know that in Britain the rulers are about to pull their jackboots on and that a small proportion of them, which will get larger as you look further up the scale, are set to make an absolute killing financially out of the crash or disaster or time of troubles or whatever we want to call it.

    Probably most of us who have recognised the above have envisaged that the triggering event, the ladder to Malthusian heaven, the “proximal cause” of the Night When Trillions of Quid Left the Country, the Solicitors’ Insurance Fund Went Bankrupt So the Courts Stopped Working, the Banks Shut, the Lights Went Off, the Water Pumps Stopped, and Soon Afterwards Everything Became Like Venezuela Including the Hyperinflation Except that Very Few People Were Able to Swim the English Channel So There Was No Equivalent of Colombia To Go To, would be a crashout Brexit. It doesn’t matter whether this would be a “pure” “Article 50” “No Deal” kind of crashout, or a “Whoops, Boris couldn’t manage to sort out a Free Trade Agreement” kind. But Brexit. Stuff relating to Britain’s relationship with the European Union and in particular a national act of trade autoblockade, for which there are few if any parallels in the history of the world but which perhaps recalls Pol Pot’s Kampuchea.

    So…what if…what if something other than a crashout Brexit is chosen – given the parallelogram of forces – as the trigger instead? And if it is, then what if something other than a Tory election victory suits the above-mentioned fellows’ purposes?

    Blood, hatred, cruelty, greed and fear all meld together in the sick psychokiller Tory mind, whether we’re talking about down at the golf club with the franchise boys or dining at high table in one of the Clarendon schools.

    So what might give these excuses for humanity the overpowering feeling of apocalypse and of the advent of a final reckoning with the Other that they’ve been droolingly anticipating throughout the whole of their sorry “lives”? Might they possibly view the election of a Labour government on a social reform manifesto as the raising of the war standard, as the “proof” that their psychotic worldview is fully correct and natural? Some of them have their fingers on the button ready to whizz large sums of money out of the country perhaps even as soon as the results of the exit poll are announced at 10pm on 12 December. We might be in for a lesson on how expectations and reality intertwine. Certainly “Venezuela” is getting mentioned a lot in Tory circles. They’re so f***ing thick they haven’t bothered to find out anything about the US sanctions that brought that country to its knees, or if they know about them they basically think the victims deserved them and that the poor old US government had no choice but to impose them because of the wicked actions of the Chavist socialists. But they’re not thinking about the real country Venezuela and what has happened there, except insofar as the population are eating jackboot, which for Tories is something to celebrate, just as their scum-arsed Tory parents celebrated Pinochet “taking no nonsense from the left” in Chile in 1973. Any working class person or socialist’s cry of pain, whether because of torture, or hunger, or absence of health treatment, is music to Tory ears. The reason they are talking about Venezuela so much at the moment is because they feel “it” coming.

    And the big question in any time of trouble is who does what to whom.

    • Monster

      As Charlie Chaplin said: “Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.” Politicians provide the tragedy, but it’s up to us individually to create the comedy. I won’t be voting on 12th December as I have some fun thing concerning Christmas to do with my children.

  • Anthony

    The consensus after last night’s leaders’ question time seems to be that Jo Swinson was lucky she wasnt allowed on the ITV debate..The lib dems dodged a bullet by her not being seen by more people.

    • Herbie

      “Challenging false allegations of antisemitism.”

      False allegations of antisemitism?

      Are these guys for real.

      It has already been demonstrated, in the public sphere, that the idea that there are false allegations of antisemitism, is itself antisemitic.

      I mean, people have been sacked and abused for simply saying that the problem is overblown.

  • Mary

    Best not to forget the activities of the spin doctors at work in CCHQ. Previously in the time of Cameron and May (remember them?) there was Lynton Crosby, CTF Partners, knighted by Cameron in 2016. He worked in other countries on election campaign and also helped Philip Morris to flog their cigarettes. Now it’s Isaac Levido, another Australian from Crosby’s stable.

    Lynton Crosby protege positioned at heart of Tory election machine
    Isaac Levido takes up role in central ‘pod of power’ at Tory HQ

    A friend googled ‘Bob Gill + Selling the NHS’ and received a Tory ad.

    The funding behind the parties, not forgetting Sir Mick Davis of the Fox/Werrity scandal (see Craig’s previous)
    Conservative Party tops donations list

    The playing field is nothing like one at Eton. It is uneven and pitted.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      Turn the sound aff oan the tele n’ let your eyes inform you. Minus the commentary by privately educated, Oxbridge graduated MSM commentariate.
      Johnson only appears at closed doors, party photo ops..
      Ditto Swinson, complete with that arms spread messiah stance that really ripps ma knitting.
      Only Corbyn and Sturgeon are capable of working an actual crowd of regular punters.

    • N_

      @Mary – Do you reckon Isaac Levido “knows something” about the big cyberhack of various political parties in Australia that took place earlier this year, a few months before he engineered a “surprise election victory” for the government largely by using online methods in the last few days?

      Bear in mind that in Britain the Labour party was cyberhacked very recently. This may shed light on why Levido was appointed over Eugenics Cummings’s head.

      I’m not convinced Cummings does “know the North”. Sure, he’s from there, and he did well in the referendum on the regional assembly. But running a night club in Durham and successfully bringing in the students by selling psychotropic substances advertised as “quadruple slammers” and putting up signs saying “wipe your feet on the way out” does not require exactly the same skillset as political “persuasion”. Which is not to say that the skillsets don’t overlap. They overlap a lot. But they’re not identical. Levido I imagine will know more about cyberwarfare, and his knowledge in that area (see above) is current.

      • Alex Westlake

        The “cyberhack” you talk of was a DDoS attack, which isn’t particularly sophisticated. The odds are that it was done by a computer geek on his own. A lot of IT consultants are self employed, therefore plenty of us have a grudge against the Labour Party.

    • Hatuey

      Boris not only had a bad week but Labour had a fantastic week. The Labour manifesto has changed everything. Arguing that Corbyn is a vile antisemite when everybody can see he’s a harmless and well-meaning softy isn’t going to stop the swing to Labour.

      I hope the SNP are watching this. The lesson is clear, be honest and true to your principles, forget polls and media opinion, argue your case and shape opinion instead of trying to respond to it all the time.

      Before I saw the Labour manifesto I thought a hung parliament would be impossible. Today I think it’s the most likely outcome but I actually think Labour could come out of this with the most seats and wouldn’t rule out a majority. Momentum is with Labour and the SNP and momentum is massively important.

      Britain has a left-right spectrum again, for the first time in decades. People are talking about public spending, investing in houses, welfare, and the NHS. The media and big business will hate that but it’s hard to put the genie of hope back in the bottle after it gets out. Brexit is a background issue.

          • Michael

            Forty years into neo-liberalism the present state of the NHS should be of some concern to the Tories, because even their own middle-class voters with a decent income must know that if we lose the NHS to the sharks circling it, any serious illness they or their kids may succumb to could cost them their house.

          • Loony

            Ah yes the fabled NHS. An organization about which people believe so much and understand so little.

            In 1972 the annual budget for the NHS was £25 billion (in 2018 money). In 2018 the annual budget for the NHS is £132.9 billion. This is something over a 600% funding increase in real terms and yet everyone believes in the mantra of cuts.

            Surprisingly even an annual budget of £132.9 billion is not sufficient to move the NHS from the precipice of disaster. Both main political parties want to substantially increase funding for the NHS – Labour offering to be somewhat more generous than the Conservative Party.

            Presumably if Labour wins the election and follows through on its NHS funding promises then by around 2023 the NHS will be a well oiled, fully functioning, world class health care provider – or will it be that the NHS will remain on the brink of collapse and that more scandals will be revealed regarding NHS treatment of patients. Oh how I wonder.

            Still at least you do not need to sell your house to pay medical bills. No other country in the world has sought to replicate the NHS model – so presumably citizens all over Europe are being turfed out of their homes in order to meet their medical costs. Strange how that doesn’t seem to make headlines.

          • glenn_uk

            Loony: There is nothing “fabled” about the NHS.

            And don’t presume to lecture us about it, when you’re coming from a country with THE most screwed up health system in the world – I’ve experienced it first hand, and obviously know vastly more about it that your Trump-loving self.

          • Loony

            Glenn – You appear to be ideologically possessed.

            Given that in real terms the NHS budget has increased from £25 billion in 1972 to £132.9 billion today then for what reason would it be expected that the NHS is in crisis.

