The Snow In The Summer or So-So

Knowledge is liberation

Koan

"Theresa May is the Daily Mail made flesh, a perfect living representation of the views, values, and behaviours of middle-class, middle-aged, white, suburban England. She is stupid, cruel, and appears to have no hinterland whatsoever." - A Hickey

19 June 2017
Modernisation times

Last week, we mentioned how the current mess was re-toxifying the Conservative brand. Let's dwell on that a little longer.

Ever since William Hague became leader in 1997, the Conservatives have felt the need to "modernise" themselves. Vague started off down this path, declaring "Compassion is not a bolt-on extra to Conservatism, it's at its very core." But to win the 1999 Euro-elections, Vague allowed the skinhead tendency to rise again. Two years later, he was buried beneath a landslide.

Michael Portfolio offered a hardcore modernising agenda in the 2001 leadership election. MPs blocked him from putting this to the party membership, inflicting Iain and Duncan Smith on the party. (A great what-if: Portfolio puts his case to the party...)

Michael Howaerd took over the leadership in 2003. He claimed to want a new politics, where his party would "preach a bit less and listen a bit more". But by 2005, he was sounding the dog-whistle on immigration - perhaps opening the floodgates to the 2016 result.

Dave the Eager Young Space Cadet had many photo-ops: huskies, hoodies to hug, green gubbins. His party pushed through useful social reforms, settling the principle of same-sex marriage forever, imposing the international aid target to much chafing from critics.

Some of the old guard defected to Mudkip, they did not recognise the equality of same-sex couples. To staunch this flow, and to distinguish his party from the Lib Dems, Dave tolerated the regressive voices. But this is a fool's errand. The old guard overwhelmed him last year. His party, shorn of Dave's charismatic leadership, has fallen further back.

Modernisation is a job best done on the sly. In Scotland, Ruth Davidson has changed opinions about the Conservatives, by changing the emphasis. She's open, inclusive, honest about the party's shortcomings, and willing to learn. Foxface is none of these things.

Foxface is barely a Conservative. The party's tradition is we can keep things ticking over and not make a fuss. Not this time. Every major party - with the possible exception of Plaid - offered some form of risky change. The Tories had the most risky change of all: rip up the rulebook and write a new one.

Hugo Rifkind concludes, it may be years before the Tories grasp just how cheaply their intrinsic advantageous edge - of economic deference, of that firm handshake with the bank manager - was squandered on the side of a bus.

Labour needed its own modernisation project: after the charisma of Mister Tony Blair came the sclerosis of The Soup Dragon, and lift music from The Ed Miller Band. Corbyn played a cacophony this year, but it's worked wonders. Voters aren't humming the dreary drone of Mister and Soupy, and can look at Labour in a new light.

The Lib Dems? Should have played a new tune of their own, but got distracted. The Radical Association, a ginger group within the party, urges them to stand up for something. Iraq was a lynchpin, a point to place the party. It was a bold policy, and it turned out to be right. Every year since, the LDs seem to have gotten a bit more managerial, a bit more timid.

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15 June 2017
Turnout and constitution

What else can we say about last week's election? Two topics today.

Who voted?

The demographics are interesting. Young people voted, in a way they haven't done recently. Initial reports of a 70% youth turnout have proven misleading, but lots of young people did still make their mark. What's interesting: turnout amongst the elderly was down.

The young were overwhelmingly Labour; the reds get a plurality of voters at all ages under 45, and only the old farts broke to the Conservatives.

This has consequences for both parties. Labour will need to offer reasons for the young to vote. The Conservatives chose to shaft their greying core vote, and these people didn't vote at all.

What happens next time, when the Conservative platform doesn't inflict a dementia tax? What happens when elderly voters come out in their usual numbers? Will the grumpy grandpas turn out for the Tories again?

And what happened amongst the middle-aged? 2001 was a dull election, and turnout plummeted. The cohort who voted in 1997 but not 2001, and perhaps never since, are now aged around 40. What enthused them to break the habit of decades and vote? Will they only vote when they think they can make a difference and oust the Tories?

Constitution

The constitution is what the government can get away with. Public pressure matters.

For instance, Foxface said, "If I lose six seats, I won't negotiate". Foxface lost six seats, but still proposes to negotiate. Once again, Foxface speaks bullshit.

The people were asked to give Foxface a mandate for her negotiation. She did not receive that mandate. We the people can say that she does not represent us, and that we will not be bound by any purported "agreement".

