My estimate of the Conservatives majority is 100 plus

A week or more ago I had a bet with a chum that the Conservative majority would be over 100. He was hugely sceptical of this number.

I was electioneering even before my first vote in the general election of 1964. Only in this general election has my input been less.

In 1964 we were living in the Wrekin constituency [now the Telford constituency] in southern Shropshire. It returned Conservative William Yates in 1964 with a small majority. In the following election in 1966, it turned Labour with Gerald Fowler – a good candidate and MP. Being in a marginal constituency is fun [with majorities are in the mid 100’s]. Well, it is for party workers, when effective campaigning can be seen to make a difference. In the following 1970 general election, the constituency returned Conservative Anthony Trafford with a small majority.

After 1970 I lived in strongly Labour-held London constituencies, and then later in Wolverhampton South West, where the MP was Enoch Powell, who had a huge majority. Twasn’t till the late 1980’s that we moved to Surrey Heath.

This history is a round-about way of explaining my experience and how it helps me get to the 100 plus majority in this election. Of course, I could be miles out in my estimate. It’s just that I think Midlands constituencies frequently change political representation, and being mostly strongly in favour of Brexit I think they’ll change to Conservatives this time. The same, I believe, goes for constituencies in the North East.

The metropolitan cities of London, Manchester, and Liverpool is where the Labour votes reside, and where the Conservative messages gain no traction.

This is an unusual election – coming as a surprise, being short in duration, and initially focused on a single topic – Brexit. It hasn’t turned out like that, with terrorist incidents dramatically altering the focus, and I believe the election outcome. Another reason for my 100 plus prediction.

Listening to Boris Johnson and Theresa May at a campaign rally

Yours truly got an invitation to attend a Conservative campaign rally, held in an empty warehouse/office building in the Slough Trading Estate.

My was I thankful it was held indoors, as queuing to get in was mostly in the rain – did take my brolly, for which I was thankful.

Boris was the warm-up speaker for Theresa May, and frequently referred to his script. Theresa May, impressively, spoke without a script, covering a lot of political issues. Good to be close-by both Boris and the PM, and to hear them speak. It’s easy to criticise politicians for what they say, and the way they say it – however, it takes no little courage and emotional energy to deliver a political speech with an audience so close to you. In the BBC’s Ben Wright photo of the rally, I’m in the front to the right, though not visible – wasn’t keen to be behind holding a placard, as wanted to see their faces.

I’ve not been as politically active at this election as I have in the past, so was pleased to get an invite. The rally was well organised with refreshments and biscuits available when inside the venue – pleased to say there were bourbon biscuits on offer – though not so many for those following me.

Theresa May hits back at negative EU briefings

Excuse me, what was Theresa May supposed to say at the dissolution of Parliament – everything is fine and dandy with the relationships with the EU. After learning that the exit bill from the EU is €100 billion, and that the European Court of Justice is required to be the arbiter of EU citizen’s rights when residing in the UK.

She is entitled to object, and in strong terms. I’m not of the opinion, held by many commentators – left and right, that it’s demeaning of the Prime Minister to respond as she did – READ HERE.

I couldn’t put it better than the incomparable Daniel Hannan,

Astonishing that Tories are selecting so many women candidates

Iain Dale beats me to it, when he tweets that the number of women selected to fight constituencies in the general election is astonishing. It’s the impression I’ve picked up from following @wallaceme tweets, and on which I’d intended to write.

It’s not just the number of women candidates, it’s the quality of candidates selected. One candidate that might not be widely know by the public is Vicky Ford – candidate for Chelmsford – an MEP for the East of England. I’ve heard her speak, and she’s mighty impressive, with a terrific grasp of the EU bureaucracy. Another is Kemi Badenoch, of which much will be heard in the future. Soon to be rising stars, both.

May’s machete mayhem

Apologies for the alliteration, but think it’s true that we’re witnessing the brutal excerise of power.

Theresa May has worked alongside cabinet ministers, and formed a view on them over the last six years. Wow, just wow, Gove gone, Osborne gone, Morgan gone, Letwin gone, Whittingale gone, Hunt gone.

Think Michael Gove will feel hurt, and experiencing that which Boris felt, not that many days ago now.

Seeing power being wielded to end careers leaves one somewhat aghast at it’s brutality. Soon will be out of wifi range, but will follow appointments with interest.

