Tuesday 26 November 2019

Can the Tories Make Gains in Scotland?

"You've called for legislation to protect the NHS from Donald Trump. Maybe it needs legislation to protect if from Nicola Sturgeon?" That was the question posed by Andrew Neil when he forensically demolished Scotland's First Minister who heads a completely devolved Scottish National Health Service that allows patients to die due to polluted water.

Yes, the read that right, the water at the brand new Queen Elizabeth hospital in Glasgow was not safe to drink, and twenty-six patients were infected by it of which two later died. That is what happens in third world countries and now it happens in Scotland.

I should point out that if you live in Scotland the bulk of the issues that affect you on a day to day basis, education for your kids, the health service, local government, the police, are all run completely by Holyrood, not Westminster, and all of them are failing.

Let me go on the say that I am a double-leaver: I voted Yes for independence in 2014 and then Leave in the 2016 EU referendum. If I am cheesed-off at Sturgeon's failures then God knows what your average man in the street thinks.

The SNP are running at about 40% in the polls, but the Tories are now on 28% and seem to be gaining ground. Most of it may be coming from Labour and the Liberal-Democrats, but if the Tories can break clear from the pack, say by reaching 30% in the polls, then this will become a genuine two-horse-race.

Nicola Sturgeon is a brilliant campaigner for Scottish independence and well adept at brushing aside the economic arguments against it. However, as First Minister of Scotland, her time in office has been a catastrophe for the bread and butter issues that very many voters are concerned about.

It is on those issues that her party should be judged and the verdict must be that it is not fit for the country's purpose and our votes.

Sunday 24 November 2019

Why Labour Leavers Must Vote Conservative

Boris is on target to win a historic victory of monumental proportions that could even put the landslides of 1945 and 1983 in the shade. The Tories are making great strides in Northern and Midlands England and look set to take over thirty seats in that region. Wales is a longstanding Labour fiefdom that could fall next month to the blue wave, so what can stop Boris' army now?

If we ignore unforeseen events that tend to crop up when nobody expects them and blindside one side or the other, the major danger that Boris faces come from Jo Swinson, her Liberal-Democrats and the unwilling help that they could give to Labour.

The Lib-Dems are a party that has not made any headway in this election and are now stuck on about 15% in the polls. If just 5% of that total decides that since the Lib-Dems are going nowhere and Jezza's Labour gang are the second-placed horse to back then they could put Labour back into contention for the top spot.

Swinson appeals to the real hardline Federasts who support an immediate revocation of Article 50 with no Losers' Vote to cover up that act. It may very well be that since Swinson is a Scottish Unionist who represents a Scottish seat her objection to another EU referendum is directly related to her hardline opposition to another vote on Scottish independence which the SNP are demanding. If you think about it, opposition to one is intellectually incoherent without opposition to the other. Swinson's seat is under threat from the SNP so she has to bolster her Unionist credentials to try and save her seat on the Westminster gravy train.

However, the 15% or so of the population who support the Lib-Dems almost certainly do not share her desire to save the Union first and foremost. It is quite likely that they put the EU first and as Boris rises in the polls they may just decide to cut their Lib-Dem losses and take a chance with Jezza and his idea of another referendum, or a Losers' Vote as I call it.

What can Boris do under those circumstances? There is not much left to squeeze out of The Brexit Party who are now down to about 3% in the polls, so the only obvious target is to try and make a play for Labour Leavers.

Funnily enough, that is exactly what the Scottish Tories are doing right now, although their target is the SNP:

This Tweet from Annie Wells, a Tory MSP went live on Saturday. It is a brutally honest and totally cynical appeal to Scottish voters who may even hate the Tories to vote for Boris's party to stop the SNP forcing another independence referendum on us and then Labour doing the same with their Losers' Vote wheeze. People in Scotland are as entitled to a quiet life as people in the rest of the country so a vote for the Tories is the best way to get it - even if we loathe the party.

If Labour starts to climb in the polls, with an obvious decline in the Lib-Dem vote, then Boris is just the man to issue an appeal to what is left of the Labour Leave vote to rally behind him to get Brexit over and done with by the end of January 2020.

