Finally we reach the home straight with less than a fortnight to go before the first Xmas election since Stanley Baldwin’s time (he lost to a grumpy old Labour bloke…). Proper views are coming thick and fast and neither the Conservatives nor Labour are offering “credible” spending plans ahead of the election, an influential research group said this week.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said it was “highly likely” the Tories would end up spending more than their manifesto pledges. Labour, it warned, would be unable to deliver its spending increases as it has promised. Neither was being “honest” with voters, director Paul Johnson said. The Liberal Democrats were “the most fiscally prudent” in terms of the public finances, he added, but given the uncertainty around Brexit, it was difficult to say whether they or any other party would be able to deliver their plans. So basically one big fudge continues.
Nicola Sturgeon launched the SNP election manifesto this week – the last of the ‘big five’ parties to do so – with a pledge to “escape Brexit and put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands”.The manifesto says that the SNP winning the most seats in Scotland would send a “clear” message that an independence referendum must be held next year.Ms Sturgeon said the country faced a “fundamental question” over who should decide its future. The full document runs to 52 pages but a handy guide from the BBC can be read at your leisure (if you wish) here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2019-50561073
The SNP won 35 seats in the snap general election in 2017, making it the third biggest party in the UK Parliament, and it hopes to hold the balance of power if there is a hung parliament after the forthcoming election. Ms Sturgeon says she is open to forming a “progressive alliance” with other parties after the election but has ruled out doing a deal with the Conservatives or entering into a formal coalition with Labour. The UK Lib Dems are hoping to regain third place and the parliamentary status that comes with it.
The Labour Party is to re-shape its general election campaign strategy – particularly in Leave-voting areas – to try to turn around a stubborn Conservative opinion poll lead. According to the YouGov MRP poll for The Times, Boris Johnson is on course for a 68-seat majority, according to a detailed seat-by-seat survey that correctly forecast the election results in 2017.
Both Labour and the Tories have removed one of their general election candidates over allegations that they made anti-Semitic posts on Facebook. We won’t repeat them here but historic social media posts are increasingly becoming a risk factor to candidates across the board – just as MSP Gillian Martin who was junior education minister for 24 hours before her youthful rants were revealed by the media.
The Scottish Greens are seldom at the races in UK elections, having only even won a single seat (in Brighton). But climate change “has to be” a central issue in December’s general election, Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie MSP has said. The Scottish Greens have candidates standing in 22 of Scotland’s 59 seats, up from just three in 2017. Mr Harvie accepted Brexit, independence and who becomes Prime Minister were all key topics in the race, but said it “has to be a climate election too”. And he said the Greens were the only ones “joining the dots” on the issue.
The two questions we get asked by our clients here at Perceptive regarding the upcoming election is how much is all this costing us and – more importantly – how do we prepare to engage with new Westminster MPs? To find out how and to read all our thoughts on the election, please visit our article which appeared in The Scotsman this week.
And finally … with one in three children in Glasgow living in poverty, our client hub West Scotland has organised a Christmas #WinterWarmer Appeal, with their charity partner PEEK, (Possibilities for Each and Every Kid) based in the East End of Glasgow. They are seeking donations of new children’s winter jackets and wellington boots (with tags still on) for children aged between 2 – 16 years. There’s still time to donate. If your company would like to contribute, please drop off your donation, including your company name, to hub West Scotland’s office at 6th Floor, Merchant Exchange, 20 Bell Street, Glasgow, G1 1LG by Tuesday 3 December.
If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie Moulsdale on 07734 932578 or firstname.lastname@example.org