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Labour Conference delegates are urged to oppose David Evans as general secretary

Antidemocratic: Keir Starmer and the general secretary he appointed unilaterally – against Labour Party rules – don’t want party members to take any part in democratic decision-making. Delegates to the annual party conference should therefore use their democratic rights to vote Evans out of office – and Starmer as well, if possible.

Labour Party groups across the country are being urged to ensure that their conference delegates will not endorse Keir Starmer’s choice of David Evans as general secretary.

The Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD) supported its call simply by referring to Evans’s record in office, since Starmer appointed him to the job last year:

Since the NEC appointed Evans to act as General Secretary in May 2020, various measures have been introduced to curtail the rights of Labour Party members. Unprecedented restrictions have been placed on discussions of party business, with around 70 local party officers suspended from party membership for defending local party democracy.[See Note 1] This has made local party meetings into unwelcoming spaces for many party members and as a result our membership has already suffered a large decline.

None of this has been of electoral benefit, as is evident from: Labour’s significant decline in opinion polls since the summer of 2020; the predominately poor local election results in May; and the appalling loss of Labour support in the Hartlepool and the Chesham and Amersham by-elections.

And recent reports in the media suggest that the party is considering giving the General Secretary new powers to appoint people to make decisions on disciplinary charges – matters that are currently determined by people who are elected. Evidently this would not make the complaints process independent, but instead increase the General Secretary’s role in the prosecution and judgement of complaints – contrary to natural justice.

The risks for the party, if it continues to attack its own members and not put up any serious opposition to the Tories, is that we will be seen as divided, and voters, the majority of whom are being harmed by this government, will continue to look elsewhere when they want to vote for an alternative to Tory policies.

Regrettably, the party has been deterring, not attracting, electoral support. Right-wing factionalism does not deliver victories for Labour. It undermines the party’s functioning, both internally and also in elections.
It has been a mistake, with damaging consequences, that the party recently abandoned its democratic traditions. It is a mistake that Annual Conference can help to correct.

The long standing custom and practice was that party members discussed and adopted positions on matters across the full range of party business and policy. The culture, of encouraging internal debate, helped our party became one of the largest political parties in Europe. It also assisted the leadership, keeping it in touch with our members, who form the backbone of our local campaigns.

Our members are important to our success. The stifling of internal democracy is unfortunately damaging the party and this is benefiting our electoral opponents.

We need a General Secretary who will prioritise uniting the party around an alternative agenda to that of the Tories, to aid Labour in making a much needed electoral advance. It is an important post in the party, which should not be used as a platform for divisive attacks on party members.

Annual Conference needs to shift the party’s focus on to fighting the Tories. Delegates can best assist the party in achieving such a re-orientation by rejecting the NEC’s recommendation on the General Secretary.

Sadly, though, Evans’s own diktats mean party members can’t pass resolutions on the matter or even discuss it at their meetings because – and this is damning – “the current regime in the party is intolerant of democratic discussion on these matters“.

That’s right:

The acting General Secretary has placed significant restrictions on what local parties can discuss in meetings. Misleadingly presented as ‘guidance’, in reality dictates were issued, as became evident when many local party officers were suspended from party membership accused of failing to follow the so called ‘guidance’.

The dictates have effectively proscribed local party meetings from discussing the situation arsing from the political attacks on Labour’s former Leader Jeremy Corbyn. Party members have been barred from discussing their opposition to these attacks and from expressing solidarity with Jeremy.

In addition, severe restrictions have been placed on discussing other important political areas of party business, such as: whether the IHRA definition informs the most effective way to combat antisemitism; the decision of the Labour Party to make substantial payments to former members of party staff who appeared on a BBC Panorama programme; the EHRC’s report on the Labour Party and the party’s response to it; and ‘matters relating to the internal processes of the PLP’.

Presumably Evans is hoping that his order denying party members the opportunity to discuss his election means delegates will do as they are told and obediently nod him in – so he can cause even more damage.

To This Writer’s way of thinking, this should be cause for him to be automatically barred – not just from any position of authority in the Labour Party, but from membership of the organisation in any way at all.

Repressing other members simply isn’t appropriate behaviour for a Labour Party representative.

