The Fragile Boris Johnson 163


I find election campaigns in which the Prime Minister addresses scrubbed, smug Tory audiences, filmed by the BBC in close shot to conceal the sparsity of their numbers, deeply disturbing. I find the speeches in factories to employees even more chilling. The sullen compliance of employees, too cowed to show discontent before their bosses, should disturb any right thinking person. This may bore millennials, but back in the 1970s it was inconceivable that a politician of any stripe could address a factory floor without some robust reaction from the workforce. In those days, workers had rights, their employment was protected, and they could not be dismissed on a whim. I have no doubt that the rise of the North Korean factory style meeting in British politics relates directly to the destruction of workers’ rights. Johnson did one in a electric taxi factory a couple of days ago and it was a staple of May’s appalling campaign.

Politicians only give speeches nowadays for them to be carried on electronic media, and the camera angles are considered more thoroughly than the content by their managers. The idea of a political meeting was that a politician would hire a public hall and invite the general public to come and listen to their attempt to win their vote, and engage in discussion with people. That idea has almost died, in favour of the outright propaganda model.

To his great credit, yesterday in Dundee Jeremy Corbyn did hold a relatively open meeting at the Queens Hotel, and he was heckled by Bob Costello. As it happens I know both Jeremy and Bob and have a lot of time for both of them. Bob’s heckle was the perfectly reasonable “I’m interested in what you’re going to do about the will of the Scottish people in relation to Section 30”. Section 30 in this context is Westminster’s agreement to an Independence referendum.

Heckling is a good thing. I do not hold for a moment with the notion that politicians must be heard in a respectful silence and questions reserved to the end. I almost always start my individual talks by encouraging people to interject if they have a burning desire to disagree. This was proper democratic politics as it ought to be conducted. Half decent politicians relish hecklers – they have the microphone and the platform and ought to have no difficulty in dominating the exchange if they are any good at all.

I would add that I have fierce contempt for the “security” argument for hiding politicians from their constituents. Far too often robust disagreement is falsely portrayed as threat. Another friend of mine, Nigel Jones, was when an MP attacked in his constituency office and left with permanent injuries. Public life carries risks. I have received a number of actual death threats over the years since I quit the FCO and started campaigning (often originating in Florida, for some peculiar reason). I doubt any MP has genuinely received significantly more than I. But I still hold perfectly open public meetings. I am in the phone book and on the open electoral register. My address is in Who’s Who. I find the continued bleating by politicians about their security insufferable. I faced the same nonsense in the FCO, when I was advised at various times under the FCO “Duty of Care” not to travel around the Ferghana Valley and around Sierra Leone and Monrovia – all of which I had to do in order to do my job properly. I ignored the advice, telling the FCO that if personal safety were my goal in life, I could have been an accountant.

I am surprised that the Tories feel the need to keep Johnson almost as wrapped in cottonwool as May, because Johnson is a better campaigner. His veneer of chummy bonhommie hides his menace effectively enough to fool most people most of the time. Where he is not good is under detailed, forensic questioning and I shall be surprised if the Tories let Andrew Neil at him. The broadcaster’s decisions on participation in debates are entirely governed by the Tory agenda. The Tories calculate that a sustained campaign of vilification has damaged Jeremy Corbyn to the extent the public will not listen to him, so the Tories are happy to debate Corbyn. They are determined to stop Sturgeon from interacting with Johnson, as she is an excellent debater. The Lib Dems are a major threat to Tory seats, which is why they want to keep Swinson as marginal as possible, although she is not a threat in debate.

By standing down candidates in 300 odd Tory constituencies, Nigel Farage drastically reduced the amount of time the broadcasters will give the Brexit Party. That is so fundamental, I simply do not believe it was done without a hidden Farage/Johnson understanding. The current “spat” between them over other candidates standing down is simply window dressing.

This is a fascinating campaign. I have not undertaken any quantitative analysis, but I have never before in a UK general election felt that, once a campaign was actually under way and the broadcasting rules in force, BBC bias continued quite as blatantly as it does at this moment. It is still my prediction that Cummings’ strategy means that vote spread will heavily disadvantage the Tories under FPTP and they will not get a majority. If they do, that can only hasten Scottish Independence and I will not personally suffer it for too long. But I feel very worried for the millions who would live under boot of the 1% in the conditions of deregulation a Tory victory would unleash.

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163 thoughts on “The Fragile Boris Johnson

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  • Rod Coates

    Regarding your comment on security Craig, I doubt that Brendan Cox would agree with you. However, I agree with the general thrust of waht you are saying.

    • Ingwe

      Who cares what the opportunist Brendan Cox would agree with?
      Now that Le Carré and Boyd have expressed their view that no one should vote Labour because of the latter’s suggested failure to deal with non-existent anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, we know what we should do about these two badly written, British intelligence based, scribblers. Don’t buy their trash.

      • Tom74

        I must admit I have often wondered why Le Carre’s dull and usually utterly unthrilling novels receive so much acclaim and publicity. Now I think we have the answer.

        • Herbie

          TTSS is intellectually thrilling, I suppose, against Fleming’s much more action-built contrivances.

          These “who’s working for whom” themes in Le Carre are I think gateway to a deeper understanding of what’s going on, which you don’t get with Fleming.

          Anyway, you have to look at the spy genre as a whole, particularly that from early 19C on, to appreciate the full picture.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    I don’t know the degree of influence of all these political theatrics. The poll numbers in Scotland appear to have reached stasis. Barring scandal or earthquake, SNP c.42%, Tory c.23%, Labour c.12% and LibDem c. 12%.
    The point being, the Tory vote has been steady all year and the darling of the MSM, Davidson is out the picture. The Scottish Tories’ campaign is fronted by the current interim leader (Jackson Carlaw?) who exhibits all the charisma of a dog turd.

