A presidential election?
Jim O’Neill has noticed something funny about the other parties’ leaflets in this election.
Interestingly, two of the three election leaflets I have received in the last week have made no reference to the local candidate.
The Tories have sent out a leaflet that focuses on Ruth Davidson, even though she is not a candidate in Cunninghame South. Mirroring that, as they have done recently in so many other things, the SNP have sent out a leaflet which focuses on Nicola Sturgeon. The local candidate is never mentioned.
I must declare an interest. I helped sub-edit all of the postal leaflets to be sent out by our candidate Joe Cullinane, based on a template agreed by the Scottish Labour Party. All our leaflets, across the country, focus on the local candidate, not just the party leader, Kezia Dugdale.
But at least two parties want to make this a presidential election, relegating their local candidates to cyphers. One wonders why. Perhaps the performance of the current generation of Stepford wife SNP MSPs makes it understandable.
At the same time the Greens have put out a spurious manifesto which states what they want to do but, given the fact that they are only standing three FPTP candidates, they have no chance of implementing any of it. Are they trying to con the Scottish people that they could be a force that they will never be?
So the only party that is fighting this election as it should be is Labour. Every leaflet we are putting out in Cunninghame South is focused on our candidate. I know. I proofed them all along with his Dad, Jackson of UNITE fame. Joe will be the MSP for Cunninghame South, as distinct from a Nicola or Ruth clone standing for the other parties. I know what kind of candidate I would want.
Meanwhile, at Westminster, Jeremy gave a tour-de-force performance at Prime Minister’s Questions. He started off by referencing the death of the playwright, Arnold Wesker, one of the Angry Young Men of the late fifties and early sixties who not only recreated British drama but drew so many issues to the attention of the public through their plays. Cameron clearly had no clue who Wesker was as he stumbled to respond. Then JC turned to the EU proposals on tax reporting, which Tory MEPs had been originally told to oppose, cuts to the HMRC staff and budget (quoting from the Red Book to deflate Cameron’s response), cuts to local HMRC offices, including our local Irvine one, although I am not suggesting that Irvine is a hotbed of overseas tax evasion, comments by the Chief Minister of Jersey and the Premier of the Cayman Islands which suggested that Cameron’s deal with them was not as great as it seems, and finally noting that Cameron had performed the famous “reverse ferret” (so beloved of Private Eye readers) since he had praised the secrecy of British Dependencies in 2013 for protecting the identity of beneficial owners.
Cameron, with a smirk to his Chancellor, tried to make fun of Jeremy’s tax return, but given that his accountant had submitted that he had paid more in tax than Jeremy’s total earnings, the joke fell flat. Indeed, as Jeremy pointed out, he had paid more in tax than many companies known to Dodgy Dave. Indeed I think I detected a small glance towards Gideon, whose family business had paid no corporation tax for seven years yet had managed to pay substantial dividends into his trust.
All in all a triumph for Jeremy Corbyn, who challenged Cameron with a confidence seldom previously seen. Let’s hope he can keep it up.