Gower

2015 Result:
Conservative: 15862 (37.1%)
Labour: 15835 (37%)
Lib Dem: 1552 (3.6%)
Plaid Cymru: 3051 (7.1%)
Green: 1161 (2.7%)
UKIP: 4773 (11.2%)
TUSC: 103 (0.2%)
Loony: 253 (0.6%)
Independent: 168 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 27 (0.1%)

Category: Ultra-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: Wales, West Glamorgan. Part of the Swansea council area.

Main population centres: The Mumbles, Port Eynon, Pontarddulais, Clydach, Gorseinon.

Profile: Consists of the Gower peninsula, a tourist area of beaches, campsites and caravan parks, the seaside resort and residential villages of The Mumbles and the more working class and industrial, former mining and tin making towns to the north of Swansea like Pontarddulais and Gorseinon (the birthplace of former Tory leader, Michael Howard).

Politics: Long a Labour-Conservative marginal on paper, Gower remained tantalisingly out of Conservative reach even at their high tide marks of support. The Gower peninsula itself contains much Conservative support, but more industrial towns to the north of Swansea vote Labour and more than balance this out. Gower was held by the Labour party continously for a century between 1910 and 2015 before falling to the Conservatives on the tiniest of margins, the smallest majority of the 2015 election.


Current MP
BYRON DAVIES (Conservative) Born Gower. Educated at Gowerton Boys Grammar School. Former police officer. Contested Gower 2007 Welsh assembly election, member of the Welsh Assembly for South Wales West since 2011. First elected as MP for Gower in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 13333 (32%)
Lab: 16016 (38%)
LDem: 7947 (19%)
PC: 2760 (7%)
Oth: 1615 (4%)
MAJ: 2683 (6%)
2005*
Con: 10083 (25%)
Lab: 16786 (42%)
LDem: 7291 (18%)
PC: 3089 (8%)
Oth: 2293 (6%)
MAJ: 6703 (17%)
2001
Con: 10281 (28%)
Lab: 17676 (47%)
LDem: 4507 (12%)
PC: 3865 (10%)
Oth: 1024 (3%)
MAJ: 7395 (20%)
1997
Con: 10306 (24%)
Lab: 23313 (54%)
LDem: 5624 (13%)
PC: 2226 (5%)
Oth: 1867 (4%)
MAJ: 13007 (30%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
BYRON DAVIES (Conservative) Born Gower. Educated at Gowerton Boys Grammar School. Retired police officer. Contested Gower 2007 Welsh assembly election, member of the Welsh Assembly for South Wales West since 2011.
LIZ EVANS (Labour) Born Hafod. Trade union officer, works for the Land Registry.
MIKE SHEEHAN (Liberal Democrat)
COLIN BECKETT (UKIP) Educated at Oxford Brookes University. Chiropractor and former army officer.
JULIA MARSHALL (Green)
DARREN THOMAS (Plaid)
STEVE SPARKY ROBERTS (Independent) Party organiser.
MARK EVANS (TUSC)
BARON BARNES VON CLAPTRAP (Loony) , real name David Barnes. Retired optometrist.
Links
Comments - 348 Responses on “Gower”
  1. “Muddler May” lol that’s a good one.
    The Economist came out with a good one too for their front cover “Theresa Maybe” but personally I prefer the more dramatic “Theresa Mayhem”

  2. I wouldn’t get your hopes up too much, there is a reason she’s muddling, if she’s decisive on Article 50 it just makes the inevitable disaster that follows look all the more like her fault…

    “She took a sledgehammer to the economy and Britain’s negotiating position but at least she did so decisively”

    It doesn’t quite wash does it…

  3. ‘I wrote a piece for the Cherwell (should be in next week’s issue) about ‘Muddler May’ and how I’d like to think Art 50 is her opportunity to be a decisive PM in the mould of Thatcher as opposed to Brown which is who she is most similar to now.’