Also to This Writer’s way of thinking, this should be cause for a vote of “no confidence” in Keir Starmer’s leadership.

Starmer appointed Evans and we must conclude that he not only supported all the anti-democratic restrictions Evans has imposed – he demanded them.

That is not appropriate behaviour for a Labour Party leader so Starmer should get the boot too.

So, Labour delegates – are you up for it? Will you fight for your rights? Or do you actually deserve everything Starmer, Evans, and indeed Boris Johnson are shovelling at you?

Your choice.

Source: Labour Party Delegates Should Oppose the NEC Recommendation to Endorse David Evans – Campaign for Labour Party Democracy

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Sharon Graham wins Unite election – meaning the nomination process is broken

Sharon Graham: she’s the new Unite general secretary but the election has cast a shadow over the legitimacy of the nomination process.

Congratulations to Sharon Graham for becoming the first female general secretary of the UK’s largest trade union, Unite.

And well done to her, also, for demonstrating that the mechanism for nominating candidates is badly broken and must be improved.

We can see this because of the number of Unite branches that were seen to nominate different candidates.

Steve Turner reckoned he had 525 branches behind him – the most of any candidate – but it is widely believed that he only beat right-winger Gerard Coyne into second place because supporters of Howard Beckett held their noses and voted for him.

Beckett himself managed 328 branch nominations but pulled out in order not to split the Left vote. In hindsight, that may seem ill-advised.

Graham herself had 349, while Coyne managed just 196.

The fact that these nominations were not matched by the proportion of votes offered to each candidate indicates that there’s something wrong with the process.

I don’t know what that process is, but if it doesn’t offer sufficient weight to the number of members in each branch who support a particular candidate, then it needs to be fixed.

If it doesn’t even allow rank-and-file branch members a say, then it must be corrected at the earliest opportunity.

And there’s a knock-on effect, too: because they saw Turner receiving the most nominations, so-called ‘optics Left’ ‘influencers’ tried to exert pressure on Graham and Beckett to withdraw (successfully, in Beckett’s case).

We see now that this was a bad call.

You can read a more detailed piece about this over on Skwawkbox.

The message to take home is that Unite could have ended up with a leader who did not represent the intentions of its voting members – because of its faulty nomination system and the reactions of influential people.

Source: Graham’s win discredits Unite nominations process – and destroys ‘blue-tick’ left’s credibility – SKWAWKBOX

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Keir Starmer’s latest insulting betrayal of Labour is a doozy

Keir Starmer (right) is showing he is closer politically to Boris Johnson’s Tories with every rotten right-wing decision he makes.

If we ever needed more evidence that Keir Starmer thinks his job is to contain the Labour Party, rather than lead it, here it is:

He is trying to recruit people from outside Labour – who may never have considered even voting for it – to become Parliamentary candidates for the 2024 general election.

The insult on top of the injury is that the plan is a direct copy of a Conservative initiative – the so-called ‘A-list’ scheme. Here’s Elen Courea of The Times:

What incredible contempt for the party members who represent everything Labour should stand for.

He’ll take their membership money (let’s face it, he’s desperate for the funds).

He’ll tell them what to do – and punish them brutally if they don’t comply.

But he’s absolutely determined to exclude them from having anything to do with how the party is to be run. That’s for Tories, like him.

And we all know it, don’t we?

But there’s trouble on the horizon.

Once again, the UK’s biggest union – Unite – has spoken up in protest at Starmer’s plan that is “potentially bypassing the talent in our movement”.

The statement says:

“It is depressing that the latest offering from the Labour Party is a plan to imitate the Tories’ candidate selection model.

“Our party is packed with talented people who have dedicated themselves to their party, their union or public service.

“These should be our A-list candidates and we should be proud to nurture them to stand for Labour.

“This is where the trade unions come in, with successful programmes dedicated to supporting Labour members and trade unionists to become MPs.

“The briefing around the ‘calibre’ of the latest intake of Labour MPs is disrespectful snobbery towards people who give their all for Labour.

“Labour should be working with the trade unions – our living and breathing link back to workplaces – to develop a candidates programme that the whole movement can get behind.

“But if the party carries on alienating and offending members, it will be hard to find anyone inspired to stand for office as a Labour MP.”

