2017 General Election Diary Day 14: okay with the events that are unfolding currently

I thought taking the day off this election to look back at 1997 yesterday would mean I wouldn’t miss much of what was going on. After all, it was a bank holiday and any political people doing things would have been to busy thinking about Thursday’s local elections rather than the general election. Of course, I forgot to factor in the German press in that equation so instead everyone spent yesterday discussing on just how much of a bad foot any post-election Brexit talks will be getting off on, after we discovered the details of Jean-Claude Juncker and Theresa May’s dinner last week. By now, it’s all turned into a round of he’s-said-to-have-said, she’s-said-to-have-said with a side order of David Davis as the world’s worst icebreaker, but I’m sure the topic will be thoroughly examined at the leaders’ debates and the regular press conferences that will…

Oh, alright then. Never mind, I’m sure it’s not that important. It’s not like she’s announced she’s going to go into a negotiation with our leading trading partner that affects where millions of people can live and work, plus the future security of everyone else with the attitude of being ‘bloody difficult’, is it?

Oh, she has.

Diane Abbott wins the award for the first high-profile brain fade of the election campaign, as she manages end up promising somewhere between ten thousand and a quarter of a million new police officers, each of them costing somewhere between £30 and £8,000 a year. It happens in election camapigns, and she likely won’t be the last time we see someone going through a nightmare live on air before June 8th, but that’s little comfort when you have to spend the whole day reliving it every time the news runs.

A further prediction is that sometime in the next few weeks, someone will steal/plagiarise/be inspired by someone else’s speech as that seems to be a trend now – Melania Trump borrowed some inspiration from Michelle Obama last year, while Marine Le Pen’s latest speech in the French election had rather a lot of similarities to one by Francois Fillon a few weeks ago. Place your bets now on who’ll be the first to do it here in the UK. I’m going for Theresa May’s ‘strong and stable’ message slowly changing into a call for ‘stability, unity and decency’ by around May 27th, but she’ll get away with it as no one in the Liberal Democrats will want to admit that they actually thought that slogan was a good idea in 2015.

Today’s Election Leaflet Of The Day is the first sighting of one of the heavy hitters of British politics getting their campaign team up and running, as we have a leaflet for Keir Starmer that’s hitting doormats somewhere in Holborn and St Pancras. It appears to be a generic Labour leaflet design, so we’ll no doubt see similar ones (with different pictures and some changes in the message, hopefully) turning up in other places. No word on if his London Labour colleague Neil Coyle has seen this leaflet, however, but in response to Simon Hughes not using his knighthood on a leaflet, he was happy to tell the Standard it was disrespectful, so I’m sure he’ll be rushing to condemn Sir Keir for the same offence.

And while we wait for that condemnation to come, it’s time to end this for the day.

2017 General Election Diary day 7: Open to offence

Some really shocking news to get going with today: Open Britain have finally remembered that they’re supposed to be a political campaign group, and have taken a stance that has got them criticism from Tories for being too political, which is normally a sign that you’re doing something right. It’s also provided us with further proof, after the Commons votes on Article 50, that ‘Remain Tory MPs’ not called Ken Clarke are a mirage, as all of them will always put the Tory part of that ahead of the Remain when they come under pressure. Anna Soubry, for instance, calling it ‘blatant partisanship…when we must all come together’ shows that she’s swallowed whole the notion that Brexit means abandoning all democratic norms of opposition and scrutiny.

I’ve been critical of Open Britain in the past, and their refusal to do anything that might be slightly controversial (like referring to the Unite For Europe march as the ‘Make Your Voice Heard’ protest) has been incredibly annoying, but maybe they’ll finally get the fire in the belly for a proper fight against Brexit now, even if it is now several months too late.

Today’s big speech came from Keir Starmer, setting out Labour’s line on Brexit, which was that they continue to probably not be in favour of it, but will deliver it anyway as they have to continue pandering to Very Real Concerns. They will commit to letting EU citizens remain in Britain if they get into power, but quite what they’ll have to do with their time isn’t clear as they also remain committed to the Tory policy of crashing the economy by leaving the Single Market and hoping for the best.

Theresa May’s back on her Potemkin campaigning, and this time her standing in front of placard-waving Tory activists, then giving vague platitudes to journalists instead of actual answers happened in Wales. However, there are now reports that at some point since the campaign started she may have had contact with an actual member of the public. It didn’t go well. Oddly though, Graham Mills and his views haven’t been plastered all over the media like Gillian Duffy was in 2010.

Oh, and Tim Farron has clarified that he doesn’t think gay sex is a sin, so can we either draw a line under this, or insist that any MP who claims a religious faith provide us with detailed theological explanations of what they do or do not think is a sin?

Some news from Northern Ireland, where it seems attempts to form anti-Brexit electoral pacts are running into the same problems as they are in the rest of the UK, with differences on other issues coming to the fore. The election there is taking place amidst a huge number of other issues, and any decisions parties make isn’t just in the light of what it might mean in this election but how it plays in the post-Assembly election negotiations and in any potential future Assembly election if those talks break down. I suspect if any deals (beyond the Unionist pact) are possible, it’ll be a limited one between the Alliance and the Greens, in an attempt to try and win the Belfast East seat back from the DUP.

And finally, it’s Election Leaflet Of The Day time again, and yet again I’m wishing I included local elections here as then I could talk about how there’s a independent candidate looking to represent Weymouth on Dorset County Council called Francis Drake. If ever there was a perfect justification for knighting a local politician, his name alone is it. But sadly as he’s not running for Parliament, the leaflet of the day is yet again an uncontested seat as only this from Daniel Zeichner, Labour MP for Cambridge, has been uploaded since yesterday. As with yesterday’s winner, it’s a generally competently designed and written leaflet with no grounds for mockery. Am I going to have to wait until after the local elections are done for the genuinely weird and wonderful election leaflets to start appearing?