Monday, May 17, 2021

As the fighting continues in Gaza and Israel

The Foreign Secretary has once again called for a de-escalation of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians following the seventh consecutive day of hostilities in the region.

  • Britain has condemned Hamas’ attacks on civilians and affirmed Israel’s right to self-defence – which must be exercised with proportionality. We oppose settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and the evictions in Jerusalem.
  • All sides must avoid civilian casualties. Above all, we need to see de-escalation, an end to violence and a political pathway to peace.

20 million people fully vaccinated - an incredible achievement

Over 20 million people have now received their second vaccine dose, marking a huge milestone in our fight against the virus as we continue at pace to roll out the vaccine to every corner of the UK.

  • Thanks to the monumental efforts of everyone involved, the UK vaccination programme continues to make incredible strides in delivering life-saving protection. 
  • Britain has now administered more than 56 million vaccines across the UK, including over 20 million second doses - and remains on track to offer a vaccine to all adults by the end of July.
  • While the British people are responding incredibly to calls to get the vaccine, the work is not done yet, and everyone is urged to get their jab as soon as they are offered it.  If you have any doubts or concerns, talk to your GP or an appropriately qualified medical professional.

Remembering Edward Jenner, born 272 years ago today

On this day in 1749 Edward Jenner, who has been described as "The Father of Immunology" was born in Gloucestershire.

He devised a vaccination for smallpox which was the first safe and effective protection against the disease. His vaccine and successor variants directly descended from his work ultimately led to the elimination of smallpoz and directly saved hundreds of millions of human lives. More lives were saved when similar treatments were developed to vaccinate against other killer diseases.

Jenner probably saved more human lives than anyone else in history.

Quote of the day 17th May 2021

 "In many ways, we pretended we had a political party for ten weeks."

Anas Sarwar MSP, leader of the Scottish Labour party.

He added: 

“For too long, we’ve seemed angry with the electorate, as if we’re annoyed with them. ‘How dare you not vote for us?’ Or we look like we think we’re more intelligent than the electorate. ‘We’ve got the best ideas in the world. Are you too stupid not to vote for us?’”

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Mote than 20 million people have now had their second COVID-19 dose


Fantastic progress continues with 20 million people fully vaccinated.

Here are the figures as of this evening:

The Indian Variant: keeping safe while moving to restore our freedoms

As the Prime Minister has said, there is no evidence to suggest tomorrow’s easing of lockdown in England cannot go ahead, but everyone must exercise the greatest caution because the choices each of us makes have an effect on the road ahead.

  • We all want to make sure that we keep the public safe and keep the roadmap to freedom on track in ways which don't interfere with that.
  • The UK government took precautionary action to ban travel from India on 23 April, six days before this variant was put under investigation and two weeks before it was labelled as of concern. Prior to India being placed on the red list in April, anyone coming to the UK had to test negative and quarantine for 10 days.
  • In recent days we have seen continued spread of the variant of concern that first originated in India, with clusters in Bolton, Blackburn with Darwen, and some other parts of the UK - and we believe this variant to be more transmissible.


  • That is why the government is supporting targeted new activity to accelerate vaccine uptake amongst eligible cohorts and introducing additional surge testing for residents to contain cases of the B1.617.2 variant.
  • For everyone across the country, we must redouble our efforts, get tested, get a jab if eligible, and exercise caution and common sense.

A fair deal for LGBT people

 Also on the subject of summits:

Today it has also been announced that this summer the UK government will host the UK’s first ever LGBT conference, taking aim at the prejudices LGBT people still face, and looking at the collective action we can take to tackle those injustices alongside our international friends and partners. 

  • Everyone should be able to live their life free from prejudice, malice, or violence, regardless of their background or who they choose to love – and the UK is leading the way in tackling this.
  • That is why this summer Britain is inviting countries from around the world to attend the UK’s first ever global LGBT conference – ‘Safe To Be Me’ – the largest event of its kind which will focus on advancing equality and legal protections, tackling violence and discrimination, and ensuring equal access to public services for LGBT people.
  • By working with our international friends and partners, we are taking another step forwards in making sure LGBT people around the world can live free from the discrimination and violence that persists today.

Global Vaccine Summit

It has been announced that the UK will host the world’s first ever Global Vaccine Confidence Summit, building on our continuing efforts to drive vaccine uptake in the fight against the Covid-19 Pandemic.