    • craig Post author

      I don’t expect Scotland to change too much from that, I think there will be a swing to Labour in England once the debates get going.

      • Shatnersrug

        With Lib Dems and and tories standing aside in each other’s marginals we could be set for a very scary precedent. We are watching the state connive and contrive to prevent losing control. Although I understand that it was just like this in 1945 with liberals and Tories conspiring

        • Laguerre

          “With Lib Dems and and tories standing aside in each other’s marginals”

          You’ve obviously seen reports others haven’t. Canterbury was standing aside for Labour.

          • Anthony

            No, the leadership immediately replaced that candidate who said he was stepping aside to prevent a Tory win. Further proof were any needed that Swinson does not actually care about Brexit.

          • Laguerre

            Anthony

            Yes, I know that. But the one who stepped down did so in favour of Labour not the Tories. And there was no evidence of collusion with the Tories, as you are trying to suggest again.

          • Shatnersrug

            Seeing as Laguerra is always trumpeting establishment propaganda I rest my case.

            From Sean Lawson

            https://medium.com/@shaunjlawson/are-the-liberal-democrats-planning-another-coalition-with-the-conservatives-439a6f94028d

            “1.Why are the Lib Dems campaigning heavily in Labour-Tory marginals where they have no chance of winning, but will inevitably hand them to pro-Brexit Tories?

            2. Why are the Lib Dems using phony, fake campaign material to convince people to vote for them in places they have no chance of winning, handing these seats to the pro-Brexit Tories as well?

            3. Why has Swinson repeatedly lied about Labour’s position on Brexit, despite it having guaranteed a second referendum (with the alternative being its own, much softer deal)?

            4.Why did the Lib Dems abstain en masse on NHS privatisation?
            Why did the Lib Dems enable Johnson’s desire for an election, when they knew Labour wanted to wait?

            5. Why, wholly unlike Labour, hasn’t Swinson highlighted that Johnson’s deal will almost certainly result in No Deal?

            6. When before now has any Lib Dem leader ever focused a campaign around willingness to press the nuclear button?

            7. Why are so many who’ve joined Swinson’s party dyed in the wool One Nation Tories: which Johnson, the chameleon extraordinaire, already has considerable experience of portraying himself as when Mayor of London?

            8. Why has Swinson obsessed in her public comments with misrepresenting and denouncing Corbyn, while so rarely doing the same thing with Johnson?

            9. Why did Swinson herself back austerity so eagerly and accept donations from fracking companies? Fracking Jo Swinson, indeed.

            10. Why did Swinson herself back austerity so eagerly and accept donations from fracking companies? Fracking Jo Swinson, indeed.”

          • Herbie

            The Lib Dems sole function is to ensure wealth keeps flowing to the top, rather than remaining at the bottom.

            To that end, they’ll oppose socially minded Conservatives and economically minded Leftists.

            They use their third party place in the FPTP system to achieve this.

          • Anthony

            Lagerre

            As I said, their Canterbury candidate stepped aside to try and prevent the Tories winning a narrow marginal. He was immediately replaced by the Lib Dem leadership. A Lib Dem leadership that is incidentally now outflanking the Tories on the right -‘ saying government should run a permanent spending surplus. The Lib Dems plainly stand for permanent Tory rule and permanent austerity.
            https://inews.co.uk/news/politics/general-election-2019-liberal-democrats-permanent-spending-surplus-1047923

          • Anthony

            Shatnersrug

            Many very obvious questions that are not being asked. Because they all have one very obvious answer.

      • Baalbek

        I do hope you are proven right. I am worried that the media’s relentless campaign against Labour, the efforts of the Blairites to sabotage Corbyn from within, and Corbyn’s own milquetoast appeasement of the forces marshalling the bogus “anti-semitism crisis” against him, have seriously crippled the party’s ability to conduct a cohesive campaign and damaged its credibility amongst the voting public.

        • Rowan Berkeley

          If Corbyn, McCluskey & the other Stalinists were purged & the Labour Party committed to repeal Article 50, then you would get a guaranteed winning coalition of Lib Dems with Labour, and Labour as the senior partner could pursue whatever socialist projects it wished, as long as they were compatible with EU rules, just as before. Isn’t that preferable to a Stalinist Lexit that if successful will make Britain into the North Korea of Europe?

          • Anthony

            A Lib Dem – Blairite dream team, committed to revoking a democratic referendum. A guaranteed winner.

  • Crispa

    Yes sums up the situation to date. Apart from the speech in Coventry at avenue which I suppose was chosen to represent the industry of the future – ironically overshadowed by Tesla around the same time announcing its plans to locate its electric care making in Germany –
    Johnson’s electioneering has just consisted of a few photo-shoots in carefully selected places. He did do the BBC 5 phone in this am but I switched over as soon as I realised it was him as I refuse to listen to his lying. The tiny snippet i heard was a lie – something about pouring money into youth services – there are now hardly any. Corbyn at least is on the stump most of the time.

    BBC bias I think is insidious rather than blatant – Tories are always “Boris Johnson does this” expressed with a sense of bonhomie, Labour ideas are is invariably introduced grudgingly with lots of “yes buts”.

    Manifestos are not out yet of course so it’s all only for starters so far and it can only get nastier and dirtier.

  • Pyewacket

    It reminds me of a time during May’s Snap election, the one reportedly inspired by her walk in the Cambrian hills, where she was supposedly campaigning in Bolton. For sure, the TV crew were in Bolton town centre, collecting snippets of vox pop, as for Theresa, she was a few miles away at Edgeworth Golf Club, probably helicoptered onto the 18th green. My point is that viewers not from around here, may innocently assume she was in a post industrial northern town, taking her strong and stable message to the masses, in truth, she was miles out of town, on the Borough border, meeting ladies who do lunch in the Lancashire hills.

