Election diary: “This is the most boring election for decades”

PUBLISHED: 11:02 31 May 2017 | UPDATED: 11:02 31 May 2017

Iain Dale

Iain Dale


Our Brexiteer diarist still can’t quite work out how the Tories got themselves into such a pickle over the funding of social care

Writing a mildly amusing diary column in the immediate aftermath of a terror attack is not the easiest task in the world, so in this first chunk I’m not even going to try. When I first heard that the main party leaders were suspending their election campaigns until the end of this week my immediate reaction was ‘quite right too’. On reflection, though I wonder if Labour’s Mike Gapes was right. He tweeted on Tuesday evening, in defiance of his party leadership: “We must not allow murderous terrorists to undermine our democratic society. I will be resuming political campaigning tomorrow morning.” It is good that all the major party leaders are singing from the same hymn-sheet and united in their outrage. However, to those who call for radical measures to be introduced to counter future acts of terrorism, I just say this: If you weaken our democracy, if you diminish our civil liberties, if you attack our human rights you play into the hands of the terrorists. The way to defeat them is to make very clear that we won’t do any of that. The way to do it is to defeat the ideology that lies behind this terrorist evil. It can’t be done in the short term but we have to develop a long-term strategy to expose the wickedness and wrongness of this Islamist form of fascism.


The first duty of any prime minister is to defend the realm. Yes, I know that’s an old-fashioned way of putting it, but there you go. So, when an aspiring prime minister is asked – five times – if he will condemn the IRA and on the fifth occasion says ‘No’, the electorate will draw their own conclusions. Just when some people were thinking they might take a second look at Jeremy Corbyn, he completely blows it. His position on the Troubles in Ireland requires further examination. The SDLP say he never met with them, while at the same time he’d happily meet with IRA representatives. He says he met with Unionist politicians in Stormont, yet so far none can recall doing so. He says he met all sides from the conflict but he clearly didn’t meet loyalist paramilitaries while meeting Republican paramilitaries. It played right into the Tory playbook that he can’t be trusted on defence and security issues. This goes down very badly with working class Labour voters. Just the sort of people the Tories need to win over to get their landslide. It was amateur hour from Corbyn, and totally avoidable. Expect Sir Lynton to ensure that this issue raises its head rather a lot during the final days of the campaign. You can’t really blame him…


Yes, Emily Thornberry has to feature in this diary for the second week in a row. Last week I regaled you with my positive views on Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary. This week I have to tell you that her latest appearance on my LBC radio show seems to have left her holed below the water line. After a bit of badgering from me – it is, after all, what I’m paid for – she admitted that Trident could be up for grabs in Labour’s Strategic Defence Review. Later that night her Shadow Defence colleague Nia Griffith repudiated Emily’s view live on Newsnight. “I am in charge of defence policy, not Emily.” Ouch. The next morning I was presenting my Saturday show and as I introduced a phone-in on which party has the best defence policy, up popped my face on the BBC News Channel, followed by La Thornberry. And so it did every hour for the rest of the day. Quite disconcerting really. Just as well, I’m not in any way a narcissist. Even if I did quite enjoy it.


I still can’t quite work out how the Tories got themselves into such a pickle over the funding of social care. They came up with a policy so complicated that I had to read that section of their manifesto at least five times before I understood it. And even then, I couldn’t properly explain it to my listeners. Pity to the poor sod of a Tory canvasser on the doorstep, trying to convince a 70 year old voter. And it is all so unnecessary. If they need an extra £2.5 billion a year to fund social care why not increase employees’ national insurance contributions by 0.5%. Job done. It would have saved so much heartache, and about
30 seats on their majority I shouldn’t wonder.


Is it just me, but would you agree this is the most boring election for decades? I started being interested elections in 1979. Each campaign since then has had some excitement about it. Well, with the possible exception of 2001. But this time around I haven’t yet seen a poster in anyone’s window or garden. I live in Tunbridge Wells and, so far, we’ve had two Tory leaflets, nothing from Labour or the Lib Dems or UKIP. OK, I know Tunbridge Wells is hardly a marginal, but even so. I’m ‘disgusted’.