            Clearly the answer cannot be lack of money so there must be some other answer.

          • glenn_uk

            Loony: Is your view _really_ that simplistic?

            You cannot imagine costs being increased by, say, a larger population. A population which has considerably extended lifespans. Vastly increased medical technology. Improved medical services generally. And of course, profitisation which takes huge parts of the NHS as “profit centres” to be handed off to profiteers. That’s just for starters, right off the top of my head, truncated to save time you do not deserve.

            Of course not – your view is incredibly, mind-numbingly simple – increased cost, therefore there’s a huge problem and you cannot think beyond that.

            I’d try reading up a bit, before doing your Huckabee-Sanders impression of condescension and derision while lecturing others on something you very demonstrably know nothing at all about.

          • Kempe

            OK Looney what do you suggest? The American model where you get great healthcare if you can afford it; that seems to be the way some people want us to go.

            In 1972 US health spending was $435 billion in 2017 money, in 2017 it was $3,492 billion. An eightfold increase compared to the fivefold increase in the NHS budget. It’s not even as if Americans are reaping the benefits, life expectancy is two years lower than the UK and increasing numbers are being left out because they can’t afford it.

            There are a number of reasons why healthcare costs have risen, ageing populations, advances in medical technology and new treatments which are effective but expensive.

          • Ivan Sharkov

            This is not meant to be a reply to Brian c. I just wanted to get involved in the debate and support Loony’s statement with regards to the NHS expenses.
            I am a builder and I have done work on several hospitals. Some were brand new, Derby city hospital as an example, and some have only been refurbished partly, St Thomas and Queen Mary’s in London. I can assure you that money spent on building work is included in the NHS budget and it is a massive theft of public money. Projects that would normally cost in the region of £200 000 and last for up to three months, average over ten times that price and sometimes last for years. New hospitals that would normally cost £50 – 100 millions go twice their budgets and what they cite as an excuse is non existing safety measures for God knows what.
            Main contractors are usually the same two or three that get all of the Publicly funded contracts and I am sure they have their connections in the Government but I have no way of proving it. Money is greatly overspent with managerial staff on site outnumbering the actual builders by three to one on some projects. It is funny to see them so bored sometimes that they have to play computer games so time passes quicker.

          • glenn_uk

            Ivan: Nobody is denying that money is wasted in the NHS, nor that inefficiencies exist. Particularly when successive administrations – from Red Tory to Blue Tory – have used the NHS to funnel money to their mates in the financial sector, and the “investment” class generally.

            But what “loony” is trying to push is the idea that we should not have an NHS at all.

            Do you agree with that? Because that’s what the Trump apologist Yank Loony wants you to believe.

          • Ivan Sharkov

            glenn_uk – NHS is a great privilege to have. Unfortunately the resources that are supposed to keep it strong are not going in the right direction. As a result people have to wait for months and even years to get the right treatment. I have personally suffered because of that and know many others who have had similar experiences.
            I do agree however that serious and life threatening conditions are dealt with properly and with due care.

          • Bayard

            “Given that in real terms the NHS budget has increased from £25 billion in 1972 to £132.9 billion today then for what reason would it be expected that the NHS is in crisis.”


          • glenn_uk

            Ivan: Again, I do not disagree that resources are going in the wrong direction.

            That wrong direction happens – happily, according to Tories – to benefit the speculator class. But again, the prescription “Loony” wants is to abandon the NHS, and go to some free-market paradise.

            You agree with and support his points, but for entirely the wrong reason, with all due respect. Loony pretends the NHS is a “fable”. Do you get that? The very concept is a fable, as far as this Trump-loving stooge is concerned. I question your wisdom in offering this dog-eat-dog crony-capitalist corrupt apologist your support.

        • nevermind

          Rubbish, only the lazy brained old faries are regurgitating this falsehood. An ever increasing climate emergency is a far more important issue with the public than this right wing spectacle game to bust the EU.

      • N_


        Today I think it’s the most likely outcome but I actually think Labour could come out of this with the most seats and wouldn’t rule out a majority.

        Interestingly the Tory party have brought their own manifesto launch forward. They were going to release only a fortnight before the vote. Now they’re bringing it out on Sunday.

        On the scenario of Labour possibly getting most seats, and as you say, possibly even a majority, see my comment above, an attempt to look at it from the rulers’ point of view. I follow what Tories are saying in a number of places, and they are talking a lot about Venezuela. It’s as if every part of their disgusting excuses for “personalities” is becoming more intense: the hatred, the cruelty, the greed, AND the fear.

        It could be that certain powerful interests that want a collapse and a megaheist and also war on the streets decide that, well, they can achieve their aims by means of a crashout Brexit but they can also achieve them (big surprise) by means of a Labour election victory and the very rapid consequences thereof.

        I don’t think this is very likely, but it is possible.

        The test for it would be a Zinoviev letter in reverse. If that happens, then this scenario starts to look likelier. The last ZL happened four days before the election. There is an awful lot about Boris Johnson that could come out. The way the Jennifer Arcuri card is being played is fascinating. (Ditto Prince Andrew.) Why is Arcuri even in Britain. Sorry, but “to speak with the DCMS” doesn’t cut the mustard. She’s paid. And she may well be Mossad.

        Of course I welcome the Labour manifesto and the promise to tax the rich more, nationalise, redistribute wealth including to the poor and homeless, build council houses, crack down on the private schools (albeit they should have been much tougher), supply free broadband, introduce free bus travel for the under-25s, etc. etc. etc., but there is some kooky stuff in there too, such as avoiding the “destruction of the planet,” creating “a million climate jobs” (!), and giving us all a “pathway” to an “enlightened” future which presumably comes from Steinerite influence in the room, because people don’t talk like that by accident.

        • Hatuey

          You’re missing it. You’re missing what’s happening on the ground. Forgive me, but we have experience of this stuff and I know what I’m seeing.

          All of that stuff you’re talking about is more or less irrelevant. On the ground ordinary people don’t care about that. They’re contemplating their lives, their futures, and the future of their children.

          Labour have tapped into something. The odd thing is it’s Corbyn’s flaws that are his biggest asset. It would have been easy for him to say he’d press the nuclear button, come down on one side or another on Brexit, to be more forthright on antisemitism, to come out with another middle of the road manifesto.

          People trust that he isn’t just trying to say what they think or he thinks they want to hear. He’s unusually honest, to a fault, and he’s talking about what he thinks is best for them.

          The Labour manifesto has changed everything. It reminds me of the independence referendum. Hope is a runway train. People are suckers for the truth. I’m sensing a massive swing and as you suggest the Tories are panicking. They’ll want to stop us talking about Labour’s domestic agenda now, they’ll try to close it down, but it’s too late.

  • Paul Barbara

    @ Craig
    ‘…You Gov’s verdict of a 51 to 49 victory for Johnson was very dubious indeed…’
    Indeed. In the DM Comments, David from Ludlow writes: ‘…What a load of rubbish. Are the woke me too brigade calling out anyone for their pronunciation now? And as for the Yougov poll being truly representative, ITV’s Twitter poll of 300,000 declared Corbyn the winner over Johnson by 78-22% Yougov’s polls are usually of a couple of thousand, if that. This is pure propaganda….’

    • N_

      On name pronunciation, have a look at this:

      David Cameron mocks Nigel Farage over ‘poncey, foreign-sounding’ name”

      “Speaking in the House of Commons, Cameron praised Labour MP Ben Bradshaw for referring to the Ukip leader’s name to rhyme with ‘Farridge’, rather than ‘Farrahge’. ‘I’m glad he takes the English pronunciation of Farage rather than the rather poncey foreign-sounding one that he seems to prefer,’ the prime minister said.

      It is idiotic to make this kind of joke about a person’s name – and illustrative of the deeply racist and thuggish Tory mentality. Some Tory scum insisted on referring to Michael Portillo as “Michael Por-TEEY-yo” because of his Spanish ancestry.

      • Tom Welsh

        I have always had a similar issue with “garage”. As I was taught French at school (and my parents were both teachers of French and German) I naturally pronounced the word in the French way – “garaaj”. I soon found that most British people say “garridge”, and that it is often seen as a marker of class. Perhaps that is sometimes the case, but not always.

        English is endlessly fascinating because of its many irregularities. No one would dream of talking about a “carriaaj” – it’s always “carridge”. Likewise “marriage”.

