Monday, July 18, 2016

Labour members say Carry On Corbyn as incumbent leader opens up huge lead over both challengers in new YouGov poll

Corbyn v Smith :

Jeremy Corbyn 56%
Owen Smith 34%

Corbyn v Eagle :

Jeremy Corbyn 58%
Angela Eagle 34%

The million dollar question that formed in my mind as soon as I saw this poll was whether YouGov had taken into account the rigged franchise - ie. had they excluded all members who joined after mid-January?  According to Sam Coates of The Times, the answer is yes.  So Corbyn does appear to be on course for victory as of this moment - the poll presumably doesn't factor in affiliates or registered supporters, but both of those categories of voters were even more favourable for Corbyn than the membership in last year's election.  He might do a bit less well among registered supporters this time because his natural backers will be disproportionately hit by the ludicrous hike in the registration fee from £3 to £25.  But it's very hard to imagine the registered supporters voting against Corbyn if the members don't.

So even allowing for a degree of polling inaccuracy, it's surely the case that a lot of minds will have to be changed if there is any chance of Corbyn being beaten.  The one glimmer of hope for the plotters is the strong rumour tonight that Angela Eagle will stand aside tomorrow to allow Owen Smith a clear run.  Although there's no evidence in this poll that Smith is a stronger candidate, it's probably fair to say he's less well known than Eagle.  I suspect that minds are already made up about Eagle and that there's very little scope for her support to grow - but Smith may at least be given a hearing over the coming weeks by the membership.  The snag for him is that he carries a huge amount of baggage into this race, and his right-wing past (not to mention his present day support for nuclear weapons and 'annihilating civilians') is bound to be brought up again and again.

One little downside for the plotters of a one-on-one Corbyn v Smith contest is that they won't be able to bang members over the head with the fatuous argument that they need to vote for the female candidate regardless of whether they agree with her views or not.  That was essentially Dan Hodges' argument for supporting Yvette Cooper last year, and it was fantastically hypocritical, because does anyone seriously doubt for a moment that he would, for example, vote for Stephen Kinnock over Diane Abbott?  All the same, it's somewhat disconcerting that two conventional wisdoms have proved wrong in quick succession - 1) that David Cameron's successor had to be a Brexiteer, and 2) that in the light of Theresa May's success, the challenger to Corbyn (or at least one challenger) had to be a woman.

There was a prophetic comment on Stormfront Lite on the day of the EU referendum, pointing out that if by any chance the polls were wrong and Leave won, the next few days would closely resemble the opening minutes of Channel 4's adaptation of A Very British Coup by Chris Mullin.  That was a reference to what was likely to happen (and did happen) on the currency and stock markets, but of course it could just as easily have referred to the establishment's subsequent attempt to topple a democratically-elected left-wing Labour leader.  In the story, the coup plotters stake everything on being able to force the leader out by putting overwhelming private pressure on him to resign - but he outwits them by simply submitting himself to a public election.  Sound familiar?  David Cameron's genuine incomprehension that Corbyn was hanging on ("but...but..the Westminster bubble has decided you must go!  Why aren't you listening, man!") was deliciously similar to the fictional Cabinet Secretary's dumbfounded reaction to the prospect of an open election deciding the leader's fate.  The real-life Labour plotters have invested all their time and energy in excitedly talking to each other about why the phrase "parliamentary democracy" is a spiffing good excuse for setting aside an election result, and have completely lost sight of the fact that, like it or not, it's the grassroots they need to convince of their case.  Essentially they've made exactly the same mistake for a second year running.  Mind you, in a parallel universe somewhere, Liz "four per cent" Kendall is Leader of the Opposition and is running rings round the Tories just by waffling on about "aspiration" all the time.

It was truly extraordinary to witness the ugly sense of entitlement on display from the plotters as they intervened on Corbyn during his speech on Trident today.  One of them pompously 'announced' that the next Labour manifesto would support the retention of nuclear weapons, regardless of what the leader and the members might think.  Normally it takes quite a mental effort to mildly criticise your own party leader on the floor of the House, but it seems all the inhibitions had completely melted away - a condescending "when are you going to do your homework?" tone was adopted as Corbyn was informed by jumped-up backbenchers that he was required to start setting out official party policy on Trident, rather than his own views (completely ignoring the fact that several previous Labour leaders have paid scant attention to the party's nominal policy on defence).  They now seem to perceive their leader as an impostor, rather than the real thing.  Kezia Dugdale's attacks on Corbyn can be seen as part of the same phenomenon - although some people have optimistically suggested that she's declaring her independence from London, the reality is that the branch office mentality is alive and well, and Dugdale is actually indicating her fealty towards what she assumes will very shortly be the new regime.  But if Corbyn is re-elected (likely) and the PLP shies away from issuing the widely-touted UDI (possible), there's one obvious question : WHAT IS PLAN B, KEZIA?  We might just end up with an estrangement between Scottish Labour and UK Labour by complete accident.

