Posts Tagged ‘Jeremy Corbyn’

General election: Farage’s plan to stand aside in Tory seats amounts to ‘Trump alliance’, says Corbyn – live news

Farage says he was worried Brexit party could let the Lib Dems take seats from Tories. Follow all the developments now

A Green party candidate has withdrawn in a second marginal seat targeted by Labour, prompting speculation that more Greens could step aside as part of an informal anti-Conservative alliance not sanctioned by the central party, my colleague Peter Walker reports.

Related: Green candidate steps aside as Labour targets Tory-held Chingford

My colleague Marina Hyde has written up the Nigel Farage press conference earlier. Here is an extract.

“So in a sense,” he concluded, gearing up for a vintage Farage reverse ferret, “we now HAVE a leave alliance. It’s just that we’ve done it unilaterally.” Funny sort of alliance. Maybe spend some of the two pounds fifties on a dictionary.

As for what had prompted this change of heart, was it a high-level personal meeting with Boris Johnson? Written undertakings? Formal assurances? None of these, actually. “Last night I saw Boris Johnson on a video,” conceded Farage, “saying we won’t extend the transition period beyond the end of 2020.” Aha. The ultimate guarantee – a Boris Johnson tweet.

Related: A vintage Farage reverse ferret as he forges a leave alliance all on his own

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A week in UK politics: great gaffes, absent interviewees and marital malaise

From chairs without chairmen to wives ousting husbands, election season continued on its wobbly warpath

Sky News presenter Kay Burley reacted with fury when, having expected to be grilling Tory chairman James Cleverly, she was left facing an empty chair. A row ensued over the reasons behind the no-show. Yet with the quality of political talent on display over the last week, fellow broadcasters have been asking if the chair is still available for interviews. Certainly an inanimate piece of office furniture would offer better insight than some of the outings this week. First prize must go to minister Nadhim Zahawi, who suggested he didn’t know whether it was Jeremy Corbyn’s policy to actually shoot the rich. His punishment? Zahawi was sent out to do even more interviews. Poor campaign directors have to get their revenge somehow.

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Think you’ll dodge a painful political choice? You’re away with the fairies | Nick Cohen

We don’t have to live in a NeverNeverLand of politics if we vote wisely at the election

Cry #NeverCorbyn. Cry #NeverBrexit and you soon realise Britain is now a #NeverNeverLand of self-cancelling double negatives. The only way, it seems, to stop one extremist in #NeverNeverLand is to vote for another. The only way to save #NeverNeverLand from a rightwing disaster is to vote for a leftwing disaster. If you believe in fairies, Peter Pan says clap your hands and Tinker Bell won’t die. When set against what the British are being asked to believe in the general election campaign, belief in fairies sounds modest.

In a plea that might have been made by the anti-fascists of the 1930s, the Jewish Chronicle asked all citizens to walk in the shoes of British Jewry and not vote for Jeremy Corbyn. It asked: “How can the racist views of a party leader – and the deep fear he inspires among an ethnic minority – not be among the most fundamental of issues?” So devoutly does the former Labour minister Ian Austin believe in #NeverCorbyn that he is telling “decent, traditional, patriotic Labour voters” to support Boris Johnson at this election.

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Jo Swinson says Labour and the Tories are the same on Brexit. That’s just not true | Chaminda Jayanetti

There are plenty of reasons not to vote for Corbyn. But his current Brexit policy is close to what the Lib Dems pledged in 2017

Once upon a time, words had meanings. Take “merge”, for example – to “blend gradually into something else so as to become indistinguishable from it”, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Related: Jo Swinson fails to tread line between ambition and delusion | John Crace

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General election: Corbyn says Alun Cairns should stand down as Tory election candidate – live news

Rolling coverage of the day’s developments in the 2019 general election campaign

Here is the latest Guardian Politics Weekly podcast. Heather Stewart is joined by Katy Balls, Anoosh Chakelian, and Jon Mellon of the British Election Study to discuss how everyone’s general election campaigns have gone so far. Plus, Peter Walker reports from the Brexit Party’s official launch.

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The 2019 general election should be about ideas, not polls

The UK is facing one of the most important elections in decades, and one in which there are clear programmatic differences between the main political parties, writes Lea Ypi. The focus of the public debate should be on the difference between these ideas, rather than polling outcomes week in week out.

