Friday, October 30, 2015

Has Corbyn made things worse for Scottish Labour?

I missed the first half of Question Time because I was at the World Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow (and I can tell you that the management of the Hydro need to urgently acquaint themselves with a new-fangled concept known as "air-conditioning"), but I switched on in time to see a chap in the audience melodramatically claim that Jeremy Corbyn's leadership is consolidating the "one-party states" in both Scotland and England.  Now, it's quite true that the evidence so far strongly suggests that Corbyn has failed to turn things around for Labour in Scotland, but is there any evidence that he's actually a drag on the party's support in this part of the world?

The YouGov poll earlier this week suggested that the public's assessment of how well Corbyn is doing as leader is almost identical north and south of the border -

Do you think that Jeremy Corbyn is doing well or badly as leader of the Labour party?

BRITAIN-WIDE :

Well 30%
Badly 50%

SCOTTISH SUBSAMPLE :

Well 30%
Badly 48%

That being the case, you'd think he'd also be having a near-identical effect on Labour's electoral prospects in Scotland and England - but you'd be wrong. Although the percentage of people in Scotland who say that they're more likely to vote Labour under the new leader (17%) is roughly the same as the corresponding Britain-wide figure (16%), the percentage of people who are now less likely to vote Labour is dramatically lower in Scotland, at just 9%. The Britain-wide figure is 23%. So it's certainly hard to conclude on the basis of this poll that Corbyn is personally responsible for Scottish Labour's present predicament. That said, there doesn't seem to be much potential for him to do the party a whole lot of good either, because even if you combine the people who say they are more likely to vote Labour under Corbyn with the 8% who say they would probably have voted Labour anyway, that still leaves you with just 25% of the Scottish subsample - which is roughly the share of the vote that Labour got in their general election drubbing in May. 56% of the Scottish subsample say they probably wouldn't vote Labour regardless of the leader, which is an astounding 19% higher than the equivalent Britain-wide figure.

So, yes, Scottish Labour are in a hole. But I'm still not entirely convinced that it's sensible for Kezia Dugdale to keep banging on about just how deep that hole is. Her "rallying cry" tonight went something like this -

"Things are grim for Scottish Labour. We're in a right old mess. It's really, really bad. But do you know what? That's the reason I put myself forward as leader. I'm enthused by the prospect of overseeing failure. That's what this party is all about. I'll be honest with you - I don't think we can turn things around by May. We'll give it a go, but only up to a point. We can't expect miracles, so there's no point in tiring ourselves out. And I promise you this - even though we're going to lose, we'll make sure we lose by sticking to traditional Labour values. Such as happiness. Love. Children. Sunshine. Chocolate (in moderation). It's our belief in these things that makes us TOTALLY DIFFERENT to every other political party in the known universe. We've just got to keep existing. We're needed."

* * *

If there's any downside at all for the SNP in the fact that their main opponents have been reduced to just one MP, we may have stumbled across it tonight. Keith Brown challenged Kezia to prove Scottish Labour's new "autonomy" is meaningful by ordering their sole representative at Westminster to vote against Trident renewal. Ian Murray quickly moved to get her off the hook by tweeting this -

"I'll not be voting for renewal. That's a long term promise to my constituents and nothing to do with party autonomy."

Even if there had been two or three Scottish Labour MPs, it wouldn't have been anything like that easy. But there again, Murray has got off the hook himself, because if anyone but Corbyn had become leader, he would presumably have had to make a choice between remaining in the Shadow Cabinet, and keeping his promise to his constituents. Mandy Rhodes followed up on his tweet by asking if he would be defying the whip on Trident, and this was his response -

"we are a broad church where ppl sometimes have different views."

That's utterly disingenuous. The Labour party may be a broad church, but the collective position of the Shadow Cabinet is a very different matter. In normal circumstances, a three-line whip would be imposed on a subject as important as Trident, and defying that whip would be inconsistent with remaining a member of the Shadow Cabinet. But fortunately for Murray, there's not much prospect of a three-line whip being imposed when it would make the party leader a "rebel".