    If May were in the Thatcher mould the first thing she would have done on entering Number 10 would have been to been to reassert parliamentary sovereignty, recognising Britain as a Parliamentary democracy (not government by referendum) and giving Parliament the final say on whether we leave the EU

    In the meantime she should have re-established the death penalty for high treason and waited for Nigel Farage to make his move

    Only joking of course but I don’t see much Thatcher in May

    ‘Its shown disdain for democracy and transparency and a tendency for cronyism’

    If you can lay that charge against May you can do the same with Corbyn, – just like Cameron he surrounds himself with like-minded cronies who know each other inside out but fail to understand and relate to people outside that atmosphere (ie: 99.9% of the population)

    May’s problem isn’t that she’s surrounded not by like-minded friends but by a handful of very clever, unelected Machivealean and underhand advisors who are using her to push their own right-wing agenda

    If anything that’s represents more danger to our democracy than the people the likes of Blair, Cameron, Brown and Major surrounded themselves with, amd makes Msay unfir for pffice

  4. I see the river Tiber foaming with much froth…

  5. And I see a out-and-out toss spot who some of us hoped we’d seen the back of, returning to spread his mean-minded, overtly hostile and uncharitable views to anyone stupid or nasty enough to listen

    May the good Lord set alight to your thatched cottage

  6. the last sentence was a hoke – but like many of the waifs and strays ob the fringes of politics I doubt Runnymead has a sense humour. so he will probably want one of militia pals in combat 18 or whatever to ;do me in’

  7. I’ve got to be honest I disagree profoundly with what many people here say to the point of literally banging my head against a wall I’m so baffled by some peoples thought process but nobody here actually offends/angers/upsets me.

    The one exception is Runneymede, not in the sense that he offends/angers/upsets me cos he doesn’t rather he’s clearly trying to and seems to take great pleasure in it. I’ve taken to treating him like a troll (which he essentially is) and rule number one re trolls is not to feed them.

  8. Rivers10 – ‘clutching at straws’

    But then you admit it’s true!

    It’s precisely why union membership has faller far more than the numbers in those occupations.

    They pay subs and yet sadly the union won’t often pursue the claim unless it has ‘more than 75% prospects of success’ [Thompsons Solicitors use this criteria for taking employment law cases on for union members – even though they are retained as panel solicitors to act for unions]

    It’s one reason why the 5 most recent landmark wins at Tribunal have all been by union members who have ‘gone it alone’ and used other solicitors.

  9. The fascists were of course those who invaded Kuwait and the Falklands and at their request we repelled them.

    That’s the problem, of course, with many Rivers10’s age.

    Anything to the right is ‘fascist’ but the far Left is rather friendly with or refuses to condemn fascists who attack anything Western or Jewish.

  10. Lancs
    “That’s the problem, of course, with many Rivers10’s age”
    Don’t make presumptions Lancs just cos I don’t see the world in terms of black and white does not make me an apologist,

  11. Lancd
    “It’s precisely why union membership has faller far more than the numbers in those occupations”
    Really? All that legislation Thatcher put on that corresponded perfectly with the fall in union membership had nothing to do with it? If you say so…

  12. Polltroll
    Thanks for the concern but don’t worry I don’t “literally” bang my head against a wall though a bit of me does die inside 😛

    I think the problem is that too many peeps here make really bold borderline silly proclamations that few others pick them up on and I just can’t let slide and thus I end up in some quite convoluted and pointless debates.

    What can you do
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  13. That’s a relief. I was 50/50 on whether you were being sloppy with language or whether you were on the verge of a mental breakdown.

    I’m so glad it was the former, and I’m a complete grammar freak 🙂

  14. People literally shouldn’t say “literally” when they don’t literally mean “literally” 😉

  15. Con Estimate
    As much as you are the most frequent perpetrator of silly proclamations I actually don’t mind, cos 99% of the time you realise they were silly very quickly and all is resolved…its peeps who stick by what they say despite all the contrary evidence/arguments and refuse to budge that are the issue.

    Polltroll
    Lol even if I had a mental breakdown I’d doubt you’d be able to tell, I’m diagnosed Obsessive Compulsive so I have mini breakdowns most every day, I’m a real class act XD

  16. ”As for your definition of what authoritarian is you miss the main point, a world of infinite freedoms for the private sector results in a plutocracy, that is a form of authoritarianism, plain and simple.”

    Not in the strictest sense it isn’t because authoritarianism has to do with the amount of government influence over every sections of society. You can argue that extreme libertarianism (e.g. where competition laws are eliminated) would be a terrible idea and would lead to a plutocracy (I tend to agree) but this is not authoritarian per se, actually the complete reverse, as the government has effectively ceased to function.

    ”Some in the civil service even said that the Cameron gov had “a concerning authoritarian tendency” not my words.”

    Hardly a unbiased view. The middle class public sector are hardly known for their love of the Tories. That like doing a poll of upper/upper middle private sector types in Windsor and drawing the conclusion that the Tories are an utterly amazing government.

    ”I volunteer at a food bank you see it weekly, also death my malnourishment has risen massively in recent years, it aint hyperbole its a travesty.”

