With the European football championship kicking off in Germany last weekend, it is impossible not to make comparisons with the UK General Election as we reach half-time – yes, I am afraid, we still have another half to play. While commentators considered the overall result was a foregone conclusion almost immediately, it looks like there is still a lot to play for across Buckinghamshire with some tight battles all over the pitch.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak kicked-off in driving rain and immediately lost possession of the ball and any advantage when he failed to realise the Conservatives were still in the playground picking their team. Trips to the Titanic shipyard in Belfast and a reminder to the Welsh that they would not be at the Euros did nothing to settle the nerves in the early stages. A few surprising moves on national service and pensions down the right wing to please hardcore supporters came to nothing. Midway through the first half, Sunak shocked everyone as he scored an impressive own goal at this international event featuring France, Germany (the USA), simultaneously leaving the pitch and deflecting the ball past keeper Cameron who was left to pick it out of the back of his own net.

Meanwhile, Keir Starmer had decided to “park the bus” with Labour playing five across the back, with only himself, Rayner, Ashworth, Reeves, and Streeting in holding midfield positions. Angela Rayner had been mired in allegations of trying to play home at two grounds at the same time in the run up to the tournament but was cleared just before the squad got on the bus. Diane Abbott was a very late addition travelling reserve, whilst Jeremy Corbyn’s radical play down the left wing was totally rejected. Labour have rarely ventured out of their own half at this stage absorbing a tax here and a tax there, wearing down opponents and journalists with their dull play. Conservatives suspect this tactic is a secret longing for a more European style, but Starmer insists this is made in Britain because he has a Union Flag on his kit.

Elsewhere, tournament organizers have upped their game with entertainment at each stoppage in play – Ed Davey for the Liberal Democrats, tournament mascot, pops up in odd locations with a humiliating stunt followed by a serious message that always gets missed as play restarts. Ed’s campaign is based on driving grassroots support in a limited number of locations around the country. We are no wiser what a “fair deal” is at half-time but we think it means he would like the fair play award. With both Conservatives and the LibDems claiming to be Local Champions, it’s beginning to feel like a primary school sports day where everyone is a winner but we all know it’s not true.

The great surprise of the tournament was the late announcement of Nigel Farage replacing Richard Tice as captain of Reform and giving himself the number 9 jersey up on the sea front in Clacton. Reform hastily scrambled a squad only to discover they had an uncomfortably large number of far-right wingers with friends in the “Ultras” that we had hoped would not blight the tournament. Since the announcement, Farage seems to be playing everywhere – the media love him, particularly when he puts the boot in on Sunak. There are already rumours that he may well sign for the Conservatives during the transfer window after the tournament. Farage is prone to picking up yellow and red cards, so it will be interesting if he and Reform can play for the whole ninety minutes and pick up something on July 4th.

Once again, the Greens are playing with co-captains to please everyone and no one at the same time. This could and should have been their tournament with climactic conditions playing to their advantage. It’s a team that we think we should like when they are playing in the wide-open green spaces, but far too much of their play is down the left flank to make it appealing for some. However, in their press conferences, they have been one of the few teams to have been honest about the terrible financial state of the game and the reality for British fans – if you want the best players like NHS, Social Care, Education, Transport, Defence, Environment in your team then you must pay for it (and probably change the manager).

Meanwhile, in Group Bucks, the half-time scores suggest that the table will look a few changes in a couple of weeks’ time with some tight contests across the county based on the Survation MRP polling for the Best for Britain score report. Tactical changes and fan support in the second half could have a big impact in several contests. Will long term political party fans stay the distance, or will they make new decisions made in injury time? At half-time, it looks like Labour will have three seats, the Conservatives two seats and the LibDems one seat, but it might all change with tactical voting. GetVoting.org have published recommendations by constituency this morning.

  • In Buckingham & Bletchley, Labour is out in front and strong favourites ahead of the Conservatives who have lost territory to Reform. Labour is the tactical vote recommendation here.
  • In Mid-Buckinghamshire, it is all to play for with the Conservatives just ahead and Labour very close, and the LibDems polling well – tactical voting might be key here with GetVoting.org recommending Labour for a tactical vote.
  • It’s a similar picture in Aylesbury, with Labour ahead of the Conservatives, with a strong LibDem position – again, Labour is recommended by GetVoting.org for a tactical vote.
  • Wycombe looks like it will be strong win for Labour but there are no certainties given several significant local community factors and an array of candidates. Once again, GetVoting.org are recommending Labour for a tactical vote.
  • Chesham & Amersham looks like it will remain LibDem at this stage with a clear lead over the Conservatives, but this is being fiercely contested. Liberal Democrat is the GetVoting.org tactical recommendation.
  • Likewise, Beaconsfield appears to staying Conservative with the LibDems and Labour chasing – once again, local issues and tactical voting may have a significant influence with the Liberal Democrats as the tactical recommendation by GetVoting.org.

As an Independent Buckinghamshire Councillor, I am watching the General Election with deep interest because it has massive implications for our country. There is so much in our national and local public services that needs to be addressed by a serious government who is willing to engage with everyone. Democracy is important, but it should not end when the ballot boxes are put back into storage. Democracy is what happens between elections when those elected representatives serve the people. For too long, political parties have been obsessed with themselves, their members and their own self-interest. This needs to stop at a national level and a local level. I wish all those willing to stand up as a candidate in the General Election in Buckinghamshire well, particularly the Independents who I hope will consider running for Buckinghamshire Council in May 2025. The United Kingdom and Buckinghamshire need independently minded representation, not political pawns serving their paymasters and friends.

We will be back commentating in a couple of weeks once we have the full-time results on the General Election. Enjoy the second half!


All candidates for each constituency can be found on the websites for Buckinghamshire Council (Aylesbury, Mid-Buckinghamshire, Chesham & Amersham, Wycombe, Beaconsfield) or Milton Keynes City Council (Buckingham & Bletchley).

The Survation MRP Poll for Best in Britain (June 2024) can be found on the Survation and Best for Britain websites.

The GetVoting.org tactical voting recommendations (June 16th 2024) can be found on their website.