Archive for the 'Corbyn' Category


On the eve of the Lib Dem conference defection speculation goes in to overdrive

Friday, September 13th, 2019

The tweet by Michael Foster, a former Labour MP, has seen speculation increase about who might be defecting, I’ve long suspected the Lib Dems have a defection or two ready for their conference, we shall see if it turns out Michael Foster’s tweet turns out to be accurate. My reading of his tweet was the defection was not related to Brexit but anti-Semitism.

I understand why people may have thought it was Rosie Duffield, her constituency party tried to censure her last year after she criticised Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of the anti-Semitism issues swirling around Labour.

Hopefully some bookmakers will open markets on who may defect.




What will next set of polls show? I have no idea

Friday, September 6th, 2019

This afternoon a friend asked me what I thought the next set polls, which I’m expecting this weekend, would show. My honest answer is I don’t have a clue. As Ed Miliband’s pollster points out above calling David Cameron a chicken in 2014 and 2015 didn’t have any negative impact for David Cameron.

As we can see the Tories are going for the Corbyn is a coward meme, which they think could work I suspect it could given Corbyn’s many requests for a general election but at the back of my mind the fact Boris Johnson has flopped at getting an election it might make him look impotent.

Coupled with the other sub optimal stories that have happened to Boris Johnson this week where he’s looked like Gordon Brown without the people skills, the resignation of his brother is one of those things that do seep into the mind of the voters because it’s a bit of drama that they can enjoy.

But I can see some switchers from the Brexit Party moving to the Tories because the expulsion of pro EU MPs like Ken Clarke will show to them that Boris Johnson really will deliver Brexit on Halloween.

I can also see the Brexit Party surging if they think the Benn bill is going to see the referendum overturned.

Finally I can also see Labour gaining from pro EU voters who have liked Corbyn effectively halting a No Deal Brexit.

These competing forces makes calling the next set of polls difficult, so my official prediction is that I do not know what the next polls will show, all I can say is people will spin them and over interpret them.

So I’ve made my prediction for the next set of polls, time for PBers to make their predictions in the comments below.


Update – We have the first poll of the weekend


Red Letter Day. Jeremy Corbyn’s chances of being next Prime Minister

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

It used to be so easy. For the period after the 2017 general election when Theresa May was Prime Minister, all you had to do was take advantage of Jeremy Corbyn’s enthusiasts and regularly lay him for next Prime Minister at the short prices that prevailed. Since she had made it plain that she was not going to fight the next election, so the circumstances in which he would be next Prime Minister were very limited indeed.  

He wasn’t the silliest favourite for that race (Jacob Rees-Mogg must take that honour), but he was a very marked lay at 6 or 7, a price at which he hovered for well over a year. The transfer of funds from naïve Corbynites to cynical political bettors was not exactly 21st century socialism, but it was near enough.

The next Prime Minister market has reopened. We’re only one month on but it’s an entirely different race. Boris Johnson shows no intention of passing on the baton to a new Conservative contender if he fails. We need to look at this question from first principles.

There are five circumstances to consider: Jeremy Corbyn might immediately take office following a vote of no confidence in September; there might be an immediate pre-Brexit general election; there might be an early post-Brexit general election; there might be an early election following a failure to Brexit on 31 October; and there might be a much later general election. Let’s look at each in turn.

Jeremy Corbyn himself has offered to lead a temporary government to extend the Article 50 notice period and hold a referendum. It is evident that as at today’s date that will not fly. Will MPs get less picky in September or October? It seems unlikely – all the reasons why Jo Swinson and Oliver Letwin will not contemplate Jeremy Corbyn as even temporary Prime Minister will continue to apply. I’d place a roughly 15% chance of a coalition of the unwilling taking office before 31 October 2019 to halt a no deal Brexit, and I give Jeremy Corbyn no more than a 20% chance of leading such a government.

What if there’s a vote of no confidence and no alternative government is called We’d have the excitement of seeing whether the Prime Minister dare try to name a date that would forestall any attempt to stop a no deal Brexit on 31 October 2019, and whether that would be challenged in the courts if he did.  Either way, the campaign would be dominated in large part by the looming shadow of Brexit. That is not good terrain for Jeremy Corbyn, since his message on Brexit reverberates with almost exactly no one. There’s probably only a 10% chance of such an election which is just as well for Jeremy Corbyn because I’d give him only about a 20% chance of getting enough seats in such an election to form a government.

Things perk up for Jeremy Corbyn considerably if the next election takes place with a campaign after 31 October. No one ever got an election victory as a thank you and the Conservatives remain very light on their forward-looking proposition. Rumour has it that Dominic Cummings is looking to fill that void, but as Sajid Javid’s fiasco over stamp duty shows, policies cannot be magicked up out of thin air. Labour already has eye-catching policies ready to roll (whether or not they are particularly coherent or realistic). 

