The Briefing – 5/6/17

We’ve been here before, haven’t we? Campaigning resumes today after a terrorist attack days ago, the second since the General Election was called and the third in three months. Like it or not, security looks as though it will dominate the rest of the election.

The election itself is less than a week away. Celebrate, commiserate, either way on current form we’re likely to get another election before the decade’s out. Hurrah.

May’s four point plan

Yesterday was notable for how political the non-political speeches after the attack were. Both leaders make very political statements in the day after the attack.

The Prime Minister was first out of the trap. After condemning the attack the night before, she laid out a four-point plan to tackle extremism. While this is an election campaign, launching policy from a lectern outside 10 Downing Street is very much something that isn’t done.

Theresa May pledged further regulation of the Internet, more powers for security services, a continuation of military efforts to defeat ISIS, and a clampdown on supporters of Islamism extremism in the UK.

Naturally however, there were some tricky questions that weren’t answered. How much have police cuts damaged efforts to collect low-level intelligence, why have people who have been reported by their own communities been left able to plan and carry out and attack, and why wasn’t this extremism clamped down on when May was Home Secretary for six years?

All things we might hear this week. If we’re lucky.

Corbyn’s cutting remarks

The Labour leader followed May hours later with criticisms of the Conservatives trying to “protect the public on the cheap”, and backed a shoot-to-kill policy, despite an interview after he first became leader where he appeared to criticise it.

Both remarks, while easy to agree with are too little too late. Within the public’s mind Jeremy Corbyn is seen as weaker on security. A quick glance on Twitter after his speech showed that his support of shoot-to-kill wasn’t taken all that seriously.

It’s unlikely that they’ll cut through too much with Corbyn in his current position, and only four days to go. Then again, after the Manchester attack there was a poll bounce for Corbyn, unheard of. Certainly, we’ve not heard the last of it.

Farron’s had his bacon

Actually, no he hasn’t…although the Lib Dem leader is up early this morning.

Media minister comes unstuck in the, er, media

In an interview already described by former England rugby player as ‘cognitive dissonance’ (yes, seriously) Karen Bradley, Minister for Culture, Media and Sport has been doing the rounds on the airwaves and TV defending the UK’s links to Saudi Arabia.

The Middle East country are widely thought to have links, and have backed ISIS in the past.

On ITV’s Good Morning Britain, she refused to say whether armed police numbers would go up or down if the Conservatives win the election this week. Her nightmare moment carried on, on BBC’s Radio 4. The only word she managed to drop into the nation’s ear was that she was being evasive.

It’ll be interesting to see if this makes it onto the news agenda, in the same way that the Corbyn and Abbott ‘brain fade/numbers’ interviews did.

South Yorkshire Briefing’s coverage

For a website set up for the General Election, it’s not surprise that things will be turned ‘up to eleven’ this week. We’ll be at the ballot count in Sheffield on the night, and we’re out in Penistone and Stocksbridge later today to see how feeling is on the ground, where Angela Smith faces a tough fight from the Conservatives. There will also be interviews from candidates, and information ahead of polling day on Thursday. Keep tuned in.


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