Teresa May the real life ‘Nicola Murray’

After having to deal with another calamitous mistake by Nicola Murray ‘the thick of it,’  Malcolm Tucker tells her ‘You’re a fucking omnishambles, that’s what you are. You’re like that coffee machine, you know: from bean to cup, you fuck up.’ After the complete mess that Theresa May has made of the 2017 election there are probably many Tories who share the same view of their hapless Prime Minister.

When Theresa May declared an election it was according to her to strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations and to give her the mandate to ensure it was carried through.  It was also a chance to increase the Conservative majority and to take advantage of what they perceived was a Labour party in turmoil.

However rather than leading to a landslide it was to be a disastrous campaign that far from being a ‘strong and stable government,’ led to a hung parliament and to a weak and unstable minority government. Rather than Jeremy Corbyn looking out of his depth it is Theresa May drowning in a pool of her own incompetence.

The Labour party ran a first class campaign and although they didn’t win enough seats to form a government they did enough to make a lot of ground from the last election.  It would have been one almighty swing to Labour if they had romped home but it is progress especially as the Conservatives now rely on the DUP to form a government.

Although there was still a lot of media bias against Corbyn he was still shown to be able to connect with the public.  To paraphrase the West wing it was best to let ‘Jeremy to be Jeremy.’  He connected with the electorate, was pleasant, personable, and was seen to be comfortable answering questions from the media and the public.

This was in complete contrast Theresa May who looked shifty, uncomfortable, and only seemed to speak in soundbites.  Everything was stage-managed from the public events that she attended to the questions being vetted.  At one news conference a journalist in Cornwall was shown the door for daring to ask a third question.

Theresa May has consistently performed poorly at PMQ’s but she was to take this to a new level.  Meeting the electorate seemed to be an inconvenience and there seemed to be an arrogance that the public would accept anything.  The so-called ‘dementia tax,’ policy backfired spectacularly when the Conservative manifesto made plans to make people pay more of their own social care.  The policy caused anger because payments after death could eat into the inheritance of offspring whose parents were unlucky enough to suffer from a condition – like dementia – in which reliance on social care is inevitable.

It lead to a u-turn by Theresa May who scaled back proposals but considering that she was meant to be a decisive leader who wouldn’t stand any nonsense in brexit talks, made May look as though she would buckle under the slightest pressure.

The campaign by May led to personal insults against Corbyn and negativity throughout.  It seemed that so long as May got in her buzz words of ‘strong and stable government,’ that people would believe that she was the only one that could deliver this. However it just seemed stale and clichéd as Theresa May stood there nervously.  When forced to take questions May would take a sip of water to quench the nerves of being out of her comfort zone.  Again a trait that hardly inspires confidence.

In many respects Theresa May is one of those company middle-managers who are promoted way above their ability.  As a result they cause mayhem and damage before being quietly moved on.

By now it seemed to be as though the Conservatives were seeing Theresa May as a liability due to her consistent poor performances in public.  The decision to duck the leadership debate was poor judgement.  After all if you couldn’t comfortably argue your case and take questions how could you be deemed fit to negotiate in Brexit talks?  Inadvertently May raised Amber Rudd’s chances of taking her job by allowing her to take her place and performing well.

Of course the election was more than Brexit it was about the cuts in social service, education, the NHS and how austerity is affecting the ordinary person.   Labour’s manifesto seemed to an attractive and fair solution to bring about a fairer society.

As election day drew near it was the hope that people would allow the sound bites and uncertainty thrown about Corbyn to stick with May.  Indeed many thought the Conservatives would still win comfortably despite the poor performances of May.  They were to be shocked when the final poll at 10pm on the 8th June 2017 rightly declared it be a hung parliament.

