With Evan Davis. On the eve of polling day, the programme travels to Bolton to hear how the general election is playing out in the north of England.
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The last few days of this strange election have been
But 50 long days ago, a very different campaign began.
It is a choice between me and Jeremy Corbyn.
I'll give you the figure in a moment.
# I'm going to shoot you right down #.
What's the naughtiest thing you ever did?
Me and my friends sort of used to run through the fields of wheat.
The farmers weren't too pleased about that.
He will find himself alone and naked in the negotiating chamber.
I think it's a shame the Prime Minister hasn't
And I don't think seven politicians just arguing amongst themselves
Corbyn, Corbyn, Corbyn, Corbyn, Corbyn...
Hello. The talking is over.
The election is imminent, you get your say at last.
And, for our final pre-election campaign reflections,
we are at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton this evening.
This is the town where it all started.
Theresa May came to this relatively marginal seat
of Bolton North East to start her campaign
And boy, in doing so, she kicked off yet another
event in the series of turbulent national votes of recent years.
This has been an unpredictable, rule-busting campaign
and one in which many voters appear to have reaffirmed
a desire for change, and have shown a willingness to
By coming here, Theresa May put northern English towns
at the centre of the battle, showering attention on the voters
who it seemed were fed up, who had voted Brexit and had flirted
It seems an age ago, but Theresa May came here just after Easter. Back
then, you'd have guessed that people want a bit of calm anded that her
favourite phrase would be a winner. At the time, in places like this
Bolton, it seemed Labour support could ebb away. But, after a slow
start things began to change more in this campaign than anyone could have
imagined. The Labour recovery began. The volatile voter phenomenon was
back. After a dull first half, the fight became interesting. Perhaps
most remarkable has been the apparent reemergence of two party
politics. The old beasts the Tory and Labour Party have have each in
their own way adapted to life in the era of populism and discontent.
Theresa May wanted to kill Ukip and has yielded some ground to it.
Jeremy Corbyn has populous elements in his programme. Neither party
bears much resemblance to their 2015 incarnation. Both parties realise
something is afoot and our clumsy old system has somehow managed to
evolve. So how do the voters of Bolton see things now? Today, I
visited a factory that makes disposable chamber pots for the NHS
and export. I think it's unfair to finish university with so much
prosperity, things you want to do with your life. You have massive
debt hanging over you. Have trouble to get on property ladder. Have you
been surprised there is so much, kind of, pick up to the Corbyn
message during this campaign? I'm very surprised. Particularly, given
the circumstances the country is in now and the things that are
happening that Corbyn is doing so well. Is something afoot, do you
think? Yes. The same with Brexit. People voted for change. You have to
be careful. You can't just vote for change. You have to look at the
policies and how they are going to move forward. You can't just vote
for change. Are you optimistic? I'm probably more optimistic that Corbyn
is making a late race only in that the fact that somebody who was so
unfancied can now be closing in the polls, shakes up the political
establishment. Shakes up the establishment? Yes. People can no
longer think I can go with the policies. If Theresa May gets in she
will have to think about how she structures her Government to ensure
they she captures some of that unrest that has been seen. OK. You
might not be surprised that many young workers in manufacturing end
up supporting Labour. You won't find the same from older members of the
local golf club. However, the surprising thing at this club is
that while they won't vote for Mr Corbyn, they think he has a point or
two. I think we all admire the principles that Jeremy Corbyn is
putting across. Of course. You admire the principles Jeremy Corbyn
put across? Exactly. You are all voting Tories you admire The
principles. Some. We are senior people. We look back at on our life
and look at what we had and how the community functioned. If you are
from London there are plenty of opportunities. If you are from
anywhere in the north of England, not just the north-west, you would
fall back on, say, manufacturing. There is no manufacturing. So to
reintroduce manufacturing back into the country post-Brexit would be an
excellent things thing. It opens up the door for lots of opportunities.
You look at his principles, yeah, you can't argue with them. Do you
agree with that, Lorraine? I do. He has basically Labour principles,
used to be, but he's too far - I don't agree with how he's so
passive. We've got to stick up for yourself in this world. You can't
let people ride rough shot over you. His views are the views of what
everybody irrespective of what your political allegiance is, I think the
views are what we all want. We all want them. But I don't think he can
deliver them. It is a time when the country seems unusually divided and,
yet, there does still seem to be a widely shared desire for some
changing of the economic rules. It I ma be that the election contest is
about who can best rise to the challenge.
Well, two politicians from this area are with me at the Octagon Theatre.
Yasmin Qureshi for Labour, was Shadow Justice Secretary
And Nigel Evans for the Conservatives, and who has been
Good evening to you both. Thank you. Now then, do you find in this area
people are desperate for change or do they want stability? Your
campaign was all about stability. Yours is more about change. What is
it they want the thirst for change, we will start with you, Yasmin? Yes
there is. For too long people feel they are not getting anything out of
society. So, for example, you know, owning a home is difficult. Young
people are leaving with mass i debts. Not being able to get on to
the property ladder. Older people are are worried about what is
happening to them. Also parents or people with children who are worried
about classroom sizes, education. I sents sense there is a need for
change. Right. Nigel, people voted for change in the Brexit referendum.
