Sunday, February 19, 2017

Interesting straws in the wind with five days to go

I still think the Copeland by-election is looking too close to call between the Conservatives and Labour.

The Conservative vote is looking pretty solid, and motivated by the possibility of giving Labour in general and Jeremy Corbyn in particular a black eye. In a constituency dominated by the nuclear industry, it is a serious problem for Labour that their leader was passionately anti-nuclear for decades: as one Cleator Moor voter responded to Michael Crick when told that Corbyn had changed his mind about Moorside.

"If he can chance his mind for the by-election he can change it back afterwards."

And it is no good Labour representatives telling us that official party policy is to back Nuclear. To get investors a British government would have to convince them they were serious about backing the project and there is no way that Jeremy Corbyn would be credible.

The one card in Labour's hand is the threat from the success regime to local maternity services but they may have overplayed that hand.

In the months since the "success regime" proposed downgrading the maternity unit at West Cumberland Hospital (WCH) to a midwife-led unit I have not spoken to a single resident of Copeland, whatever their political views, whatever their position with respect to the NHS as patient or employee, who agrees with this proposal.

Local obstetricians do not support it. None of the other local doctors in  West Cumbria support it (though unfortunately some in Carlisle do, and they are the people to whose views, in my humble opinion, the success regime is giving far too much relative weight.) The midwives don't support it. The ambulance service don't support it. Local Tories don't support it. Local Labour party members don't support it. People who don't like any political party don't support it. None of the candidates in the election support it.

And everyone in Copeland, except for those who are so partisan that they would never believe anything good about the supporters of other political parties, knows that everyone else in Copeland is opposed to the success regime maternity proposals.

It would have been entirely legitimate for any party to put out material explaining why they think they are the best placed people to save consultant-led maternity at West Cumberland hospital, though of course the other parties will disagree.

Personally I quite certain that any of the seven candidates would try to persuade the PM and health secretary to try to save Maternity at WCH but also think that the Prime Minister would be more likely to listen to an MP who would become a member of her slender majority than to someone who has spent the last few months misrepresenting her and attacking her.

Putting out material which practically says "Unless you vote Labour babies will die and be brain damaged" which is what Labour have done is downright sick, and it is my impression that some of the Labour leaflets have offended as many people as they have persuaded.

Straws in the wind with five days to polling day

An article in the Independent,

"In nuclear Copeland it's Jeremy Corbyn that's radioactive,"

And one in the Sunday Times here.

Some parts of both articles are a bit over-simplistic and I don't agree with every word of either, but the general picture both present - that the Copeland by-election is looking very close indeed - is right.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

It'll make no difference who wins.

Jim said...

I have to agree with Anonymous, it wont. if the main reason not to vote for labour is that "Jeremy Corbyn is radioactive" then it wont. Jeremy Corbyn is not standing for election in Copeland. If every thing boils down to the way that things are remotely managed from London, then the point Anonymous makes is 100% correct.

Chris Whiteside said...

Obviously what it won's do is change the government.

But all the candidates have different strengths and weaknesses.

Although obviously I have my own opinion about which would make the best MP, I don't think anyone who has watched the TV debate and watched on the internet or attended any of the hustings sessions -

(I've been to all three and have just got back from the Millom one)

- can reasonably deny that the seven candidates would approach the job of being MP for Copeland differently and some would do a better job than others.

Don't you think the fact that we elect the people who run the government has something to do with the fact that this country is a better place to live than North Korea?

And anyone who doesn't think that this country is a better place to live than North Korea is welcome to move there. Be warned, however, that if you do so it might be just a tad dangerous to change your mind.

Chris Whiteside said...

I am not accountable for everything that the Independent writes, and I specifically said that I did not agree with every word in either article.

However, I would have thought it was fairly obvious that the suggestion in that newspaper that "Jeremy Corbyn is radioactive" was a joke.

Jim said...

the point i was making was not that it was supposed to be serious, it was that Jeremy Corbyn is not a candidate.

Jim said...

I guess what it boils down to is the fact that all local government is being centrally managed from London, and of course that was one of my biggest problems with the EU.

In line with Demand #2 of the Harrogate Agenda.

The foundation of our democracy shall be the counties (or other local units as may be defined), which shall become constitutional bodies exercising under the control of their peoples all powers of legislation, taxation and administration not specifically granted by the people to the national government

Anonymous said...

Jim, I didn't think you were a supporter of the SNP.

Jim said...

Strange, neither did I