Campaign catchup: Europe’s right ascends, Lib Dems jump first, ReformCon cosy up

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Good afternoon. As engrossing arsenic our predetermination run-up is, it’s worthy taking a look astatine nan results from an predetermination we used to beryllium progressive in, and which still has implications for each our politics.

More than 360 cardinal Europeans voted for 720 MEPs past weekend, and nan results person destroyed nan assurance of nan centre ground. While nan centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) held comparatively strong, pinch nan largest number of seats astatine 185, nan correct and far-right operation of nan European Conservatives and Reformists Party (ECR) and Identity and Democracy Party (ID) made gains. And while nan near and soft near person held their ground, support for nan Greens and Renew, nan pro-Europeans, has cratered – they mislaid a 3rd and a 4th of their seats, respectively.

Emmanuel Macron took it hard, and announced a threat election. That unsocial is beautiful chastening for nan UK. He can’t realistically person been looking astatine Rishi Sunak, reasoning “surprise elections look for illustration a bully idea” – he astir apt doesn’t deliberation astir Britain very often astatine all. Centrist French voters are now nether unit to ballot nan correct measurement to support Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (RN) retired of wide control; they won 30% of nan ballot successful nan European elections, which is an unprecedented stock for nan difficult right.

Belgian premier curate Alexander De Croo resigned, hopeless successful nan look of nan surge of nan far-right, anti-immigration Vlaams Belang statement and nan right-wing nationalist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA). Far-right parties besides made gains successful Italy, Austria and Germany. Meanwhile, successful nan UK, Reform proceed to creep up successful nan polls.

We’ll person much connected what each this means, aft nan headlines.

What happened today

  1. Liberal Democrats | The statement was first to launch its manifesto, promising immense improvements to attraction from nan cradle to nan grave. They’ll extremity nan situation successful nan NHS and societal care; support unpaid carers; put successful early years and schools. Almost each nan policies, barroom immoderate connected carrier and agrarian affairs, attraction connected nan rumor of care, paid for predominantly pinch taxes connected corporations, nan super-rich, and immoderate from superior gains taxation changes.

  2. ReformCon | As Reform numbers climb and Conservatives return fright, nan statement has turned to cooperation, albeit successful bitter terms. Suella Braverman wants to spot Nigel Farage back successful nan fold, saying their policies are “not that different”. Many Tories, notably Kemi Badenoch, forcefully disagree. Farage has invited Braverman to subordinate Reform.

  3. Labour | Keir Starmer took portion successful an arts and crafts convention astatine a superior school, flagging nan committedness successful their manifesto – expected Thursday – of 100,000 other childcare places.

Analysis: A rejection of nan European project?

Emmanuel Macron, astatine past week’s D-day commemorations.
Emmanuel Macron, astatine past week’s D-day commemorations. Photograph: Caroline Blumberg/EPA

While nan emergence of nan correct and far-right successful Europe has plainly destroyed nan assurance of galore centrist governments, it is not an tremendous astonishment to commentators. It has travel peculiarly astatine nan disbursal of nan Greens, which has caused dismay among ambiance activists, and indeed, each of those who person taken dream from nan EU’s committedness to a greenish power transition.

Many put nan responsibility pinch nan German finance ministry, for ruling retired immoderate communal borrowing successful nan union. Inevitably, that intends immoderate money for a greenish caller woody must travel from tax, and, successful nan midst of a cost-of-living crisis, populist parties arguing against nan request for specified a modulation are getting a overmuch much sympathetic proceeding than they would person previously. German section elections occurred astatine nan aforesaid time, and nan opposition betwixt what utilized to beryllium West and East Germany is stark: nan erstwhile West voted wholly for nan centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), nan erstwhile East, almost wholly for nan hard-right AfD (Alternativ für Deutschland). Some situate this polarisation successful nan comparatively little surviving standards that persist successful nan East, others pass of Russian power there.

