Six phoney claims to watch out for from Boris Johnson tonight | Tom Kibasi

In the BBC leadership debate expect the prime minister to deploy his favourite myths about Labour and the economy

The first winter election in decades has been characterised by a blizzard of untruths. Boris Johnson’s party appears to have learned a lesson from Donald Trump’s winning 2016 campaign: if you lie early and often, voters will abandon any attempt to sort truth from fiction. The Tories are barely even pretending to care about policies. Their manifesto may surprise us, but what has dripped out so far suggests it will be thin gruel.

Instead the Conservative fake-facts factory has produced a series of misrepresentations about Labour’s economic plans – which we should expect Johnson to repeat in tonight’s special BBC Question Time leaders’ debate.

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The Guardian view on election economics: there is an alternative | Editorial

Economics dominates public debate while being seen as an abstract authority over which people have little control. That must change

On BBC Question Time on Thursday there was an exchange between an audience member and a Labour politician – Richard Burgon – that revealed how poor economic literacy deepens the democratic deficit. The audience member, a man who said he earned more than £80,000, rounded on Mr Burgon and called him a liar for claiming that Labour’s manifesto pledge of raising income taxes for those with salaries like his and larger would only affect the top 5% of the population.

Yet Mr Burgon did not lie and the Labour party is right: 95% of workers earn less than £81,000. The man was undeterred, with a heartfelt plea that he was “not even in the top 50%” of earners. In fact, anyone with an annual salary of more than £25,500 would be in the top half of UK wage earners. Plenty of heads nodded along with the questioner’s falsehoods, underlining perhaps the post-truth nature of our times that many consider it better to be sincere than to be correct. The back-and-forth also exposed how mainstream economic stories have been successful in convincing people that there is no alternative to help the country.

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Zero chance of a Labour majority? Maybe. But Corbyn doesn’t need one | Jonathan Freedland

Labour’s leader could get into Downing Street with as few as 270 MPs. Though it will still be a steep and narrow path to get there

I have never trusted opinion polls less than I do now. Part of that is bitter experience, after polls proved their fallibility in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Part of it is a more specific lesson taught by the US presidential election three years ago, when Hillary Clinton learned to her cost that a hefty national poll lead means nothing in a contest that is settled one state at a time. This logic applies in spades to a UK election, which is not won nationally but seat by seat by seat.

The importance of that enduring truth was brought home afresh last weekend as I tramped the streets of Enfield Southgate, the marginal London suburb won from the Tories in 2017 by Labour’s Bambos Charalambous, best known for a rather wonderful meme in which John Bercow incants the MP’s name to the tune of Queen’s Under Pressure. I followed him for an afternoon’s canvassing, a session that would prove to be a masterclass in the inherent unpredictability of politics.

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So farewell then, Workington man … we hardly knew you | Tim Burrows

After just three weeks in the spotlight, the latest voter caricature has been consigned to the dustbin

Workington Man is dead; long live Workington Man. In the three weeks he has graced this Earth, the Conservatives’ dream ticket to election victory – an imagined 45-plus northern leaver, ex-Labour voter and rugby league fan, without a university degree – has been rebuked and rejoiced in a cycle of binge and purge.

Some journalists pronounced him deceased almost as soon as he was invented by right-leaning thinktank Onward. “‘Workington Man’ is just the latest depressing political caricature,” read the Financial Times’s glum banner. Lewis Goodall of Sky News, who travelled up to the Cumbria constituency where this theoretical voter supposedly lives, tweeted “Been in Workington for less than 10 mins when someone says: ‘this Workington Man stuff. What a stupid southern idea. We’ve all been laughing about it.’”

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Nigel Farage asks voters to elect at least some Brexit party candidates

Launching policy paper, Farage says his MPs are needed to ‘hold Boris Johnson to his word’

Nigel Farage has appealed to voters to elect at least some Brexit party candidates to “hold Boris Johnson to his word” during the launch of a slimline election policy platform based on political changes, lower immigration levels and spending financed by a “Brexit dividend”.

