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Polls open for by-election Labour should win – but will probably lose. Here’s the reason

Keir Starmer: the name on the ballot paper may be Kim Leadbeater but the Batley & Spen by-election is a referendum on his leadership of the Labour Party – and he’s going to find that a suit, a haircut and a flag are no substitute for genuine socialist policies. That means he’s in trouble because he HATES socialism.

Voters are filing into polling booths in Batley and Spen to choose their latest MP, after Labour’s Tracy Brabin quit to become a metropolitan mayor.

Will Labour retain the seat with new candidate Kim Leadbeater, sister of murdered former MP Jo Cox? Probably not.

Why not? Here’s one reason:

She doesn’t have any policies and won’t even think about them until after she is elected – if she is.

This means Labour voters don’t know what they’re getting.

It’s Keir Starmer’s malaise, over again. If he was a serious – Labour – politician then he would have come out with serious Labour policies, and stuck with them, from the moment he announced his candidacy for the party’s leadership. He didn’t.

He pretended to support policies put forward by former leader Jeremy Corbyn and then ditched them immediately after his new position was secured. Now, more than a year later, he still stands for nothing other than power for his own sake.

We should hope that Ms Leadbeater’s experience today will show him exactly where that policy – because having no policies is a policy – leads.

Oh, there will be tribal Labour voters who’ll support a shaved monkey if it has a party logo with a red rose next to its name on the ballot paper, sure.

But the right-whingers who have been in charge since the mid-1990s (they are the reason Corbyn failed) haven’t realised they can no longer rely on this vote being large enough to carry their shaved monkey through.

Starmer’s lack of any alternatives to Tory policy makes a very clear message: he supports Tory policy.

Leadbeater’s own words put her in the same position: she says there’s “no magic money tree” – a Tory phrase, and a Tory lie, because they’ve been raiding it like bandits throughout the Covid crisis.

(For those coming late to this party: all the money used to get the UK through the pandemic was created – not borrowed – by the Conservative government, specifically for that purpose. As such, we should all bear in mind that there is no debt to be repaid.)

So traditional Labour voters are faced with a choice between the Conservative, Tory-lite Leadbeater, George Galloway, or one of 13 also-rans.

My bet is that most of them will stay at home and the Tory will romp to victory. Starmer will then blame Jeremy Corbyn – but we’ll all know the truth.

And the Labour leader’s days in power will be numbered.

He may well claim he’s in a four-year project to install a Labour government but he will never achieve that goal.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Starmer silent after Hartlepool calamity. He knows he should resign but will he go?

Are you sitting uncomfortably? Keir Starmer’s relationship to the Labour leader has become akin to that of a squatter in an abandoned house after the loss of Hartlepool in yesterday’s by-election.

I honestly don’t know if Keir Starmer has failed dramatically, or actually achieved his goal.

As leader of the Opposition, his party’s loss in Hartlepool is devastating. A constituency that has been a Labour stronghold since it was created in 1974 has passed to the Conservatives. It means no Labour seat is safe from the Tories.

But many critics have suggested that Starmer’s job as a right-wing Labour leader has been to ensure that – at a time when the Conservatives are burdened with a corrupt and incapable leader, the consequences of failed Brexit and Covid policies, and rampant cronyism – Labour still cannot win an election.

If the latter is true, then he has succeeded monumentally.

Any sincere Labour leader would see that his time is up; his policies have failed and it is time to go.

But Starmer was silent when he left his house today (May 7). Maybe it is too soon to make official announcements (although Corbyn was prompt enough after the 2019 general election result).

He had claimed he would “carry the can” if the result was poor – but This Writer fears it is more likely that he will try to pass the buck instead.

Already Peter Mandelson has tried to blame the disaster on what he called “the two Cs – Covid and Corbyn”.

Many people consider him to be a certain kind of C, too.

His comment is reminiscent of the claims made by the Tory government many times since they took office in 2010, whenever they have been criticised over a policy failure – that the fault lay with the previous Labour administration.

The facts betray the lie in both cases. Here, it is more than a year since Jeremy Corbyn was leader of the Labour Party. Starmer had himself elected as a “continuity Corbyn” candidate, sure – but he subsequently dumped every single policy promise he made, replacing them with nothing.