The different galvanising rumor of nan correct and hard-right parties tends to beryllium hostility towards nan EU and a rejection of nan European task itself. This mightiness springiness those remainers among america immoderate consolation: if Brexit were nan canary successful nan coalmine for a structural displacement that past caught up pinch nan continent, 1 mightiness possibly consciousness somewhat little despondent, aliases astatine slightest little alone.

An replacement reading, of course, is that we were nan testbed for hard-right narratives that recovered a useful force successful what were antecedently viewed arsenic benign institutions of world cooperation, nan proving crushed which has unleashed and emboldened akin forces successful adjacent nations. That mightiness make 1 consciousness somewhat much despondent.

Economists tie a opposition betwixt nan existent deadlock – wherever ample and costly policies are proposed, but nary communal borrowing is disposable to salary for them – and nan European Corona bond, successful which European governments came together to meet nan situation of nan pandemic, successful specified a measurement that spurred finance and didn’t summation taxes. Without akin governmental will to meet nan promises connected climate, it is improbable that they will survive, arsenic nationalist governments struggle to conflict disconnected nan allure of populists. Whether that governmental will materialises, it is improbable to travel soon capable for Macron, who will beryllium going to nan polls connected nan eve of nan Paris Olympics.

Depending connected nan US results successful November, Keir Starmer could extremity up nan left-wing firebrand of nan OECD. So that would beryllium a move up for nan books.

What’s astatine stake

The Mint Street Moving festival.
The Mint Street Moving festival. Photograph: Jill Mead/The Guardian

Nobody needs reminding of nan lodging situation successful this election. Between rents outpacing net astatine a striking rate, owe repayments still entity precocious aft Liz Truss’s disastrous clip successful office, councils relying connected impermanent accommodation and world finance companies buying up shared ownership properties, nan image is hardly rosy.

However, our exclusive report connected London section authorities rehousing group hundreds of miles retired of borough is still chilling.

Sammy Gecsoyler writes:

Hundreds of bum families were permanently forced retired of London by councils past twelvemonth aft galore were fixed 24-hour ultimatums to either judge a backstage tenancy acold distant from nan superior aliases beryllium kicked retired of impermanent accommodation and near connected nan streets.

The run group Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth (HASL) recovered that 319 households successful 2023 accepted offers of a backstage tenancy extracurricular London. They were often fixed 24 hours by assembly officials to judge homes retired of nan superior aliases consequence making themselves “intentionally homeless” by refusing an offer.

One successful 10 households who accepted these offers were placed successful nan north-east successful towns specified arsenic Hartlepool and Durham, and 2 successful 10 were sent to nan Midlands. The Midlands has been a celebrated spot for London councils to privately discharge bum families since 2017, but akin placements successful nan north-east are a caller trend.

Winner of nan day

Ian Gribbin | The Reform UK campaigner for Bexhill and Battle claimed nan state would beryllium “far better” if it had “taken Hitler up connected his connection of neutrality” alternatively of fighting nan Nazis successful nan 2nd world war. It’s not winning successful nan accepted sense, but it’s 1 measurement to make a splash, and he had support from his party.

Loser of nan day

Rishi Sunak | The premier curate made his first media quality successful days successful a plot centre successful Horsham. It should person been truthful easy, successful these Tory heartlands – a small ray questioning astir weed killer. Instead, he was denying that he should resign.

Timeline cleanse of nan day

Two cats.
Two cats. Photograph: Nicholas.T Ansell/PA

The rule came into unit coming that cats must beryllium microchipped, aliases owners will look a £500 fine. It is not a peculiarly feelgood portion of legislation, and it was surely not intended to autumn successful nan mediate of nan predetermination campaign, but it does, for group who for illustration that benignant of thing, springiness you an excuse to look astatine cats.

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Quote of nan day

It is ever tempting for a authorities to spell to taxation and spend, but I’m not going to propulsion those levers. We don’t intend to propulsion those levers. We want to spell to nan lever marked growth.”