        But surely everyone has the right to pronounce their own name in any way they like. It is then polite for others to fall in with their wishes.

        As for David Cameron accusing someone else of being “poncey”…

  • Republicofscotland

    As usual the BBC state broadcaster is up to their old trick in aid of the Tories.

    This guys never off QT and he campaigns for the Tories in marginal seats.

    As the people of Scotland know full well the games rigged, the decks stacled when it comes to the state broadcaster the BBC.

  • Giambologna

    Does Mr Murray have any evidence that YouGuv are Tory stooges? It wouldn’t surprise me if it were true but of all the pollsters their polls seem to turn out more accurate forecasts that the others. They were the only pollsters who predicted a hung parliament before the 2017 election, the others all predicting a Tory majority.

    Polls results can be used to try to influence undecided voters. But they need to have credibility to survive.

    Craig Murray is an honest and talented journalist who I respect. But he does have his faults and I feel like he isn’t always stringent to the truth when it gets in the way of some of his more passionate hatreds i.e. the corrupt Tory party. It weakens his arguments.

    Corbyn is more impressive in debate than Johnson because he has more depth. But he does not have credibility (nor do the Tories) on the economy – you can tell he doesn’t care and only plays lip service to the public debt.

      • Laguerre

        Rather a surprising comment. It would be more correct to say that Tory poll owners have been misrepresenting public opinion for years (I don’t know where your ‘decades’ comes from). The YouGov misrepresentation of opinion on the Corbyn/Johnson debate was only the latest, most blatant, rigging of a poll.

    • N_

      Bear in mind the herding effect and also that there are polls the results of which are kept private, and I don’t just mean for the political parties but for where the real power is, which is in the financial entities including hedge funds in the City of London and elsewhere. Those entities don’t judge credibility by the garbage that’s printed in the newspapers for consumption by proletarians and chatterers, but by the quality of the advice that they buy and receive privately.

      That said, it’s true that YouGov did well in the 2017 election. I particularly liked it that they released a spreadsheet of individual seat predictions including confidence intervals for each candidate. I hope they do it again.

      • N_

        YouGov haven’t started publishing spreadsheets with confidence intervals yet as they did in 2017 using their MRP (Multi-level Regression and Post-stratification) model. But Rupert Murdoch employee Tim Shipman at the Sunday Times reports this evening that an outfit called Datapraxis are predicting a Tory majority of 48 using YouGov data and a similar model. This is smaller than the 64 majority predicted by another Tory organ, the Torygraph, on the basis of their “poll of polls”. Like Hatuey I won’t be surprised if the Tories fail to win a majority.

  • Mary

    Sky News have just carried Corbyn’s eloquent speech in an OB from Loughborough. It was full of content and information so unlike Johnson’s efforts. The state broadcaster did not carry it so no surprise there.

    He spoke about Amazon where earlier, he had attended a GMB protest outside their premises in Sheffield about their disgusting employment practices and their tax avoidance by transferring their tax liabilities to other countries with lower tax regimes.

    Also about Bezos, the Amazon co founder, not just a $billionaire but a multi $billionaire, the wealthiest person in the world according to Forbes.

    Amazon warehouse employees speak out about the ‘brutal’ reality of working during the holidays, when 60-hour weeks are mandatory and ambulance calls are common
    Feb 19, 2019

    • Ken Kenn

      As Laura would say:

      He’s a Conservative activist.

      Just sayin’

      Time to set an Independent of Parties Panel and look into all forms of alleged racism in all parties and the media.

      The paper that prints Johnson’s racist guff is just as guilty as he is of racism.

      No race or religion should be held in higher regard than any other.

      If I were Labour I would suggest that no matter who wins the GE.

        • Ken Kenn

          I know that as unlike the usual QT audience the vast majority ob observances and questions were pretty good.

          Of course many of these people were activists of all stripes – that’s why the questions were good and I thought it
          was interesting.

          Swinson was buried – Corbyn did well and Sturgeon was sensible.

          The interesting part was when Johnson walked off the set was that he did recieve decent applause form the Tories in the audience.

          They were all very quiet in defending him when he came under attack and no-one of his own defended him or Swinson for that matter during the debate.

          The phrase for these people is an old one; they are termed ” Shy Tories ” that is to say they vote Tory but are too ashamed to admit it even to pollsters.

          My own view – for what it is worth, is that there is and has been for a very long time a big morass of Don’t Knows being distributed in polls and this varies between 30 – 35% of polling figures.

          The tribes have basically been selected and it is these don’t knows that may hold the key to what happens.
          It goes without saying that the SNP can gain off the Tories and hopefully Swinson.

          Question is – how much is peak Tory and can Johnson garner a bigger percentage than May did last time( around 42%) and Can Corbyn’s Labour Party get close to their 40% figure last time?

          At this point it is hard to say except Brexit is more pressing to members of the Brexit Tribe and one of its Chiefs has ran away.

          It is notable that the Tories have brought forward their Manifesto to tomorrow.

          Sundays are not usually days for releasing Manifestos as the newscoverage is lowish.

          Perhaps they are up to something or they have nothing apart from the catchphrase ‘ Get Brexit Done ‘

    • N_

      Is Ryan Jacobsz “Rhodesian” or South African? His career as a “junior solicitor” doesn’t appear to have taken off. (Source.) Funny how he lists three different universities in South Africa and says he was studying for a bachelor’s degree in law at all three of them. I wonder why he left the first two. The “Peterhouse” he lists is not Cambridge University’s oldest college but a posh Anglican boarding school in Rhodesia Zimbabwe, a school that happens to be an “international member” of the HMC in Britain.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      Auld news for us sweaty Jocks. We have our very ain QT / Menthorn Media scandal in the shape of one Billy Mitchell. Billy is neck to neck with young Ryan when it comes to QT appearances.
      Still, BBC Scotland’s high heedyin, Donalda MacKinnon says “nothing to see here, move along now”. Billy’s multiple appearances according to MacKinninon are pure coincidence, a statistical anomaly. This despite there being images of Mitchell in the Green room mixing with the panel.
      For some reason, Nicola Sturgeon accepts MacKinnon’s shite excuses at face value (“sisters” that break through the glass ceiling are excused all sins).

  • Dungroanin

    So the Labour winning positioning on Brexit must be getting clearer now and should stop the various whiners here?

    As some of us tried to explain months ago : the moment the LibDems/Funny Tingers/ABC’s put themselves into Remain/call of A50 end of the spectrum and the Tory/ERG/Hard BrexityLabour got the other end – that left Labour in the best position in the middle – that was when the ideocy of persuing the election on brexit do or die was doa for both extremes.
    Now instead we get to talk about actual progresive policies for the first time since the 60’s and allowing the reaffirmation of the postwar socialdemocratic covenant between the state and all its people.

    The dead cat Handy Andy diversion played out over the week is out of time.

    Hell even the Groaniad can see that the game is up except for the fetid Freedland who keeps pushing his AS drivel. I suppose inCohenrant and Ridiculous Rawnsley will be baying some more. The rest of the aged and well past coterie Toynbee/Moore/Harris etc must be getting their emergency grab bag and multiple passports ready – the Groans readers comments are certainly leaving any of the stable in no doubt! It is hilarious and very heartening to see that when therr only afew of us in 2016/17 fighting the good fight there are scores more. The moderation strategy to silence our voices – has FAILED.
    It has also no doubt led to massive loss of revenue from us.

    If they want us back – they should restore all suspended accounts.

    But that would mean clearing the 77th out of their offices and new editors and retirement or booting out of all mentioned above and their cohorts.

    Then it may reinvent itself once again as a true social democratic news source for the connected english speaking peoples and spread the truth of real socialist democracy to them from the US to OZ.

    Either that or they’ll double down and fuckoff behind a paywall to shut all the voices which refuse to buy their ‘liberal’ neolib con trick propoganda.

    There is certainly a market for such a socialist uncontrolled daily newspaper and web site – which the Groan patently ain’t!

  • Dungroanin

    P.S. any chance CM can give us a take on the impeachment heroine/harridan that everyone is gushing over?

    You know how they HATE interference in elections by foreign state actors, like Pompeo promising aipac to put up a gauntlet to stop Corbyn? Ot asking foreign countries secret services to interfere in such elections, like the Steele dossier?

    Surely an arrestable conspiracy?

    • Ken Kenn

      You have Johnson’s assurances that there’s nothing to see in the report.