As a result, voters were left with no idea what StarmerLabour represents – and it seems to me that this is what has put people off, more than the shadow of the previous leader.

As former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said, “You cannot go into an election without any policy programme, without explaining what sort of society you want. You can’t send candidates out there naked without policies to advocate.”

But that’s what Starmer did. There is also the question of whether he foisted an unwanted candidate on Hartlepool’s Labour party by interfering with the selection process (as suggested in certain parts of the social media).

Even right-wing Shadow Culture Minister Alison McGovern has implied that voters don’t consider Labour to be a viable alternative to a one-party state run by the Conservatives.

She said: “There are lots of people who will have voted Conservative with a heavy heart – who want there to be an alternative,” implying that people don’t see Labour as an alternative any more. And who can deny this after a year of Starmer supporting one Tory policy after another?

“The way to do that is to offer people a set of policies that give them hope for the future, [hope] that we don’t live in a one-party Tory state, that things can be better and different,” she added, implying that people think we do live in a one-party Tory state, and that Starmer’s leadership of Labour has turned it into a pale-blue imitation of the Tories that provides no alternative but merely shores up the corrupt Johnson government.

The most risible comment so far came from hard-right “Labour First” activist Luke Akehurst, who managed to get himself onto Labour’s National Executive Committee under Starmer. He said Labour needs to make sure it is relevant and talking about issues that big swathes of the electorate care about – which is hilarious considering the way his wing of the party has diligently steered it away from those issues.

Apparently the left-wing Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs is planning to demand radical reform of the party, possibly including a shift to a federal structure in England, with cities and regions having their own leaders who then exert influence over the Westminster leader.

This would de-centralise power, ensuring that Starmer could not force right-wing, un-Labour policies on the wider party membership. That would have the advantage of ensuring that Labour had a strong direction – if the local leaders could agree a policy position with party HQ.

But it also runs the risk of fragmentation.

An alternative suggested by the BBC is that Labour could re-focus itself as the centre of a combined Opposition, allying with other parties like the Greens. This risks a watering-down of some policies, which is exactly the problem that many believe Starmer has created.

No matter what happens in the long term, the short-term problem can be summed up in two words: Keir Starmer.

He has to go. The longer he delays, the worse Labour’s plight – and that of the UK as a whole under Boris Johnson’s corrupt Tories – will become. And this brings us back to the big question: is that what Starmer wants?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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How needy is this? Liberal Democrat sends leaflet after leaflet of flapdoodle into our letterboxes

Truer words were never told: I don’t know the context of Lana Lane’s original post but it applies very well to constituents of Brecon and Radnorshire who might actually be considering placing their vote with the Liberal Democrat candidate – or indeed the Conservative, Brexit and UKIP candidates, for that matter.

I don’t know about you but I am sick to death of Jane Dodds, the Liberal Democrat candidate in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election.

We constituents are being bombarded by her. Leaflet after leaflet comes thudding through our doors.

Campaigner after campaigner has come tramping up to finger our doorbells.

Yesterday (July 13), no less than four different election communications landed on my doorstep.

Two were about Brexit. The first – a letter – said, “As your new MP, I’ll fight to stop Brexit. I’ll work hard every day to stand up for local jobs, our NHS and for the local community services we all depend on.”

How? How, exactly, is she going to do that?

She doesn’t say. She scares local farmers with a warning that the “no-deal” Brexit plans of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage will saddle them with 40 per cent tariffs on lamb exports – but doesn’t say a single word about how she would stop it, because she can’t. One MP won’t make any difference at all.

In fact, she wouldn’t have to do anything in any case. Current Parliamentary arithmetic makes a “no-deal” Brexit of this kind unlikely to win any support at all, and if any future prime minister tries it, it would probably break their government.

What does she mean by saying she’ll “stand up” for local jobs and community services? That doesn’t imply that she’ll actually do anything – and you’d be a fool to think that she will.

And of course the NHS is a devolved responsibility; the Welsh Assembly has responsibility for it, not Parliament, so Ms Dodds won’t have any influence over it at all.

The second – a leaflet intended to gather voter information (that’s what the coupon at the bottom is for) – is even more misleading. “This by-election is a unique and urgent opportunity to change the direction of our country,” it states.

How is Jane Dodds, a member of a minority party who has lost three elections in Montgomeryshire, going to manage that where so many hundreds of experienced Parliamentarians have failed? She won’t.