Brexit cuts across all other loyalties and that is why all sound Brexiteers must line up and vote for the one party that will deliver Brexit to us, and that party is the Conservative one with Boris Johnson at its head.

Friday 22 November 2019

With the Debate Over, Boris Continues to Climb in the Polls.

The debate between Boris and Jezza that I was worried might lead to a boost for the latter ended up as a draw with neither man gaining an advantage which meant that Boris' steady climb in the polls was able to continue unhindered. Next week there is another debate involving all the party leaders, but quite rightly Boris has decided to sit that one out. It is about climate change, so is only of interest to the type of snowflake who won't vote for Boris, anyway.

The next potential crisis came and went yesterday with the release of the Labour manifesto. Two years ago, Labour's manifesto led to an immediate increase in support for the party, but it seems as if the Tories were ready this year and have moved to try and defuse the more popular parts of Jezza's offering.

Other people who have concerns about Labour are also getting in on the act, such as this young woman with her ditty that manages to be both engaging and terrifying at the same time:

My feeling is that the manifesto falls down on the quite simple grounds that most of it cannot be implemented from within the EU. Certainly, the free broadband idea would run up against EU competition rules and those members of Labour Momentum who are discussing the need for exchange controls with great glee really do need to be reminded that free movement of capital is one of the four freedoms that are the cornerstones of the whole EU edifice. I try to remind them that this is one of the reasons why historically the left opposed the EU root and branch but they don't seem to want to listen. Hopefully, a defeat will make them see sense.

Boris is not out of the woods just yet, but with the election coming less than three weeks from now, his position looks solid.

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Why Tonight's Debate Could Backfire Against Boris.

I am very dubious about the Boris versus Jezza head to head debate that will take place tonight. There is a good reason why sitting Prime Ministers do not take part in these stunts and someone should have had a quiet word with Boris and told him that this was not one of his better ideas.

The Tories are ahead of Labour by at least ten points so what does Boris hope to gain from this event? It is unlikely that his margin will increase but the danger is there that Jezza may score enough hits to increase his level of support.

Boris is the better speaker of the two, but as those of us who remember him from the Oxford Union will testify, he is also bone-idle and relies on his wit to carry the day and get him out of the trouble that his lack of knowledge of a subject has caused him.

It must also be said that Jezza has one advantage over Boris in that he actually believes what he says. Boris, on the other hand, comes over as the cove who says whatever he has to in the hope of getting the votes.

Even if Boris does not implode - and I do not think that he will - then the possibility that the debate will lead to an increase in support for Jezza is still high. Consider the possibility that the Leader of the Opposition will leave the audience realising that the Liberal-Democrats are going nowhere and thus persuade a big chunk of their 14% in the polls to switch to Labour. If that happens then Boris' ten-point lead could be halved pretty quickly and that puts us back into hung parliament territory once again.

Finally, and most serious of all, could a Boris victory in the debate leave Brexiteers feeling that he has it in the bag? If enough start to think that then Nigel Farage's five per cent in the polls could turn out to be on the low side. We need to remember that votes for The Brexit Party come overwhelmingly from the Tories, not Labour. 

All in all, tonight's performance is a bad idea for the Brexiteers, and we all will pray mightily that not too much damage is done by it.

Saturday 16 November 2019

Nigel Farage Gifts the Tories Another 42 Seats

It is impossible not to admire Nigel Farage. I felt that way when I met the man about six years ago and I still retain all my admiration for his work over the past two decades to free the UK from the tentacles of the EU. I just wish that he was more astute as a strategist, that's all. As a campaigner he is great, but he does seem to have forgotten of late that Brexit is not about any single man it really is about leaving the EU.

His unilateral decision to stand down his candidates in 317 Tory seats will certainly help Boris, but almost as important was the failure to find candidates - or have them resign rather than split the Brexit vote - in 42 more. Most of them are in Scotland where The Brexit Party has collapsed to all intents and purposes as I reported recently, but there are a few others in ultra marginals that the Tories need to win if they are to stay in office. 