You supported them in that. I certainly did to. The same thirst
for change. Maybe saying we want more radical people than Theresa
May? It depends what the change is. Brexit was the change in the
north-west of England. What is the change here? Well, there's 11 seats
in the north-west we are looking at with majorities of fewer than 5,000.
Theresa May has been up here several times in the north-east and the
north-west of England and she's come up here, not just for health, there
are target seats here. Is it going to change? I mean, is she going to
take loads of seats? Nigel first and Yasmin? All I can tell you, I
visited seven seats during the general election campaign. It may be
a snap election, it's been a long campaign, hasn't it. We are all
grateful it's the eve of poll. I've heard the same thing time and time
again, which is this - I voted Labour in the past, I've been Labour
all my life, I'm not voting Labour this time. The one reason - Jeremy
Corbyn. It's because they don't think that he is a proper Leader of
the Labour Party. Theresa May's goal was to redraw the map of politics in
England. Is she going to, Yasmin? No, she's going to. He had a false
premise to start the election on the basis she needs more people to help
her do Brexit. When the Labour Party, the official opposition,
supported triggering Article 50 TB, it was a ruse she saw herself in
opinion polls going ahead. I can walk this election. She is not going
to. I will tell you why. When she came to Bolton she came in a
helicopter answered and went to a private meeting. That does not
impress people in the north. In this campaign - Isn't that true. Yeah,
for ease of travel. You know why people do what they do. Jeremy and
has been using buses. He has been using trains. Today, for example, he
travelled from Glasgow down to London, 500 mile journey shechl was
in a private jet. I hope it's a private jet made in the north-west
of England. I will pose this one question to you. I thought Evan
posed them. I'm interested in this. I've looked at a number of Labour
leaflets in the north-west of England over the past six weeks, if
Jeremy was such an amazing leader, one that I have to say your own MP
colleagues have tried to get rid of, why have so many Labour candidates
not mentioned Jeremy Corbyn on the leaflets Mrs May hasn't mentioned
the conservation it's all about me, strong and stable. I will put a
curse on both your houses. Large parts of the north of England,
sections of Bolton neglected that have been left to run down. Both
your parties have failed the north of England to some extent, haven't
they? What you have seen, through the Brexit vote, through other forms
of protest vote, you have seen people say - we want to be listened
to in parts of the country like this. A protest against you both?
With the manifesto we produced in the Labour Party, it's a fantastic
manifesto, we talk about investment. We talk about banks. I asked about
your record though. Will you concede you had made a mistake and have let
things drift too much in parts of the country? In the Labour Party,,
when it was in Government, we had real expenditure, invested in the
country. Invested in our hospitals, education and our schools. We
created jobs. OK. I don't think that we left the north-west behind. You
don't. It was all fine until the Tories got in in 2010? No, I'm not
saying that. There is a big change taking place. The current Labour
Party manifesto taps into that and recognises the fact that there needs
to be a change. I will concede there are pockets of def prevagus
throughout the whole of the north-west of England. There are
people there who feel nobody has been listening to them they are the
just managing people and those who are hardly managing at all. They are
the ones who I think are looking - they voted Brexit. They are the ones
looking to the opportunities that leaving the European Union is going
to give to areas like the north-west of England. That's why I'm really
pleased we will have a trade commissioner for the north-west
going out there to win contracts and creating jobs in the north-west. You
managed to make a bit of your own party pitches at the end there.