If she wins on the basis of this information, then I invite Liberal Democrat voters to come back after October 31 and demonstrate how she stopped Brexit.

The third election communication – another letter – is so full of flannel I thought she was trying to wash me. Or brainwash me, at least.

“I want to do more to tackle injustice, help people to get the best chance in life, and end years and years of being let down by Westminster politicians.” Flannel!

“Living here in Powys, just outside Welshpool, I understand all too well just how important it is that we have an MP who understands the unique challenges we all face.” Flannel – and falsehood. Welshpool isn’t in Brecon and Radnorshire and conditions there are different.

“I love living in Powys but that does not mean I don’t think it can be even better.” Flannel!

“At home and in Westminster, I will fight to fix our broken politics. I will fight to help protect our Welsh health services. And I will fight to stand up for Welsh farmers and businesses.” Flannel!

Worse still is the claim that she has been “overwhelmed by the number of Labour, Plaid and Green supporters who’ve told me that they will be backing me in this election”. I know that Plaid Cymru and the Green Party stood aside to allow Ms Dodds to be the single candidate who unequivocally supports the undemocratic position of cancelling Brexit without referring the decision back to the people of the UK – but Labour hasn’t. For the good of the whole of the UK, Labour won’t.

And while it is entirely likely that some habitual Labour voters have been hoodwinked by the usual Liberal Democrat flannel that a tactical vote for them is the only way to keep out the Tories or the other right-wingers, I think her claim that “many” have done so is stretching credibility to breaking-point.

Finally, the fourth election communication was another leaflet, containing her “positive plan” for Brecon and Radnorshire. Here are the bullet-points:

  • “Back our health services and improve social care” – this is a devolved responsibility that is nothing to do with Westminster MPs.
  • “Protect vital rural services” – an impossibility for a single MP in a party that is not in government.
  • “Oppose Conservative cuts” – a meaningless promise, especially from a member of the party that, in Coalition with the Conservatives, helped impose many of those cuts between 2010 and 2015. That’s the reason I used the image at the top of this piece, warning about people voting for the removal of free health care, free education, affordable housing and social security. As a Liberal Democrat, Ms Dodds belongs to a party that helped push us towards the dismantling of those vital services – and a vote for her now may well help finish the job.
  • “Fix our broken politics” – another meaningless promise, and she doesn’t even try to say what this means.
  • “Stand up for Welsh farmers and local businesses” – also meaningless, because she does not say what she will do.

The end result is a big pile of waste paper, covered in soundbites. Ms Dodds doesn’t even talk a good fight.

She just fills our homes with meaningless gibberish.

And how will she be if she wins? My bet is, we’ll never hear from her again – at least until the next election.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Davies guilty of expenses fraud. Time for a by-election in Brecon and Radnorshire

Guilty: Chris Davies.

Chris Davies, Conservative MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, has admitted two offences of expenses fraud. Now the people of Brecon and Radnorshire can have their fun.

We (the Brecon and Radnorshire electorate) may now petition for the MP to be recalled and for a by-election in the constituency.

If at least 10 per cent of registered electors sign a recall petition, we can have an election and get rid of him.

The petition should be triggered automatically, and it will be for Brecon and Radnorshire’s Returning Officer – and also Powys County Council’s chief executive – Dr Caroline Turner to make it available to the public.

If it isn’t, Brecon and Radnorshire electors can register their concern by contacting Dr Turner via the council on 01597 826000.

There should be an announcement by the House of Commons Speaker’s Office, too. You can email [email protected] to ask about it, too.

Source: Tory MP Chris Davies guilty of false expenses claim – BBC News


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Protest vote for UKIP leads to ‘Libdemolition’ and leaves the Tories spinning

No wonder he's rubbing his hands in glee: Nigel Farage's UKIP has upset the UK political applecart, leaving the parties of government royally shafted. But is this just a protest vote and will all three mainstream parties act on the enormous hint they've just been given?

No wonder he’s rubbing his hands in glee: Nigel Farage’s UKIP has upset the UK political applecart, leaving the parties of government royally shafted. But is this just a protest vote and will all three mainstream parties act on the enormous hint they’ve just been given?

Does anybody else think this year’s local elections have been the most interesting in living memory?