We mentioned the Salisbury Convention earlier, where Lords allows the winning party to advance its manifesto programme without opposition in principle. But that only applies to a clear winning party; the 2010 coalition relied on the Coalition Agreement as a substitute manifesto. Right now, the C-DUP agreement will not be published. As a consequence, Lords will have no "manifesto", and nothing to enforce the Salisbury Convention against.

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14 June 2017
Fighting talk

This was a comment to Jennie's piece about the Lib Dems needing every ounce of backbone. On some things, a compromise may be in order. On this, there can be no compromise.

The approximate speech I'd like to hear from Tim or whoever succeeds him:

"We, the people, spoke in 2016. We gave our government permission to investigate leaving the European Union.

The government went far beyond its mandate. We, the people, said investigate and report back, them in government chose to leave.

Then the government said they want a bigger mandate. And we the people said no.

We, the people, said no.

No to this plan, sketched out on the back of an envelope.

No to this policy, we want to think again.

Did them in government listen? Did they heck!

We, the people, say this to Mrs. May:

You asked us for a mandate. We said no.

No means no.

Withdraw your "article fifty" letter and think again.

You do not negotiate on our behalf.

You do not speak for us.

There will be no exit. Not on my watch."

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12 June 2017
Cake: It's a MayDUP dogma

Well, we did say Foxface was a duplicitous, untrustworthy, lying shit.

Many things come out of last week's results. The bare headline: the Conservatives are short of an overall majority, Labour gained in both seats and votes, peak SNP was in 2015, and the LibDem fightback was more tactical than widespread.

We could write about a revival of the youth vote, and party modernisation. The death of the national swing, and the continued obselecence of the dead-tree media. We'll come to these in the future.

Right now, the ongoing disaster of Foxface and the DUP. In order to shore up her precarious situation, Foxface has tried to make some sort of arrangement with the DUP. We know that the parties have been talking, and - according to Michael Fallguy (C, spokesman for war) - we the people will not be allowed to see any final agreement.

Foxface is entitled to test the confidence of the house, she can put forward a Programme and dare the opposition to vote it down. Such a tactic worked for Stephen Harpic in Canada, though only by pushing that constitution to its limits.

But the grouping comes across as desperate. It's what we expect from someone whose noxious web of lies has been found out, and who is now flailing about to take other people down with her.

Don't you know that you're toxic?

Aligning with the DUP goes treble or quits on the idea that "we're not Cameron's liberal tories". It makes the Conservative brand toxic for the forseeable future. This is the sort of lunacy with undue influence over government.

The DUP has a massive problem with gay men having sex. In part, this is historic - the party was founded by IAN PAISLEY in the early 1970s, when Northern Ireland was still to decriminalise sex between men. The DUP recruited 70,000 party members through their opposition to this law, and still do not accept the European Court of Human Rights' ruling that forced decriminalisation in 1982.

The DUP treats its religious text as incapable of error, and a direct mandate from their deity. This attitude chimes with Foxface's bearing. She believes what she believes, and reckons she's incapable of error. She expects her opinions will become facts as soon as she says them. She sees herself as the G-d of the Torah, handing down laws according to a plan that mere mortals need not understand.

Such a complacent attitude would be fine for a vicar, but anyone in the real world needs a barrel of scepticism.

Here in the real world, we hearing complaints. "Arrogant and tone deaf". "Seething... talk of cancelled memberships". "More aloof than ever".

Foxface is sitting down with terrorist organisations, the political wing of the UDA, the UVF, the Red Hand Gang. And - if the DUP continue to abstain on mainland legislation - all for a majority of 1. One. First Conservative defence at a by-election: boom. This, incidentally, is another reason why Ruth Davidson won't take a Westminster seat: forcing a by-election blows up the majority.

Rise of the Liberal Conservatives

It's not just the nutcases who have the Tories over a barrel, it's the europhiles. Anna Soubry, Ken Clarke, Nicky Morgan could form the East Midlands Sensibles, a group of three with the whip hand over Foxface.

And there's the Scottish problem. Ruth Davidson has brought in a cadre of new members. The bulk of these new ScotCons are liberal and worldly. The DUP are authoritarian and insular. Foxface has got to keep both the ten DUP members and the twenty liberal-Conservatives.

The DUP has been allowed to hide its funding - where does it get all its money from? How was it able to donate £425,000 to quitlings last year?

