street of shame

Vote Unquote: pundits on parade

Election special, Issue 1446
jeremy-corbyn.jpg “It is a bold decision and one that affords Mrs May the opportunity to become as dominant a figure on the political stage as Margaret Thatcher was 30 years ago… she is right to call an election.” – Daily Telegraph editorial, 18 April

“It was always a gamble to call a snap election and Theresa May’s decision to do so was particularly surprising in view of her innate caution… Rarely has a prime minister made such a calamitous misjudgement.” – Daily Telegraph editorial, 10 June

“Wrong, wrong and wrong again. Was ever there a more crassly inept politician than Jeremy Corbyn, whose every impulse is to make the wrong call on everything?… On Wednesday he had the very real authority to stop certain calamity for his party and call out Theresa May’s game-playing chicanery. The mother of all bombs is about to drop on Labour, but what does he do? He says: ‘I welcome the prime minister’s decision to give the British people the chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first.’ What? The Fixed-term Parliaments Act was designed to stop prime ministers dashing opportunistically to the polls when momentarily at the peak of their popularity. May can only gain a two-thirds majority in the Commons if Labour agrees to its own annihilation – which he welcomes. Will this be the last disastrous disservice he does to his party?” – Polly Toynbee, Guardian, 19 April

“Theresa May was trounced and ‘Jez we can’ was no wishful fantasy… What hubris of May to call an election in the face of the longest, most sustained wage-fall in living memory.” – Polly Toynbee, Guardian, 9 June

“By any standards it is an extraordinary document. Detailed, deadly serious, utterly candid and unashamedly moral, the Tories’ 84-page manifesto yesterday unveiled Mayism (a word she hates) and British politics entered a new era. Gone were the gimmicks, glitz and disingenuity of the Cameron and Blair eras, and the cynical manifestos replete with pledges their authors had no intention of keeping. Nor did Theresa May try to exploit her opponents’ weakness by playing safe. Instead, with a clear ethical – even Christian – tone, this vicar’s daughter took the riskier option: to be unremittingly honest with the public about the great challenges this country faces, to spell out how she intends to confront them and to promise only what she can deliver. This was a grown-up politician treating the electorate as grown-ups.” – Daily Mail editorial, 19 May

“As for why the Conservatives’ commanding lead all but evaporated, the reasons are not hard to find. The party went to the country on a deeply flawed manifesto, drawn up by a tiny clique of advisers at No 10, committed to such vote-losing policies as a free Commons vote on foxhunting and means-testing pensioners’ winter fuel allowance.” – Daily Mail editorial, 10 June

“One thing is certain: this is going to be a very bad election for a divided Labour party and a weak Jeremy Corbyn.” – Sebastian Payne,, 18 April

“A snap election resulting – May hopes – in a stronger Tory government and an unambiguous personal mandate is self-evidently the smart option. Such a victory would kill off the idea of a second referendum, and close down the argument that the electorate had not given consent to withdrawal from the single market. This will be a verdict on May, her version of Brexit and her vision for the country. I never thought that I would feel sorry for Jeremy Corbyn, but today I do.” – Matthew d’Ancona, Guardian, 18 April

“The outcome of the 2017 General Election is not in doubt; the Conservatives will win a majority similar to that gained by one of Theresa May’s predecessors 30 years ago, almost to the day. Labour will be crushed.” – Former Labour MP Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph, 19 April. The Tory majority in 1987 was, er, 102.

“In terms of share of the vote, Labour’s result in June will draw comparisons with Michael Foot’s disastrous campaign against Margaret Thatcher in 1983.” – Former Labour MP Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph, 19 April. Labour’s share in 1983 was 27.6 percent, compared with 40 percent in 2017.

“Pollsters have criticised a shocking YouGov poll which claims Theresa May’s Conservative party could lose up to 20 seats in the House of Commons at the general election. The surprising poll, which is so far out of step with every other election prediction, also claimed that the Tories would lose their majority and cause a hung parliament. Rival pollsters have queried the controversial results. Tory campaign aide Jim Messina, who helped mastermind president Barack Obama’s election victories, criticised the findings as ‘yet another stupid poll from YouGov’… Another pollster, Andrew Hawkins of ComRes market research, questioned the validity of the poll’s results. He said: ‘If voters behave the way they broadly did in 2015 then the Conservatives remain on track for a 100-plus majority. That seems, on present assumptions, the most likely outcome.’” – Daily Express, 1 June

“I wouldn’t trust the poll predicting a hung parliament… The YouGov model implies dramatic variation in swing around the country to the Labour party’s advantage. My view is that this model is bunkum and balderdash.” – John Rentoul, i, 1 June

“The Conservatives are likely to gain a series of key target seats in the general election, capitalising on their strong position in the polls. An analysis of the 2015 general election results by the Telegraph has shown that around 58 seats in Labour’s North and Midlands heartlands are under threat due to the Brexit effect in the upcoming snap election on June 8.” – Ashley Kirk and Patrick Scott, “data journalists”, Telegraph, 2 June

“My own view is that despite the twists and turns of this increasingly surreal campaign, Corbyn will struggle to significantly exceed the 31 percent Ed Miliband achieved in 2015, while Theresa May is locked in with about 45 percent of the vote. Anything less than a Conservative majority in excess of 100 seats would be surprising… May has faltered. On Thursday, the British people will come to her rescue.” – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday, 4 June

“Corbyn may even succeed in his real objective of beating the 30 percent Miliband achieved for Labour – but in an old-fashioned two-party contest that won’t prevent the Conservatives winning their biggest parliamentary majority since Margaret Thatcher’s in 1987.” – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times, 4 June

“General Election Seat by Seat: My final predictions – A Tory Landslide is Still On.” – Iain Dale,, 5 June. As polls tightened, the broadcaster and publisher revised his predicted Tory majority from 134 down to 122.

“The Conservatives remain on course to win a majority in the general election, according to new figures from the Ashcroft Model. Our ‘combined probabilistic model’, which calculates the sum of each party’s win chances in all the seats in which it is standing, estimates 357 Tory seats, or a potential majority of 64… In the 2015 turnout scenario, for example, the model estimates that the greatest probability is a majority between 60 and 79 (34.8 percent), followed by a majority of 80 to 99 (27.1 percent); it also finds a 22.4 percent probability of a Conservative majority over 100.” – Lord Ashcroft, Conservative Home, 6 June

“The question is whether the collapse in the Tory lead shown by the polls is as extensive as it seems. It is not impossible, but nor does it seem likely… None of the retrospective fixes I’ve seen for the misfiring 2015 polls looks more than superficially adequate. Some polling companies have invested money and effort into improving their samples, others have made only minor changes… So while the Conservatives have faded slightly since my previous analysis, I still believe Jeremy Corbyn and Labour have a very narrow path to depriving Mrs May of a majority.” – Matt Singh, billed as “the only analyst to predict the polls had failed in 2015 and the Conservatives would win more than 300 seats”, Financial Times, 7 June

“The received wisdom is that May probably won’t get the huge, record-breaking, triple-digit majority that many Tory and Labour MPs thought she might at the start of the campaign. That doesn’t matter at all. A majority of 40 would be enough for Mrs May’s objectives… It’s not how big your majority is, it’s what you intend to do with it. Let’s remember that next time, folks. (By the way, I still happen to think Theresa will win big – but we’ll find that out in a few hours’ time).” – Sun political editor Tom Newton Dunn, article on paper’s website, 7.30pm on polling day

“Rumour Tories could be looking at 400 seats – we’ll find out in a min.” – Tweet from Steve Hawkes, Sun deputy political editor, just ahead of exit poll on 8 June

“Mrs May isn’t just kicking Corbyn when he’s down, she’s dug his political grave, prepared the coffin, set the date for the funeral service and invited us all to attend his career death. Many, even within his own party, believe it will be the greatest slaughter in the history of British politics. I think it could be worse than that… if Corbyn leads Labour into this General Election on 8 June, I fear he’s going to get beaten so badly the party itself may never recover and Britain will move forward with no viable opposition party.” – Piers Morgan, Mail Online, 18 April

“As exit poll looms, I repeat my prediction: Conservatives to win by 90-100 seat majority.” – Piers Morgan, Twitter, 8 June

“Mr Corbyn has proved a lot of people, including me, completely wrong.” – Piers Morgan, Twitter, 9 June

“When Theresa May called a snap general election, the first thing I did was call my dad, Alastair Campbell, to tell him how smart and strategic a move I thought it was… What this campaign has shown is just how out of touch I was.” – Calum Campbell, Guardian, 3 June

“Let me be the first to say, I got it wrong, wholly wrong.” – Iain Dale, LBC, 9 June

“I was wrong about Jeremy Corbyn.” – John Rentoul, Independent, 9 June

“I admit it: I was wrong about Jeremy Corbyn.” – Ayesha Hazarika, Guardian, 9 June

“I wasn’t a bit wrong, or slightly wrong, or mostly wrong, but totally wrong.” – Owen Jones, Guardian, 9 June

“I was wrong about Corbyn.” – Ian Moss, Labour Uncut, 9 June

“I have been crushingly wrong about many of the most important political judgement calls of the last two years. For someone who spends a lot of time thinking about politics and who makes money out of betting on it, that’s appalling and humiliating.” – Alastair Meeks,, 9 June

“Good evening. I know nothing. We, the media, the experts, the pundits, know nothing.” – Jon Snow, Channel 4 News, 9 June

“I was wrong.” – Jonathan Freedland, Guardian, 10 June

“I was wrong about Jeremy Corbyn.” – James Bloodworth, International Business Times, 11 June

“Here, I consume a monster helping of humble pie… I was wrong.” – Andrew Rawnsley, Observer, 11 June

“I was wrong.” – Nick Cohen, Observer, 11 June

“As I was saying last week, or at least as the headline on this column accurately summed it up: ‘Don’t panic… May is well ahead’. Wrong, Lawson, and not for the first time in this campaign.” – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times, 11 June

“We all got it wrong.” – Jess Phillips, Observer, 11 June

More top stories in the latest issue:

Having seethed at the possibility Labour might do a deal with Sinn Fein, the Sun has no qualms about the Tories embracing the DUP, who have paramilitary links of their own.

The Indie continues to take social media really seriously as it tweets plugs for such stories as, er, ‘more and more men are buying deodorant for their balls’.

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Next issue on sale: 25th July 2017.
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In This Issue private eye
Genius Corbyn Gets Only Nine Seats Fewer Than Disastrous Neil Kinnock in 1992 – Exclusive to All Papers… I Have Always Thought Jeremy Is Wonderful, Say All Labour MPs… It’s the Sun Wot Had No Effect At All!... Pied Piper Captures Young Followers: Nursery Times… Enemies of the People: Mail Slams Unelected Members of the Public for Betraying Britain… That Social Media Terror Attack Cycle in Full… Sir Roy Strong: My Royal Secrets, as told to Craig Brown

And also...

- Tainted blood: The 7-year-old victim of a secret guinea pig trial
- Brexit alert: UK farming faces a bitter harvest

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Private Eye Issue 1445