    Well I personally believe the thing that would most help these people are serious lessons in budget management, personal responsibility and other relevant life skills like cooking lessons. The government frankly can’t throw infinite amounts of money at people like the left seems to want because a) it only encourages more people to go onto welfare creating a vicious circle and b) money is more productively spent elsewhere. It’s really not the government’s fault that people are irresponsible with money it’s their own. Quite frankly food banks probably long term make the problem worse as it discourages people from spending their money on food or behaving responsibly with money as they know they can get it free from charity. Obviously I’m not saying shut food banks down but I am saying there should be more emphasis on changing of behaviour so that they don’t need to come back next week or next month.

    If the government were being authoritarian on the issue of welfare then they would be dictating what people can/cannot spend their benefits money on. The government (at least I hope) believes in personal responsibility and that people should be allowed to make their own mistakes which are there own fault and not those of the ‘wicked Tories’.

    ”yes, even retreat to a “safe space” if you need to – for a few days until your blood pressure drops a bit.”

    Lol :D. But seriously people disagreeing is perfectly natural but as poll troll eludes to with his safe space remark it’s much of the left nowadays that has the problem with it (which goes to my authoritarianism point). And don’t worry Rivers I am rather bemused by some of your views too ;).

  17. “Not in the strictest sense it isn’t because authoritarianism has to do with the amount of government influence over every sections of society”
    That’s not quite what authoritarianism is though, one can have authoritarianism without government. The definition is
    “the enforcement or advocacy of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom, lack of concern for the wishes or opinions of others” that equally describes a Libertarian Plutocracy as it does Stalinist Communism.

    “Hardly a unbiased view. The middle class public sector are hardly known for their love of the Tories”
    Not talking about them I’m talking about Whitehall bureaucrats who are about as pro establishment as they come.

    “Well I personally believe the thing that would most help these people are serious lessons in budget management, personal responsibility and other relevant life skills like cooking lessons”
    A fine idea and one I’d welcome but the gov isn’t doing that, they just stop benefits then say “your on your own kid” that’s at best reckless at worst cruel. Seriously Pepps I know you probably won’t but watch I Daniel Blake, that’s the reality in Britain these days, I’ve seen it first-hand.

  18. “That’s the problem, of course, with many Rivers10’s age.

    Anything to the right is ‘fascist’ but the far Left is rather friendly with or refuses to condemn fascists who attack anything Western or Jewish.”

    Patronising as well as less than subtle accusations of anti-Semitism, on the ball as always Lancs

  19. ”Not talking about them I’m talking about Whitehall bureaucrats who are about as pro establishment as they come.”

    Well yes but they are left establishment. They are very unhappy about the Tories cuts to government departments, threats to quash the quangos and get the public sector fat cats so I doubt would say anything nice about them.

    ”A fine idea and one I’d welcome but the gov isn’t doing that”
    While I think the government should do more along this line my point was about food banks. What food banks do is they hand out free food no strings attached, people then know they have a reliable source of food so make the same mistakes all over again the next month (overspend, don’t turn up to their meeting on time etc.) and so get trapped in a vicious circle. Then the left goes look ‘it’s all the wicked Tories fault’ despite the fact that they themselves are inadvertently semi-complicit in making the problem worse.

    ” Seriously Pepps I know you probably won’t but watch I Daniel Blake”
    I will probably. AS much it may surprise you I watch left wing propaganda too, it is important to know what everyone is saying.

    ”that’s the reality in Britain these days, I’ve seen it first-hand.”

    No it’s the Britain you want to believe exists because it reinforces your political views. My only experience at a food bank involved the so-called desperate chain smoking outside and my time in a job centre with my aunt involved the computers being used up by people playing online games or even worse on betting sites…

  20. Matt W – I hardly need to accuse the Labour Party of anti-Semitism.

    You must have missed the Inquiry they held into it after 187 complaints including 6 by Labour MPs.

    I’m happy to patronise 18-24-year-olds if they are wrong.

    As students often are sadly on this issue of West v the rest and siding with the wrong side and wearing Che t-shirts as students.

  21. “What food banks do is they hand out free food no strings attached”
    Its certainly not no strings attached at most, in the one I work at you need a reference to prove your deserving (from a GP or social worker etc)

    “people then know they have a reliable source of food so make the same mistakes all over again the next month (overspend, don’t turn up to their meeting on time etc.) and so get trapped in a vicious circle”
    Actually volunteer in a food bank and you opinion will veryquickly change, that’s frankly an apologists argument for the Tories. I mean seriously break down what you are saying, we have so much poverty in the UK cos food banks enable it??? That doesn’t wash sorry. Food banks are a response not the cause.