If Brexit has happened, the campaign is likely to have regular stories about some form of Brexit-related disruption, which will automatically have the government on the defensive. The whole terrain of such a campaign would suit Labour well. Such an election will only take place if forced on the government by Parliament (I’d place a 30% chance on this, probably taking place early in 2020 if so) and I would give Jeremy Corbyn at least a 50% chance of getting enough seats to form a government.

If Brexit has not happened by 31 October, a different danger arises.  Boris Johnson would be a busted flush. Far from do or die, he would be done for.  The only question is whether a general election was triggered before the Conservatives replaced him. There’s a 30% chance of this permutation in my view, and I’d expect the Conservatives to win the race at least 50% of the time. 

If they don’t, I’d expect Jeremy Corbyn to lead the largest party roughly 80% of the time – the Conservatives would be in chaos, with the Brexit party and the Lib Dems both tearing strips off them all over the place. His biggest problem would be forming a coalition if he needed to, because the Lib Dems are clearly not going to work with him and they look set to be a much more formidable Parliamentary presence after such an election. So I reduce his chances to being next Prime Minister by this permutation by 25%.

That leaves the other possibility, that the government somehow navigates Scylla and Charybdis and steers a course on Brexit that enables it to go long.  You will already have worked out that I make this just a 15% chance. In these circumstances, the government would have every prospect of success. It would have a track record, it would have time to build a programme for the next five years and we have no reason to believe that Jeremy Corbyn would be any more popular than he is now. I’d expect Jeremy Corbyn to form the next government only a third of the time on such a permutation, and that’s probably being charitable.

Adding all these up, I come to the conclusion that Jeremy Corbyn has a roughly 1 in 3 chance of being next Prime Minister. Current Betfair odds imply that he has less than a 1 in 4 chance. That makes backing him a clearly marked bet. I’m on.

Alastair Meeks


The whole Corbyn GNU story is based on a false premise – that MP numbers are there for a no confidence vote to be passed

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

The US President who took over after Kennedy was assassinated, Lyndon Baines Johnson, was famed for his sayings that wonderfully summed up political situations one of which was that the first rule of politics was that its “practitioners need to be able to count”.

If only MPs and the media circus had thought about that last night when Corbyn made his ludicrous pitch to try to embarrass new LD leader Jo Swinson.

For the main requirement for the circumstances envisaged to be apply is Johnson’s government being defeated on a confidence motion and that based on current numbers is highly unlikely. For the only way that this could get through is for three CON MPS to rebel. This is how Stephen Bush puts in in the I:

“Getting even three Tory names is a major difficulty, but clearing that hurdle on paper still isn’t enough. There are also the ten MPs who were elected in 2017 under Labour colours, but who have since quit because they believe that Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to be Prime Minister. This is due to what they see as, at best, toleration of anti-Semitism in the Labour ranks and a collection of political views that are dangerous to the country. Then there is Sylvia Hermon, an independent Unionist MP who opposes the Conservative party but has vowed never to make Corbyn Prime Minister due to his historical ties to the Republican movement. So to cancel out their votes you need not three Conservative MPs, but fourteen. There is no chance of attracting anything like that many Conservative rebels.

Jo Swinson got round to this during the afternoon in her letter to Corbyn. But this is good reminder that the chances of such a vote succeeding is highly unlikely under the current composition of the Commons.

Next story..

Mike Smithson


Labour has to face up to the blindingly obvious – the Corbyn brand is busted

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

Deltapoll July 27 2019

The biggest impediment to the movement is the man at the top

The main challenge to LAB as it seeks to keep in the game is that its leader is dragging it down. Three weeks ago Deltapoll asked a supplementary question in its first post PM Johnson poll. How would you vote if Labour was led by someone other than Corbyn? The outcome is in the chart above.

The detailed data from he latest Survation poll shows a pattern that we are seeing from all the pollsters – something like a quarter of Labour’s GE2017 vote has now gone to the LDs and a tenth to the Brexit party.

Corbyn’s personal ratings have almost totally collapsed. Recent Ipsos MORI polls have seen dissatisfaction numbers for Corbyn touch 75% which is by far the worst recorded by the firm for any leader in all the 45 years the pollster has been asking its leader rating questions.

A real worry is that in its latest poll Ipsos found just 49% of current Labour voters are satisfied with the job Corbyn is doing (up five points), but 43% are dissatisfied, as are 92% of Liberal Democrats.

Nothing in this is new to Labour activists who have been getting strong anti-Corbyn responses on the doorstep for month.

All this means is that there are no downsides for Jo Swinson when she snubs Corbyn’s latest opportunistic initiatives.

The great thing for the LDs the Tories and Farage’s party is that Corbyn isn’t going anywhere.

Mike Smithson



Will Corbyn be Labour leader at the next general election?

