Leigh Won’t Vote Tory…But…

“‘I’m voting Tory for the first time’: Things appear to be changing in Leigh” (MEN article (engage ad blockers))

“Leigh constituency election portrait” (the same article but for the local rag)

“Leigh could vote in Tory MP, says YouGov MRP poll” (Leigh Reporter)

The last two links to the local paper give a better insight into the split in Leigh politically as it has comments from, well regular commentators.  How local to Leigh they are is unknown but as sure as the sun rises, you can guarantee that anything story remotely political on that website will have the same commentators have their little spats, its like Twitter but on a diet of lobby.

The above articles give some good insight and my title it’s exactly a massive gamble as it is such a narrow “victory” by the 2019 Tories that only a few votes either way would swing it, the whole point being of course, how has it got to this and again the linked pieces go into some detail.

I personally think that Labour will still win quite strongly though if you look at the trend according to wikipedia the swing has been more “to the right” since the Blair years but the Labour majority seems to swing fairly consistently between 10,000-16,000 over the election cycles.

It is also worth noting that from the high turnouts of 70%+ in the 70’s and 80’s (when you factor in an anti-Tory, pro-mining sensibility) they have plummeted since, barely scratching 60% over recent elections.

The local wisdom being anything with a red rosette wins.

The Conservative candidate is well known locally and a local councillor as far as I’m aware who my sources tell me (i.e. my mates who are actually on Facebook), that he is campaigning hard, so he clearly thinks he is in with a shot.

Current Labour incumbent Jo Platt, on the other hand is a form councillor herself who it’s exactly well liked locally.

But probably liked enough to be voted for because her rosette is red and not blue.

As you may note there are 6 candidates standing this time around.  If we take Labour and the Lib Dems to represent a vote to continue to remain in the EU, then the other 4 are to leave the EU and then the possibility of vote splitting comes into play.

As the graphic above predicts, the Brexit Party could get almost 12%, costing the Conservatives victory?  Probably not.  Anyone who wants to vote Tory will vote Tory, the Brexit party votes will be, in the vast majority, disgruntled Labour voters who just can’t ever vote Conservative.

And that is where I was going to leave this totally amateur look into local politics until the news today that Labour wish to cut rail fares by 75%

The running joke about Leigh as a town, especially in the rugby league community and general banter between the local towns, is that “Leigh is the biggest town in the UK without a train station.”

There are talks locally to open Golborne station, which would do nothing for Leigh.  The original rail lines from Leigh now had the guided bus way on it, which just makes Leigh a commuter hub for Manchester rather than bringing anything into the town.

So the question is, would the train-less residents of Leigh really wish to pay out extra money in taxes just to fund those with rail stations, like the pie-eaters in Wigan and would it be enough to stop any of them voting Labour?

No.  I doubt it.  And if the Tories get in then “I’ll show my arse at Turnpike.”*

 

Thanks for reading.

 

*This is a local phrase; I won’t actually be engaging in acts of public nudity should something highly unlikely actually occur.

Is My Vote Now Worthless?

That is a legitimate question mark in the title of this piece, as I honestly don’t know now.  There may be a debate to be had as if it ever was but that isn’t the point, and also in my case it isn’t exactly true either.

I don’t vote in UK general elections.

Or rather I should categorically state that I do go to the polling stations and I do put a mark on the ballot.  Sometimes more than one mark.  Sometimes smiley faces.  Sometimes quotes from songs.

I spoil my ballot.  There is no party that currently, or for any duration of my voting eligibility, has “promised” enough in their manifesto to make it worth my proper vote but I still hold on to the power of a democratic vote and owe it to at least participate in the process, at least as a thanks to those that fought for it in the UK and for those that don’t have any say in their country’s politics, the world over.

Is that a virtue signal, possibly.

I always vote in my local elections though and therein lies the duality of my choice of legitimate vote versus spoiling.

You see my local council (Wigan) is Labour dominated but I dislike them immensely for their insular, Wigan-centric outlook.  Local politics is a microcosm for the general malaise of UK politics in general.  Wigan looks after Wigan and a few other areas but damns the smaller towns with a few pounds from the coffers ever election cycle.  Wigan itself suffers at the hands of Greater Manchester County Council and their, insular, Manchester city centre-centric outlook.  And then of course the whole of the North suffers from the national governments and parliaments bubble London-centric outlook.

And the more the local towns vote for independent councillors (or anything that isn’t Labour) the less scraps they get.

On the national front (no pub) though, due to boundary changes, my constituency just happens to be a swing one and so my vote there does actually count for something.

But regardless of who my MP was, thanks to a rather unionised, militant mother, I’ve always been a fan of emailing them about the bigger issues that I’m bothered about and the responses were always less than stellar up until my most recent MP got voted in.

Enough for me to vote for them?  On an individual level, quite possibly, on a party political one, quite possibly not.

The shadow of Brexit looms large over all these decisions and whereas the UK has a first past the post (FPTP) system of deciding who “runs” the country for 4-5 year stints, the referendum was an example of  not only direct democracy but of highlighting just why our current elected officials aren’t big fans of it, as you can never rely on getting the result you want.

And so I find myself hemmed in. 650 elected MPs, the majority of which do not wish to enact the result of the referendum of 2016, figuring out ways of getting out of it.

Aided and abetted by a willing media and a very vocal loser contingent.  I use loser not as a pejorative but as a fact, though maybe minority contingent would be better, despite the other images that my conjure up.

A few marches of dubious attendance and an online petition of dubious signatories seem to give credence to wish to halt a process that hasn’t been started properly, because it was never fully committed to in the first place.

Forget about alleged lies and bus slogans, alleged election interference and spending tactics, these are all just bluster to hide the shock of a loss.

What is at stake is what a disaffected populous does if they become even more disaffected with the world around them that only shows the glaringly obvious that they have no say it what happens to them.

The donning of hi-vis jackets won’t do anything.  Nor will mass strikes.  What small amount of power you think you have will just be crushed, possibly physically but at its worst, emotionally.

And then you have to wonder if it is worth taking part in a process you weren’t really welcome in, in the first place.

But when the anti-democrats win and a cheer goes up and all those they labelled with slurs from the very beginning have been put in their place, the precedent will have been set.

Think of it as being stuck in traffic and getting annoyed with those that don’t use their indicators, or drive without lights when it is dark.  Think more on those that never move out of the way of a fire engine or ambulance or police car that is on an emergency call and that desire, deep inside you that secretly, darkly hopes that one day they will know that their action could result in the first responding vehicle they blocked was stopped from attending an incident involving someone they cared about.

Think of Newton’s third law of motion and then realise that a government with power never has a reaction that is equal.

Vive la second law of thermodynamics.

 

Thanks for reading.