      So – he’s seen it – there’s nothing to see – so your not seeing it.


      Has anyone got the balls of Assange and leak it?

      Answer; No.

      • N_

        The night is young, Ken.

        If you were Seumas and you had it, I’d hope you would consider timing and other factors with the aim of maximising impact on Commons seat allocation. We’re 19 days out.

    • nevermind

      As Robert Fisk neatly put it. International laws are not up for debate, they are there to be obeyed by us all.
      Pompus’es latest muses about the changed status of wrstbank settlements os just another law breaking jibe of many.
      Pompeo is an ignorant liar, end of.

      • Republicofscotland

        Yes the Great Satan (USA) and Israel are indeed flouting International Law Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention to which both the US and Israel are signatories strictly prohibits any occupying power from transferring parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.

        As does UN Security Council resolutions 446,452,465,471 and 2234.

  • glenn_uk

    My postal vote ballot arrived today. The misses and I are very happy to cast an early vote for Corbyn, in so doing we’re enthusiastically voting for Labour for the first time in many a long year, with an actual hope of getting a worthwhile result. Albeit a slim one – having a decent government led by someone with integrity is too much to hope for in this hopelessly corrupt and divided country.

      • Loony

        Perhaps because this gentleman is from overseas his information is limited. For example he does not seem to make mention of the latest scandal with regard to maternity care in Shropshire.

        Similarly he does not mention any of the hundreds of patients that needlessly died whilst receiving “care” in Portsmouth.

        Apparently the NHS also employed a Dr. Ian Paterson who had a penchant for carrying out entirely purposeless mastectomies. This cost the NHS £18 million in direct compensation. Must be an amazing administrative system that allows this kind of practice to go undetected over many years.

        Still maybe he is a one off case. But wait, what is this? Dr. Myles Bradbury currently incarcerated for sexually assaulting child cancer patients. An investigation concluded that the NHS missed vital clues as to his offending.

        Who could forget Dr. Harold Shipman – one of the most prolific serial killers in recorded history.

        It is possible to reference literally hundreds of cases concerning the type of “care” provided by the NHS.

        But what does it matter – devotion to the NHS is entirely ideologically driven., and it is this ideological devotion that makes reform impossible. No matter what the budget the NHS will always be in crisis,

        Meanwhile around the world the NHS acts as the shock troops for British neo-imperialism, as it rampages around the world stealing the human capital of the poor and impoverished . It then has the gall to claim its theft of human resources from the foreign man is in fact a sign of its virtue.

        • Brian c

          There can’t be many clearer signs of ideological possession than an obsessive effort to denigrate a faroff land’s healthcare service. Deeply bizarre but your moniker provides a heads up.

        • glenn_uk

          So what’s your point, Loony? That because there are lackings in a system as large and complex as the NHS, the whole thing is crap? You are beyond simplistic.

          I bet there’s never been a negative health outcome in America, right?

          I continue to wonder if yours is a parody account, or if you actually think you have a hope of convincing anyone of anything beyond how ridiculous your views happen to be.

          • Loony

            Pretty much Glenn. The only “systems” comparable in size and complexity to the NHS are the Indian Railways and the Chinese Army.

            Should you wish you can check out Indian railways for yourself. With regard to the Chinese army pretty much all potential adversaries see no problem in their being numerically inferior – they plan to win by leveraging their superior organizational and delivery capabilities.

            Try reading The Collapse of Complex Societies – maybe then you will understand my point.

            The only hope is to voluntarily unwind the complexity before something comes along and unwinds it all once. The NHS is too big and too cumbersome and needs to go. This is a completely consistent view with seeking to weaken the EU and supporting President Trump who is doing everything in his power to unwind the complexity of US involvement in the world.

          • glenn_uk

            Yeah sure, Loony. The NHS “needs to go”. I could sum up the response you will get from the British public, unanimous other than for some deluded speculators. It consists of two words, maybe three, which can be abbreviated as follows: GFY.

            If there’s anything there you don’t understand, try hearing it again: GFY.

            Get it now?

          • N_

            Hey @Loony – You write “The only ‘systems’ comparable in size and complexity to the NHS are the Indian Railways and the Chinese Army.

            What measures are you using? It sounds to me as though you’re just repeating. The US Department of Defence has more personnel than the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (which includes the Chinese navy and air force), the Indian railways, and the NHS. I’m asking what exact measures you’re using when you say that in two respects, namely “size” and “complexity”, the only “systems” (a word which you yourself put in inverted commas – why were you too lazy to choose a better one?) that are comparable to the NHS are the Indian railways and the Chinese army. Then you can use your measures and apply them to the US DoD, Walmarts (another larger employer than the NHS), various countries’ “personal number” databases, etc. etc., and you can show us that the numbers you get for all those other entities put them outside of the “big and complex” class that consists “only” of the NHS, the Indian railway system, and the Chinese army. Right?

            Your “argument” will be dead by then. If it wasn’t, the next question would be what the hell is wrong with a state health system being large in size and complexity, and why would its being sold off to profiteers, to scum who would run ever damned aspect of it, every little thing, with a view to stuffing their pockets, be an improvement for the more than 60 million people who live in this country.

            You know damned well it wouldn’t be an improvement.

            Tory scum have always hated the NHS and in the 1940s their parliamentary wing voted more than 20 times against creating it. (If there any ultraleftists reading this who are considering abstaining in this election, please remember that fact.)

            It’s instructive to ask why the Tory scum hate the NHS, because it may help some to reach a clearer view of the Tory party. The answer is that anything a proletarian gets or benefits from in this world except in return for skivvying for Tory scum such as themselves, or except if they acquire it from “enterprise” such as robbing their contemporaries and thereby keeping them in their place, they don’t deserve. I doubt you will find any other country in the world where politicians state that those who win gambling competitions who come from backgrounds in which they have received welfare benefits should have their winnings docked; who sneer at working class people for using “buy one, get one free” offers to stuff their faces and make themselves fat; who use a term like “poundshop” as an abusive adjective for anything they wish to say is rubbish and dirt.

            Tories particularly feel that no working class person deserves any SECURITY in their lives. Let me simplify: if you’re working class, the Tory scum hate your guts, they hate your culture, they hate your family, they hate your pets, they hate the seats you sit on, the air you breathe, the transport you use, the clothes you wear, the Christmas decorations you put up, the visits you make to your mum and dad, your accent, they hate your body, they hate the expressions on your face, and they hate your children. Am I being clear here? They only want you to survive at their say-so, when you’re useful to them, and they don’t want you looking them in the eye and saying “Good morning”, because they don’t recognise you as a human being.

            Tories walk past NHS hospitals and smoke comes out of their ears because of the fury they feel at working class people “getting something for nothing” and “acting as if they’ve got a right”. They think that’s SCROUNGING. Think of all that effort they themselves, Tory scum, had to do paying their accountants to arrange tax avoision schemes. And then you, you working class filth, think you can get medical surgery…FOR NOTHING! They think working class exploit THEM. Their god of gods is Thomas Malthus. They are too thick to understand the difference between objectivity and subjectivity, but they know that the Malthusian picture of the “natural” state of the poor is what they WANT to be the case. They want it to be the case that the “natural”, or in fact of course, the imposed, state of working class people is either languishing in chronical illness or at risk of becoming chronically ill and dropping down dead. They begrudge everything. They hate society. They hate humanity. Welcome to the Tory party.

            Germany and France operate nationalised rail systems, don’t charge tuition fees, and don’t have such a sky-high average level of personal debt as prevails in Britain. But never mind that. “Get back to Venezuela” is the Tory response. “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”

            Meanwhile their filthy media scoffs at a woman such as Lily Allen, who cried when she read the Labour manifesto because at long last the Labour party has a kickarse manifesto again that, if implemented, would change this country for the better. They pointed out that she supports higher tax rates for “people like herself, who are worth £15 million”. Well yes, she does. That’s because she a decent and honourable person. Yes some of them can exist who are worth that kind of money. She is walking evidence of it. She’s not a hypocrite at all. She’s the opposite of hypocrite. But Tory scum only enjoy their money if they know other people don’t have it.

          • George McI

            I think what Loony is saying is that we should decentralise the NHS to the point where the entire population of the UK is divided up into groups of no more that four where each group squats around a tree and chants , “Um diggy diggy diggy”. That will certainly be cost effective.

