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.

My Love of Holt’s Pubs

Subtitle: Oh great, if my grammar wasn’t bad enough I’m going to struggle with possessive apostrophes.

Search Holt’s Pubs

Only 12 Holt’s pubs are Cask Marque apparently.  Good, ignoring those chancers is one of my fanciful whimsies I get when I go drinking.

I don’t treat Holt’s pubs the way that some would a Hard Rock Cafe, then again if each pub did their own pin badge then I might consider the pilgrimage to every one, I’ve already got their “bee glass” and my Untappd history seems to suggest I’ve had every beer they’ve done (give or take).  Make it happen Joey.

Now I can’t say I’ve been in a vast range of Holt’s pubs and as my previous post alluded to, the city centre pubs, like The Old Monkey and Ape and Apple just don’t do it for me, not because of the pub itself but because of the location.

If you want a list of my main visitations then it would be:

Tamar (Leigh), Mort Arms (Tyldesley), Atherton Arms (er, Atherton, pronounced a-THE-er-tun), Cart & Horses (Astley), Rosehill Tavern (Daisy Hill), Edington Arms (Hindley), The Crown (Horwich) and a few others more out of the way (i.e. not a simple bus/train ride).

I used to go in The Park in Monton, replete with fish tank and bench seating.  Then they gutted it and made it a mimic of the micro bars that sprung up in “the new Chorlton,” way back when every little enclave just outside of Manchester was “the new Chorlton.”

Now I could bang on about another of my whimsy annoyances which is purely of Holt’s own making and that is their pricing.

They are cheap as chips across the board for all their wares but don’t expect a menu saying 4.5 or 3.0 as a price guide, just some well trained bar monkey going £2.57 or £9.52 all together.

Yep, you’ll be coming home with pockets bulging of coppers to stick in your empty, over sized Bell’s whisky bottle.  Unless you wish to tip the weird amounts “no, you keep the 8p, luv.”

The beer isn’t half bad either but this isn’t about the beer it is about the pubs. “Always a warm and friendly welcome;” carpets, except around the bar area, strategic coat hooks (or full on hangers/stands), bench seating, the right temperature, nice toilets, very well trained staff, TVs at the right volume that can still be easily ignored if need be, cubbyholes, etched glass, etc.

You get the picture.

To conclude this post, I’ll finish with two quotes which sum up with brevity what I’ve drawn out to pass the time; one from Martin:

A TOAST TO SIR HUMPHREY IN THE BLUE BELL

Sam Smiths pubs most easily convey that sense of peace and contentment that justify getting out of your sofa to visit pubs…”

Except at Holt’s you can still use your electronic devices, should you so wish.

The second from my mum:

“If you’re old and can’t afford the heating, just go and sit in the Athy Arms.  You wouldn’t really have to buy anything and you’ll be as alone or as talkative as you want.”

 

Thanks for reading.

Being Thankful UK Police are Unarmed

I once saw a t-shirt that said “I’m Liberal…And I Shoot Back”

If I lived in the USA I probably would own a gun, or even a few of them.  I remember on a tour across America that I wandered into a Walmart and was quite amazed at the guns on displayed (in a locked glass cabinet) right next to all the other out-door gear and the aisle over from the children’s toys, I think $99 was the cheapest, which is about the same price as craft beer is these days.

I’ve shot a fair number of guns in my time too, all in controlled environments; clay pigeon shooting mainly in the UK but abroad, in those slightly more unregulated Eastern European countries, I’ve had the pleasure of shooting (at paper targets) pump action shotguns, AK47s, Magnums and general revolvers and other assorted hand guns, pistols and rifles.

Each time I held a gun it is always met with extremely nervous excitement and trepidation.  You know you are holding a deadly weapon, you know which is the most dangerous end, you know its in a safer environment (a gun range as opposed to under your bedside cabinet) but the fear is still there that something could possibly go horribly wrong.

Earlier this month the body-cam footage of the police shooting of Daniel Shaver was released after a trial found that officer (Phillip Brailsford) not guilty of his murder (2nd degree).

I won’t post the footage here, if you want to look for it, it is on most popular video hosting sites, it isn’t bloody or gory, it merely features an intoxicated, unarmed man crying and pleading for his life under penalty of death if he “makes a mistake.”

It is extremely harrowing and whereas Brailsford appears to be a man of questionable character and judgement it is the other officer, Charles Langley (a man who has since been able to retire and move to the Caribbean) shouting increasingly confusing and nonsensical instruction, while threatening death if a mistake is made who is also culpable.

But it seems the case every time, in any instance of questionable deaths of the public at the hands of the police (both here in the UK and in the USA) that many officers can just waltz off into retirement, re. Hillsborough.

I’m not here to dog on police officers of either country, nor am I against guns but I am very thankful that we have special branches of armed police rather than routine arming of “regular” officers.

Our armed police aren’t above making mistakes either; I’m minded of the shooting of Harry Stanley and most pertinently Jean Charles de Menezes, which was apparently a failure of “health and safety procedures” – but is also a fine example of how the truth, even before social media, can get muddied and blurred and down right lies by pushed by the state and a compliant media.

Sadly police (like all other humans) don’t even need guns to kill people in questionable circumstances, again I’m minded of the death of Eric Garner and of countless deaths in police custody due to “restraint techniques.”

As terrorist get more desperate to kill civilians and less technically savvy, a move towards vehicles and knife attacks would seem to be the more common modus operandi  in this day and age but when you see headlines like this

Oxford Street panic: Woman hurt after ‘shots fired’ false alarm

It is slightly reassuring that our UK police aren’t adding to the panic by being armed and rushing to a scene that isn’t anywhere near as dangerous as Chinese whispers would have people believe.

In the UK we have Peelian principles, otherwise known as policing by consent and no matter how treacherous those that try and do the general public harm sink to becoming, we as a population and therefore our police must not follow them down that path.

 

Thanks for reading.

Nothing quite like a happy Christmas season posting…