Stoke Central: Labour vs not-Labour

The Stoke Central by-election is a conflict between Labour and Gareth Snell on one hand, and not-Labour and Brexit on the other.

paul-nuttall-by-euro-realist-newsletter-2009-09-04The specifics of UKIP and Paul Nuttall will drag down the latter – being a pathological liar and a party of clowns will not be attractive qualities anywhere in the world. Nuttall seems to be aware of this, not having attended either of the last two hustings for what is probably the biggest contest in the party’s history, and taken down his website for ‘routine maintenance’ just a week before voting.

Despite these specifics, Nuttall still has a chance of winning. In Stoke Central, 69.4% voted for Leave in the European Referendum, and there is the feeling among a lot of working class voters that neither Tory nor Labour can be trusted to make Brexit happen. This is part of a broader sense that parties don’t listen to voters.

It’s easy to laugh at Nuttall and UKIP. But as Donald Trump proves, just because a politician is ludicrous, we shouldn’t underestimate their ability to take advantage of a sense of abandonment.

 

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What We’ve Read this Week – Donald Trump and The Chinese Trademark

As always Donald Trump has dominated political news this week, so he’s dominated our political reading.
Scott Pruitt: Poacher turned inside man?

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The post-truth nature of Arron Banks’ Hillsborough response

A major story in the run-up to the Stoke by-election has been UKIP leader and committed fantasist Paul Nuttall pretending to have lost a friend at the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. Major donor Arron Banks seems to have decided that this hole wasn’t deep enough so dug deeper by attacking victims. He’s argued that the preventable disaster and cover-up of police failures which took 27 years to overturn have been treated as “some sort of cultural happening“.

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Goldsmith’s Folly

This post first appeared on our Facebook page.

Zac Goldsmith has resigned as Tory MP with the intent of making the by-election a referendum on the unpopular Heathrow expansion. Although such a ‘referendum’ would be informal and abstract, it’s unlikely to be the major factor when locals decide where they will cast their vote.

The Tory Party will not stand a candidate, and it appears that UKIP will not either. This leave’s Goldsmith’s main opponents as Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, all of whom share Goldsmith’s opposition to Heathrow. If there is no pro-expansion option on the ballot, how can the by-election possibly be a referendum on the Tory Party’s policy of Heathrow expansion?

Why Is Everybody Awful Except Me?

Last week Stephen Woolfe, UKIP MEP and favourite to be their next leader, was punched and hospitalised by a fellow UKIP MEP. The responses to the story weren’t pretty. One BBC report, published as the story was breaking, included these comments:

It was SHOCK!! the first time he’d done a morning work for 12 years ! And the first time he’d been in the chambers !! Poor sod, should’ve stuck to the usual UKIP lunch of 4 bottles of expensive wine and missed the morning meeting !!

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The Incredible Incompetence of Steven Woolfe

There are currently two leadership election campaigns being ran by major British political parties. As leftwingers, the co-writers of this blog initially saw wins for Labour’s Owen Smith and UKIP’s Steven Woolfe as the worst possible scenario for the left.

Large proportions of the working class areas which voted to Leave in the June referendum were in safe Labour seats where UKIP have been growing in strength. The working class Leave vote was, in our experience as Remain campaigners, largely an anti-establishment vote. Phrases like ‘something has to change’ came up fairly often. Smith’s suggestion of a second referendum once the terms of Brexit have been made clear (as opposed to the best of all worlds mirage which was offered in June) is sensible. But the prospect of a well-off former drug company executive potentially trying to reverse a working-class rebellion against the establishment would be a dangerous one. To make this work, Smith would need to draw on reserves of charisma, persuasion and clarity of communication that he simply doesn’t have.

Labour’s ability to present themselves as being the party of the working class would be even tougher were UKIP to be led by the highly-regarded working class MEP and barrister Steven Woolfe, born and raised in Manchester’s Moss Side.

However, despite Woolfe being favourite to win, his application was submitted to the party 17 minutes after the deadline closed, leading to UKIP’s National Executive Committee voting to exclude him from the contest. So why did the man many see as Nigel Farage’s most natural successor fall at the first hurdle?

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