  • The UK is working throughout our G7 Presidency this year to improve access to coronavirus vaccines, treatments and tests around the world, and vaccine confidence is a key part of that effort.
  • Speakers at the Global Vaccine Confidence Summit - a one-day event - will include Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock and scientific and medical experts, with more to be announced in the coming weeks.
  • They will discuss ways the governments, civil society and private sector – including social media companies – can tackle vaccine misinformation and amplify messages of vaccine confidence.

Sunday music spot: Mozart's "Laudate Dominum," sung by Patricia Janečková

Quote of the day 16th May 2021


Saturday, May 15, 2021

Tilting at windmills: an opinion about local government elections which will probably annoy everyone:

If anyone at all agrees with the remainder of this post after the first three paragraphs I will be pleasantly surprised. 

Those who are dedicated supporters of Proportional Representation won't like it because it argues that democracy in some council areas will be better served by First Past the Post (FPTP). Dedicated defenders of FPTP  will hate it because it suggests that others would be better served by a Proportional Representation system. 

And those who like things tidy and simple will really hate it because it proposes a mechanism for local choice which would almost inevitably result in different areas choosing different electoral systems. I happen to think that comes with the remit of local democracy/

So I'm flying a kite here on the basis that if I make even one person think it might be a good idea that is worth doing but I do not expect to see any legislation putting this into effect any time soon.

All forms of democracy are imperfect, they merely happen to be much less terrible than any possible alternative. The biggest strength of democracy is that it enables the electorate to get rid of a national or local leadership which has served its time and needs replacing with no violence and a minimum of fuss.

A joke which has been attributed to various people from Mark Twain to Ronald Reagan (the Quote Investigator site credits Dick Nolan) is that political leaders, like a baby's nappy, should be changed regularly and for the same reason. 

Certainly there is a significant correlation between the worst-run councils in the country and those which have been under the same political control for decades. That includes councils which have been "No overall control" for decades because although they can shift in terms of who is running things, this will nearly always be a consequence of a realignment of the existing political groups rather than the votes of the electorate.

The council of which I am currently a member, Cumbria County Council, is a classic example of this. The council has been "No Overall Control" for a long time, and every change in control has owed more to parties changing coalition partners than to changes made by the electorate. Even election results in which large numbers of seats changed hands - like the election when I came onto the council in 2017 - do not necessarily dislodge leaders who have been rejected by the electorate.

There is no such thing as a perfect electoral system. I have not changed my view that First Past the Post has a number of strengths and is the best option for the House of Commons. Nor would I want to see a PR system in those councils where it would probably mean the sort of permanent "no overall control" which is failing very badly in Cumbria at the moment.

However, by the same token, I cannot be happy about those councils where FPTP means that a narrow majority of the vote - or even a large plurality short of an overall majority - gives a single party an almost-permanent lock on a very large majority of the seats.

I would like to see the voters in each council area given the option to choose between FPTP and a suitable form of proportional representation.

My personal view is that the best form of PR is the "Single Transferable Vote" system used in Ireland and in almost every university student union in the country (which means that most politicians with a degree, if they were once student union hacks, are perfectly familiar with it.) 

I could live with what is sometimes called "German PR" or the additional member system (AMS) which is used for a lot of devolved bodies like the Scottish parliament as Tony Blair was quite keen on it -  though it does have some vulnerabilities which Alex Salmond recently made a serious attempt to exploit.

I would argue that once in a generation - let's say every 20 years - a council should be able to hold a referendum to switch between FPTP and an approved form of PR. Such a referendum could be called by a majority of councillors, or by a petition signed by 10% of the electorate (the same percentage required to trigger a ballot on whether you have a directly-elected mayor.)

Those areas where the electorate like the First Past the Post system should be able to keep it. Those who want a proportional system should be able to opt for that.

The following suggestion will be the most controversial part of this article. I would also argue that such a ballot should be triggered automatically if the same single party has had a majority on the council for 20 years or if the council has been "No overall control" for 20 years.

If the electorate are happy to keep the same party in power with the same electoral system practically for ever, that is their choice. But if there has been no change for twenty years, they should have the opportunity to try something different.

Another version of the Allegretto from Karl Jenkins' "Palladio" by the Palatine electric string quartet.