Sunday, August 4th, 2019

At first glance this market from Ladbrokes seems like an easy way to earn a 40% return as it seems we are headed for an early election with Boris Johnson’s actions indicating that’s where we will end up. An early election gives no realistic way for Corbyn to be removed or stand down as Labour leader.

With no honeymoon BJ for the Tories first in Brecon & Radnorshire and ComRes now having the Tories one per cent behind Labour, only a few weeks after ComRes were predicting a 150 seat majority for a Boris Johnson led Tory party you can see why Boris Johnson might not opt to hold an early election, especially after how a snap election or talk therein ruined the reputations and authority of his two mandateless predecessors.

If there’s not going to be a snap election then if we see more polling similar to the findings from Deltapoll below then I can see Corbyn ousted.

If Labour members realise Corbyn is the roadblock to them winning a general election then Corbyn should be ousted, his supporters are appeal loyal, but we live in volatile times, what we’ve learned in the last few years are the tales of the unexpected do happen.

I expect somehow we’ll end up with a general election by next spring as sustained No Deal will see the fall of the government, like the winter of discontent on speed, ‘and now, instead of mounting barbed steeds, To fright the souls of fearful adversaries, He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber’ seems apt for Boris Johnson.

So all things considered I think the 2/5 is the best option, but if there’s a route to government lasting until 2021 or later I’d be interested in 7/4 option.



Is Corbyn at risk from the mother of all political decapitations?

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

Could his mighty Islington fortress be built a little bit on sand?

We’ve heard a lot about how Boris Johnson is at risk of losing his Westminster seat come the next election. His 5,034 majority over Labour in Uxbridge & South Ruislip is not at all commanding – Labour need just a 5.4% swing to take the seat – and what with Johnson leading the charge towards a No Deal Brexit, with the economic and other disruption that would cause, on top of local issues like Heathrow, the prospect isn’t one to be ignored lightly.

Some commentators have made similar observations about Jo Swinson, who holds a very similar majority to Boris in East Dunbartonshire (although over the SNP rather than Labour). They do so with less justification. There’s no particular reason why, having lost a seat they’d previously gained from virtually nowhere, the SNP would surge back to retake it in the face of a Lib Dem national revival. It’s true that that revival is less marked in Scotland than England or Wales but it’s there all-the-same, and inasfar as Brexit’s concerned the Lib Dems have least to fear of the GB-wide parties from the SNP.

However, there’s one other party leader whose name hasn’t been mentioned as being potentially at risk: Jeremy Corbyn.

“Hang on a minute”, you might well say. “Doesn’t Corbyn have a 33,215 majority, with more than a 60% lead over the Tories? How on earth might he possibly lose that?” Yes, indeed he does. And he very probably won’t lose it. But here’s how he might.

Safe seats can be measured in three dimensions, which for convenience we can call depth, length and breadth. ‘Depth’ is the size of the majority. On this score – the most traditional one – Islington North is one of the safest in the country.

But a more generic description of a safe seat might be ‘one which continually returns candidates from the same party, without significant challenge’. In other words, it’s not just the current majority but the ability to repeat it time after time that matters – i.e. length. On that level, the seat isn’t quite as safe as current numbers would have it. Corbyn’s majority in 2010 was around 12,400 and the election before it was just 6,716 – both times over the Lib Dems. While no-one other than Labour has won it since 1935, the votes haven’t always been weighed in, even relatively recently.

The other dimension is breadth: does the electorate return candidates from the same party across all forms of election? It was this point that should have flagged up before 2015 how vulnerable so many Scottish Labour seats were. Yes, they had big majorities from the 2010 Westminster election, repeating a pattern going back decades, but in council, Holyrood and European elections, their party’s hegemony had already been broken.

And on this point too, Islington North isn’t quite what it first appears. At the Council level, Labour is utterly dominant, holding 47 of the 48 seats (the other being a Green) but like the Westminster elections, this is a recent phenomenon: Labour didn’t control the council between 1998-2010, while for seven of those years, the Lib Dems did. This is not dyed-in-the-wool cultural ‘my-father-and-his-father’-style Labour country. That point was re-emphasised in the recent Euro-elections. Not only did the Lib Dems win across London as a whole then, they also finished first in Islington borough; Labour secured only 28.5% (and the Greens, 19.6%). We should note that Islington covers two seats and they’re not identical but both do have histories of substantial non-Labour votes.

“So what?”, you say. Even if there’s this pre-coalition history and a show of weakness in what’s always been a low-turnout protest election, surely things will return to normal for Labour in a general election, especially for their leader? The coalition legacy doesn’t disappear that quickly? Well, probably. But …

London is a Remainy city and Islington is a very Remainy borough, voting as it did by more than 3:1 to stay in the EU. Therein lies the slim chance for something truly spectacular, because Corbyn is notably not very Remainy, despite his party and despite his constituency. In fact, he wants to leave and demanded the invocation of Article 50 the day after the referendum: points his election opponents will no doubt raise.

