Meet the alpacas


Old habits die hard. Despite my misgivings over the national party leadership, I have placed a Labour poster in my window and decided I had to do something. So, here in North Norfolk, I began by delivering some Labour Party leaflets on a social housing estate in the nearby coastal town of Wells-next-the-Sea. Any visitor who arrives there with small children when the tide is out will discover that the town’s name is a misnomer; they can face a long walk for a paddle in the sea, but it has a lovely beach.

As the weather was fine, and I was working with an old friend Mike Gates, a former postman and party secretary, it was a most pleasant experience. I was delighted to see that the introductory leaflet extolled the local efforts of our Parliamentary Candidate and avoided any mention of Jeremy Corbyn or his front bench entourage. It may be that some disputes are taking place behind the scenes locally: the North Norfolk Labour Party website has oscillated from ‘Sign up to become … part of Jeremy Corbyn’s new politics’ to ‘Sign up to become … part of our new politics’ back to ‘Jeremy Corbyn’s new politics’ within the space of a month. It is vaguely reminiscent of the old battles in the Soviet presidium and doubtless there will be some recriminations after the election.

During our session at Wells we had one cheerful exchange with a former colleague of Mike’s who was delivering the post. We also encountered a group of alpacas that were being escorted round the estate by some tourists (or holiday-makers as we call them in Norfolk). However we had no feedback at all from any member of the electorate. Given this, I gathered no direct insights to explain reported movements in the opinion polls. For overseas readers, there appears to have been a gradual but perceptible upward movement in Labour’s percentage – nowhere near enough to make any difference to the final outcome – but otherwise no shifts in the relative positions of the parties.

We are coming towards the end of a very long campaign, interrupted by the terrible event in Manchester.  It is hard to judge how this will effect the electorate’s view of the parties and their performance, although hopefully it will underline a commitment to the democratic process,  Let me, however,  offer some tentative analysis and suggest some conclusions. The main surprise of the election to date has been the complete failure of the LibDems to make any progress. They have branded themselves as the only unequivocal pro-European Community party. Rightly or wrongly, however, the electorate is displaying no enthusiasm for a rematch on this issue – they feel that the referendum resolved the question for the time being.  Immediately before the atrocity of Manchester the Conservatives were delivering a poor campaign: Theresa May is not at her best at the hustings and made a mess of her party’s position on social care, thus undermining her reputation for stodgy competence. By contrast an election plays to Jeremy Corbyn’s strengths – he is an old-fashioned market-place orator who loves a rally. It doesn’t matter what he says, as no-one believes he will be in a position to deliver anything

Perhaps more importantly large swathes of the electorate believe that the election is unnecessary and will punish Theresa May by denying her the overwhelming majority she desires. If this analysis is correct there will be a low poll as people display a lack of enthusiasm for any option.  Overall the election will take us no further forward – a depressing conclusion for social democrats.


leftyoldman will be blogging regularly through the election campaign. To receive email notification of the next blog when it appears, press the ‘followleftyoldman’ button on the left hand side above.


One thought on “Meet the alpacas

  1. Strange days indeed. Mrs Mays problem is that she has poked a sick into too many hornets nests that she should have left well alone:
    Grammar Schools: In our local true blue borough, Solihull, the Tories tried reinstate grammar in the early 1980’s and came badly unstuck; people don’t want their children to fail at 11. They had to drop it very quickly. There needs to a strong emphasis on supporting gifted and successful children, but this should be in existing schools allowing children to move into these streams as they develop. Not a sifting of the sheep from goats at 11
    Fox Hunting: Universally unpopular, except amongst a tiny group of fanatics
    Pensioners: I agree with her about the Winter Fuel Allowance. Why should my neighbour, lovely bloke, pension £50k, get it. I also have some sympathy with her social care proposals particularly if the relative is in a nursing home, been there, but the omission of the cap was foolish in the extreme.
    I agree with you that the EU is only an issue now for the far right fanatics for whom it always was an issue. I think you could easily negotiate access to the single market or an “almost but not quite in” agreement without any real kick back, except from the loons in her own party and the tawdry relicts of UKIP.
    The worst case scenario is a Tory small majority, which cements labour as an extreme far left party from which I would have to resign. Even worse is a no overall majority and a deal of some sort with the Scots Nats which makes Nicola Sturgeon the effective PM and the breakup of the union only a matter of time.
    On a slightly different issue I have had to write off the friendship of a number of people I have been close to since my near hippy days over the Manchester Bombing. The universal response of them is that it is our fault and that we should take the blame and that the bomber was a victim!! This is one I picked up:
    “terrorism is a product of inequality: remember the old phrase – one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter….primarily used around South Africa and Mandela and Latin America revolutionaries. The issues are not so different but the means have changes. When we have wars remotely ‘managed’ by drones over access to resources, can we really be surprised? This is going to get worse as resources become more scarce”

    How does this explain or even justify the murder of 26 Coptic Christians As ever the majority of these people are Momentum members.


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