Launching what he described as a “contract with the people” in Westminster, Farage promised his party would continue after the UK leaves the EU: “Brexit, for us, is just the beginning, not the end, of a much-needed political revolution.”

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‘It’s more about Corbyn than Brexit’: the lament from the Labour marginals

Candidates in Labour-held constituencies report little enthusiasm for either of the two main leaders

Labour candidates defending seats with narrow majorities are reporting disillusionment and anger on the doorstep, with neither Jeremy Corbyn nor Boris Johnson yet inspiring voters.

With three weeks to go until polling day, the Guardian spoke to candidates and officials in more than a dozen Labour-held constituencies.

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I’m Jewish and I’m voting Labour in the general election. Here’s why | Jonathan Lis

Yes, antisemitism exists in Labour, as in other parties. But I want a progressive government that helps the people who need it most

In three weeks’ time I will do something that shocks many of my closest friends and relatives. The mere mention of it can provoke amazement or outright hostility. In many cases the unspoken – or spoken – accusation is that I am throwing my community under the bus. Why? I am Jewish, and in the general election I will be voting Labour.

In the Jewish community, there is genuine fear about a Jeremy Corbyn-led government and anguish that this fear is not being taken seriously. Earlier this month, the Jewish Chronicle appealed to non-Jewish people to vote against Labour. One prominent rabbi emailed his congregation to request they “vote for whichever party is most likely to defeat Labour”.

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A brighter, more equal future is Labour’s greatest manifesto pledge | Gary Younge

The party has painted a picture of a greener, fairer society – and reminded us of the values that made Corbyn party leader

In 2007, the renowned intellectual of the left Stuart Hall was asked if it was hard for him that the more equal world he had argued for his entire life seemed increasingly remote. “I feel the world as stranger to me than I ever felt before,” he replied. “Should we have a political party that believes we should tune ourselves up to the global economy? Of course we should – but not two, or two and a half! It’s when everyone is operating in so many of the same parameters that the only debate you can have is a sort of Swiftian debate ... shall we eat the children now or later on?”

Related: Jeremy Corbyn launches most radical Labour manifesto in decades

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Tory candidate got illegal dividend from firm that went bust

Stuart Anderson received £54,000 from Anubis Associates and repaid £2,000

A Conservative parliamentary candidate who has been praised by Boris Johnson is facing questions over why he received an illegal dividend from a security firm that went into administration owing £271,000 in tax.

Stuart Anderson, who is trying to overturn a Labour majority of 2,185 in Wolverhampton South West, was a director and major shareholder of Anubis Associates for eight years until 2013 when the firm collapsed.

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Jeremy Corbyn urges public to vote for ‘his manifesto of hope’

‘Investment blitz’ promised as experts taken aback by scale of Labour’s tax and spend plans

Jeremy Corbyn has urged the public to vote for his “manifesto of hope” as he unveiled plans for the most dramatic increase in tax and spending in more than half a century if Labour wins power next month’s general election.

In an upbeat launch event at Birmingham City University, the Labour leader said he welcomed the hostility of the billionaires, bad bosses and dodgy landlords who would lose out from his policies.

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Farage hoping to enlist help of Trump in Brexit party tree-planting plan

Focus on environment in upcoming manifesto seen as attempt to broaden appeal

Nigel Farage is hoping to enlist the climate science denier Donald Trump to help lead a global campaign to plant billions of trees to capture CO2.

The Brexit party leader, a friend of the US president, is due to make the announcement in Westminster on Friday as his party launches its version of an election manifesto.

