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Thursday 5 December 2019 – one week until polling day

With the distraction of the NATO summit no over Boris has gone big on election promises, issuing his “ten commandments” of policy pledges to enact over the course of his first 100 days in office (see below).

There’s some eye-catching stuff in there, £33.9bn is being put into the NHS. Tory spinners will hope to neutralise Labour’s constant bleating about privatizing the National Health Service. But the big headline, to contrast with Jeremy Corbyn’s big spending plans, are tax cuts. 

At the February budget, Boris plans to raise the national insurance threshold to £9,500, a tax cut of £200 per year for the average British family.

Labour have been setting their sights on the same demograophic, but the sums just don’t add up. Their claim families will save £6,700 a year completely unravelled yesterday as a host of think tanks and economists rubbished their figures.

But it doesn’t take an expert to figure out the nonsense they’re peddling. The estimate is based on caps to rail fares and increased childcare support eve though less than 50% of families use childcare and only 5% travel to work by train more than three times a week – not your average family at all. They’ve also chosen to ignore or acknowledge inflation with their various data inputs to suit their agenda. No-one does wonky sums quite like Corbyn’s Labour. Read more here.  

Labour are announcing £25bn in extra funding for schools today. This is just getting ridiculous.

The dodgy maths taps into a wider malaise affecting this election, no doubt reinforced by Jo Swinson’s turgid interview with Andrew Marr yesterday. He didn’t land any severe blows, but she completely failed to make any case for anything (this a leader of a party with 94 peers for goodness sake), the Lib Dem leader doesn’t even want to bring the UK back into the EU if (when) Brexit happens, bizarre.

The frustration is reflected in a Telegraph poll by Savanta ComRes that found 6% of voters are looking to vote for “other” candidates, higher than the SNP’s backing (4%) and the three times the Greens (2%). The Tories are on 42%, a ten point lead over Labour. Interestingly, the pollsters used a different approach, showing the ballot papers to surveyed individuals.

They also found that almost four in five members of the public favour tougher sentences, not that the liberal elites will take much notice. Boris may be on course for an election victory and his plans are encouraging, but there’s a long way to go before British politics is re-aligned.