Labour may not have won enough to govern but they had made progress whereas Theresa May had spectacularly shot herself in the foot.  She had called an election believing it to be a formality and a chance to increase the Conservative majority in parliament.  Instead they lost seats and rather than bringing ‘strong and stable,’ May now presides over a minority government with less MPs.  Now they have to rely on the DUP which will bring about other issues.  Furthermore due to the lack of a majority May will have to deal with factions within her own party.  Rather than talking about moving forward it is now about uncertainty and when another election will be called.

Even as the ceiling has come crashing down and with bits of plaster in her hair, May still acted as though she had won a massive majority.  Despite the clichéd key words that had fallen as flat as a fart at a funeral, May still couldn’t help herself declaring the coalition with the DUP as bringing a ‘government of certainty.’  It was as though May was hoping to hoodwink the public that everything was fine rather than being an almighty mess through her own making.

This didn’t go down with the party faithful especially the candidates who had lost seats.  To not even acknowledge that this was a massive set back was another poor error of judgement.  However Theresa May calamitous flounders around like Nicola Murray that it can’t be long before she declares a policy for ‘every day bat people.’

Prior to this election many felt that it would be the end of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour party.  Many were probably already writing his obituary.  Instead it is a dazed, incompetent, and weak Theresa May who staggers on after losing all credibility.

After this poor performance and weak leadership it surely can’t be long before Theresa May steps aside.  Whether she makes that decision or is forced out will be played out in the coming months. There really is no way that May can continue as Prime Minister.  She looks weak and above all has been shown to be incompetent that another election probably seems certain by the end of the year.

 

 

 

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Why there is no such thing as impartial media as the 2017 election shows.

With the general election only a few weeks away it is just as well Teresa May has got the media on her side.  So far her performances on the campaign trail have been poor.  Journalists have had to submit questions with a local reporter being swiftly shown the door in Devon for having the audacity to ask one extra question that wasn’t on the list.

Everything has been stage-managed with May even playing the jingoism card by accusing the EU of trying to interfere because they fear how she won’t stand any nonsense from those pesky Europeans.

The Conservative sound bites have also had the impact of a clumsy theatrical dive of a footballer trying to get a penalty as May once again gets ‘strong and stable government,’ into a sentence with the shout of bingo as the final cliché has been spoken.

Then there is the embarrassment of the hacking of the NHS computer database with the hackers holding personal details to ransom.  If it had been a Labour government it would have been a guarantee that they would have got crucified especially as they were fully aware that the security was weak but were not prepared to stump up the cash.

Journalism and the news media have been far from impartial for it to be to be too much of a surprise.  There are too many vested interests with media moguls such as Rupert Murdoch intent on their news outlet to press forward their views on the public.  If there is anything that goes or threatens their interests then you can guarantee an attack on that person or institution.

The attacks on Jeremy Corbyn are nothing short of sinister even before this campaign.  It is as though the likes of Murdoch won’t take any chances by continually attacking him.  Whether its questioning his patriotism by not bowing properly enough, labelling him as weak, or simply Corbyn’s dress sense it has been a drip, drip, drip attack that people slowly absorb.  Headlines such as ‘Corb snubs the Queen,’ or even the subtle Sunday Times headline ‘Corbyn sparks Labour civil war,’ or ‘Corbyn Union pals pledge strike chaos,’ all give the impression of someone struggling to keep control and not knowing what they are doing.  Of course you will hear people say that you can’t trust the papers but with the constant negative headlines there are some that believe that they must be some truth.

Even the media that profess to be left such as the Guardian can’t help but be aghast and look at ways at undermining Corbyn.  The likes of Polly Toynbee who wail at the lack of leadership and his policies not being credible to Nick Cohen throwing his toys out of the pram due to the audacity of Labour members daring to vote for who they want as leader and not his choice is breathtaking.  Again it gives the impression that Corbyn is a bumbling fool that doesn’t live in the real world.

The slightest mistake or controversy is magnified and used to hammer the fact that Corbyn is unsuitable to be Prime Minister.  Take for example Diane Abbott getting her figures completely messed up about the cost of extra Policing if Labour was elected Government.  It was further fuel that a Labour government didn’t really know it’s figures and would not only deliver but put the country into debt.  Recently Abbott was also mocked by getting lost on stage after addressing the Police federation conference.

