You’ll have noticed that this week’s column is coming a little later than usual. There’s a reason for that. Whilst those ensconced in the Westminster bubble are feverishly obsessed with Brexit and winning the election, those of us who prefer Soho were busy celebrating “gay Christmas.” Yes, it was Eurovision weekend, and like any good gay, I was busy rooting for my favourite camp act (the poor sods from Spain, whom apparently I alone liked) and cheering on the fabulous Lucie Jones.
I took my union flag to a skyscraper overlooking Lake Michigan here in Chicago, joining a British ex-pat and Polish immigrant – meaning thankfully, politics was not a topic of conversation. Judging from Twitter, though, I imagine your Eurovision party might not have been so relaxing. It seems everyone was interested to see how Brexit would affect the Eurovision voting. The Prime Minister warned ahead of Saturday’s final that we shouldn’t get our hopes up. In an interview with the BBC’s The One Show, she promised we wouldn’t Brexit from Eurovision (thank God!), but that “…in the current circumstances, I’m not sure how many votes we’ll get.” Whilst we didn’t do well among EU heavyweights France and Germany, Lucie was able to garner 111 votes, finishing better than any British entrant in several years.
Lucie herself was a bit more confused about the role Brexit played in her showing. She told ITV’s Lorraine earlier today that “Nobody actually talked about Brexit [in Kiev]. It wasn’t a thing. I wasn’t ‘Brexit Girl,’ which was really nice.” This contradicts what she told the Sun following Saturday night’s show. “I did notice lots of Brexit comments,” she said, noting that she voted Remain, which surely made this even more annoying. “I did vote to remain in the EU,” she said, “but hey, not much we can do about it now. Lots of people voted to leave and we’re a democracy and that’s the way of the world. Sh*t happens.”
It most certainly does, Lucie, and loads of it happened this week other than Eurovision. So let’s put on our Wellies and wade into some of it.
The biggest news of the week was undoubtedly the leak of Labour’s draft manifesto – the most radical in a generation, since Michael Foot’s famed “longest suicide note in history” way back in 1983 – before I, and I reckon many of you, were even born. The Daily Mail and the Tories jumped on this, accusing Labour of trying to take the country back to the 1970s (whilst at the same time lauding Theresa May’s admission she and husband Philip have “boy jobs and girl jobs” at home – because that’s not antiquated).
But should we all be busting out bellbottoms and disco balls just yet? Labour contends we shouldn’t, labelling it a “forward thinking” manifesto that will be deeply popular with voters. The polling backs them up on this. As the Independent reported, around half of people support Labour’s proposals to renationalise the railways, Royal Mail, and the energy market. Meanwhile, policies such as higher taxes on higher earners and building more houses have also gone down extremely well with voters.
People want to know where the money is coming from. Labour promises that its official manifesto will be fully costed. Until then, we can but speculate on how Corbyn plans to find the funds to pay for his proposals. It should also be noted that the leaked draft manifesto contains other policies sure to be popular with the electorate, including raising the minimum wage and keeping Trident – despite Jeremy Corbyn’s own distaste for the country’s nuclear deterrent.
Labour can take some solace in the fact that these proposals poll so well, but they certainly can’t rest on their laurels. A recent Survation poll shows the Tories hold an 18 point lead over Labour. It seems that much of this is down to how the leaders are perceived. In another piece, the Independent reports that more people disapprove of the Tories than support them, but that voters still seem to approve of Theresa May’s performance as Prime Minister than disapprove.
This may be why Ms May’s name is splashed on the side of the Tory battlebus, and why the Conservatives are so keen to make this election a choice between her and Mr Corbyn. The Conservatives more than any party are making this an election about personalities, which makes it strange that she is so reticent to show one. She is refusing to take impromptu questions from reporters (something I criticised her for last week in a HuffPost blog last week) and is still refusing to take part in televised debates. Mrs May is playing her cards close to her chest, running one of the most stage-managed campaigns in living memory. It’s understandable why, but there may come a point where voters demand greater access to the woman who wants to lead the UK out of the EU.
Some other things that have piqued my interest this week and you lot should be watching out for:
- The Tories have expressed a desire to repeal the ban on fox hunting; considering how unpopular this is with the electorate, it demonstrates Theresa May’s confidence in winning a majority on 8th June
- Still, Jeremy Corbyn is climbing in the polls – but can he catch up to Ms May in a short time?
- Corbyn told Buzzfeed he wouldn’t step down as Labour leader should he lose the election, so if that comes to pass, be ready for yet another bloody battle for the soul of the Labour Party
- The Trade Union and Socialist Coalition – a Labour splinter group who challenged Labour from the left in the past two elections – has decided not to stand this go-round, citing Labour’s left wing manifesto.
- And because I know you’re all keen to know, former One Directioner Harry Styles has said he’ll vote for whoever is against Brexit – an endorsement the Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has surely welcomed. If only sixteen-year-olds (or, you know, I) could vote.
Keep watching this space as we continue to bring you the biggest and gayest election coverage anywhere on the internet. In the meantime, whilst you’re out on the doorsteps, keep your eyes peeled for someone who can win us Eurovision next year. After this election and the coming Brexit negotiations, we deserve a win.
Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you’d like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.
Skylar Baker-Jordan is THEGAYUK’s political contributing editor and has bylines at HuffPost, The Independent and the Daily Dot.
Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.