Robert Halfon is the Conservative candidate for Harlow.
The General Election: Let’s just get on with it
I’m not working myself up into a lather about the Brexit Party standing. My own view is that they have every right to run for election, even if I happen to disagree with their tactics and strategy.
In Harlow, we have a decent Brexit Party candidate standing and it’s his every right to have a pop at me, just as much as he will, no doubt, at the Labour Party.
We’re not going to win this election spending time worrying about other political parties. All the Prime Minister needs to do is to continue what he is doing: that is, making a strong case to the British people about why his deal will ensure that we are leaving the EU, will be able to strike trade deals around the world, and will gain control of our money, laws and borders.
We are the Conservative Party. Perhaps, the greatest and most successful democratic, political movement in the history of the free world. We should be elected in our own right, without having to make pre-election coalitions or pacts.
Besides, there is no doubt that the Brexit Party will take a lot of Labour voters who, whilst being staunch leavers, are not in the regular habit of voting Conservative. It is worth reading what the brilliant psephologist Lord Robert Hayward has said about this, recently, to the Huffington Post.
Alongside Johnson’s case for Brexit will be compassionate conservatism, in the shape of a strong and well-funded NHS, more police, and better standards, skills and finance for our education. The Conservatives will have powerful arguments to make to the British public on December 12th.
So let’s just get on, stop worrying about which smaller parties are standing, and win this important election for our country.
Talking of compassionate Conservatism, It’s worth noting that the biggest elephant in the room, apart from Brexit, of course, is the cost of living.
So far, there have been really encouraging announcements from the Government on raising the National Insurance threshold, meaning that the average worker will be £460 better off, and increasing the State Pension under the triple lock system by 3.9 per cent for pensioners, giving them an extra £6.58 per week from April 2020.
We’ve already frozen fuel duty, cut taxes significantly for lower earners and raised the National Living Wage. The Welfare Secretary has also announced an end to the benefits freeze. These messages are vital on the doorsteps; they show that we recognise the struggles ordinary people face, that we are the Party of improving the cost of living and that we care about social justice, too.
“Now I want a nice clean game”
“Now I want a nice clean game from all of you” – so said Madam Hooch in Harry Potter. The reality is, it’s not going to happen.
My favourite two instances of the campaign so far is, one, a member of the public (clearly, not too well disposed to me) calling me a “Puppy F***er”, and, two, (from someone who isn’t, perhaps, the greatest fan of the Labour leader), who told me, if Jeremy Corbyn gets in, he would sue me and the Conservative Party for negligence.
Of course, we are going to have a lot of aggravation in the campaign, particularly from the Far Left. Again, we can spend time worrying about it, or we can just switch off from our social media during the campaign. I certainly won’t be looking at my Twitter and Facebook pages everyday to read all the, no doubt, (not so) lovely compliments I can expect to receive.
I’m sure we will win this with strength of our persuasive arguments, plenty of leaflets and positive social media advertising. I wish every candidate standing, the very best of luck for the campaign – these next six weeks will go quicker than we can possibly imagine.
Although I won’t have a ConservativeHome column during the election, hopefully, I will be back here, writing for you again from mid-December, as re-elected Member of Parliament for Harlow.
Just think, by the end of the year, we could have three Christmas presents: a Conservative majority Government, Brexit done at last and Corbyn and the Labour Party vanquished.
P.S. If any Conservative Home reader, who has enjoyed some of the columns that I’ve written over the past couple of years, feels at a loose end in the coming weeks, and would like to come and help in Harlow, they’d be very welcome!