Archive for the 'Corbyn' Category


Another day and another antisemitic issue that Corbyn has to find an answer for

Saturday, March 24th, 2018

This is becoming a running sore

The above is the latest difficult antisemitism story that Corbyn has had to respond to and these appear to be coming thick and fast at the moment.

Once a narrative like this develops it can be extremely difficult to close it down.

If Labour appears to be in with a shout at the next election then you can bet is that this will be raised in a manner that is designed to damage the Labour leader and his party.

The question is what Team Corbyn can do to close this down and this looks challenging. Today’s story is based on something that appeared on Facebook book six years ago when Corbyn was just a rebel backbencher who did not attract much attention.

My suggestion is that he visits Yad Vashem – the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre near Jerusalem. He would be following in the footsteps of scores of world political leaders over the years.

Today is server upgrade day. Expect some downtime. Hopefully no comments will be lost.
Thanks, Robert

Mike Smithson


If its Corbyn versus May again next time my money would be on the Tories

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

Tories now back as odds-on favourites

We could be more than four years away from the next general election and it is possible that neither Corbyn or Theresa May will be leading the parties by then. But if the two were to be the main party leaders next time, whenever that is, my money would be on the Conservatives.

    Firstly it is always the case that we look at elections through the prism of what happened last time rather than what is actually happening at that moment. The assumption would be that message Mrs May would campaign as poorly as in 2017 and that Corbyn would campaign as well.

One thing’s for sure that if May is still heading blue team, which she wants to do, then she is going to perform a lot lot better than she did a few last year. What happens with failure is that it causes a lot of soul searching and you are able to look at the future more critically to work out the lessons to be learnt.

Labour, of course, lost the last general election even though their performance was substantially better than most of the polls were suggesting. But in terms of the red team seat haul compared with the Tories Corbyn’s Labour did worse than Gordon Brown 7 years earlier. Yet Corbyn was almost declared the de facto victor and this appears to be impacting on LAB thinking.

Last time the Tories had great plans to undermine Corby by highlighting some of his controversial past positions on things like Ireland and the wars Britain had been involved in. That didn’t have the desired potency because for many voters it was all about things a long long time ago.

Next time Corbyn’s approach to Russia and the Salisbury attack will be fresher in people’s minds and will be used more effectively.

One little bit of data should be worrying LAB. For the first time since the general election Opinium this week found Corbyn trailing Theresa May in its leader approval ratings.

The Tories have now moved to odds-on favourite to win most seats at the next election.

Mike Smithson


Labour candidates fear doorstep questions about Corbyn and the Kremlin

Monday, March 19th, 2018

Labour members on the front line are worried about how voters will react to Jeremy Corbyn’s equivocal response to the attempted assassination in Salisbury of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, and his daughter.

The front line in this case is the May local elections, including polls in the 32 London boroughs where the Tories fear they are in for a drubbing.

But at a training session last week for new candidates in one of those boroughs the very first question was about how to respond on the doorstep to perceptions that the Labour leader is soft on the Kremlin.

The candidates were advised to focus on the fact despite his apparent scepticism Corbyn had backed Theresa May’s expulsion of Russian diplomats. Furthermore, a host of Labour figures including their local MP and Shadow Ministers Nia Griffiths, Emily Thornberry and Keir Starmer had firmly laid the blame on the Kremlin.

Worried local campaigners will also have noted that the Shadow Chancellor, John Mc Donnell strongly condemned President Putin. He told Robert Peston 
“We support exactly what the Prime Minister said and we condemn Russia for this. Whichever way you look at it (Vladimir Putin) is responsible … All the evidence points to him”.

McDonnell denied that he was contradicting his leader who he said had given what he described as a “constructive critique” which had been “misread” by others.

In my view McDonnell’s description is valid when applied to Corbyn’s Guardian article  in which he said “the use of military nerve agents on the streets of Britain is barbaric and beyond reckless” and attacked the Putin regime for “its conservative authoritarianism, abuse of human rights or political and economic corruption.”

But the damage had been done by his inept presentation of his case in the Commons on Wednesday which dismayed Labour MPs on the front and back benches and, of course, delighted Tories and their media allies who plan to make Corbyn’s alleged lack of patriotism an election weapon.

There are obvious dangers for Labour that this could work in a General Election. The question of whether Corbyn measures up as a Prime Minister could be a bigger issue than it was in 2017.

