SECONDS OUT…ROUND TEN by Ian Hernon

This blog normally aims to highlight the bizarrely humorous aspects of this truly bizarre general election – but sometimes tragic events intervene.

Following the London Bridge atrocity, David Merritt, whose son Jack was one of two people killed by convicted terrorist Usman Khan, condemned the prime minister and Home Secretary Priti Patel for using the attack for party political gain.

The grieving dad said that such responses were “beyond disgusting.” And the sight of politicians trying to take advantage of tragedy does indeed leave a nasty after-taste. Especially more than half-way through a fractious, bad-tempered, panicky election campaign.

It is true that a 2008 easing of early release for convicted terrorists happened on Labour’s watch, and Boris Johnson now promises to reverse the move given that the latest killer may have benefited from it.

But the Tories have been in power for almost a decade. If the early release system needs changing now, why not before? 

Former parole board chair Nick Hardwick – and he should know –  said: “The idea there is some easy solution to this is fundamentally mistaken … This is simply not a suitable subject for silly political point-scoring.”

He added: “The cuts and the reorganisation of the prison and probation service have made them much less able to do their jobs … We’ve neglected the criminal justice system and now the chickens are coming home to roost.”

Jeremy Corbyn’s initial response that some convicted terrorists might earn early release was a predictable own-goal from a man who has shared platforms with Irish and Islamic terrorists, but that is only to be expected given his track record. 

But his shadow ministers swiftly limited the damage and Labour cut the Tory poll lead in a series of new surveys even before Corbyn announced plans to slash regulated rail fares in England by a third if he wins the keys to No 10.  

It came as Facebook pulled Tory campaign ads featuring tightly-edited clips of BBC presenters and Boris is still facing charges of dodging TV interviews with inquisitor-in-chief Andrew Neil.

Not a good election week for Boris, but not that brilliant for Corbyn, who Neil skewered over antisemitism. Former Welsh Government minister Alun Davies warned that they needed to learn how to run a UK-wide political campaign and attacked at least one of the party’s front bench as “utterly useless”.

Meanwhile, ahead of the US President’s British visit, Nigel Farage is facing criticism for dismissing Donald Trump’s boast about “grabbing” women “by the p***y” as the kind of thing “said on a night out after a drink”.

Maybe in their over-privileged world of bling and big bankers, but not in mine.

ROUND 10 SCORE: Tories 5/10

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