The Unecessary – The 2017 election

It was always going to be good to be true. The election called with the Conservative Party flying high in the polls, Corbyn looking week and taking a hammering. the election. The Lib Dems hanging on the remain coat tails and UKIP disappearing like a pencil being rubbed out.

Thing is having said no to a snap election from the start, Theresa May then goes and calls a snap election. This left her looking totally foolish. The reasoning behind it was because Brexit was under threat from other parties and she wanted a strong party to take forward to the negotiating table. So come the election campaigning, you would think that she would make the emphasis on Brexit amongst other domestic matters. Well I was wrong, you were wrong, we were all bloody wrong. It was barely mentioned. Instead we got Strong and Stable as the line being hammered out.

It seemed that Theresa May was actually recording a training plan of how not to win an election. It seemed to revolve around May with what seemed cameo appearances with other cabinet members, whilst some were left to be campaigning in their own seats and others. It was really painful at times especially when she said she wouldnt do the live debates. It could be said that the leaders debate might have ended up as 5 or 6 against 1, but it was the fact she just didnt seem to do many interviews at all. It was all about meeting and talking to people. It ended up being highlighted when Corbyn was talking to the masses offering everything he could for free as everyone else would be paying for it.

Even when certain opposition members and Corbyn himself were making blunders or forgetting things, surely it was there for the taking. Well it seemed Theresa May was doing everything to avoid winning a huge majority. The social care cock up, failure to counter all the claims the left were throwing via the social media. The bloggers on the left were doing more than anything else. Then of course she responds to a fox hunting question. Instead of saying that it was not happening, she says she believes in it and it would be a free vote.

The Social Care debacle also blew a chunk out of the Tory poll lead, but surely it couldnt get any worse, it could and it did. The sickening terrorist attacks impeded the campaign and naturally campaigning was suspended. The fallout also saw May being blamed due to her time as Home Secretary. It was surely easy to brush off, may be not. Blame was pushed in her direction.

The announcement by the CPS brought some relief until they opted with days to go, charge Craig Mackinlay. He still maintained the support locally and from May, but his opponents were having him as guilty as hell. Never since the witch trials had one person been made guilty before trial. Craig was returned to parliament despite everything hanging over him.

The polls closed and the exit poll released. It was looking glum, although people on all sides were not keen to take this as the likely result. The Conservatives would be the largest party and short of being able to form a government by themselves. As the evening progressed, it seemed like an exit poll was actually going to be accurate for a change. We saw some absolute shockers and some good MPs lose their jobs. Some saw their majorities almost down to the bone, including the Home Secretary. Canterbury was lost to Labour by just under 200 votes and Kensington too went red. There were MPs who should have been returning to parliament come June 9. There were however some good victories where the party took one time Labour stronghold seats. Seats were taken in Scotland albeit thanks to the great work by Ruth Davidson and her team.

Yes of course the party is the largest party in Westminster, but now we are relying on the DUP. and it’s not great. Their attitudes are on lgbt rights are not as modern as they should be. This agreement surely cannot last and neither can May’s leadership. The government now looks weak going into negotiations and May will have to make sure that she doesnt upset the backbenches who will not be happy if she tries anything stupid.

In my opinion, Theresa May needs to go and to go as soon is viably possible.

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Everything seems ok – It’s a Conservative majority and the country is still ok

So here we are almost three weeks into a Conservative Majority government, yes that’s right a Conservative majority. For those who don’t remember 1992 or were yet to appear in the world, ask your parents. Some of course may wish to forget the Major years but that’s life.

So what have we seen during this time? Well after the ironic protests about the fact that we have a majority Conservative government, that’s democracy for you, he’ll hasn’t frozen over, the NHS isn’t dead, the world hasn’t ended, Thanet South suffered a minor earthquake although that was geographical not political. Talking of Thanet, any one who thought we would see the end of media interest in the area, had that idea shot to pieces when the people of Thanet (not me) voted for a UKIP run council. The first district council to be run by UKIP.

The media aren’t going to be going away anytime soon what with UKIP going to be pressing for the CPO to reopen Manston Airport amongst other things. The scrutiny will be high up no end. Anyway, we aren’t here to talk UKIP, but instead the Conservative majority government and what has happened and what lies ahead for the nation. The Queens Speech saw various bills, 26 in fact. They ranged from reducing the Benefits Cap from £26,000 to £23,000, legislation to increase free childcare, outlawing legal highs with dealers facing seven year prison sentences and of course the In/Out referendum.