Well, it will be hard to find anyone willing to be a Labour MP who is’nt a Tory.

And they’ll be second-class Tories, too – because all the top-tier Tories will be on the proper ‘A-list’ scheme.

With every step he takes, Starmer makes it more clear that his job is to bury Labour forever.

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Boris Johnson’s fascists may be unbeatable – because the OPPOSITION is saying the wrong things

Representatives of the UK’s Opposition parties are helping Boris Johnson’s fascist version of the Conservatives to stay in power beyond the next election because they are saying the wrong things.

The controversy over violent protests is just one such matter. Labour representatives have been queuing up on both the mass and social media to condemn members of the public who were involving in violence in Bristol on March 21 – buying into the fascist narrative pushed by Priti Patel.

Why aren’t they pointing out that there wouldn’t be any violence at all if the government hadn’t given them a very good reason to protest?

It’s a really simple point but it is far too intelligent a strategy for a nincompoop like Keir Starmer, of course.

I’m saying this in response to the latest Mainly Macro blog piece by Simon Wren-Lewis, who is been providing useful thinking-points for many years.

He’s currently saying Johnson’s fascists are going to win the next election because people have accepted that he had the right strategy for distributing the Covid-19 vaccine and will be happy to believe anything he says about the economic bounce that is certain to happen as most people go back to work.

It won’t matter that economic conditions will not improve to its position before Covid (let alone before the crisis of 2008); people will believe the hype because they want to – and because they don’t know any better.

So Johnson will probably call an election for late 2022 or early 2023, having repealed the Fixed Term Parliaments Act in order to do so. This was a manifesto promise so we know it’s coming anyway.

Professor Wren-Lewis doesn’t want the fascists to win. In fact, he says it is vital that Boris Johnson’s government be removed as soon as possible:

It is an authoritarian government with immense power because of its solid majority, and the longer it stays in power the more difficult it will make the life of any opposition.

And, indeed, the life of ordinary citizens.

But his main idea about how to defeat Johnson is hopeless: he wants “socially liberal” political parties to team up, so that only one candidate is fielded against Johson’s fascists in any constituency. It simply won’t work.

Firstly, Labour voters are still too angry at the Liberal Democrats over that party supporting the Tories into power in 2010. Yes, the Lib Dems have had their arses kicked as a result and are now a minority party in Westminster, but they haven’t “suffered enough”, as the phrase goes, and should be left in the wasteland.

So the two main parties aren’t going to ally, and without that, there’s no point in the others coming in.

Professor Wren-Lewis also makes another grave error of judgement, which is that, under Keir Starmer, Labour is not a “socially liberal” political party. It is strongly right-wing.

On the political compass, Labour would currently appear in the right wing/authoritarian quadrant, slightly to the left of Boris Johnson’s Conservatives. Starmer has spent the last year dragging it there, from its previous position near to the centre but on the left wing/socially liberal side, where Jeremy Corbyn had put it.

Oh, you thought Corbyn had sent Labour to the far left? Go to the back of the class.

The final idea in the Mainly Macro piece is that Opposition parties should be more careful about what they choose to talk about, and how they address those subjects.

Activists are bad judges of what will win an election, he says, and he’s right on this. They want to talk about their pet issues, which are unlikely to be what will win over the left wing authoritarians that Labour needs or the left wing social liberals that the party is currently haemorrhaging.

Professor Wren-Lewis puts forward the very sensible view that Labour – and indeed the Opposition parties as a whole – should remember that winning parties can avoid talking about subjects in an election campaign and still act on them in power:

This point is so obvious to Conservatives that it is second nature. A Conservative party will not campaign on privatising the NHS but that does not stop them doing it when in office.

Election campaigns, which for oppositions last five years, involve promoting your most popular policies. For successful Labour oppositions that is going to involve left wing economics policies but not socially liberal policies.

Again, for Labour, the problem is that the party no longer has any popular policies – or any policies at all; Starmer threw them all out after he got himself elected leader.

Like a proverbial headless chicken, he chases whatever seems to be popular at the moment in a blind panic to find something that will reflect well on him.