But will it be a lifeline for the Tories on May 3rd — Will the fears of the Labour candidates I was with last week be realised?

To an extent that will depend on the effectivenesss of Labour’s counter attack. They will highlight the Tories’ fondness for Russian cash. Boris Johnson confirmed to Andrew Marr  that he did take tennis match with David Cameron for which the wife of a former Putin minister had paid £160k at a Tory fundraiser.

Laboiur will also seek to show that they have been making the running on tackling dirty foreign money while the Tories have been dragging their feet. McDonnell told Peston that his proposed levy on properties owned by foreign companies would didn’t just apply to Russian oligarchs, but Russians made up “at least a quarter” of those who would be affected.

Perhaps Labour’s best hope is that the elections are genuinely local and that health, education and housing will be at the top of voters’ minds.

I’m still optimistic that on May 4th it will be the Tories looking for alibis for bad results, especially in London.

Don Brind


Oh those Russians, you may have just ended the Labour party as we know it

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

Today’s Sunday Times report

Senior Labour MPs appalled by Jeremy Corbyn’s performance over the Salisbury poisoning have been in secret talks with the Liberal Democrats and at least one Conservative MP about forming a new political party called Start Again.

Plans for a new pro-European centre party have been openly discussed as part of cross-party discussions on Brexit, according to sources present.

One of those involved in the plotting — a former member of the shadow cabinet — told The Sunday Times that Corbyn’s refusal to blame Russia for the attack would cause MPs to abandon Labour. “This is a watershed moment,” the MP said. “It has caused a number of people to question why we are in this party.”

Sources say a number of possible names — including the Democrats, Back Together and Regain — have been discussed for a new party to launch after Brexit in the spring of 2019, but Start Again has emerged as the “working title” of the new party

Details of Start Again emerged after reports last week that Chuka Umunna, the former shadow business secretary, recently called Sir Vince Cable, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, to complain that he had “jumped the gun” by publicly revealing that Labour MPs might join forces with the Lib Dems.

Pro-remain MPs and peers, including Umunna and Chris Leslie, the former shadow chancellor, and Wirral South MP Alison McGovern meet every Wednesday to discuss tactics.

Others present include Anna Soubry, the Tory MP for Broxtowe, who told the New Statesman magazine in March last year: “If [a new party] could somehow be the voice of a moderate, sensible, forward-thinking, visionary middle way, with open minds — actually things which I’ve believed in all my life — better get on with it.”

I can’t see this happening, Anna Soubry has already denied any involvement.

Additionally the first past the post voting system really does hinder an entrant/emergent party, whilst many the cite the 1 MP UKIP got in 2015 with 12.6% of the vote the better example might be the 23 MPs the Alliance got with 25.4% of the vote with many defector incumbents.

As Simon Danzcuk can attest to, being the incumbent MP counts for very little when you’re up against an official Labour candidate. More and more people will be regretting voting against adopting AV in 2011.

I suspect we’ll see grumbling from Labour MPs but it appears to be all light and no heat but no substance. Corbyn polling 41% in Great Britain at the last election and currently leading the Tories by 7% with the most accurate pollster at the last election makes in my view any defections from Labour unlikely.




If the DUP can make Martin McGuinness Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland then we shouldn’t rule them out making Corbyn Prime Minister

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

A Brexit deal that separates the Six Counties from the rest of the UK could rupture the DUP and Tory alliance for years.

Over the last few years many observers on politics, myself included, have made assumptions that turned out be very wrong. Lib Dem incumbency would save them from a catastrophic seat loss in 2015, the electorate wouldn’t vote to make themselves poorer by Leaving the European Union, and Jeremy Corbyn’s backstory & a divided Labour party would see a Corbyn led Labour party pummelled at the 2017 general election to name but three assumption that proved hugely wrong.

But I’m starting to wonder if another assumption might turn out to be similarly wrong, that assumption being the DUP will never do anything that makes Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister. I’m not going to repeat the many reasons why Jeremy Corbyn & John McDonnell are repulsive to the DUP, but then I remember the photograph above.

The DUP went into a power sharing agreement with the political wing of the IRA and made a former IRA Chief of Staff Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland. If they can do that then they can easily make Corbyn Prime Minister.

