Thursday, September 17, 2015

Corbyn might be deposed before 2020, but he might not be

Keiran Pedley works for the polling organisation GfK NOP, which for many years now has not conducted voting intention polls (at least not for publication), but has had a hand in the broadcasters' exit polls on general election night.  He also presents the podcast Polling Matters, which in spite of its unfortunate association with a certain website is often a fascinating and enlightening listen.  But aside from his expertise when he has his impartial pollster's hat on, he also appears to be a member of the Labour party, and had very strong views about the possibility of Jeremy Corbyn becoming leader and the potential impact on his party's electability.  It's within that context that his assertion that Corbyn "is not going to lead Labour into the 2020 election" should be seen, because the reasons he gives smack of extreme wishful thinking...

1) "He will be 70 going into the general election."  So what?  Many of the potential candidates for the US Presidency are envisaging holding the office at a much older age than 70.  If Joe Biden stands and is elected, he will be 74 by the time he is sworn in.  Ronald Reagan, of course, was almost 78 when he finally left the White House.

2) "It is not even clear he wants to be Prime Minister."  I sometimes wonder if Corbyn's opponents are mistaking his natural modesty and caution for a lack of commitment.  But even if there's any truth in the suggestion that he doesn't want to be PM, it could be just as easily argued that he doesn't want to be Leader of the Opposition - yet here he is.  The reason he put himself forward as leader is the same reason for thinking he'll try to remain in harness for a lengthy period - he feels a sense of duty to his wing of the party, which has been frozen out of influence for so long.  He knows the consequences of stepping aside could be a return to New Labour, a prospect that would fill him with disgust.  He might only be tempted to retire if it looked like, at worst, a soft left candidate (Lisa Nandy's name is sometimes mentioned) would replace him.  To get to that point may require reform of the nomination rules for leadership elections.

3) "His initial poll numbers are dire."  The polling done since Saturday has been extremely limited, but in any case, history is littered with leaders who struggled on to a general election in spite of it being obvious they would lose - Michael Foot in 1983, John Major in 1997, William Hague in 2001.  In many ways, what happened to Iain Duncan Smith was the exception, not the rule.  Even he came amazingly close to surviving in the decisive ballot.

None of this is to say that Corbyn will definitely make it through to 2020 - there are plausible scenarios that could see him deposed, possibly even before Christmas.  But to suggest it's a foregone conclusion that he'll go just seems daft to me.  I also think Pedley is barking up the wrong tree in thinking Alan Johnson is a viable 'unity' candidate who could replace Corbyn.  Labour right-wingers are going to have to come to terms with just how far to the left the membership has shifted - it will now take someone from the soft left to unite the party, not a Blairite with a working-class accent.

22 comments:

  1. And anyway Alan Johnson is a man who REALLY doesn't want to be Leader of the Opposition or PM having clearly said so on several occasions. Unless 'insiders' know he is lying or something.

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  2. As a non-UK-er, I'm often stumped as to what wing various MPs belong to (especially since on this, Wikipedia isn't any help at all). Is there a list of some sorts to be found anywhere?

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    1. It's easy. Just pick up any UK newspaper. "Left Wingers" are BAD. "Right wingers" are GOOD.

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  3. James,your analysis seems spot on to me. Given the extreme animosity towards Corbyne down south, from most pundits and media(the BBC is hardly even bothering to hide its dislike), I find it difficult to see Corbyne as Leader entering an election. If he is, it will be a truncated Party he leads. The bulk of Labour at Westminster are well to the right of the Party in the country. They may form a new centrist Party----I suspect funding will be available.

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  4. If he is deposed in a palace (of Westminster) coup by neoliberal Blairites, It will be another nail in the coffin of the UK. With TINA for laissez faire capitalism in the London driving seat I imagine more pewople will cross the water to sign up for Scottish Independence

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  5. There's a lot of defeatism when it comes to Corbyn: this idea that you shouldn't get behind him because he's not going to win anyway. It's fairly bizarre given he came from being a rank outsider to winning the leadership contest in the first place.

    We also have to remember that we're still in a bit of a honeymoon period for the government. Corbyn's stance will start to make more of an impact when the government is making unpopular decisions and people are prone to backing the opposition.