And it’s all down to UKIP, the little party of “loonies, fruitcakes and closet racists” that could.

Don’t get me wrong – the UK Independence Party represents a threat to good government and nobody in their right mind should be voting for it, but the fact is that people are. UKIP has attracted protest votes from all ends of the political spectrum.

This is the heart of the matter: Disaffected voters – not just Conservatives, but former Labour supporters and Liberal Democrats – have all supported UKIP because it seems to be the largest platform for dissent. They don’t agree with all of UKIP’s policies – in fact, they probably don’t know many, beyond the anti-EU, anti-immigration stance – they just want to register their extreme distrust of the major parties, in their current form.

From the results so far, that distrust is now the main influence on the British political landscape, with the support of around a quarter of all UK voters. People aren’t voting for any party because they approve of its policies; they are voting against parties because of the policies they refuse to give up.

I include Labour in this, even though I’m a Labour member. My party’s attitude to social security (welfare if that’s what you prefer) is an unmitigated calamity. Labour must scrap its current policy and sack its current team, if it is to have a hope of regaining the votes it has lost to UKIP. Then it must build a new policy, based on preventing the causes of unemployment, work-related sickness and disability. The private firms currently infesting the Department for Work and Pensions – Unum, Atos, and whoever else is lurking in there – must be ejected and forbidden from returning because their advice is self-profiting gubbins (and when I say gubbins, I mean for you to insert the cussword of your choice).

With regard to Europe, it is clear that British people want a new settlement with the Union. The people consider European laws to be unreasonably restrictive, and wonder why we allow so many restrictions and regulations into our country from Brussels. Personally, I don’t agree that we should leave the Union altogether – but we absolutely must reassert our sovereignty, and the best way to do that is with a very short word: “No”.

The immigration issue could be tackled very simply. Ask yourself: Would you travel abroad and try to live in a country where you did not have a job, had nowhere to call a home and couldn’t even speak the language? I wouldn’t. But that is the perception of what immigrants from the European Union are doing. Why not just install a very simple rule on anyone who wants to come into the UK to live – that they must have work waiting for them here, and be coming into the country to take up that job. Employers would arrange work permits for these foreign nationals and a system of checks could be employed to ensure that they adhere to the rules. The principle of free movement would be honoured – the difference is that people would be freely moving here for a demonstrable reason.

Let’s have a look at the collapse of the Liberal Democrats.

The South Shields by-election result was no surprise to anyone: Labour held it with an overall majority – that’s more than half the turnout. UKIP came second – that protest vote showing itself strongly in a Parliamentary election – and the Conservatives third. Note that their combined vote would not have toppled the Labour candidate, as it would have toppled the Liberal Democrat in Eastleigh, earlier this year.

And what of the Liberal Democrats? They came seventh, below the BNP and above the Monster Raving Loony Party, with just 352 votes – that’s 1.4 per cent of the turnout and yes, they lost their deposit. On hearing the news last night, I tweeted: “It’s a travesty – the Loonies should demand a recount!”

In the councils, the Lib Dems have also lost support. The current BBC graph, showing the situation after eight councils (of 34) declared, shows that they have lost 15 councillors so far. Expect that number to escalate!

But the real losers of the night are the Conservatives. They were never going to take South Shields, but they managed only one-sixth of Labour’s vote, and less than half of the UKIP turnout. In the councils, they’re 66 members down already and have lost overall control of two authorities.

And they’re panicking. One sign of this was the joyous response from Conservative Central Office to a win at Witney, in the Prime Minister’s constituency. The tweet ran: “Well done Witney @Conservatives – I see you got a swing from Labour & and increased majority in Witney East versus 2011. Well done!” Straw-clutching at its finest.

But that won’t save them from the wrath of their own members – and the knives are already out and sharp. Alexis McEvoy, former Conservative Hampshire county councillor, wrote in the Telegraph: “There is a problem with the people at the top of our political parties. They just don’t listen. They don’t listen to ordinary people or our concerns.

“David Cameron says he’ll have a referendum, but no-one believes a word he says. I don’t believe a word he says, and I’m a lifelong Conservative.

“We stood up for things in the past. We don’t stand up for anything any more.”

Tory MP Sir Gerald Howarth, on the BBC’s live blog: “I think our priorities have to change.”

That goes for all the main parties.