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Monday 15 May 2017

May Meets Real Voters Shock

Although she is so far enjoying significant leads in all the opinion polls, Theresa May has been the target of much adverse comment for her propensity to stay away from the public. While Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been out and about meeting real people, the grand procession of Empress Treeza has stuck rigidly to stage managed photo-ops, with carefully selected party activists, well away from the lumpen proletariat.
Someone at CCHQ must have actually heard the criticism, because today Ms May not only went on a walkabout, but then subjected herself to a Facebook Live event where she was quizzed by ITV political editor Robert Peston, not known for favouring any one party over another, but who has significant previous for having full and frank exchanges with the kinds of people the Tories like to get a little too close to (like the Murdochs).

And the result of this drive to engage with the little people has been a campaign that has progressed not necessarily to Ms May’s advantage. The walkabout, where our Prime Minister looked a little apprehensive at having to visit a town market in Abingdon, might have passed off without incident except for an encounter with a woman called Cathy, who has mild learning difficulties, but knew how to regale a politician.

Theresa, are you going to help people with learning disabilities? I'm being serious I want you to do something for us”, she told the PM. “I've got mild learning disabilities and I haven't got a carer at the moment, and I'm angry. And I would like somebody to help me, because I can't do everything I want to do … I’m talking about everybody, not just me. I'm talking about everybody who's got mental health and learning disabilities. I want them not to have their money taken away from them and being crippled”.

And then came the damning and all too true soundbite: “The fat cats keep all the money and us lot get nothing”. She wasn’t finished: “Do you know what I want? I want my disability living allowance to come back. Not have PIPs and get nothing. I can't live on £100 a month. They just took it all away from me”. Living on £100 a month.
The Facebook Live went no better, with questions such as “I can’t vote for you until you guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the UK”, “How can people afford to take a year off to care for someone?”, “Don’t people deserve to see a [TV] debate?”, “A lot of people feel strongly about fox hunting. Isn’t it a throw-back to crueller days?”, “Why didn’t you go to the RCN conference?”, “Why are nurses paid so little compared to company bosses?”, and the inevitable “Food banks have increased by 7,000 since the Tories have been in power”.

Worse, Cathy’s question was there too: “Over 60% of PIP (personal independence payments) are overturned on appeal. Doesn’t that show the system is brutal?” Theresa May might have a 20% lead in the latest Guardian/ICM poll, but she is not relishing having to answer the questions of real people. Nor is she looking convincing when doing so.

Theresa May looks even less like a Prime Minister with each passing day. But, barring unexpected deliverance, she is on her way back to Downing Street. Why that might be I will leave to others to figure out.


john riches said...

Tim, given that most polls seem to suggest that Corbyn is about on the same percentage vote as Miliband was at the last GE, then the obvious answer to your question is that May will be re-elected because the Ukip vote is going to the Tories.

Of course, what you're really 'leaving to others to figure out' is that IT'S CORBYN! AND CORBYN ALONE! But still - after two years of the same sort of argument - you get no further, failing a) to identify what you disagree with about his policies, and b) to identify another, better candidate who would drive Labour to unfailing electoral success.

Tim Fenton said...


Let me put it this way.

1 - https://yougov.co.uk/news/2017/05/15/voting-intention-regional-breakdown-apr-24-may-5/

2 A 20 point lead is unprecedented in modern times.

3 If the UKIP vote is up for grabs, why isn't Labour taking advantage too?

4 Tell me how wrong I am when Labour is reduced to 1935 levels of MPs.

john riches said...

Thanks for taking the time to reply Tim.

1. I'm not saying you're 'wrong'; Corbyn has a number of faults, but I'm afraid you - and your good friend Sunny Hundal - repeatedly demonstrate a lack of any viable alternative, both in terms of policies, and who might be best placed to lead them.

2. If, as seems very likely, Labour lose, it will be for a complex mixture of reasons; Corbyn himself, two years of PLP briefing against him, a leadership challenge, lack of ShadCab talent (with Cooper and others having taken their ball home and refusing to serve), and a shit, increasingly right wing media. I doubt it'll be the policies that are to blame.

3. The media is largely responsible for the lurch to the right in this country, and is why Labour isn't getting the kippers back. I'm not sure what you think - policy-wise - Labour could do differently.

4. Just one other thing, as you're keen on the polls; given that it appears that young people and students overwhelmingly back Corbyn, there could be an argument that he is the only thing actually keeping the Labour Party from a near-death trajectory - it's certainly the case that Cooper etc weren't going to be regenerating Labour (in terms of policies, membership/cash and youth engagement) anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

It might be highly likely May is on her way back to Downing Street. But so was the other female Tory gobshite Thatcher even after taking a wrecking ball to British ("There is no such things as...") society and even the British Union. Policies which were intensified by "electable" war criminals Blair and Brown, both of whom "led" this country into the worst Depression since 1929 and the massacre and impoverishment of millions of Middle East innocents.