There are further questions about the Northern Ireland peace process. The Westminster regime was meant to be a neutral guarantor, but now it is taking sides. To prop up her failing government, Foxface has resiled from an international agreement - and she doesn't appear to realise that she's done it.

You don't even know us

Fundamentally, Foxface refuses to understand the district she claims to lead. This is a more diverse, more educated, more urban district than it once was. Foxface has chosen to work with the insular, rural, and stupid minority.

That group might have liked a gloomy, nationalist, anti-metropolitan campaign. That group might have been persuaded to despise foreigners and all the foreign. But they weren't. A fault in the saleswoman? Or a fault in the message?

We think the latter. What might appeal to the old farts is anathema to many swing voters. Small-l liberals did not like it. Neither did anyone who doesn't remember The Golden Shot on television. Foxface's position was anathema to her own sponsors - the Young Conservatives, the non-white Tories.

The diverse liberals are coming into majority. Demographics may be on our side, Foxface is not. She could have made an ally of her own district. She chose to make an enemy of her own district.

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8 June 2017
Where Jeremy Vine Went Wrong

At 10pm on 7 May 2015, the BBC / ITN / NOP / MORI exit poll projected a near-win for the Conservatives. The prior two exit polls had got the leading party's seat count spot on. Last time, they were out by 15 seats, within the published margin of error.

In 2005, the BBC graphics contained seat-by-seat projections of gains and losses, though Peter Snow never referred to them in his commentary. In 2010, no such projections. In 2015, the seat-by-seat calls were back, and Jeremy Vine spent about five minutes going through them just after midnight. We can compare Vine Minor's calls against what really happened, and work out what the poll got wrong.

Additional Conservative holds

First up was the Labour attack board. The opposition were projected to take the first four seats, and 10 of their top 14. These seats were projected Labour gains but were actually CON hold

Warwickshire North
Thurrock
Hendon
Cardiff North
Stockton South
Waveney
Morecambe
Plymouth Moor View
Warrington South
Pudsey
Keighley

In addition, Dumfriesshire was projected as an SNP gain, but was held by the Conservatives.

Additional Conservative Gains

Looking next at the Conservative attack board, and some seats that were projected to be Labour holds, but weren't.

Bolton West
Southampton Itchen
Morley and Outwood
Telford
Gower
Vale of Clwyd

The projection already showed C gains in Derby N, Gedling, Notts S, and Derbys NE. When the projection was revised at about 4am, Derby N had flipped back to the Labour camp.

Extra Labour gains

Errors ran both ways. The projection correctly said Labour would gain Lancaster, Bradford E, Wolverhampton SW, Dewsbury, Brent Central, Manchester Withington, but missed other seats. The following seats were expected to remain C, but were Labour gains.

Brentford
Hove
Enfield North
Wirral West
Chester
Ealing Central
Ilford North

Others

At 10pm, the SNP were shown winning 58 seats; they took 56. As well as Dumfriesshire, we think that Edinburgh South (Lab hold) was incorrectly attributed to the Nationalists.

The Lib Dems were projected with 10; they got 8. We know that Carshalton was incorrectly shown as a C gain; Yeovil and Colchester were incorrectly shown as a LD hold at about 1.50am. The other seat was Lewes or Eastbourne, we cannot be certain which.

Plaid Cymru dropped from 4 on the exit poll to 3 seats. The only possible location: Ynys Môn.

Greens were shown with 2 seats. This one we know: the projection showed a Green gain in Norwich South; seat went to Labour.

Mudkip were shown as having 2 seats well into the morning. We believe that they were projected to win Thanet South, even though this looked implausible at 5am.

The lesson for tonight: we're watching, Jeremy, and we will check your work.

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7 June 2017
Unknowns, incompetents, and predictions

The final surprise? Diane Abbott (Lab, Hackney North and Stoke Newington) has stepped down from the opposition front bench, where she was the Interior Ministry critic. She claims unspecified health reasons. Abbott had a bad campaign, and often appeared confused about policy detail. Her case was hurt from some rancid commentary - racism and male supremacists combined in misogynior.

Lyn Brown (Lab, West Ham) is the new critic for the Interior Ministry. A complete unknown is seen as better than a known incompetent.

Which brings us to the opinion polls, where there's been a striking turnaround. At the start of the campaign, Foxface had net approval ratings of +10, Corbyn net disapproval ratings of -50. Now, the two are roughly tied, and some polls show Corbyn as the less unpopular choice.

