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Iain Dale presents the evening show on LBC Radio and is a commentator for CNN.

No one could pretend that it’s been a good week for the Conservatives. I can’t remember a worse start to an election campaign. So many unforced errors, gaffes and things which could easily have been avoided.

I suppose it’s good to get all this out of the way at the beginning of the campaign, but the fear is that if it continues for much longer there will be cries of: “Come back, Theresa May – maybe she wasn’t such a bad election campaigner after all!”

I jest of course. Sort of. But if the party doesn’t get its act together soon, the consequences could be catastrophic. Voters don’t vote for divided or extreme parties, but they sure as hell don’t vote for incompetent ones either.

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It remains to be seen how effective the unholy Unite to Remain Alliance will be in electing Remain-supporting
MPs on December 12th. I wish them nothing but failure.

I have always deprecated tactical voting, because those who advocate it are attempting to subvert democracy. By denying voters the opportunity to vote for the party they really want to, they just feed into the narrative that our politics are broken

I wonder if it will encourage Nigel Farage to play them at their own game, and decide not to stand candidates in these 60 seats, to prevent a splintering of the pro-Brexit forces.

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Farage’s decision to stand 600 candidates across Great Britain has not gone down well with many of his most fervent supporters. Quite a few Brexit Party-selected candidates have already said that they won’t be standing because they support Johnson’s deal.

They are only reflecting the feelings within the party itself. According to a recent ComRes poll for Channel 5, 67 per cent of Brexit Party supporters also back it. That is a real problem for Farage – along with the somewhat surprising evidence that very few voters appear to blame Johnson personally for the fact we did not leave the EU on October 31.

His ‘die in a ditch’ approach seems to have persuaded people that it is Parliament that is the ogre here, not the Prime Minister. Will that change during the course of the campaign? If Farage can make that charge stick, it could cause a flood of defections from the Tories. Bur so far, there is little evidence of it happening.

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Tom Watson’s shock decision not to stand at the election robs Labour of one of its bigger beasts. Momentum may have been cheering, but its joy may be short-lived.

Yes, Watson’s depature means that the vice-like grip that Corbyn’s acolytes now have on the party can be tightened somewhat, but it also means that Labour will appear to the general public more as a sect that a big tent political party.

On the assumption that Corbyn doesn’t get to Number Ten on December 12, and then quits – and it’s quite an assumption – I’ll make a prediction. Whoever is elected the next leader or deputy leader of the Labour Party, they will each be the most left-wing of those standing. #PrayForDiane

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This is not just a problem which afflict the Labour Party. It’s also a danger for the Tories.

The vast majority of the MPs who have stood down at this election are of the same political type – leftish, One Nation Tories. There’s the odd exception, but it’s giving the impression that the party has been taken over by the ideologists.

I suspect that in his heart of hearts Boris Johnson knows that, as Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron did, he needs to build more of a big tent coalition to survive electorally. However, he’s calculated that this can only happen once he has ‘got Brexit done’. And this all depends on achieving a Conservative majority on December 12th. The consequences of failing to do so are unthinkable, both for him and the party.

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Those who have followed Ian Austin’s career will, like me, have always viewed him as ‘tribal Labour’.  But yesterday, he announced he wouldn’t be standing in his Dudley North seat and instead urged everyone to vote Conservative, sincw Jeremy Corbyn is an extremist and is not fit to be Prime Minister.

Perhaps the Tories should ask their candidate there to stand in a safe seat somewhere else and allow Ian Austin to run as a Conservative in Dudley. He’d surely win.

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There are only 35 days to save the NHS. We know so – because it’s the sort of thing Labour says in every general election in history.  Apparently, the wicked Tories are going to privatise it.

Since they have been in power for the vast majority of the time the NHS has existed they have had ample opportunity to do it, but as we all know, only 7.3 per cent of the NHS is currently handled by the private sector.

John McDonnell would like to reduce this to zero. In an interview with me this week, he even said he’d nationalise pharmacies. This is ideological warfare. I don’t think anyone thinks that they provide a bad service. If something isn’t broken, don’t try to ‘fix’ it for ideological reasons. The electorate sees through that sort of thing.

286 comments for: Iain Dale: How Unite to Remain seeks to rob voters of having a real choice

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