Disaster! Now Mrs May must go

When Theresa May called yesterday’s general election, I wrote here that she had taken a mighty risk. When she announced that she would asset strip the houses of the elderly to make them pay for domiciliary care, I asked here whether she was actually trying to lose the election.

Yesterday she lost it. At time of writing the final result still isn’t known. It looks as if Britain is heading for a hung parliament, with the Tories as the largest party scrabbling to stitch together a coalition. (It’s not completely impossible, although unlikely, that Labour could put together such a deal.) Even if the Tories end up with a small overall majority, Mrs May’s gamble that she was the only show in town and would inevitably gain a huge personal mandate has spectacularly blown up in her face.

 

It’s all about leadership. Any idea that this was a rejection of Brexit is clearly wrong. In Scotland, where most people had voted in the EU referendum for Remain, the Scottish Tories made huge and historic gains. That’s because they are led by an inspirational leader, Ruth Davidson.

The reason Labour has done so well is that for once young people turned out to vote. Young people generally don’t bother to vote. They did this time for one reason: they were captivated and energised by Jeremy Corbyn.

No matter that Corbyn’s agenda would destroy the country, that he would empower bad people, that he would extinguish freedom. With the collapse of Britain’s education system so that the young know nothing and can’t think for themselves, they were easy prey for a Pied Piper of fantasy politics.

WATCH: Full text of UK prime minister’s remarks on London terror attack

Full text of the remarks to the press by UK Prime Minister Theresa May outside 10 Downing Street, following a terror attack Saturday in London that left seven people dead, 48 injured.

Last night our country fell victim to a brutal terrorist attack once again. As a result I have just chaired a meeting of the Governments emergency committee.

Shortly before 10.10 yesterday evening the Met Police received reports that a white van had struck pedestrians on LondonBridge. It continued to drive from LondonBridge to Borough Market where three terrorists left the van and attack innocent and unarmed civilians with blades and knives.

All three were wearing what appeared to be explosive vests but the police have established that this clothing was fake and worn only to spread panic and fear. As so often in such serious situation, the police responded with great courage and great speed. Armed officers from the Metropolitan Police and the City of London police arrived at Borough Market within moments and shot and killed the three suspects.

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Attacking Corbyn won’t extricate Mrs May from the hole she’s dug

There is widespread amazement, and no little concern, that Theresa May’s lead in the opinion polls has been slashed from around 20 points ahead of Jeremy Corbyn to around six.

How can this possibly be, people are asking, given Corbyn’s extremism – his reckless pie-in-the-sky spending promises, his support for terrorist organisations, his disgusting reaction following the Manchester bombing suggesting that British foreign policy was to blame? How could anyone think such a man could be Britain’s Prime Minister?

And how can Mrs May, who was certain to get a whopping majority in the general election on June 8, now be struggling to gain a workable majority at all?

Well, very easily. I wrote here that she was taking a big risk in calling the election; all it would take would be one bad mistake and she’d be in trouble. And as I wrote here, she made that bad mistake with her “death tax” proposal to fleece elderly people for the privilege of of obtaining often substandard domiciliary care.

As for Corbyn, the distressing reality is that his programme is remarkably popular. Do many people believe that public spending should go up regardless of how it is to be paid for? Yes. Do many people want to see the railways re-nationalised because they have either forgotten or are too young ever to have known how inadequate they were when they were state-run? Yes.

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The Telegraph – Election Bulletin

  Good evening.

What does Theresa May believe? She didn’t have much time to set that out during the Conservative leadership campaign, as Andrea Leadsom brought it to a swift close. But after launching her first election manifesto as party leader this morning, we now have the clearest sense of Mrs May’s agenda. Her Government, she said, would not “drift the Right”, but would follow “good solid Conservatism”.  Policies like an energy price cap, a commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of GDP on international aid and new rights for workers ( we have summed them all up here) prompted questions as to whether she was rejecting Margaret Thatcher’s philosophy – and she didn’t dismiss the suggestion. “Margaret Thatcher was a Conservative, I am a Conservative, this is a Conservative manifesto”.

Mrs Thatcher still made her mark, as Mrs May borrowed her 1980 party conference slogan by inviting voters to join her in going  “forward together”. The Prime Minister’s language was curious in other ways, as she only used the word “Conservative” once in her manifesto launch speech. Tory voters may well be irked by her changes to social care, which Richard Dyson describes as an “ attack on the principle that inheritance is good”, but will doubtless be buoyed by her zeal for Brexit and her renewed commitment to reducing migration numbers. “Most of what she said was designed to engage the sensibilities of socially responsible people who want to do the right thing for the “country as a whole”,” writes Janet Daley. “What better definition is there of the traditional Tory voter?”

Those looking for detail as to what Mrs May wants to do about Brexit will be disappointed though, says Juliet Samuel, as ” her plan amounts to a single principle: trust me“. That strategy seems to be paying off, as the Conservative poll lead remains healthy. Labour supporters will be delighted that their party has leapt up eight points in Ipsos MORI’s latest poll, although they may want to go slow on the victory celebrations as they’re still 15 points behind the Tories in it.

