A new telephone poll in the constituency of Hartlepool has found a 17-point lead for Boris Johnson's populist Conservative Party. This may sound groundbreaking, but, in reality, it isn't anything of the sort.
In the last general election, Labour only squeaked through as the right-wing Brexit Party received almost as many votes as the Tories themselves. Fifty-five per cent voted for right-wing parties, compared to just 38 per cent for Jeremy Corbyn's Labour. The seat was one of the most pro-Brexit in Britain, with seven out of 10 voting to leave (18-points above average).
Hartlepool is only representative of itself. No Labour leader would be in a good position to win this seat at the moment. I wish the BBC and others would emphasise the uniqueness of Hartlepool a little more.
The SNP election manifesto is a cornucopia of giveaways. Another one billion pounds for the Scottish National Investment Bank, free dental care, pay rise for NHS staff, free laptops and bikes, bonds of up to £50,000 for families to remain in or move to underpopulated areas.
The list of monies to be spent is almost limitless. And in among them, a commitment not to raise income tax and to freeze land and buildings transaction tax. For a country already deep in deficit, how is this to be achieved? Ah, the largesse of HM Treasury will pay for it. If ever there were an admission that Scotland is better off in the UK, the SNP manifesto is it.
To understand why the prime minister appears unharmed in the court of public opinion regarding sleaze allegations it’s important to consider the historical context. Opinion polls show a steady downwards track in people’s faith or respect for politicians going back several decades.
John Major’s government heralded the era of cash for questions, jobs for the boys and fuelled rumours of dishonest MPs. But controversy in government dates right back to the infamous Liberal prime minister David Lloyd George who sold peerages and other titles. The honours system is an annual reminder of how far money gets you.
Major lost the 1997 general election as much because people had had enough of the Tories after 18 years rather than perceived corruption. His government was divided over Europe, up against a Eurosceptic media and constantly squabbling. Johnson has a united party and has thrived under during the pandemic as people are either too cynical to be shocked by his behaviour or just too preoccupied with Covid-19 to be bothered.
How shoddy and humiliating to have a prime minister with a begging bowl for personal funding. What a messy and extravagant life he leads. No respect.
Scotland is similar in size to South Carolina – if South Carolina broke away from the USA, where would it figure on the world stage? You could read cover to cover of our national newspapers and not find one reference to it in most issues.
The USA is a country of 50 states, covering 3.8 million square miles with a population of 382.2 million in 2019. By air, Washington DC to San Francisco is around 2,500 miles, while Washington DC to Anchorage, Alaska, is 3,356 miles.
In comparison, the UK effectively has four “states” covering around 150,000 square miles with a population of 66.65 million in 2019. The distance from Aberdeen to London by air is around 400 miles. If a country 15.5 times larger than us, with 5.7 times as many people as us, living such huge distances apart can work together, why can’t we? Let’s all pull together to make it work for all.
D A Glass