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    1. Do you think the City of London Corporation (with their wee guy who sits in the HoC making sure its interests are protected) would stand for Corbyn as PM?

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    2. Last I checked, it was voters who decide elections, not anyone else.

      I am familiar with this kind of "the establishment won't let Corbyn win" gibberish, though. They won't let us have independence either, so are we wasting our time campaigning for that as well?

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    3. I just meant he can expect treatment as bad as or worse than the SNP.

      We'd probably already be independent if we were not up against that same establishment.

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  6. In addition to the rumours of defections from Labour to the Tories (or maybe just back as a few Tories defect to Labour under Tony), as you might expect, Lib Dems are hopeful too.

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13766737.Farron_hints_at_possible_defections_to_Lib_Dems_following_Corbyn_victory/

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    1. If there was ever a leaking lifeboat, surely the Lib Dumbs are it. But who knows? It may be my dislike of Farron that clouds my opinion. He has always struck me as the kind of guy who always wants a loan of a tenner till pay-day.

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  7. UK Yougov poll.

    Scottish subsample showing level of optimism about a Left wing revival in England.

    If Jeremy Corbyn remains leader of the Labour party, how likely or unlikely do you think it is that they will win the next general election?
    59% Unlikely
    21% Likely


    UK Figures:
    61% unlikely
    17% Likely

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    1. Personally,I think the left in England is going through a spasm. There are those who think that gaining power for it's own sake is what labour should do. The Fabians and fellow travellers seem to think that adopting neo-liberalism with a kindly face is a way to political power. It may be. It ay be that that moves the consensus slowly away from the right wing agenda, and that, eventually, around and about 2030 we will have moved so incrementally towards a 'better society" hush, say it quietly that we might conider a commission to determine the terms of reference of a commission to discuss tax avoidance and / or evasion. It may, with the Fabians enormous enthusiasm for speed in all decisions, report around 2050.

      At which point.

      We need a revolution in thought, not a scalar approach to change.

      Scots generally seem more aware of that at the moment. For some, scratch me reason, I think that that will widen in the future.

      The 'professional' class of politicians, spit, are unlikely to survive an engaged electorate. By 'professional' I mean people wedded to their own power, expenses and influence.

      That is my hope, not just for Scotland but for the whole planet.

      Viva the Internet!

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    2. Glasgow Working ClassSeptember 17, 2015 at 10:19 PM

      Douglas you seem to be a Utopian. Since wheh did people not want power for their own sake? Are you some sort of Trotskyisk doing it for the people and not bothering about an ice pick in the heid?

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  8. It is with great interest I watched,read and listened to the election of Jeremy Corbyn,as the new leader of the Labour Party(although I still think Labour is just a facet of the establishment part) I think he has been put in by design,with the hope of curtailing the SNP in Scotland sort of making the yearning for independence go away hoping that those that were disaffected Labour folk in Scotland return to the Labour fold,probably one or two might,but not enough to make a difference.After next years Scottish elections the "tea leaves" will be read and if Labour make a comeback Jeremy will stay for a year or so then be ousted for a more "centrist" folk including the top job.If Jeremy doesn't cause an upswing for Labour in Scotland then he'll be out by next September,and the independence ball will just keep on running and picking up more disaffected voters.

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    1. Charles exactly what I was thinking. Scotland is on the road to independence, no sign of the 45% changing their minds, what will we do?
      Give devo-max? No way!

      I know the Jocks are all red-flag waving socialists, enter RedJez, Scots back in their box, job done

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  9. Glasgow Working ClassSeptember 17, 2015 at 10:08 PM

    Denise do not be silly by agreeing with Chuck above. Corbyn has his agenda which will fail. He is an internationalist not a Nat si. But gjve him some credit for getting elected. He managed to con some like the Nat sis have done.

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    1. Edinburgh Working ClassSeptember 18, 2015 at 8:12 AM

      I was hoping for a left wing revival in England led by Corbyn; kept me supporting the union. Thanks for your honest opinion about that being doomed to failure. I'm backing independence now as a result and shall vote SNP-SNP next May.

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  10. Dundee Working ClassSeptember 18, 2015 at 8:45 AM

    Me too, here here indeed.

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  11. James can we get some analysis on the East Ayrshire council by election please?

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