Of course many on the left don’t seem to quite understand democracy and are a tad hypocritical about it. They were complaining that a government being elected on 37% of the vote was not right. Not the best way to insult those who happily voted Conservative. In fact 11,334,576 of us voted for a Conservative candidate and if you lived in Witney, you literally did get to vote for David Cameron. Given that in 2005 when Labour last won an election, they polled 36% of the vote. Did people go out on the streets to protest? nope. Most people just got on with it and worked hard in what is called the democratic process, working hard towards getting candidates selected and elected at the next election. David Cameron of course was elected as Conservative Party leader in 2005 and despite some early odd decision choices, seemed to make headway. Come 2010, the Conservatives narrowily missed out on an overall majority and found themselves in coalition with the Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dems of course had made various promises and ultimately in the interests of the nation’s future, had to let them go. It was a sacrifice they had to make and a sacrifice that would see them suffer in 2015.

The overall message of the Queens Speech was one that seemed to be getting people working and the nation working. Legislation to prevent income tax, vat and NI increases till 2020, no one working 30 hours on the minimum wage paying income tax. The income tax threshold itself increased to £12,500 per person. Then there is legislation on the otherside of the working element. One that will see thresholds introduced for union wishing to take industrial action, given a minimum 50% voting threshold for turnouts and a requirement of 40% entitled to vote, backing the action in public sector services. Some might say that general eletions are only see parties elected on 37% of the vote, the difference with a general election, is that all those entitled to vote have the free will to vote. Those in unions are can often see turn outs of 70% of 25% turnout bring various operations brought to a slow move process. If a union cannot encourage all of its members or at least 50% of its members to vote, then it surely says something that the union bosses arent always on the same wavelength as its members. To the rail commuter who finds his or her journey impeded to work because of strikes. The last thing they would want to know is that the strike that has made their journey difficult, was on a turn out of 30% and just about half of that said yes. This isn’t about stamping on unions, it’s about making things more fair.

We are now just over three weeks since the election and as far as I can see, everything is looking ok (unless you are a Labour supporter or even worse a Lib Dem supporter).

And they said it wouldn’t happen – Conservatives sail to majority

So after several months of polls barely fluctuating, the nation headed towards the likelihood of another coalition government, this time lead by Ed Miliband’s Labour party, even maybe a Labour minority. Nigel Farage looked certain to take a seat in Westminster, depending on which poll you were to believe and even Nick Clegg possibly losing his seat. Then 10pm came and the polls closed and the exit poll was revealed. We were looking at a Conservative Party heading towards 316 seats. This being an increase on the 2010 election. People were left baffled, surely it must be wrong they said. Paddy Ashdown proclaimed he would eat a hat if that was the likely result, it seems never wise to say such things on live tv with the possibility of it coming back to bite you in the backside.

Consensus had seemed that the exit poll would be wrong, surely. After several polls of plus one or two to either the Conservatives or Labour with the occasional one showing bigger leads, a coalition seemed the only option. To the various analysing, we then started to see seats counted. Nothing out the ordinary it would seem as the standard north east announce the seat first competition started once again.

Things were not looking good for the Lib Dems and they were only going to get bleaker. One had wondered how many of them would be left come Friday morning. The first big result though that would see how things might pan out over night and early morning. That result would be the seat of Nuneaton. Just before 2am came the result and not the result that Miliband wanted. Nuneaton had been retained by the Tories. The vote up 4% and a swing from Labour to the Conservatives of just over 3%. This was crucial if Labour were to get anywhere.

It wasnt just south of the border that the nightmare was unfolding for Miliband. Scotland saw Labour MP’s fall by the wayside. Douglas Alexander was gone. A swing of 34% saw him ousted by a 20 year old student. Jim Murphy was gone too. The Labour MP’s in Scotland were falling like dominoes and it looked like the SNP would clean house. They almost did but  for a couple of seats.

Back in England though and Miliband’s worst fears were really taking shape. Ed Balls, his shadow chancellor and sidekick was hanging on by a thread. Having narrowly survived in 2010, was time finally running out for Balls? Yes it was. Following a recount, Morley & Outwood would see a new MP in the form of Andrea Jenkyns with a majority of around 400.

The Lib Dems were in total meltdown. A party that was one minute in a coalition, to next minute being in the cold. The big names fell. Cable, Kennedy, Hughes, Alexander, Laws, Davey. By the end only 10 survived of which Nick Clegg survived.

The Conservatives did lose some seats, but not as many as had been feared a total of 11 in all.Esther McVey, Angie Bray, Eric Ollerenshaw and Nick De Bois being some of the notable names.