    • Herbie

      The kind of politics in which these bureaucrats engage needs protection from critical questioning.

      That’s the role of msm.

  • John Pillager

    Electioneering by Radiohead;
    .
    I will stop
    I will stop at nothing
    Say the right things
    When electioneering
    I trust I can rely on your vote
    When I go forwards, you go backwards
    And somewhere we will meet
    When I go forwards, you go backwards
    And somewhere we will meet
    Ha, ha, ha
    Riot shields
    Voodoo economics
    It’s life, it’s life
    It’s just business
    Cattle prods and the I.M.F.
    I trust I can rely on your vote
    When I go forwards, you go backwards
    And somewhere we will meet
    When I go forwards, you go backwards
    And somewhere we will meet…

  • Anthony

    Perhaps even more fragile is the tough talking Ayn Randian Chancellor Sajid Javid, desperate to avoid his past being brought to public attention in a high profile debate with John McDonnell.
    https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/political-parties/labour-party/john-mcdonnell/news/105738/john-mcdonnell-brands-sajid-javid
    So long as he dodges debates, Javid knows he can continue to hector about economic responsibility with virtually nobody aware of his role in the global financial crash of 07-8.

  • c.harper

    I’d disagree and suggest the one person that does actually need a security team around him for protection is Mr Corbyn, given he is the only politician in this campaign that has been both physically assaulted and had an attempt on his life (Darren Osborne) in recent times. All basically laughed off and hushed up by the press. The outrageous smear campaign against him perpetuated by the MSM outlets is a perfect recipe for someone to be triggered (again).

    As laughable as the ”Corbyn is an anti-semite” smear is, the really absurd one, and most dangerous, is that a peace activist such as himself being labeled ”a terrorist supporter”. Particularly when it has usually been both a Conservative administration along side the intelligence community that has facilitated and enabled terrorist attacks again and again on home soil. Would the British/Libyan teen have had the motivation and been in a position to attack the Manchester Arena if not for Cameron and MI5 policy? The same question can be asked of Mays admin regarding the Westminster bridge attack and Syrian ‘moderate rebels’ policy. Or Thatcher and co providing the IRA with intelligence to be used to kill members of the unionist community during ”the troubles” in northern Ireland.

    Maybe the smear is used on Mr Corbyn so as to be never held accountable for their actions themselves? Like the racist card.

    For one to accept Mr Corbyn as a ”terrorist supporter”, whilst holding the likes of Cameron, May, Thatcher, Johnson and the intelligence community as some sort of selfless ”patriots and protectors” of all things Britian is peak derange syndrome. Maybe Corbyn should point this out to the less intelligent.

    • Ian Stevenson

      Corbyn was the only politician I heard who, after the Manchester bombing, said we needed ‘difficult conversations’ with Saudi Arabia. We know the Wahabbi cult of Saudi Arabia has inspired and financed the terrorists who have murdered people on the streets of Europe. The fact that the media or other politicians didn’t either take issue with or agree with him, suggests they know they would be on a loser in any debate.
      We have supported the Saudis in their campaign in Yemen. A UN committee, I read, is considering indicting the US, France and the Uk for ‘complicity in war crimes’.
      Who is indeed, ‘the friend of terrorists’?

    • Royd

      Reply to c harper

      You’ve cited an attempt on Jeremy Corbyn’s life – would you have a citation for it? I’ve tried an internet search and come up with nothing. It would not be too astounding that it was not widely reported in the MSM and maybe that’s why it’s not showing? But if you have a link I’d be interested in reading about it. TIA.

  • giyane.

    Labour are still constricted by Tory accusations about the 2007 crash . Somebody needs to cut the Gordian Knot that Brown was responsible for the banking collapse because he “condoned ” Tory banking deregulation . It’s almost impossible to defend yourself against condoning something because your accusers can use your vehement objections to their dogma as evidence of your mental instability.

    For all of his remarkable charms Jeremy Corbyn has never managed to stick a red hot poker up the backside of Tory claims of Labour’s mismanagement of the economy.

    It is Labour that is being fragile. The Oaf’s confidence rests on a decade of weakness from the Labour side. Corbyn’s restraint against the false accusations of the Tories is almost unbelievable because it was pure Tory dogma that created the world banking collapse in 2007.

    Very admirable , but strange.

    • Mighty Drunken

      It’s the economy, stupid! Well usually.
      Strangely, during this campaign and the last, the current economy is not brought up. Over the last 10 years the Conservatives have presided over the weakest economic recovery since I don’t know when. Yet this is never mentioned and only how Marxist Corbyn will destroy the economy.
      So I agree Giyane, Labour should really try to highlight the economy and defend themselves against false claims that the last crash was much to do with Labour. Still I hear how Labour spent too much and that caused the crash, despite that being absurd in causing a global economic meltdown. Labour was spending a normal amount of GDP. It was only after the crash the deficit went up markedly.

    • Anthony

      Gordon Brown himself has never challenged the great Tory/BBC lie that it was his government’s social spending that caused the giant public finance deficit. That makes him one of the chief architects of austerity, Brexit and the burgeoning support for Scottish independence. Doesn’t stop him being represented as one of the great political thinkers of this or any other day.

      • giyane.

        Anthony

        Gordon Brown used his knowledge of economics to rescue the economy from a Tory-made kamikaze nose-dive.

        Until such time that he honestly explains how the Tory banks managed to blackmail the government we can only assume that they could do it a second time under the next Labour government

        What’s the plan for a repeat of the tory banking sabotage? Without honesty from Labour or Tory I would imagine many punters will vote LibDem in order revert to the last safe mode.

        Frankly I am not convinced that either Johnson or Corbyn have a coherent plan for anything to with economics.
        MacDonnell is a lot less convincing than anybody in politics now. Swivel-eyed Labour drivel is just as repellent as flecks of s-w Tory mouth -foam.