21 comments:

  1. So as the BBC will say " close to a tie". Just saying....

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    Replies
    1. Why do my comments come thru twice?

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    2. Why do my comments come thru twice?

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  3. Yes but will those surveyed be allowed to vote?

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  4. Mad Kez is just spouting the BBC line as in Corbyn is bad as in the same way as SNP is bad and Trident is lovely jubbly and will protect us from Terrorists.

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  5. It is somewhat difficult to argue that you are 'not a Blairite or a Corbynite, but my own woman' if your next act is to stand aside to clear the way for a more junior male colleague.

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  6. Has anyone examined the position of Scottish Labour in all this? We know Kez supports anyone but Corbyn and that Findlay supports Corbyn,but who do all the other Labour MSPs support? Kez is pro Trident and anti Corbyn.Is that in tune with her MSPs?

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    1. Neil Findlay is Corbyn I thought, but to be honest, who cares.

      I'm just waiting for one of them to come out and say 'It can't be business as usual, the people have spoken'

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    2. Does anybody care?

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  7. If the leader of the British Labour branch office in Scotland agrees with what appears to be the majority of Labour MPs in Westminster,then she is agreeing that the only way to gain power in England/UK us to adopt Tory policies.
    A very convenient time to be out of the country!

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    1. It didn't work before, so why would it work now? They would have to be grindingly stupid. You may have a point.

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  8. This schism in the Labour Party is far greater to what happened to Labour in 1981-82 period. Then it was the membership wanting a more left wing programme that was opposed by a minority of MP's who then left to form the SDP as they couldn't get their own way. 30 odd years later and history repeats itself. This time the Leadership are in the minority in Parliament but the party outwith the Westminster bubble supports the Leadership. I doubt if these two opposing sides can be brought together anytime soon. There will be conflicts between anti-Corbyn MP's and the local constituencies. Deselections galore perhaps? The SNP splits in the same period of 1981-2 look like a small tiff in comparison.

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  9. I always assumed a Labour split to be a "bad thing" for them, but have lately reconsidered.
    If the Blairites set up as a Party (also including the anti-Corbynists who are not Blairite?), then we should expect the BBC and all the other pro-Tory media to get behind them---not to put them in a winning position, but to destroy the Labour Left.
    Once that occurs, it will be business as usual for the Murdoch media/BBC ( in England, in Scotland the BEEB have a different agenda)/Mail etc. Two big right wing Parties, wanting us to be the sweat shop of the Globalised West.
    Time for Scotland to leave. Pronto!

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    1. You make some good points Gavin, but the elephant in the room is that a lot of what's left of the Labour Vote, is the 'traditional voters' (or people who don't have the intelligence to make their own minds up)
      This 'traditional' group is a very large block of the Labour Vote and it would cause a lot of confusion if this group was asked to abandon the Labour Brand and vote for a party by some other name.
      There's no doubt that the Corbyn faction would retain the Labour Party brand.

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  10. It has been reported that the challenger who has least support will pull out of the race at five o'clock tonight.
    looks like this will be Angela Eagle.

    Kez has at last stuck her colours firmly to the mast, on the Corbyn issue.
    Unfortunately for her though, the deputy leader of Labour accounting branch in Scotland has also stuck his colours to his mast, and it's the mast that has the colours of the opposing side.

    I expect to see some embarrassing leaks about Kezia in the coming weeks as the infighting starts getting messy in the accounting unit.

    I wonder if we will find out at last who 'fifi la bon bon' really is?


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  11. Why no comments from Glasgow Working Arse. It is vitally important that we get his or her view. I can sleep at night without it. His or her we don't know because it hasn't the Backbone to tell us. I think it will think everything is fine and dandy in Labour land we all know how thick it is.

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    1. Maybe Spud Murph's on holiday, out of WiFi range.
      In a US silo with the Survivalists and other loony tunes.

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