Chris Mason: Politics is gearing up before the election

  • Written by Chris Mason
  • Political Editor, BBC News

It seemed like a week in which politics had seen significant progress. once again.

Local, mayoral, police and crime commissioner elections are held in England and Wales in a week.

General elections are also imminent.

Quite how imminent? Texts go off in search of the latest crumbs of gossip.

Opposition parties are moving in a state of intense anticipation of the possibility of holding elections this summer.

Some conservatives believe that this option may be better than clinging to it, as critics may see it.

Other senior figures in government leave me with the impression that they revere the privilege of governing and getting things done that they want to get done.

By this logic, you would postpone the elections until later in the year.

Back to this week

The Prime Minister held press conferences for three consecutive days in three different countries.

I've been to every one of them, the first in London, the second in Warsaw, and the third in Berlin.

For a leader who does not seek the public spotlight for his own sake, this is noteworthy.

And also how long he was willing to take questions from us journalists.

It's the kind of thing politicians have to convince people of.

Opinion polls suggest that Rishi Sunak has a lot of people to convince.

Labor is scathing about Tory figures.

While the government was announcing planned levels of defense spending, what it actually was – with the election looming – was an election pledge for the Conservatives.

Business lines

Nationalization is the dominant thought, although this word itself never appears in reality.

I heard that each sentence was given back by senior party figures, with a last-minute edit to remove a single word. Unfortunately, I don't know what that one word is.

Whatever the case, it is an insight into Labour's caution. Worrying about every word, taking nothing for granted.

It is a policy that differs from that of the Conservatives, on an issue that concerns millions of people. Sir Keir Starmer invited us to his launch event at Hitachi's train factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

Half-finished car frames hover above the factory floor, resting on stilts, their wire veins hanging loosely.

Incidentally, there are some nuggets in Labour's plan to reform Britain's railways that are worth pondering.

“Labour will set paradigm shift targets for cutting emissions from the transport sector,” the document explains somewhat dryly on page 16.

A senior Tory texted me that what they consider to be Labour's anti-car instinct is anti-car sentiment.

What are these goals exactly? I ask Mr. Kerr over and over again, and I don't get a straight answer.

He says it's about making trains attractive enough that we'll choose them over driving.

Four days, four places, a storm of questions.

The two parties quarreled, almost hourly, over the small print of each other's advertisements.

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