FARRON’S BIG MISTAKE.
As I mentioned last week the decision to go ahead with a third runway at Heathrow is better for the North than the Gatwick option. Not as good as using Birmingham and Manchester, but the choice that first faced Harold Wilson’s government in the 1960s has been made.
But now we are going to have a hugely confused by election. Tory Zac Goldsmith has resigned as an MP because his constituency is under the flight path. He will stand as an Independent but won’t be opposed by his former party. Why are the Conservatives giving him a free passage? The bigger issue is the Lib Dems claim that this will be a by election about Brexit. They base their argument on the high Remain vote in Richmond at the last election. I am second to none in wanting a fresh vote on Europe but I’m pretty sure that Remainers will put their opposition to the runway above their support for Europe. The Lib Dems risk damaging the Remain cause if Goldsmith (who backed Leave) is re-elected. Brexiteers will claim a victory that will actually be about the runway.
A WOLF IN WOLF’S CLOTHING.
A few months ago I thought Manchester born Steven Woolfe could be the terror of the Labour Party in Northern England on behalf of UKIP. Without rehearsing the overused cliché about time and politics, Mr Woolfe has spectacularly disqualified himself from such an opportunity. In a matter of weeks he flirted with the Tory Party, was hospitalised in Strasbourg after an “altercation” with a fellow MEP, and finally quit the party calling it ungovernable.
The North West MEP is now reported to be living in Hampshire and sitting as an independent in the European Parliament. There is a recent precedent for a North West MEP changing colours but continuing to hold office. Saj Karim was elected as a Lib Dem MEP in 2004 but switched to the Tories in 2007. He was elected under his new colours in 2009 and still represents the region very well in Brussels. Throughout Karim lived in the North West and there was no question of him being able to do his job. Mr Woolfe should consider resignation if he is not going to live in the North West.
As Mr Woolfe slinks away, another North West MEP has emerged who might appeal to disaffected Labour voters. Paul Nuttall, a true scouser who tells it like it is, has thrown his hat in the ring. Nuttall is positioning himself as the middle of the road candidate in this faction ridden party. On the right is Donald Trump supporter Raheem Kassam and on the left is Tory lite Suzanne Evans.
It is tempting to hope that after all the leadership antics, UKIP will suffer the fate of most ultra right parties. But we live in strange times where many voters are so disillusioned with mainstream parties and candidates that they will ignore damaging behaviour in order to send messages to the establishment. It may happen in America and it could possibly happen here because of Labour’s problems.
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