Friday, May 26, 2017

Music to relax after campaigning, "Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen" (Bach)

Bach to work with Copeland Conservatives out campaigning in Bransty ward this evening in glorious sunshine.

I think it was the first time since I have lived at this latitude that my wife warned me as I was on my way out of the door to go campaigning to put some sunscreen on (which I did.)

For all those who have been out campaigning this evening and doubtless returned home hot tired and thirsty, here is some music to unwind to.

As campaigning resumes the PM writes

As campaigning resumes, Prime Minister Theresa May writes:

Subject: An important message Chris

An important message Chris


The last few days have been some of the most difficult that we have faced as a nation. All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people, but the attack in Manchester stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice.
We experienced the worst of humanity in Manchester, but we also saw the best. The cowardice of the attacker met the bravery of the emergency services and the people of Manchester. The attempt to divide us met countless acts of kindness that brought people closer together. And in the days ahead, those must be the things we remember.

As I said on the steps of Number 10, our country and our way of life will always prevail. And in just under two weeks’ time millions of us will go to the polls, exercising our democratic right to vote.
Our local campaigns resumed yesterday – and our national campaign today. Our candidates and volunteers will be knocking on doors across the country, talking to voters about the issues facing Britain. 
Thank you for your support - and for making Britain what it is today.

Rt Hon. Theresa May MP
Theresa MayPrime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party


Promoted by Alan Mabbutt on behalf of the Conservative Party, both at 4 Matthew Parker Street, London, SW1H 9HQ

Quote of the day 26th may 2017

"A moment’s thought will confirm that there is no foreign policy Britain could introduce that could possibly appease the likes of Abedi.  We are damned if we intervene, and damned if we don’t.  If we intervene, we are accused of imperialism and wars for oil.  If we don’t, we are accused of indifference to the plight and slaughter of Muslims." 

"But in any event, foreign policy is not, repeat not, the sole or even the main cause of Islamist terror."

"Military intervention, non-intervention, secular government, liberal democracy, the rule of law, an independent judiciary, women’s freedom, gay rights, Jews, Shia Muslims, Sufis, the technological superiority of the west, the backwardness of much of the Muslim-majority world – all these assemble in the minds of Islamist fanatics, like a collage on a teenager’s wall, to provoke a primal scream of fear and hatred.  That many of them have previous form as criminals and addicts, are not in a stable relationship, and come from broken families shovels fuel on the fire. "

"And just as there is no foreign policy that could appease people like these, so there is no domestic policy either, short of handing them Muslim-majority enclaves of our cities to govern, and wishing them the best of British."

"To point all this out to much of the Left, however patiently, is to meet accusations of racism and Islamophobia.  Since the facts are incompatible with its worldview, which is shaped by a sense of adolescent protest, the facts must therefore be wrong. So it must stop its ears."

(Paul Goodman, extracts from article on Conservative Home which can be read in full here.)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Campaigning to resume after a minute's silence at 11am today

As previously mentioned the UK will be observing a minute's silence in memory of the victims of the Manchester bombing, at 11am today (25th May.)

Local political campaigning will resume at noon today following that act of respect, and then national political campaigning will resume from tomorrow.

There are legitimate difference of opinion about how long political campaigning should have been suspended for in the wake of this dreadful act of terrorism, but I think this gets it about right.

I don't agree with those who suggest that suspending campaigning for a few days was a victory for the bomber.

If the political parties had stopped campaigning because they were afraid, it might be seen that way, but that is not what happened. As one Mancunian friend of mine tweeted observing Manchester's busy shopping centres the day after the bombing, "the terrorists can't even stop us shopping!"

Most of Britain's politicians chose to suspend campaigning for a few days as a mark of respect to the victims, not because anyone was afraid of terrorists.

Suspending the campaign in memory for the victims for two or three days and resuming today when there are still two weeks left for parties to get the message over for and voters and journalists to challenge them does, in my humble opinion, strike the right sort of balance between respect for the victims and ensuring that the terrorists do not prevent proper democratic debate.

Quote of the day 25th May 2017

"Donald Trump says re Manchester the terrorists want to be called monsters, so he's going to call them losers."

(Faisal Islam, on twitter)

"OK. You know what? That isn't stupid."

(David Baddiel, on twitter.)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A music spot in memory of the Manchester victims

"Lux Aeterna" (Eternal light shine apon them) from the Mozart Requiem

Minute's silence tomorrow

There will be a minute's silence at 11am tomorrow (Thursday 25th May) in memory of those killed in the Manchester terror atrocity.

Quote of the day 24th May 2017

"What on earth goes through the mind of someone who could do this? Yet the sacrilege of it must be the point. The more blameless the victims, the more everyday the circumstances, the more we all see ourselves in it and the wider the impact.

The natural instinct is to hunker down at home and count your blessings, retreat into the domestic and familiar – which is one reason politicians have rightly suspended campaigning for a few days, to the palpable disappointment of those whose opportunism knows no bounds. As if anyone wants to see MPs sniping at each other about their manifesto costings right now, or fielding shouted questions about counter-terrorism strategy while posing for photo opportunities in Nuneaton nurseries."

Of Manchester:

"My parents moved to Manchester in the 1990s, the heyday of the Haçienda club, when I went to university. Some of the best nights of my life were spent back home in that city. It was always big enough to be exciting, but still just small enough to be intimate and friendly, somewhere you’d bump into people you knew in the queue for club, chips or cab.