Mind you, isn't it interesting that he used the words "I'll not be voting for renewal", rather than "I'll be voting against renewal"? Call me cynical, but that sounds very much like he wants to keep open the option of abstention. Well, he's a Labour MP after all.

22 comments:

  1. Bottom line: A Corbyn-led Labour won't win in England; even more pointless for Scots to vote Labour.

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  2. Actually I didn't mind Dugdale's honesty that she isn't going to win next year. A better approach than Jim Murphy's "we're gonna win all the seats" bluster surely.

    Problem for us is she's succeeding in setting the expectations bar pretty low for herself. Unless the absolute catastrophe of Labour finishing lower than the Tories happens she's probably safe no matter how bad the result.

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  3. Suspected criminals being interviewed by the police use the defence "No Comment".
    For British Labour it is "I abstain".

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  4. Tongue in cheek? mibbies ayes mibbies naws.

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    1. “You do not have to say anything. But, it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in an election campaign. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”

      Delete
  5. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 30, 2015 at 11:54 AM

    Scotland will vote for a right wing party that talks a good game about austerity and food banks but will not tax the rich and is for giving multi nationals tax breaks, Tartan Tories. There was a woman on the question time panel who summed up the Nat sis and Scots in general. Just as right wing as the English.

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    Replies
    1. Eat your cereal.

      Delete
    2. You putting your over-sized gub where your rectum is?

      How much are you on for, GWC?

      Or are you munching your dry cereal?

      Dauvit


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    3. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 30, 2015 at 6:51 PM

      Mein Gott you Nat sis are nasty. Try going tae the pub and socialise. Meet some Unionists and educate yourselves. Some good pubs at Brigton x frequented by the wurkin class.

      Delete
    4. Eat your cereal.

      Delete
  6. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 30, 2015 at 12:13 PM

    You can get cereal at food banks. There was one Trussel food bank in Scotland 2009. Now over 43 under the rule of the Nat as they refuse to tax the rich and freeze the council tax.

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  7. Och, 'tis "Butcher's Apron" Coinneach!

    You little dissembling product of Hamish Murphy's anus, you cad, you:) @NOT Glaschu Working Class as am a bone-idle parasite sucking on the Scots body politic seys yir troll

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    Replies
    1. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 30, 2015 at 6:56 PM

      So you are for food banks and the Nat sis standing by idle.

      Delete
    2. Eat your cereal.

      Delete
  8. 5* blog. Don't come on here very often anymore, because it now seems to be a troll enclave, and I am not a billy goat gruff, but weel spake.

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  9. Worse than what? There doesn't seem to be any Corbyn BBC engineered bounce. They must be getting even more hysterical at the BBC that the electorate seems determined to behave like idiots in their eyes. Perhaps the question should be is, Dogdale worse than Murphy????

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  10. SNP looking a bit low on a couple of recent cross breaks (BMG and Comres). Also a high % of don't knows / refusals.

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  11. On 'cutting tax credits for people who are in work':
    Support: 33%
    Oppose: 58%
    (via ComRes / 23 - 25 Oct)

    This is looking bad for the Tories.

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    Replies
    1. My running average has them down to just a 5 point lead for the UK, compared to a 10 point one just after the election. ooch.

      Looks like the massive tax credits u-turn then shambles is hurting them. Makes people realise they don't actually have any long term economic plan (which is why you can't find said plan online).

      Labour also creeping up towards them, although not in Scotland.

      In Scotland, my crossbreak averages for Westminster (updated today based on BMG and comres) show no change; SNP on 53% and have been for a few months now.

      Delete
  12. What surprised me on QT was when Goldie (I think) suggested that the Tories might finish ahead of Labour in May. Kezia was incredulous - she snorted 'In Scotland?' don't be ridiculous that won't happen.

    Surely Slab are not that complacent they must realise that Tories are not far behind and Tories possibly could pick up more constituency seats which would make them official opposition in the event of a tie.

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  13. denise, Murphy was like that too…they publicly deny reality…but they know they're done for. Media just won't report it till nearer the time methinks, like they did leading up to GE, when if I recall one of the comments from Labour sources, admitted they were fucked. Or words to that effect.


    Haven't got any of those options for 'comment as', as I'm not signed up to anything James.

    K1

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