And he is plummeting in the polls because he is trying to be too much like the Tories when he finds such an issue.

Look at Covid-19 – he became ridiculed as the Tories’ yes-man.

On the right to protest, his party has made itself vulnerable to accusations of supporting violent lawbreakers when Labour representatives could have avoided the claim simply by pointing out that the Tories have incited violent protest by introducing draconian new criminal laws alongside legislation to ban protest altogether, in any meaningful way.

So Johnson is winning because Starmer is simply too stupid to govern.

That will remain the situation until Labour gets a new leader – of the left – who does what needs to be done, rather than what they want to do.

Source: mainly macro: As things stand, the chances of defeating Johnson at the next election are miniscule

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Labour is now habitually leaking member suspensions to the press in violation of Data Protection law

These days, data is digital – and that makes it all-too-easy for unscrupulous people and organisations to leak personal information to third parties in breach of the Data Protection Act and the General Data Protection Regulations. Labour has been doing it for years.

Look at this:

Yes, it’s a much more dignified statement than anything put out by the right-wingers responsible for the suspensions, but for This Writer, the really important part is in the very first paragraph.

Ms Regan stated: “I was deeply disappointed to learn from the press last Friday that I had been suspended from the Labour Party.”

It is against the law for an organisation such as the Labour Party to share personal information relating to any member with a third party without the member’s consent.

That’s in the UK’s Data Protection Act(s) and in the General Data Protection Regulations to which the UK subscribes.

However, as we all discovered from the verdict in my court case last week (didn’t we?), the law doesn’t count if the organisation (in this case, Labour) can say with a straight face that the leak was carried out by a party officer without the knowledge of their bosses, and they do not know who was responsible for the leak.

The statement doesn’t have to be true. All Labour has to do is fail to provide any information to the contrary. And as the organisation controlling all the information, you can be sure that it won’t be forthcoming.

So Ms Regan found out from the press.

Jeremy Corbyn found out about his suspension from a photographer.

Nadia Whittome found out she had been sacked as a PPS from the Guido Fawkes blog.

There have been many more, back through the years to the moment when…

I found out about my own suspension from a reporter working at the Western Mail, on May 3, 2017.

Labour has been leaking damaging private information about party members to the press for more than three and a half years.

It isn’t legal. But it is clearly de facto party policy.

Obviously the law has to change to close this loophole. I said the same in my article about my court case.

It’s going to be interesting watching Labour opposing the change (or will it?) in Parliament.

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Corbyn calls in the lawyers – just as This Site asked him to

What a coincidence!

The day after This Writer called for Jeremy Corbyn to take court action to stop the current Labour leadership from playing fast-and-loose with party rules to persecute him – he did just that.

Jeremy Corbyn’s solicitors have written to Labour calling for his suspension as one of the party’s MPs to be lifted, the BBC has been told.

I can’t take credit for the move – this is a tiny website with a very small readership – around 16,000 a day on average – but I think it is worth recording my gratitude to everybody who did pass my message on to Mr Corbyn, just in case.

Keir Starmer has built up a reputation, in a very short time, for conceding court cases Labour’s legal advisers say the party should win. In this instance, the opposite should apply – so I fear he’ll decide to fight.

Possibly mitigating against this is the letter to the party’s acting general secretary, David Evans (his appointment has yet to be ratified by a Labour Party conference), demanding that the Parliamentary party whip be restored to Corbyn.

According to Skwawkbox, the letter

  • condemns the ‘double jeopardy’ and ‘deliberate political interference’ of withdrawing the whip from Corbyn after he was reinstated by an NEC panel
  • makes clear that the decision of the panel was based on independent legal advice and the recommendation of Labour’s disciplinary investigative unit
  • implies that their advice was that there were no valid grounds for Corbyn’s suspension
  • confirms that the whip had been restored to Corbyn on the lifting of his suspension, making an utter mockery of Starmer’s excuse that he was ‘not restoring’ the whip rather than withdrawing it
  • makes clear that the meddling in the disciplinary outcome is exactly that kind of ‘political interference’ the EHRC has ruled unlawful
  • accuses Starmer and other right-wing MPs of smearing the NEC panel members who acted in accordance with the party’s rules and the legal advice they gave
  • says that Starmer has put NEC members in a legal bind – and that as a highly-qualified barrister he has no excuse for his ‘unconscionable’ choice
  • demands that Evans rebuke Starmer for his political interference in party processes and undermining public confidence in Labour’s disciplinary process
  • ‘requires’ Evans to immediately ‘demand’ that Starmer upholds the NEC panel’s decision and restores the whip to Corbyn

So now Starmer is well and truly caught between a rock and a hard place.

