One month left until voters go to the polls and decide the future of this country – a choice that will have a particularly long-term impact when it comes to the climate crisis. Jeremy Corbyn has been applying pressure on the government to respond urgently to devastating floods in Yorkshire and the Midlands. As the Fire Brigades’ Union points out: “The climate emergency means we’ll be seeing more large-scale flood incidents that strain fire and rescue service resources.” But the Prime Minister made no mention of those concerns, and appeared happy to give the impression he couldn’t care less. The Labour leader didn’t mince his words, as he demanded that Boris Johnson hold a Cobra meeting and argued that a national emergency likely would have been called already “if this had happened in Surrey”. A couple of hours later, the PM announced that the meeting would go ahead.
Rather than dwell on people’s day-to-day real life experiences, however, most of the papers today are leading on the news that Nigel Farage has chosen to give Johnson a helping hand. Backing down from his own threat to stand in 600 seats should the Tories refuse to drop their deal, the Brexit Party leader announced yesterday that he would not stand candidates in any seats won by the Tories in 2017. Does that mean the Conservatives are on course for a majority? Yes, the move could help them defend seats – particularly recent marginal gains such as North East Derbyshire – but the Dominic Cummings strategy is reliant on their ability to secure more Labour Leave constituencies.
Farage has positioned himself at the top of a slippery slope. If he doesn’t want to help deliver Brexit, what is the point of his party? But if he stands down in Labour Leave seats as well as Tory-held ones, what is the point of his party? Either way, this “Trump alliance” gives Corbyn the opportunity to highlight a clear bond between Johnson, Farage and Donald Trump, who did urge a deal to be struck only last week. If the British public wants a UK-US Love Actually moment this Christmas, it’s got to be Corbyn.
In other news, the Tories are still trying to push absolute nonsense about Labour’s spending plans. Audience members were actually laughing on Radio 4 this morning as Treasury spokesman Rishi Sunak tried to explain how the Conservatives could keep putting out figures supposedly representing reckless promises from Labour while having no details of their own spending commitments. The story is losing traction because it is so thin. Meanwhile, Labour is getting on with announcing policies that could give voters pause for thought. The latest is being unveiled by Angela Rayner in Blackpool today: free entitlement to six years of study for every adult, plus the right to paid time off work for education and training. Read all the details of the fresh policy on LabourList. Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.