On Monday night it opened itself up to the stranded and traumatised exactly as I’d expect – drivers taking people home for free, people offering strangers shelter – and Manchester will surely put an arm around those affected for months to come.

It will overcome this, just as it overcame an IRA bombing two decades ago; I doubt this atrocity will change the city half as much as its perpetrators hope."

(Gaby Hinscliffe, from a Guardian article,

"Manchester reminds all parents of the dread of losing a child.")

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A piece of Whimsy on a very sad day.

This afternoon I will confess to being quite upset at seeing the picture of the lovely eight-year-old girl who was one of the 22 people murdered last night in Manchester in an indescribably evil act of barbarism.  A few minutes later I read a tweet in memory of the late Sir Roger Moore, who has also just died, with a charming story about his kindness and humour towards a seven-year-old boy (and again 23 years later when the boy had become a man.) Here is the tweet. I hope those who do not share any religious faith or may think this comment to be theologically unsound will forgive me a piece of whimsy which is giving me a little bit of comfort on a very sad day.  I'm imagining Sir Roger Moore and that eight year old girl meeting outside the Pearly Gates, and him cheering her up with his unique sense of humour the way he did that seven year old boy back in 1983.

Sir Roger Moore RIP

When he was cast to play James Bond, Roger Moore, who has died at the age of 89 after a short battle with cancer, reportedly said "I'm not as good as Connery but I'm taller."

I disagree. Connery was and is a brilliant actor but Roger Moore was just as good.

I will particularly remember him as Bond and as The Saint but he had a very rich and varied career.

To paraphrase the theme from one of the Bond films, "Nobody did it better.

Rest in Peace.

More quotes on the Manchester atrocity

The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, tweeted that

"My heart is in Manchester this night. Our thoughts are with the victims."

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull told the Australian parliament,

"This is an attack on innocents. Surely there is no crime more reprehensible than the murder of children."

"This is a direct and brutal attack on young people everywhere, on freedom everywhere."

Metro Mayor of Birmingham Andy Burnham, transcript of speech this morning:

Statement from the Muslim Council of Britain:

President Trump:

"My thoughts are with the people of Manchester after this terrible attack."

Of the perpetrators:

"They were evil losers. I won't call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that was a great name. I will call them losers from now on. And we'll have more of them. But they're losers, just remember that.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany expressed her "sorrow and horror" over the attack, and added

"This suspected terrorist attack will only strengthen our resolve to work with our British friends against those who plan and execute such inhuman acts. I assure the people in Britain: Germandy stands by your side."

The attack in Manchester has also been condemned by the newly elected President Macron of France, by Vladimir Putin of Russia and by the leaders of Spain, Canada, Japan, China, Poland, India, Pakistan, Ukraine and many other countries.

All campaigning suspended: the Regional Chairman writes


In view of the terrible incident in Manchester last night and out of respect and remembrance for those killed and injured, the Prime Minister has decided that there should be no campaigning of any sort at any level until further notice.

I am sure that all our thoughts are with those affected.

Rt. Hon Sir Robert Atkins
Chairman, North West Conservatives.

Replacement quotes of the day 23rd May 2017

Following the dreadful atrocity at Manchester here is what various people have had to say.


“This was a barbaric attack, deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable in our society - young people and children out at a pop concert.”

“The great city of Manchester has been affected by terrorism before. Its spirit was not bowed; its community continued.

“This time it has been a particular attack on the most vulnerable in our society - its intention was to sow fear - its intention is to divide. But it will not succeed.”



"We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.

“All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected.”

Breaking News - police statement on Manchester Arena explosion

Thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the reported explosion at Manchester Arena, particular those who have died and their families and loved ones, and all those who have been injured or are searching for people they love.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Who are today's real nasty party?

Which of Britain's political parties do you think would be most likely to act as in the way described in the following true story?

During a general election campaign, a nurse confronts the leader of a government, complaining about the stress under which NHS staff are placed and adding that she has to make use of food banks.

The governing party goes into full attack mode against the nurse: a parliamentary candidate (I would say MP except that technically there are no MPs during a general election) describes the nurse on a BBC programme as being married to an opposing political party.

Facebook pictures showing the nurse on a holiday abroad are plastered all over social media as she is vehemently attacked online by hundreds of supporters of the government party. The same pictures and appear in a prominent newspaper. It soon comes out that the parliamentary candidate who attacked the nurse on the BBC was encouraged to do so by a government minister who told her that the party had checked out the claim and it was accurate.

Only in fact it wasn't, and the parliamentary candidate concerned had to apologise. The leader of her party and head of the government excused the candidate with the words "She made a mistake, an honest mistake and she apologised for that."

If you have not already heard this story, which party do you think attacked the nurse in that way?

If you answered that it must have been the Conservatives, and gave that answer because of your view of that party or for any reason other than that the Conservatives are running the UK government at the moment, perhaps you ought to have a serious think about your attitude to people who don't share your political views. No, it wasn't the Conservatives.

If you answered that it sounds like the sort of thing the New Labour government did, then to be honest you have a point. Perhaps you remember the smears against 94 year old NHS patient Rose Addis under New Labour or the New Labour special advisor who tried to dig up dirt on the Paddington Rail Crash survivors group? But on this occasion it wasn't Labour.

In fact the government concerned was the Scottish government and the culprits were the SNP.

Scotland deserves a better voice than the SNP, who deserve to be renamed the Scottish Nasty Party.