Support The New European's vital role as a voice for the 48%

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

  • Become a friend of The New European for a contribution of £48. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish)
  • Become a partner of The New European for a contribution of £240. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook
  • Become a patron of The New European for a contribution of £480. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook and an A3 print of The New European front cover of your choice, signed by Editor Matt Kelly

By proceeding, you agree to the New Europeans supporters club Terms & Conditions which can be found here.

Supporter Options

Mention Me in The New European

If Yes, Name to appear in The New European

Latest articles

Lily Allen: We can’t gaslight an entire community like this... That’s what’s happening

In the area around Grenfell Tower shock and grief is giving way to anger and tension. Lily Allen, has volunteered there every day since the disaster

Brexit 2027: This is the UK 10 years on

If you think Brexit has been a disaster after just a year, imagine the damage it will do in a decade

Khan tells May: You need to “wake up and smell the coffee over Hard Brexit plans

Theresa May needs to “wake up and smell the coffee” and accept that the British public has rejected her plans for Brexit, Sadiq Khan said.

Nick Clegg: How to guard against ‘strong man’ politics

In an uncertain global landscape, the former deputy prime minister outlines reforms needed to safeguard the international order against nationalism and ‘strong man’ politics

Over dinner Tories sharpen the knives

Dinner table debate with Tory voters offers fascinating food for thought…

Theresa May is risking Ireland’s future

The Conservatives deal with the DUP risks undermining the delicate balance of power-sharing in Northern Ireland, says leading Sinn Féin figure

Psychology of Brexit: Simplicity

For what do people want more than anything else? It’s not the policies or the ideology, the big political personalities or the budget details, but more than anything they want the roulette wheel to stop turning.

Some joker organised Theresa May’s leaving drinks and 177k people RSVP’d

No plans on June 30? A Facebook event to give the PM a “happy send off” after a difficult year is proving to be seriously popular

Keep moaning. Keep sabotaging. Keep resisting

The Conservatives have been exposed as the opportunistic self-serving incompetents that they are.

Theresa May’s deal with the DUP to prop up her ailing Conservative administration is in doubt

With a critical Queen’s Speech looming the Northern Irish hardliners continue to play hardball for improved terms to vote with the Tories in the House of Commons.

Nicola vs. Ruth: Get set for biggest face off in politics

The seemingly sure-footed Nicola Sturgeon may have misjudged the post-Brexit mood.

Mrs May and her gay-hating mates

The kingmakers of Theresa May’s diminished government, the Democratic Unionist Party, hold some very controversial views

Two divorce lawyers have given their professional advice for Brexit talks

“After Brexit, the sooner we can reach the point of acceptance about our future the better.”

David Davis wants a Brexit deal ‘like no other in history’

Brexit Secretary David Davis will call for a “deal like no other in history” as he heads to Brussels to launch negotiations for Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Austerity may be over, but Brexit means it won’t feel like it

Inflation and prices are rising, real wages falling. We’re all going to feel the squeeze.

What will it take for black and Asian Tories to realise their party fears and loathes diversity?

There is no place in the Conservative Party for 
ethnic minorities

Your chance to own limited edition artwork

Signed artwork by The New European strictly limited to 200 signed prints

Anyone still barking ‘Brexit means Brexit’ should be ashamed of themselves

The election taught us the importance of nuance which was missing amid the misplaced certainties of last year’s referendum. Now, we desperately need to hang on to it

Trade deals not on agenda for looming Brexit talks

Brexit talks kick off on Monday – but there won’t be any talk about trade.

Watch us on YouTube

Boris Johnson is clear as mud on Brexit talks

Views: 866

Tim Farron steps down as Lib Dem leader

Views: 202

Jeremy Corbyn schools Theresa May on strong and stable leadership...

Views: 661



Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter