The UK General Election: 25 more days of ... this ... to go
June 8, 2024 7:13 AM   Subscribe

The latest: Personal disaster zone Rishi "Bring Back National Service" Sunak couldn't do an afternoon of his own, bailing on D-day commemorations to pre-record a TV interview, and is now campaigning while hiding from the media, public, and his local rival. In Scotland, unpopular referee and malevolent garden gnome Douglas Ross has picked a seat by ejecting the sitting Tory candidate, while in England the Conservative chair has been parachuted into a seat to fight. But it's not all good for the other parties; Hank Hill lookalike Keir Starmer failed to convince in a 1-2-1 debate, while in Wales the (Labour) First Minister loses a confidence vote. Also, Ed Davey continues his bizarre "Mr Blobby incident lifestyle" election campaign, while Farage continues to be a [Previously] [Countdown].
posted by Wordshore (47 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Small plug for StopTheTories.Vote, a tactical voting guide.

while Farage continues to be a

I believe the term rhymes with "Berkeley Hunt".
posted by fight or flight at 7:18 AM on June 8 [10 favorites]

I don't have a desire to contribute to OnlyFans, but milkshake gal deserves my money.
posted by Kitteh at 7:37 AM on June 8 [7 favorites]

Missed a link, but this one has Hank Hill double Keir Starmer and mentions the relative tax sitations of the leaders of the two main parties.
posted by Wordshore at 7:41 AM on June 8 [3 favorites]

The Green Party have a candidate in 574 of the 575 constituencies in England and Wales. They've decided to go against one of those obscure political protocols and are standing a candidate against the Speaker of the House of Commons.

The one constituency where they aren't standing a candidate is in Heywood and Middleton, as they are endorsing an independent candidate, Chris Furlong. It's an interesting seat as it's a marginal Conservative hold, and a top target for Labour. They may need either some tactical voting from Green / Independent / Lib Dem supporters, or for the Tories to lose more voters to Farage's lot.
posted by Wordshore at 8:15 AM on June 8 [7 favorites]

Mr Sunak, who earned £3.7 million over the same period, paid a rate of about 22% in tax because most of his earnings came from capital gains.
Yeah, nah
posted by flabdablet at 8:24 AM on June 8 [5 favorites]

I am frustrated that all the tactical voting guides seem oblivious to the effects of previous tactical voting, i.e. they use vote share from 2019 as a base for projections, but in Wales there was an informal-ish tactical agreement in 2019 between Plaid and the Lib Dems and in my constituency, which was historically a Liberal stronghold, the very good Plaid candidate stood down in favour of the Lib Dem (who lost to the Tory). I'd really like to see current polling specifically for Montgomeryshire & Glyndŵr now because tactical really feels like a wild guess without it. My heart is with the Plaid candidate but if there's a chance to kick the Tories out of Wales completely I don't want to miss it!
posted by Rhedyn at 9:15 AM on June 8 [3 favorites]

malevolent garden gnome

Ripe for the sockpuppetry taking, I tell you.
posted by cooker girl at 9:28 AM on June 8 [3 favorites]

am I crazy or does Sunak just not want to be prime minister, and doesn't want to resign. Why even call an election so early when you know Labour is destroying you in the polls? Then do dumb shit like leave Cameron to hang out with Biden and Macron? He doesn't seem like a very smart man
posted by dis_integration at 10:03 AM on June 8 [5 favorites]

The Green Party have a candidate in 574 of the 575 constituencies in England and Wales

The Greens did not used to stand in my constituency because of a pact between parties (link from 2019):
The Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party have formed an electoral pact, agreeing not to stand against each other in dozens of seats.
They're standing this time, it seems like there's no equivalent deal this time round. I wonder if that's a bad thing for smaller parties, though I'm glad I can vote Green again.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:05 AM on June 8 [3 favorites]

not my quote, but a current fave

"When Lactose Meets Intolerance"
posted by lalochezia at 10:38 AM on June 8 [10 favorites]

This is also the week where the alarm bells were rung about the terrible state of post-election finances for the uk state. This has been rolling in the background for some time now (link goes to archive of may 24th FT story) but this is the first time I’d heard it discussed in context of the election.