Elections for leader of a political party are brutal affairs

The Conservative, Labour, and UKIP parties are all, in some form or other, having leadership elections. Although it’s difficult to know when Labour’s election for leader will begin.

Conservative_logo_2006.svg    Logo_Labour_Party.svg    Logo_of_UKIP.svg

Senior Conservative MPs are noted for for their ability to act with brutal rapidity in dispatching failed ministers or leaders. Never was this more in recent evidence than when our MP – Michael Gove – withdrew support for Boris Johnson’s campaign to be leader of the party.

The compression of the Conservatives’s leadership race into a matter of weeks is causing that brutality to become evident. Whereas, in past times, the election process would allow for candidates to develop their policy lines, not so now. The race to get down to the last two on the ballot, which goes forward to party members, involves rubbishing your opponents position, and character. The media have their favourites, and objective reporting suffers.

The same seems to be true of UKIP. Not that I know much about the goings on inside UKIP. It’s leader has just left, sacked or resigned, who knows, and a potential leader has just been readmitted to the party.

While all the negative briefings are deeply unpleasant, and have have the potential to cause bruises from the contest to be lasting, and career defining. I guess politics was ever thus. To grab for power means elbowing others out of the way. It’s life I suppose, though unattractive.

I read a super tweet, in which the writer suggests that in pub quizzes held in say 2030, the answer to almost every question will be 2016.

Michael Gove’s statement on his voting intention in the EU Referendum

On 20 February 2016, Surrey Heath MP Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Justice, gave a detailed statement on his position regarding the EU Referendum

Vote LeveFor weeks now I have been wrestling with the most difficult decision of my political life. But taking difficult decisions is what politicians are paid to do. No-one is forced to stand for Parliament, no-one is compelled to become a minister. If you take on those roles, which are great privileges, you also take on big responsibilities.
I was encouraged to stand for Parliament by David Cameron and he has given me the opportunity to serve in what I believe is a great, reforming Government. I think he is an outstanding Prime Minister. There is, as far as I can see, only one significant issue on which we have differed.

And that is the future of the UK in the European Union. It pains me to have to disagree with the Prime Minister on any issue. My instinct is to support him through good times and bad.

But I cannot duck the choice which the Prime Minister has given every one of us. In a few months time we will all have the opportunity to decide whether Britain should stay in the European Union or leave. I believe our country would be freer, fairer and better off outside the EU. And if, at this moment of decision, I didn’t say what I believe I would not be true to my convictions or my country.

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Two speeches this week about the ‘privledged few’

Ed Miliband this week spoke at how society, he suggested, works for the ‘privileged few’. He also alluded to what he claims are vested interests, having previously suggested hedge fund managers and political donors are one such.

There was another speech this week, from a hedge fund donor to the Conservatives, making his maiden speech in the House of Lords in a debate on Women: Homelessness, Domestic Violence and Social Exclusion in which Michael Farmer said,

“….. I will give three brief facts of my career. I started work at 18 as an £8 per week difference account clerk in a London Metal Exchange member firm; I became a Christian when I was 35; and in the last ten years I have been an active supporter of the Centre for Social Justice, especially of their policies which support families.

However, the background that I would emphasise to your Lordships is my sister’s and my childhood. We were born at the end of the war, and both our parents were alcoholic. My father died from this when I was four, and violence was a part of that backdrop. We were soon bankrupt and, with a mother still struggling with drink, my sister and I experienced the poverty, neglect and shame that are such potent drivers of social exclusion.

I benefited from attending the boarding house of Wantage state grammar school, and in this context I welcome the Prime Minister’s determination to help more looked-after children gain places at today’s state boarding facilities. A good education is invaluable for social mobility; hence I am a sponsor and governor of ARK All Saints Academy in Camberwell.

My sister was not so fortunate; she left school at 14 and, in her subsequent years, struggled with broken relationships, alcoholism and depression. I am telling your Lordships this not only to explain why my heart and head would wish to be involved in today’s deliberations, but also to come back to that House role of scrutiny and opinion revision when we consider one another. ….”

Government ministerial reshuffle

Reading Guido’s running blog on the ministerial comings and goings, wife and I tittered over this,

12:30pm: Penny Mordaunt is the new PUSS at DCLG.

No disrespect to Penny, but to be the new puss must be fun. I know, it’s really Permanent Under Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government. Can see why it’s shortened.