Thank you both very much indeed. I wonder if the last day
of a campaign makes much difference? You'd think most minds have been
made up but there is also the small matter of exciting the voters enough
to make them turn out tomorrow, so certainly the candidates behave
as if the last day matters. Theresa May was in London, Norwich,
Southampton and the West Midlands. Tim Farron was in Solihull,
St Albans and Twickenham. And Jeremy Corbyn was leading
multiple rallies across the country. Our political editor, Nick Watt,
spent his last day of the campaign, With the clock ticking down
to that brief moment voters take charge,
Jeremy Corbyn is in his element. A ripple of Corbynmania could be
heard across the country today. As the Labour leader visited
Scotland, England and here in Wales. As a train buff, Jeremy Corbyn
naturally travelled I think some people go
around in private jets, On his train travels over the past
month-and-a-half, Jeremy Corbyn has At the start, he occasionally
struggled to enthuse voters. who sometimes had other matters
on their minds as Theresa May enjoyed sky high ratings,
and then the Tories had The Tory party thought it was going
to be a walk in the park, in the park, they just thought -
we're in a lovely park They just thought a walk
in the park, what have We've got something very
important to offer here. And so the crowds have turned out
with similar chants and "I love JC" Just like this rally
on the North Wales coast So another great reception
for Jeremy Corbyn. Here in Colwyn Bay he's
at the halfway point of his tour Most of the seats he's visiting
are not held by Labour. The signal he's trying to send
is that he's reaching across. We know he can attract
these sorts of crowds, the big challenge is -
can he translate them into The tetchy Corbyn of old has
mellowed and as he laps Friends say Jeremy Corbyn has
relaxed into this election campaign. They talk of how he's
rekindled the spirit If he wins this general election,
which he would do comfortably if he won seats like this one here,
it would be the most remarkable journey from a fringe figure
in the Labour Party to Number Ten Even if he loses though,
this general election campaign will have transformed his fortunes
in the Labour Party and make it much more difficult
for his opponents to dislodge him. In fact, this campaign has
fired up his loyal guard. I was never into politicses
because I never thought politicians were like normal
people, until now. And Labour supporters,
who originally had doubts I actually backed Andy Burnham
in the leadership election. However, for me, the idealism
of Corbyn is not just We can put these
policies into practice. At the end of a gruelling day,
hopping on and off trains, Jeremy Corbyn ended his campaign
this evening close to his backyard, Whatever the result tomorrow,
he believes he has changed the face Well, Nick is now at the site
of the last Corbyn event, that rally in Islington,
in North London. Nick, we should try to get the mood
of both camps, let's start with Labour, what are they feeling this
evening. It isn't every day that you've your poetry at a political
campaign event but Jeremy Corbyn brought the Labour campaign to an
end at the union Chapel in Islington by quoting Shelley, Ye are many,
they feel so we know where he got his slogan from, I sense this ends
the Labour camp in contented mood after Jeremy Corbyn exceeded
expectations in his campaign. But they can read the polls like
everyone else and the point to a clear Conservative win in this
election. So I sense a mood in the Labour camp that whatever the result
they believe Jeremy Corbyn will have changed the face of British politics
in this campaign. His aides talk about how they have shifted the
centre ground, that Labour manifesto with serious spending commitments,
they say that went down very well so Labour can be a much bolder. If
Jeremy Corbyn pulls this off he will have changed the face of British
politics. If he doesn't, I think it is fair to say he may well have
cemented his position within the party. And what are the
conservatives feeling, presumably they have looked at the polls. Sends
a much calmer mood among Conservative ministers after a
fretful few weeks. They acknowledge the campaign has not been a glorious
success but say that in recent weeks the mood and a reception on the
doorstep has been much better than recent polls suggest. But there our
nerves. Their heads say, all should be fine but in their hearts, they
say, whose Brexit, who saw Donald Trump? One minister said to me,
look, Jeremy Corbyn has been the dominant figure in this campaign
which will help Labour in some aspects. But those ministers believe
ultimately it will benefit them. This is what one nervous minister
told me this evening. Whatever evidence piles up in our favour, it
is still going to be a heart stopping moment at 10pm tomorrow
night when the exit poll comes out. Nick, thank you very much.
It's been quite a year for Theresa May.
She seemed to exude a quiet authority in the aftermath
of the referendum - in contrast to the bickering boys
in her party who were scrapping it out for the top job.
There was a lot of goodwill, as she embarked on a mission
to recast her party away from the posh, to the ordinary.
To rebuild Tory Britain in a post Brexit environment.
But while she deftly positioned the party in a place that looked
like it might own 80% of the political spectrum,
she has not proved as deft at communicating.
The election has evidently exposed a certain brittleness
I suppose we'll find out which matters more -
the strategy, or the ability to inspire in words.
But we asked The Times writer Matthew Parris,
an independent-minded Conservative supporter, to make a film,
offering his view of Theresa May and her politics.
Theresa May will not be the first Conservative Prime Minister to have
travelled from a comfortable childhood in leafy rural
England to the sooty brick hell of Downing Street.
But the speed with which this has happened leaves an electorate
still trying to colour in an almost blank picture of the character,
I've met her, I've dined with her, I've discussed politics with her,
but I still don't feel I know who Theresa May really
In this film, we've set out to talk to people who've known her or worked
with her at different times in her life, in search of what lies
behind the steely gaze of the Sphinx of Maidenhead.
At Oxford, she didn't join the posh set.
As a friend she still keeps up with, Pat Frankland, explains.
I think we were a little bit of a gang.
One of my friends described it as a group she joined
because we were all very normal and we didn't, sort of, stand out,
Pat says the ultimate ambition had already dawned.
She was very interested in politics even then,
and she wanted to be an MP and she seems not to remember it,
but I'm sure she told us she wanted to be Prime Minister.
Her systematic approach to getting things done seems
Well, she had a string of boyfriends and if they...
well, they seemed to be more on trial I'd say than most things,
She sometimes seemed to have them overlapping because we'd get kicked
under the table if we started talking about the wrong film,
and if it's one she'd seen with another boyfriend,
she didn't want to go and see it again, when we were
unfortunate enough to inspire the new boyfriend with it.