I also enjoyed the pod save the uk interview with Jeremy Corbyn, who has some good points about the pressures facing an incoming labour government by the economic establishment (to paraphrase, be good or we’ll sink you), and some good questions about corbyns time as leader of the Labour Party
posted by The River Ivel at 10:51 AM on June 8 [3 favorites]

He doesn't seem like a very smart man

Koalas in the rain, no fucks given.
posted by flabdablet at 11:56 AM on June 8 [3 favorites]

Some information about which candidate is standing where is online. For example, in Richi Sunak's seat in Yorkshire, he has 12 opponents, whereas Keir has to face off against 11 others. Angela Rayner has a smaller field of opponents in Ashton-under-Lyne, while Jeremy Corbyn stands in Islington North as an independent against the Labour and other candidates.

In a former home where I got way too involved in the politics (an extremely long story for another year), there are eight candidates standing in Na h-Eileanan an Iar, otherwise known as the Outer Hebrides. These include candidates from the Scottish Family Party, and the Christian Party "Proclaiming Christ's Lordship".
posted by Wordshore at 12:02 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]

Small plug for StopTheTories.Vote, a tactical voting guide.

Thanks for this. According to this site, my constituency is projected to go heavily Labour and the Tories are expected to only get about 7% of the vote, so I'm pretty well situated to vote how I feel.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:28 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]

Tim Shipman: Infighting on the beaches: behind the scenes of the D-Day debacle:
The real story of what happened around the D-Day debacle, in which Starmer was able to upstage the prime minister by meeting presidents Zelensky and Macron, reveals a Conservative campaign cracking under extreme pressure and a Labour operation becoming more adept at seizing opportunities.

The decision that Sunak would attend the British parts of the D-Day commemorations but dodge an international event later was made weeks ago.

“The official advice was that the second bit was optional,” a senior political source said. “We were told Starmer wouldn’t be there.” At that point, it seemed like the second half would be little more than a social gathering for world leaders. “It was billed as a lunch and that even Biden wouldn’t be there,” a second source said. In the event, it was one of the most moving ceremonies of the two-day gathering, with Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton, the foreign secretary, substituting for Sunak and standing alongside the American and French presidents.

However, civil servants are clear that it was a political decision to cut things short. One of Cameron’s closest allies also let it be known that they had advised Sunak to “do” the full schedule...

There are other problems, too. On Friday it was announced that the Conservatives were suspending social media campaigning. “There is no money,” a senior source said. Tory grandees have been asked to help with fundraising but are struggling. Morale is also at rock bottom. CCHQ was said to be largely deserted on Friday, with senior aides laid low with illness. Half of Tory ministerial aides have refused to join the campaign despite being ordered to do so.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:49 PM on June 8 [8 favorites]

The Tory Digital Strategy: Going, going, gone?
While Labour launched ads showing Keir Starmer’s best bits from the debate, the Conservative ad campaigns went quiet, got quieter, then stopped entirely.

At the time of writing, and following Sunak’s self-inflicted D-Day gaffe, every single digital ad on their main pages has been switched off. Currently, the campaign has no active ads on Facebook, Instagram, Google or YouTube...

While stopping running campaign ads might appear to be a sign of a campaign in distress, it’s not the only possible cause.

First, varying a campaign’s tempo is perfectly normal. Labour has also slowed their spending compared to the first week of the campaign. Everyone, including voters, needs a break, even in a campaign as short as a British one...

Second, the Tory focus on national ad spending from the main party page is a choice. It’s one that gives the central campaign a lot of control of message, targeting and pacing. But it means that when you slow down or stop spending from your main accounts, the whole campaign is affected...