Nothing though was made of Amber Rudd being openly mocked by Police at the same federation conference when claiming officers were on £40,000 a year when questioned about Officers using food banks.  To make matters worse Rudd dug the hole further by trying to deflect the blame by saying ‘so I’m told,’ despite it being her business being the Home Secretary.

Philip Hammond also made another blunder by getting the cost of HS2 wrong by £20 billion on BBC’s radio 4 Today programme after ironically questioning Labour’s figures.  Again nothing major was made of this gaffe.  Nothing about whether you can trust a May government when her chancellor can’t even get his figures right or kindling the hysteria that a Conservative government would be incompetent.  Instead it was casually brushed over.

It has had the required impact on the British public who view Jeremy Corbyn as an unreliable maverick at best.  Take for example a member of the public who was asked what they thought of Labour’s manifesto.  The man in question liked the policies and believed it would benefit the UK as a whole.  However when the journalist asked if that meant he would be voting Labour the man paused before saying ‘I won’t be voting for that Jeremy Corbyn he’s not suitable to be leader,’ and with that casually strolled off.

That member of the public is not the only person to hold that type of view.  One person stated that they ‘didn’t like that Jeremy Corbyn.’  When asked why they were unable to elaborate or provide a reasonable argument as to why Jeremy Corbyn is unsuitable to be leader they couldn’t as their opinion had been influenced by the newspaper headlines.

The media has from the outset done everything to undermine Corbyn.  From the brash, vulgar, sneering headlines questioning Corbyn’s patriotism to subtly implying that Corbyn does not have a clue and will plunge the country into chaos if he is handed the keys to number ten.

Even the tones of the questions at Labour MPs or officials are constantly negative despite the responses.  It will turn to the cost and querying as to whether it is realistic.  The Conservatives are of course asked difficult questions but then spun to something where they can talk positively about another policy.

Of course Jeremy Corbyn should be held accountable and questioned by the media as should Teresa May and other political leaders.  However newspapers and other media outlets should be impartial and doing their job of reporting and presenting the facts to the public.  There equally should be none of this sensational nonsense that somehow makes every tragedy somehow a drama.

A news outlets job should be to present the facts and let people decide from their reports.  Everyone in a position of responsibility should be robustly challenged and there should certainly be none of the mocking and biased headlines that are casually fired at will.  If there was true impartiality then a newspaper or any media outlet would not declare any support for any of the political parties.  The fact that they do and this includes the media professing to be left-wing shows that they have a vested interest.

For those considered to be part of the establishment or simply rich the Conservative party represents their interests.  Consequently they ensure that the media outlets that they own represent their views.  If Corbyn is perceived as a threat then they will do their utmost to convince people that he can’t be trusted.

Even when Labour lands a significant blow such as Emily Thornberry embarrassing Michael Fallon on Andrew Marr, (Thornberry reminded him that he was present at a reception celebrating the election of the Syrian President Assad in 2007) it doesn’t warrant much of a mention within the press.

In this day and age with the internet and social media making people more aware than previously of what is happening in the world you would think there would be more cynicism regarding the press.  However with the constant negative headlines whether it is hearing the news on TV, radio, or newspaper, people are influenced and with regards to Corbyn feel that he is to be mistrusted.

The media is very much an important tool and if you have it behind you then it can help the most mediocre politician.  Crude as Teresa May’s slogans are the constant drip, drip of the Conservatives providing a ‘strong and stable government,’ whilst ‘Corbyn is ineffective,’ will seep into people’s minds come polling day.

It is a pity that we don’t have a real fair and impartial press that holds all political parties to account thus allowing the population to make a considered judgement from the facts.  Certainly the media in its current guise cannot be relied on.

