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Opinion

Crying In The Rain

22 May 2024 4 minute read

Ben Wildsmith

As Rishi Sunak stood outside Downing Street in the pouring rain to announce an election on July 4th, the optics matched his prospects.

Over fourteen years, the Conservative Party has lost its reputation, its credibility, its sanity, and its dignity. By the time Sunak assumed the helm, it was already listing in the water and beyond repair. It is a measure only of his vanity that this government has carried on so long.

The announcement was an admission that where we are now, with 0.6% growth shading us out of recession, and inflation somewhere within reason at last, is as good as it was going to get. This, it seems, is Sunak’s electoral happy place.

Bad weather

Bad weather in the channel is stemming the arrival of wretched souls on the beaches of Kent for a while and that will have to do. In an inversion of Tony Blair’s theme song, things can only get worse. It’s time to cut and run.

The first-past-the-post system means that UK elections are only ever about a handful of constituencies and polls suggest that this time the Conservatives will retreat into the innermost ventricles of its heartlands.

Their campaign will be nothing to do with you. Money, grins, and slander will be expended on areas of England they have hitherto taken for granted as Central Office fights a rearguard action on behalf of MPs who believed their tenure to be for life.

Disgrace

The cumulative horrors of Brexit, the Covid response, Boris Johnson’s disgrace, and Liz Truss’s disastrous farce, along with the financial pain they caused have left nearly every household in the country with a personal reason to vote the Tories out.

Many find their obsession with immigration to be immoral and cruel, but even those who share their sentiments are furious that they have failed to enact any of the measures they proposed. This is less an election than an expulsion.

Which is not to suggest any widespread enthusiasm for Keir Starmer’s Labour Party. They may yet surprise us with a manifesto choc full of innovative solutions to the social ills blighting every village, town, and city in the country but, if so, they’ve done an unprecedented job in concealing them. More likely, we will be offered a programme of tinkering that leaves Brexit untouched and accepts austerity as principle of public finances.

There will be flags, oh my there will be more flags than you have ever seen. Neither Sunak nor Starmer will leave the house without a Union Flag to hand, and possibly draped around them to ward off the SNP.

The only variable at play is the size of Labour’s victory. With Reform UK’s Alf Garnett-fluffing shysters siphoning off some of the more distasteful Tory vote, it could be a majority that ends the Conservative Party as an electoral force.

Has it ever gone into an election that it couldn’t win? Not to my recollection, and such things tend to be habit-forming as the Liberals discovered after WW1.

With a Labour victory assured, it’s possible that some areas of the country feel emboldened to vote more creatively than usual. Here in Wales, many people are not currently very enthusiastic about Labour and this time, can’t rely on the coercive power of threatening us with a Tory government if we don’t vote for it.

There is a clear opportunity for an election in Wales that is defined entirely differently from the one going on over the border. Plaid Cymru, the Green Party, and even Reform UK could harness local grievance here much more effectively than they might in a tighter national race. It will be interesting to see which of these rises to the challenge.

With Labour poised to control the Senedd and Westminster, many voters might see a clear advantage in sending a message that, for once, we aren’t to be taken for granted. It is allowed, you know.


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j91968
j91968
26 days ago

Who wrote this? There is no attribution.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
26 days ago
Reply to  j91968

Ben Wildsmith wrote it, his name is under the photo of fishi rishi

j91968
j91968
25 days ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

It wasn’t at first, there was no byline when it appeared late yesterday evening.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
26 days ago

One hopes that Reform UK and the even more odious UKIP/Voice of Wales won’t develop a significant following, but whether the Greens, or more importantly, Plaid Cymru will rise to the occasion remains to be seen. Plaid really does need to pull its socks up and decide what its priorities are, and they’d better be the everyday existential issues that all of us face. Plaid, if not in office, really needs to step up and be the opposition we need, one that is constantly hawkish when it comes to Labour’s misgovernment of Wales instead of being Labour’s lap dog. I… Read more »

Mawkernewek
Mawkernewek
25 days ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

Why would the SNP prop up a Labour whose leader drapes himself in the Union Jack at every opportunity.
I’m surprised he doesn’t seem to see the problem that if he wants to attract SNP voters to switch to Labour, all those Union flags might put them off?
The only possibility is that the condition will be another independence referendum.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
26 days ago

Waking up on 5 July, a good result would be 0 tory MPs.

A brilliant result would be 32 Plaid Cymru MPs, 57 SNP and the 543 in lloegr a mix of Green party/Worker’s party (George Galloway’s leader)/independents (Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott & Andrew Feinstein).

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
26 days ago

Why is it that Plaid resent being encouraged to try harder, we are your supporters, give us something to support…Good on you Steve Bray

Last edited 26 days ago by Mab Meirion
CapM
CapM
25 days ago

I liked Sunak’s tribute to Eric Morecambe’s Singin in the Rain policeman.

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
25 days ago
Reply to  CapM

Hahaha falling about with laughter

Mawkernewek
Mawkernewek
25 days ago

On the BBC coverage after Sunak’s speech, it looked like the rain had stopped for a bit, and Larry the cat came out. He sat on the doorstep for a bit looking like he wanted to go back in and ended up jumping up to the windowsill.
However Sunak clearly was thinking you elected to leave, you have to live with the consequences of your decision.

Nubs
Nubs
25 days ago
Reply to  Mawkernewek

Vote for Larry the Cat. You know it makes sense!

Malcolm Jones
Malcolm Jones
25 days ago

Wales is on a loaser whoever wins labour won’t do anything for Wales the people of Wales only vote labour so there’s no point in looking after Wales conservative party won’t do anything for Wales because whatever they did for Wales they would still vote labour when are the people of Wales going to wake up I hope that there’s a reform party standing where I live or i won’t be voting

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
25 days ago
Reply to  Malcolm Jones

Good comment Malcolm, I will be choosing from 1 of 5 .
Reform, Workers Party of GB, Monster Ravin Looney Party,Gwlad or Propel .
If none of the above are on the ballot paper then no vote.

CapM
CapM
25 days ago
Reply to  Johnny Gamble

Someone should start the Throwing Toys Out Of the Pram Party or TTOOPP (pronounced twp).

Seems like it would garner a couple of votes at least.

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
25 days ago
Reply to  CapM

So what Captain Birdseye, same attention seeking bs as usual

CapM
CapM
24 days ago
Reply to  Johnny Gamble

Surely if I was “attention seeking” I wouldn’t be “someone who hides behind an alias”

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
25 days ago
Reply to  CapM

Probably get more votes than you, I’m done on here as there’s more to life than debating with someone who hides behind an alias

j91968
j91968
24 days ago
Reply to  Johnny Gamble

Pointless debating anyone who holds such an entrenched position, I agree, but I also think that most of the time it’s pointless debating anyone. Ever. Full Stop.

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