Music to relax to after campaigning: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata

Copeland Conservatives had a good campaign session in Whitehaven this evening and were joined by Alistair Burt who travelled all the way from Bedford to support Trudy Harrison.

Here is the first movement of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" for piano as something for anyone who was out campaigning today to unwind to.

Quote of the day 22nd May 2017

"We've actually produced a grown-up manifesto."

(Kenneth Clark MP asked on radio about some of the less popular measures in the Conservative manifesto refers to the fact that it actually addresses some of the difficult decisions which will have to be taken, for example to fund adult social care.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Music spot: "In native worth" from Haydn's Creation

"Jo Cox was a force of nature, a five-foot bundle of Yorkshire grit and determination absolutely committed to helping other people."

(Andrew Mitchell, Conservative International Development Secretary 2010-12, on Labour MP Jo Cox who was murdered a year ago and remembered around the country today.)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Music to relax after campaigning: Trio Sonata to the theme of "On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At"

A rather different treatment of the tunes to "On Ilkley Moor Baht 'at" in a baroque style ...

Labour campaign group promotes fake NHS poster

During the Copeland by election a huge proportion of the Labour campaign was devoted to scaremongering about the NHS much of which bore very little resemblance to the truth.

* They claimed that "the Tories" were proposing to remove hospital beds from Keswick Community hospital when the Conservatives were proposing no such thing and the actual proposal from the "success regime" for community hospitals was to INCREASE the number of beds at Keswick.

* They claimed that there was a threat from "the Tories" to remove Accident and Emergency service at West Cumberland Hospital when the Conservatives were proposing no such thing, and nor was the "success regime."

* In relation to the proposal from the "success regime" to remove in-patient maternity services at WCH - and this proposal did exist but all local parties oppose it - they suggested that  a vote for any party other than Labour would mean that "babies will die" and be brain-damaged.

It didn't work. It may have motivated their own supporters but a lot of other people found this sort of campaign tactic pretty low. Indeed, it is possible that the Labour health campaign, and the gap between that campaign and the positions adopted by Labour county councillors at the Health Scrutiny a few weeks after the by-election, may have contributed to Labour's by-election and current parliamentary candidate, Gillian Troughton, and two other Labour "health campaigners" losing or failing to successfully defend the county council seats they contested on 4th May.

But as usual, some parts of Labour have not got the message. Not content with trotting out again the old "Vote Labour to save the NHS" nonsense, Guido Fawkes reports  here that Labour Future, which is supposed to be a centrist grassroots Labour Party campaign group, has posted a fake NHS poster telling voters to buy health insurance. The poster, bearing the official NHS and Public Health England logos, claimed that “from January 2018 the NHS will no longer be a free service.”

Unsurprisingly this misuse of the NHS logo has not gone down well with NHS England. An NHS England spokesman told Guido Fawkes:
“We treat misuse of the NHS logo extremely seriously and we are investigating the origin of this clearly fake poster. As soon as we became aware that Labour Future had reposted this image we contacted them and asked them to remove it from their social media, which they did.”
According to the Evening standard, The NHS is to investigate the fake poster.

I should think so too.

Labour continue to insult the intelligence of voters with their NHS smears. They deserve to be severely punished for it in the election.

Communications problems

Can I repeat the apology to anyone who has been having difficulty getting hold of me in the past few days, particularly by email or social media.

I have been having, and continue to have, some intermittent but serious communication problems - nothing to do with the hackers who attacked West Cumberland Hospital and many other institutions worldwide, I suspect this will turn out to be just wear and tear on a copper cable. A visit by an engineer has reduced the problem but not eliminated it.

One person on social media is saying that he has sent me emails to which I have not replied. This is because I have not received them.

I'm not going to go over to a mobile supplier because mobile signal reception in the vicinity of my home is rubbish and BT Infinity is not yet available to me at home, though it will be soon.

Incidentally through no fault of mine I do NOT yet have a county council email which works, although county IT have this in hand. Please do not try to contact me via a county email addres for the next few days. Best email to use is

I'm still trying to sort out the problem, in the meantime please bear with me.

My telephone line is still working. My number is in the telephone directory because I want human beings to be able to get hold of me (except nuisance callers such as Carphone Warehouse, call centres conducting Market Research, or people calling about mis-sold PPI). My address is as on the County Council website and the imprint for this blog. (Scroll down to the bottom of the blog to see it.) 

Quote of the day 20th May 2017

Friday, May 19, 2017

Music to relax after campaigning: Ilkley Moor Bah t'at

As the PM was in Yorkshire today to launch the Conservative Manifesto, it seems only appropriate after campaigning to relax to the Yorkshire anthem, "On Ilkey Moor Baht 'at."

These are the words I know to the song (there are other versions!)

1. "Wheer hast tha' bin sin I saw thee (I saw thee)
On Ilkley Moor baht 'at?
Wheer hast tha' bin sin I saw thee (I saw thee)
Wheer hast tha' bin sin I saw thee? (bin sin I saw thee)

On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At, On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At, On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At!

2. Thou's bin a-courtin' Mary Jane (Mary Jane)
On Ilkley Moor baht 'at?
Thou's bin a-courtin' Mary Jane (Mary Jane)
Thou's bin a-courtin' Mary Jane (courtin' Mary Jane)

On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At, On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At, On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At!

