Tagged: 2015 General Election

Blyth could be UKIP’s next target

Blyth could be the next target for UKIP in their mission to conquer Labour heartlands.

Strategists for Nigel Farage’s party have announced they are to open an office in Blyth town centre as they predict a huge swing toward UKIP in the 2015 General Election.

But if they are looking for a parliamentary seat they will have a fight on their hands from Blyth’s Labour MP Ronnie Campbell.

And Mr Campbell said he would never be tempted to switch allegiances to the party – despite numbering among the MPs who asked Labour for a referendum on Europe earlier this year.

He said: “I am Labour through and through, just like a stick of Blackpool rock. I will die Labour.”

UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott said his party would rise as the main challengers to Labour in May and could capture a number of North East seats in 2020.

He added the party planned to open an office in Blyth “just off the high street”.

He said: “I think it is objective to say that the Labour party has been complacent in the North East.

“So what will UKIP do? We will see a number of seats in which UKIP will become the main challenger to Labour moving forward.

“I would be very optimistic about the prospect of taking several seats in the election in 2020 in those seats where we have seen UKIP move into second place.

“In terms of winning seats in the North East [in 2015], I would say there are places where we have a chance: Hartlepool, for example; we are clearly already in second place in Redcar; South Shields where we have just taken a council seat; Blyth.

> It should be noted though, that in the council elections earlier this year UKIP lost one of the two seats they had on South Tyneside Council (the surviving one wasn’t up for re-election). Across the rest of Tyne & Wear, UKIP won a grand total of 0 seats. Their challenge back in May therefore amounted to them losing 50% of what they started with. Difficult to spin that as a triumph…

“All of those are areas where I think that if we have the right campaign and things go right in terms of the media and nationally then they will come into place next year.”

He added: “I would love to see a poll in Blyth, I have a gut instinct we will do well there.

“Obviously we have not released our target seats yet but if I had to make a prediction as to where we would target in the North East my prediction would be Hartlepool.”

> Actually, UKIP have already gone on record as targetting Hartlepool. Pay attention Mr Arnott !

Source –  Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 03 Oct 2014

Public Support For Axing ‘Bedroom Tax’ Has Never Been Higher

Nearly half of the British public are now opposed to the controversial ‘bedroom tax’, a poll by YouGov has revealed.

The  poll for The Sun found that 49% were opposed to the bedroom tax in July 2014, compared to 41% who still support the housing policy. This is in stark contradiction to March 2013, when 49% approved of cutting Housing Benefit for people under-occupying their social home and 38% disapproved.

Public support for the  tax has not been higher than 42% since November 2013, while opposition to the policy is now at its higher ever level, according to the poll.

 The poll comes after Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg announced a dramatic U-turn on his party’s earlier support for the  tax. He said his party would seek to overhaul the policy, if it is still in government after the 2015 general election, by only penalising social housing tenants who refuse a smaller property.

 Clegg would also seek to exempt sick and disabled people who need an extra bedroom.

> Well he says that now. Come the 2015 election, should he by some unexplainable cosmic oversight still find himself in power, it might well be a different story.

Ditto all the main parties. They’ll tell you what they think you want to hear, right up to the moment they’ve got your vote. Beyond that, there’s no guarantees.

His U-turn was slammed by Labour who accused him of “unbelievable hypocrisy”, after the party voted in favour of the bedroom tax and paved the way for its introduction. Without the support of  Clegg’s party the policy would have fallen at the first hurdle.

Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander (Lib Dem MP) yesterday apologised to social housing tenants who had been evicted from their homes after fallen behind on their rent, as a direct result of the tax.

Under changes to housing benefit, introduced by the tory-led coalition government as part of widespread welfare reforms, social housing tenants deemed to be under-occupying a property must downsize to a smaller property, or contribute to their rent through a deduction in the amount of Housing Benefit they receive. The exact deduction depends upon how many spare bedrooms an affected household has in their home: 14% for one spare bedroom or 25% for two or more.