          • George McI

            Splendid rant there N_. The mentality guiding our beloved system i.e. the mentality of that top 0.01% is not that they are the cream of humanity. It is that they are the ONLY humanity. Everyone else is subhuman scum. And nothing enrages those overlords more than the thought that that sea of underlings have rights, protections, security. HOW DARE THEY! And the resentment of our bold Übermenschen has been festering away for decades until now when they have come to take it all back. Because there was really no fun having wealth in all those decades without the spectacle of others suffering beneath.

          • Loony

            Interesting rant N.

            Why don’t you explain how closing down the network of cottage hospitals in the UK improved the lot of the population.

            What exactly is it about large impersonal hospitals that people find so attractive compared to local personalized care?

            Surely attending to such questions would be so much more rewarding than engaging in hate filled bile against an amorphous and undefined group of enemies.

            What do you think happened to the land occupied by the now destroyed cottage hospitals. Do you think that the value of the land was leveraged and used for the public good? or do you think that the NHS gave all the value away to the spiv class.

          • glenn_uk

            Excellent, N. Best summation of the class system we’ve heard for a while.

            Loony: Your silly little gambit has absolutely failed. If you don’t realise by now that you have nothing to gain by attacking the NHS, you’re even less clued up than I thought.

            Worse than that – from your perspective – you’ve managed to unite everyone against you! Pretty much ever difference has been put aside from the posters here in agreement about how wrong you are. Yet you think some further condescending waffle about “cottage hospitals” might yet save the day.

            Talk about hopelessly out of touch… why don’t you stick to something you actually know about? Not sure what that subject might be, but by a process of elimination, we’ll surely find out one day.

        • Hatuey

          Maybe one of us should lower himself to creating a list of abuses that have taken place in private hospitals and care homes. I’ll leave that sort of bottom-feeding to others, though; the logic of the argument doesn’t work for me.

          Are we to dismiss all humanity because a few are given to darkness?

          • Loony

            Of course abuse occurs everywhere – that is not the point.

            The point is that the NHS is entirely ineffective at identifying the potential for abuse, it is entirely ineffective in putting a stop to actual abuse and its first instinct is to cover up any abuse that it accidentally stumbles upon.

            There was another scandal some years back concerning appalling patient care. One of the examples quoted was that patients were so thirsty that they were reduced to drinking water from flower pots. The NHS responded by banning flowers. This kind of thing is exactly typical of large uncontrollable bureaucratic organizations.

            Take a look at Jimmy Savile – he was big in both the BBC and the NHS. He didn’t seem to show up in ITV or BUPA. Ask why that might be. One answer is that ITV and BUPA have systems in place designed to keep people like that out, or to hold someone responsible for letting people like that in – and the BBC and the NHS have no such systems, probably because of budgetary constraints.

          • Kempe

            Savile was under contact to the BBC so wouldn’t have been allowed near ITV. He was only connected with a couple of NHS hospitals and the secure mental health facility at Broadmoor.

            You take a handful of cases of malpractice, some dating back years, and try and make them sound typical of the NHS or that the NHS has no safeguards in place which is untrue.

            In the US medical malpractice kills 250,000 per year and is the third leading cause of death. Doctors are only human and errors are always going to occur.

          • glenn_uk

            Kempe: You’ve spoken more sense and truth today than in your long history of posting here, going back 15 years or so that I know about.

            Absolutely. Not only does American medical negligence run to 250,000 deaths a year, but the lack of ANY healthcare at all costs the lives or maybe 50,000 per year.

            Medical costs are the major cause of bankruptcy in the US, and I lost count of the number of small towns where they have collection boxes trying to fund a vital operation for some unfortunate child in the locality.

            The amount of paperwork which has to be filed for even the most minor procedure, and the wrangling with administration departments of clinics, health practitioners and insurance companies on each occasion has to be experienced to be believed.

            The idea that we’re not screaming for the same over here might baffle the likes of Loony, but his stupid arguments that the NHS should be done away with altogether are going to go nowhere. His snide condescension notwithstanding.

          • N_

            ITV and BUPA have systems in place designed to keep people like that out, or to hold someone responsible for letting people like that in

            Because a) their insurers make them, and b) reputational damage could hit them in the wallet; not for any other reason.

            Your whole outlook, Loony, is that public service and caring for humanity is a load of crap because everyone’s only it for themselves.

          • Hatuey

            There’s a degree of truth in what Loony says, I think, but that culture of serving and protecting the institution at all costs exists in the Church, the free market, and every other organisation too.

            Look at the article Craig posted last week revealing that ABC News in the US spiked a story 3 years ago — had they broadcast that story, it may have saved kids from abuse. ABC is owned by Disney of all companies too.

            I could go on and on. Look at the tobacco industry, hiding results that absolutely established a link between smoking and cancer decades ago. Look at the drugs companies hiding the side effects of medicines etc., in cases like Thalomid the impact on lives and society was profound and devastating.

            And it’s the same in the military and every other sort of institution you care to mention. When people start sacrificing their principles and moral values at the altar of loyalty — whether that loyalty is to a hospital, a church, a political party, or anything else — it invariably ends in hypocrisy, abuse, cover-ups, and tears.

            It’s for these reasons that I define myself as an anarchist and refuse to be a loyal servant of the SNP or anything other than my own principles and values. Think of that what you will. If I see abuse or see the SNP being hypocrites, you can count on me calling it out, something I do regularly on here, and that I would say is more a duty than a right.

          • George McI

            Under the NHS there is at least accountability. Under a privatised care service, if one cowboy doc butchers you, everyone shrugs and says, “Well you’ll have to shop elsewhere”. And then another cowboy doc butchers you, and everyone shrugs again and says, “Well you’ll have to shop elsewhere” etc etc etc.

          • Loony

            These aren’t a “handful of cases of malpractice” these are examples of a systemic failure.

            Look at government policy with regard to smoking, and then look at government policy (via the NHS) into increasing the rates of addiction to anti depressants and opiods.

            Ask why a few years ago the media hyped up some kind of porcine or avian flu and the NHS responded by purchasing 130 million flu vaccinations for a country with a population of only 65 million.

            Why are you so obsessed with the US? The US has one of the worst health care systems in the world – but at least they are honest. No one doubts that if you have no money you get no treatment. No-one doubts that US health care expenditure is simply a way of funnelling money into drug companies, lawyers and insurance companies.

            In the UK the NHS acts as a conduit to subsidize drug companies, construction companies and banks. Oddly the same people in love with the NHS are mostly the same people that rail against the financial system. Try to understand the NHS is an essential conduit for the transfer of money from poor to rich.

            Elsewhere in the comments section someone has already laid out exactly how public money is converted into private profit by way of NHS capital expenditure. What is so hard to understand?

            What right do you people have to steal the human resources of poor countries. Those with most alleged empathy for the plight of the poor foreign man are also those most determined to steal everything from the home of the poor foreign man.. Don’t you see that by holding such mutually exclusive views you drive yourselves toward insanity – where the NHS will be waiting to force feed you anti depressants. Oh say it aint so Joe.

          • N_

            Try to understand the NHS is an essential conduit for the transfer of money from poor to rich.”

            Elsewhere in the comments section someone has already laid out exactly how public money is converted into private profit by way of NHS capital expenditure. What is so hard to understand?

            That’s like saying a wage-packet is only a way the boss can pay for one of the inputs he needs if he is to make a profit. And of course from the boss’s point of view that’s precisely what it is. But the boss’s point of view isn’t the only point of view.

          • Hatuey

            Loony, you’re getting carried away with yourself. The nhs isn’t perfect. The context it operates in is one of endemic corruption, dominated by powerful drug companies, banks, politicians, etc., all of which have their own vested interests.

            Weighed against the good it does and what it represents, none of that amounts to an argument for destroying the nhs. Even if you did, you’d replace it with something just as problematic that operated in the same undermining and corruptive context.

        • Magic Robot

          N_ @ November 23, 2019 at 22:10
          A brilliant ripost!
          I believe Loony is exactly one of those characters we all despise: rich, and him forgetting that ‘There but for the grace of God go I’.
          A fully paid up member of the ‘I’m alright, Jack’ brigade. I wonder what his motives for commenting on here are?

  • Ben

    The state of governance presently makes it the squeaky wheel in terms of emergencies and the priorities of such.

    Climate can wait until we sort out newly hatched fascist strategies gumming up forward movement.

