Archive for the 'Antisemitism' Category


A shock poll from Opinium sees the Tories move to a 7% lead

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019

Mike Smithson


In October 2017 LAB had an average poll lead of 2.4% – this October Corbyn’s party is 3% behind

Monday, October 29th, 2018

The polls turned in March which coincided with Corbyn’s response to Salisbury and antisemitism becoming a big issue

October 2018 voting intention polls

October 2017  voting intention polls

Survation’s chart shows the timing of the switch


The Survation chart shows the LAB-CON splits in its Westminster voting intention polling since GE2017 when, of course, the firm was the most accurate pollster. Since then it has generally been recording the best figures for Labour and at times, like at the general election, has been out of line with other pollsters.

As can be seen things were going positively for Labour until late March when its share moved down from the 43%-45% range and has been broadly lower ever since.

There’s a great danger in looking at what was taking place at the time of the downturn and reading too much into it. Correlation is not causation.

However there were two big developments during the latter part of March – his initial response to the Salisbury chemical attack and the row about his positive comments on Facebook about a mural which was said to be antisemitic.

It was the latter that triggered the demonstration outside parliament by members of the Jewish community and their supporters as well, over the month, a series of stories about what the leader had done in the past.

We do know that in the London elections on May 4th the Labour aggregate vote was 43.9% which was way down on the 54.6% of GE2017 and all the polling for May 2018 elections.

My view is that the Salisbury response and the ongoing antisemitism row caused damage to Corbyn and his party from which it has yet to recover.

Mike Smithson


To win the next election LAB need to find converts and it’s hard to see where these are coming from

Monday, October 15th, 2018

Current polling finds LAB shedding support – not gaining it

With all the current speculation about a new election and the possibility of Corbyn becoming PM the latest polling is being sidelined and the question of where LAB’s required new support is going to come from is hardly mentioned.

The shock result at the last election has impacted greatly on both main parties in very different ways. The Tories fear the Labour threat and can’t take comfort in their polling position however strong it might appear. LAB, on the other hand, appears convinced that it doesn’t need to worry about the present because last time showed what could happen during the campaign when, as they will point out, the broadcasters have to be impartial.

    I’d argue that LAB was helped at GE2017 because nobody gave the party an earthly and they shouldn’t rely on the precedent of last time for the next election.

LAB and its leader, as will be recalled, received far less scrutiny during the campaign than a party that appeared on the brink of power would have come under. This made it so much easier or Corbyn because at no time did he come under serious pressure. We’ve seen over his initial responses to Salisbury and the antisemitism row that he doesn’t handle criticism and pressure well.

The current political environment is so unlike the build-up to the party last returning to power in 1997. The leader at the time, the one they don’t like talking about, realised that if the party was not to be defeated for a fifth successive time it needed to extend its base way beyond what it had at GE1992. Tony Blair made it “safe” for whole segments of the electorate to vote LAB for the first time.

To have any chance Corbyn’s LAB needs to retain the support of last year and to add some. So where are Corbyn’s converts going to come from and how is he is going to go about bringing them on board? That is as

Mike Smithson


If LAB was really concerned about Corbyn’s 2014 Tunisia coverage then complaint documentation deadlines would have been met

Friday, October 5th, 2018

Could the Jewish Telegraph’s coverage have prompted the move?

Now LAB’s alleged antisemitism is back on the news agenda

Yesterday, see top Tweet, the Jewish Telegraph seized on Labour’s failure to follow through on its complaint to the press regulator on the press coverage in August of Corbyn’s controversial 2014 Tunisia visit as almost an admission that the party was conceding that the papers had it right.

This is one of the problems about announcing that you are going to file a complaint. With a high-profile story there will be follow-up coverage particularly one as politically sensitive as this.

Inevitably when there’s no action within the regulator’s deadline then conclusions will be drawn.

I wonder whether today’s effort to ask for more time would have been made if the latest Jewish Telegraph story had not appeared.

A big impact is that after a few weeks when coverage of party anti semitism had almost faded away it is now back on the agenda.

Mike Smithson


New ComRes poll finds LAB catching up with the Tories as the one best described as “The Nasty Party”

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

A new ComRes poll commissioned by Jewish News has found the CON lead over the label ‘the nasty party’, memorably coined by TMay at the Party’s 2002 Conference, is now being challenged by Corbyn’s LAB. The poll found that while 34% said they thought the Conservatives are ‘the nasty party’, almost as many – 31% – said the same of LAB.

The poll also found that fully twice as many British voters – 48% – think Labour was a more decent party when Gordon Brown led it than it has become under Corbyn’s leadership (24%).

Voters were asked whether Labour is doing enough to tackle antisemitism within its own ranks. In March 2017, 18% thought the Party was doing enough, while today’s poll has that at just 19% – suggesting that despite Jeremy Corbyn’s claimed determination to root out the problem, the public see no difference over the past 18 months.

When asked whether, as some of his supporters suggest, Jeremy Corbyn is the target of a concerted smear campaign, or whether he is unwilling or unable to act decisively against antisemitism in his Party, voters split by a ratio of 2:1 (45% to 27%) in favour of his being unwilling or unable to stamp out the problem.