The manifestos are out, so party leaders now have to get on and sell them to the public. Many of them are preparing to do that tonight for ITV’s televised debate. Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have said they will be giving it a miss, so it looks like viewers will get to see the remaining leaders – none of whom can expect to be Prime Minister after June 8 – duking it out. Will sparks fly when Tim Farron takes on Paul Nuttall? Will Nicola Sturgeon team up with Leanne Wood and Caroline Lucas, or will they find ways to disagree? We’ll be liveblogging it – with analysis from yours truly – tonight, so you can follow the mayhem here.

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Tories must use victory to revolutionise UK economy

There’s an election next month in the United Kingdom, though there’s not much political suspense.

The Labour Party is led by Jeremy Corbyn, a crazed Bernie Sanders-style leftist, and British voters have no desire to become an Anglo-Saxon version of Venezuela.

Or, since Corbyn’s main economic adviser actually has said all income belongs to the government and Corbyn himself has endorsed a maximum wage, maybe an Anglo-Saxon version of North Korea.

Given the Labour Party’s self-inflicted suicide, it is widely expected that the Conservative Party, led by Theresa May, will win an overwhelming victory.

But what difference will it make? Will the Tories have a mandate? Do they actually want to change policy?

Let’s start by asking whether policy should change. The good news is that the United Kingdom is ranked #10 according to Economic Freedom of the World. That means the U.K. is more market-friendly than the vast majority of nations (including the United States, I’m sad to report).

The bad news is that the U.K.’s score has been slipping throughout the 21st century. Basically, there were a lot of great reforms during the Thatcher era, but policy in recent years has been slowly deteriorating.

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The Telegraph – Election Bulletin

  Good afternoon.

Parliament has been dissolved. Let the election campaign proper begin.

In a remarkable speech outside Downing Street the Prime Minister, Theresa May, has accused Europe of deliberately trying to influence the general election.

This follows on from two stories that have dominated the news this week. The first saw a leak to a German newspaper of details of Mrs May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s dinner last week, and was seen as a German effort to undermine the PM. The second was this morning’s claim by the Financial Times that the EU’s demands for a Brexit bill has risen to €100bn, and Europe’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, suggesting that Brussels would pursue legal action to make Britain pay.

The Prime Minister, it would appear, is on the warpath. But don’t be too taken in her by her performance. Mrs May knows that she is the only party leader both willing and capable of negotiating Brexit. Support for Brexit remains strong in Britain, and far from giving the population second thoughts, the EU playing hardball will likely backfire, strengthening British resolve and driving voters toward Mrs May’s open arms. Even a relatively weak Tory government, yet alone a “coalition of chaos” headed by Jeremy Corbyn, would struggle to deliver Brexit. The message is clear, if you want a good Brexit, vote for a Tory landslide.

Of course this leads to the slightly bizarre reality that, by picking a fight with the EU now, Mrs May can secure the large majority that would allow her to play nice and make concessions to the EU after the election, by diminishing the power of hardcore Brexiteer Tory backbenchers. Might the EU be deliberately aiding this ploy? Probably not, but stranger things have happened.

All this has overshadowed what the Tory campaign had intended today to be about: Labour’s tax plans. The Conservatives launched a new campaign poster today, taking directly from their 1992 classic, which accuses Jeremy Corbyn of wanting “no bombs for our army, one big bombshell for YOUR family”. What’s in that bombshell? “MORE DEBT HIGHER TAXES” adding up to £45bn of tax and spend if you believe the maths coming from the blue corner. All in all, the Tories claim each and every family in Britain will have to pay £1,667 more tax per year under a Labour Government.

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The Telegraph – Brexit Bulletin

Good afternoon.

Britain’s spat with Spain over the sovereignty of Gibraltar escalated sharply over the weekend after Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the Government would go “all the way” to defend The Rock. Former Tory leader Lord Howard played his own part by suggesting that Theresa May would show the “same resolve” over Gibraltar as Baroness Thatcher did over the Falkland Islands in 1982. It was only a matter of time then before the Prime Minister stepped in to defuse tensions, telling reporters that she preferred “ jaw-jaw rather than war-war” and that common sense would “win through” once Spain realised “a good deal for the UK is good for us”.

Spain didn’t win much favour from Gibraltar after persuading the EU to give it an effective veto over the terms of any final trade deal applying to it that emerges over the Brexit talks. Fabian Picardo,  its chief minister, compared their actions to a “ cuckolded husband who is taking it out on the children“. So why did Spain do it? It’s due to Gibraltar’s airport, Peter Foster writes. “ It has a separate demand over the isthmus that contains the airport,” he notes, “arguing that it was not included in the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 that ceded Gibraltar to the UK “in perpetuity”…This gambit over the EU-UK Brexit deal gives Madrid the perfect mechanism with which to press its case.”

Spain hasn’t just sought to wind up the UK Government by renewing its claim on GIbraltar, it has also given the SNP a boost. Foreign minister, Alfonso Dastis declared that the Spanish would not veto any application by an independent Scotland to join the EU, undermining the assumption that they would stop their re-entry in order to discourage their own separatists in Catalonia. Nicola Sturgeon might be delighted by this concession, Tom Harris writes, but it could present her opponents with a gift. “Can you imagine the Unionist campaign’s posters? ‘We want Scottish fishing to be run from Scotland – why does Nicola Sturgeon want it to be run from Brussels?'”

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