Welcome to my day: 6 June 2022 – waiting for Sir Graham Brady…

It looks a bit like a Samuel Beckett sort of a week ahead. Have fifty-four Conservative MPs concluded that;

      a. Their principles cannot bear the behaviour of the Prime Minister; or
      b. Their majorities cannot bear the behaviour of the Prime Minister?

Or, perhaps, that they can get a vote but not win it… yet.

Whatever the truth, like Vladimir and Estragon, we are fated to spend too much time talking around the fate of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson than of the issues that so badly need fixing. On the other hand, if you’re an opposition party looking to embarrass the Government in a by-election, the prospect of the Conservatives spending the next three weeks fighting like rats in a sack is a thing to warm the soul.

The polling data from Wakefield;

      Labour 48%
      Conservatives 28%
      Greens 8%
      Liberal Democrats 7%
      Reform UK 3%

if accurate, suggests a 13.7% swing from Conservatives to Labour, which would overwhelm vast swathes of the Red Wall. The swing from Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats is noticeable too, albeit not as dramatic in impact, but shows that there is a move towards us which, in seats such as Harrogate and Knaresborough, or Cheadle, might be very welcome indeed.

Sadly, there’s no polling from Tiverton and Honiton yet but there’s no shortage of effort on the part of the campaign team there, nor from the number of volunteers who have come from across the country to make their contribution. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some encouraging data reach the public domain sooner rather than later, although I should emphasise that that’s conjecture based on precisely zero inside knowledge.

To mark the Diamond Jubilee, the latest piece of Conservative inanity hit the airwaves, a consultation on whether or not greater choice in terms of weights and measures usage would be welcome or beneficial, i.e. should we bring back imperial measurements for a few votes? The response from a variety of representative bodies has been pretty lukewarm so far, but do feel free to let the Government hear your views via this response form.

I have rather banged on about this Government’s apparent concept of governance by headline. But if ever there was a headline without anything behind it, this is it. My local, “The Bureaucrat and Hedgehog”, would be somewhat surprised if I rocked up and asked for a half-litre of “Ghost Ship”, and we seem perfectly capable in this country of operating in a variety of imperial and metric measurements. And many of us would do a better job of comparing the two than Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay did last week.

But, rather than sit back and wait for the Conservatives to rip themselves apart, focus needs to remain the cost of living crisis, both in terms of the short term and the long term. The Conservative solutions have been, for the most part, ill thought out, as they reflect how Conservatives feel that poor people ought to behave, rather than how they actually do. For example, lump sum payments might distribute the same amount of money, but offering support in a consistent, reliable manner helps people on tight budgets to manage their limited resources in a planned way. Giving money to the middle class tends to result in greater saving, or the paying off of debt, whereas distributing it to those scraping by (and many aren’t even doing that) is likely to result in greater economic activity as it will be spent on essentials for the most part.

Sadly, I know where the media will be this week… Hopefully, they, and I, will be somewhere else next week…

* Mark Valladares is the Monday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice.

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