UKIP had hoped for big things. Tipped to gain seats but they never materialised. Carswell won UKIP’s first general election seat in Clacton, but seeing a much reduced majority. Mark Reckless who had defected at the UKIP Conference, saw his majority overturned as Kelly Tolhurst built on the work following the November by election. Kelly Tolhurst had seen a reduction of the majority to 2920 from 9,953. Come the announcement of the general election result, she had increased the majority to 7,133. and the overall vote just 462 less than what Reckless achieved in 2010. Tim Aker had hoped to become another UKIP MP, but failed. The big one though was Nigel Farage. After much campaigning, claim against counter claim, delayed count. The result saw Farage come second behind Craig Mackinley. This would see Nigel resign as leader for what turned out to be just a weekend. Rumour was that it was merely a run through and that it was all set up. Of course we shall never know.

So what happened for the polls to get it so wrong? when there was lots of talk of the quiet UKIP vote, it seems that it was more the quiet Conservative vote than anything, Giving the vitriol and abuse following the election, is it any wonder that no one wanted to say they were voting Conservative.

So whilst Labour and the Liberal Democrats start the process of finding a new leader (the Liberal Democrats have been advised not to state throwing hat into the ring, for bring Ashdown out in a cold sweat), the Conservatives with a fab looking cabinet, can look to getting down to business and keeping the nation moving forward.

Will Scobie and Thanet South -Nothing to say, its all about Farage

Labour Party volunteers came around knocking at the door this morning and unfortunately I wasnt able to answer the door. To be honest the way the individual kept banging on the door, you’d have thought the house was on fire. Anyway because I didnt answer, they stuck a leaflet through the door. What did this leaflet tell me? not much apart from mostly being anti UKIP. In fact more of the leaflet was given to the anti UKIP sentiment. Im no fan of UKIP but at the same time surely a leaflet should be promoting more of what the candidate can do rather than being anti the other candidate.

In the leaflet he has six different voters two Labour, one previously Conservative, on previously Lib Dem, a floating voter and a former UKIP voter. Surely you should be promoting about why you are voting for Will Scobie and not about because you don’t want to see Nigel Farage elected.

Will Scobie is hoping to be elected as South Thanet’s member of parliament. As nice a bloke he maybe, he has no real experience of life. It is all very well being passionate about things but a bit of working life experience is always helpful especially when dealing with constituents. Will has very little work experience which would ground him well in becoming an MP.

He says that UKIP brought forward a debate on issues like immigration and welfare which were needed. Of course what he wont say is that his own party used to treat legitimate discussion and debate of immigration as some kind of conversation that could only be seen as anti foreigner. He adds that he understands the pressures on local communities caused by immigration….did he stand up and make a noise when his party were in government.

His leaflet ends help with help Will Scobie to defeat Nigel Farage, not help Will Scobie to make Thanet better etc.

South Thanet – Mackinlay campaigning and cleaning

As the election gets closer and the battle gets tougher, Team 2015 convened in Broadstairs for an afternoon of campaigning. I did my first stint of leafleting since the election campaigning of 2010. A large turnout saw many campaigners and candidates including the Conservative Future leadership team. The image of the Conservative Party has been always of the old, but from the turnout there was a mixture of young and old working together for one goal and that being the election of candidate Craig MacKinlay, Added with the support of ex footballer Sol Campbell it was a very busy afternoon.

The Broadstairs office was busy with people in and out, non stop with deliveries. I hit the road covering three routes in total. It was great to be leafleting again. My only regret was not having anything to carry the leaflets in….big mistake. My arms certainly paid for it as did my legs but there was a fulfillment of satisfaction knowing that I was helping to get the word out. It was great to catch up with friends and colleagues I hadn’t seen for ages. I hope that those who had come down from London enjoyed the coast and the towns of Broadstairs and Ramsgate as they did their bit. After the campaigning, it was off to the local pub for some food and drink and good conversation chatting to new faces.

When not campaigning, Craig is can often be found cleaning up various places blighted by graffiti. Some people think this is a pre-election gimmick. Some people can often be wrong. Craig has long been a campaigner against the blight on the environment. There are those who believe that basically that cleaning up graffiti is something that a parliamentary candidate should not be involved in. Should it? I don’t think so. There is nothing wrong in wanting to take pride in the local area and if that means getting hands on and hands dirty then so be it. We should all take pride in our area. There is too often the leave it to someone else it, it’s not my job attitude. If it is not the leave it to someone else brigade, it is the Nimby’s. I really cannot stand Nimby’s and you will often find that many of them are quite hypocritical when it boils down to it.

For those who like to tag things left right and centre, I would happily see them once caught, not only fined (or the parents fined if a minor), but required to clean up the mess they made. Dont get me wrong, there are many of those who do graffiti, who are actually good and their talents used to brighten up places with good work, but those who just tag and deface things for the sake of it, are not welcome.