Krishnan Guru-Murthy on Political Interviews

Yesterday, Channel 4 presenter, Krishnan Guru-Murthy posted on Twitter about the refusal of many politicians to answer questions from the public and journalists. He asked whether we should end the free airtime given to politicians who offer slogans, speeches and pooled clips without allowing their views to challenged.

“Would you like to end the slogan-dominated election speeches and see politicians properly questioned?  The reason they get away with their current accountability-light campaigning is partly because the media facilitates it.

“We cover their speeches and events on a pooled (shared) basis so they know their slogans will be on TV and social media regardless.  They get this free platform whether or not they agree to answer questions from either the public or journalists.  If the media acted together it could say speeches only get covered if there is proper questioning. Would this be right or wrong?

“For example : Chancellor was to do interviews today. Yesterday said no presenters but yes to corrs. Now he’s just done a pooled clip.”

Where’s Boris?

In every election the main parties keep certain politicians away from the media spotlight due to their divisiveness or unpopularity.  Until his rather faltering appearance on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning James Hunt was noticeable by his absence.

The leading light of the Brexit vote Boris Johnson has been keeping a low profile and it is being said that several of his Cabinet colleagues want him sidelined.  Boris isn’t however easily gagged and he’ll be making a foreign policy speech later today and has a number of broadcast appearances planned later this week.

The Time has reported that at least three senior ministers want the PM to silence the foreign secretary.  One said ‘BoJo’ should be given “lots of important meetings in various foreign capitals” between now and the election on June 8.

That said there’s lots of comment in social channels that the PM, who has ruled out TV debates is herself keeping a low profile.  With a 20+ point lead in the polls it probably doesn’t matter much whether or not she talks to voters.

Twitter Kills Hashtag #GE17

Since The PM called the election there have been two hashtags vying for dominance in political twitter feeds. #GE2017 was the natural evolution of #GE2015 the popular tag from last time round. However the lighter, more efficient #GE17 was getting almost as much use. The wisdom of crowds suggesting that the world was ready for a lean, mean version.

Earlier today however Twitter effectively killed off the shorter version rolling out a Twitter emoji for the election .

A Twitter emoji appears when a hashtag generates an icon created by Twitter. It may be a national flag or another small image created for a major event. #GE2017 generates the emoji as does #GeneralElection but #GE17.

Farewell then, #GE17. You burned brightly but were very brief.

Labour’s Keir Starmer Plans Soft Brexit

Keir Starmer MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, set out Labour’s approach to Brexit, today.

At the heart of Labour’s plans are remaining inside the Single Market and the Customs Union or building a bespoke trading arrangement and tearing up Theresa May’s plan for a hard Brexit.

“We will scrap the Government’s Brexit White Paper and replace it with fresh negotiating priorities that…will have a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the Single Market and the Customs Union as we know that is vital to protecting jobs and the economy”

Starmer also outlined a new approach to dealing with EU nationals in the UK, guaranteeing their right to stay: “on day one of a Labour Government we will immediately guarantee that all EU nationals currently living in the UK will see no change in their legal status as a result of Brexit, and we will seek reciprocal measures for UK citizens in the EU”

Labour also  plans to replace the  Tories’ Great Repeal Bill with an EU Rights and Protections Bill, which will make sure that all EU-derived laws are fully protected.

 

UKIP CRASHES TO 5%

Only one in twenty voters now say they plan to vote UKIP according to the latest YouGov poll.  If that’s right, their share has halved in the first week of the campaign and is down over 60% from the last election.  Leader Paul Nuttall has been dodging questions about whether he intends to stand as an MP this time round.

It looks very much as if the former UKippers now intend to vote Conservative, as Theresa May’s party remains on track for a landslide victory.  Just under half the electorate say the will vote for her party on June 8th.

With the main objective of UKIP being the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, it appears that post the Brexit vote they are a party without a purpose and with vanishing support.

Macron and Le Pen top French Poll

Independent centrist Emmanuel Macron is the favourite to be the next  French President, having come top in the first round of voting. He will face National Front leader Marine Le Pen  in  the run off election on 7 May 2017. If he wins  at 39, he will be the youngest French head of state since Napoleon.

The incumbent president François Hollande of the Socialist Party  decided not to run because of poor approval ratings. The candidate for the Socialist Party, Benoit Hamon  received  just 6% of the vote.

The presidential election will be followed by the for  members of the National Assembly  (the French parliament) on 11 and 18 June.

The full results of the first round vote were as follows:

Candidate Party 1st round
Votes  %
Emmanuel Macron En Marche! 8,528,585 23.86%
Marine Le Pen National Front 7,658,990 21.43%
François Fillon The Republicans 7,126,632 19.94%
Jean-Luc Mélenchon La France insoumise 7,011,856 19.62%
Benoît Hamon Socialist Party 2,268,838 6.35%
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan Debout la France 1,689,686 4.73%
Jean Lassalle Résistons! 433,996 1.21%
Philippe Poutou New Anticapitalist Party 392,454 1.10%
François Asselineau Popular Republican Union 329,951 0.92%
Nathalie Arthaud Lutte Ouvrière 231,660 0.65%
Jacques Cheminade Solidarity and Progress 65,076 0.18%

UKIP Flight to The Tories

The Opinion Polls are clearly off again given that two polls today give the Tories 40% (Survation) and 50% (ComRes) respectively, a difference of 10%.  One thing however that we can be sure of is that the Conservatives have a big lead and that it has largely come at the expense of UKIP.  The Independence party has been steadily polling  in the mid to low teens up until now and even  reached 19%  in the run up to the referendum. It now  appears to have lost its way with  today’s ComRes polling giving Paul Nuttall’s party just 7%. Aware that interest in the party is draining a way the new leader has attempted to  grab media attention with a ‘ban the burka’ policy.

The referendum result and Theresa May’s apparent  commitment to a hard Brexit has  shot the UKIP fox.  Farage won’t stand again and even leader Paul Nuttall hasn’t committed to fighting for a seat. Last time round 13% of the vote wasn’t enough to win a single seat. Single digit support definitely won’t put a UKIP MP in the Commons.

Posts about elections and politics in general with a particular interest in how social media impacts on the political process.