If I were to give unsolicited advice to media pundits preparing to comment on the upcoming general election it would be the following: let’s try not to embarrass ourselves again this time. The one lesson to learn about making predictions in the current political environment is that such predictions are about as reliable as turning to the horoscope.

Consider how badly some of the predictions made during the 2017 general election have failed. An initial 20-point poll lead of the Tories over Labour led the vast majority of commentators to warn that, thanks to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, Labour was at risk of being wiped out. Yet far from that being the case, Labour’s proportion of the vote grew by almost 10 per cent, the biggest swing since Clement Attlee in 1945. Can we avoid making the same mistakes this time?

To ask commentators to stop making predictions, discuss opinion polls, draw inferences from leaders’ average ratings, and compare voter turnout would be like asking doctors to stop diagnosing their patients. It would be to deprive political “science” of its scientific status, and political debate of its claim to rigorous academic standards.

The turn to opinion poll analyses and leader’s satisfaction ratings in political discourse has its roots in a number of approaches that have sought to make politics amenable to accurate prediction. Inductivist approaches based on looking for regularities in survey data are one form. Deductivist approaches that seek to model political behaviour on axioms derived from economic theory and assumptions of fixed preferences are another. Remove data sets, regression analyses and average voter preferences from the study of politics, and you will have suddenly killed not just a few doctoral projects but an entire discipline.

The theory of the median voter, an imaginary character that is neither left nor right, neither obsessed with politics nor indifferent to it, is at the heart of the mainstream study of politics. Pioneered by the political scientist Anthony Downs in his ground-breaking 1957 book, An Economic Theory of Democracy, his method is announced in the title. The underlying assumption is that the political forum is like the marketplace, that citizens are like consumers, and that public opinion is the aggregate of private preferences. Just as there is demand and supply in the market, there is a demand-side of politics, embodied in voters’ preferences, and a supply-side that the main parties seek to capture and translate in public policies.

According to the economic view of politics, the latter is like shopping. Choosing between more or less public healthcare or between minimal and more extensive taxation is equivalent to choosing between vanilla and chocolate ice-cream. The overall expectation is that in the race to capture the median voter, parties will converge in the centre.

The focus on data analysis, electoral performance, opinion polls and voter preferences that dominates the contemporary study of politics has its roots in an effort to analyse economics and politics as neutral scientific objects. Questions of value are often sidestepped to focus on measurement. This attitude trickles down from academia to political institutions, from think tanks to polling agencies, from media analysts to PR firms. Yet just as the economic reality of the 2008 financial crisis challenged the neoliberal economic orthodoxy, political reality is challenging the orthodoxies of political science. Far from being only mildly interested in politics, citizens are deeply passionate about it. Far from disappearing, partisanship has become more relevant than ever. Far from converging in the middle, mass parties have become more ideologically aligned. In the UK Labour has swung to the Left, Tories have swung to the Right, and Liberals are trying to capture a vanishing centre.

The time has come to think about politics not as a science, but as an art: the art of governing. Politics, as the former German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck famously said, is “the art of the possible”. The dominant trends in political analysis discourage that approach: they insist on the regularities of past individual behaviour rather than the possibilities of future collective action. Changing course requires thinking about democracy not as the aggregation of fixed preferences, but as the process through which citizens develop their views in communication with each other. This means thinking of parties and movements not as trolleys of shopping items but as nurseries of political commitment.

Focusing on the median voter tells us very little about what shapes citizens political views. Average percentages of voting intentions week in week out tell us very little about how citizens exercise their political judgement. If we only focus on individual preferences, we end up taking the status quo for granted and undermining a future-oriented and value-laden idea of political change.

The upcoming general election is one of the most important in decades. It happens to be also one of those rare occurrences in liberal democracy where there are clear programmatic differences between the main political parties. Is it too much to ask that we focus on the difference between ideas, rather than the fluctuation in numbers?
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Note: A version of the above was first published in the New Statesman.

About the Author

Lea Ypi (@lea_ypi) is Professor of Political Theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science and co-author of The Meaning of Partisanship.

All articles posted on this blog give the views of the author(s), and not the position of LSE British Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Featured image: Pixabay.

Juncker says Corbyn Brexit strategy ‘not realistic’

The outgoing president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday (5 November) that British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn's plan to renegotiate Brexit again with Brussels was not "realistic".
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