Once Philip came on the scene, that was it, the others all disappeared.
So it was very, very fast that that was the one.
And he was very nice, but he seemed quite young.
Those early dreams of breaking through as a woman in politics
Baroness Jenkin, who co-founded with Theresa May
an organisation called Women2Win, a Conservative Party project
to increase the number of female Tory MPs, told me she carries
on helping, pitching in with energy, but a kind
One or two people have said that she has quite a kind
But at the same time, very professionally.
She wouldn't get emotionally involved with them.
But I was struck earlier this year, when I was talking
about her on something, and a woman came, wrote to me,
and said, I've still got the letter, framed letter, that she wrote me
So I think she was very well aware that for a lot of women, you know,
the resilience that she has needs to be encouraged in others
and I think that she was, you know, very much trying to give some
of these women, not exactly backbone, but the kind
Both colleagues and journalists seem to agree that she's generally
content to let her work speak for itself.
Well, my first impression of her was as a journalist and I've
always rather admired the fact that Theresa May never wanted
Actually, a lot of journalists found it very difficult
because they could never get a story out of her.
And I came to believe she's a very rare politician
And I think that's quite an advantage.
Well, I'm by nature a bit of a gossip and a bit of a,
you know, I like a chat at the end of the day.
I mean, she was, as I say, highly professional,
but there was no - OK, let's kick our shoes off and,
Is she personally, socially an easy colleague?
She's funnier than her public image, sort of, suggests.
On a car journey she's very good company,
Nick Clegg, as Deputy Prime Minister, when Theresa May
was Home Secretary, was never personally close, but he
Unlike Sir Eric, he believes he spotted an early insecurity.
My recollection is of someone who felt slightly overwhelmed
by what she was being asked to do in the Home Office.
When we announced all these highly controversial savings,
there was something, sort of, especially meticulous,
but slightly unsure as well about the way that she,
sort of, pored over all the numbers in Number Ten.
How about her emerging political philosophy, had Thatcher
I don't know why not, though she was quite irritated
Pipped to the post, I'm sure I remember that.
I think Margaret always seemed quite harsh towards the common
people, and I don't think Theresa would like that.
But if she wasn't exactly a Thatcherite, what was she?
She was meticulous about the trees, but how about the wood?
Nick Clegg thinks she took refuge in detail and found her
reluctant to talk alone without special advisers.
I asked her not to bring the special advisers
with her into the meetings that I used to have
found it all rather disrupt, but I did find that,
as a result, I could never get a decision out of her
in the meetings because she'd have to go back and sort of,
I assume, test her ideas and test my suggestions
The most striking thing of all is how little she said or how
little she displayed much interest in wider political issues.
I don't think, I don't think I can recall a single instance,
either in private meetings with her or in private conversations
with her or around the Cabinet table, where she ever said anything
interesting about or of interest in our economy.
I think she has a major weakness, which is she's not very interested
in business and she doesn't understand business terribly well,
I suspect and I think neither does her inner circle.
I think this, as we head into Brexit, will be a major issue.
She needs to get an awful lot more sophisticated about giving
I think in terms of, sort of, an organising vision for society,
I'm not really persuaded there is much there.
I offer myself as your Prime Minister.
And if they are right and she lacks an organising vision, does she
I asked Camilla Cavendish about those recent
The manifesto promise on social policy for instance.
I imagine that what will have happened is yes, she will have been
pretty nervous about the reaction, that Lynton Crosby will have told
her to get the barnacles off the boat, because it was becoming a
distraction in the campaign, and she has backed down.
That suggests to me that she may not have been as
committed to the policy in the first place as I had assumed.
Because to push a policy like that through you
Intelligence comes in so many forms and perhaps general phrases about
intellect are meaningless but I asked Anne Jenkin anyway.
I mean, she's not obviously brilliant
but she has a good enough mind to have got to Oxford at a time when it
wasn't very easy, but she has an organised mind and
I don't think it's a brilliant mind but does that matter?
And even if Lady Jenkin is right, is it really more
On the doorstep myself I found that the
people among whom Theresa May's name really does help a Tory canvasser
are precisely the kind of people she is always talking about.
The middle middle classes, the lower middle classes, people who have a
bit of a struggle, have to look for the next penny
The people whose problems she thinks she understands better
Nor should we overlook her moments of
intellectual daring, too frequent to dismiss as untypical.
That famous "nasty party" speech for instance, her
fierce expression of sympathy for black youth.
If you're black you're treated more harshly by the criminal
justice system, then if you're white.
Her visible outrage at what she sees as injustice, like when she
refused to extradite the hacker Gary McKinnon to the United States.
Or her astonishing speech laying into the Police
If the federation does not start to turn itself around, you
must not be under the impression that the government will let things
I think if she's not treated with respect, but that
And I suspect it would annoy you as well.
Whether Theresa May is respected by those on
the other side of the table may depend not so much on a majority,
were she to get it, but her abilities.