They may do that if Mrs May is seen to betray Northern Ireland in the Brexit negotiations and see Northern Ireland more aligned with the EU than with Great Britain.

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s takes his whip from Rome, will he take his whip with the DUP too?

As an agnostic someone’s Catholicism isn’t really an issue for me* but the Catholicism of the favourite to succeed Theresa May might be an issue for the DUP and for Jacob Rees-Mogg. Throughout the history of the DUP there’s been a lot of things that will alarm Catholics and make you wonder if they’ll ever make a Catholic the Prime Minister.

  1. Ian Paisley Senior said of the European Union it was ‘a beast ridden by the harlot Catholic church.’
  2. When Pope John Paul II addressed the European Parliament Paisley held up a red poster and shouted ‘”Pope John Paul II – Antichrist” and began shouting, ”I renounce you as the Antichrist!”’
  3. When the late Queen Mother visited the Pope in The Vatican he observed ‘Her visit to the Vatican was spiritual fornication and adultery with the Antichrist.’
  4. He also said of Catholics that ‘they breed like rabbits and multiply like vermin.’ I wonder what the DUP think of the father of six Jacob Rees-Mogg and vice versa.
  5. Paisley also said ‘he considered all Catholics to be members of the Irish Republican Army, which he branded as a collective of terrorists.’

Whilst you can argue that Ian Paisley’s time has gone no one senior in the DUP ever repudiated Paisley’s comments, additionally you regularly still see articles like ‘Anti-Catholic bigotry of many in DUP still significant.’

Back in 1994 when the Loyalist Paramilitary the UDA came up with a Doomsday plan in the event of a British withdrawal from Northern Ireland. The plan discussed taking Catholic hostages as part of creating a Protestant Homeland. The ”Doomsday” scenario recognises there would be large numbers of Catholics left within the Protestant homeland and offers three chilling options on dealing with them — expulsion, internment, or nullification.

Current DUP MP Sammy Wilson described the Doomsday plan as ”a very valuable return to reality”.  Would Jacob Rees-Mogg really want to ally himself with such a party?

With Jacob Rees-Mogg admitting he takes his whip from the Roman Catholic Church then in some DUP eyes Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister might seem the attractive option.


*Unless their opponent were a Pastafarian, that would make me more likely to vote for the Pastafarian.


The big development following TMay’s Russia statement is an apparent divide within LAB over Corbyn’s response

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

The most noticeable feature of the MP responses to the PM Russia statement was the way many LAB MPs seem to be backing the government rather than their leader, Mr. Corbyn. The Tweets above sets the scene. One after another LAB MPs stood up pointedly backing TMay and not mentioning what their leader had said.

Quite where this will go is hard to say but based on the LAB MPs contributions to the discussion after the statement ignoring what their man had said it is clear that the party has a problem.

In the past year most of Corbyn’s opponents from the 2016 confidence move against him have held their tongues and there has been a show of unity. Maybe the events in Salisbury will change that.

Mike Smithson


For all TMay’s travails she continues to have a clear lead over Corbyn as “best PM”

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

JC’s heady days of last June are becoming a distant memory

Back in June, after Corbyn’s LAB got 4 seats closer to the Tory MP total than Gordon Brown’s party seven years earlier, there was a massive euphoria around the Labour leader. He could do no wrong and was reported to have said he expected to be PM by last Christmas. That, of course, didn’t happen and he then revised that to Christmas 2018.

Then, in its first poll immediately after the election, Corbyn went into the lead over TMay as best Best PM. A week and a half later the pollster had them level pegging on this measure a result that was to be repeated in the first YouGov after TMay’s less than successful party conference speech.

Apart from that the pollster has mostly had clear leads for Mrs May although the proportion of don’t knows is very high and one occasion in December “No one of the above” was the preferred choice.

Sure LAB has had minute leads in the majority of voting intention surveys but the party has not got even close to what EdM’s LAB was doing in the polls in the 2010-2015 parliament.

Given this and Labour continuing to trail badly on the economy the conventional thinking is that that is not an election winning position.

Yet TMay continues to be the leader thought to be in most trouble. Corbyn continues to benefit within the movement from GE2017 not being the total disaster that some were predicting. Memories, though, can fade with time.

Mike Smithson


Moggy still leads Jez in the “PM after TMay” betting

Monday, March 5th, 2018

Data/chart via

Mike Smithson