BY ALEXIA JAMES
UKIP’s leader Paul Nuttall has something of a reputation for fibbing. His more notorious fibs include losing close friends in the Hillsborough tragedy, having a PhD and playing football for Tranmere Rovers. Nuttall has now either apologised for those false claims or blamed them on others.
There’s nothing that the British public detests more than a deceitful politician and social media has been brutal with Nuttall over recent months, while UKIP has been tanking in the polls. Paul Nuttall is up against it, so the expression goes.
Another politician who’s currently up against it is Ben Bradshaw, the Labour politician who has been MP for Exeter in Devon for the last twenty years. Bradshaw faces a perfect storm in Exeter as John Ismael reported on Country Squire Magazine on May 12th. UKIP have decided to back the Conservative candidate in Exeter this time round, while Bradshaw faces an anti-Corbyn, anti-Labour backlash and his student fanbase are more focused on exams on June 8th than is usually the case for (may) General Elections. Worse for Bradshaw, he is seen as a Blairite and so those Labour supporters who would normally vote Labour but consider themselves Corbynistas simply can’t bring themselves to vote for Bradshaw. Conservative James Taghdissian is a strong, likeable candidate and Bradshaw knows the nice-guy, liberal image he has used to win the seat in the last two decades just doesn’t rub anymore in a city which has under-performed its Tory counterparts and looks more like a shabby northern town than a jewel of the prosperous South West.
So, what has Bradshaw decided to do? He’s decided to go all Paul Nuttall. Midst Bradshaw’s more outlandish claims are the following:
During Bradshaw’s time as Exeter MP more new council homes than any other council in South West England have been built. Big events like the Rugby World Cup have been secured. He’s won economic growth and investment while ensuring Exeter remains a green and pleasant place to live. Bradshaw claims he will fight for the best possible Brexit deal that protects jobs, investment and living standards in Exeter. Bradshaw claims the plaudits for great new schools, a massively improved college, a top university, the Met Office and new Medical School and flourishing businesses. That Exeter’s productivity has grown faster than any city in Britain during his watch.
The Rugby World Cup being held at Exeter in 2015 was due to the rise of the private business Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club and the personal drive of its Chief Executive Tony Rowe who has nurtured the ground at Sandy Park on the outskirts of Exeter to the point where it is a stadium fit for internationals. Bradshaw involvement: ZERO (while the Chiefs were successfully struggling to win against Saracens on Saturday to get into the Premiership Final, Bradshaw was not even present).
Bradshaw will fight for the best possible Brexit deal that protects jobs, investment and living standards in Exeter. Well that was what Bradshaw wrote on April 26th in a letter to Exeter voters in the local paper. Interesting. Just a month after writing that the “public has a right to know” if the Kremlin attempted to influence the outcome of the Brexit vote in June last year. A month after posting this tweet hinting at Brexit reversal, which clearly shows Bradshaw is not batting for a Brexit deal at all:
Exeter voters are bright enough to know that Exeter University was a top 5 UK university in 1997 when Bradshaw became the city’s MP. The university supercomputers and research status was a key reason for the Met Office moving to Exeter in 2003 from Bracknell and Bradshaw’s involvement in orchestrating the move seems negligible from reports around that time. As for Exeter Medical School, a source at the university says “Bo***cks. Bradshaw was nothing to do with the university establishing a medical school. Utter tosh,” so, once again, Bradshaw Involvement: ZERO.
As for the other Bradshaw claims, that Exeter’s productivity has grown faster than any city in Britain during his watch. No, it hasn’t. What about council homes? From 1997 onward, the Blair and Brown governments proved to be more interested in housing associations than the traditional idea of council homes: in the 13 years they were in power, a mere 7,870 council houses were built. Exeter is top in Devon for new council home building but not in the South West – again, we’re talking tiny numbers of homes built. Is Exeter a green and pleasant place to live? Right now the outskirts of the city are a building site (private house-building for mostly Tory-voting newcomers) and the inner city has a terrible homeless problem, the city centre is pot-holed and scarred by closed shops and a surplus of charity shops, while more than 3000 Exeter children are living in poverty. Exeter features below halcyon Coventry, Derby and Swindon in the list of best places to work.
Seems Ben Bradshaw is resorting to porkies.
Up against it, Ben?
Don’t worry. You can always go back to that apprenticeship at Tranmere Rovers!