Saturday music spot: Sir Karl Jenkins: Allegretto from "Palladio"

Towards the environment conference COP26

With less than six months until COP26 – the UK government has urged world leaders to work with us to tackle climate change, so we can build a brighter and greener future together

  • While we can be proud of the UK’s world leading efforts to tackle climate change, we know that this is a global issue that requires international action.
  • COP26 represents our last hope to take a collective responsibility in protecting our planet, which is why we will use our presidency to work with world leaders to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, help natural habitats and people adapt to changing climates and mobilise climate finance.
  • We will also work to help end the global reliance on burning coal for energy by embracing clean and renewable energy. Britain is leading the way having reduced our reliance on coal for electricity by 96 per cent since 1990, and are going further by phasing out coal power completely by 2024.
  • We will use this historic opportunity to protect our planet for future generations - championing green innovation and jobs in the process as we build back greener from the pandemic.

Quote of the day 15th May 2021


Friday, May 14, 2021

Vaccination update

This is the age group that the vaccination programme has reached

And these are the latest figures

Yesterday the government announced new measures to boost our defences against the variant first identified in India, safeguarding our hard-won gains in the fight against Covid.

  • Despite the incredible success of our vaccine programme, we must remain vigilant about the threat of new and emerging variants of the virus.
  • That is why the government is acting to control further spread of this variant of concern in areas where cases are rising, including enhanced community and surge testing, increased genome sequencing of positive cases and ensuring access to vaccines for everyone who is eligible.
  • We must not hesitate to take additional action as necessary, but in the meantime, every one of us can play our part by following the rules, getting tested regularly and coming forward for the jab when it is our turn.  

Another version of the "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba"

This is the Academy of Ancient Music's performance the 'Arrival of the Queen of Sheba,' 

or to give it the proper name, the Sinfonia to Act III from Handel's oratorio 'Solomon.'

Quote of the day 14th May 2021

"A smart man makes a mistake, learns from it, and never makes that mistake again. 

But a wise man finds a smart man and learns from him how to avoid the mistake altogether."

(Roy H. Williams)

Music to start the weekend: Handel's overture from Solomon (Arrival of the Queen of Sheba)

Birmingham Uni study finds Pfizer jab more effective if the two doses are given 12 weeks apart.

A study led by the University of Birmingham in collaboration with Public Health England, found that extending the interval to 12 weeks increased the peak spike-specific antibody response to the virus 3.5-fold compared with those who had the second vaccine at three weeks.

Although the peak cellular immune responses were lower after the delayed second vaccine, responses were comparable between the groups when measured at a similar time point following the first dose, researchers found.

There has been some debate about the UK government's strategy of giving second jabs at 12 weeks rather than three, a strategy which was originally adopted to protect as many of the most  vulnerable as possible as quickly as possible. It was initially controversial though as evidence mounted that a single dose has substantial benefits within three to four weeks more and more experts around the world have come out in favour of the strategy.

I understand this is the first study to compare the immune response and it does appear to provide strong evidence that the policy of giving the second dose at 12 weeks is the best one.

You can read a summary of a Telegraph article about the study here.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Israel and Palestine

The Prime Minister has urged Israel and Palestine to de-escalate tensions and show restraint to end violence in the region. 

  • The UK is urging Israel and the Palestinians to step back from the brink and for both sides to show restraint.
  • The UK is deeply concerned by the growing violence and civilian casualties and we want to see an urgent de-escalation of tensions.
It is depressing how many people seem to have a problem recognising that both Jews and Palestinians are human beings and the death of a single Jewish child or a single Palestinian child is a tragedy.

You don't need to speculate how we in Britain would react if someone fired rockets at our cities in an attempt to kill British civilians in the way that Hamas has been firing rockets at Israel's cities. Because Nazi Germany did exactly that within living memory, in my parents' lifetimes. 

There is a story that during the "Blitz" while London was burning after a Nazi air raid, the chief of the air staff, acting Air Chief Marshall  Sir Charles Portal (as he was at the time) was called to the roof of the Air Ministry by another officer to view the devastation. After they had looked on the scene, the other officer said, "Well, they are sowing the wind" (a biblical reference to Hosea chapter 8 verse 7, "Those who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind.") 

The officer who said this was Air Marshall Arthur Harris, soon to be known to history as "Bomber" Harris.

Whether the story is true or not, Portal and Harris certainly did their level best to make the prophecy come true, and if you ask the citizens of Hamburg, Dresden, or just about any other German city within the effective range of an Avro Lancaster from the UK they are likely to be able to tell you all about the RAF attacks on German cities which followed Luftwaffe attacks on British ones.

That deadly episode in history was, of course, part of an all-out war. Such a war between Israel and Palestinians is in neither side's interests.

