Welcome to my day: 23 May 2022 – g’day everyone!

An unpopular right-wing administration against a rather bland Labour leader results in a collapse of the Government’s vote and, potentially, a change in direction… for Australia. Is it a portent for what might come to pass here at some point between now and 2024? Ah, well that’s the 64,000 dollar question, isn’t it?

Mind you, at the rate at which Conservative MPs are being accused, or in some cases found guilty, of illegal or unwise behaviour, the Government may run out of supporters. And who could have predicted that, in a week in which the Prime Minister focussed on crime at a Cabinet away day, that most of the news would be about him not being fined despite being at parties for which others were fined. Or that a Conservative MP would be arrested over claims of rape, indecent assault, sexual assault, abuse of a position of trust and misconduct in public office and another accused of the use of date rape drugs in Parliament? And what is the Government response to these stories? Silence.

It’s clearly time to find some scapegoats, and those old favourites, Europe, the Civil Service and migrants have been rolled out in an attempt to keep some people (any people?) onside. The problem is that, after twelve years in office, and the last seven of those on their own, you’d think that any ideas that might have anything more than an illusionary impact on their stated goals have been tried. But this is increasingly a Government living from soundbite to headline, even though it has a majority of eighty.

It’s going to be a long two and a half years…

One of the more pleasurable aspects of the past fortnight has been watching various Liberal Democrat or Liberal Democrat-led administrations taking up office. From Wokingham to Hull, from Stockport to West Oxfordshire, Liberal Democrat council groups have been facing up to the challenges of power. It isn’t going to be easy, as local government budgets are likely to be squeezed further by inflation, but having the right intentions certainly helps.

And, of course, the campaign in Tiverton and Honiton is now on in earnest, with the two most likely candidates to succeed now announced and streams of Liberal Democrat activists heading south-west. I was there with leaflets in hand last weekend and it felt strangely familiar, as Honiton feels a bit like Stowmarket, my neighbouring town here in mid-Suffolk. For, whilst the surrounding countryside is agricultural, the town itself is not obviously prosperous – we’re not talking “touristy” here. Indeed, a bit like mid-Suffolk, any tourists are likely to heading onwards. But there’s a sense that the seat could be taken, although the betting odds seem decidedly ungenerous. And a lot can happen in a month, especially when the Government has no discernible principles upon which to base a prediction of their next policy pronouncement. That makes them dangerous, especially in the short term, given their tendency towards kneejerk populism.

But, as Sean Bamforth so aptly noted;

That seems like a good note on which to set forth into the week, don’t you think?

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3 Comments

  • The Cons appear at first glance to have made an excellent choice of candidate, am I right, Deputy Mayor of Honiton, lady with sound professional background and I understand personable. We have a real fight on our hands, remember in some respects by picking a male from Birmingham the Tories opened up North Shropshire for us, big time. They have learnt. We have a real fight on our hands.
    PS Women candidates have been highly, very highly succesful in recent by elections.

  • nigel hunter 23rd May '22 - 12:17pm

    Onward go the troops!

  • Peter Hirst 30th May '22 - 1:07pm

    Political parties need to be a bit more realistic when drawing up rules. Some dismeanors are more culpable that others. While wanting politicians to obey all rules, we should also be able to indicate behaviours that while unbecoming are not resignation issues. The media will run with anything that looks like being a good story without keeping a wider perspective. It would be better if political parties could agree on what behaviours are unacceptable.

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