You'd be better off asking how and why that REALLY came about instead of wittering on about (rigged) polls and Corbyn's personality. And how it would be continued by conmen like Starmer, Umuna, the Eagles and all the other Quislings In Waiting. Despite your pop gun attacks on various media corruptions you appear incapable of seeing no further than the next public relations and mainstream media bullshit. There are real moral issues at stake here, issues deliberately ignored for far too long.

If the Labour Party lose the next election - and the odds are heavy they will - it won't be "Because of Corbyn," it will be because the Labour Party long ago sold its arse to the establishment and became "electable." Few people now trust the Labour Party too because of the moral and actual corruption of New Labour......and who can blame them? Which means it's going to be a long, long way back.

The damage of the last 40 years will take many years to fix, and it WON'T be fixed by yet more public relations crap. It will take a steady build up of consensus as more and more people suffer the consequences of an iniquitous Capitalist system, aided by New Labour, which has inflicted terrible suffering on at least a quarter of our population, a proportion which is bound to increase when the Tories recommence their usual dirty work.

Policies put forward by the current Labour leadership might well be rejected by the majority of those who actually vote. Given the usual far right propaganda assault and fear-manufacturing, would that be a surprise? Corbyn and McDonnell alone could no more reverse that tide than could Canute. History shows every society only changed after it experienced acute problems at all levels.

The Tories might well "win" the next election. But it won't be in my name, not ever. And, I suspect, a great many more. Anyone who DOES vote them in will deserve every single bit of horror this nation goes through.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Tim Fenton said...

It's the media, it's everyone in the PLP who is not sufficiently loyal, there's no alternative out there.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. All Labour leaders have faced media hostility and discontent in the ranks - Corbyn knows all about that.

As to the alternative, if Jezza got hit by the proverbial bus and his deputy had to step in, Labour's poll ratings would improve overnight. That is what some can't figure out: the voters who matter have already decided Corbyn is not their kind of party leader.

And young voters - great. If only they voted in the same numbers the elderly do.

Anonymous said...

A large majority of Labour members want Corbyn's policies (barring his blindness over the EU); and it's the policies the right wing media are against. He could be useless; if he would only act like Chuka Ummuna they would only have the EU to throw at him. Any leader elected to follow the current policies which are hugely popular with the voters as well as the members would result in the same situation.

Fishman Dave said...

Tom Watson as Labour leader?????

Give me the name of your dealer Tim, you're getting far better shit than what's available to me

A.Robot (Mrs) said...

Alan Clifford is back from holiday and sounding chilled and refreshed.
Time to restart Carefully Considered Equivalences!

Anonymous said...

"As to the alternative, if Jezza got hit by the proverbial bus and his deputy had to step in, Labour's poll ratings would improve overnight."

...and Watson would have plausible deniability ;-) Let's face it: they've tried just about everything else - and failed.

Anonymous said...

@Tim Fenton at 18:20.

I fear that kind of one dimensional "thinking" is exactly the kind of nonsense that has dragged this country down for so long.

There comes a time when somebody - in the words of Robert Bolt - has to make a stand even at the risk of being a hero.

Well, Jeremy Corbyn is no hero. But he is a decent man with a set of reasonable values held for all his political life. Now that is reflected in his stated policies, freely available to those who want to look. If the electorate decide to ignore them, then don't be surprised by what is certain to follow, just as it was from 1979 onwards. As surely as night follows day the Tories will continue to loot national wealth for themselves, their chums and their international partners in crime - particularly the insane US version.

When May made her speech about the Tories being labelled "the Nasty Party," it was only on the grounds of public relations expediency. She, like all of them, hadn't the slightest intention of anything else other than avoiding the tag of "Nasty". Which of course is a vast understatement of what that gang represent. They are every bit as evil as Nye Bevan said. They really are rotten-to-the-core, and always will be. How much more evidence is needed?

It isn't unusual for people in this country to jeer at Germany for the evil horrors of Nazism. But that didn't creep up on the Germans. It was osmotic, a creeping slime which eventually overwhelmed enough people to get Hitler into office. Don't think it couldn't happen here. And if it does, those who go along with it can't say they weren't warned.

There is much more at stake in this country than phony slogans and conveniently manipulated polls. Much more of this immoral claptrap and this country might disappear into an abyss from which there will be no return for a century or more.

You might consider that before your next empty-headed assault on Jeremy Corbyn. But I won't make book on it.

Arnold said...

Polls haven't done well lately. The 2015 election, Brexit, and the 2016 Presidential election. Yet everybody seems to assume they will get next month right.
With all the talk of tactical voting in favour of Remain, I'm not convinced that it is possible to predict the result.