3. Thou's goin to catch thee death of cowld (death of cowld)
On Ilkley Moor baht 'at
Thou's goin to catch thee death of cowld (death of cowld)
Thou's goin to catch thee death of cowld (catch thee death of cowld)

On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At, On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At, On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At!

4. Then we shall 'ave to bury thee (bury thee)
On Ilkley Moor baht 'at (etc)

5. Then worms'll come and eat thee up (eat thee up)
On Ilkley Moor baht 'at (etc)

6. Then ducks'll come and eat up t'worms (eat up t'worms)
On Ilkley Moor baht 'at (etc)

7. Then we shall come and eat up t'ducks (eat up t'ducks)
On Ilkley Moor baht 'at (etc)

8. Thus we shall all have etten thee (etten thee)
On Ilkley Moor baht 'at (etc)

9. That's 'ow we get our oan back (oan back)
On Ilkley Moor baht 'at (etc)

Quote of the Day 19th May 2017

(Stephen Daisley, on why Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party is not party most long-standing Labour supporters have traditionally backed. This comes from the same Spectator article as yesterday's quote, and it can be read here.)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

800,000 hits and onwards

Today this blog passed 800,000 pageviews since the traffic counters went on a few years ago.

Thanks to everyone who visited in that time.

Theresa May writes

Prime Minister Theresa May writes about her speech today launching the Conservative manifesto:

Forward together.
Forward together

Today I launched my manifesto for Britain’s future. It is a manifesto to see us through Brexit and beyond – and a plan for a stronger, fairer, more prosperous Britain.

The next five years are the most challenging that Britain has faced in my lifetime. Brexit will define us: our place in the world, our economic security and our future prosperity.

So now more than ever, Britain needs a strong and stable government to get the best Brexit deal for our country and its people. Now more than ever, Britain needs strong and stable leadership to make the most of the opportunities Brexit brings for hardworking families. And now more than ever, Britain needs a clear plan.

Our manifesto - called Forward, Together – will meet the great challenges of our time, beyond Brexit. You can read it here.

With this plan and with a strong hand through Brexit, we will build a stronger, fairer, more prosperous Britain, that works for everyone:

  • A higher National Living Wage and proper rights and protections at work
  • Capping rip-off energy bills and keeping taxes low
  • A good school place for every child, with more money for schools every year
  • The chance to own a home, with more affordable housing
  • The first ever proper plan to pay for and provide social care

Thank you,
Rt Hon. Theresa May MP
Theresa May,
Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party

Promoted by Alan Mabbutt on behalf of the Conservative Party, both at 4 Matthew Parker Street, London, SW1H 9HQ

Quote of the day 18th May 2017

"Of course, there is a narrow sliver of public opinion to the right of Jeremy Corbyn and the left of Norman Tebbit.

It’s called ‘the country’."

(Stephen Daisley, on winning the middle ground, in a Spectator article which you can read here.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Music to relax after campaigning: Let God Arise, Händel (Chandos Anthem 11)

Communication problems - an apology

Can I apologise to anyone who has been having difficulty getting hold of me in the past few days, particularly by email or social media.

I have been having, and continue to have, some intermittent but serious communication problems - nothing to do with the hackers who attacked West Cumberland Hospital and many other institutions worldwide, I suspect this will turn out to be just wear and tear on a copper cable.

(And before any fan of mobile broadband asks me why I don't go over to a mobile supplier, the answer is that mobile signal reception in the vicinity of my home is rubbish.)

I'm posting this during one of the few periods in the past 36 hours when the broadband connection has stayed up long enough to permit me to do so.

We're due an engineering visit tomorrow, in the meantime please bear with me.

My telephone line is still working. My number is in the telephone directory because I want human beings to be able to get hold of me (unless you are from Carphone Warehouse, conducting Market Research, or calling about mis-sold PPI in which case please don't bother.)

The Chancellor writes

Chancellor Philip Hammond has been doing some analysis of the proposals in the Labour manifesto. Big surprise - Labour's sums don't add up. This is what he has to say ...

Paid for by you, Christopher
We’ve been going through the numbers in Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto - and what we discovered might shock you.
The amount Labour want to spend is £58 billion more than the amount they are going to raise. That’s a £58 billion black hole in a single year - paid for by every family in the country with higher taxes and more debt.
Jeremy Corbyn said his manifesto was ‘fully costed’ - but if he can’t be trusted to add up properly, then how can anyone trust him to run the economy or negotiate the right Brexit deal for Britain?

This £58 billion black hole is yet another reminder of the clear choice facing people at this election – the strong and stable leadership of Theresa May and her Conservative team to see us through Brexit and beyond, or a coalition of chaos under Jeremy Corbyn.

Over the next 22 days, we need to make this choice clear to every voter in our country.

So please get behind this crucial campaign by making a donation today:

Thank you for your support,

Philip Hammond
Chancellor of the Exchequer

Promoted by Alan Mabbutt on behalf of the Conservative Party, both at 4 Matthew Parker Street, London, SW1H 9HQ

A Labour assessment of Jeremy Corbyn

The article "Why you shouldn't vote for Jeremy Corbyn" was published last year in the Spectator.

It was written by a member of the Labour party, who published it anonymously with the help of Nick Cohen, and lists a large number of reasons why he believed that Jeremy Corbyn should not be re-elected leader of the Labour party.

But as Corbyn was indeed re-elected as Labour leader, nearly all of the reasons in the article are now relevant to the question of whether a floating voter who might be considering voting for the Labour party in the 2017 general election should not do so for as long as Jeremy Corbyn remains leader.