Farage has gifted those seats to Boris, albeit as a result of The Brexit Party's incompetence, rather than by any design on Nigel Farage's part. Still, Boris needs good luck as well as good management, and Lady Luck has just smiled on him 42 times.

Thursday 14 November 2019

Brexit Party Will Not Contest Edinburgh West

Following on from yesterday's posting, now that nominations for the elections have now closed, The Brexit Party will not stand a candidate in Edinburgh West. Michael Boyd was due to be the sacrificial lamb to Nigel Farage's ego but following representations from any number of people, including me, he decided to stand down. His replacement happens to be a friend of mine and as soon as I told him what the situation was in this constituency he decided not to bother as well.

Sadly, The Brexit Party has managed to find two people who will stand in this city, one in Edinburgh North & Leith and the other in Edinburgh South-West. Neither has any hope of saving his deposit and neither will get any support from a party that has basically collapsed as an electoral force.

Both were chosen at the panic-stricken meeting that was called at the Marriott Hotel on Tuesday when pretty much anyone who had 500 quid in his pocket to pay his election deposit was allowed to stand.

Across the whole of Great Britain, the press is reporting that the clownish buffoonery that we have seen in Scotland is being repeated, with candidates standing down and being replaced by anyone who is willing to put his name forward and stump up the deposit. God knows who these people are, but I expect that more than a few will come into the category of headbangers and the press should have a field day reporting on their weird and wonderful views.

All good fun, but I just wish that Farage had taken his victory and left the field wide open for Boris to get a thumping majority.

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Exclusive: The Brexit Party Has Collapsed in Scotland

The Brexit Party appears to be falling apart in Scotland, which is good news for those of us who have decided that Boris' way is pretty much the only way to get Brexit done.

Nigel Farage pulled all his senior people out of Scotland a week ago, including the National Organiser. Louis Stedman-Bryce, the party's sole MEP in Scotland was then appointed as the new National Organiser, but given no support or help whatsoever. He was due to stand as the candidate in Glasgow North but resigned using Farage's decision to pull over 300 candidates from the line as his excuse. Actually, I suspect he realised that he would be left carrying the can for the looming catastrophe and decided to get our sharpish.

Edinburgh West had a candidate named Michael Boyd, a man I wrote to yesterday to urge him not to stay with the Brexit Party's sinking ship. Just today, I got an email from an old friend telling me that he had been asked to stand in this division, so it looks as if Michael Boyd took my advice.

I answered my old friend's email and pleaded with him not to take this poisoned chalice, and I am pleased to report that he will not now be standing for The Brexit Party.

This afternoon, a meeting was called at the Marriot Hotel in Edinburgh's Old Town and pretty much all the attendees were begged to stand in next month's elections, so it looks as if Boyd and Stedman-Bryce are not the only people who have called it a day. By the way, that meeting was only called yesterday, which suggests to me that bowels are liquifying nicely in what is left of the senior reaches of The Brexit Party.

Finally, people are getting text messages begging them to stay at home tomorrow to receive visitors who will ask them to sign candidates' nomination forms. Given that these forms have to be in by 4.00 pm on the dot, and that ten signatures are needed for each one, I think this is a bit of a forlorn hope but never mind. As I understand it one woman who was asked to waste a day indoors told the caller that she was going to the hairdresser's and would be out of touch all day.

What is going on? Basically, Farage is brilliant as the leader of a pressure group and appalling as a party political leader. He only trusts his close friends and anyone who is not a mate of Nigel is kept out of the inner-sanctum. 

The sensible thing for Farage to do would be to pull all his candidates and give Boris a clear run to the Brexit prize, but his ego will not allow him to do that. He must know that candidates that have been chosen the day before nominations close have no chance of even saving their deposits - deposits that they have to find themselves, by the way - but he needs 300 of them to ensure that he gets a free television party election address. Besides that, he has announced that he will have 300 candidates, and his ego means that wants that number.

I do not know what is happening in the rest of the country but in Scotland, The Brexit Party is pretty much finished as a serious political force. 

The field is now wide open for Boris and his gang!

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