Election Selection : Week 6

xmas-frank

Understandably, considering this week’s atrocities in Manchester , politics and the general election in particular has been put firmly in its place. That place being a self-serving sideshow – most usually played out in the gutter.

Et Tu, Frankie?

Talking of which we note this week that Birkenhead MP Frank Field took some time out from writing for his usual safe havens  ( The S*n, The Daily Mail) to get a letter printed on enemy territory in The Grauniad  (aka The Guardian).

https://amp.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/21/how-might-labour-get-a-fair-hearing-for-its-popular-policies

Note how Frankenfield stabs the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn  , ever so politely, in the back:

‘In the event of a defeat on 8 June, Jeremy’s manifesto must be the point from which a new PLP alone chooses a parliamentary leader who is able to build trust and legitimacy with the electorate. For the new parliamentary leader not to start from here, and to revert to Blairism, would miss the point of just how much Jeremy has changed centre-left politics. The test which must be passed in the new parliament is to combine a popular programme with a leader who possesses prime ministerial qualities.’

So basically, having apparently already conceded defeat , the bitter and twisted poverty tourist says he likes Jezza’s policies but he thinks his main failing is that he lacks the gravitas of his late heroine, Margaret Thatcher . With the narrowing gap in the opinion polls we’re left wondering whether Frankenfield has made a very rare political mis-step or is he just being spectacularly disloyal and duplicitous as usual?

Manifesto Fun

Quite rightly ,one of last week’s commentators took us to task about  whether we’d actually read each political parties manifestos for the forthcoming general election. To which we could only reply – ain’t nobody got time for that!

So following on from our commentary about the Resolution Foundation’s analysis of the manifestos of the two major political parties and the similarity between their welfare policies we move on to expert opinion on the manifesto pledges dealing with finance and crime ( is there a difference we hear you cry !).

Financial think tank, the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) , tells us that neither the Conservative or Labour Party party’s general election manifestos sets out an honest set of choices :

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/may/26/conservative-labour-tax-spending-plans-ifs-general-election-manifesto

And so it would appear that you pays your money and you’re stuffed either way you vote!

Meanwhile the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies published their assessment of the key manifesto pledges by the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats.

With the appalling events which took place in Manchester this week their analysis takes on greater significance. Interestingly they reject the notion that , given the lack of strong evidence that more police cut crime, a policy to increase police numbers is not desirable. This points to a broader challenge, as Will McMahon argues in a comment piece on the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies website in May 2017

https://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/sites/crimeandjustice.org.uk/files/UKJPR%20Focus%2C%20Assessing%20the%20Manifestos%2C%20May%202017.pdf

 The resourcing of mental health workers and social workers to manage demand presently met by police officers should be a high priority. This would necessarily mean an overall shift in government budgets away from policing and towards the training and employment of social work and mental health professionals. This approach could lead to a radically downsized and less publicly visible police force, shorn of its social work responsibilities and instead, focusing on the estimated 16 per cent of incoming calls to command and control centres that are actually about law-breaking.

As we’ve said before – the information is out there to make your electoral choice. All we ask is that you make it an informed one!

Election Selection : Week 5

Pip - Corbyn rally

Storm the barricades: Power Boy Pip in his ‘The North Face’ windcheater doesn’t know whether to laugh at Cllr Brian Kenny in a hi-viz jacket or cry that he could have been the MP for Wirral West

Corbyn’s Tour of Wirral

As we have previously highlighted, the Wirral West constituency is the only local point of interest for us in the forthcoming General Election as it promises to be a closely contested marginal seat . Hence the presence of Jezza himself yesterday on West Kirby beach in support of current Labour MP, Margaret Greenwood. Let’s face it – in terms of profile it’s an improvement on ‘Lord’ Prescott and Labour Deputy John McDonnell who turned up to do the good cop/bad cop routine last time around.

Nevertheless our sources tell us it was much like the weather –  despite the numbers it was a bit of a damp squib. Organisers couldn’t quite co-ordinate the Corbyn motorcade with The Velvelettes classic  ‘He Was Really Sayin’ Somethin’ booming out on the PA – but full marks (or should that be Marx) for trying.

Corbyn turned up later as the support act for The Libertines at Prenton Park at the ‘Wirral Live’ concerts taking place over the weekend – although we’re not sure it’s exactly ethical that people turning up for a pop concert should be involuntarily treated to a party political broadcast on behalf of the Labour Party. Having said that we couldn’t name a Libertines tune between us here at Leaky Towers. But we suspect that lead singer Pete Doherty would most definitely feel at home round here and would have no doubt provided a boost to the local economy. Just sayin’

Working Hard For Frankenfield

Corbynfield 015

Some of you lucky people have received Birkenhead MP Frank Field’s campaign leaflet published by his political agent Cllr George Davies. We know this as we’ve been forwarded a copy. First thing to say is why did Gorgeous George bother wasting Labour party funds on publishing such a pointless item when we all know that all Frankenfield needs to do to get elected is NOT support a corrupt local regime complicit in the abuse of vulnerable people. Oh………..

The leaflet is most curious as Frankenfield seems to concede that the forthcoming General Election is a foregone conclusion.

He says he’s going to:

  • Push the new government to negotiate a Brexit settlement that makes our country fairer and more prosperous while enabling us to control our own borders ,our own laws and our own taxpayer’ money
  • Build pressure on the new government to protect and strengthen the NHS and social care
  • Encourage the new government to place every household automatically onto the cheapest available tariff for their gas and electricity

So is he saying – the Conservative Party is a shoo-in or that he will be challenging his own party? Modern politics can be so confusing! As far as we’re concerned there appears to be a hare’s breath between all of the political parties after your vote. Not least when you consider Theresa May’s Tory Smorgasbord of policies nicked from left,right and centre.

For example did you know that analysis of party manifestos by Resolution Foundation shows Jeremy Corbyn would go ahead with most of former Tory chancellor George Osborne’s planned benefits cuts. This includes at least a £7bn slash to welfare even if Labour wins power. Apparently three-quarters of the huge package of benefit cuts announced by the former chancellor in 2015 are yet to be implemented, including a major reduction in support given to the low-paid, and limiting payments to families with more than two children. Did Jezza mention any of this during his rousing speeches over the weekend?  Just askin’ .

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/20/labour-manifesto-keep-planned-tory-benefit-cuts-resolution-foundation?CMP=share_btn_tw

Finally – we just need to reiterate our apolitical credentials. We do not intend to exert any political influence over our readers. All we ask is that you question everything, especially when ongoing political campaigns seem to confirm the old adage that politics is showbiz for ugly people!