    The guillotine might be necessary

  • N_

    Richard “Paris Tunnel” Dearlove, the former head of MI6 who couldn’t even run a small group discussing intelligence matters at Cambridge University without throwing a tantrum because it got penetrated by Russian intelligence, is getting his oar stuck into this general election, using the Daily Heil. Will you be giving us a Zinoviev letter this time, Pont d’Alma Boy? “Jeremy Corbyn is a danger to national security who is unfit to become Prime Minister, warns former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove”. How many non-disclosure agreements has Boris Johnson forced young women to sign again? Are you sure Russian intelligence hasn’t got copies of any of them? Or maybe you even sent some of them to Russian intelligence, Richard? Who knows, eh?

  • David G Crowther

    An observation from Australia.

    The UK’s finances can not be bankrupted.

    The British pound is a fiat currency which the UK Government has a monopoly.
    It is not backed by a commodity. It is backed by law. No sovereign fiat currency issuing government can go broke, become bankrupt or run out of money.
    Commercial banks can create money but only the government can issue it and regulate how much and for what reasons banks can create currency.
    PAUL GAMBLES on Fiat Economies
    Top 10 Things Stephanie Kelton Wants You to Know About the Economy

    The “bankruptcy” alluded to is in fact systemic austerity reducing the amount of public monies spent on services like health, education and welfare, taking public money out of the system and pushing a reliance on private monetary creation from banks which has to be paid back to banks, and the delusion a government surplus is a good thing.
    Renegade Shorts – STEVE KEEN on Government Surplus

    The “there is no magic money tree” that May dribbled on your TV screens last election is the big lie, comparing national accounts to a household/business budget, that allows this rubbish to be perpetuated.

    I hope this helps many Britains make a more informed voting decision this election.

    At 20% poverty levels, mostly comprised of working poor, decreasing levels of public services, you really need to make informed decision on who to vote for.

    Many of your lives depend on this as well as who is psychopathic enough to push the nuclear button with out a second thought.

    Mind you, here in Australia we are dealing with exactly the same issues, with the exception that here … and thank god this is the case … Scott Morrison does not have access to nuclear weapons.

    • Alex Westlake

      If you could finance public spending by printing money then every central bank in the world would be doing it. All it leads to is hyperinflation as was demonstrated in Weimar Germany, or more recently Zimbabwe and Venezuela,

      • Mr Shigemitsu

        Who said anything about “printing”money? That’s an anachronism.

        Every nation in the world nowadays uses fiat currency, none are on the Gold Standard. Fiat currency (vertical, or high-powered, currency) is created via computer keystrokes at each nation’s central bank – in the UK, the amount of physical notes and coins is miniscule in comparison to govt created currency, at less than 3%.

        The limit to how much currency the UK govt can spend is defined by the capacity of the *real* economy (labour, materials, energy, land, etc) to absorb the spending without overheating it when demand exceeds supply. As monopoly supplier of sterling, it does not need to seek recourse to “borrowing” previously created pounds, neither is it limited in spending by how many pounds it has previously withdrawn from the economy by taxation, because until currency is spend into the economy, there wouldn’t be sufficient money in circulation to pay tax with!

        Thatcher was lying when she compared the nation to a household; nothing could be further from the truth. There is no scarcity of currency for the UK Govt – it owns its own central bank, and creates currency every day of the week, simply by spending it into the economy at the stroke of a computer key, adding reserves to the BoE reserve accounts of the banks of the initial recipients of public spending.

        It doesn’t need receipts from taxpayers before it can spend; those get hoovered up *after* the currency is spent into existence – tax is money withdrawn from circulation, and effectively destroyed, via an opposite reserve drain operation at the BoE, which prevents the massive inflation that would otherwise occur if currency was not taxed away at each transaction, as it moves around the economy.

        Did you get an extraordinary tax demand before Brown’s govt bailed out the banks for £800bn, or bought £435bn worth of Gilts in QE? No, of course not, because that’s not how it works. Spending comes first, taxation comes afterwards.

        A future Labour Govt wishing to greatly expand public spending will spend the money first, in the normal way, and tax it away later. The amount of taxation returned to the Exchequer (to be destroyed) will most likely exceed current receipts, but only because transactions flowing through the economy will be larger and more frequent. This is the the equivalent of having a much larger tax bill as a result of a huge payrise, or a promotion at work. What’s not to like about that?

        It’s the duty of any responsible government to maximise the capacity of the economy to absorb as much public spending as possible, for the well being of the greatest number of people in the country – which is why austerity is so damaging, vandalistic.. and utterly unneccesary.


      • Mr Shigemitsu

        The thing that Weimar, Zimbabwe, and Venezuala have in common is that they each lost the productive capacity in their economies to a catastrophic extent.

        German loss of the Ruhr to France, the willful destruction of Zimbabwe’s farming sector, and the technical neglect due largely to US sanctions that hindered Venezuala’s petrochemical industry, were the causal factors leading to those countries’ hyperinflation.

        Thanks to Tory austerity, the UK has certainly suffered from underinvestment- but its circumstances are incomparable to the productive devastation in those other nations, and it’s highly disingenuous and misleading to think that they have any relevance at all to the UK economy.

    • nevermind

      I hear you are running out of water in Australia and it is impacting on your agricultural sector, i.e farm,ers are culling their life stock and diminishing any future breeding regime.
      How much is water worth in Australia now?

  • Dungroanin

    Bedtime cricket on radio a bit of a drudge so here is some doodling.

    Polls polls polls polls …wonderful BALLS.
    (To the tune of Spam!)


    I spent a lot of time last election blowing major holes in their balls polls, especially the commissioned ones by opinium for the Obsessive Groaniad.

    I called it pretty correctly. By looking at their RAW data. And I say the current tory lead is exactly what it was at the end of 2017 . If you believe their raw data.

    This time I hadn’t bothered up till now. Drilling down into data is the key. Even as the representation of the data has changed… in my opinion they have manipulated raw data!
    The Obsessives splash yesterday that claims a headline of
    ‘Conservatives open up 19-point lead with 47% share of the vote’

    Now understand that there is a catch up period by Labour as the election campaign proceeds and fair coverage in the media allows that. Last time that ended with the overall lead of 800,000 votes over the whole 650 seats by the tories.

    ‘Despite a drop in the number of seats, the Conservatives actually saw a rise in vote share (up 5.5% points to 42.4%). Labour’s vote share rose at an even greater rate (up 9.5% points) and now sits at 40.0%.’


    Remember that percentage – 2.4%.

    Now lets drill down into the Opinium poll.

    1. They state ‘Source: Opinium poll: 2,003 UK adults surveyed from 20 to 22 November 2019’ – that is 3 days over which the two thousand and three people were interviewed. Things were happening over these 3 days and doesn’t include the Friday debate.
    2. In their new presentation of the data – There are now multiple data sheets. The relevant sheet is 5a. It asks what the responders voted in 2017, of the number that are used to derive the headline ‘result’.
    3. The actual number of responses used is a grand total of 1,368 NOT 2,003!
    4. Off these 46% voted Tory and 36% Labour in 2017 – a difference of 10% not the 2.4% of the actual result remember!
    5. The actual 2017 Tory share was 42.4% not 46% of the responders. The actual Labour share was 40% not 36% of the responders.
    So the Tory share of responders is over represented by 7.6% (4)

    So the magic trick is pulled!

    I put all that up there not expecting most to follow it but for rigorousness in my conclusion- based only on the 1368 responses used in the raw data before they ‘weight’ it.

    The raw data adjusted for the 7.6% starting variance would give the Tories a current lead (to the 3 day period ending 22/11) of just 2.4%! Remember that number! The end point of the last election.

    At this stage and not including the undecideds of some 16% from sheet 3 of their workbook. How they divide will of course determine the final result but they are currently undecided! Not ALL of them will vote tory. And current intentions may also. change.

    Anyone want to analyse the numbers i am happy to be corrected.

    I am sticking to my prediction of a landslide based on how the numbers improved through the campaign last time.

    Anyway the 19% current headline lead is BALLS! The only poll that counts is on 12th December.

    Do we really need to wonder why such magical thinking is going on in the Obsessive Groaniad?

    • Hatuey

      I had a look at this briefly earlier. Over-representing Tory voters by 7.6% couldn’t possibly explain a 19% lead.

      I think there’s lag in the system and, as you point out, the survey was conducted before the Friday night QT leadership program. Also, the Labour manifesto has just been released and I think it represents a sea change in terms of the focus and scope of the politics of the campaign.