Does she have those negotiating skills?
I think she has great control in the sense that if she
doesn't get her way, she won't necessarily always
reveal her inner fury but she clearly will not
And again that's a strength but it also can be a bit of
a weakness if you are having to deploy quicksilver
charm and persuade people to do what you want.
Eric Pickles made a surprising, possibly unintended
I always found her very straightforward to deal with,
providing you told her what you wanted to do
and you didn't try to get yourself into a negotiation.
Most people in politics are transactional.
She is the worst person in the world to do a deal because she'll do
But if you come to her, in a reasonable way,
with a reasonable case, nine times out of ten she'll back you.
Her unwillingness to horse trade was a
close relative of another Theresa May tactic in meetings and
Um, what she does do, and she does it with journalists
as well, is that she uses silence to enormous effect.
She doesn't always, she is not always
Now what that means is that other people will fill the gap,
and that, I think, is quite a useful strategy because she gets an awful
One technique that I admired was, she did have the ability, which I
remember sort of making a mental note that I must try to emulate
myself, of just sort of saying no and sitting there and saying
It's like, what's the point of having a meeting if you're not
If her silence was a strength, I wanted to know her
While she's lost her air of invincibility in this general
election campaign, I wanted to know what people
who knew her thought if
she were to fall, what would bring her down.
I was surprised by their near-unanimity.
If she was to fail, it might be sometimes the ability to
build a coalition inside the party to support.
Perhaps it would be about not listening to a wide
variety of voices, that would be my instinct.
Even one of her oldest friends agrees.
Do you see any character traits that might trip
Ahem, possibly her lack of ability to form a gang.
I don't know how that works with making her Cabinet
into a team, though I'm told she's quite good to work for in the civil
service sense, so she may be able to do that well.
It gets worse as you get older, from my experience anyway!
Is it her early life that holds the key or do reflections of
She keeps her personality, her identity almost,
Whether it's in the silences that act like a moat
or close advisers, who act like archers firing from the walls,
the urge to keep the world out needs explaining.
You might behave as she does if you absolutely knew what to
You might behave as she does, if you didn't have a clue.
We have been out and about in this campaign -
not quite as intended, as it happens, as a result of
But it is fair to say that every town and city has a perspective
and every visit away from home provides an insight.
So we have brought two members of our election panel
to Bolton to help us analyse the campaign.
Polly Mackenzie, former advisor to Nick Clegg and writer
and columnist and Corbyn supporter, Paul Mason.
In London is Iain Dale, Tory-supporting LBC presenter.
We thought we would keep him there away from Paul. Good evening to you
all. Let us talk about Theresa May. We have had a Theresa May profile
there. Iain, I want to start with you. When the manifesto came out, on
this programme, said you didn't think much of the manifesto. I
wonder what now, as you look back on this campaign, what you think went
wrong with the campaign? Well, I think that film from Matthew Parris
was absolutely outstanding. It told me things about Theresa May I didn't
know. I thought it was really insightful. The problem with the
manifesto was that it didn't compete with Labour's in terms of its
vision, in terms of its eye-catching policies, in terms of its layout,
indeed. There was nothing for Tory canvassers, I said at the time, to
go out and sell on the doorstep. Because the social care policy
unravelled within a few days, that always left them on the back foot.
People are still mentioning that even today. To try to pretend that
not having a cap and then having a cap wasn't a U-turn was just
completely unsustainable. They were always on the back foot from that
moment on. I think in the last week, since the Question Time debate, I
think Theresa May has recovered her mojo somewhat and has come across in
a different way to the previous couple of weeks. Polly, what do you
think? What do you think about the Theresa May campaign? It clearly
hasn't been what they wanted? No, it hasn't been. I think when Theresa
May's really good is when she's absolutely on top of her brief. When
she knows every in and out of. It on police reform, on gender equality
she was really forensic on that. The problem with pulling together a
manifesto for an entirety of Government in a few short weeks is
that it require as lot more nip bellness and the ability to be
flexible and get to grips with thing. They threw things in there at
the last-minute, let's say something about fox-hunting and social care
that looks brave. In the end it became a mish mash. When she's not
fully briefed. When she's not in the detail, that is when the mistakes
have been made. A fair point. Mr Crosby is supposed to know how to
run a campaign? It didn't work in one or two other ones. I have been
in the doorstep in constituencies in the north-west today. One thing
nobody talks about is Theresa May. It's really interesting. As a Labour
canvasser you get - I might not vote, I won't foe vote for you
because of corp bin or a policy or people's circumstances change. There
is no enthusiasm for her. I think... It's a strategic mistake. I know for
a fact she's not - she walked into studios like this where I've been
reporting, you have been presented, he she has won't meet a single
ordinary person. We could count them on a couple of hands how many - she
hasn't exposed herself to that amazing rocky rided that you go -
that people like Corbyn go through where you meet real people. I want
to ask an important question. This is the most important question for
the country, perhaps. Is Theresa May better than the campaign has given
the impression of her being? Many are saying, she hasn't looked good
in this campaign. Is that because she isn't good or because the
campaign has been rather badly handled, what do you think? She came
into office as Prime Minister as a surprise. She wasn't expecting it to
happen. It happened. We have nine months to judge her on as Prime
Minister. I think she actually did really well in those nine months as
Prime Minister. She proved she could doo-doo the job. She didn't come
into TV studios every five minutes. Whiches her redcressor did quite a
lot. A Prime Ministerial interview had a sense of occasion about that.