Why does this matter? Dave the Eager Young Space Cadet won in 2015 by converting the "yes-yes-no" camp. Yes, Cameron is better than Miliband. Yes, the Tories have better economic plans than Labour. No, not voting Conservative. The campaign played to these strengths, and converted just enough people to waddle over the line.

This time, we see Corbyn has had a good campaign - favoured overall 48-18, and by a slim majority of 2015 Tory and Mudkip voters. Foxface has had a bad campaign - disfaved by 48-20, and disliked 39-28 by the 2015 Mudkip cohort. She's been weakened, she gives a negative impression.

Tom Bradby (ITV) made this remarkable statement: Possibly THE key fact in this election; in 23 of the 50 Labour seats with the smallest majorities, UKIP is not fielding a candidate.

According to polls, Mudkip's 2015 cohort is breaking Conservative by 2-1. The evidence leads us to think they're weakly attached, and could yet switch. Are they "yes-yes-no" for Corbyn? Are they willing to take a chance on a complete unknown, rather than stick with a known incompetent?

Guessing game

Some projections? Start with the easy stuff, and get harder.

Mudkip: Gone. Finished. Kaput. History. No good for me. Like a worn-out shoe.

Greens: Caroline Lucas holds in Brighton Pavilion. They have a scintilla of hope in Bristol West and on Isle of Wight. The Scottish Greens have a scintilla in one of the Glasgow seats; this might be the best bet for a second Green voice.

Lib Dems: We can bang through take this by region. Three viable seats in Scotland (Orkney and Shetland, Edinburgh W, Jo Swinson) and a few longshots. Tim Farron is safe in Westmorland. Three other defences in northern England (Southport, Leeds NW, Sheffield Hallam); Southport most likely to go. Naff-all in the Midlands; Hemming in Yardley might be the least long shot. Ceredigion looks safe, Montgomery may be a stretch.

Lots of plausible-but-unlikely gains in the SW, reckon two from Bath, Cheltenham, Wells, Torbay, perhaps Yeovil and two or three seats in Cornwall. South-west London looks fertile, reckon on Cable and Davey returning in Twickenham and Kingston, plus Brake holds Surbiton. Olney in Richmond is a toss-up, Lewes, Eastbourne, and Cambridge all have potential, Vauxhall is a possible, no more. Lamb might be in trouble in Norfolk, there are shouts in Oxford West and in St Albans.

That all adds up to a football team of Lib Dem MPs: Association at the lower bound, Aussie Rules would be excellent, League or Union most likely. And note that, in England and Wales, all the possible gains are from the Conservatives.

Labour: Could get a handful of gains - hypermarginals like Derby N, inner London seats like Battersea, young places like Brighton Kemptown. Scotland is lost, Wales is on their side - and on its own, could wipe out the Tory majority. But...

Conservatives: Are drilling into their landslide territory in northern England, and parts of the west midlands. Will pick up some unlikely gains, and knock off a few big name scalps. Likely to make enough gains to be the second biggest party in Scotland, but that could be as few as four seats.

We expect seats to move on both sides of the swingometer. The question is how far the Conservative gains will offset losses to Labour and the Lib Dems.

At best, we can see 50 gains for the Tories; if they keep everything else, that's landslide territory. But we don't think they'll keep everything else: factor in a net half-dozen losses to the Lib Dems, most of the seats in Wales, chunks of London and the south, and already that majority is down to Blair 2005 level.

Blair's 66 is where we reckon Foxface's gamble has worked: it's just enough to counterbalance the headbanging xenophobe extremists in the parliamentary party. Thatcher's second landslide of 102 would be a clear win. Thatcher's opening majority of 44 would be awkward, it stores up trouble for the future and likely wasn't worth the effort.

And, if the Conservative surge isn't quite as strong as we expect, or the opposition is just a little bit better, the losses may outweigh the gains, and Foxface may be out by the weekend. The road to Corbyn commanding the confidence is rocky, but easier than any mainland parties propping up a minority Tory government.

Do we have a prediction? Conservatives certainly the largest party, and likely an overall majority. How big? Somewhere between 44 and 66: not large enough to make Foxface look a clear winner, not small enough to say she's failed.

It would be an unsatisfactory end to an unsatisfactory campaign.

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5 June 2017
Cutting for safety

Rory Bremner: Did Theresa M just say 'Jeremy Corbyn fails basic criteria to be PM, which is to keep the country safe from attack'? After the last month?