 


In the thick of it for real

Capaldi-Addison

As Angela Eagle is about to launch her Labour leadership challenge you can picture Ollie Reeder of the Thick it racing frantically through the corridors like the Keystone cops trying to tell Eagle that a much bigger news story has broken as Andrea Leadsom calls a last minute news conference to declare she is no longer standing to be the Conservative leader.

Its too late though as Ollie crashes through the door only to see a awkward, gurning Angela Eagle calling out journalists who have long scarpered to a much bigger news story as with no challengers, Teresa May will not only be the new Tory leader but the new Prime Minister.

The last few months in politics seems to be a drama that would rival Kevin Spacey’s House of cards with the farce of the thick of it thrown in for good measure.  If anything Angela Eagle’s pitch to challenge Jeremy Corbyn has so far summed up the PLP’s attempted coup.  A half arsed attempt that has so far swerved from one calamity to the next.  So much so that the shadow chancellor John McDonnell joked at a pro Corbyn rally “that the only good thing about it, was that as plotters, they were fucking useless.”

Malcolm Tucker would have blown up by now at the inadequacy of the Labour rebels and the way the ‘rise of the nutters,’ as he would no doubt see the Corbynistas have ran rings around them.

With regards to the Labour rebels and the way they have acted there are so many faults that it’s hard where to start.  From the deluded arrogance of not understanding the mood of their own membership to their inability to pick an appropiate time and more importantly a candidate who could offer a realistic chance of challenging the Tories.

Like Boris Johnson the Labour rebels were probably hoping for a close vote to remain in the EU so that they could get the best of both worlds to get rid of Corbyn.  No doubt they would have cited the reason that they gave when the leave vote won that Jeremy Corbyn had not done enough.

There was no doubt that it all seemed pre-planned.  The “it’s with a heavy heart…” delete whatever job you currently held template that was sent en masse smacked of the attempt to pressurise Corbyn to step down as losing the support of his MPs.

Unfortunately there was a slight flaw in that plan in the sense that Corbyn knew that he didn’t have the full support of his MPs.  It wasn’t as if they had kept it a secret with the constant attempts at undermining him through the media that Corbyn and his supporters knew that an attempt would be made at his leadership.

So when the first bullets of “it’s with a heavy heart…” started to fly followed by attempts to strong-arm Corbyn in stepping down it was never going to happen.  Yes he might not have the support of most of his MPs but he had the support of the membership after his outright victory almost a year ago.

This was something that the Labour rebels seemed to have realised as they looked at ways at ensuring that Corbyn had to have enough nominations from Labour MPs to re-stand.  After much deliberating the NEC stated that Corbyn could be stand but then ruled that unless members had paid the full membership of £25 within the past six months rather than the £3 would not be eligible to vote.  Critics accused the NEC of social exclusion and attempting to restrict voting in an attempt to get the result that they wished.

All that has happened so far is a widening rift between the PLP and its members.  There are some who see their MPs as London-centric, careerists who are not in tune with their constituents.  The Guardian’s John Harris whilst conducting a survey regarding the EU vote summed up the mood the divide that seems to have engulfed the UK with a quote from a Manchester voter.   “If you’ve got money you vote in.  If you haven’t got money you vote out.”

Corbyn at the very least offers a different alternative from the austerity lite that his “it’s with a heavy heart…” opponents seem to prefer.  There is with Corbyn a voice that speaks for them but that’s not to say that there are those that are equally as cynical with Corbyn with concerns over immigration and the decline of their areas.

The rebel Labour MPs have never been seen to give Corbyn a chance.  Instead they have acted like spoilt kids when the trophy goes outside of their own little clique.  After all Corbyn was seen as the ‘token leftie,’ whilst they had to suffer the inconvenience of members deciding which of their faction should lead the Labour party.  Inevitably it came as an almighty shock that Corbyn not only won the vote but raced away with it.

Even then they couldn’t be seen to give Corbyn a chance and offer their full support and seemed only active in opposing Corbyn rather than the Conservative government.  This tawdry episode has done nothing to impress voters who watch such petulant antics and feel ever more alienated from the Westminster bubble.

