Press Watch 31/10/19

Right wingers on manoeuvres

On the Left during this election, we need clarity and simple messaging of big change in the way our country is run. But the papers today are preoccupied by manoeuvering on the Right.

Yesterday Scarlet Standard showed readers that the former Tory Treasurer had suggested an electoral pact with the Brexit Party in exchange for offering Farage a peerage. The idea was that Farage might tempt some Leave inclined voters away from voting Labour and thereby allow the Tories win in some handpicked seats.

Now The Telegraph reports that splits have emerged in Farage’s party over its election strategy, with several senior figures backing the “sensible” option of focusing its resources on a small number of Leave-voting Labour seats where it stands a possible chance of winning.

One senior Brexit Party MEP suggested the party could field as few as 20 candidates, while other sources suggested the figure would be nearer 100. Farage, who previously suggested he would field 600 candidates, said on Wednesday night he was still “working through” his options.

But, according to the Telegraph, there are fears at the top of the Brexit party that splitting the Leave vote in marginal constituencies could lead to a Jeremy Corbyn premiership.

The Times has a slightly different take. It suggests that Johnson’s successful leadership campaign was fuelled in large part by Conservative MPs’ belief that he could vanquish Farage’s Brexit Party. Duncan Smith has reportedly said: “We are the Brexit Party now because there is no other space for us to occupy. Every candidate standing will accept that our job and duty first and foremost is to deliver Brexit. After that all the other domestic policy issues are back in the mix.”

Scarlet Standard says that this jockeying on the right needs to be watched with great attention. There is undoubtedly a group of voters who share our views about many economic issues, dislike the Tories but who are unhappy about our continued membership of the European Union. These voters are not bigots, nor are they inherently right-wing voters. Labour must respect them, but above all, we must point out time and again that the Brexit party are manifestly a political agency which will attempt cream off Labour Leave voters in order to deliver a Conservative victory.

The Tories, Trump and the health service

Labour today will point out that the National Health Service could be forced to pay a crippling £500million a week more for medicines if thrown open to Big Pharma companies post-Brexit.

The evidence is irrefutable. Donald Trump - during his visit to the UK - explicitly said that our health service would be “on the table” in forthcoming trade deals. Trump intends to get his hands on the health service for US firms in a trade deal.

We now know that senior British civil servants have been in secret talks with US firms to discuss the NHS in preparation for a post-Brexit trade deal. On the very day that Boris Johnson promised a “do or die” Brexit.

Corbyn told MPs yesterday: “This election is a once-in-a-generation chance to end privatisation in our NHS and give it the funding it needs. Our NHS is up for grabs by US corporations in a Trump trade deal. This Government is preparing to sell out our NHS. Our health service is in more danger than at any time in its glorious history.”

Mocking the PM over the claim on his Brexit campaign bus, Labour’s spokesperson on Health Jonathan Ashworth said last night: “Boris Johnson famously promised to deliver £350million per week for the NHS but his sell-out deal with Donald Trump could hand over £500million per week more of NHS money to American corporations.”

Scarlet Standard reminds readers that one of our great socialist heroes enshrined into the very DNA of the NHS the central principle that “no society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means”. But the health service is visibly creaking under the strain of Tory cuts and if it is then milked dry by American corporations and Big Pharma, then it will not survive in anything like its current form.

Lib Dems Hubris

‘Lib Dems proclaim that Swinson will be next PM’ (Times). Jo Swindon is claiming that the LibDems were “within a small swing” in the polls of securing an unprecedented result. She claimed that its call to cancel Brexit was chiming with the country.

Swinson told the Today programme that “She was “standing as candidate to be PM”. The Times drily points out that the Lib Dem’s now have 19 MPs out of Parliament’s 650, but the new election leaflet describes Swinson as “Britain’s next PM”.

Scarlet Standard says politicians need to be careful not to make exaggerated claims. After all, it is often said that "hubris is usually followed by nemesis”. We prefer the English version of this phrase “pride comes before a fall”. Lib Dem's decision to ignore the views of the referendum votes of 17.4 million voters invites us to ask the question - what on earth the word ‘democrats’ is doing in their party’s title.

Press Watch is a look at the day's news by Labour MPs.

©2019 by Scarlet Standard.