However much the Labour candidates concerned might wish to present matters otherwise,

* A vote for Labour candidate John Woodcock in Barrow & Furness is a vote for Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister, John McDonnell as Chancellor, Diane Abbott as Home Secretary and Emily Thornberry as Foreign Secretary.

* A vote for Labour candidate Gillian Troughton in Copeland is a vote for Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister, John McDonnell as Chancellor, Diane Abbott as Home Secretary and Emily Thornberry as Foreign Secretary.

* A vote for Labour candidate Sue Hayman in Workington is a vote for Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister, John McDonnell as Chancellor, Diane Abbott as Home Secretary and Emily Thornberry as Foreign Secretary. 

Quotes of the day 17th May 2017

Extracts from the "What he said and what he meant" article by John Rentoul in the Independent about Jeremy Corbyn's speech at the Labour party election manifesto launch.

"What he said: This manifesto is the first draft of a better future for the people of our country.
What he meant: Actually, it’s the second draft because the first one was leaked last week.

What he said: As this campaign has continued, opinion has started to move towards Labour. There is no great secret as to the reason. People want a country run for the many not the few.
What he meant: The many are voting Conservative, the few are voting Labour.

What he said: We in Labour recognise that solving these problems requires a thriving economy. One that gets our economy working again, and rises to the challenges of Brexit for jobs and investment.
What he meant: Can’t decide if Brexit is good or bad? You’ve come to the right party. 

What he said: All this is costed, as the documents accompanying our manifesto make clear.
What he meant: No idea. Ask John McDonnell. 

What he said: And in the longer term we look to a faster rate of growth, driven by increased private and public investment, to keep our accounts in shape.
What he meant: Just what Harold Wilson said. Didn’t happen, of course. 

What he said: This is a programme of hope.
What he meant: You’ve got to hope the magic faster rate of economic growth really would happen this time. 

What he said: I am very proud to present our manifesto, “For the many, not the few”. Thank you very much.
What he meant: It’s a phrase from Tony Blair’s new Clause IV, which I opposed at the time. But that was before he went mad and became a war criminal."

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Home Secretary writes

Home Secretary Amber Rudd writes about Labour's Manifesto:
Labour’s manifesto – all you need to know, Christopher:

Today Jeremy Corbyn confirmed what we already knew: his nonsensical ideas simply don’t add up and working families across the country would pay the price.

We’ve only got 23 days to stop Jeremy Corbyn from getting control of our economy and our Brexit negotiations – so please donate today.

After last week’s shambles, here’s what we now know about Corbyn’s ideas for our country:
  • His manifesto would mean more borrowing and more debt – and higher taxes for everyone
  • He claimed his manifesto was “fully costed” - but he made promise after promise, including plans to raise benefits and nationalise the water supply, without knowing how he’d pay for it
  • Ordinary working people would pay the price for his chaos
Just imagine if he was in charge of the Brexit negotiations - everyone’s economic security would be at risk.
We simply can’t let that happen.

Thank you for your support,
Amber Rudd 
Home Secretary

Promoted by Alan Mabbutt on behalf of the Conservative Party, both at 4 Matthew Parker Street, London, SW1H 9HQ

If this election were a boxing match (which it isn't) ...

Earlier today, after learning of a particularly egregious shambles following the launch of Labour's manifesto (Jeremy Corbyn made a double U-turn within hours of the launch), I tweeted

"If this General Election were a boxing match the referee would have stopped it and awarded victory to Theresa May ages ago."

Lest anyone misunderstand, this was a reference to the relevant level of competence of the two sides, which in a boxing match would have made it necessary to stop the fight to protect the weaker player from injury. It was not a prediction about the result.

An election is not the same as a boxing match and as we have all repeatedly discovered over the last two years, opinions can change and opinion polls are not always right.

As Stephen Bush of the New Statesman points out, three weeks before the 1997 General Election, opinion polls were published projecting a Labour vote share of 50%, 51% and 53%.

In the actual 1997 General Election Labour polled 43%.

Three weeks before the 2001 General Election, opinion polls were published projecting a Labour vote share of 48%, 54% and 53%.

In the actual 2001 General Election Labour polled 41%.

Three weeks before the 2005 General Election, opinion polls were published projecting a Labour vote share of 40%, 39% and 40%.

In the actual 2005 General Election Labour polled 35%.

So things can change. Everyone remembers how badly the 1992  and 2015 general election opinion polls and the Brexit predictions were wrong but all polls are subject to a margin of error.

In the 1997, 2001 and 2005 general elections the polls correctly suggested a Labour win but anyone who took them as a precise prediction would have greatly overstated the winning margin in share of the vote. In 1992, 2010, 2015 and 2017 most people were expecting a different outcome to what actually happened and, particularly in 1992 and 2015, polling error was a major part of that.

Of course, after 2015 most of the polling companies have adjusted their methodology to try to correct for a consistent pattern of overstating the relative position of the Labour party and understating that of the Conservatives.

This year's general election will be the first test of how well those corrections work. Until the votes are counted we will have no idea whether the polls are still overstating Labour support, are now about right, or - and this is the key point - have gone too far in the other direction and started to overstate Conservative support.

Do I think that Jeremy Corbyn is likely to win the election? No. My experience on the doorstep suggest that the polls are about right and that Labour is heading for a heavy defeat.

