I’m a Liberal Democrat candidate – here’s why I’m stepping aside for Labour | Tim Walker

Some things are bigger than party politics. And with the Tories in an unholy alliance with Farage, it’s time to do what’s right

Whenever I see Barry Gardiner or Mark Francois on television, I realise how much Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson have contributed to the zombification of British politics. Reason, logic and the capacity for independent thought are qualities now pretty much irreconcilable with party allegiance.

In the Lib Dems there’s still, I hope, a home for an individual with a conscience. What’s more, ours has always been a grassroots organisation, where it’s ultimately the members who call the shots, which keeps us uniquely in touch with the national psyche.

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The Guardian view on Hong Kong: policing the crisis | Editorial

Brutal treatment of protesters and a government that will not listen have inflamed a dangerous situation

Hong Kong is unrecognisable. In less than six months a global financial centre known for its efficiency and pragmatism has become consumed by rage and violence. On Tuesday, as police stormed a university campus to arrest students, and their teargas and rubber bullets were met by petrol bombs, parts of the campus looked more like a conflict zone than a seat of learning.

The initial trigger for all this was the now-withdrawn extradition bill. But the government’s response, and in particular police brutality, has fired the protests. The latest escalation was sparked by the death of a student who fell from a building following police clashes with protesters last week. Most responded passionately but peacefully – with an estimated 100,000 gathering this weekend for a vigil. Others have ramped up their stance.

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As a McDonald’s worker, I hope this is the last time I have to go on strike | Lewis Baker

Despite three previous days of industrial action, we still face poverty pay, insecure hours and a lack of basic respect

It’s time for McDonald’s to give its workers a new deal. I’ve worked at McDonald’s for six years, and today I’m on strike for the fourth time. McDonald’s workers everywhere face poverty pay, insecure hours and a lack of basic respect. But we are growing bigger with every strike, and together we will win.

We made history when we first went on strike in 2017. We won the biggest pay rise McDonald’s workers have had in 10 years, and showed that when we come together and fight, we are strong. In the branch I work at in south London, conditions improved for a while. A manager who had been abusive and made the workplace a hostile environment lost their job. Other managers had to think twice about how they treated us when they knew there was a union presence.

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Boris Johnson finally gets his mop out but only makes things worse

Glacial responses to situations requiring leadership such as the UK floods have become the PM’s forte

To say access to Boris Johnson is heavily controlled for this election would be to understate it. There are areas beneath the floorboards behind the fridge in Antarctic ice stations that are more accessible than the prime minister, who now makes Theresa May look like someone who couldn’t wait to get out there amongst it all.

Even a walk to Whitehall’s Cabinet Office Briefing Room A has appeared a bridge too far for the past few days. With both Lib Dem leader, Jo Swinson, and Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, making visits to the flood-affected Doncaster area on Tuesday, it is a mystery why Johnson left it quite so long to chair a Cobra meeting on the situation. The mystery is not so much the failure to empathise – that might be expected given his crisis formbook, of which more later – but the failure to realise he must LOOK as though he empathises. Without wishing to distract the prime minister from whatever it is he is up to in seclusion, you’d think one or other of his advisers might have noticed that a general election was indeed occurring, and that appearing to give at least a quasi-toss about a section of voters might be a helpful position for him to adopt.

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A right royal mistake: is the Queen the ultimate feminist? Absolutely not

Olivia Colman has said that Her Majesty is feminist through and through – a shining example to other women. Here’s why her reasoning doesn’t stack up

For clarity, I love Olivia Colman, we love her (if I have read this memo correctly) as an organisation, and she is a feminist. She was accused of having a “leftwing face” by the Telegraph columnist Charles Moore. “What the hell is a leftwing face?” she retorted, rightly. She does, however, have a feminist face, by which I mean there is a lot going on in it.

However, her assertion this week that the Queen – whom she plays, following a cast change, in the new series of The Crown – is the “ultimate feminist”, is incorrect. The more Colman explains her reasoning in an interview with Radio Times, the more incorrect it becomes. “She’s the breadwinner, she’s the one on our coins and banknotes. Prince Philip has to walk behind her. She fixed cars in the second world war. She insisted on driving a king who came from a country where women weren’t allowed to drive [King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, at Balmoral in 1998]. She’s no shrinking violet.”

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After the failures of recent years, can the polls be trusted in 2019? | Patrick Sturgis

Even with new models and methodologies, this election promises to be one of the toughest to call in living memory

On 12 December the country faces its fourth election in a little under five years and, with the stakes so high, the opinion polls are the subject of a great deal of scrutiny and speculation. It is fair to say that pollsters have not covered themselves in glory recently, with failures of varying magnitudes in the last three national elections. So can we trust the polls in 2019, and what are some of the issues that poll watchers should look out for?

In broad terms, the answer to the question of whether the polls can be trusted is a qualified yes. Will Jennings, professor of political science and public policy at the University of Southampton, has constructed a database of polls from the final week of every UK election since 1945. This shows that, on average, the polls have come within around two percentage points of the actual vote share for each main party. Given the technical difficulty of accurately estimating vote shares, that’s a pretty impressive record.

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Why I am campaigning for Labour in this seismic election | Owen Jones

This is the fight of our lives – and the result will change Britain for a generation

My earliest memory of canvassing for Labour was following my mum around a damp Falkirk tower block. It was the late 1980s, not long after the Tories won their last big parliamentary majority, and my twin sister and I excitedly shoved leaflets through letter boxes, our understanding of politics not much more advanced than Margaret Thatcher Is Very Bad Indeed. The tradition continued in the runup to the 1992 general election, this time on rainy Stockport streets. When John Major’s Tories triumphed, my teachers turned up to primary school the next day wearing black.

My parents met while canvassing for the Labour party – the romance! – in a snowstorm outside Tooting Bec station in the winter of 1969. They were on the losing side of the Labour civil wars of the 1980s as the party lurched to the right, but their perspective was one I inherited: the “worst” Labour government was always better than the “best” Tory one; that so long as Labour and the trade unions were institutionally wedded, the party had an organic link to working-class people that made it worth supporting; that you should stand and fight within the party for what you believed in, however hopeless it seemed; and that the responsibility of a socialist was to be involved in mass movements and struggles, not to stand aside.

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Wake up, politicians! Disabled people rely on social care too – not just older people | Frances Ryan

Millions of people with disabilities need help to get out of bed, wash and go to the toilet. Their needs must not be ignored in this election

I can’t help but wonder what the social care equivalent of the well-worn NHS general election photo op would be. Instead of health secretaries putting on scrubs and a party leader looking sympathetic next to a patient’s bedside, perhaps Boris Johnson would like to wait with a paraplegic as she soils herself in her front room because she has no assistant to help her get to the toilet.

This is not so much a public policy issue as a full-blown humanitarian crisis

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Japan’s rising sun flag is not a symbol of militarism | Letter

Ohtaka Masato of Japan’s foreign affairs ministry says his country’s flag should not be banned at the 2020 Olympics

Alexis Dudden’s opinion piece presents an argument on the rising sun flag based on the misunderstanding of Japan’s sincere dealings with the past (Japan’s rising sun flag has a history of horror. It must be banned at the Tokyo Olympics, 1 November).

Looking at Prime Minister Abe’s statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war – issued by cabinet consensus – it is clear that Japan has squarely faced the facts of history and repeatedly expressed feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for its actions during the war, which this opinion piece fails to recognise.

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