There are elections going on you know!

Reading some parts of the media it would be easy to forget crucial votes across Wales, Scotland and

While Greg Dyke flirts with Labour’s enemies and commentators debate whether David Milliband’s last denial about the Labour leadership contest really was the last, you could be forgiven for forgetting there are local, Welsh Assembly and Scottish parliamentary elections within two weeks.

As these are the first UK elections in which blogs will have a significant influence, this blog review will take a break from Westminster politics for the next two weeks and concentrate on the grassroots.

Thousands of blogs will be preaching party manifestoes. No doubt interested parties can locate them. But here we show what blogs do best: expose incompetence and/or negligence.

Bad news this week for Lib Dems in Darlington as Labour councillor Nick
Wallis
reports: “For reasons not yet explained, Cllr. Jones signed the nomination papers of BNP candidate Daniel Brown, who is also standing in the town's North Road ward. As Cllr. Jones also signed the nomination papers of fellow LibDem candidates Mike Barker and Fred Lawton, he was effectively placing his own candidacy in a very curious position!”

Meanwhile, in West Aberdeenshire, href="http://bsscworld.blogspot.com/2007/04/fools.html">A Big Stick and a Small Carrot has done a bit of research and found holes in a local Labour candidate’s campaign.

The href="http://www.theherald.co.uk/politics/news/display.var.1338729.0.0.php">reported
the ‘green’ Conservatives scored 0/10 in a Scottish Friends of the Earth green test. Kerron
Cross
offers his view on the matter: “A cynic would be forgiven for thinking that the Tories' words about caring for the environment are just another cheap gimmick, but I am prepared to be more charitable. But that is probably because I, like everyone else, know the Tories will get very few votes in Scotland whatever they say to us!”

Not only will Shrewsbury be hosting the Shrewsbury cartoon festival this weekend, but as Dizzy
discusses, it will also be trialing a new way of increasing voter turnout:
"Have just heard that the first electronic console polling station in this year’s local elections will be open on Saturday in a shopping centre in Shrewsbury. Let's hope the system is neither overloaded or loses data.

"Apparently Shrewsbury will also be having text message voting and Internet voting as well. Wonder how long it will take for someone to make allegations of electoral fraud after the results?"

Finally, a chance to see how another of a blog’s best qualities can be used in these elections. Welsh blogger Blambell Briefs has invited questions that he will pass on to four Welsh politicians in a feature he is calling Honest
John
.

Owen Walker is a journalist for a number of titles within Financial Times Business, primarily focussing on pensions. He recently graduated from Cardiff University’s newspaper journalism post-graduate course and is cursed by a passion for Crystal Palace FC.
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What Jeremy Corbyn gets right about the single market

Technically, you can be outside the EU but inside the single market. Philosophically, you're still in the EU. 

I’ve been trying to work out what bothers me about the response to Jeremy Corbyn’s interview on the Andrew Marr programme.

What bothers me about Corbyn’s interview is obvious: the use of the phrase “wholesale importation” to describe people coming from Eastern Europe to the United Kingdom makes them sound like boxes of sugar rather than people. Adding to that, by suggesting that this “importation” had “destroy[ed] conditions”, rather than laying the blame on Britain’s under-enforced and under-regulated labour market, his words were more appropriate to a politician who believes that immigrants are objects to be scapegoated, not people to be served. (Though perhaps that is appropriate for the leader of the Labour Party if recent history is any guide.)

But I’m bothered, too, by the reaction to another part of his interview, in which the Labour leader said that Britain must leave the single market as it leaves the European Union. The response to this, which is technically correct, has been to attack Corbyn as Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland are members of the single market but not the European Union.

In my view, leaving the single market will make Britain poorer in the short and long term, will immediately render much of Labour’s 2017 manifesto moot and will, in the long run, be a far bigger victory for right-wing politics than any mere election. Corbyn’s view, that the benefits of freeing a British government from the rules of the single market will outweigh the costs, doesn’t seem very likely to me. So why do I feel so uneasy about the claim that you can be a member of the single market and not the European Union?

I think it’s because the difficult truth is that these countries are, de facto, in the European Union in any meaningful sense. By any estimation, the three pillars of Britain’s “Out” vote were, firstly, control over Britain’s borders, aka the end of the free movement of people, secondly, more money for the public realm aka £350m a week for the NHS, and thirdly control over Britain’s own laws. It’s hard to see how, if the United Kingdom continues to be subject to the free movement of people, continues to pay large sums towards the European Union, and continues to have its laws set elsewhere, we have “honoured the referendum result”.

None of which changes my view that leaving the single market would be a catastrophe for the United Kingdom. But retaining Britain’s single market membership starts with making the argument for single market membership, not hiding behind rhetorical tricks about whether or not single market membership was on the ballot last June, when it quite clearly was. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.