Do I think Conservative victory is certain? Absolutely not. You can never be certain of the result of an election until the actual votes are counted and declared.

Is the Conservative campaign scaremongering when they suggest that a Corbyn win is possible?

No, they really are not.

The electorate have the right to do whatever they wish when they get into the polling booth. And ironically the worst danger for the Conservatives is if our supporters assume that a Tory win is "nailed on" and don't bother to vote.

We have to campaign as if the polls were neck and neck as they were in 2015. We have every right to point to how disastrous a Corbyn government would be - because on June 8th the voters do have the ability to elect one. They deserve an explanation from the Conservatives as to why they shouldn't.

Theresa May has started to spell out positive reasons to vote Conservative and I am confident that she will do much more of this. But it is entirely fair to point out that the only realistic alternative candidate for Prime Minister - Jeremy Corbyn - simply is not up to the job.

Music to relax after campaigning: C.V. Stanford's "Coelos ascendit hodie"

Headline of the campaign

The Economist magazine has come up with the headline of the campaign about Labour’s economic programme, referring to the borrowing the Shadow Chancellor would have to do if by some dire calamity Labour were elected.

"Old McDonnell has a plan. He eyes IOUs."

You can read the article which has this magnificent headline here.

Shadow chancellor admits Labour manifesto is not, after all, properly costed.

The only surprise is that they've admitted it ...

Up to know Labour have repeatedly claimed that their manifesto would be fully costed.”

Guido Fawkes points out that when asked by Nick Robinson how much their water nationalisation policy would cost, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell admitted they don’t have a number for this.

Good grief. They're not even trying to win, are they?

You can listen to McDonnel's interview on the Guido Fawkes site here.

Quote of the day 16th May 2017

Monday, May 15, 2017

Music to relax after campaigning: We will rejoice in Thy salvation

This music was composed by Handel to commemorate another type of campaigning.

An interesting piece of historical trivia is that the British victory at Dettingen after which Handel wrote this piece, sometimes known as the Dettingen anthem for that reason, was the last battle in which a British King (George II) commanded his army in person.

Quote of the day 15th May 2017

"Proud and patriotic working-class people in towns and cities across Britain have not deserted the Labour Party - Jeremy Corbyn has deserted them."

"We respect that parents and grandparents taught their children and grandchildren that Labour was a party that shared their values and stood up for their community. But across the country today, traditional Labour supporters are increasingly looking at what Jeremy Corbyn believes in and are appalled."

(Theresa May)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Where the votes are going

ANORAK ALERT - Psethology post. Those who are not fascinated by the nuts and bolts of who wins elections and why are warned that they may not be interested in this one!

There is a fascinating article in the Financial Times about how Brexit is affecting the churn of votes between the 2015 and 2017 general elections, which includes this graphic based on YouGov polling evidence.

Basically this analysis suggests that the Conservatives are doing well because the party is -

1) holding almost all their 2015 support and gaining nearly half of those who voted for other parties in 2015 among those the FT calls  "Hard Leavers" - their term for people who voted to leave in 2016 and still think that is the right decision - and

2) holding onto 91% of those people who voted Conservative in 2015 and are "Re-Leavers" e.g. people who voted Remain but accept the result of the referendum. (The Conservatives are also making modest gains from "Re-Leavers" who voted for other parties

Among "hard remainers" - those who voted to remain and think the referendum should be overturned - Labour are holding on to most of their support and the Lib/Dems are making small gains. A couple of percentage points of Conservative support have gone to the Lib/Dems from this group - which may cause a few difficulties for Conservative candidates in those Con v Lib/Dem marginal seats which heavily voted Remain - but not nearly enough to offset the support the Conservatives have gained.

In West Cumbria it is my impression that Labour is even losing more of their "Hard Remain" support as well because of the Corbyn factor - e.g. his past comments on Trident and Nuclear power have gone down particularly badly in a county where two of the biggest employers are the BAE yards in Barrow and the nuclear industry.

Obviously the analysis above excludes "soft leavers" who voted Leave in 2016 but regret it, and all those who didn't vote in 2015 or in the referendum - but that is not much of an issue as the former are only a couple of percentage points of the electorate, and the latter probably won't vote in the 2017 General Election either.

And despite the Corbynista fantasy that they can win an election by getting non-voters to turn out and vote Labour, what evidence we have suggests that if you can persuade those who normally do not vote to turn out they are not necessarily all aligned with the Labour party.

The problem for Neil Kinnock when he was Labour party leader and proclaimed "The sun's out and so are the Tories" was that his campaign got the "Tories out" in a rather different way than he had intended - he brought millions of Tories out to vote against him!

Nothing should be taken for granted and the only poll that counts is the one on 8th June. A big win for Theresa May looks very possible but a lot could happen between now and the election and it will all depend on who turns out on the day.

A great week's campaigning

Copeland Conservatives have been out campaigning for Trudy Harrison's re-election this week in Whitehaven, Frizington, Millom and Keswick - see below. Fantastic support on the doorstep - even better than the by-election.

Thanks to all those who have supported us including Rory Stewart and a team from Penrith and the Border who were with us in Keswick today.

Sunday music spot: Balfour Gardner's "Evening Hymn"

The Beckermet Traffic calming scheme - time for a rethink?

During the Copeland by-election and the county council elections a number of residents and businesses from Beckermet made clear to canvassers of all parties that they are very unhappy with the proposed traffic calming measures for the area.