The latest attack, on Saturday night, led to another "suspension" of campaigns. As with Manchester two weeks ago (was it that recent? Feels like a lifetime.)

As with Manchester, campaigns resumed with a statement from the acting prime minister. Then, it was to put soldiers on patrol in place of the police. Now, it's to blame the internet and sell her manifesto as the "only" option.

David Schneider: "Enough is enough. We must clamp down on those that inspire and fund extremism*"
*does not apply if they buy lots of arms from us

The narrative has run away from Foxface. Andy Stewart was a senior officer in the Metropolitan Police, the force responsible for London.

Theresa May undermined police effectiveness, cut numbers, and tolerated a terrible management culture while Home Sec.

Her leadership saw plummeting morale, the weakening of community-led policing (SNTs) to the point of uselessness, and loss of good people. This affects the police response to terrorism, of course, but it also stretches policing every single day around every single function.

I told a senior Home Office staffer this in 2014. I told a senior Tory politician this when I left too. At the time, it suited them politically to do nothing, to address our concerns with platitudes or not at all.

So when Theresa May lectures me on what needs to be done, I think of that. How her 'leadership' was integral to my decision to leave the Met Police.

When Theresa May plays politics with terrorism, that was her politics then. And that's how it affected you and affects you still.

Danny P Miller asked: Was it her decision or part of bigger picture re: austerity measures? That's a genuine question by the way, not loaded.

Both, I would say. But she seemed to relish it and never challenged Windsor or listened to swathes of serving officers who challenged it.

Labour's attack line has been about the source of terrorism, they reckon it could be Saudi Arabia. We don't know enough about the Middle East to say whether this is right, wrong, plausible, likely, or what.

Labour also says that the Interior Ministry has been sitting on a report that would suggest Saudi influence in terrorist attacks here. On this, we agree that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Publish or be damned.

Sam Coates of The Times raised the question: what if Foxface carries through on her threat to flounce out of Europe? Does "no deal" mean no police info sharing? No extradition?

The Lib Dems kept up on the funding shortfall. Paddy Ashdown, himself from the SAS, made a salient observation.

It seems that in Manchester and London Bridge, perpetrators were on the radar. Conclusion? The problem is more May's lack of resources than dark spaces.

The War Against Prime Numbers

Tim Farron, the current Lib Dem leader, knows that Foxface's big idea is doomed to fail.

Theresa May has chosen ineffective mass surveillance over investing in police and local intelligence-gathering

Foxface's idea is to stop the encrypted bits of the internet. To do this, she proposes a "backdoor" into the various cyphers and codes used by many websites. See the green padlock on many web sites? That's secure internet. This blog doesn't use it, because we're lazy and what we post is of no value.

Secure internet works by taking your picture of a kitten, multiplying it by a huge prime number, and sending it out. Your web browser knows the huge prime number, divides the picture through by this prime number, and your kitten is restored.

If one of Foxface's minions were to intercept the entire picture, all they'd get is a random bit of mush. They don't know if it's a picture of a kitten, or a horse, or something else entirely. And, because the prime numbers are huge and bloody difficult to find, it would take a very long time to stumble upon the right number.

Foxface wants to know what the prime numbers are, so that her minions can intercept and decode the kitten pictures much more easily. But if Foxface has a list of all the prime numbers, any criminal will know where to get it. Your "secure" pictures of kittens will not be secure for very long.

So what, you might say, the internet is full of kitten pictures. The same technique keeps your bank details safe. It keeps your email secure. These prime numbers protect your identity.

If there are no secure spaces, online commerce is dead. Killed by prime ministerial fiat. Amazon is gone, Ebay is gone, Netflix is gone. All because Foxface doesn't understand modern technology.

Foxface's character

Yes, we made this point on Friday. It bears repeating. Foxface has never had to compete hard for anything in her political career.

Served her apprenticeship in a no-hope seat, then parachuted into a safe seat. Made a front-bencher because Hague and IDS had no alternatives. Wafted around the lower reaches of the shadow cabinet, and only got the Interior Ministry because Chris Grayling made some daft comment about B&B owners.

Without Chris Grayling's cockup, Foxface would quite likely have been an ineffectual junior cabinet minister, reshuffled out around 2013. But she presided over the riots in 2011, the security theatre of London 2012, and cut the police in 2015. Accusing the police of "crying wolf", she had no response to the question Wasn't the whole point about the boy who cried wolf that there was a wolf and the boy died?

