I am a threat

A nationwide billboard campaign is being launched today across the country accusing Theresa May of being a ‘threat’ to our public services.
The People’s Assembly has hired over 40 billboards, mostly in key marginal seats, which display a large picture of Theresa May with the words ‘I am a threat’ followed by ‘to your local hospital, to your child’s education, to your living standards, to your job security, to your pension, to you peace and security’.
Sam Fairbairn, National Secretary of the People’s Assembly, said
“Theresa May has made it blatantly clear her attitude to ordinary people in, what can only be described as, her manifesto of misery.”
“She is a threat to everything we rely on from cradle to grave. The crisis in the NHS was created by the Conservative government and they’re doing nothing to address it. She’s snatching free school lunches off infants while her plans to restructure our education system will leave schools without proper funding. University students are being strapped with lifelong debt. Employers are allowed to get away with paying poverty wages on insecure or zero hour contracts and she wants to rob people’s houses from them & their family cover the costs of looking after them in old age.”
“In one of the most important elections for generations we want to expose the lies behind Theresa May’s soundbite rhetoric. We’ll do everything we can to make sure Theresa May and her government for the super rich isn’t returned to Downing St.”
A crowdfunding drive has been launched alongside the billboard campaign so the group can organise more advertising in the last week of the election campaign. The People’s Assembly website stated “We’re putting across a different message on some of the space that is usually just reserved for the big business and corporations and we’re asking everyone to help us do more of this.” A number of billboard sites however refused to display the image because of the political message.





Tactical voting only game in town for pro-Europeans

Another great article by by Hugo Dixon

Few observers believe Jeremy Corbyn has a hope of stopping Theresa May returning to Downing Street. The only game in town for pro-Europeans is, therefore, tactical voting.

The best election result that pro-Europeans can realistically hope for is to maximise the number of MPs who are opposed to a destructive Brexit – irrespective of the party they belong to. This will require tactical voting on a grander scale than the UK has hitherto witnessed.

Gina Miller, who brought the successful legal challenge stopping May triggering Article 50 without parliamentary authority, has already launched a crowdfunding drive to support candidates “who campaign for a real final vote on Brexit, including rejecting any deal that leaves Britain worse off”. By time of publication, it had raised over £135,000.

There will be several other similar initiatives. Meanwhile, Tony Blair has called for a cross-party campaign to elect “as many MPs as possible with an open mind” on Brexit, though the former Labour prime minister oddly says he’s not advocating tactical voting.

Anti-Tory or anti-Brexit?

For such initiatives to bear fruit, there will need to be clear criteria for judging which candidates are worth backing. Two main approaches are currently being discussed in public: focus on the candidate best able to stop a Tory being elected; or the one best able to stop a destructive Brexit.

Some people will say these approaches amount to the same thing, as the more Tory MPs are elected, the easier it will be for May to ram through whatever Brexit she wants. But this isn’t entirely so, unless the prime minister locks all her colleagues into hardline positions via her manifesto. Quite a few Tory MPs are pro-European, even if only a handful such as Nicky Morgan, Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry have dared to stick their heads above the parapet.

What’s more, there are shades of anti-Brexiters in the other parties. Liberal Democrats and Greens, for example, are generally more pro-European than Labour candidates – and some Labour MPs are more pro-European than others.

For these reasons, the main criterion for selecting candidates to support should be whether they are anti-destructive Brexit rather than anti-Tory – even if the number of Conservatives backed was small.

Anti-Brexit or anti-destructive Brexit?

How should one then define whether a candidate is sufficiently anti-destructive Brexit? One could set the bar very high, saying one would only back candidates committed to opposing Brexit. A slightly lower bar would be those promising voters a final say on whether we should leave the EU once we know what Brexit means. Lower still would be those committed to a meaningful vote in Parliament on the final deal.

The higher the bar is set, the fewer the candidates who will meet the grade. The practical solution may be to set it somewhere in the middle, roughly where Miller has – backing candidates who are both committed to a meaningful vote in Parliament and to voting against any destructive Brexit outcome.

A further question will then be which candidate to back in any constituency if more than one meets the hurdle. The obvious criterion would be the one most likely to win, though the extent of a candidate’s pro-European credentials should also be a factor.

In judging which anti-destructive Brexit candidate is most likely to win, 2015 election results should only be a guide. In some constituencies, viable independent candidates may emerge.

In cases where there are multiple pro-European candidates, maximum pressure should be put on the weakest to step down. Otherwise, the anti-Brexit vote will be split – and the pro-Brexit candidate will be chosen.

All this will be needed for tactical voting initiatives to have the maximum impact. But even this will not be enough. They will also need to be well run, generously funded and supported by thousands of volunteers.

Now is the time for pro-Europeans to put their money and their efforts where their mouths are. This election is probably their last chance to have any influence on what sort of Brexit we end up with.