PS. The Mail has again proved Wikipedia right about it not being a reliable news source.
"This www.dailymail.co.uk page can’t be found

"No web page was found for the web address: http:// www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-450542 ... -205071272
Go to http://www.dailymail.co.uk/
Search Google for daily mail co uk news article 4505420 Pastor eaten crocodiles demonstrating Jesus water walk
Now reinstated after a hurried rewrite , when the truth dawned on them.

Anonymous said...

Tom "Nukes" Watson? The guy who'd willingly press a button and mass murder millions of innocents?

Him, you mean?

john riches said...

'As to the alternative, if Jezza got hit by the proverbial bus and his deputy had to step in, Labour's poll ratings would improve overnight. That is what some can't figure out: the voters who matter have already decided Corbyn is not their kind of party leader.'

Tim, that is, I reckon, rubbish (and of course, guesswork on your part). As good as he was v Murdoch, Tom Watson is exactly the type of conniving fixer that puts many people off politics - there's plenty of people who would see him as 'not their kind of party leader'.

'And young voters - great. If only they voted in the same numbers the elderly do.'

Well, they may this time - 1 million or so registered in the past few weeks; I've just canvassed 4 who are voting for the first time; At the Soul Weekender this past weekend, every band that urged people to register was cheered to the heavens, and I spoke to 7 young(er) people who were voting for the first time, and voting Corbyn.

Tim Fenton said...

It's not guesswork on my part, any more than naysaying the claim is guesswork on anyone else's.

As to the "look at all those new voters", we got that in 2015. That went well, didn't it?

And the bands getting cheered - yes, and so is Jezza. Look at those huge crowds! Then you can pore over the wasteland of defeat at your leisure, having had to listen to the victorious Tories baying and hollering once again.

One day, Labour will learn how to win elections again. It will not have anything to do with ideological purity, or eschewing good political operators.

john riches said...

Of course it's guesswork, as is my naysaying, because you've got absolutely no empirical data to show it to be true.

It's a really odd argument you've got there - 'yes, you've just told me that there's 11 young people that have registered to vote for the first time, but it's not enough - so there!'

I agree with your penultimate sentence though; as I've said, Corbyn has his faults. Part of the learning how to win elections is to not constantly attack and undermine your leader, once they're elected. The Tories play that brilliantly, yet Labour never seem to learn that one.

Your last sentence though? What is 'ideological purity'? It gets said a lot, but I really don't understand what it means. Do you mean policies and beliefs? And/or standing by them, or not? Isn't that what turned a lot of people off politics?

Genuinely, thanks for taking the time to engage, and for coming up with somebody who you think can do better.

Anonymous said...

It has nothing to do with "ideological purity".

But it has everything to with common sense decency.

Electoral expediency was tried with New Labour. It failed disastrously in Britain and in its affects on other countries. If you can turn your back on that fact, then you abrogate your human responsibility.

Robert Bolt again: "When statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties......they lead their country by a short route to chaos."

If you can't or won't see the basic truth of that, then you are complicit - willing or not - in what follows inevitably. By attacking Corbyn and not the demonstrable evil of Toryism and the creeping ur-fascism which threatens everybody, in your own tiny way you make it more likely.

How many more historic examples are needed? How many more Labour right wing sellouts before you decide enough is enough? How many more "electable" Blairs and how many more of - your words - Iraq "adventure(s)" and thieving PFIs are needed before people like you wake up?

For the first time in centuries, no thanks to Capitalism, we are experiencing long term peace in Europe. The NATO attack on Yugoslavia and the attempted lunatic encirclement of Russia and China shows just how fragile that can be. Jeremy Corbyn is merely one tiny element in this era.

You can either be part of the uncertain solution or part of the demonstrably evil problem. Whimpering about public relations and tenth rate "public figures" is not a solution - it is a volte face from reality. And spivs and Barrow boys like Starmer, Umuna and, worst of all, the Trilaterist Milliband are the ones who will finally bury what's left of the original humanist principles of the Labour Party. Once that happens the rest is entirely predictable, and tragic.

Fishman Dave said...

If "winning elections again" means another tory-lite twat like Blair, then I'd rather suffer under the real bastards, in the hope tbat a few others with a spine would be willing to escalate opposition.

I'd really rather die than see a Blairite government in power

Matt said...

If Tom Watson got hit by a bus. I think the bus would come off worse.

Corbyn all the way for me. If not this election then the next for sure if he can keep going. He certainly looks up for the fight. He has made my 2 kids politically aware, shame only 1 of them can vote yet.

Anonymous said...

Corbyn has surprised everybody.

He looks as though he's actually enjoying the election while May and co are like a badly scripted soap opera.

I must say I'd laugh my socks down if Corbyn managed to win despite the odds. I'd pay folding money to hand P45s out to the departing Tories but only if I could give each of them a hefty boot in the arse too.

I can dream.