Since the county council elections I have discussed this with a number of newly-elected or re-elected colleagues and district and parish councillors - both some of those representing Beckermet, and I have also consulted some of the other elected representatives from my own division because obviously if you change traffic arrangements there can be knock-on effects on other nearby areas.

Almost everyone agrees that there is a serious issue with rat-running affecting Beckermet and, indeed neighbouring areas including St Bees, Egremont, and other surrounding villages some of which I now represent on the county council.

However, there is considerable concern about the curently proposed scheme, both in terms of whether it is the right proposal for local residents and whether enough account has been taken of the views of local residents and businesses.

A strong body of opinion is building among elected representatives of this part of Copeland and among members of the newly-elected Copeland local committee of Cumbria County Council that this scheme should be taken back and looked at again rather than being implemented as it now stands.

I am still talking to people and listening to the evidence but if a motion does formally come forward, as I think it will, to postpone and re-evaluate the Beckermet traffic scheme I am currently minded to support that motion.

If anyone reading this has strong views or concerns about the Beckermet scheme or indeed about rat running in the area between Sellafield and Whitehaven I would be interested to hear them. You are welcome either to leave a comment on this post, email me at
or contact me by telephone .

(Please use the contact details from the Cumbria County Council website here when they go up. Postal addresses for newly-elected councillors are already there, other details should be on the site shortly, in the meantime you can find me in the published telephone directory or from directory inquiries.)

Quote of the day 14th May 2017

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Music to relax after campaigning: Bach's Brandenburg Two

Copeland Conservatives had a very encouraging day today canvassing in Millom. Well done to all Conservatives who were out campaigning today, and here is a superb piece of music to relax to:

Thoughts on the Labour manifesto,

It is not difficult to see why some parts of the Labour manifesto are very popular with some people - especially those with short memories.

It is infuriating when you go to hospital to visit someone sick, and even more so when you are yourself ill or taking someone who is ill and needs treatment, to have to fish around for coins to feed some infernal parking meter.

It won't be much less irritating when you can pay to park using a contactless card.

Of course hospital car parking charges are highly unpopular - it's how Labour would pay for scrapping them that's the problem.

Tax on private healthcare - in other words, on people who have already paid their share of the costs of the NHS through their taxes and choose to pay again by going private - is likely to make some of them decide they can't afford private healthcare so they will use the NHS instead. Only a complete cretin or a member of the shadow cabinet could fail to understand that this will increase demand for NHS services and put MORE pressure on our NHS hospitals.

And the problem of "how do we pay for this and what will be the impact?" runs right through their manifesto.

Of course the idea of scrapping student tuition fees is immensely popular with everyone who is about to go to University, everyone with kids who might go to university, and everyone who believes in education. I fought a general election myself on a manifesto promise to scrap them when I still thought that the country could afford to do so. But that was two years before the 2007 crash.

That was then, this is now. It isn't just the economics of the tooth fairy to believe that Britain can afford to scrap tuition fees anytime soon - it's the politics of the tooth fairy to believe that Labour will keep their word and scrap tuition fees any time soon if through some disaster Labour were elected.

Don't forget that tuition fees were introduced in the first place by a Labour government which had been elected on a manifesto promising not to introduce them, but Labour broke their word.

Tuition fees were then greatly increased by a Labour government which had been re-elected on a manifesto promising not to introduce "top-up fees" but again Labour broke their word.

Nick Clegg is not only not the only party leader to have broken a promise on student tuition fees, he isn't even the worst offender.

And then there are the railways. Not by any means a perfect service, which is why the idea of giving them an almighty kick up the backside is popular, but anyone who wants the railways renationalised is either too young to remember the days of the nationalised British Rail, or has a selective memory.

If you don't think the railways could possibly be worse than they are now, I certainly remember when they were. Just look up the safety figures for fatal railway accidents for a start - during the seventies and eighties more people were killed on the nationalised railways every year on average than have died on Britain's present privatised railway network in the last decade.

I'm not ever going to start on what Jeremy Corbyn's nuclear policies would do to the economy of Cumbria.

Robert Colville on CAPX accuses Labour of taking the voters for fools and he has a point.

Diane Abbott must have done Labour's sums - they do not remotely add up.

There was an episode of "The New Statesman" in which both Labour and the Conservatives were deliberately trying to lose a forthcoming election.

A Labour spokesman makes a speech in which he produces a great list of wonderful sounding promises, and then Alan B'Stard (who with his usual treachery has an arrangement with him) asks

"How are you going to pay for all this?"

and gets the answer

"Ah. That is the problem."

This Labour manifesto really is that joke come to life.

I won't pretend I think that a Labour win in the election on 8th June is likely but ironically the greatest danger to the Conservatives is the fact that almost everyone other than fanatical members of the cult of Corbyn is convinced Theresa May is going to win.

Nobody with a working brain who has spent as much time as I have meeting voters over the past few months can be unaware that Jeremy Corbyn and his policies are electoral poison to many of voters.

Labour's best chance is the possibility that complacent Tory voters don't think they need to turn out, or that swing voters who would never in a million years deliberately elect Jeremy Corbyn might miscalculate, thinking that a Conservative win is nailed on and that they can risk a tactical vote to trim what was expected to be a Conservative majority.

The simple fact is that no election is over until all the votes are counted and nobody should ever take an election result for granted.

Quote of the day 13th May 2017

"Grim thing for Labour is that Theresa May's brutal analysis of Corbyn this afternoon is shared by many of his own candidates if not his supporters."