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Prince Andrew’s behaviour has put the very future of the monarchy in doubt | Gaby Hinsliff

The Queen has been a point of stability in a precarious world, but the prince’s misjudgments over Jeffrey Epstein have refocused scrutiny on the institution that produced him

The institution of the monarchy, said Boris Johnson, is beyond reproach. It was such an odd response to the scandal engulfing Prince Andrew – so stiff, so forelock-tugging, so initially lacking in sympathy towards the teenage girls abused by the prince’s late friend Jeffrey Epstein – that it stuck in the mind long after the televised leaders’ debate ended. Perhaps, I thought, he was simply afraid of offending the Queen any further after dragging her into a shabby, unlawful prorogation of parliament.

Yet now one wonders if Johnson had an inkling of what was coming, when he chose to defend not Prince Andrew personally but the institution from which the prince has essentially resigned. For it is the institution itself that is now in danger.

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This week’s biggest Twitter controversy? Jo Swinson’s squirrel problem | Joel Golby

Never mind the CCHQ ‘FactcheckUK’ scandal – the most explosive online ruckus was all about the Lib Dem leader

Never are the world of the dead and the world of the living as close as they are on Hallowe’en: two realms, divided by a tissue-thin, spectral net curtain. Ghosts wander lost over misty battlefields. Skeletons rattle in their graves. Then, once the moon dips and the sun rises, all is quiet again for another year. What I am saying is: this week we had a sort of Hallowe’en of our own here, an electoral equinox. The slim void between the world of the living and the world of the online was briefly breached, and chaos did reign. Shitposters walked the land. The living became them. And then: all quiet.

Related: Would-be MPs are losing the battle against an almighty enemy: their online selves | Joel Golby

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Rich donors hand Tories £5.5m election funding boost

Cash from tycoons including wife of Russian businessman about 26 times higher than big Labour donations

The Conservatives have been handed a big funding boost in the first week of the election campaign after receiving large donations worth 26 times the amount received by Labour.

Boris Johnson’s party raised more than £5.67m in large donations – defined as amounts of more than £7,500 – compared to £218,500 given to Labour, according to official figures.

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Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour manifesto harks back to 1940s | Larry Elliott

Party leader has taken postwar socialist ideas and added a modern populist twist

Free broadband. Free adult learning. Free dental care. The biggest council house building programme in decade. Abolish student tuition fees and bring back maintenance grants. All paid for by squeezing the rich, raising corporation tax, making tech giants pay the exchequer a fair whack, and by borrowing more. As Jeremy Corbyn was proud to state, this was the most radical Labour party manifesto in years.

One of the questions asked at the document’s launch was whether Labour wanted to turn the clock back to the 1970s. Actually, the inspiration was more Clement Attlee in 1945 than Tony Benn 30 years later. Labour’s starting point, as at the end of the second world war, was that something has gone fundamentally wrong with free-market capitalism and only a socialist transformation can put things right.

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Johnson was briefed on declaring friendships before he met Jennifer Arcuri

Revealed: PM pledged to ‘bear in mind the definition of close associate’ after affair with Helen Macintyre

Boris Johnson and his staff were given compulsory training on the importance of acknowledging personal friendships months before he met the US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri, and just after he was rebuked for failing to declare an interest with another woman, the Guardian can reveal.

City Hall’s standards committee recommended the governance training after a panel found that Johnson had failed to acknowledge a personal interest in Helen Macintyre. It later emerged that Macintrye, who held an unpaid advisory post, had an extramarital affair with Johnson and gave birth to his daughter in 2008.

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Google crackdown on political ads ‘will have minimal impact in UK’

British advertisers rely more on keywords than microtargeting tools, according to source

A new rule banning microtargeting in political adverts will have minimal impact in the UK, the Guardian has learned, since the majority of political advertisers do not use the tools anyway.

Instead, British political advertisers spend the bulk of their money on search adverts with simple targeting to individual keywords. Often, those keywords relate to opposing parties: on Thursday, the Conservative party bought an advert for searches for the word “Labour” that took users to, a site set up by the Tories to attack Labour’s expected policies before either party had released their manifesto.

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