I think that's probably right. I'm going to take Paul up on what he
said, to say she hasn't met normal people during this campaign, of
course what the TV cameras don't show is when she goes to factories
she takes like 20 or 30 questions from the people in the audience.
They are not always Conservative supporters. They are the people who
work in the factories. Jeremy Corbyn in this campaign has been brilliant
at attracting massive crowds of enthusiastic supporters. I haven't
seen many occasions when he's interacted with normal people. He's
done no phone-ins, for example. Paul, answer that point. The factory
meetings are prevetted, they should be for security reasons. Let us
leave that aside. If the Tories want to go into tomorrow believing
Theresa May's invisibility because Jeremy Corbyn hasn't met any real
people. Please, carry on, we will be happy for you to take the actions on
that belief. Do you think Theresa May, Iain thinks she proved herself
over nine months shechl may not be as confident in the campaign as
Prime Minister, she's not as good on her feet and campaigning. What do
you think it is though, do you think the campaign has been, sort of,
unfairly... The problem with campaigns is they do require you to
be a bit more human and relaxed and much more flexible. On your feet.
Thinking very quickly? Exactly. I don't think that's your natural kind
of... Does it matter for a Prime Minister. Do you needed to think on
your feet or take a bit of time. What we expect you to do when
campaigning but... Donald Trump's travel ban, for example, she was
criticised for not being able to respond quickly. It took her hours
and hours she needed a briefing from every department. That's her
weakness. On the flip side of that, her strength is she does take a
brief well. She thinks about things before she makes decisions. She's a
Bert Prime Minister than she is campaigner. But the question is
whether it's going - whether it damaged her leadership and that
invisibility. Thank you very much. He we will come back for a longer
discussion later. Chris Cook complains where the
campaign has been fought and what that tells us. It's fitting that we
give Chris one last outing. Can we learn something
about what the parties are expecting tomorrow from where their leaders
have been campaigning? If there is, the BBC
Newsnight campaign tracker So to start, let's return be
to a familiar graph. Each dot here represents
a constituency where The furthest left seats
are the safest Labour seats in 2015, the furthest right ones
are the safest Tory seats from 2015. The most marginial ones
are the ones in the middle. Looking vertically, the higher up
seats are ones where Ukip got Now, these rings mark out
where Theresa May has held the campaign visits since the Tory
manifesto launch a month ago. more ambitious in her
campaigning in areas She goes much further left
in the higher Ukip areas, at the top of the chart,
than she goes in in the low Ukip areas, at the bottom of the chart am
can you use this chart to mark out the edges of what the Tories seem
to think is possible. I suggest they imply the zone
of gains is something like this. They seem to be targeting
between around 30 and 50 extra seats Now, Ms May has only been
to Scotland a few times, but trips by Ruth Davidson,
the Scottish Tory leader, imply they're going for around
ten seats up there. So it looks like the Tories
are aiming for around Jeremy Corbyn's campaign though
suggests something rather different. First, he's going to a lot
of very safe Labour seats But that zone where Theresa May's
been fighting, not so much. So we can't really easily draw
in a similar sort of guesstimate about where he thinks
the campaign is. It might be worth joining
up a few dots here. So the first thing to note is,
local TV news bulletins actually get bigger audiences and are more
trusted than the national Secondly, it's worth noting that
Mr Corbyn's rallies look Finally, while Mr Corbyn
isn't going directly into those Tory target seats,
he is going to lots of seats that So that means that images of his
energetic, well attended rallies, will be broadcast into the marginals
on the local news. This strategy also means he meets
lots of party members, as he did tonight which,
cynics note, will be a benefit Labour's events are certainly
quite hard to read. The Tory intention of making big
gains tomorrow though Let's carry on thinking about the
campaign. One of the questions that leaps out
as you observe the campaign is how politicians should engage
with the public. You might have thought
we were in for an era of less controlled messaging -
hasn't Trump shown that a less buttoned up style
of campaigning can appeal? You might have thought
that, but this election was often very controlled -
security has perhaps made John Sweeney looks at how
things have changed. That's to say, if you are a little
boy, I'm not a little girl! The art of political theatre,
of how to handle hostile heckling Look at these performances
by the masters. Within our tightly-controlled
and rigidly expended Government expenditure programme
for the next five years. We have no plans for
expenditure in Vietnam. I saw you at the beginning
of the week, you've been What the hell are you using
for transport, helicopters? APPLAUSE Half a century on,
things are rather different. Back in the day Robert Harris,
formerly of Newsnight, reported on how control freakery
was ruining British politics. Well, these allegations
of a Prime Minister, female Prime Minister,
avoiding all contact with journalists and with
the public are not new. I mean, terrifyingly,
a third of a century ago, as a much younger man,
I came at the wrong end of an encounter with
Margaret Thatcher who was touring This is what it is like being on the
campaign trail with the Prime Minister... Voters everywhere and
the work is not interested, it was just to get pictures of her in a
factory with new technology. There are hundreds of members of the media
who swarm around the Prime Minister, follow their every move and the idea
from the Conservatives's point of view is to get the best possible
exposure on the TV news that evening. That I think was a
break-out, a new kind of election, American-style, copied from Ronald
Reagan, where you did not do the monster rally. You didn't go out on
the hustings, you just got good pictures of evening news. Back then
politics was raw and brutal and much more fun. Mainly I find it helpful
to invite them, say, I couldn't hear, say it again, and then they
will come back. Even your Conservative leader described were
dizzy as a police state. You would not last long there, my friend. --
road easier. My friend, we do not support Savages, we just allow them
to come to our meetings, that's all! There he goes, Neil Kinnock. By the
early 1990s political control of recovery was the new normal. Don't
let the people who take to the streets take your country. But then
underdog John major dug out his soapbox from the attic. I caught up
with him on the Tory campaign. Mr Major, could you video me for my
video diary? You put the left hand through there. I think this isn't
true. No, it's working. You can see me. This is a piece to camera. Would
you mind putting your ties straight, you looks lovely! John Major's
relative openness is all but gone. Jeremy Corbyn relishes campaigning
but it would take a brave soul to hackle him. History tells us but
just because your side loves you does not mean you will win. It was
noticeable, the difference between Margaret Thatcher's campaign and
Michael foot's campaign which was huge rallies, once he had 30,000
people, much good it did him. Just how controlled is the Theresa May
campaign? It is the flavour of an evangelical meeting, everyone here
agrees with Saint Theresa but the problem is where is the argument,
where is the challenge. To be fair reporters say she has been taking
more questions in the past week but the Sage is not convinced. Something
is wrong with this election. I think a lot of people feel it, no matter
what the party is, that is that the Prime Minister in particular is not
engaging with people and that is an offence to the electorate, it seems
to me. Control may feel right for the political parties but one cannot
but wonder whether our democracy is losing out.
John Sweeney on the art of campaigning with the people. We are
back with our panel, Iain Dale, Polly McKenzie, and Paul Mason. We
will start this last section of the programme with getting their
predictions for the election. I will ask them who they think will be the
biggest party and what the size of the majority will be. Will it be a
Tory majority of ten, 20, 30, 40, 200 or more? Iain Dale, will be the
biggest party? You might not be surprised me to say Conservative.
OK, so I have picked of the blue rosette. What are you suggesting, a
majority? Have you got more than one was that because I want two goes. My
gut feeling at the beginning of the campaign was a majority of 74 and
part of me still believes that but I have done seat by set predictions
and revised them over the weekend and it still comes up with a
Conservative majority of 122. Shall we take the average and just call it
a hundred? You do what you like, Evan! I will put them on 100. Polly,
I have a yellow Lib Dem rosette for you if you wanted. Biggar they will
not win this election with a majority, I'm pretty confident on
that one. The Conservatives will be the biggest party. I am a bit more
cautious than Iain because there has been such noise about social care in
particular, and when you mess with people's houses, I think it affects
turnout. So I would go 60. Majority of 60. YouGov, their model, they are
getting a hung parliament. But you are going to 60 and Iain is going
for 100. I'm not going to let you change. If you look seat by seat in
the YouGov model it doesn't make sense, it is nonsense. Know, Paul. I
think it was the day that the election was announced we had you on
and you said you thought Labour would win. Could win! I think it was
stronger than could win. What are you saying now. Heart and head
prediction. My head tells me between 20 and 30 majority of the Tories.
They will be the largest party because I think Labour will not claw
back although we might get three seats in Scotland. The Tories the
largest party, hung parliament, Progressive Alliance, bring it on.
So perfectly possible hung parliament... My head says the deep
but I will go with my heart, hung parliament, progressive alliance --
my head says 30. Bring it on. It's like a sort of Vladimir Putin the
style, is and has decided. We want to put a Jeremy Corbyn rosette. We
want be anything like the biggest party. Will put in there. Paul,
seriously -- we will not be anything like the biggest party. Ball, at the
start of the campaign when the Tories had a big lead what we're
thinking about predictions that Labour could win? I was pretty
confident. You are always trying to assess Day by Day but I said on this
programme that because of Theresa May's May three speech where she
declared furball war, the Ukip vote collapsed in the polls. I said we
must do something equally dramatic but I knew we would. I thought,
?9,000 a year for students, ?9 a week for school dinner money is
quite dramatic if you are earning about ?8 50 an hour, and on zero
hours contract. The manifesto was the game changer. I knew it would.