The rebels are right in the sense that Corbyn won’t win Labour the next general election but equally neither will Angela Eagle or Owen Smith.  Neither as Toast of London would say has the “charisma,”or the appeal of offering not only something new but hope and the opportunity for a better country.  Instead of just offering their support and biding their time whilst they wait for the right candidate.  Even if Corbyn had led them to an election which he still might and doesn’t win they can then say that they gave it a chance and it was time for a new alternative.

Now after all the mutterings and sneakiness they have taken the first shot at Corbyn without any real thought.  They now face the prospect of Corbyn not only winning again but the threat of deselection at the next election.  In the words of Omar from the wire “If you come at the King, you best not miss.”

 

Labour leadership

It seems that Labour lost the election due to it not being able to connect with the ‘squeezed middle,’ of the marginal seats. The Observer in its editorial last week even declares that there is a devastatingly large gap between Labour and British voters.

It’s as though the party only has to move slightly to the right and this will be enough to win the next election in 2020. What the article and many within the New Labour hierarchy seem to have forgotten is that the problem is a lot more complex and deep rooted. In short its support is badly fractured.

This is a fact conveniently not mentioned in the Observer article that Labour was wiped out in Scotland and still doesn’t seem to be addressed. It was not just a urge for independence in Scotland that attracted voters to the SNP but its anti-austerity policies. In short they felt the SNP listened and represented the views that they have. Labour was seen as taking its support for granted and only realised when it was too late.

To even have any chance of winning the next election it would need a similar amount of seats that they got in England and Wales in the 1997 General Election to have any chance of forming a Government if they were not to win back the Scottish seats.

The problem isn’t just about trying to appeal to the middle ground but to assess its traditional support base. It’s about listening to their voice and concerns. Unfortunately the Labour hierarchy seem to be stuck in their own bubble which explains the sudden shock and surprise that Jeremy Corbyn is actually quite popular. The reason for this is that he has made it quite clear that he is against austerity and wants to try and bring about a fairer society.

Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, and Liz Kendall have made a poor job of what they actually stand for. Indeed they sound quite stale with no hint of charisma or that they provide the party that they can provide a fresh change.

The fact that the mass hysteria in the media from within Labour at how bad it would be for the party if Jeremy Corbyn say’s a lot about the other candidates. That they have to try and smear rather than arguing about what they can bring to the party highlights the lack of talent. If anything the petulant refusal of some to be in a Corbyn shadow cabinet has probably only increased his support.

As it stands whoever wins the leadership election will find it tough to win the next election. With the support fractured and nobody really knowing what the Labour party stands for it is going to be difficult. The fiasco over the abstention of the welfare bill exemplifies this. If Labour are not going to defend the very people who voted for them then what precisely is the Labour party for?

Nothing what Jeremy Corbyn has said seems to be extreme.  Wanting big companies to pay their taxes fairly, workers to be treated and paid fairly, a good education for all, and a health service that doesn’t rely on how much money you have got seems to be the best way of producing a fairer and more caring society.

Even if Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t win the new leader will need to address the concerns of it’s traditional support base.  It needs to make clear that it is a party that represents the needs of the majority and not the few.  The cuts (and certainly if you are under 25) are hurting a lot of ordinary people.  Labour’s job is to at least fight for these people who expect Labour to at least live up to it’s ideals.

Of course it is going to be difficult for whoever does become the leader simply because it’s not as simple as trying to appeal the marginal seats.  There is disillusionment within traditional Labour heartlands.  It was why some people voted for the Greens or UKIP because they felt Labour either didn’t listen to them or hold the same ideals.

The next five years are going to be difficult to try and win back the support.  However trying to outdo the Tories is not really going to help.  Indeed Labour may have to to ally themselves with the SNP and other anti-austerity parties whilst trying to bring about voting reform. Trying to be a party with a light austerity touch is not going to work. It’s hardly going to win back the seats in Scotland and only risks losing more it’s traditional support.