May 26, 2014
UKIP winning the Euro election will have come as no surprise to anyone who has been out canvassing these past few weeks. The mood of the electorate was very apparent and an anti-establishment/Westminster vote was always going be registered.
What was surprising was the decimation of the Liberal Democrat vote, and is ‘just reward’ for a string of broken manifesto promises and for taking a pro EU line that was bordering on the ridiculous. I suspect that there is more woe to come for the Liberals at next year’s general election.
The opening up of our borders to immigration from new member states in the EU was always going to lead to a backlash from voters especially at a time when the economy has more room to recover. While unemployment is significantly down and important economic indicators are all pointing in the right direction it will nevertheless take time for the full effects of this recovery to filter through especially to those areas which were hurt the most during the recession under Labour.
While the principle of freedom of movement of persons between EU members is a sound one, it only works effectively when this movement is between people in states with similar living standards and similar incomes. Where there is a divergence in these factors between nations, then the movement of persons primarily in one direction with an obligation to also provide benefits to those arriving will inevitably create difficulties and tensions within communities. Those arriving and settling in specific areas of the country also leads to pressure on the education and health services and can lead to additional problems, and when a political party incessantly highlights these concerns then it is inevitable that its message will resonate with voters which is what UKIP has effectively done.
As things stand the hands of any government are tied in dealing with this problem. Either there is an effective re-negotiation with other EU states in this and in other areas where there is a plethora of diktats and legislation emanating from Brussels or we simply pull out of the EU -anything else is simply tinkering at the edges. The Conservative Party is the only party committed to re-negotiation and to holding an in/out referendum and unless it gains a majority at the next general election we’ll be having more or less the same debate and discussion at the next Euro election.
August 12, 2013
The Guardian today has news that that in 168 marginal seats, the ethnic minority vote is bigger than the majority of the sitting MP, which obviously means that the ethnic minority vote could be key in determining which party leader enters Downing Street after the next general election. This should not come as a surprise to anyone who has campaigned in seats in areas such as West Yorkshire, Lancashire, the Midlands and London though what is not mentioned and is also of crucial importance is that turnout among minority voters also tends to be higher than the indigenous population which ensures this vote is very influential.
What is a surprise however, is how very little has changed in terms of targeting the ethnic minority vote with reliance among all parties still on so called community leaders and elders to ‘deliver’ the vote. Promises of hundreds of vote being guaranteed if certain individuals are on board is simply nonsense and their influence greatly exaggerated. This often results in candidates being selected especially in local elections who may be well known in the community but often lack the required skills to competently fulfil their role when elected as councillors and often have a very poor grasp of the English language.
We still see politicians stand outside Mosques greeting worshippers as that is what someone has told them to do and which somehow will translate into votes. While these methods may have (minimally) held true many years ago it no longer is the case now. The internet and social media means that communicating directly with people from the ethnic minorities like with everyone else is so easy and has to be the way forward especially with those born in this country who are all social media savvy. Elsewhere candidates going to people’s homes and discussing issues has considerably more impact than any other method.
While there are issues specific to these communities such as relating to cohesion, terrorist ideology etc the economy, education and the NHS will like all other communities rank as the priorities when ethnic minorities cast their vote. A Party that consistently gets its message across in these areas will stand a far better chance of success. The days for example of sending Eid cards or messages at the start of Ramadan in the belief that this shows ‘understanding’ of the community have long gone and the sooner this is understood the better.
July 28, 2013
I have decided to resume blogging after a long hiatus…………stay tuned!
April 16, 2010
Last night’s debate between the three main political parties went very much as I expected. David Cameron had the most to lose as expectations of him to win the debate easily were very high and were never going to be met once Clegg was allowed to debate and another opposition leader was able to attack Brown and present an alternative set of policies. There wasn’t much expected of Brown so the only direction he could have gone is up which he only just did and Clegg was always going to gain the most as he could more or less say whatever he wanted knowing he will never be PM and could use the ‘same old party’ attack against both Labour and Conservatives and portray himself as the radical third way.
In the end all three candidates stuck to their policy lines with Nick Clegg looking most assertive and on most polls winning the debate. Now the Clegg novelty factor has worn off it will be interesting to see how he does in the other two debates especially as expectations will be high for him to repeat his performance of last night.
October 15, 2009
Blogging will resume on 20 october 2009
September 1, 2009
Blogging will resume now the holidays have ended.