Learning the lessons from the pandemic

Yesterday, the Prime Minister confirmed that an independent public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic will begin in Spring 2022 - looking at the events of the last year to identify key issues for the future. 

  • The government has always said that we must examine our pandemic response rigorously and candidly, learning every possible lesson for the future.
  • That is why the Prime Minister has announced that the Government will establish an independent public inquiry on a statutory basis, with full powers under the Inquiries Act of 2005.
  • In establishing the Inquiry, the UK government will work closely with the devolved administrations, as it has done throughout the pandemic, and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has already spoken to the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales, and the First and Deputy First Ministers of Northern Ireland to begin those conversations.

Aid for Education

Today the Prime Minister announced a £55 million aid package to drive crucial research into global education reforms, turbocharging efforts to get girls into school and learning.

  • Supporting girls to get 12 years of quality education is one of the smartest investments we can make as the world recovers from Covid-19.
  • That is why the UK government has announced £55 million to help fund research to get more girls into schools - and the Prime Minister will also today urge world leaders to invest in education, supporting our ambition to get 40 million more girls into school in the next five years.
  • At this decisive junction in our recovery from the pandemic, we are committed to ensuring that everyone can access a quality education - delivering a more sustainable, peaceful and resilient future.

Quotes of the day 13th May 2021


For the avoidance of doubt, education of both boys and girls is essential for their own futures and that of the society they are part of, but around the world girls' education is the more likely to be neglected.

I have quoted both a woman and a man making similar comments on the subject because this issue should be of concern to men as well as women. (Lawrence Summers is a former Chief Economist at the World Bank.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Midweek madrigal: "Now is the month of maying"

Cumbria County Council and District Council by-election results

All the results of Thursday's elections have now been declared.

In Cumbria scheduled County and district elections were postponed for a year because of local government reorganisation but we had the PCC election and a rich crop of by-elections.

As usual the picture was complicated and most parties had both at least one success to highlight and suffered at least one or two disappointments but on this occasion the party with fewest disappointments was the Conservatives.

An illustration of how complex the tapestry was came from Workington St Johns where the same two candidates had transposed fortunes in two elections in the same general area.

Because of the sad death of the late Joe Holliday, whose sixty years - sixty years! - in local government started as an employee, was then elected as a Labour councillor and finally became an Independent one, there were by-elections for the seats on both Cumbria County Council and Allerdale Borough Council which he had represented. 

The Conservative and Labour parties put up the same candidates in both elections (as did the Lib/Dems). Both the Conservative and Labour candidates became a councillor at one level and was runner up at the other.

Deb Garton gained the St Johns & Great Clifton division on Cumbria County Council for the Conservatives, while Anthony David McGuckin gained the St John's seat on Allerdale Borough Council seat for Labour - which I believe was Labour's only gain in Cumbria last week at county or district level. Labour also held the Whitehaven Central by-election, the Hindpool seat in Barrow, and narrowly retained the Cathedral and Castle seat in Carlisle, and that was the sum total of Labour wins at county or district level in a bad electoral week for Labour in Cumbria.

Lib/Dems candidates were elected to three seats on South Lakeland District Council but harvested a bumper crop of very poor results in the rest of the county.

Unsurprisingly the Green policy of shutting down the main industry which West Cumbria depends on and opposing the main current opportunity for some new jobs went down like a lead balloon with voters in the West - none of their candidates in Allerdale did well and they didn't even put up candidates in Copeland or Barrow but in South Lakeland it was a different story and they will be pleased with the gain they chalked up in Ulverston.   

The most significant win for the Conservatives in Cumbria last week was the one county-wide election in which Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall was re-elected with a truly impressive 53.5% of the vote, a score which made a second round unnecessary.

But the Conservatives also strengthened their hold on both Allerdale Borough Council and Carlisle City Council - both authorities are still "No Overall Control" but run by Conservative minority administrations which are now in a slightly stronger position with Conservative gains in both authorities. Conservatives also won seats on Eden District Council, South Lakeland District Council, and Barrow Borough Council.

On Cumbria County Council the Conservatives increased our number of seats by one, winning three out of the four by-elections. We gained St Johns & Great Clifton from Independent as described above and Cockermouth North from the Liberal Democrats, while holding the Brampton division which had been vacant as a result of the death of the late Lawrence Fisher.

The main disappointment for the Conservatives was losing Ulverston West to the Greens by just 16 votes.