    “No it’s the Britain you want to believe exists because it reinforces your political views…”
    I’ve mentioned this on this site before but I have a family friend that killed themselves cos of welfare changes (including the bedroom tax) and our govs response was to then slap the cumulative charge of the bedroom tax onto her grieving mother since seeing as her daughter had just killed herself she now had two spare bedrooms rather than just one.
    Your experience in St Albans might have been different and I’m glad it was but there is a whole world beyond the home counties that I see on a daily basis. with respect don’t patronise me about what does and doesn’t exist cos believe me it feels pretty “real” when your at a 24 year olds funeral

  22. “You must have missed the Inquiry they held into it after 187 complaints including 6 by Labour MPs.”
    All anti Corbyn as well what a surprise.

    You must also be unaware of the two other inquiries that concluded that Lab was no more anti-Semitic than any other political party and had received unfair attention on the issue, but why let that get in the way of good smear eh

  23. No strike legislation affected union membership.

    Indeed membership actually increased after 2 Acts, due to union campaigns.

    Rivers10 – By your replies you are merely proving that you just believe what your parents – both trade union reps – have told you.

    There’s no reason you shouldn’t until you are older of course and perhaps work in the private sector.

    The problem unions face today is that a member is as likely to be a middle class lawyer or Cllr than a manual worker and yet many skilled and semi-skilled workers are just no longer members.

    My point was more that, “over 2 million people today work in occupations which would have almost certainly meant they’d be members 40 years ago and yet they see no compelling reason to do so today. We have to ask ourselves and the Labour family why this is?”

    That was said by a Labour MP, so some on the Left do recognise the disconnect between union leaders and ‘workers.’

  24. Your problem is Lancs is that like many people whether intentionally or not you cast the left and young people with the same brush as if we are all the same. There’s many of us who hate anti-Semitism, especially for those of us whose family were Jews who came to Britain from Europe. The truth is that you and many others treat us whether intentionally or not like we ain’t same race as you, when we have our own lives just like you different from each other that you don’t know or just don’t care about. Maybe it’s easier to treat people like that, it’s less complicated. I’ve never actually worn a Che Guevara shirt.

    Rant over. It isn’t personal. If I’ve upset you in anyway I’m sorry I didn’t mean to.

  25. Rivers10 – that’s good to hear (that you’re not an apologist).

    But I didn’t accuse you of being so.

    I was careful to say many your age and specifically [which is presumably why you omitted the full quote] ‘the far Left…is rather friendly with and refuses to condemn fascists who attack the West or anything Jewish.’

    Although taking offence on behalf of third parties is another annoying trait of far Left students and the twitterati – as Matt W has just done.

  26. Rivers10 – well you must be in the minority who believe that Shami was both able to be independent and be offered and accept a Labour Peerage during the same period.

  27. Matt W – I certainly don’t do that either professionally or on here.

    Indeed I often point out and cite the stats and sources to the far Left who forget that most young people aren’t of the far Left ‘s view on share ownership, consumer choice and so on.

    Which is why the NUS and union leaders are so out of touch and unrepresentative of ‘their’ members.

  28. Lancs
    “well you must be in the minority who believe that Shami was both able to be independent and be offered and accept a Labour Peerage during the same period”

    Yet alone those MP’s and embers who plotted against Corbyn were capable of being independent?

    And you should also know full well that given her career she is highly unlikely to even be a member let alone take a leading role in a party supposedly awash with anti Semitism.

  29. ”Food banks are a response not the cause.”

    Yes a response that doesn’t alleviate the problem and in the long term makes the problem worse.

    ”with respect don’t patronise me about what does and doesn’t exist ”

    I never said it didn’t exist but it is a small minority. People of all political backgrounds jump on extreme examples that reinforce their own opinions and prejudices, that’s nothing new or patronising.

    ”I’ve mentioned this on this site before but I have a family friend that killed themselves cos of welfare changes (including the bedroom tax) and our govs response was to then slap the cumulative charge of the bedroom tax onto her grieving mother since seeing as her daughter had just killed herself she now had two spare bedrooms rather than just one.”