        • Anthony

          Old Mr Light Touch used his knowledge of economics to stick fast to neoliberal deregulation dogma and helped crash the economy. Yes he bailed out the banks, then sat in silence for a decade as the Tories and your Yellow Tories forced the country’s poorest and most vulnerable to pay for the crimes of the richest.

          • giyane

            Anthony

            So was the purpose of the crash to siphon off funds to wreck Muslim countries or to make the idle masses work harder?

            Or was it pure ideological error which to this day no opposition party has ever dared to challenge?

            You win some you lose some is not giving me any confidence that anybody in charge knows anything:at all about economics or foreign policy.

            Should we just stick with the EU which seems to have retained its marbles?
            Nobody has earned my vote yet. Shall I just give it to the Greens?

    • Ralph

      No, we will not let you whitewash away brownSHIT’s culpability in the financial crash (not to mention his dumbf**k sale of our gold). his speech to the CBI in 2005, being partially responsible for setting up the world financial crisis ‘The new model of regulation…to the decision as to whether to regulate at all.’
      Then, since 2005-6 (I don’t have figures for before or after) to 2011-2 (cons also guilty) tax owed of about £400 BILLION pa of which less than 10% collected.
      So it would have been good for Scotland to have become independent BEFORE the likes of UTTER SHIT bliar & brownshit got into power.

      • Mr Shigemitsu

        The UK came off the gold standard in 1931.

        Please explain what possible use is the holding of gold by the UK government, bearing in mind that the UK government is the monopoly creator of sterling, its own sovereign, fiat, non-convertible currency.

        Brown deserves huge credit for keeping the UK out of the eurozone, and wasn’t responsible for the reckless sale of US sub-prime mortgages, but for someone who wrote a book called “Courage”, his cowardice in sticking to Tory spending limits for the first two years of his chancellorship, allowing deregulation of banks to continue, and for lumbering the public sector with the continuation and expansion of outrageously expensive off-the-books PFI contracts instead of direct govt spending, is as appalling as it is ironic.

      • SA

        This is exactly why labour is in the state tut is in. The Blairites fostered policies started by Thatcher and pressed things like PFI that have nothing to do with socialism. In fact the single greatest error of Corbyn was not to get rid of the dominant Blairite MPs who have held back the party, they have nothing to do with socialism.

  • pretzelattack

    wow, never knew about the jones incident. and by somebody he had written a job recommendation for, according to wiki (i guess “phillip cross” can’t edit everything).

  • andic

    I don’t know if I can agree with you fully:
    Politicians should be questioned and questioned hard by their potential constituents, yes. But those people also have to have some standards of reasonable behavior and listen to the answers, and allow others to hear them too. There are too many idiots who think bombarding someone with their opinions is a form of debate and that afterwards they have won anything.
    There are also too many idiots who can’t tell the difference when the spectacle is inevitably reported

    • andic

      Perhaps more real debate with genuine questions would help people to tell shit from sugar. In this regard

      • SA

        This is where the lack of a honest reporting by the MSM would have been useful. If we have gatekeepers asking the questions there will be no robust debate. Anyone has the right to ask politicians who are seeking thier vote questions.

      • wonky

        You mean like Putin’s annual “ask me anything” sessions?
        In ALL of Europe there is not ONE politician principled or intelligent enough to even consider such an outrageously democratic Q&A.
        And no, I am not a Putin troll.

  • Jack

    I sense the looming report on so called russian meddling in Tory and Brexit will be the nail in the coffin for him.
    Not that I buy that whole idiocy but it will be framed like the so called russian meddling in the US with Trump.

    • bevin

      There is a real difference: the “Russiagate” accusations against Trump are absolute nonsense. But the links between Russian kleptocrats and the Tories, upon whom they rely to stash their ill gotten gains, tax free, are very real.

      • Jack

        bevin

        They are real yes, but the framing will be that Putin is behind those oligarchs funding Tory. It will generate the same hysteria in the UK coming weeks.

        • Borncynical

          Jack

          Agreed. I have to take deep breaths every time someone refers to the UK-based oligarchs as “Putin’s cronies”. It just shows their brainwashed ignorance…and this seems to be by far the majority of the population.

          • SA

            Agreed. I hope labour doesn’t officially fall for this trap because the Blairites will relish this as another anti Corbyn device.
            The facts of the matter are very clear. Most of these oligarchs have a presence in U.K. whether they are Putin’s cronies or not does not matter as the question is why are rich oligarchs buying influence from Tory politicians?

  • DiggerUK

    What has told me that this election is a beast of the zeitgeist, is how rabid is the reaction to the Labour Party plans with broadband. Think about it, broadband more exciting than Brexit, couldn’t make it up. I don’t recall the victorians railing against the universal penny post. I’m sure rural and provincial voters don’t want such silly policies either.._

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2019-50427369

      • DiggerUK

        I’m a member of the Labour Party, and the party position is a dogs breakfast.
        The remain blairite rump in parliament voted for Article 50 however. Following that the 2017 manifesto committed the party to respecting the referendum result.
        Now we have a promise that a Labour Government would negotiate a better deal than Johnson and put that to a “confirmatory” referendum.

        Well ‘Oooooh Jere-e-e-my Corbyn’….. explain to this party member how we will be expected to go to the electorate in a second referendum and campaign to vote against what the Labour Government will have negotiated with the EU?……face facts, not spin, the Labour Party will have to argue for the 2nd referendum (which is what it will be) to support the Governments new deal.

        Even a ScotNat should be able to get the fact that Labour is leave, wether the nobheads in the party understand that or even like it…_

        • Steph

          Why do we have to campaign for or against it? Why can’t we just say ‘this is the best deal we can get, do you want to take it?