But overall we are up from 37 seats on the County Council to 38, which makes the Conservatives by far the largest group on the council, even though we are locked out of any role in the \administration by an alliance between two parties which received fewer votes put together than the Conservatives did in 2017.

Congratulations to all the successful candidates of whatever party (or Independent) especially my new Conservative colleagues on the county council, Catherine Bell, Deb Garton, and Mike Mitchelson.

Here are the full results for the CCC by-elections held last week.

The Lifetime Skills Guarantee

The landmark reforms announced in today's Queen’s Speech will include new laws to deliver the Prime Minister’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee, giving people the skills they need for well-paid jobs and opportunities to train throughout their lifetime.  

  • It is important that we move past the outdated notion that there is only one route up the career ladder, and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to retrain or upskill.
  • That is why the new legislative measures set out today will enable a new student finance system to transform the current student loans system, give employers a statutory role in planning publicly-funded training programmes with education providers, and give the Secretary of State for Education more powers to intervene in colleges that fail to meet local needs.
  • By revolutionising the skills system, we are levelling up our country and ensuring equal opportunities for all, setting people on the route to better, well-paid jobs.

The Queen's Speech

Today, proposed new laws will be described in the Queen’s Speech to ensure the UK builds back better and stronger from the pandemic.

  • The government's new legislative programme will be focused on supporting the nation’s recovery. Now more than ever the NHS is our top priority – tackling backlogs and improving patient care is at the heart of that.
  • And to we further to unite and level up the country; delivering on the promises made to the British people in the Conservative manifesto, the government will be:

    • Supporting jobs, businesses and our economy;
    • Creating safer streets and neighbourhoods;
    • And working to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, for a cleaner, greener UK.
  • Today’s Queen’s Speech will not only address the legacies of the pandemic, but will go further to unite and level up the country, spreading opportunity across the country as we build back better.

Quote of the day 12th May 2020

 "Boris Johnson's calling of a UK summit on post-pandemic recovery is a good start. The next step would be to welcome some of the proposals put forward on Monday by Gordon Brown on the Today programme. HIs call for 'a permanent forum between the regions and the nations and the centre of government which Boris Johnson should chair' deserves serious consideration. We should make the most of having an unwritten constitution." 

(William Hague, on how positive steps can be taken to strengthen the Union, from an article which you can read here if you are registered to read The Times content online.)

Monday, May 10, 2021

Music to relax on Monday evening: "Achieved is the Glorious Work" from Haydn's Creation

Peter McCall re-elected with 53.5% of the vote

Cumbria's excellent Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner has been re-elected with 53.5% of the vote.

There was no need for a second round of counting as he won on first preferences.

  • Peter McCall (Conservative) – 56,753 - ELECTED
  • Barbara Cannon (Labour) – 27,687
  • Lorraine Birchall (Liberal Democrats) – 21,506
Conservative majority 19,066

Latest polling if there is another Indepenence referendum in Scotland


Guide to election speak, updated

 Added a few more of the phrases used this week to my handy beginners' guide to what parties and candidates mean when the talk about election results.

Credit to Guido Fawkes for the first translation, and to Rebecca Long-Bailey, Ian Murray, and the two knichts, Sir Ed Davey and Sir Keir "Knight of the wrong knives" Starmer for comments which cried out to be added to the list.  

What parties say about an election result

What they mean

We fought a good positive campaign

We lost.

This result gives us something to build on

We lost badly

Our party made progress in this election

We lost very badly

We’re not making progress quickly enough

We lost very, very, badly

Our candidate can be proud of having stood up for what we believe in

We lost very, very, badly indeed

We won a moral victory

We were so badly hammered that if you look up “electoral disaster” on the internet you’ll probably find a picture of our candidate.

You can’t read too much into a by-election result

We lost.

We are quietly confident

We think ’re going to win, but don’t want to say that for fear of making our voters complacent, or of looking like idiots if we’re wrong.

These elections were always going to be tough for us (before the vote)

(Usually) expectations management to make the expected win look even better

These elections were always going to be tough for us (after the vote)

I’m saying the first thing that comes into my head to explain away the defeat

All my colleagues fully support our leader

Most of them want him gone but don’t want their dagger found in his back

This is a very significant result

We won

This victory gives us a mandate to do X

And I’d have been saying it meant we should do X for any result from total victory to failing to get a single vote

"It wasn't a Jeremy Corbyn problem, it was a problem with having no policy at the top of the Labour Party"

Some dinosaurs survived the asteroid: the same sort of people who bought Tony Benn’s line that voters re-elected Maggie Thatcher because Neil Kinnock wasn’t left wing enough now imagine voters backed Boris Johnson’s Conservatives because Keir Starmer isn’t left wing enough.

