UK 6 November 2019 Everything Boris Johnson is trying to distract you from with his “kulak” comment It’s been a very bad week for the Tory campaign. Getty Paper candidates. Sign UpGet the New Statesman's Morning Call email. Sign-up The Prime Minister has written a piece comparing Jeremy Corbyn to Josef Stalin, including a recycled reference to the purge of the kulaks (prosperous Soviet peasant farmers killed in their millions) that he trotted out in the same paper, the Telegraph, in 2009 to describe Gordon Brown’s 50p tax rate. Don’t let that distract you, though, from a week of terrible headlines for the Conservative Party’s election campaign. Here’s what the kulaks are meant to divert your attention from: Jacob Rees-Mogg and Andrew Bridgen on Grenfell Both men have belittled the fire’s victims by suggesting it would have been “common sense” or “clever” to defy the Fire Brigade’s instructions and standard fire procedure in tower blocks. Both men had to apologise afterwards. Editing an interview with Keir Starmer for an attack ad A Conservative video made the shadow Brexit secretary look stumped by a question from Piers Morgan about his intended EU deal on Good Morning Britain, when actually he answered it at length. Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns’ resignation A rape victim was calling on the UK cabinet minister to quit after his former aide, a Tory Welsh Assembly candidate, made claims about her sexual history that led to the rape trial’s collapse. The Welsh Secretary had claimed he didn’t know about the matter, but the BBC unearthed an email sent to him in August 2018 mentioning it. He’s now resigned. Tory candidate who said Benefits Street cast should be “put down” The party is under pressure to drop Francesca O’Brien, who is standing for the Conservatives in Gower, a key marginal seat in South Wales, after a Facebook comment emerged in which she wrote “my blood is boiling, these people need putting down”, of the documentary’s participants. Delay of a report into Russian interference in UK elections The government’s suppression of a parliamentary report into Russian attempts to infiltrate British politics and influence the results of the EU referendum is causing suspicion about Johnson aide Dominic Cummings’ three years working in Russia, and how the country is linked to Brexit and Downing Street’s current leadership. Tory welfare reforms are behind rising foodbank use The most comprehensive report into foodbank use yet shows benefit reforms, such as the sanctions regime, the bedroom tax, cuts on the money available and the Universal Credit five-week wait are driving up hunger to record levels. The misleading Universal Credit ad campaign The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that a nine-week ad campaign by the Department for Work and Pensions promoting Universal Credit was misleading, and has stopped the ads appearing again in their current form. That means the government spent over £225,000 of taxpayers’ money on misleading the public about its policy. › The Conservatives are well ahead in the polls, but they fear tactical voting and pro-Remain pacts Anoosh Chakelian is the New Statesman’s Britain editor. Subscribe For daily analysis & more political coverage from Westminster and beyond subscribe for just £1 per month!