And then Foxface put her name forward for the leadership battle, where all the other contenders fell over their own feet. She called this election on her own terms, talking about Brexit. She ends it on Corbyn's terms, being barracked and hassled over security.

piercepenniless: Among many media quotes about Theresa May which hasn't stood up during this campaign: 'she's a member of the human race'.

Paul Mason (Lab) has suggested that some of the Mudkip-patriot voters are unhappy with Foxface, and are diverting to Labour. "All the confidence has gone out of the Tory operation in some marginals", he suggests.

He would say that, wouldn't he. But there does feel like a change in the air: the balmy confidence of two weeks ago replaced by a deep fret.

Probably one more of these diary pieces to go before voting day. We might make a prediction of the result.

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2 June 2017
On Foxface's character, or lack thereof

A quick follow-up to Monday's post about the local husting. Want to hear the whole thing? Playlist here, in chunks of ten minutes or less.

Another surprise in the campaign. Three people, including Craig Mackinlay (Con, South Thanet) have been charged with election offences for the 2015 election campaign in the South Thanet constituency. Another of those charged is Marion Little, a senior staffer at Conservative Central Office who was later awarded an OBE.

Once more around the More United candidate list.

Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) - in favour of isolation from Europe, right on devolution, right on asylum. Barely a marginal. ABSTAIN
Emma Reynolds (Wolverhampton NE) - in favour of isolation, sufficiently correct on snoopers, seat's a semi-marginal. YES.
Tulip Siddiq (Hampstead and Kilburn) - pro-remain, hyper-marginal - on UNS, goes blue. YES
Jamie Stone (LD, Caithness Sutherland and Easter Ross) - relying on the party's record, and it's a difficult ask because he's not Charles Kennedy. Reluctantly, YES.
Mark Williams (LD, Ceredigion) - strong MP. YES.

This is the final candidate vote. We'll review the campaign's success - or otherwise - in one of the wrap-up posts.

The vacuum where once was Foxface

Now, let's spin the calendar back to the start of #election17, when Foxface emerged from her bunker. She gave a short speech, said that she wanted an increased majority, and then vanished back into the woods.

A huge majority looked likely then. It doesn't look likely, even the target of "large enough majority to survive a xenophobe rebellion" is in doubt.

The Conservative campaign has been a lurch from one disaster to another. The dementia tax was big. Fox hunting alienates the socially liberal voters and breaks Dave's coalition. Allowing the sale of ivory is a small thing, but sends the "nasty party" signal. There is a coherent argument that Foxface helped prepare the ground for last week's bombing, by cutting funds for the police.

Labour has had a professional campaign, mostly. There have been a few flubs, but they've kept their train on the tracks. Labour have been disciplined, effective, competent. The bare minimum we'd expect from a party challenging for government, but still ahead of the other lot.

The competent Conservatives have buggered off: Cameron resigned his seat, Osbourne went off to edit the London freesheet Gideon's Bible, and a whole cadre of experienced ministers and advisers went. This blog's local candidate has spent six months at a housing charity, almost as if she was let go from CCHQ in last summer's purges.

In history, Labour has only won when they've looked safe and sensible. Attlee in 1945. Blair in 1997. Wilson got a trial in 1964 and won approval in 1966.

But think about 1974, when Heath was unseated. Any fool could see Heath wasn't in control, and Wilson's policies - unsafe, not too sensible, not too far from the Tories' - were slightly preferred. Or think about 2005, when Blair's government had run out of steam. Michael Howaerd offered an extreme package, full of risks and danger. The people preferred something safe and sensible.

This time around, neither prospective government is safe or sensible. There are risks to the courses they plot. There are mines to avoid, traps to defeat. When policy fails, the public might choose character.

And in a test of character, Foxface comes up short. Corbyn has history, he has heritage, he's been doing stuff. We might not like what he's been doing, but he's been doing it, and he fights for what he believes in.

Foxface has risen without trace, she's never had to fight for anything - safe seat, handed a plum cabinet position after Chris Grayling shat his pants in public, watched as all the other tributes killed their chances. Foxface hides from the public - didn't do the leader's mass debates, didn't do call-ins, didn't meet the public.

Into the vacuum, the opposition is able to project values. Paul Mason fills the void with "xenophobia, petulance, imperial bravado, privilege". These feel like a fair description of Foxface's policy.

A fair description of her person? We don't know enough to say it's not. And, for a potential prime minister, that is fatal.

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