I wonder what sanctions will be carried out by the NEC members who signed the letter, if they don’t get what they demanded?

Perhaps Starmer’s decision will be made easier by the continuing rebellion of party members across the country, who continue to ignore his diktats that they should not speak up on Corbyn’s behalf or campaign for him.

This Writer is delighted to see that Bristol South CLP (I’m from that part of Brizzle) has just voted to support Corbyn:

I understand Brent Central CLP has also passed a motion demanding the restoration of the Labour Parliamentary whip to Corbyn.

And it seems another CLP has passed a motion calling on the NEC to take all steps possible to remove David Evans from office.

November 19 has been a disastrous day for Keir Starmer and his cronies.

How much worse can it get before he bows to the inevitable?

Source: Jeremy Corbyn’s lawyers challenge Labour over MP suspension – BBC News

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Derision for Liam Fox as he’s knocked out of race to lead World Trade Organisation

Liam Fox: bye bye.

Tory joke candidate Liam Fox has been knocked out of the race to become director-general of the World Trade Organisation.

According to the Torygraph, the former international trade secretary was eliminated before the last of three rounds to replace Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down a year earlier than expected at the end of August, so

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee will go head-to-head to become the trade body’s first female director-general

The reaction has been what you might expect, considering the person involved.

Fox was forced out of an early David Cameron cabinet for letting a friend of his, Adam Werrity, into confidential defence meetings and taking him on foreign junkets.

He has since crept back into Tory cabinets and was Theresa May’s International Trade secretary.

But he is widely held to be another inept Tory fool.

So the reaction to his WTO failure was clear:

Despite his abject ineptitude, Fox seems to be one of the survivors of the modern Tory Party, having managed to hang on in Parliament and in government circles for the last 10 years and more.

Let us hope this finishes him off and he retires to the obscurity he so richly deserves.

Source: Liam Fox knocked out of race to lead World Trade Organisation

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Johnson’s first Attorney General condemns his plan to betray EU withdrawal agreement

Geoffrey Cox: the former Attorney General is pointing the finger of accusation at Boris Johnson.

That’s scuppered the claims that the row over Boris Johnson’s plan to break international law is a last gasp of the so-called ‘Remainers’, then.

Geoffrey Cox – a devout Brexiter – was Attorney General when Boris Johnson signed his EU withdrawal agreement in January.

His announcement that he will not support Johnson’s Internal Markets Bill is proof that the controversy extends much further than the established battle lines.

The story broke in The Times, which is behind a paywall. However, the East Fife Times has this:

Boris Johnson’s former attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, has said it would be “unconscionable” to override the Brexit divorce deal.

The Tory MP said there is “no doubt” the “unpalatable” implications of the Withdrawal Agreement were known when the Prime Minister signed it, a time when Mr Cox was the chief law officer.

So he should know!

He stated:

And he threatened worse:

The Brexiteer warned he would not back the UK Internal Market Bill unless ministers dispel the impression they plan to “permanently and unilaterally” rewrite an international agreement.

[He] said tariffs and customs procedures on certain goods entering Northern Ireland from Britain were part of the deal.

“There can be no doubt that these were the known, unpalatable but inescapable, implications of the agreement,” he wrote in The Times.

He said if the powers in the Bill were used to “nullify those perfectly plain and foreseeable consequences” then it would amount to the “unilateral abrogation of the treaty obligations”

Cox said ministers could use “clear and lawful” options under the withdrawal agreement to remedy their concerns that food imports may be blocked from Britain to Northern Ireland – or, “in extremis”, take “temporary and proportionate measures” via independent arbitration.

“What ministers should not do, however provoked or frustrated they may feel about an impasse in negotiations, is to take or use powers permanently and unilaterally to rewrite portions of an international agreement into which this country freely entered just a few months ago,” he said.

