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.
May 25, 2014
The Conservative Group in Kirklees at the 2014 Local Election managed to hold every seat where it had a sitting councillor. Bearing in mind Labour gains and Tory losses elsewhere in the country this was a fantastic result. At this stage of the electoral cycle Labour really ought to be doing better!
With Labour’s lead in the national polls narrowing the results in Kirklees are encouraging for the Parliamentary seats that will be contested in the region at next years general 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.
January 26, 2010
The UK economy is officially out of recession but only just. While any improvement is welcome an increase in output of 0.1% is nothing to shout about especially as there is a risk this figure maybe revised downwards. Despite the Government pumping billions into the economy in an attempt to quickly exit the recession and increase output before the general election, the result hasn’t been great as the UK economy crawls out of recession and is the last of the major economies to do so.
June 30, 2009
The Telegraph is reporting that Alan Johnson has announced that holding an ID card for Britons will be voluntary. This is a major climb down and a victory for all those such as David Davis MP who felt this policy was an infringement of our liberties and campaigned hard against its introduction.
We were told that ID cards were necessary to:
help protect people from identity fraud and theft
ensure that people are who they say they are
tackle illegal working and immigration abuse
disrupt the use of false and multiple identities by criminals and those involved in terrorist activity
ensure free public services are only used by those entitled to them
enable easier access to public services
(Home Office website)
Has the Government found another way of dealing with these concerns or is the real reason for
scrapping amending the scheme due to the state of the nations finances? Estimated costs of introducing ID cards were in the region of £5-15 billion – money that the Treasury simply hasn’t got.
June 17, 2009
The number of people out of work increased by 232 000 in the three months to April 2009 with unemployment now at at 12 year high of 2.36 million.
At this rate of increase, Labour will leave office with more people out of work than when it came into power!