General Election 2019 News in Brief UK Politics

Friday Update: 29th November 2019

Written by Callum Williams

This week as the campaigns entered the final fortnight, the Conservatives launched their manifesto, the Tory lead continued to narrow and the IFS criticised both major parties.

Campaign Overview

Learning from May’s disastrous 2017 manifesto launch, Boris Johnson launched his ‘manifesto lite’ on Sunday promising an end to stage one of the Brexit process and a partial reversal of austerity.

An MRP poll released by YouGov showed Johnson was on course to win 359 seats, a majority. However, it’s not all good news as the polls show Labour has momentum with YouGov warning that if the lead falls to 7 points, a hung parliament is possible. The current trend shows the Conservatives holding steady at about 40% and Labour gaining at the expense of the smaller parties. Although a Johnson majority is the most likely outcome, if Corbyn can hold onto his heartlands and maintain his momentum, he may have a chance of denying Johnson a majority and a return to No. 10.

Parties’ Spending Pledges ‘Not Credible

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has criticised both major parties over their spending plans, giving voters a choice between two parties both with dishonest leaders and a lack of fiscal responsibility.

The IFS has said the Conservative plans are not ‘credible’, saying the Conservatives would have to spend ‘more than their manifesto implies’ and therefore would have to tax or borrow more.

Labour’s Manifesto hasn’t stood up to scrutiny either with the IFS saying that they would have to increase taxes for ‘many millions outside the top 5%’ to raise the funds for their expensive manifesto pledges.

Racism within the Parties

The Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, has attacked Corbyn over Labour’s alleged antisemitism saying ‘[voters should] vote with their conscience’. He said that “a new poison – sanctioned from the very top – has taken root” and said that claims Labour had investigated all claims is ‘fiction’.

Corbyn has condemned antisemitism and Labour should be congratulated for improving their complaints procedure exemplified in their swift withdrawal of their candidate Safia Ali following the discovery of antisemitic comments on facebook.

The Chief Rabbi’s comments may prove to be counterproductive to the cause of tackling antisemitism. Although antisemitism is a problem within Labour, it isn’t exclusive to them, the issue is deep-rooted within society. By, criticising Labour in the Times, he has alienated many Labour supporters who can claim the allegation are political. By politicising this issue it damages the dialogue which must take place between all parties and individuals to make our society more inclusive.

The Tories weren’t left unscathed by religious organisations, the Muslim Council for Britain criticised the Conservatives over their record on tackling Islamophobia saying the party had addressed the issue with ‘denial, dismissal and deceit’. But for some reason, the media didn’t give the story the same level of coverage and outrage.

These interventions by religious leaders illustrate a deeper problem within our society exemplified by the sharp rise in hate crimes. There is a grave problem of institutionalised racism within our politics and our society but, these problems won’t be fixed with electioneering and political soundbites.

Hillsborough Chief Acquitted of Manslaughter

On Thursday David Duckenfield, the match commander during the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, was acquitted of 95 counts of gross negligence manslaughter following a 7-week retrial.

The prosecution against Duckenfield was brought following an inquest in 2016 which ruled the victims had been unlawfully killed. During the trial Duckenfield argued he had been unfairly singled out for multiple failures and ultimately the prosecution failed to meet the very high evidence threshold for a conviction. For the families, many feel after a 30-year battle they still haven’t got justice.

With two weeks until the General Election, the complete distrust in politicians is becoming increasingly clear, our political system is broken and it is unlikely this election will change that.

Further Reading

Want to understand YouGov’s MRP Poll? Read Isaac Browning’s analysis here.

Want to find out how Johnson did in the Climate Change Debate? Read Fraser Innes’ analysis here.

Want to find out more voting patterns? Read Isaac Browning’s analysis here.

Want to know more about the parties manifestos? Read summaries and analysis here.

Want to know how the parties are polling? Check out our poll tracker here.

About the author

Callum Williams

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