A study by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), sneaked out during David Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle, revealed that 59% of families affected by the bedroom tax are in arrears with their rent and less than 5% were able to downsize to a smaller property.

Despite the apparent failure and hardship caused by the under-occupation penalty, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith MP, somehow managed to hold on to his job – to the shock and dismay of many of our readers.

However, this sharp rise in the number of people opposed to the bedroom tax  may at least give some of our readers hope that one day we will see the back of this hated housing policy.

YouGov surveyed 692 adults between 16-17 July 2014. The results were ‘weighted’ to provide an accurate picture (as possible) of wider public opinion.

 Source – Welfare News Service,  18 July 2014
http://welfarenewsservice.com/public-support-axing-bedroom-tax-never-higher/

Lib Dem MP prepares to leave sinking ship

Evidently a man who can see which way the wind is blowing, Redcar MP Ian Swales is to stand down at the next General Election.

The Liberal Democrat, who was elected in 2010, said the decision was due to “personal reasons”.

He stood for the Lib Dems in Redcar at the 2005 General Election and finished second.

But in 2010, it was a very different story, overturning a 12,000 Labour majority to take the  seat from under-fire Vera Baird in one of the shock results of the night.

At the time, he said:  “My whole intention in this is to be a strong local MP, based here, going off to London to work when I have to, and using my position to work hard for local people.”

But even a recent internal Lib Dem poll suggested his efforts would prove in vain at the 2015 General Election.

The survey suggested he might end up THIRD behind Labour’s Anna Turley and Ukip – even though 56% of the 500 people surveyed felt he was doing a good job in the role.

Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette,  12 July 2014

Labour Policy Report Calls For Radical Reform Of Welfare State

This article was written by Toby Helm, political editor, for The Observer on Saturday 14th June 2014

 Plans for a radical overhaul of the welfare state, including a return to the principle that benefits should be linked more closely to contributions, will be part of a major policy report for the Labour party this week.

The Condition of Britain study by the IPPR thinktank, to be launched by Ed Miliband on Thursday, will also contain proposals to devolve large amounts of power and funding out of Whitehall, including the control of housing benefit to councils, in order to stimulate innovative housing policies and more housebuilding.

The project was set up in February 2013 as part of Labour’s policy review to consider how institutions and policies need to respond to today’s needs – including more childcare and better care for the elderly – within the confines of tight budgets and inevitable further cuts.

A key theme is expected to be that early intervention at every stage of life can prevent society having to continue “paying for the costs of failure”.

>  “early intervention at every stage of life” – now isn’t that an ominous phrase ?

The report will argue that a stronger society can be built on the three “pillars” of shared power, contribution (through changes to the national insurance system) and strong institutions. While some proposals, such as a plan to freeze child benefit to fund a network of children’s centres, are likely to be rejected by Miliband, many of its central ideas will be considered by the party’s national policy forum in July.

The report is expected to look at whether benefit payments can be linked more closely to levels of contributions through changes to the national insurance system.

Senior figures believe that Labour must counter the impression that it supports a “something for nothing” benefits system by looking at radical change.

> Oh great – so it’s all about image and trying to appeal to those sectors of the electorate who wouldn’t vote Labour anyway. And once again those at the bottom of the pile will get a kicking… just so Labour look tough, just like the Tories.

Not a single original thought among them, is there ?

Writing on theguardian.com, the chair of the policy review, Jon Cruddas, suggests that such ideas could form a major part of Labour’s manifesto at the 2015 general election.

Looking ahead to the report’s publication, Cruddas says: “It sets out three broad strategies for social renewal: spread power and responsibility to build democracy and strengthen society; foster contribution and reciprocity to re-establish a sense of fairness and justice; and strengthen our shared institutions to help tackle social problems for good. These establish the foundations on which we can build a competitive wealth-creating economy.”

