What did we learn in this week of general election campaigning?

Theresa May and husband on One Show

Photo: BBC

It has been a busy week in the early days of campaigning for the general election in June. Beyond the obvious Labour manifesto leak, we have enjoyed some cosy sofa chat with Theresa May and her husband, and we’ve discovered Tim Farron is a big fan of Groundhog Day.

Here are some of the little nuggets that have been catching the eye of your social media trekker this week.

1. There are boy jobs and girl jobs

Kicking us off right at the start, that rather uncomfortable interview with the Prime Minister and her husband, Monsieur Philip May, on The One Show. He isn’t French, but I thought I would stick it in there anyway.

In some ways, you have to admire the little bit of cleverness that went into the decision to appear on TOS; she got into your home, showed you she isn’t a wicked witch, and she believes in boy jobs and girl jobs.

Wait, roll that one back. Boy jobs and girl jobs? What happened to democracy? What happened to equality of opportunity? Was Diane Abbot not getting interrupted for mistakenly saying “policemen” last week, before Nick Ferrari queried her and she replied: “…and women!”?

Saira Khan put it eloquently: “Watching them perched on the sofa, looking as comfortable as a pair of guinea pigs at a Peruvian buffet, just made me squirm”.

After ducking out of TV debates, May was quite happy to have herself interviewed by two wet towels on the sofa of the BBC’s 7pm show. It was all on her own terms.

Really, it was quite genius, but there were a lot of guinea pig moments.

And did Brexit really impact our Eurovision chances? I mean, Theresa May will probably say it didn’t, just like she is with every other facet of the country that is doing alright before we have even left the bloc.

2. Labour are taking us back to the 1970s – or are they?

3046

Photo: Carl Court/Getty

Labour’s leaked manifesto had a delightful little detail in it the Conservatives just could not resist bringing up: Namely, the £60bn of spending plans (per year).

It includes things as heinous as tackling loneliness in the elderly, free tuition, maintenance grants and renationalising services. The latter is one for debate, but when you have a rising elderly population and an epidemic of loneliness, you have to ask: Is this really such a horrific set of ideas?

Well, much of the manifesto has – by many independent experts (do we trust them in 2017, now?) – been criticised for having a large costing black hole in it. How do you fund projects like these?

Maintenance grants are an interesting one, though. How we could be moving back to the 1970s when maintenance grants were only scrapped a few years ago is beyond me. Furthermore, author of Fantasy Land, Larry Elliott, wrote on the Guardian today that borrowing to invest in infrastructure (at our low interest rates) could be a rewarding endeavour. He was quoting the IMF.

Fortunately, writing for a newspaper I can be really annoying and say: Only the voters can decide. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

3. Tim Farron loves Groundhog Day

I am one of those people who takes those “Which political party are you?” or “Which political leader are you?” quizzes. And, nine times out of ten, I am the Liberal Democrats and Tim Farron.

Maybe it is because we both like Groundhog Day. 

You may not love them, but the LibDems’ latest party political broadcast is really quite clever. Every day a couple wakes up at 6am, hears the same news over and over again, and then Tim Farron pops up and says the LibDems are not like that.

Every day a couple wakes up at 6am, hears the same news over and over again, and then Tim Farron pops up and says the LibDems are not like that.

Every day a couple wakes up at 6am, hears the same news over and over again, and then Tim Farron pops up and says the LibDems are not like that.

Sorry, what? Anyway, it sounds pretty dull, but if you give it a look I am sure you would rather enjoy it. Even if you hate the LibDems.

4. Scottish kids cannae read

For a government which asked to be judged by its record on education, the latest literacy rates from Scotland are pretty poor for the SNP.

Earlier this week, I was halfway through writing a comment piece about the fact teachers really are overburdened, and habits at home must take precedence over learning to read at school. After all, you spend far more time at home than school.

12-Nicola-Sturgeon-PA

Photo: PA

However, the water is quite muddy on that topic, with sales of children and young adult books remaining quite high, with the children’s book market achieving an 11.7% rise last year.

Some put this down to older readers reading younger books, in some cases, although I doubt a lot of 43 year-olds are reading the Hungry Caterpillar. But, hey! Whatever floats your boat.

Still, the literacy rates are not great for a government with – and I say this from family members who are in education – a world-leading curriculum, but Nicola Sturgeon did admit on today’s Andrew Marr Show they have neglected reading and writing.

If you ask me, that sounds like a good bit to focus on first, but I am just a newspaper guy. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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