It seems he also said this:

But the article also points out:

The QC… was attorney general during the unlawful suspension of Parliament.

That’s right; Boris Johnson prorogued Parliament illegally – and lied to the Queen in order to do it.

It seems Cox has had enough of such illegalities – and his words carry weight on the Conservative benches in the House of Commons.

They are also carrying weight on the social media:

Johnson and his people are desperately trying to play down the implications of their plan, but nobody is being fooled.

There may be more than verbal fireworks in the political news this week.

Source: Ex-attorney general strikes out at ‘unconscionable’ plan to override Brexit deal | Central Fife Times

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Incoming BBC chief wants to restore its reputation for impartiality. But will he?

Tim Davie: will this new broom sweep the BBC clean?

New BBC Director General Tim Davie is set to tell staff it is now a condition of their employment to be politically impartial.

It seems he has realised the Corporation’s credibility has suffered after years of kowtowing to the Tory administrations of the last 10 years.

And there’s academic information showing an “Establishment” bias during Labour administrations that made it hard for that party to get a fair hearing on the UK’s most-used TV and radio news outlet.

Fine words.

But will they cut any ice with entrenched right-wingers like Laura Kuenssberg and Andrew Neil, or the Tory-riddent BBC newsroom?

We’ll know soon enough.

Here’s the gist of the story:

The incoming director general of the BBC is expected to tell journalists that those who cannot leave their politics at the door are no longer welcome in a drive to repair the broadcaster’s reputation for impartiality, it has been reported.

Tim Davie will set out his plans for the corporation from its Glasgow offices on Thursday having taken on the role from Lord Hall, who stepped down from the top job last week to serve chair of the board for the National Gallery.

And the new director general is expected to make combatting accusations of partisan bias a focus of his tenure, The Sunday Times reported, by using his opening address to staff to tell those who cannot leave their politics at the door that they have no place at one of the world’s most trusted news brands.

Source: ‘You have no place here’: Incoming BBC chief to tell partisan journalists to leave bias behind | The Independent | Independent

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You can’t trust the Tories. But did their lies manage to convince you at the election?

He hasn’t actually said this: but Boris Johnson definitely DID lie to you in order to win the general election, and now we all know it. How can he expect us to trust him or his degraded party?

The Tories lied blatantly to win the 2019 general election, according to research from King’s College, London.

Tactics to mislead the public included  altering a video of Sir Keir Starmer and posing as a fact-checker on Twitter during a leaders’ debate.

The clip was edited to show the current Labour leader, then shadow Brexit secretary, failing to answer a question on the EU when in fact he had responded to it in a live television interview.

The report said the Tories also deliberately shared “poorly formatted and low-quality” posts on social media, including a widely-ridiculed tweet using the comic sans font, to gain attention through critical coverage.

After a public information campaign highlighted five ways of spreading false information last year, the Tory campaign was found to have used four of them.

Fact-checking organisation First Draft found that Labour, the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats all published misleading advertising during the campaign – but the Tories were by far the worst.

First Draft said 88 per cent of their most shared online adverts between December 1-4 contained misleading information, compared to 6.7 per cent for Labour.

King’s College researchers said the Tory government’s – let’s not beat around the bush – lies created trust issues for the public, at a time when the governing party is trying to convince us it can be trusted to tell us the facts about Covid-19:

“It wants citizens to believe the message that it is ‘succeeding’ in controlling the epidemic, despite its recent electoral record of using disinformation tactics and admitting it unapologetically.”

The Tories have – unsurprisingly – denied everything, even though they had previously admitted altering the video footage, unapologetically.

And their spokesperson added a few more statements you might consider to be stretching credibility:

“We are delivering on the promises the British public elected us on, getting Brexit done, investing in our public services and levelling-up across the country.“

It’s a good question, isn’t it?

Would Tory voters have done so if they knew how much disinformation the party was using in its campaign? And do they believe what the Tories are saying now?

Sadly This Site can’t do a poll about this – there’s no way of ensuring that only Tory voters would respond.

Source: Conservative Party used disinformation ‘with new level of impunity’ during 2019 general election, report finds | The Independent

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