Let me ask you all. Theresa May, her ratings have gone down, is it
because she is not good because her campaign is bad. Corbyn's ratings
have gone up. Is it because he is a good campaign, Iain, or a good
leader? He has run a much better campaign than even Paul thought he
would, certainly better than I thought. He has relaxed into it,
always a good thing for a politician to do. I think that Paul is
clutching a few opinion poll straws in his prediction because it is only
YouGov and one other polls showing these narrow Tory leads, there was
one poll yesterday showing a one point Tory lead. And that was based
on the premise that younger voters aged 18-24 would have a 90% turnout.
Now YouGov have had similar modelling in their polls, Polly was
right, their constituency predictions, they have Canterbury
with a majority of 10,000 going to Labour, presumably because the whole
of the University of Kent will vote Labour. They've got Anna Soubry
losing his seat. Type in any constituency, it's lunacy. These
pollsters will have a lot of egg on their face on Friday morning. But if
they don't, I will! YouGov have been hedging their bets, adding in the
people who don't know and widening the Tory lead. I think they are
right because for Labour strategists not everything depends on the youth
vote turning out but a lot does. The variables do. And there's another
group. The mums and dads, mums and mums, parents with kids in primary
school. Those are the people that I have found the most energised on the
doorstep but it only takes for someone to fall over in the
playground and you don't have time to vote. Turnout is a big thing for
Labour. It will be big if it is pouring with rain. You are in the
north-west of England! One interesting thing about this
election is, normally you say, if you are ahead on the economy and the
leader, that is worth more than being ahead in the polls and we
should have done that last time, and David Cameron was had leadership
over Ed Miliband and the Tories were ahead on the economy this election,
it seems to have broken that rule. No one has talked about the economy
really. We don't know because tomorrow it might be the fact that
Theresa May is holding up on leader, still ahead in most of the testing,
and also the Tories are still the most tested on the economy so it
might be that that iron rule has not been broken. Iain, has been broken?
The economy is the dog that hasn't barked, we haven't seen the
Chancellor during this entire campaign, he is the scarlet
Pimpernel of the campaign. Whether it is because Theresa May is keeping
him locked in a box because she's going to sack him after the election
depending on the size of the majority who knows. But I think the
electorate should hear from the Chancellor of the Exchequer during
the campaign, can you remember one single interview he's done in this
campaign because I'm darned if I can. He did in early one on the
Today programme. And there was that joint interview whether Labour sons
did not add up and she would not endorse. All bets are off because of
Brexit. It's like a bomb going off in the general world of politics
that blows everything apart. And you've had all of the other events.
You've got to take into account that people are feeling jangly and
disorientated. It was the Brexit election and it has barely come up!
Go on, Iain. You are right, and I said to my Tory friends, why are you
not getting Brexit back on the agenda. That is where you can score
a big majority in this election. They tried but they don't have
anything new to say that they haven't said before. I think they
help for Jean-Claude Juncker to say something controversial but he's
kept remarkably silent in the last couple of days. But given what
happened in London over the weekend and in Manchester I detect that
there are a lot of people thinking about security in the last couple of
days and you might think that if they did they would automatically be
more inclined to vote Conservative. I am not sure that is entirely
happening, certainly on my radio phone ins I find this huge
enthusiasm among floating voters now for Jeremy Corbyn. Some say they
will vote Tory because of the security issue, they feel safer with
Theresa May. But it's not the overwhelming majority that you might
expect. Yes, it has been a messy election. Theresa May's high point
was that fight with Jean-Claude Juncker and his statement about, go
away, you horrible Europeans which took to that great local election
result. Since the manifestos, and I don't endorse that view Paul Howes
of the Labour manifesto being magnificent, a smorgasbord of money
and promises. We lurched about talking about this policy and that
policy and then as Iain says moved on to the security issue towards the
end where police cuts comes up again which is unfortunate because Diane
Abbott messed up... Paul, quickly. And is not just the security
problem, we feel under attack and very bruised and I think that Mass
psychology of sadness and concern will never play into point scoring
beyond what is reasonably acceptable. And
we have got to that. It has made it an exceptional campaign, and it has
been exceptional in other ways. Thank you all, next time we meet we
will know the result. Well, that is it for this evening -
and for this campaign. Now there is no Newsnight tomorrow -
we're not missing much - just the day of the James Comey
testimony to Congress But we know that in 24 hours
from now, the only thing to do will be to speculate
about the accuracy of the exit poll and you will be in good
hands on that front. So in the meantime we leave
you with a reminder that this isn't Let's leave the last word
to the others, and we'll see
In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Evan Davis. On the eve of polling day, the programme travels to Bolton to hear how the general election is playing out in the north of England.