All Joe Anderson cares about is publicity

What is really behind this blocking of a return to school?

Reports today suggest that Liverpool Council (and possibly some surrounding) will oppose the government push to start the first phase of reopening schools on 1st June. This is being led principally by Liverpool’s long standing mayor, Joe Anderson, a man not exactly allergic to pictures of himself on the front pages of newspapers.

This cynical move is the embodiment of the old adage ‘never let a good crisis go to waste’. Plus our mayor is the living embodiment of ‘stick a red rosette on a plant pot and it’ll be elected with a majority.’ I doubt very much that the mayor cares all that much about the outcomes of this move, more that this situation has set up a perfect opportunity to show him as the Scouse David standing tall against the mighty Goliath Johnson, staring him down with nought but a slingshot and a smooth set of byelaws and statutory guidance.

And what an opportunity it is. While the Prime Minister thrashes and flails his way through this crisis, he leaves space for ‘jobs for life’ politicians like Anderson to puff out their chests and virtue signal their way into the headlines. It won’t matter much that what he’s saying doesn’t make all that much sense, all that matters is that he can clothe himself in the glorious robes of ‘life vs economy’ nonsense and receive the gushing acclaim that inevitably follows. “I will save my people from the Evil Tories – nobody will go back until it is 100% safe and I shall not back down”.

I am no fan of the incumbent administration in No. 10 and I sincerely believe that they have made a catastrophic mistake in imposing lockdown. It will, in the future inquiry, be shown to have been an immense folly, driven by unnecessary panic and fear. Al Johnson has found himself way out of his depth and I wish this government had never been elected.

But now they are trying to get us out of the almighty mess they have created, and the naked politicking by the likes of Anderson isn’t going to help. Fine, if you have the power to do it Mr. Mayor, and you believe it to be the right thing, by all means stop children from going back to school, learning, playing with their friends, getting on with their young lives. But it is a serious mistake.

Not that you’ll ever pay for it of course – you wear a red rosette after all.

UK Local Elections 2018 – PREDICTION

Labour is expected to make serious gains – but will that really happen?

It’s election time once again in the UK, and it’s the local council elections. The most unsexy elections you could possibly dream about, people will be putting Xs next to the best promises about bin collections and dog fouling. There will be barely any fighting, no complaining, no ‘but you said you’d donate £35 to the youth centre, it was on the side of that bus!’, just a low turnout ballot that will be barely worth bothering with.

However! I’m still trying to get into the spirit of the whole thing, so with that in mind, I bring the latest edition of what will hopefully be a fixed feature on Off the Party Line – the official predictions.

This is the second time we bring you official election predictions from OTPL Towers (my house), the last one being the general election in 2017. My son had just been born and I was tired…that’s my excuse…

What will certainly be a feature of these predictions will be a full run down of my previous predictions. This is to make sure you are completely aware of just how terrible I am at this, and therefore how little stock you should put in it. If you’re a betting person, your best chance to win is by betting against every single thing I say. So here we go – previous predictions:

US ELECTION 2016

Trump to win the popular vote by a whisker

Clinton to win the Presidency by 40+ electoral college votes

EU REFERENDUM

Leave – 45%

Remain – 55%

UK GENERAL ELECTION 2015

Hung Parliament with Labour the largest (but only just) minority party – Labour to form minority government.

UK GENERAL ELECTION 2017

Conservative and Unionist majority – 43 seats

 

So…er…yeeeeeh. I’m not good at this. I did call the Scotland referendum right, but I never wrote that down, so I won’t count it. But even so, my general pattern is poor.

I don’t know the latest (as in today’s) poll numbers, as I am writing a few days before the actual polling day and releasing on Thursday (election day). But I can’t imagine they’ll change all that much. Yes, I am getting my excuses in early, but I’m owning it.

These are more difficult to call than generals or referendums because they’re so bitty and fragmented. Also, national polling has little to no effect on the individual outcomes, so getting an overall picture is a nightmare. Polling data, particularly around the mayoral elections, has been tricky to get hold of.

Without further ado, then, here are my predictions:

LONDON COUNCILS

Labour currently dominates, with 21 councils controlled to the Conservatives’ 9 and the Lib Dems’ 1 (a further 1 council has no overall control). There seems to be no reason to think the Lib Dems will lose control of that one, so I’ll call a LD hold there. But the rest is interesting. There is a huge poll lead for Labour, but they are mired in their anti-semitism row at the moment. The current thinking is a big Labour gain, and the Tories are very worried about it, but I think that may be getting overplayed. I’m going to go bold and defy the polls. Final decision:

Labour – 20 councils controlled

Conservative and Unionist – 7 councils controlled

Liberal Democrats – 1 council controlled

No overall control – 4

METROPOLITAN BOROUGHS

There are 4 boroughs where the whole council is up for election (the rest only have a third up for election, so I shan’t make any predictions on those). Labour holds all of them and I think I’d be a fool and a downright contrarian to think these will be anything other than Labour holds. Final decision:

Labour – all 4 held

UNITARY AUTHORITIES

There is only 1 up for full election – Kingston-upon-Hull. Again, the rest are only partial elections, so I will refrain. It’s an absolute no-brainer. Final decision:

Labour hold

NON-METROPOLITAN DISTRICTS

This one is more interesting. There is a real mix of opinion on these and a real mix of current holders. There are 7 whole councils up for election – polling would suggest Labour gains, but I’m not so sure. Final decision:

Labour – 2 councils controlled

Conservative and Unionist – 3 councils controlled

Liberal Democrats – 2 councils controlled

MAYORAL ELECTIONS

There are 6 mayoral contests, most of which are already held by Labour and one brand new position. It’s very difficult to get reliable polling data on these, so in theory I’m predicting a little blind – however most are in London, and therefore most likely to go/stay Labour. There is a Lib Dem in there that I expect to hold. Final decision:

Labour – 5 mayors

Liberal Democrats – 1 mayor

 

So there we have it. Local elections are always good for Labour, and they probably will be again, but I predict much more resistance to Labour than is expected. It will be good, but not that good. Tune in to my next blog where I explain why I was wrong.