Finally, the slowdown, then stop, of the paid digital campaign could actually be the result of organisational breakdown and loss of control. Farage’s arrival on the scene makes it very hard to see how the Conservatives can now bring Reform supporters back into the fold, and the D-Day gaffe will make this even harder. The party has already spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on digital ads trying to reach this audience. Continuing to do so would be throwing good money after bad. The arrival of Farage has scrambled their strategy, the polls are going the wrong way and now other things are too. Meetings will be taking place, decisions will need to be made, and in the meantime everything just grinds to a halt.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:05 PM on June 8 [6 favorites]

Half of Tory ministerial aides have refused to join the campaign despite being ordered to do so.

Usually they would want to be involved in the election, but any work they do for the Tory party has to be separate from their role as a ministerial aide. That is in their own time (not paid or unpaid leave) and either as a volunteer or paid by CCHQ. So they can't really be ordered into it.

Also, they will each need to look for a new job if there's a change of government, and as political junkies they'll understand exactly what the polling suggests is the likely election outcome.

Political impartiality means that permanent civil servants who are senior enough to work directly with ministers wouldn't be asked to join any campaign, nor would they be allowed to if they wanted to.
posted by plonkee at 2:24 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]

Truly, Sunak's approach is the Cybertruck of election campaigns.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:20 PM on June 8 [6 favorites]

"Keir Starmer failed to convince in a 1-2-1 debate" - Sunak's most effective argument, that Starmer was very slow to push back on, was that Labour would raise additional taxes by £2000 per household to pay for their pledges, "as costed by independent Treasury officials". Which turned out to be a total lie. The figure comes from a bunch of made up numbers from tory special advisors, and using tricks to goose the numbers (only counting in-work households, not mentioning it was over a four year period) who then asked the civil service to add them up. Turns out the permanent secretary (senior independent civil servant) of the Treasury had written to advise both Tory and Labour, prior to the debate, not to present the figures as coming from the civil service. So both knew it was a lie beforehand.

The spectator - normally a tory supporting paper - then used the same method for projected government spending from the last budget, and came up with that tory tax plans would cost an extra £3000 per working household over 4 years, and called both figures nonsense.

Current realistic estimates on 'baked in' taxes, i.e. ignoring additional election pledges, based on existing tory budget plans both main parties have pledged to stick to, are up to £800 a year per household by 2028/9, mostly due to 'fiscal drag' - the 6 year freeze of personal tax thresholds not increasing in line with inflation, 'dragging' people into higher tax bands as their salary rises, and a lower percentage being covered by tax-free allowances. And that's with hefty further budget cuts to struggling public services planned. Labour are definitely being quiet about the size of the bill the tories have left for the next parliament.

The ITV interview that Sunak skipped half of the D-day commemorations for? It was to deny he was making shit up over the £2000 lie he kept repeating, i.e. lying about lying. And meanwhile, missing those commemorations and leaving Lord Cameron (and Starmer) with important allied Presidents, then his half-hearted non-apology for doing so, has gone down like a banana milkshake for Farage with tory supporters, backbench MPs and their client press, with many predicting that it would be the last straw, and Sunak's chances have gone from truly awful to non-existent.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:42 PM on June 8 [7 favorites]

Sunak's constituency now has the opportunity to do the funniest thing ever.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 10:35 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]

"Another Whopper on the side of a bus. Must be an election"

Okay this is the best ad of the election so far.

I've seen surprisingly little enthusiasm from... anyone this election. No window or front garden signs (well, one of two "I'm a climate voter" ones, but none party political) where my area is normally full of them when there's any kind of election on. No real campaigning except for the Greens. There's a really weird mood alive this one.
posted by Dysk at 1:08 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]

Today in Sunakland: Rumours circulate that he has cancelled his media appearances and that he may be about to resign, with the inevitable effect that once everyone has got themselves excited at the prospect of a further huge drama, they'll resent him even more when he fails to go.
I love the notion that rumours of his resignation will hurt his chances further. This can only be good for Count Binface!
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 1:51 AM on June 9 [3 favorites]

Looking at polling for my constituency and StopTheTories (no recommendation) it looks highly likely the current tory MP will survive (63% at last GE, argggh, LD a very distant 2nd), with the progressive vote split roughly 20% each between Labour & Lib Dem, and very likely too far behind for even significant tactical voting to overcome with both fighting.