  • Dungroanin

    I speculated last week that the Tories seem not to have a clue and were either deliberately trying to lose badly or they knew that the votes were stitched up through a rigged ballot so were going to win. Please keep an eye on the postal ballot issue.

    So this is hilariously tin eared from Barclay:

    “Do we want more players in the
    @PremierLeague
    from Brazil, Argentina or Africa compared to the EU? Or more English qualified players to strengthen the national team
    @FA
    ? What would you rather see? The key opportunity of Brexit is that we will get to decide ”

    I think he just got a lot of football supporters to vote against Tories and Brexit going by responses to his tweet – will it survive?

    Meanwhile Bobo on his way to another bus escapade gets soft soap callers on the beeb and still manages to make Corbyn’s broadband promise sound like a great idea.
    Dom and Dumber by the day.

    • SA

      Johnson hip shooter with minimal contact with reality and ordinary people. Liable to ad-lib and loose with facts. Therefore liability if not sheltered from direct questions by real people, therefore fragile.

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        Just convenient bs not mentioned by Craig.

        For example. don’t see how I am fragile if real, convincing people protect hip shooter me by sheltering me by answering direct questions.

  • bj

    “I find the continued bleating by politicians about their security insufferable.”

    It’s the same trick as the bleating about a Russian threat. Performed by the same hustlers.
    For the benefit of the same group that claims to have the solutions to the stated problem.
    In which group these querulants will all find ample employment after their political ‘careers’.

  • M.J.

    Maybe you should campaign for Parliament yourself, using the methods that in your own view are proper?

    • Mary

      Craig stood in Norwich North. There was much interference in his campaign even to the extent of the local authority refusing him the use of a school’s premises for a meeting, etc etc.

      Instead the constituents were landed with little Chloe Smith, ex Deloittes and a Tory. She was given some junior ministerial job. I seem to remember she was unable to answer a question in a TV interview.

      She is standing again next month. Pity the constituents.

      Norwich North

      Karen Davis (Labour Party)
      Adrian Holmes (Green Party)
      David Moreland (UK Independence Party)
      Chloe Smith (Conservative Party)
      Dave Thomas (Liberal Democrats)

      • Mary

        She was elected on 2009. She became a junior Treasury minister under Osborne and was mauled by Paxman on he lack of knowledge of fuel duty changes. There is a You Tube available of the recording.

        Considering her record under the heading ‘Parliamentary Career’ on https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chloe_Smith
        it’s a miracle that she is still around.

  • Hatuey

    “It is still my prediction that Cummings’ strategy means that vote spread will heavily disadvantage the Tories under FPTP and they will not get a majority. If they do, that can only hasten Scottish Independence…”

    Scotland would be on the brink of mass unrest and independence right now if it wasn’t for the SNP. Make of that what you will…

    If, as I expect, Boris does get a majority and we are ruled over again by malicious sociopaths that we didn’t vote for, I doubt if the SNP will be enough to contain the independence movement and feelings in Scotland. By then of course we will be watching the job losses mount up and the plans to dismantle the public sector — not just the NHS and welfare system — will be out in the open.

    And by then we will see even more clearly that the SNP strategy since Brexit has been a complete failure. It leads to nothing. They don’t even seem able to learn from mistakes.

    The real issue in this election is Shanghai, not Europe. The Tories want to dismantle everything and build a Downtown Abbey system, with peasants forced to choose between slaving in the basement or dying in the streets. Of course, I hope they succeed.

    The children of those who vote for Brexit, Boris, and Shanghai will pay with their miserable lives and I cannot believe that the English electorate is so thick and fucked up as to even contemplate that.

    • bevin

      You have a touching faith in either the SNP or the EU if you believe that either is opposed to neo-liberal policies of the sort you outline. The EU certainly is not, it calls them ‘reforms’.

      • Hatuey

        I’m really tired of explaining things to people like you. EU workers have the best protections in the world. They enjoy the best pensions and many of them are right up there when it comes to standards of living, maternity rights, and a bunch of other things that fell between the cracks of the hollow slogans you found on Farage’s facebook page.

        You’re a victim of lies and propaganda.

        • Ralph

          Hatuey, does that include the eu ferkel deliberately opening the doors to all and sundry costing multi-billion € per year while Germans are forced into homelessness?

          • Hatuey

            Well, thanks for saying something we can validate.

            If you look here at this link you will see that Britain’s percentage ratio of homeless people relative to its population is much higher than Germany’s and much higher than just about every other EU country.

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_homeless_population

            Germany deserves massive credit for opening its doors to the fallout victims of US and British war crimes in the Middle East and, as I have said more than once on here, Germany is now the most civilised, conscientious and, humanitarian country in the world.

            History will record that when Germans were opening their country and hearts up to refugees fleeing the carnage in the Middle East and Africa, England and America were building walls, real and metaphorical, and indulging in the sort of vicious racism that both countries made themselves famous for in the past. Again, it must be emphasised, the carnage referred to here was caused, in the main, by Britain and America.

          • Hatuey

            Now I’m a Brussels shill.. last week I was Hatuey Farage, earlier this week a tartan tory, often times a radical socialist, and much else besides.

            The BBC article is from early 2017. It talks about hate crime being up in Germany. Well, guess where else it went up in 2017? You got it, post-brexit England. It rose dramatically after Brexit, as we all know.

            It’s interesting that you blame racial hate crimes on immigration policy, without discussing the underlying cause of dramatically increased numbers of refugees and migrants. The BBC often does that too. It follows that you think racial hate crimes are in some way justified by compassionate immigration policies and that you have zero interest in the plight of those people.

            England has the most racist population in Europe today. Even footballers are getting it. Immigrants burn to death in combustible buildings and English politicians mock them for not leaving when they were told to stay put.