      It takes time for these things to filter down but it’s noteworthy that the Tories are frightened that people start talking about bread and butter issues, rather than Brexit, as per Labour’s domestic agenda.

      Anyway, I think your conclusion is more or less good. This will be a lot closer than is being suggested. I thought opinium was the Observer’s platform but I don’t suppose it matters since the guardian is equally biased and nobody really cares what any of them say…

      • Michael

        I think it’s easier than that. I think they make it up. Too many people have been savaged by the Tories or have witnessed Tory savagery, while too few gained from it. They do not have the numbers but no poll will tell us that.

        How can anybody know how many people they ask and what answers they gave and how those answers are manipulated? They lie because they don’t have to account for their lying. They’re meant to shape opinion not record it, and if enough mugs are influenced by them it becomes an accepted form of election rigging. How else can they say the people prefer that a-hole Johnson? There is none.

      • Dungroanin

        They assign the ‘haven’t decided yet’ numbers mostly to the tories.

        It was balls last time it us balls now- the aim is to demoraluse Labour a tivists and would be voters so they don’t bother voting or changing their vote to Labour.

        It is only going to get dirtier – much dirtier than any election ever in our lifetime.

        This is existential for the Tories and Neolibs congame.

    • N_

      @Dungroanin – Thanks for this. Good work!

      For the position “now”, or rather on 20-22 Nov, using your assumptions to “correct” the Opinium headline figure I get a Tory poll lead of 11-12%, which is in line with the headline figures for 19-21, 20-21, 20-22 and 21-22 (*2) Nov from BMG, Savanta ComRes, Panelbase, YouGov, and DeltaPoll: 13%, 10%, 10%, 12%, 13%, mean 11.6%.

      46 → 47: correct to 42.4 → x;
      36 → 28: correct to 40.0 → y.
      Multiplicative: x = 42.4/46 * 47 = 43.3 ; y = 40.0/36 * 28 = 31.1 ; lead = 12.2.
      Additive: x = 42.4 + (47-46) = 43.4; y = 40.0 + (36-28) = 32 ; lead = 11.4.

      Where does your 2.4% come from? Are you then looking at what happened in the last 20 days in 2017?

      In 2017, T-20 was 19 May. Looking at polls with collection dates 12-15 to 17-18 May (five polls), the headline figures were 14%, 15%, 13%, 13%, 12%, mean 13.4%.

      So we have a Tory poll lead now that is 1.8% smaller than this far out in 2017. (This is using the 11.6% figure). If we just use additive because it’s late at night and extrapolate, this gives a Tory lead of 0.7% on 12 Dec, which on UNS (0.9% swing Tory to Labour) loses the Tories 14 seats , giving them 303, still most seats but a “majority” of minus 44.

      • Dungroanin

        The 2.4% was the actual end point result of the 2017 election.
        My post was late night, using a phone and i stated abruptly that it was currently 2.4%.

        Having looked again this morning my personal opinion of that thin Opinium data scrape is :

        Tories had a lead (to the 3 day period ending 22/11) of between 4.4% and 5.4%.
        With undecideds of some 16%.

        I have posted more fully on Off-G.

        I haven’t yet seen any reports on the friday debate.

    • Hatuey

      Here’s the problem with the opinium poll;

      “*In this latest polling Opinium have accounted for the release of nominations in each seat, so that respondents now only see the parties that are standing in their seat when answering who they will vote for.”

      It makes sense to only show respondents parties that are available in their seat so far as predicting the outcome of that particularly seat is concerned. But it would skew results in favour of the Tories to do that or take the results from doing that to form a general forecast for the UK as a whole.

      Bearing in mind that the above methodology was only introduced to account for the decision by the Brexit party not to sit in Tory-held seats. This is important as it means you are taking results that are positive for the Tories in Tory-held seats and transposing them more widely as trends in society as a whole.

      You can’t do that.

        • Hatuey

          The ones where the Brexit party have pulled out. Up until the Brexit party announced that they included the Brexit party in polling.

        • Dungroanin

          They don’t publicise that and it is only 1600 across the whole country(?) based on where the self selected responders – remember that – claim to live.

          • Hatuey

            No, dungroanin, they were quite proud for the adjustment that took out the Brexit option in seats they have decided not to contest. The impact of that is a perceptible boost for the Tory votes in those seats but you can’t assume that surge is nationwide.

        • Tom74

          These opinion polls are surely an example of the ‘big lie’ – tell the public Johnson is miles ahead to demoralise opposition activists and try to create a bandwagon effect in conjunction with vox pops in the media.
          The dangers with this strategy are that a) (as is happening) many no longer believe the opinion polls at all or give then little credence and b) they have the opposite effect, galvanising the opposition to unite and coordinate, while deterring floating voters who would not want a large Tory majority from turning out
          Now, I don’t know who will win the most seats in this election but what I can’t get past are these two issues – that for Johnson/the Tories to win big he would have to be much more popular than May in 2017 and/or Corbyn/Labour would have to be less popular. After two years of dither and with Johnson’s personal foibles, could that really be the case?

          • Hatuey

            That could well be the case Tom, to answer your last question. As you say, though, the polls are so untrustworthy and unreliable that we don’t have a clue what’s going on.

            As for the polls actually affecting outcomes, I believe several countries and especially France have tight restrictions on the publication of polls in the run up to elections for that reason.

            The demoralising influence is the most likely of the two you consider. I can only think of one example that had the opposite effect and resulted in people flocking to thwart and vote against the pollsters’ predicted winner… from memory in US in the 1950s.

            It is generally accepted that many people evaluate parties more positively if their chances of victory are considered good. It’s also accepted that polls, certainly at the constituency level, lead to more tactical voting — if you know voting Green will be pointless, you would naturally consider another party, for eg… you get the idea.

  • N_

    Donald Tяump will be in Britain from 2 to 4 December. He’ll attend a NATO summit and a reception with the monarch at Buckingham Palace. Will Prince Andrew attend? How about Boris Johnson? Here’s what happened last time Tяump came: he demanded the NHS had to be “on the table” in trade talks between Britain and the US.

    Labour can play that again and again on Facebook and they will probably have something even filthier-seeming and up-to-the-minute to add to it too. And the Tory scum still think they understand the North of England? LOL. They are understimating people’s intelligence. They can show half a dozen films of Iranians arriving on dinghies, but do voters really want their parents to have to sell their houses to pay for hip operations? In England which is where the vast majority of seats are, and where most of the uncertainty is, there are two parties in this election. The Tory voteshare is likely to be lower than the 42.4% they scored in 2017. They’re playing this on “strong and stable” and “Brexit” again. The difference is that probably one of the first words that come to mind when many people think of Boris Johnson is “liar”. But wait…he’s going to “get Brexit done”. Funny, because according to polls and for a long time a majority have considered the 2016 referendum result to be a mistake. Johnson’s personal rating is falling too, which is probably why the reason he crapped his pants at the thought of appearing in another one-on-one TV debate with Jeremy Corbyn.

    • michael norton

      Tory manifesto is being brought forward, to Sunday, today.
      This is quite unusual, they may be a little rattled.
      One of the themes will be no increase in VAT, no increase in Income Tax, no increase in National Insurance and old people keep all their perks.
      Also, Boris is making clear that in less than two weeks, after the election results are in, if he wins a majority, he will re-introduce his Brexit Bill to the House of Commons, where he expects it to pass, he then declares that we will have Brexited before February 2020.

      So, essentially Boris is mostly making this election about Get Brexit Done, with a side dish of Jeremy Corbyn will tax you a lot more than we will.

    • Dungroanin

      I bet bobo’s crapping his pants at getting anymore endorsements by Trump.

      Which will push more to vote Labour including increasing numbers of tories!

      I bet Donald knows it and will be expecting some adventurous hack to ask him to support Johnson and diss Corbyn as in foreign election meddling, like Pompeo promised to have been putting up a gauntlet against Corbyn – how’s that campaign going sir?

    • Dave

      Trump was set up. He didn’t understand the question about ‘health trade’ and May volunteered the question meant the NHS and he said “everything will be on the table”, but once he realised his mistake/trap he said it didn’t include NHS. Also under EU rules the NHS is deemed a nationalised ‘nationalist’ impediment to the single market and TTIP was a near miss!

