IN THE ongoing pantomime which is the Severn Bridge tolls, Theresa May announced yesterday a Conservative government would abolish the charges altogether from next year.
Good news for everyone, I suppose, but a fairly obvious piece of electioneering when the government said earlier this year it was looking at reducing the tolls.
What has changed in the past few months that she can suddenly make this announcement?
Easy, there’s an election on.
But it’s also a bit of a masterstroke by the prime minister.
With scrapping the tolls long called for by Labour, Plaid and other parties, they can’t now come out and criticise their Conservative opponents for making the pledge.
So this could take the wind out of an awful lot of campaigns.
But could this swing votes come June 8? Only time will tell.
l Last week saw a couple of big names hit Newport in the apparent assumption that seeing someone they recognise from TV will swing undecided voters.
Labour brought along comedian Eddie Izzard to have a walk around Newport Market and have his picture taken with Paul Flynn and Jessica Morden.
And just a couple of days later the same market also enjoyed a visit by foreign secretary and Have I Got News for You perennial Boris Johnson, making his second visit to the city is as many years, having also popped by to back Matthew Evans’ unsuccessful attempt to take the Newport West Assembly seat last year.
These kinds of visits must make a measurable difference or parties simply wouldn’t do them. But I find it hard to believe anyone on the fence about voting Labour would be won over because a funny man off the telly took a selfie with them. Likewise, Boris is a favourite of the Tory faithful and Top Gear-watching lads who think he’s a bit of a laugh, but is a glad-handing jaunt around some market stalls really going to tip the constituency in the party’s favour?
Frankly, anyone whose vote could be swung by such a visit probably needs to brush up a bit on what each party stands for. But all votes count the same at the end of the day
Newport is being seen as a real battleground this year, so don’t be surprised to see a few more big names strolling down Commercial Street before June 8.
l As if politics hadn’t got bizarre enough, anyone popping down to the West End to see a musical next month might be somewhat surprised to see Newport’s own Paul Flynn portrayed in a new production.
Anthony O’Donnell, who we all know from his role as Husband at Tube Station in 007 thriller Skyfall, is playing the veteran Labour rabble-rouser in Committee… (A New Musical), which depicts the collapse of charity Kids Company.
If that doesn’t sound like a fun night at the theatre I don’t know what does.
Reportedly Mr Flynn himself said anyone portraying him on stage should have “a soft voice loaded alternatively with empathy and menace”.
Presumably Anthony Hopkins wasn’t available.