30th December: Listening to Greta Thunberg on the radio – showing how much difference an individual can make. Before that, David Attenborough and Mark Carney, all emphasising the need for urgent action. Individual actions saving energy all make a small contribution but also help to show governments what voters want.
Sunday 15th: The bad news – a substantial majority for the Conservatives, gained by constant lying, unrealistic promises, little information about what a Brexit deal might look like, and vague threats against the judiciary, the press, etc. The good news – doubling our vote in both constituencies of North Tyneside and Tynemouth (around 7%). The questions: will Johnson use his majority to ignore the hard right and make a sensible deal? will the Labour Party find a sensible leader and become an effective opposition? will the Lib Dems find a distinctive purpose under a new leader? will the state of Labour and Conservative parties lead to yet more gains for Lib Dems in local elections?
Thursday 12th: Polling day, though many will have already posted their votes. Turnout in marginal seats is reportedly high. By about 10.15pm we’ll have some idea of the overall picture, but the count of seats will depend on those marginals.
In the past week, my personal team of three has delivered about 2,250 leaflets in one of our constituencies. We might not win, but it’s important to let people know what we stand for, to signal to other candidates and parties that not everyone agrees with either, to add to the national vote share, and, I believe, to demonstrate a positive attitude to the best in other parties and people.
On Tuesday evening, I was filmed answering a local-knowledge quiz (three of the five Tynemouth candidates participated). I didn’t do as well as the sitting MP, but he has lived here much longer than I have! Watch it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99DLsJDMRu0
I’ll be up tonight until about 4 a.m. to hear my own result, but luckily I don’t have to work tomorrow. I don’t yet know whether I’ll be fairly cheerful or rather depressed – the latter if Brexit is confirmed (i.e. the very first stage of a lengthy process!), but I expect we’ll all have some time off before renewing our commitment to making the UK a better, more welcoming, and more sustainable country. We believe a majority would now support Remain, and a definite majority say that the Referendum shouldn’t have been held. What a waste of time, effort, anguish, to achieve a poorer result, and certainly a weakening of Britain’s reputation for pragmatism, civility and moderation.
Wednesday 11th: A survey out this week found that 88% of major adverts by the Conservatives were factually misleading, but 0% (that’s zero!) of Labour’s. The Lib Dems were criticised for misleading bar-charts (though most had accurate captions). We’re used to exaggeration and claims of success, but facts are usually reliable, and what people are describing as ‘BBC bias’ is really their being too trusting of statements by Government ministers. The picture shows the inconsistency and hypocrisy of the leaders of Leave.
What weird times, when falsity abounds, mostly from the Government, and leading members of both major parties advocate voting for others.
Doing the usual campaigning slog, we’ve delivered thousands of leaflets (more today too), suffering severe bruising when falling on ice last week but determined to tell the public that honest, passionate moderation is always best!
Monday 9th: In 2016, the Government’s own advisers did an evaluation of the EU benefits vs. the net cost to the UK of membership (total [£350M] less rebate less direct grants = £137M). This picture summarises what they concluded – massively greater benefits than costs.
Sunday 8th: This morning I went to St Andrew’s URC Church in Benton, at their invitation, to talk about the Cedarwood Trust in North Shields, of which I am now the Chair. Cedarwood has existed since 1980, set up by the Church of England Urban Fund, North Tyneside Council, and others, to support the people of this most deprived area – in respect of children in ‘income-deprived homes‘, the area is in the lowest 0.5% of the UK.
The church members had contributed an impressive pile of toys and gifts to be given to children. I said that the children that Cedarwood relates to were ‘just the same as your own children, but with less money and fewer opportunities.’
Friday 6th: Our Prime Minister is lazy, arrogant, doesn’t care about detail, and lies constantly. His refusal to submit to a hard interview has been called out and Andrew Neil has now published a challenge, with some of the questions he should answer and references to the Supreme Court humiliation (recall Neil catching BJ our over ‘clause 5c’ in the Withdrawal Agreement). http://bbc.in/2sP9AxU