Mike Smithson


In the only 2018 polls to be tested against real results LAB shares were overstated by 7%+

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

GE17 LAB polling understatement doesn’t mean that the same will happen next time

One of the things that true believer Corbynistas keep telling me on Twitter is that last year’s general election was a turning point in British politics and that the rules have changed. Thus anything that doesn’t fit into this narrative has to be swept away and dismissed.

A key point here is current polling both voting intention and leader ratings which don’t support the contention that their man is heading for an enormous victory next time. Given how understated Corbyn’s was in most polls at GE2017 it is little wonder that many Corbyn backers raise it in response to less than good current numbers. But is the undoubted polling failure of last year a good pointer to future elections?

Certainly LAB did far better in June last year than most predicted and their leader got most of the plaudits. But for Labour, it is sometimes forgotten, it was a third consecutive General Election defeat and the Tories remained in power.

One of the challenges when trying to assess polling accuracy is that there are very few occasions when election outcomes can be compared with actual pre-election polls. Since GE2017 there has been just when one set of elections when published surveys were put to the test – May’s London Borough elections.

YouGov in partnership with QMUL and the top GE2017 pollster Survation did produce surveys ahead of May’s borough elections in the capital and the party shares together with the GE2017 and the London local election party vote aggregates can be compared.

Those are all featured in the chart above and as can be seen LAB did much worse than any of the polling. The gap on the final polls was more than seven points and suggests that London Labour was being overstated.

Now there were special factors in May. The elections took place a few weeks after the party’s antisemitism crisis broke and the demonstration outside the Palace of Westminster. A feature of the London results was the very high turnout in areas with large Jewish populations and this had some impact on the overall numbers.

In recent years polling of local elections in London has proved to be pretty good. The 2016 Mayoral race was a case in point in 2012.

So I’d argue that the failure of some pollsters at GE17 cannot be taken as a reliable guide to the future in the same way that CON understatement at GE2015 was no guide to what happened two years later.

Mike Smithson


Et tu, John? Is another JC set to get stabbed in the back by a close ally?

Monday, September 17th, 2018

The truly great, such as Caesar & Thatcher, are removed from power by their allies stabbing them in the back, is Corbyn about to join that club?

The Sunday Times reports

While those who are aware of the discussions say there is no imminent threat to Corbyn, they claim it is the first time that senior party figures have begun to question whether he is the right person to lead Labour into the next general election.

A source said: “John McDonnell is a pragmatist and is hell-bent on getting Labour back into power. He doesn’t want anything to get in the way of that. While he is not actively agitating against the Labour leader, there are people around him who are starting to raise questions about the future of the leadership and whether some of the shine is beginning to fall off Corbyn.”

Another source added: “While it is unclear whether McDonnell wants the leadership for himself, some within the party are convinced he is on manoeuvres and has been remoulding himself as the voice of reason.”

Corbyn provoked further fury within the party last week when he said he would not protect colleagues facing the threat of deselection by hard-left activists.

However, McDonnell is said to have privately told colleagues that he is not in favour of the mandatory reselection process, in comments which have been interpreted by some as part of his charm offensive to win over Labour MPs.

A Labour MP said: “Even moderate Labour MPs are coming around to McDonnell. I have heard Labour MPs say recently that they think McDonnell would be preferable to Corbyn.”

All of this chimes with what I have been saying for a while, Labour’s obsession with Israel and Palestine seems a political waste of time when all that energy could, and should, be focussed on attacking the government on any number of matters.

How much have you heard Labour banging on about the problems with Universal Credit or the train system in recent months? Those are but two areas where the government is vulnerable. The leadership and members seem more obsessed with the Middle East than Middle England, focussing on the latter helps wins general elections in this country, not the former.

I suspect John McDonnell is one of the few Labour MPs Corbyn will willingly stand down for, particularly as McDonnell doesn’t bring as much baggage on Middle Eastern matters as Corbyn.

Political authority is a lot like virginity, once it is gone then it is difficult to get back, if McDonnell’s close allies are questioning his leadership then we are closer to the end of his leadership than the beginning of it. It will be very hard for the Corbyn cult to dismiss John McDonnell as a Blairite agitator.

At the time of writing you could get between 14/1 to 20/1 on John McDonnell being Corbyn’s successor.



Surely Labour MPs won’t go quietly with deselections set to become a reality

Friday, September 7th, 2018

Boris Johnson’s divorce proceedings may dominate the news but the most important political news in the last 24 hours is the first step in the deselection of two Labour MPs by supporters of Jeremy Corbyn. I expect these two won’t be the only ones.

What makes this rather surreal, if not the feeling of a The Day Today sketch, is that Press TV from Iran covered the events in Enfield North. Given Corbyn’s former associations with Press TV, their covering this story makes for a fascinating subplot that people like Tom Watson have picked up on.

Surely this is a tipping point for Labour MPs, or will they just quietly go into the night? If they don’t go quietly then I’d expect mass resignations/defections from Labour to the much discussed new centrist party. The revelation today about ‘Labour stands accused of failing to tell MPs when they have been threatened with violence’ won’t help either.

I think Joan Ryan has summed it up beautifully. Whilst the government is screwing up things like Brexit to Universal Credit this is what Labour are focussing upon, whilst the mantra is that oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose elections, oppositions might need to put some effort in.