            Why won’t Brexit supporters or the BBC honestly discuss the rise in numbers of those fleeing countries like Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq? We can all see the connection. We all know who caused the carnage in those countries.

            Twisted racist cowards.

        • wonky

          Your arguments are four decades old. They no longer apply. And that was on purpose.
          ‘People like you’ should perhaps occasionally visit another EU country. You know, broaden the horizons and such.
          Then again, never met a monger with even half an interest in horizons.

  • GFL

    Alex Phillips (Brexit party MEP) said on last nights question time, that the dirty tricks, bribes and blackmail against the Brexit party originated in number 10 and GCHQ. Now I’m most certainly not a supporter of the Brexit party, but there is a name for a country who’s security services get involved in the democratic process.

    • Yr Hen Gof

      There is evidence that Britain’s secret intelligence services have been undermining what we laughably call democracy for at least a century.
      During the 1930’s they cared not one jot about fascists, either here or in Europe (was MI6 really paying Mussolini a salary?), it was workers’ organisations, trade unions and the British Labour and Communist parties that they were convinced threatened the state and the status quo. Time, energy and resources were all spent spying on, following and intercepting the communications of people in these organisations.
      Did their actions exceed those mentioned? I suspect so, we’ll never really know.
      Britain’s SIS have no respect for the law or democracy and that they share with their bedfellows in the Tory party.
      Ballot rigging? I’d be amazed if they haven’t.

      • Herbie

        “There is evidence that Britain’s secret intelligence services have been undermining what we laughably call democracy for at least a century.”

        They’re managing a system of governance in which too much democracy locally can be a problem in terms of the broader picture.

        There was something Macron said recently when challenged on elite connections. He replied to the effect that he worked with elites to provide jobs to French people.

        That’s the typical Capitalist position.

        The problem though, is that capital gets far greater returns from world capital markets than through traditional investment in local production and jobs.

        There are other ways of looking at this “problem” and intelligence services are there to ensure these other ways aren’t effectively explored more broadly.

    • Ken Kenn

      Fact is;

      The bribes weren’t big enough.

      Except for John Mann of course.

      I’m surprised anyone’s surprised.

  • Caratacus

    Because I am priviliged enough to be able to drive about the SW of England in my work and meet all sorts of people from every station in life, I wondered whether this admittedly anecdotal collection of (often trenchant) observations would be of interest.

    I have found that the less people are paid, the more they are inclined towards a “clean break” Brexit. The more they are paid, the more they seem to approve of the EU, and the very top managers and directors (with a few notable exceptions) think that the referendum result should simply be ignored and forgotten. It should be noted that there are many more low paid people than well-paid in the SW.

    When I tentatively raise the matter of Scottish independence, the lower paid are all for it, “why shouldn’t they be independent? It’s what we voted for in the referendum”. The higher paid people tend towards maintaining the UK, albeit as a part of the EU .. usually muttering something about ‘better together’.

    But the very best reactions are about both Johnson and Corbyn. One Cornishman, well stricken in years, said, “They’m as bad as each otherr – would’n trust either of un no vurther ‘n’ I could throw the baastards. Neither one of know what tiz like to earn a praper livin’. I juss ignores the bogrs ‘n’ votes ver Mebyon Kernow”.

  • nevermind

    Greens, Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP all agreed to a live debate on the Climaet emergency we are finding ourself in.

    But Boris the cotton wool kept, fragile blunderer is being kept away from such a debate by his boss Cummings, but the more people lobby the broadcast channels of Sky,BBC,channel four,etc. the more likely it becomes.
    This election will be known for its skirting around/non coverage of hot topics and issues far too important to vested interest, when talking about energy issues this morning, not one person or journalist referred to the dismal/zero state of our national energy storage, we are wholly unprepared for another oil embargo. Nobody wants to talk about international reports such as the latest IPCC report on our global atmosphere.
    https://www.ipcc.ch/report/aviation-and-the-global-atmosphere-2/
    Why? in such an important election, can’t those who advocate a national green deal not instruct the council they are in charge of, to implement mitigating projects, and or allocate budgets to such projects, why is there no action in, for example Norwich, a council run for near enough 40 years by Labour?
    Indeed the local Labour party in Norwich, is standing cllr. Karen Davis in Norwich North, who voted for the western link road through the Wensum valley, Norwich drinking water supply is derived from the Wensum. Clive Lewis has spoken out against the road, whilst she is sitting on the fence getting splinters.

    The BBC, infested by the security services, should become a major target for demonstrations nationwide, their closeness to politics makes them unfit to report in an unbiased manner. Their ignorance of important issues in favour of fluff,. football and or reporting on themselves, forever patting each other on the back for following a neocon agenda is nauseating.

    I hate this unfair disproportional election, were those who live here,pay taxes here and engage here, have no vote because they refuse to become nationalist and swear an oath to some monarch who is only interested in making money from ancient rigmarole.
    And I detest those who far too eagerly forget the bias that is shown today, who sigh when its all over, switch on the today/Archers programmes and feel good about the tiny world they inhabit.

  • Republicofscotland

    “To his great credit, yesterday in Dundee Jeremy Corbyn did hold a relatively open meeting at the Queens Hotel, and he was heckled by Bob Costello.”

    It was interesting to see Corbyn’s acolytes applaud furiously everytime Bob spoke, in an attempt to drown out his questions or responses to Corbyn, who had a microphone in hand.

    I also though Corbyn wearing a tartan scarf, was a bit of playing for the Scottish media.

  • Republicofscotland

    “The Tories calculate that a sustained campaign of vilification has damaged Jeremy Corbyn to the extent the public will not listen to him.”

    Sometimes I wonder if Corbyn really wants to be PM with his latest offering of free broadband to all in the UK by 2030. I mean there would need to be another two Labour governments to fulfil such an outlandish promise. We can’t even be sure Corbyn will win this one at a time when the Tories are at their most vulnerable, let alone return another two administrations to power.