    I’m very sorry about your family friend but with all due respect I very much doubt a welfare change was really at the root of the problem it was probably something undiagnosed like depression. I think that that the welfare changes were entirely necessary and pointing to the worst examples (with dubious connections anyway) is about as good an argument against them as the Daily Mail using a migrant with a free flat screen TV as an argument against the entire benefits system. On this issue the left do what they always accuse the right of doing i.e. picking the worst example they can possibly find and use it to represent the whole.

    Plus I have said before I am no fan of the so called ‘bedroom tax’, I think it is a good idea in principle, but hasn’t worked well in practice. The government should have done a better job encouraging people with spare rooms (obviously with exceptions for military service, illness, bereavement etc.) to take in lodgers which is what I would angle for if I was the government

    ”Actually volunteer in a food bank and you opinion will veryquickly change”

    I very much doubt that, it will likely reinforce my view that tough love is the best and only way to improve people’s lives. I might actually volunteer if food banks helped people with financial planning however the type of people who run and volunteer in food banks are not the type known for being overly keen on the principles of self reliance and personal responsibility. Food banks in my opinion demonstrate the attitudes of factions of the left towards the poor i.e. they should be given their most basic needs but should know their place and have no ambitions to better themselves beyond that because to do so would be to break ‘solidarity’ with their ‘comrades’.

  30. “Yes a response that doesn’t alleviate the problem and in the long term makes the problem worse”

    Perhaps but its a necessary stopgap, look to the gov to find a long term solution but most of them welcome food banks, Jacob Rees-Mogg says he see’s no difference between going to a food bank and claiming benefits.

    “I never said it didn’t exist but it is a small minority”
    One third of the country according to official figures and that’s the govs new modified version of poverty too, on the old metric it would undoubtedly be worse.

    “I very much doubt a welfare change was really at the root of the problem it was probably something undiagnosed like depression”
    She was diagnosed with depression, and was put on a near year long waiting list for talking therapy, another fine accomplishment of this government. As for the cause I could give you the whole tale but short version it stemmed from money troubles in the household post benefits changes.

    “On this issue the left do what they always accuse the right of doing i.e. picking the worst example they can possibly find and use it to represent the whole”
    Seriously watch I Daniel Blake, the worst examples are all too common these days. Here’s just one indicator, over 80% of all appeals (when someone had benefits scrapped) were found to be valid . Thus thousands of people (by the govs own reluctant admission) have had benefits they were entitled too stopped and they were then forced into an arduous several month long appeals process in which time some had literally no income. That’s how people end up at food banks, the Trussel Trust confirmed the overwhelming % of users are victims of benefits sanctions.

    “Plus I have said before I am no fan of the so called ‘bedroom tax’, I think it is a good idea in principle, but hasn’t worked well in practice”
    Would you support its revocation?

    “I might actually volunteer if food banks helped people with financial planning”
    Most do and offer consultations with users so they can help sort their finances out or at the very least point them in the direction of debt management charities.

    “the type of people who run and volunteer in food banks are not the type known for being overly keen on the principles of self reliance and personal responsibility”
    Is that based on anything other than a stereotype?

    “Food banks in my opinion demonstrate the attitudes of factions of the left towards the poor i.e. they should be given their most basic needs but should know their place and have no ambitions to better themselves beyond that because to do so would be to break ‘solidarity’ with their ‘comrades”
    If that is how you truly feel I pity you, that you can’t see a simple act of kindness for what it is and instead have to warp it into an attack on a political ideology you don’t agree with. Being brutally honest that last sentence left me feeling cold that people can even think that way…

  31. By definition relative poverty will always exist.

    So it’s particularly silly to claim one third of the Country live in poverty today in its real sense. Just watch the recent BBC docu showing actual poverty which was filmed 50 years ago before Child Benefit etc.

    Yes, financial education in schools is needed and thankfully became part of the curriculum recently – as well as the Martin Lewis Money Show and his website do slowly seem to be teaching people they can save £100s pa by being active consumers rather than just putting up with whatever the bank or utility provider says.

    Sadly Pepp does speak to a truth. Although comical the Steptoe/Garnett/Arthur Daley/Del Boy view – that (your) ‘Labour Party doesn’t want the poor getting richer cos there won’t be anyone left to vote for them’ – was amusing because there was a grain of truth in it.

    It’s probably more a poverty of ambition in most cases, although I have met a few dinosaur cllrs in the North West who objected to a new development in their area because they didn’t want ‘yuppies moving in.’ One even admitted that his wife worked for the local CIC (ironic) and that if the stats improved re poverty they wouldn’t receive grant funding in future years. Now that really is thick and self-interested for you.

    Thankfully most Cllrs are well intentioned, but I’d estimate a third are just in it for an easy life.