“I take full responsibility for this result”

“I’m about to start sacking or reshuffling every woman in my top team.”

We are chipping away at X party’s lead

And at the present rate of progress might overhaul them some time in the next century.

These results were as good as we could have expected in the circumstances

And maybe next year we might actually win something

Quote of the day 10th May 2021

 "The voters have let us down. I hope they don’t live to regret it."

(Defeated Labour councillor Chris Emmas-Williams, outgoing leader of Amber Valley Borough Council, speaking to the Derby Telegraph and quoted in the Steerpike column of the Spectator offers his explanation for Labour's poor showing in last week's elections. 

Others might think that any party demonstrating that kind of arrogance is riding for a fall.) 

Sunday, May 09, 2021

COVID-19 and vaccination update


Nickname of the week

 "Knight of the wrong knives"

I think this is now an even better nickname for Sir Keir Starmer than "Captain Hindsight."

Call out to Tom Harwood who used this without the K as a description of Starmer's botched reshuffle.

Sunday music spot: "Holy is the True Light" by William Harris

A sunday reflection

This is the candle I lit after the service this morning at St James' Church Whitehaven.

I prayed for all the victims of the car bomb set off by DA'ESH outside a girls' school in Kabul as pupils were leaving, and for the people of India as they are facing a particularly swvere wave of COVID-19..

Quote of the day 9th may 2021

"If you look at the percentage of votes what strikes you is just simply how evenly divided Scotland is.

"Scotland is now divided absolutely down the middle of the constitutional question."

"To give you an idea as to how neither side really at the end of the day can claim that this provides a mandate for their point of view.

  • On the Constituency vote, 50.4% of the vote went to the three unionist parties, 
  • but on the List vote 50.1% of the vote went to the pro-independence parties."

"The reason we have a pro-independence majority in the Scottish parliament is to down to how the electoral system operates.

"But, hey guys, those are the rules and that's the way it has played out."

"The truth is neither unionists nor nationalists can come away from the election in Scotland confident that their point of view represents the majority view."

(Polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice speaking to BBC Breakfast)

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Beginner's guide to election speak

This weekend there are all sorts of comments flying around about the elections being declared.

Here is your handy guide to interpreting what politicians, candidates and their parties are saying about the results.

What parties say about an election result

What they mean

We fought a good positive campaign

We lost.

This result gives us something to build on

We lost badly

Our candidate can be proud of having stood up for what we believe in

We lost very badly indeed

We won a moral victory

We lost so badly that if you look up “electoral disaster” on the net you’ll probably find our candidate.

You can’t read too much into a by-election result

We lost.

We are quietly confident

We think ’re going to win, but don’t want to say that for fear of making our voters complacent, or worse, looking like idiots if we’re wrong.

These elections were always going to be tough for us (before the vote)

(Usually) expectations management to make the expected win look even better

These elections were always going to be tough for us (after the vote)

I’m saying the first thing that comes into my head to explain away the defeat

All my colleagues fully support our leader

Most of them want him gone but don’t want their dagger found in his back

This is a very significant result

We won

This victory gives us a mandate to do X

And I’d have been saying it meant we should do X for any result from total victory to failing to get a single vote

Credit to Guido Fawkes for the first one, I added the rest. 


and we can also add
"It wasn't a Jeremy Corbyn problem, it was a problem with having no policy at the top of the Labour Party"

Which means: some dinosaurs survived the asteroid. The same sort of people who agreed with Tony Benn that people voted for Margaret Thatcher because Neil Kinnock wasn't left wing enough now think that people voted for Boris Johnson's Tories because Keir Starmer isn't left wing enough.

Quote of the day 8th May

I don't often agree with Labour MPs but this quote from an article published yesterday by Khalid Mahmoud, who recently resigned from Labour's front bench, is spot on:

Friday, May 07, 2021

Vaccination update


Ben Houchen re-elected Mayor of Tees Valley with 73% of the vote

The inspirational Conservative mayor of Tees Valley, Ben Houchen, has been re-elected with a staggering 73% of the vote.

A remarkable and richly deserved win for a man who has done an incredible job of attracting investment and jobs to the Tees Valley.

We need a metro mayor doing the same job for Cumbria.