    • Hatuey

      Free broadband for all sounds like a great idea. Then you ponder the likely reality: free broadband managed and implemented by a Labour government, probably costing 10 times more in tax than it would if you paid for it yourself, probably totally wonky and full of problems, and designed from the ground up to provide secret intelligence on us all.

      Keep your free broadband. I’ll stick with the free market.

      • Laguerre

        It’s evident that the idea of free broadband is not fully worked out yet. It’s more an idea like the NHS, which also attracted a lot of opposition from the Tories of the time. It’s not necessarily a realistic idea, but, wow, is it attracting a lot of attention for Labour.

        Personally, I think it could be done, but would need a lot of working out, with integrating the private sector element. Putting a Tory in charge would wreck it. In fact pretty much any British politician would ruin it, for private financial or ideological interests. It would require the rationality of the Scandinavians.

        • Republicofscotland

          Free broadband, its nothing more than a headline grabber, lauded by Labour supporters and condemned as costing thousand of jobs by the Tories.

          Of course both parties are in election mode so the magic money tree in the back garden of number ten is never more relevant as huge sums of cash (usually uncosted) are banded about from both parties in an attempt to win your vote.

          Thankfully both the Tories and Labour are becoming irrelevant in Scotland, and less and less folk believe what they say at any given time of year.

          • Herbie

            “Free broadband, its nothing more than a headline grabber,”

            I think free broadband is the way it’s going, free transport in the cities and so on.

            These are but two necessary fundamentals in the Smart City program.

      • Republicofscotland

        Although broadband is a reserve matter, the Scottish government has for a long time realised that the British government isn’t up to the task or they don’t see it as urgent providing a commitment for all to have internet access at a reasonable speed.

        So two years ago the SNP government made a commitment to provide broadband all around Scotland, which they are currently carrying out.

        Maybe Corbyn looked North and concocted his idea from the SNP’s.

        https://www.gov.scot/publications/reaching-100-superfast-broadband/

        • Laguerre

          That is right. Laying the cables for broadband access, fibre or copper, is a government business. If Westminster won’t do it, others have to.

  • Mist001

    The thing is, people now don’t vote on policies, they vote on personalities and with that in mind, you have to say that Boris Johnson beats Jeremy Corbyn hands down. My Mother despises the Tories but she’ll never vote SNP because she ‘can’t stand that bloody woman’ and that’s how it is across the entire British Isles, every party could promise the Earth but it boils down to a straight personality contest between Johnson and Corbyn.

    Talking of the SNP, I haven’t seen or read anything from them or about them over the past couple of days. I suspect that the MSM is purposely ignoring them and freezing them out. If I’m right about that, then Nicola Sturgeon has to produce something special to get the SNP back onto the front pages and seriously grab peoples attention otherwise they’re going to be forgotten about and ignored which is bad news for Scotland.

    Maybe there’s a D notice on the SNP? 😉

    • Republicofscotland

      “they vote on personalities and with that in mind, you have to say that Boris Johnson beats Jeremy Corbyn hands down.”

      I’m no fan of Corbyn, however isn’t Johnson a lying, arrogant, misogynistic, racist at heart?

      Of course the unionist media portrays him as a lovable rogue with our best interests at heart.

      Still I see your point Corbyn is a dull as dishwater ditherer, not exactly inspirational.

      • Steph

        ‘Still I see your point Corbyn is a dull as dishwater ditherer, not exactly inspirational’

        That is your opinion, of course. But I don’t see any other party trebling its membership as a result of a new leader, so he must spectacularly more inspiring than any of the competiton!

        • Rowan Berkeley

          “I don’t see any other party trebling its membership as a result of a new leader, so he must spectacularly more inspiring than any of the competiton!”

          – How do you know they didn’t treble their membership by sending out targeted dog-whistles to white racists?

  • Doghouse

    Free broadband and a tartan scarf. Piffle and deceit.

    I seem to recall warlord Blair promising superfast broadband for everyone in the land under his evil eyed watch. About two or three years ago, where I live, they finally got around to fitting all the fibre optic cable into the system. They are still dangling from every telegraph pole across the whole region not a one connected up LOL. My broadband *speed*, usually under 1mbps, and upload about 0.2mbps. Never mind *free* at an extortionate and wasteful cost. Just make the damned thing work reasonably well !!

    The absolute fact is for ten years now the majority have been affected by austerity rubbish to some degree or another whilst the unemployed, zero contract employed, poor and disabled have had their noses ground into the filthy dust. Even with all the AS nonsense Corbyn, if he had any gumption and nous about him, should absolutely be romping this election to one of the most resounding landslide victories in history. Instead, he’s let down the traditional labour supporter badly imho, and given no credible alternative to the disenfranchised voter, and he’s let himself down. He could have stood strong, stood tall – the country is crying out for it, instead he’s shedding more verbal blubber and proving himself just like any other politician, just probably a bit weaker.

    Which is exactly why I shan’t have any horse in the race. Tartan scarf and a cheeky bit of broadband indeed. I don’t care who you are Johnson, Corbyn or Churchill, it’s disingenuous toadying is what it is. Hands up all those impressed…..

    • Jay

      “To what extent would you support or oppose a policy providing free broadband internet to all UK homes and businesses by 2030?”

