There was a whole load of local elections in Britain today. In an extraordinary feat of self harm, Hartlepool elected a Tory. Well, actually, less than half the electorate of Hartlepool elected a Tory. Only 47% turned out to vote. To me, this says that the majority of the electorate is happy for the minority to look after their interests.
The apparent Hartlepool apathy could, I suppose, be because of Plague Fear. I do wonder, though, what a government has to do before a country rebels.
Hartlepool has one of the highest levels of unemployment in Britain (9%), it has nine food banks, 26.7% of children are living in poverty; the statistics make for some grim reading. And yet they choose to be led by a political party which has, over the years, caused these statistics through its austerity programme.
Almost always, it’s been a Labour stronghold, so the Tories see this local election as something huge. And it is.
They did vote for Brexit in Hartlepool. 69.6% voted to Leave with a turnout of 65.5%. Maybe it’s something a lot simpler than subservience and cap doffing. Maybe it’s about believing lies. Perhaps it’s believing that their rights were being stolen by the EU. Possibly, the Faragian propaganda worked very well in Hartlepool and continues to flavour every political decision.
This would seem to be correct if we look at the 2019 election results. Hartlepool threw a bone of support to The Brexit Party. A huge 25% of the vote went to Richard Tice, cutting down the votes for both Labour and Conservative. Labour just hung on, but it was a close thing.
That’s Richard Tice, wealthy, long time member and donor of the Conservative Party. Surprisingly, he is the son of a philanthropist. I wonder what his mother thought of his politics. I assume she was proud as Punch when the referendum result was read out in 2016.
What I really want to know though, is how many people in Hartlepool are jumping up and down and celebrating (with water, given they can’t afford anything else) because they have made it clear they want even less control over their lives, more cuts and a privatised health service.
That’s possibly the most extraordinary thing. The Conservative government is happily chipping away at their beloved NHS in order to give the insurance industry even more money than they have now. And Hartlepool is happy about that, it would seem.
But, how will the unemployed of Hartlepool afford health insurance? Has the electorate in Hartlepool heard about the American system and how it’s virtually impossible for a poor person to get medical treatment without overpriced insurance? Because that’s what they’re going to have to get used to.
Did anyone in Hartlepool clap for the NHS last year? If so, I suppose it was a slow hand clap, announcing the day was coming when it would no longer exist. Will they be crying that they didn’t know, and then start blaming the Conservatives? Finally?
I listened to a podcast about PT Barnum this morning. It reminded me of the Conservative Party. Particularly given there’s a clown in Number 10 these days.
And Hartlepool shows us that there is, in fact, “…a sucker born every minute.”