    Rivers10 is quite right re the failings of the State incidentally. The DWP lose most appeals and the huge backlog – caused by Grayling back in around 2011 – has only just got back to the pre 2010 levels. In my thankfully very limited dealings with the local council and DWP, I’ve found both to be incompetent. It didn’t surprise me, however, as both are just a huge bureaucracy.

    Although clearly I draw the opposite conclusion from that to a far Left filmmaker. I’d sack incompetent DWP staff (a bit like teachers, hardly any have ever been due to the PCS), get the decisions right in the first place, use email as much as possible – rather than local govt which seems top take a fortnight to send anything out – and make the £100k+ pa council staff earn performance related pay based on efficiency in processing v delays etc.

  32. ”If that is how you truly feel I pity you, that you can’t see a simple act of kindness for what it is and instead have to warp it into an attack on a political ideology you don’t agree with. Being brutally honest that last sentence left me feeling cold that people can even think that way…”

    Perhaps it was worded poorly but that view on the poor was certainly shared by the likes of Scargill and has likely returned from the political graveyard as of late. Food banks in the way they operate i.e. giving people free stuff with no strings attached traps them in a vicious circle of keeping them reliant on it in perpetuity which effectively leads to effect I outlined. I can’t find any figures but I imagine (and have heard second hand) food banks have a very high proportion of repeat users. As for the people volunteering (which I think you thought I was referring to if so I apologise) to clarify I don’t think most of them hold Scargillite views but I was saying the food bank often causes this view to be realised.

    ”Perhaps but its a necessary stopgap”

    Unfortunately it is not that if it were I would have no objections it is more of a vicious circle that is very difficult to get out of.

    ”Is that based on anything other than a stereotype?”

    Experiences over the past few years. I am not saying it is shared by everyone who works in a food back but I think you can say with 100% certainty the values of self reliance and personal responsibility are far less popular with this group than they are with the average member of the public. It’s hardly a revolutionary thing to propose.

    ”She was diagnosed with depression, and was put on a near year long waiting list for talking therapy, another fine accomplishment of this government.”

    Really? I’ve known people who’ve gone through traumatic experiences/had some kind of mental health problem who’ve seen councillors within a month or so of inquiring. In my experience if you make it clear it’s urgent they are pretty good at moving it forward. Failing that there is a pretty strong charity/drop in councillor network in this country.

    ”Would you support its revocation?”

    No it’s reform. Especially when it was introduced it was so badly thought out especially with things like disability, servicemen, bereavement, shared custody etc. but some of these have since been ironed out. I would probably launch a campaign for people with spare rooms to take in lodgers this would not only solve the ‘bedroom tax’ problem but also substantially help hem with rent and help free up hosing more than the current policy is, triple whammy!

    ”Seriously watch I Daniel Blake, the worst examples are all too common these days.”

    Watch Benefits Streets, these examples are all too common these days. People see what they want to see (and yes I am including myself in that). You are taking a very small tragic number of events connecting them (dubiously) to government policy and concluding the ‘government is evil and all their changes to welfare are wrong’ (or something to that effect). I’m afraid you are putting 2 and 2 together and getting 6 and are straying quite close to sensationalist tabloid headline territory.

    ”Here’s just one indicator, over 80% of all appeals (when someone had benefits scrapped) were found to be valid”

    A misleading figure as most sanctions are not appealed. So even if it is true that most people going to food banks will have been legitimately sanctioned and make the same mistakes time and time again without ever learning from it.

    ”Most do and offer consultations with users so they can help sort their finances out or at the very least point them in the direction of debt management charities.”

    I know they often help with debt management but that’s not the same as helping them spend better, eat better or avoid getting sanctioned again with the aim of never needing to come back to the food bank again and not factoring it into their weekly expenses.

  33. ”So it’s particularly silly to claim one third of the Country live in poverty today in its real sense.”

    @Lancs how the hell have people arrived at that ridiculous conclusion??? Is it that stupid set of condition where you don’t get a yearly holiday abroad you’re in poverty? In which case I’m in poverty lol. I agree poverty doesn’t really exist in this country anymore, the casual throwing about of the word is one of the things that irritates me the most about political discourse.

  34. ”that (your) ‘Labour Party doesn’t want the poor getting richer cos there won’t be anyone left to vote for them’ – was amusing because there was a grain of truth in it.”