      62% ~ Support
      22% ~ Oppose
      16% ~ Don’t know

      Via
      @YouGov
      , 15 November

      • Doghouse

        Yeah well done Jay, I asked for that. Literally.
        And tis all the evidence we need the country is sunk along with the level of intelligence. If a man gambled occasionally and everytime he did he thought his horse had promise, yet every time a different horse pulled up lame and failed to deliver he’d learn to quit. Not in this day and age though, today he simply points at his open mouth with a sign round his neck, ‘free broadband’. The horses are rotten, the race is rotten and so too the course officials and governing body. For three months now we have seen defections and shenanigans, pulling candidates etc, a flagrant attack on the democratic process if such a thing ever existed beyond illusion

    • Laguerre

      No, it’s not a fraud. But it’s difficult to see British politicians getting themselves together to organise it properly. Actually we have a pretty good situation even today, where you don’t pay for the use of the trunk cables. Few will remember the pre-internet French Minitel, where you paid by the minute for use of their net. I used to have one. Berners-Lee and his fellow scientists did well to give us a free world-wide web, a noble act for which I will forever be grateful. In the days of dial-up, there were even companies offering free access subscriptions, such as free.fr, from which it got its name. Today you pay, but it did exist. And could exist again, if a way were worked out.

      • Doghouse

        LaG, I appreciate what you are saying and it can legitimately be claimed not to be a fraud, but could it be claimed with equal sincerity that it won’t turn out to be just another sound-bite garnering the younger vote in the same way the Libs did with tuition fees? And if it came to nought, the claim is no more sincere than the scarf
        The point is after a ten year national battering, a country and political system in danger of meltdown the country was crying out for a giant amongst men/women. There for the taking – massive issues – huge poverty and social standards decline and it boils down to Boris vs the scarf and smoke and air.

        • Crispa

          I cannot understand the negativity about this proposal, which is win win all round wit the poorest in society having equal access to the rich. Businesses will benefit in terms of increased efficiency and will be able to invest more in updating their systems, any extra profits will be hoovered up from taxes. The responsible part of BT to be nationalised will act like a Network Rail, hardly a big deal in terms of state ownership. It’s just been announced as a proposal today so any debate should be on the principle not the detail which will follow. I for one am all for it.

    • GFL

      Surely if the private sector can’t supply the broadband service the country requires, it’s incumbent on the government to step in.

      • jake

        what’s not to like? a publicly funded internet connection for free and for everyone. Of course once you’ve signed up they have your data and can use it or sell it as they see fit. In short order, once it has all been paid for and looks as though it might become a money spinner, it’ll be sold off again.

  • Gary

    Not really a campaign at all, is it? Ministers and Shadow Ministers coming on TV and avoiding answering even the most basic questions, playing for time to waste the opportunity they had to get their message across. They’ve lost the art of persuading people to vote FOR them, all that’s left is getting people to vote against the ‘other lot’ Done with smears, half truths, barefaced lies aided and abetted by interviewers who don’t press too hard, newspapers who don’t fact check press releases and print verbatim. MPs like Laura Pidcock who flatly refuse to answer even the most basic questions asked of them – ever. Simply annoying their own support.

    I’m sick of it already and it’s only just started…

  • Mary

    See the latest episode of Newswatch in which the editor of their OB from the Cenotaph attempts to explain away their deceit in using old footage.

    Last Sunday Johnson looked shambolic and he was looking around when he should have been concentrating on the solemnity of the two minute silence. He couldn’t even lay the wreath the right way round.

    ’15/11/2019
    Newswatch
    Viewers’ comments about BBC News coverage, with Samira Ahmed. How did Breakfast mistakenly run three-year-old pictures of Boris Johnson laying a wreath at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday?

    15 minutes’

    • Laguerre

      Johnson didn’t look good today either.

      I think a lot of Tories are going to be staying at home the 12th.

    • Herbie

      Is he doing a Hillary?

      Getting rid of the only candidate who could defeat Trump, Sanders.

      Then turning herself into a physical and psychological wreck.

      Vote for anyone but me.

      Corbyn’s running around like the Christ, amongst all these clapped-out materialists and their scams.

  • Goose

    Channel 4 news’ Cathy Newman wrote on Twitter:

    It’s deeply depressing that so many politicians are either refusing to answer questions in interviews or avoiding interviews altogether. Surely an election campaign in a functioning democracy is about being prepared to be challenged on your policies so voters can decide?

    Remarkable how Johnson’s cabinet seem almost invisible thus far. Sajid Javid made a ludicrous, widely ridiculed claim about Labour’s alleged spending (£1.2tn), then promptly disappeared when questioned about pushing bogus figures. Then we’re informed Javid refuses to debate his counterparts, bizarrely, leading to a planned TV debate being cancelled.

    Andrew Neil is rapidly becoming the only hope of holding any of these slippery characters to account.

  • Tom74

    Yes, the media bias is appalling. If we saw, say, today’s Mail front page in a foreign newspaper about an opposition leader we’d all be shocked and saying how corrupt the press was there. Similarly, I was listening to Radio 4’s PM programme yesterday and after some routine questions to Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth about the NHS crisis, Evan Davis unaccountably began browbeating him about Corbyn poll ratings – talk about the tail wagging the dog. Davis is about the best of the R4 interviewers too.
    Personally, I think it’s all very ’emperor’s-new-clothes’ with Johnson. He comes across to me as thoroughly out of depth to me in all areas of prime ministerial competence. May at least preserved the usual Tory dignity and was a plausible speaker. He is being hyped up by the media and pollsters just as she was – in an attempt, presumably, to a) demoralise opposition campaigners and voters and b) create some kind of bandwagon effect among potential Tories. I can’t see it working. Half the country oppose his central ‘get Brexit done’ policy, including many former Tories who have defected, and many Leavers will never vote Tory. Meanwhile, Farage only standing in Labour seats will actually make it easier for Labour by dividing the right-wing vote and as a valuable campaigning message – vote Farage, get Johnson. The Brexit Party standing down is also likely to badly weaken the final Brexit ‘mandate’ percentage.
    So I still think that despite all the sound and fury from the media that a hung Parliament is most likely. We’ll see how the next four weeks go.

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