General election gets into swing
After shocking almost everybody on Tuesday by calling a general election, including those in her own party, Theresa May has been hit by two high profile resignations from her office with press secretary Lizzie Loudon quitting her job after just nine months in post, in the latest blow to the prime minister’s communication teams. Loudon’s departure comes after communications chief Katie Perrior left in the wake of the snap election announcement. Loudon, a former special adviser to Iain Duncan Smith, joined No 10 from the leave campaign.
Despite this, the Prime Minister has been cutting a relaxed figure as she has been travelling around the country answering questions and ducking out of TV debates. When asked why she was dodging the debates May said that she debates Jeremy Corbyn every week at Prime Ministers Questions, displaying a wilful or actual ignorance about what a live election debate is. She also managed to mention voters three times in a single mangled sentence, saying “what I'm going to be doing is getting out and talking to voters and listening to voters and hearing from voters and answering their questions."
Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn was doing his best to avoid comparisons to the captain at the wheel of the Titanic just before the water bursts through the windows by saying the election wasn’t a “foregone conclusion” in a less than convincing strategy. He has improved his standing somewhat amongst voters by slightly increased polling. His major announcements so far have been to ban zero hours contracts, presumably because he wants to reduce the reaction of the public to Ed Milliband’s idea from “well, I suppose…maybe?” to “we literally do not care”. His strong policy announcements have been surrounding education and public spending and he made a major announcement when he said that Labour will not support a second referendum on the EU, to the Liberal Democrats delight.
Phillip Hammond has now indicated that the government has no intention of guaranteeing they won’t increase taxes in their manifesto which lends credence to the suggestion that they believe they could probably chuck a brick through an orphanage window and still win the election.
The Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron has done a quite spectacular job at managing to convince people he’s a homophobe by trying to tell people he’s not. In horrendously ambiguous language he replied to a question on whether he thought gay people were sinners with “we’re all sinners” which did nothing to squash suggestions he’d be better off standing as the Westboro Baptist Church candidate. The Lib Dems having been getting some very good press for their anti-Brexit stance although whether this is likely to translate into seat gains at the election is still unclear.
Some Conservative MP’s and strategists have suggested that the humungous poll lead that the Conservatives are enjoying could actually be a liability as their voters may not turn out and it could make them complacent. Lynton Crosby, dark overlord and actual Lord of David Cameron’s PR team and expert pollster, has revealed research devised by an American polling expert which suggests UK polling could be wrong by as much as 15%.
It seems clear at this point that the Prime Minister is doing as little as possible in order not to rock what should be an incredibly steady boat. Jeremy Corbyn actually seems to be enjoying the campaign trail, and if he can back it up with good policies and by stopping his absolutely terrible shadow cabinet appearing in any media, he may have a shot. Tim Farron, in the meantime, would do well to pull his mind away from the dark ages in order to capitalise on what should be a mammoth opportunity for his party. Only 7 weeks to go.