Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn on Manchester

Hello all,

It’s difficult for those of us who have been involved in thehurly-burly of the election campaign to switch off altogether for a couple of days, but if the horror in Manchester has reminded us of anything, it’s perhaps how much more unites us than divides us (in case you wonder, my satirical post about the election campaign was written beore the atrocity overshadowed it all). We have different opinions, religions, and attitudes, but virtually all of us surely feel that if someone’s interpretation of their beliefs leads them to think it right to kill civilians, even to kill children, then those beliefs have been warped beyond belief.

The election will no doubt resume in a day or two. I’ll just append the full text of Theresa May’s comments after the attack, and Jeremy’s Corbyn’s short comments on video. It will strike you, I think, that their message is very similar, as it should be.

The poison of terror will not pollute our democratic politics – Corbyn’s video message after Manchester vigil

Best wishes


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Be a Tory strategist for the day

As a non-candidate I don’t have to be judicious and positive all the time. So just for fun, here is my take on the shambolic Conservative choice of attack lines this week:

1. Argue the case over pensioners. No, it’s not a threat to your home, well, no more of a threat than we already have, oh you didn’t know? Well, it’s like this, pay attention. And anyway we’ve suddenly decided we’ll have a cap, and we’ll publish details after you’ve voted. There will be fine print, like not having a cap if you’re not ill but just frail, but we’ve not written it yet so can’t tell you what the fine print says. And the Winter Fuel Allowance shouldn’t go to millionaires, unless they’re Scottish millionaires, in which case we’ll have an exemption as we’re worried about the SNP. And the change to the double lock will save a lot of money, but actually won’t affect you because inflation is going over 2.5% anyway.

2. Change the subject to the IRA. 40 years ago, Corbyn may or maybe not have been previously on the editorial board of a magazine that you’ve never heard of which had a contributor who liked the IRA, OK so Corbyn wasn’t on the board then but anyway, he met Sinn Fein people even before the Queen did and that shows he was a terrorist sympathiser, and this election isn’t about Brexit and it isn’t about what we’ll do, it’s about stopping Corbyn, that’s why we called it three years early, see?

3. Change the subject to Brexit. That’s what the election is about, dammit. Stop trying to talk about other stuff, like our manifesto. We shall insist on something, though we can’t exactly say what, and we’ll be firm and fierce just like 52% of you, and we may agree to pay megabillions but we reserve the right to put your taxes up to pay for it, and no, we won’t say how much.

Anyway, vote Conservative because we’re strong and stable like you’ve seen this week and we have a positive message and aren’t negative like Labour with their better NHS funding and more low-cost housing and protection for schools and abolition of student fees, who needs that stuff?

What’s our positive message, you say? We’re working on it. We’ll let you know after the election.
Good luck, guys!


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A bit of inspiration

Spend two minutes hearing Corbyn at a music festival – I defy you not to feel a little bit inspired. Then contrast it with Theresa May’s timid campaign, speaking to small groups of invited supporters.

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A fair package or a dementia tax?

Hi all,

I’d like to analyse the issues on age and social care.

First, though, for those who are like me supporting Greg Marshall’s campaign. If you don’t have time to go out canvassing and leafleting, there are two simple things you can do:

  1. Have a garden stake or poster. The Conservatives have some very well-funded ones – the gargantuan one on Town Street wouldn’t get planning permission if normal rules applied! – and it’s very important to get a good spread of posters for Greg. If you’re happy to do this, please drop him a line, just with your name and address and whether you want a garden stake (and if it’s OK to set it up if you’re not at home when the helper calls) or a window poster. His email address is:
  1. Donate to the campaign. As usual, the Conservatives have a lopsided spending advantage and only personal donations traditionally enable us to level the playing field. To donate, please transfer to Broxtowe Labour Constituency bank account : Sort Code: 08-90-74 A/C No: 58020100 or send a cheque payable to Broxtowe CLP to Dawn Elliott, 27 Redland Drive, Beeston, Nottingham NG9 5JZ

Despite all the coverage of the proposals on social care, I’m finding that lots of people are confused about what is actually proposed by the Conservatives. There will be two main effects

First, the fuel allowance will become means-tested. In principle this seems fair – why should a millionaire get a fuel allowance? But there’s a reason why it’s not, specifically for older people. It will inevitably mean that lots of pensioners who are entitled to it won’t claim, either because they’re too embarrassed to say “I’m poor so I need the allowance” (even in our grasping society there are a lot of people like that) or because they don’t feel up to filling out the relevant forms. (We’ve seen exactly the same with free school meals for the poor.) When you stop making an allowance universal and make people fill out forms to get it, you penalise people who are either not pushy or no longer very capable. There’s also the more subtle point that when you take the allowance away from most people they tend to lose sympathy for giving it to anyone.

Second, the care proposals effectively help people moving into a care home (by allowing them to retain up to £100K instead of £23K) and punish people who stay in their own home and get care there (because they will now not be eligible for help if they own a house worth over £100K). The second group is far larger than the first – most of us will need a bit oi help when we get on, but only 1 in 6 will go into care – so the effect will be to nudge people into care homes – which is stupid, because it’s both nicer and FAR cheaper to be looked after in your own home. Because this is a large group, the net effect will be to save money – but at the expense of the vulnerable.

As in most cases now, people won’t need to sell their homes (both arrangements with the council and equity release plans can usually prevent that already), but they will be forced into debt, paid off through their estates.

The common factor here is a familiar one from when I was Broxtowe’s MP. The welfare net can work quite well if you really understand every wrinkle of the system and have an inexhaustible willingness to fill out forms, go to interviews and jump through hoops. People like me and many of you have little problem in this (nor, ironically do the small minority who rip the system off) – if I suddenly needed help tomorrow, I’d know exactly what to do. But people in trouble are often any or all of

  • desperate
  • ill-informed
  • not very computer-literate or
  • bad at putting their case in an interview.

The very elderly, in particular, often have really serious difficulty, especially if they are in mental decline (which is why critics are calling it a dementia tax).

The Government called the election ostensibly about Brexit. But they’re using it to seek a mandate for traditional Conservative preoccupations (from more school selection to bringing fox-hunting back). They aren’t bothering to say how they’ll pay for their programme, apart from warning that they may put your tax and NI up. They want a huge majority with a blank cheque. On June 8, you can help decide if they get it.

Best wishes




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The Labour manifesto

…is here:

I’ll leave you to decide for yourself and compare with the Tory manifesto on Thursday, but do read it. It’s the kind of programme that made me join Labour, and a breath of fresh air in our stale political climate. If you vote for it, regardless of the overall outcom you’re voting for genuine renewal in Bitish politics.

And that’s not before time.


Best wishes



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