So I think I'm going to be using again; basically, I agree to vote say, Green, to help them keep their deposit (they're right on 5% in my constituency) and still count towards their national voteshare, while I'm paired with an anonymous Green-preferring tactical voter who's willing to vote for my party of choice in a marginal where that vote might make more of a difference to beat the tory. Obviously it's entirely on the honour system, but it's a small way to try and fight the FPTP system where so many votes are wasted.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:12 AM on June 9 [4 favorites]

I forgot to add that the pic of Sunak hoisting a pint glass of water next to a man who looks like he's re-evaluating all his life's choices gives me life. It's just so so funny.
posted by Kitteh at 6:31 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]

Meanwhile Labour have parachuted the Israeli shill Luke Akehurst into the supposedly safe seat of North Durham. Mr Akehurst is contoversial.
In good News the obnoxious Rees Mogg and disgraced former minister Liam Fox could be on the way out.
posted by adamvasco at 9:19 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]

Rumours circulate that he has cancelled his media appearances

What Happens When Sunak Goes Quiet? (A Different Bias, YouTube/Piped/Invidious, 8m20s)
posted by flabdablet at 10:34 AM on June 9

Who is ‘Posh George’? Meet the Aristocrat and Convicted Fraudster Close to Nigel Farage.
This Sunday Times article is presently subject to a legal complaint.
posted by adamvasco at 10:46 AM on June 9

Welllll fuck. I know this is EU elections, but it doesn't bode well. If voters are lunging to the right then Farage's "hello again" might be timed right.

posted by lawrencium at 12:41 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]

So the US and UK are on a different cycle than the European continent. Rebellion against the establishment in the UK is hurting the Tories rather than any sort of Green/Socialist coalition, and Labour have a mild glow on them for having been the opposition through all this self-immolation.

Farage's party manages to take the loony right 3-14% from each constituency, and their "moderate base" is basically the folks who will continue to vote Conservative. He might be able to get one seat in Parliament, but he'll cost the Tories seats somewhere in the high double digits.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 12:47 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]

Rishi Sunak: Holds snap election in attempt to wrong-foot an extreme right party, ends up giving votes to it instead.
Emmanuel Macron: "Tiens ma bière."
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:52 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]

Meanwhile in Bexhill & Battle, the Reform candidate for MP seems to be saying the Nazi bit out loud:

'the UK would be "far better" if it had "taken Hitler up on his offer of neutrality"'

'women were the "sponging gender" and should be "deprived of health care"'

and more!

Updating the Douglas Ross story, he's resigned as Tory Leader in Scotland and has promised to resign as an MSP if re-elected.
posted by biffa at 9:21 AM on June 10

If I were to summarise why the Tories are in absolute danger this election, it would be simply this:
The National Front fell off.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:57 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]

> should be "deprived of health care"
... until their life expectancy falls to that of men. Wow. That is ... can't think of any words.

I'm glad to have learnt the phrase "offence archaeology" from the article though.

Today's story about Sunak giving Sky television channels as an example of something of which he was deprived as a child is great.
posted by paduasoy at 3:07 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]

The latest British Social Attitudes survey came out a few days ago. Huge amounts of change in the data.
posted by paduasoy at 3:25 PM on June 12 [3 favorites]

I'm glad to have learnt the phrase "offence archaeology" from the article though.

Yes, that was a first for me too and I wonder how much more we will see this phrase. Not as much as 'out of context', which is doing some seriously heavy lifting in his comments about women.
posted by biffa at 3:44 PM on June 12 [2 favorites]

Guardian is currently leading on this story where Sunak's Parliamentary Private Secretary (ie an MP acting as his political assistant) thought it would be a good idea to pop into a betting shop and punt £100 on when the date of the GE would be. Ladbrokes grassed.
posted by biffa at 3:46 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]

Carnival of Self-Harm: long, fascinating, excoriating article in the LRB about the last 14 years of Tory government.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:48 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]

Great to see this new thread—thanks, Wordshore. (I saw your mention of it in this month's Giant MeTa Thread of Doom.)