    @Lancs yes there is an element on the fringes of the left though I should have been clearer that most people who work for food banks don’t join with this explicit purpose in mind. I believe several Labour councils over the years have been accused of deliberately fostering neglect and decline in their area so as to improve their electoral performance, kind of like Shirley Porter in reverse minus the actual forced evictions.

    ”Although clearly I draw the opposite conclusion from that to a far Left filmmaker. I’d sack incompetent DWP staff (a bit like teachers, hardly any have ever been due to the PCS), get the decisions right in the first place, use email as much as possible – rather than local govt which seems top take a fortnight to send anything out – and make the £100k+ pa council staff earn performance related pay based on efficiency in processing v delays etc.”

    That’s a good idea actually. There is a great amount of mismanagement and waste in the public sector that would never be tolerated in the private sector. Which is why I think handing the business side of the NHS over to the private sector might not be a bad idea. As a small example there was a case of NHS hospitals wasting nearly £600 on a dishwasher due to the inefficient bureaucracy that the public sector seems to breed whereas you can get a dishwasher online for like £200, far less if you’re organised enough for bulk buys (keeping a few spares for as and when you need them).

  35. “The same can be said about Labour’s policy on immigration. If it wasn’t for the deluge of immigration between 1997 and 2010 Labour would’ve done far worse in the 2010 and 2015 election.”

    What about the “deluge” of immigration from 2010 to 2016, which is now running at higher levels than at any time during the Labour government?

  36. Pepperminttea

    You should be very grateful that most of society isn’t as uncharitable towards others as you are otherwise your openly gay lifestyle would still be criminalised!

    It doesn’t look great when smug, self-described upper middle class people who have never known poverty sit in St Albans and tell people they are only poor because they don’t know how to cook porridge – ask Bernard Jenkin’s wife. I do hope you never have the misfortune to fall on hard times yourself. With your long winded posts I’m afraid you often fall into the trap of pontificating on anything & everything even on things it’s obvious you know absolutely nothing about.

    I don’t share much of Rivers’ politics but I’m not too mean spirited to congratulate him on his charity work and to accept it gives him a greater knowledge of these matters at the coalface than I could realistically have from my 5 bedroom house in Sussex.

  37. ‘I agree poverty doesn’t really exist in this country anymore’

    That’s one of the most ludicrous comments I’ve ever read on here

    If you honestly think that’s true you should visit somewhere like Brighton where homelessness has gone up almost fourfold since 2010 Just yesterday I waled past over six rough sleepers on my short 5 minute journey from the supermarket to my home

    I’ve just read Hemmelig’s post actually – which he’s put far better than I could – and don’t really have anything to add to that, but do deny

    Inequality of income has been decreasing since 2008 – and given that seven years of that has happened under Tory rule, it doesn’t tally with Rivers blanket condemnation of all Tories as uncaring fat cats, but to deny that poverty exists and to argue with somebody who actually goes out and sees it on a day to day basis is as mean spirited as it is stupid

  38. “Inequality of income has been decreasing since 2008 – and given that seven years of that has happened under Tory rule, it doesn’t tally with Rivers blanket condemnation of all Tories as uncaring fat cats”

    That’s a good point. Clearly the Lib Dems and wet Cameroons had more influence than they are given credit for. I wonder whether that trend might change now that both groups are totally frozen out, despite May’s rhetoric about inequality.

  39. “If you honestly think that’s true you should visit somewhere like Brighton where homelessness has gone up almost fourfold since 2010 Just yesterday I waled past over six rough sleepers on my short 5 minute journey from the supermarket to my home”

    The massive increase in homelessness is also very visible in London. IMO it’s now getting as bad as I remember it in the late 80s/early 90s when we had the infamous “cardboard city” at Waterloo and a walk down any central London street after dark involved dodging multiple rough sleepers.

    The Major government had improved things somewhat by the time I went to university in Central London in 1995 and New Labour carried on the effort and had almost eliminated rough sleeping until the 2008 crisis hit. I’m not pretending there are easy answers to the renewed problem today because EU free movement from Romania etc is clearly one of the major factors, but it is still depressing that 25 years of progress on this has been almost entirely reversed in recent years.

  40. I think that, excepting radical policies, governments can do very little about inequality over a period over 10 years or so. Fluctuations in UK wealth inequality in the past 40 years seem to be largely due to asset price swings, especially property prices.

    I mention wealth inequality, because this is the kind of inequality that people tend to be actually thinking about, even if they’re talking about income inequality. And you could argue that consumption inequality is even closer to what people care about, because someone who invests their income is giving their money to others (in the anticipation of a future profit).

