It's all hotting up in election world. The 'big night' is right around the corner. That’s right! Just like popping too much of a pill because the first half didn’t work, then slowly having to deal with the consequences of your terrible decision in a sweaty club, we all have to reconcile ourselves with the fact that the general election is actually very, very soon.
This reality was brought home on Tuesday via our first leaders' debate – a real joy of the British election cycle. Highlights included Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson shaking hands, much like when you make two fighting children hug and make up. But mainly, the televised debate gave the Tories a chance to display their dystopian commitment to misinformation, adding to the worrying trend for “just not being very honest” this election.
Clearly, we have reached a point where nobody knows what to trust anymore, and misinformation will probably win the election and that will be the end of that.
4. TORY MISINFORMATION
This week, Tory party lies have become shameless. The Lib Dems were having a good old stab at becoming the most misleading party thanks to their dodgy bar charts, but I think, ladies and gentlemen, that the Conservatives have just about edged it.
It all started during the TV leaders' debate on ITV this week. During the broadcast, the Conservative party's Twitter account changed its name and cover image to FactCheckUK, imitating a non-partisan fact-checking site. Except, surprise, it was still the Conservative party communication team tweeting out anti-Corbyn sentiment, like three children in a trench coat, trying to be taken seriously.
Then came the sponsored webpage on the day of the Labour party manifesto launch. If you Googled 'Labour Manifesto,' and a sponsored link would appear first, with the URL 'labourmanifesto.co.uk.' This webpage listed criticisms of the manifesto, and was sponsored by the Conservative party.
And then, to top this all off, the Evening Standard, edited by former Conservative chancellor George Osborne, published an interview with Jeremy Corbyn in its magazine with an incorrect quote, claiming that Corbyn had "bellowed" denial that there was antisemitism in the party. This was wrong, so the quote was removed from the online version and a correction was issued. The print magazine – circulated to thousands of Londoners – still has the original, incorrect quote.
Well, at least the Tories will be considered untrustworthy and misleading and lose voters over their spreading of lies. Right? Who’s ever heard of misleading info swaying an election, or a referendum?
3. THE GUY ON £80,000 WHO THINKS HE’S NOT RICH
Around this point in the election cycle, Question Time tends to throw up the biggest weirdos around. In particular, rich people with no self-awareness. Last night, a man on the show, filled with rage, called the Labour party “liars” for saying that they were only going to tax the top 5 percent of earners. You see, he said, that can’t be right, because he’s going to get taxed under Labour, and he couldn’t possibly be in the top five percent of earners. After some bemusement from the audience, and a few follow-up questions, it transpired that the man earns, er, over £80,000. “Every doctor in this country earns more than that,” he says, confused, “every accountant, every solicitor.”
My guy. My man. That is not true and also not how percentages work. Doctors start on a salary of around £24,000 a year. Some solicitors will earn loads, but some will earn well under £80,000. Those on high salaries will pay more tax, under Labour's proposals.
We get it. No one likes giving away their money in tax, even if we know that’s it’s going towards roads and education and helping children in care and the NHS and the elderly. We all like buying stuff. Nice stuff. But if you area earning £80k, you have enough money to give some away in tax, and still buy all your nice stuff, you see?
It's easy to understand why you might be confused about where you rank in the UK when the top 5 percent of earners can be broad enough to encompass those earning £80,000 and millionaires, but the reality is that, according to recent HMRC figures, earning over £70,000 does put you in the top 5 percent of earners in the UK. Soz.
2. DOES JO SWINSON SMOKE WEED?
Jo picks up the joint, suspiciously. Her concerned facial expression slowly turns into a smile. “Weed?” she says, rolling the spliff between her thumb and forefinger. “I love to smoke the J. Who doesn’t love the green stuff? The Erb.” She takes a drag. “Yummy.”
This week, Jo Swinson had another go trying to be A Thing, mentioning that she had “enjoyed” smoking weed at uni, and wouldn’t say otherwise. Hell year, sister! 420, blaze it! Dear reader: I do not believe that Jo Swinson has actually taken more than two tokes of a joint in her life. If she did, she probably thought it was just a big cig. The Drake of political drug taking.
1. LABOUR’S MANIFESTO
Hard not to feel giddy reading this one. This week, Labour launched its manifesto, the most radical in years, pledging to undo the effects of austerity and increase public spending, with a big focus on the environment. [Sobs]. Fingers crossed.