I was on a road trip last week around the Scottish Highlands, and so had an opportunity to keep an eye out for election billboards etc. Not much apart from small signs on lamp-posts for SNP incumbents and their Lib Dem challengers. No Labour or Tory ones that I could spot.

That betting story is spectacular. Also spectacular is that the Tories have shifted to scare stories of a "Labour supermajority" and ten prospective years of Labour, as if a supermajority is somehow more of a majority than an 80-seat majority. In the Westminster system the size of a majority doesn't make much practical difference, unless it's a bare majority and an individual crossing the floor could kill a bill. I suppose, though, that it will mean fewer opposition MPs to form a shadow cabinet or sit on committees. Guess they'll have to parachute in more Lords. (The thought that Cameron will be one of the last senior Tories left is really something.)

As for the Conservatives bleating about the need for a "strong opposition", they can barely bring themselves to aknowledge that they might not be the opposition. And the idea that one party might remain in government for a whole decade and do who knows what to the country! The horror.
posted by rory at 1:51 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]

In good News the obnoxious Rees Mogg and disgraced former minister Liam Fox could be on the way out.

Please please please please. (I should really book off 5 July, because I know I'm going to spend the whole day revelling in reports of prominent Tories losing their seats.)

Meanwhile in Bexhill & Battle, the Reform candidate for MP seems to be saying the Nazi bit out loud

The phrase "offence archaeology" is certainly striking, but personally I'm going to resist the temptation to adopt it as a useful catchphrase. Its implication that people are looking for reasons to take offence by combing through ancient material plays right into the hands of those who want to downplay their past, even when it's well dodgy. Looking into multiple public comments made two or three years ago isn't "archaeology". Two or three years ago is the sort of timeframe you could easily confuse with one year ago ("did that happen last year or the year before?")—this is what that candidate has said in the contemporary moment. And boy is it offensive.
posted by rory at 2:06 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]

Yes, it very much rings of something we are going to hear about in attempts to cover a multitude of sins. If Reform are going to aim for a wide ranging slate of MP candidates I bet they will be scraping the barrel of poisonous pricks
posted by biffa at 2:37 AM on June 14

The latest British Social Attitudes survey came out a few days ago. Huge amounts of change in the data.

Even with everything, less than half the population support building more housing. Ffffffffffffff.
posted by Dysk at 7:00 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]

Farage campaign song.
posted by adamvasco at 8:36 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]

Conservative leadership hopefuls are already lobbying for support to take over from Rishi Sunak … The early favourites for leader include former secretaries of state Priti Patel, Suella Braverman, Robert Jenrick, Kemi Badenoch, Penny Mordaunt and Grant Shapps. Several of those, however, are fighting to retain their seats, leaving their contention highly uncertain.

What a roll call. Fingers crossed that all of them lose their seats.
posted by rory at 12:21 AM on June 15 [3 favorites]

Phil from A Different Bias had some typically incisive thoughts on this last week (YouTube, 11m50s)
posted by flabdablet at 12:38 AM on June 15 [2 favorites]

I was assuming one of the reasons Mordaunt was fronting some of the debates is to further build her profile and chances for 5he leadership battle to come, with her being on the slightly less rabid right with Sunak. Can't see her or Shapps appealing to the membership though, who have shown themselves to be further right than the parliamentary party. Shapps is the most endangered on that list so less point in supporting him.

The thing that is difficult to gauge I think, is how right will the remaining parliamentary party be? The really rabid red wall, Boris loyalist types (like Guilis) seem likely to get thrown out wholesale from what are mostly relatively smallish majorities, and I suspect that is where the tories will lose voters either back to Labour or to Reform if neither main party is racist enough for them. Basically that is where the volatile switchers on immgration are. So maybe the remainder will be slightly less right - will that stop a pull further right and make them less likely to combine with Reform?
posted by biffa at 5:20 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]

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