Every week until the general election, Shauna Dubler will be posting simple and easy to follow updates on the General Election Campaign for Bath Time Online – providing a clear and unbiased outline of current policy debates and party news.
Secrets uncovered, ice sculptures melting and more fake news – here is what you need to know happened last week in the run up to the election:
Accusations of antisemitism resurfaced after Labour attempted to brand itself as the party of equality through the launch of its Race and Faith Manifesto. Writing for the Times, the Chief Rabbi accused Labour of letting the ‘poison of antisemitism take root’ and called on the British population to ‘vote with their conscience’ come 12th of December. Boris Johnson will be hoping to move away from the discussion on race and faith after his comments on likening Muslim women who wear veils to ‘letterboxes’ were brought back to light. The Muslim Council of Britain released a report urging all parties to play a role in the battle against racism, singling out the Conservatives and the media for cultivating the growing Islamophobic rhetoric in the UK.
Bruised by intense scrutiny of the antisemitism accusations, Corbyn tried to reset the agenda after claiming to hold ‘proof’ that Johnson would put the NHS on the table during trade talks with the US. The legitimacy of the proof has since been disputed but it was made clear that the US demand that for talks to proceed, they required “total market access”. While the two leaders battled it out, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon vowed to the stop the NHS becoming a commodity to be traded in any international trade deal through their NHS protection act.
Thursday’s climate debate sent the Conservatives into meltdown after Channel 4 replaced Johnson with a melting ice sculpture of the earth when he chose not to attend. Farage also failed to attend the debate and had the same sculpture stand in his place. The debate lacked drama with leaders continuously agreeing with one and other, but the drama came from behind the scenes after the Conservatives sent Michael Gove, ex-Environment Secretary, and Stanley Johnson, Boris’ dad, to partake. Both men were denied access seeing as it was a leaders only debate. Outraged, the Conservatives accused Channel 4 of broadcast bias, blocking the party from making their case. Ahead of the climate debate, Greenpeace policy experts ranked the party manifestos against their commitment to tackling climate change. Unsurprisingly, the Greens rank first place, followed by Labour and then Lib Dem. The Conservatives and the Brexit parties find themselves in second-last and last place, respectively.
The horrific attack at London Bridge dominated the news over the weekend. The Conservative Party were accused of politicising the death of two victims of the attack, after Boris Johnson blamed Labour for the release of the terrorist who carried it out. Johnson chose to ignore the plea of the mourning families after he wrote an article for The Mail on Sunday under the headline: “Give me a majority and I’ll keep you safe from terror”. One of the victim’s father accused The Mail of using the death of his son to promote “vile propaganda”.
Lastly, Jo Swinson took down Farage at the ITV debate after he disregarded Trump’s ludicrous comments about women with: “men say dreadful things sometimes”. Adam Price, the leader of Plaid Cymru, hit back at Farage’s defence of Trump, saying: “It can never be acceptable for a man to talk about grabbing a woman’s pussy and if you think it is you should be ashamed of yourself.”