  41. Yes they are very good points.

    A lot of it does boil down to the structural intergenerational problems which have been gradually mounting over the uninterrupted 20 year house price boom. Something will have to give eventually. John Major’s government allowed house prices to fall in the early 90s recession and allowed people with stupid mortgages to go bust….he was rewarded with a historic election defeat and this has made the current generation of politicians petrified of interfering with the relentless rise of property prices or increasing interest rates.

  42. ‘Clearly the Lib Dems and wet Cameroons had more influence than they are given credit for. I wonder whether that trend might change now that both groups are totally frozen out, despite May’s rhetoric about inequality’

    Personally I think the biggest reason behind this is having the top rate of tax at 50% for a couple of years and then 45% – higher than it had been at any time since the Thatcher governments

    Let’s not forget that Osborne – a dry Cameroon – wanted to reduce it back down to 40% in 2012

    Whilst May’s cabinet does feature a few prominent Wets, you do get the impression that the reason she speaks about the problems of inequality so much is because she plans to do very little about it and can always refer to these speeches when people take her up on it

    On the issue of rough sleeping as far as Brighton’s concerned, whilst it peaked from it’s high levels in the 90s it had almost been eliminated altogether prior to the 2008 crash

    Now it seems worst than ever – and i guess in mean-spirited Brexit Britain it’s something we might have to get used to – although I hope not

  43. Homeless people seem to like living by the seaside, which you’ll see if you ever visit Hawaii, which attracts bums and problem cases from all over the US. Perhaps we’re seeing a similar phenomenon here, despite the weather not being very forgiving on the south coast in winter. I imagine Brighton’s large number of rich liberals perhaps make it one of the better and more forgiving places to be homeless, in a “Lady in the Van” kind of way….or perhaps I’m being naïve there.

  44. I notice Con Est doesn’t have anything to say in reply to HH point.

  45. Whether it is meritocratic or not won’t necessarily stop the “deluge”, if you define that as the same level as during the Labour years or higher. We have total control of non-EU migration at the moment yet the numbers remain enormous.

    In any case my point was that the facts make your politicisation of this issue quite unfair. The fact that immigration has increased under the Tories despite all their promises and rhetoric suggests that it’s pretty silly to say that it’s all Labour’s fault and shows us how powerless governments are to reduce immigration these days even when they make doing so a big priority.

  46. HH – the interesting thing re homelessness is that even where EVERY homeless person was offered a bed for the night (Liverpool before Christmas changed the policy to 2C rather than it needing to be freezing), some 28 still refused.

    Obviously they all had their own reasons including PTSD etc, but obeying the no drink or drugs rules was the reason cited by a Cllr.

    Indeed even if they don’t trust ‘authority’ they don’t have to use the council run shelter, as a charity has a ‘no second night’ pledge meaning anyone who is seen on the streets can be reported and offered help.

    Sadly, there were also some fraudsters ie they weren’t homeless but appeared on the streets during the day in the pre-Christmas period in the city centre, due to the numbers f shoppers and those on works’ xmas dos. The interesting thing is that it’s Labour Cllrs in both Lpool and Manc who are telling the people not to give to beggars as some are bogus and that, “most we identified who were physically ‘on the streets’ were neither from the city or in some cases homeless at all.’

    So there’s a mixture of run aways who head to the ‘big city’ or coast as you suggested in your seaside post and sadly a minority who are just begging and “run by gangs” according to the GMP Inspector who lead the investigation including reviewing CCTV footage.

    I’d much rather the media investigated the failings in the DWP and council delays which can lead to eviction and homelessness, than having celebrities pontificating over the issue.

  47. HH – I do need to correct your claim slightly re immigration.

    Net immigration to the UK during 2010 – 2013 was in fact over 100,000 pa lower than throughout the Labour Govt years of 2004 – 2009.

    But I recognise it has soared in the 2014-2016 period.

    https://www.migrationwatch.org/statistics-net-migration

    If only everyone produced the full figures as Migrationwatch do, incidentally. As it’s also very interesting to see how many British people emigrated during the Blair years and how many are now coming back.

  48. I love the way those on the Right still look to blame homlesness on either the homeless themselves or those who try to help them (local councillors, charity workers whatever etc) – read Lancs Observer post

    I fear such uncharitable views are going to become much more common place in Brexit Britain – and in many ways, as with Trump that’s the worst thing about Brexit – the bad guys won

  49. Glad to see you’re all taking the comments policy with the respect and maturuty it deserves…

    “UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.”

  50. /\/\ THIS

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