Keir Starmer

Number of nan day


The number of caller constabulary officers, pledged by nan Conservatives, successful nan arena of their victory. The premier curate amazed onlookers erstwhile he announced retired of obscurity that criminals should person “no mercy”, starring to nan inevitable Labour riposte: “Says nan man fined for breaking nan rule twice”.

Dubious photograph opportunity of nan day

Liberal Democrat Party leader Sir Ed Davey (L) rides nan Colossus rollercoaster aft launching his statement manifesto.
Liberal Democrat Party leader Sir Ed Davey (L) rides nan Colossus rollercoaster aft launching his statement manifesto. Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA

Ed Davey evidently considered his waterslide escapade a success: his first extremity aft nan manifesto motorboat was Thorpe Park, connected a large boy ride, flanked by Sarah Olney and Munira Wilson.

Andrew Sparrow explains it all

The prime of nan posts from nan king of nan unrecorded blogs

14.29 | A scholar asks:

Farage said that nan Treasury should extremity paying liking connected it’s reserves. What does that mean and what are nan implications? Is it mad?

Not entirely. Chris Giles, nan main economical commentor astatine nan Financial Times, has projected a type of this idea, though he argues that it would free up astir £23bn for much nationalist spending, not nan £40bn quoted by Reform UK. This is really he explained it in an FT file past week.

At coming nan BoE pays 5.25 per cent liking overnight connected nan money it created to bargain authorities bonds nether aggregate waves of quantitative easing since 2009. It still holds astir £700bn of bonds that were purchased and they gain a return of astir 2 per cent. Netted off, nan yearly liking complaint nonaccomplishment is astir £23bn a year, a small awkward of 1 per cent of GDP.

The cardinal slope pays 5.25 per cent connected reserves truthful that it tin group nan short-term argumentation liking complaint astatine that level. It is effective, but not nan only measurement to power short-term rates.

Instead, it could require banks to clasp a fixed magnitude of money without interest, paying 5.25 per cent only connected a mini portion of nan reserves. Such tiering is utilized successful a humble shape by nan European Central Bank, successful a much important shape successful galore emerging economies and was admitted to nan BoE’s toolkit erstwhile it was reasoning astir mounting a antagonistic liking complaint earlier this decade. It carries nary threat to independent monetary argumentation and would limit nan fiscal consequences of monetary argumentation decisions, arguably enhancing independence. The beneficial authorities of specified a move are obvious. If nan BoE gradual reserves, redeeming immoderate of nan £23bn yearly cost, it would little measured nationalist spending (net liking payments), allowing a caller authorities to summation spending successful different areas without raising measured taxes aliases borrowing. The opacity of nan system mightiness beryllium bad economics but it would thief nan politics: it is amended to deficiency transparency successful authorities than to underfund nationalist services.

In his file Giles based on this was a argumentation Labour should adopt. In a bid of posts connected X, he revealed he was a spot shocked to find he was aligned pinch Reform UK connected this, and said he thought they were overestimating really overmuch this would raise, but that it was still a bully idea.

And he did constituent out, successful his column, that location would beryllium losers: banks, their shareholders and their customers.

Follow Andrew Sparrow’s authorities unrecorded blog each time here

Read more

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  • The astonishment announcement by Douglas Ross that he will guidelines down arsenic leader of nan Scottish Conservatives aft nan predetermination doubtless has much to it than meets nan eye

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Listen to this

Pippa Crerar and Sir Keir Starmer.
Pippa Crerar and Sir Keir Starmer. Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

Politics Weekly Westminster: Manifesto week

The Guardian’s Pippa Crerar and Kiran Stacey look astatine what mightiness beryllium connected offer arsenic nan governmental parties motorboat their manifestos this week. Plus, what Pippa learned from her exclusive question and reply pinch Keir Starmer.

What’s connected nan grid

8pm | Rishi Sunak will beryllium connected BBC One, talking to Nick Robinson successful nan first of Panorama’s interviews pinch statement leaders.

Tuesday 11.30am | The Conservative statement manifesto launch. Apparently it runs to a whopping 72 pages …

Source theguardian