Laura Kuenssberg @BBCLaura yesterday afternoon.

(The Prime Minister said that Mr Corbyn was a weak leader, his shadow chancellor John McDonnell could not be trusted and his shadow home secretary Diane Abbott could not add up. See here.)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Music to relax after campaigning: "Baba Yetu" by Christopher Tin

This was the award-winning theme to Civilisation IV. The words are the Lord's Prayer in Swahili. The original cut scene introduction which accompanied this music consisted of CGI graphics of great moments in history, from the construction of famous monuments through the expeditions led by great explorers and navigators to famous battles. The creator of this YouTube clip replaced the animated CGI with very similar clips from live-action films.

Quote of the day 12th May 2017

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Chancellor writes

Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond writes about the latest reason to vote Tory:

The Labour manifesto!


"Labour’s leaked manifesto makes it clear: while Theresa May wants to take our country forwards, Jeremy Corbyn wants to drag us backwards.

The stakes at this election just got higher. Donate to our campaign today if you don’t want to see our country going back to the 1970s with Corbyn.

Over the last few weeks, we have seen what a shambles a Corbyn-led government would be:
  • Jeremy Corbyn wants to lead the Brexit negotiations, but won’t confirm whether we would actually leave the European Union.
  • John McDonnell wants to run our economy, but describes himself as a Marxist.
  • Diane Abbott wants to be in charge of our police budget, but can’t count.

It may sound impossible, but with less than a month to go until the General Election there is a real chance that Corbyn and his comrades could be running our country come June 9th.

So don’t risk it. Donate to our campaign today and together let’s provide our country with the strong and stable leadership we need to see us through Brexit and beyond.

Thank you for your support,

Philip Hammond Chancellor of the Exchequer"

Promoted by Alan Mabbutt on behalf of the Conservative Party, both at 4 Matthew Parker Street, London, SW1H 9HQ

Music to relax after campaigning: Steeleye Span sing "The Summer Lady"

For all those who have been campaigning, including those members of Copeland Conservatives who were out in Hillcrest ward, a piece of music to relax and celebrate the beautiful summer weather we've had today.

Here are Steeleye Span singing "The Summer Lady" from their Wintersmith tour. This is available on the Wintersmith DVD, which can be bought here.

Quote of the day 11th May 2017

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Improving the A595

The Conservative candidates for Copeland (Trudy Harrison) and Barrow (Simon Fell) took transport Secretary Chris Grayling to Dove Form Farm today to show him how much work needs to be done to improve the A595.

This road, like much of our local infrastructure, has needed more investment for years as I predicted at the public inquiry in 2005 when the last Labour government foolishly de-trunked it.

During both the Copeland by-election and the recent County Council election I heard repeatedly from residents how much we need to improve this road, junctions such as the one at Moor Row, and other surrounding roads. (There are proposals at the planning stage to improve the Moor Row junction and I am committed to supporting a good and safe scheme for this dangerous junction.)

Now that we have a Conservative majority on the Copeland local committee of Cumbria County Council, and greatly increased Conservative representation on the County Council from Barrow, I hope to see Conservatives returned to parliament from both areas so we as county councillors can work with them and, electorate willing, a re-elected Conservative government to secure the investment this area so badly needs, including improvements to the A595.

Election expenses 2015 - no charges

All of Britain's three main political parties have been fined the maximum amount (£20,000) by the Electoral Commission for failing to report properly on spending in the 2015 general election.

(The larger figure sometimes reported in relation to the Conservatives includes additional fines for reporting mistakes in the returns for three by-elections during the 2010 to 2015 parliament.)

It is unacceptable for the parties to have made these mistakes and all must make sure they abide by the rules in future. There is a case for a speaker's conference to refine and clarify election expenses rules to ensure that what is allowable spending and how it should be declared are crystal clear.

The fact that all three major parties got these matters wrong does not justify their errors in any way shape or form, but it does mean that in the interests of fairness any action taken against one of them should be taken against all three unless there were evidence that one party had behaved much worse than any of the others.

It has been announced today that there will be no charges over the 2015 Conservative "battle bus" which Conservative candidates and agents were told by CCHQ they did not need to declare in local spending returns as it would be (and indeed, subsequently was) declared nationally.

The electoral commission ruled that this advice was incorrect and appropriate parts of the battle bus cost should have been declared locally rather than nationally.

However, IMHO there is no reason to believe that any local candidates or agents could possibly have known that the advice from CCHQ would subsequently be ruled incorrect.

In a statement, the CPS said today that it is an offence to knowingly make a false declaration but in order to bring charges it must be proved that suspects knew the return was inaccurate and acted dishonestly in signing the declaration.

"Although there is evidence to suggest the returns may have been inaccurate, there is insufficient evidence to prove to the criminal standard that any candidate or agent was dishonest," said its head of special crime Nick Vamos.

Submitting inaccurate returns relating to battle bus spending was a "technical offence", Mr Vamos said, but he did not believe in the circumstances it was in the public interest to bring charges against individuals.

The Conservative Party, which has always insisted administrative errors were to blame rather than any intention to deceive, said they were glad the matter had been "finally resolved."

"After a very thorough investigation, we are pleased that the legal authorities have confirmed what we believed was the case all along: that these Conservative candidates did nothing wrong,"

said party chairman Patrick McLoughlin.

The Electoral Commission said the CPS's findings were consistent with its own investigation.