The report will contain proposals for a one-off levy of £450m on Britain’s £180bn consumer credit industry which the IPPR says could create enough affordable lenders to take on Britain’s legal loan sharks.

It says that, as well as a new legal cap on the total cost of credit, Britain needs a new generation of not-for-profit lenders with enough capital to compete with firms like Wonga, Quick Quid and Payday Express.

The IPPR launch will be followed later in the summer by Andrew Adonis’s growth review, which will focus on developing the economic potential of cities. Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester city council, will then publish work by his local government innovation taskforce setting out plans to redistribute power across England and reform public services so that they can be tailored better to meet local needs.

Source –  Welfare News Service,  15 June 2014

http://welfarenewsservice.com/labour-policy-report-calls-radical-reform-welfare-state/

Labour now too posh for the North ? UKIP to benefit ?

> Sadly, this scenario seems all too possible…

Posh Labour is leaving the door open for a UKIP victory – and Hartlepool could be about to prove it.

That’s the message of two academics who say the Labour party is foolishly ignoring the threat to its Northern heartland from the UK Independence Party.

With one eye on the 2015 General Election, and even the 2020 vote battle, the professors say Labour must learn that UKIP is not just a problem for the Conservative party.

Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin warn in their Revolt on the Right book that Labour leader Ed Miliband is about to get a big wake up call.

Prof Ford has told the Sunday Sun that voters in Hartlepool were probably still fed up with having Peter Mandelson made the Labour candidate in 1992, despite his lack of any local connections.

Prof Ford said the party was ready to start reaping the rewards of having local council candidates.

“The problem with Labour as regards UKIP is that is has a lot of people. Particularly in the contemporary Miliband Labour party, who are young, Southern based, university graduate, socially liberal, outward looking.

“The world of UKIP is a world they have basically no familiarity with, it might as well be Mars. They don’t realise how angry these voters are, how alienated they feel from Labour.

“Labour will say, ‘Look at these seats, we get 40%, 50%, there is no threat.’ But what they don’t see is the threat. There are now more ex Labour voters in some areas than there are current Labour voters.

“Those people who have sat out will not sit out forever, and they have lost the habit of voting Labour. You get a strong showing in 2015 for UKIP and in 2020 they will be selling themselves as the only party that can defeat Labour in the North and winning seats.

“UKIP will try to capitalise on the feeling that Labour takes the region for granted.

“South Shields is one of the safest Labour seats in the country and UKIP got 25% of the votes without really breaking a sweat. That’s not enough to get a seat, but it is enough to get second place and to make people think maybe I can have a voice now. It should be a wake up call but they have not taken this on board, Labour thinks it has it all figured out now.

“They see UKIP as an irritant rather than a real political threat.”

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright said: “The professor from Manchester may sit in his ivory tower, but he obviously hasn’t visited Hartlepool. You don’t see UKIP in Hartlepool from one election to the next. I think it is important that candidates demonstrate how they are working for an area all year round, but you don’t see that with UKIP.

“That’s why they lost council seats in Hartlepool a couple of years ago. To think they will turn up six months or so before an election demonstrates they would take the electorate for granted and shows arrogance of the highest order.”

Jonathan Arnott, UKIP’s General Secretary and the Lead party candidate in the upcoming Euro elections, said the authors were right to highlight Hartlepool.

He said: “At the last European elections, UKIP took more votes in Hartlepool than any other party. We know that there is huge potential in Hartlepool, and this research merely confirms what we already know.

“Many Labour voters are attracted to UKIP’s policies such as ‘No Tax on Minimum Wage’ and our opposition to open-door immigration from Eastern Europe which has driven wages down for hard-working people. It’s not about the old left/right struggle, but about rewarding people who work hard.”

> And by definition punishing those deemed not to be working hard enough or otherwise undeserving ?  Different arseholes, same old shit…

Source –  Sunday Sun,  30 March 2014