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Election Daily

Political Forecast: Scattered Gaffes

plus Boris vs Farage

8:14 AM GMT+1 on June 25, 2024

    It's official, the weather for Glasto this year is going to be glorious! And by glorious, of course, I mean mostly fine-ish with just a bit of rain here and there. 

    You see, this – THIS – is what we have been reduced to in 2024: celebrating minor wins as if they are big ones. Mediocrity is apparently the very best we can aspire to, both within the political realm and without. That certainly seemed to be the message when Rishi Sunak turned up yesterday to help launch the Tory Scotland manifesto alongside Scottish leader Douglas Ross. The manifesto called for adequate numbers of GPs and police officers, adequate rural trunk roads, and adequate education. 

    So where is the Big Vision in this election? Where is the Countenance Divine shining forth upon our clouded hills? Like with this year's Glastonbury forecast, I guess we should all hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Bring your wellies people – the political outlook is definitely for scattered gaffes, minimum.

    Anyway, here is what the all-seeing news pods of the UK think the last day or so of election campaigning augurs.

    Talking Politics: ITV's Julie Etchingham is joined by Joel Hills on this one as economists give a damning assessment of both Labour and Conservative plans. See what I mean? Everyone is feeling a bit overcast today.

    Oh God, What Now?: The election winner is "all but confirmed", say the OGWN team, but the press still has to pump up the drama. This is a good moment to stop and reflect on what stories have been overdone so far and what potential drama might be still to come.

    Today in Focus: After Labour’s 2019 election defeat, Keir Starmer had a big rebuilding project on his hands. But like any good builder, he didn't do it alone. So who were the advisers who have helped him shape the party, asks The Guardian's Jessica Elgot.

    Iain Dale All Talk: Iain Dale interviews former Conservative MP and minister Robert Halfon about leaving politics and what might come next. Dale asks him why he thinks he was "one of the few MPs nobody ever says a bad word about". Halfon replies: "I'm a non-confrontational person… and I didn't come out with all the CCHQ lines to take." so basically, I guess his message is "be kind and think for yourself". Simple stuff on one level, but truly radical notions in the world of politics. 

    The Election Shortcut with Kate McCann: I could honestly listen to John Pienaar all day and night. Here he deploys his mellifluous baritone to discuss The Sun's Never Mind The Ballots: Election Showdown, as well as the performance of the leaders of the two main parties. "I thought there was genuine adrenaline coming out of both those leaders," he says. "And was it illuminating?" McCann asks. "No", Pienaar replies flatly.

    The Daily T: Nigel Farage reckons Boris Johnson will go down in history as the "worst prime minister of modern times" after a public spat that saw the ex-PM attack the Reform leader for his comments on Ukraine and Putin where he claimed the West provoked the invasion. Host Camilla Tominey reacts to the backlash in the studio with the Telegraph's Associate Editor Gordon Rayner. It is entirely fascinating to see how The Telegraph is responding to this clash. 

    The News Agents: You can count on the News Agents to do a good frank assessment of this brouhaha. They ask why is Daily Mail having a go at Nigel Farage and why Nigel Farage is having a go at Boris Johnson? These three, they say, are now firm "frenemies" - calling each other 'morally repugnant' and calling in the lawyers. So what does it say about where the power on the right of British politics lies? And is Farage now regretting his "Putin friendly" comments? They also have a good look at the Tory gambling scandal, asking why the cut through cut through has been so strong and why hasn't anyone in Tory HQ managed the scandal better? All excellent questions, adroitly handled.

    Coffee House Shots: Far from backing away from his Putin comments, Nigel Farage has doubled down on them. Is the Reform leader taking inspiration from Trump, the Spectator team wonders? And could this be a small win for the Tories who are seeking to claw back Reform votes? It certainly feels like a wee bit of potential reprieve.

    BBC Newscast: The Conservative Party has said it is conducting its own internal betting inquiry in tandem with the Gambling Commission's one. Is it going to have any teeth, the Newscast team wonder. And correspondent Sara Girvin also comes on the show from Northern Ireland to discuss how the Cost of Living and Brexit are impacting voting there.

    The New Statesman Podcast: Hannah Barnes, the New Statesman's associate editor speaks to the mag's senior editor George Eaton about all the latest developments in the gambling scandal, as well as Labour's position on gender recognition and their plans for the House of Lords.

    The Northern Agenda: It is easy to forget sometimes that elections are about individual members running in separate constituencies, rather than just a head-to-head between party leaders. That makes episodes like this one from The Northern Agenda even more valuable. Here they took election rivals in the North East to task over how they would combat soaring child poverty rates, the future of the NHS, pollution in our waterways, and more. Candidates from the five main parties contesting seats at the July 4 election took part in a special hustings hosted by ChronicleLive in Newcastle. It worked really well – congrats to the team that put this together.

    The Bunker: The betting scandal just keeps getting worse for Sunak. But as ever in politics, there is always the possibility that another gaffe could knock it off the front pages, say The Bunker team. Respectfully, I'm not so sure. This one feels like it is going to be very hard to shake.

    Political Currency: Now here is a good question: will shy Tories (or Reform UK-ers) deny Keir Starmer his landslide? It isn't clear whether the polling we are seeing is accounting for the fact that undeclared Conservative voters can often come out of the woodwork at the very last minute. But if there is a landslide, who should the Conservatives install as leader to provide stability, ask George Osborne and Ed Balls. They suggest it should be somebody with international and domestic credibility. So how about Osborne's old pal David Cameron? Why not indeed. Also under discussion is whether your postal vote counts if you die before the big day. What a cheery thing to contemplate. Let's all try not to die between now and then so we don't have to find out the hard way, eh?

    And now for something completely different…

    Fesshole: If you aren't yet following Fesshole on X, now might be the time to change that. A million or so people can't be wrong, can they? Or, if you are among those who are giving rebranded Twitter a wide berth because it is now owned by an egomaniacal multi-bajillionaire, then why not subscribe instead to this audio offshoot of the outrageous confession-based social media phenom? In one episode, creator Rob Manuel and his mate from school Dave Stevenson rank the 10 best secrets of the week. In another there is an extended interview with the psychotherapist and author Philippa Perry about why people so love to share their awful secrets online anonymously. It must be because they don't have a daily newsletter in which they can blow off steam, I reckon. Certainly that is the only thing keeping me sane at the mo. Dear reader, I hope you too have your own equivalently equanimity-preserving outlet.

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