If the next election is held this autumn and is dominated by Brexit, as is entirely possible, the Lib Dems are well placed to make very heavy inroads into the Remain vote – especially where they already have an established presence, and all the more so if Labour has a bad conference which concludes with more division and fudge.

Do I expect Corbyn to lose his seat in an autumn election? No. Is it possible if the stars align? Maybe, just. But while Islington North might be a step too far, not least because of the high-profile candidate and the Greens’ presence there, similar factors could well be at play in other constituencies with apparently daunting majorities. These may well offer very good value once odds start being offered on individual seats.

David Herdson


Despite the dire polling, Jeremy Corbyn is not going anywhere

Friday, August 2nd, 2019

Barring accident or illness the Labour leader is certain to lead the party into the next election and is very likely to stay whatever the result may be

If Labour was deadly serious about defeating the Tories at the next general election, Jeremy Corbyn would no longer be the party’s leader. The polling since Boris Johnson took over as Prime Minister and installed the most right-wing government the UK has ever seen tells exactly the same story that it told when Theresa May was in charge: Corbyn is deeply unpopular in every conceivable demographic except one – the Labour Party’s membership. Actually, you can make that two. The Tory faithful love him too.

Don’t think this fact is lost on those who surround the Labour leader. They may be many things, but stupid is not one of them. The likes of John McDonnell, Len McCluskey, Andrew Murray, Dianne Abbott, Jon Lansman and Karie Murphy can read the opinion polls, they get the data. They realise that Corbyn is utterly toxic throughout the UK and across every age group. They understand that he costs Labour support.

In fact, we are probably now at the stage where only the spectacularly obtuse Richard Burgon among Labour MPs and officials genuinely believes Corbyn is well-liked and leading the party to victory. But that does not mean Corbyn is on his way out. There is no chance of that.

Amidst all the Johnson coverage, what you may not have noticed is that the far-left is in the process of falling out with itself. There are serious splits emerging on anti-Semitism – in particular, over whether Chris Williamson MP should be expelled from the party – while the gaping sore that is Brexit policy shows no sign of being healed. Jeremy Corbyn is the only thing that continues to hold the different strands together. Trotskyists and Stalinists, of course, have never been the best of friends.

If Corbyn were to stand down, it would be tough to find another candidate from that wing of the Labour party who could unite it. Meanwhile, all the indications are that the members – who long ago chose Corbyn over victory – would plump for a Starmer or a Thornberry if a leadership contest took place and Corbyn was not in it. John McDonnell would have a fighting chance, but there would be no guarantees. And it’s guarantees the far-left needs.

Having spent decades waiting to take control of the Labour party, it is not going to let anything as trivial as kicking the Tories out of power in a general election get in the way of sealing the deal completely. A change of leader now could put the entire project at risk.

Without Corbyn holding the far-left together, the danger is that it would fragment. That would leave the soft-left free to assert itself not only at the top, but also within the wider party – on the NEC, at the regional level and within CLPs. But for as long as Corbyn is there and Corbyn-backing slates can be put to members in party elections that risk is minimised.

What all this means is that barring accident or illness, Jeremy Corbyn will lead Labour into the next general election. And whatever the result that is almost certainly where he will stay. Corbyn himself may hate it, but he knows the score: there will be no Labour leadership election until a viable replacement for him can be found.

Ideally, the next leader will be a woman – Labour members are very aware that the party stands out like a sore thumb in never having had one – so realistically we are looking at either Laura Pidcock or Rebecca Long Bailey to be the far-left candidate. Angela Rayner is considered too off-message, while no-one trusts Emily Thornberry. The likes of Yvette Cooper and Lisa Nandy are not even close.

Currently, though, Pidcock and Long Bailey are largely invisible to all but the most committed of members. It will take time for that to change. Were one of them to go up against Cooper, Thornberry or Nandy now (and it would only be one given the nomination process) the chances are she would lose. Both need to be more prominent more regularly in the Commons and on TV to become better known and to develop followings. So, it is a five-year project, not a six month one.

Of course, none of this means that the Tories can consider themselves home and dry when the next election comes. Although the recent polling shows them enjoying a Johnson bounce, the combined Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green vote is on or around the 50% mark. As the No Deal rhetoric ratchets up over the summer and into the autumn, and deadline day approaches, that may well mean voters switching as they seek the best way to stop it happening.

Corbyn may be disliked, but it could just be that the idea of No Deal is hated even more. Undoubtedly, though, he makes the Conservative path to victory less daunting. Boris Johnson has always been lucky in his Labour foes. That luck shows no sign of abating.

Joff Wild

Joff Wild posts on Political Betting as SouthamObserver. He tweets as SpaJW