    • Brianfujisan

      U Watt

      Every Independence Supporter KNOWS OF bbC Bias..That’s the reason Thousands of us Shout ” BBC , Where’s Your Cameras ” on our All Under One Banner Marches.. The numbers on these Marcher Huge .. I was at George Square Glasgow a couple of weeks ago to hear ‘ Oor Nicola ‘ 20,000 were there..the streets had to be closed. to accommodate such huge crowd..

      It’s very well Documented – As this Blogs host Points out in this Documentary –

      I have not seen you here before – So –

        • U Watt

          Neither. I refer only to the uniform silence of influential public figures on the BBC’s anti Corbyn bias For some reason that angers you.

          • Hatuey

            U watt, you couldn’t be more wrong. Murray has put a lot of effort into exposing bbc bias. You should do your homework before launching attacks on people.

          • Hatuey

            Apologies, uwatt, I take that back… less speed more haste eh, or is it the other way around?

          • U Watt

            No problem, and you’re right Craig Murray is a rare courageous voice of truth when it comes to the BBC and much else. Never afraid to tell it as it is.

  • David

    good work on the raw data, back to the nudges – so, did Elisabeth Maxwell’s (yes, that family) spooky data co Palantir work with the British defense and intelligence contractor SCL Group (which formed Cambridge Analytica) or not, and what is their psycographic product called in this election ?

    and not forgetting Auntie’s
    “How political polling shapes public opinion 2015”

  • michael norton

    I guess there must be an under the counter pact between the Tories and Brexit party.
    Government ministers are still declaring No Deal is still on the table.

    • Tom Welsh

      Michael, there is a far simpler explanation which is consistent with the “Tory” mode of operation.

      They are “declaring No Deal is still on the table” as a cynical trick to get the votes of those who might otherwise vote Brexit Party.

      Then, when they have won the elction, it will turn out that either:

      1. No Deal is unfortunately off the table (due of course to factors beyond their control); or

      2. They will somehow fudge something they call “No Deal”, but which is in fact a deal – like Boris Johnson’s last proposal.

        • michael norton

          if boris only ends up with the slimest of majority, say plus 2, it may still be difficult to get enough people in the House of Parliament to vote his poxy deal through, in which case he has already claimed we are out by February, thus reverting to No Deal.

          • Hatuey

            The withdrawal agreement I’d say is more or less a done deal if he has any majority. I’m sure there’s scope for dragging it out but it has effectively been ratified.

            The real potential for no deal will become clear when the trade talks get underway. As I understand it, these must be concluded in one year or it’s No Deal 2.0.

            I’m still puzzled as to how Boris got his withdrawal deal through Parliament. I think everybody was just exhausted by that stage and stopped caring but it’s puzzling when you consider the energy and effort they put into thwarting it one week then how they just seemed to roll over the next.

            Don’t suppose it matters now.

          • Bayard

            “if boris only ends up with the slimest of majority, ”

            I read that first as “the slimiest of majorities” Yup, that’s the Tories to a T.

  • Lydia Conwell

    You speak of open goals and that is why I do not want Corbyn to promise a second Scottish Independence referendum – although I agree, he is probably in favour of one. If he promised such a thing the press would go to town on it, claiming he is unpatriotic and appealing to the type of person who jeers when someone expresses concern for the foreign poor.

    I do so badly want to see the Tories kicked out of power, and what remains of this country desperately needs reinvestment in its infrastructure. For this reason I hope it isn’t brought up too much, despite supporting a second referendum myself. Corbyn is both our best chance at diminishing Tory power and a glimmer of hope of much needed change.

    As for the prick who jeered at Corbyn during the debate. I sort of suspect he was trying to get others to join in, like the solitary person who claps very loudly. I think a lot of the anti-Corbyn jeers came only after people laughed at Johnson and the person is so full of racism he assumed the rest of the audience were too.

    • Hatuey

      Hmmmmmm the usual junk excuses. He wasn’t worried about open goals when he said consumers and workers would be represented on every board, or when he said corporation tax would be hiked up, or when he committed to renewing trident (a solid vote loser btw).

      But we will see what happens. A hard right Tory government with a majority would be a good thing for Scotland anyway.

      • Lydia

        Well if there’s a Tory majority I’d probably be joining you in Scotland and vigorously campaigning for independence (assuming you’re in Scotland). I don’t think a Labour majority would be bad for Scotland however. The promise to reinvest is a promise for the whole of the UK and I believe Corbyn will allow another referendum. I think first he will try to reinvest though.

        I don’t think the corporation tax hike is an open goal. Many people want an end to tax dodging from the biggest corporations and the hike is not as high as many other countries nor as high as it was when Thatcher was in power. I also don’t believe the trident renewal is a vote loser. If it loses votes the only party strictly anti-nuclear would be the Greens, so either people are abstaining or voting Green.

    • Bramble

      They will always think of Jeremy Corbyn as “unpatriotic” because he does not live by: “My mother drunk or sober; my country right or wrong.” He believes in international law as he believes in democracy and he is more than capable of seeing that the West is often in breach of it. Moreover he thinks we should not be. His original reaction to the Skripal charade was that we should wait for the evidence. Unthinkable, since the evidence is all sham and clearly reveals the West’s case as a load of BS. Anyway, that is quite enough to explain the unremitting hatred of the military, the secret services and their bought and paid for mouthpiece, the Guardian, for him.

  • Mist001

    The Tory GE manifesto was released today and I’m not saying the Tories are predictable or anything and I’m not braggiong but I did say here about three days ago to watch out for two phrases and………lo and behold!

    “The manifesto – entitled Get Brexit Done, Unleash Britain’s Potential”

    • Dungroanin

      What no Dither & Delay?
      No Do or Die?
      No Dom & Dumber?

      They are as dead as their HARD brexit and this is a last gasp of that corpse.

    • Republicofscotland

      No surprise there then, though I thought the Tories might have added, Strong and Stable, and I’d Rather be Dead in a Ditch, than blah blah blah.

      I’ve read that Johnsons deal with the EU is way worse than Mays deal, and hers was a stinker by all accounts.

    • Mary

      A link to the 64 page offering. Promises. Promises!

      The manifesto – A manifesto is a published declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government. A manifesto usually accepts a previously published opinion or public consensus or promotes a new idea with prescriptive notions for carrying out changes the author believes should be made. It often is political or artistic in nature, but may present an individual’s life stance. Manifestos relating to religious belief are generally referred to as creeds.
      plus a costings document.

  • Republicofscotland

    As the disgraceful state broadcaster the BBC edits the cheers and jeers out of Boris Johnson’s first poser by the public.

    One of the lastest GE polls hints at there once again, being more Panda’s in Scotland than Labour MP’s. Both of these parties have no real future in Scotland, both cannot be trusted to govern in Scotland.

  • MJ

    In the event that Labour tanks in this election (as seems probable) and Corbyn resigns (as he most likely would) who will be the new Labour leader? It’s likely to be a Blairite remainer neocon and I’d go for either Benn or Starmer, ie Milliband Mk II. Labour membership will fall, the party will have to rely on corporate donors again and the Corbyn years will seem like a distant dream.

    • Republicofscotland

      Yeah if Corbyn loses the neoliberals in the Labour party and the media (pro-Johnson) will call for his head. I’d say if Corbyn loses Labour will be sidelined for another decade, by then the damage will be done.

      On the media Maajid Nawaz extolling the virtues of Boris Johnson on LBC a few minutes ago. The more I listen to Narwaz (and its hard listening I might add) the more I think Narwaz is a state actor.

      • Dungroanin

        You think!!

        ( in a fake american Friends type comical way🤣)

        He actually said it immediately when bobo stopped speaking before taking ‘questions’. All totally scripted.

      • Mary

        See Craig’s original posts on Quilliam. They (inc that shill Nawaz) tried to shut Craig down. Have you seen him on Sky’s The Pledge? The word is voluble. He’s full of it.

    • Anthony

      There are not enough Blairite Labour members anymore to elect a Blairite leader. Even if you and every Blairite political commentator and opinion writer in the country became a Labour member, you would simply not have enough numbers to elect Hillary Benn.

    • nevermind

      In the event that the climate will flip and there is no return, irretrievably, it will not matter whether the economy is in debt, nor who resigns after a few self-serving, well-paid stooges, too simple to believe in lies, innuendo and shit-rakers who peddle pre-election outcomes: it will end in heartache.

      The heartache will be violent and start in Tory thiefdoms, a little more serious than Labour losing membership due to a vendetta against Corbyn.

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