Archive for the 'Corbyn' Category


Why I’ve backed Diane Abbott to be next Labour leader

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

I can’t quite believe I placed this bet

Two of my underlying assumptions about politics in this country are 1) Jeremy Corbyn will be Labour leader at the next general election and 2) Were a Jeremy Corbyn led Labour party to lose a general election (especially if it is a comprehensive defeat) Labour will return to political sanity and appoint someone more centrist and electable, but what if those assumptions are wrong, cui bono?

I’ve decided it is Diane Abbott. Were Corbyn to stand down before the general election he’ll want to try and and hand over to someone who espouses the kind of politics and policies he does, so that benefits Diane Abbott, (to achieve this Corbyn will need to change the nomination process, so a candidate needs far fewer nominations than now.) Abbott is his long standing friend over several decades, political soulmate, and ally, which would be an advantage for her. She also has some other talents and advantages listed below.

  • She’s a polished television performer, honed after appearing on This Week alongside Andrew Neil, who I consider to be the finest political interviewer at the moment. Corbyn is a poor media performer, see this as an example of Corbyn’s poor handling of the media, Abbott will be an improvement on Corbyn.
  • She’s an educated lady, she read History under Professor Simon Schama at the finest university in the world, The University of Cambridge. I don’t think Corbyn has the nous or intellectual self confidence to deal with things outside his comfort zone, Ms Abbott has those qualities in abundance, regardless of whether you agree with her policies or not.
  • Unlike Jeremy Corbyn she will have experience of shadowing front bench roles were she to become leader, which is one of the reasons I think Jeremy Corbyn struggles in Parliament, he had no front bench experience prior to becoming leader, which I believe is unprecedented in recent times.
  • She doesn’t appear to have the more controversial back stories and comments that Jeremy Corbyn (and John McDonnell) have with organisations such as Sinn Fein,the IRA, and Hamas that should be so destabilising for Labour during a general election campaign.

The other assumption I mentioned above was that after a defeat/shellacking at a general election Labour would return to political sanity, but what if they don’t and decide to go someone with a similar political outlook to Corbyn. Again that benefits Diane Abbott.

As an opinion pollster, speaking exclusively in an entirely personal capacity and in no way representative of his employer put it about Corbynites ‘these days anybody who doesn’t get visibly aroused by the sound of an Enver Hoxha speech is a Blairite,’ whilst that view remains in the ascendancy amongst the Labour membership someone on the left of the Labour party will appeal to them as Leader, not a centrist nor someone on the right wing of Labour. The fact that Diane Abbott might be Labour’s first female leader and the first BAME leader of a major party might also appeal to the Labour electorate.

Less than 24 hours ago I placed some bets between 99/1 and 119/1 on Diane Abbott as next Labour leader, at the time of writing this thread, late on Saturday night, the bests odds on Diane Abbott being next Labour leader were 66/1 with Paddy Power, which implies a sub 1.5% chance of Diane Abbott being next Labour leader, I think the chances are higher, that’s why I’ve staked money on it.

Hat-tip to PBer RochdalePioneers for providing the inspiration for this bet and thread.


PS – In alternate universe Diane Abbott is Labour leader, in 2010 Jeremy Corbyn, not Diane Abbott, was the far left Labour candidate in the Labour leadership contest and received 7.42% of the vote, whilst in 2015 Diane Abbott was the far left Labour leadership candidate nominated to widen the debate in the leadership contest, and won.


CON starts 2017 by going straight for the Labour’s jugular in Copeland byelection – Corbyn’s opposition to nuclear

Saturday, January 7th, 2017

If it’s a LAB hold then it will be in spite of JC not because of him

Even though the sitting MP has yet to resign and no candidates have been selected campaigning has already started in the Copeland by-election – the first such contest in a LAB-CON marginal in this parliament.

The Tories have been made strong odds-on favourite even though you have to go back decades before you find a governing party winning a seat from the main opposition in a Westminster by-election. That, of course, is a reflection, of current national poll standings and a view that Corbyn’s party might be vulnerable.

One factor is that by far the biggest employer is the huge nuclear centre at Sellafield. This constituency is one where not being supportive of nuclear energy could prove challenging for a candidate espousing such a view. The outgoing MP is leaving to take up a post at the complex.

So it’s not really a surprise that the first Tory leaflet featured above highlight Corbyn’s position on things nuclear.

This is clearly very sensitive for the red team and how it is handled could determine the outcome.

Mike Smithson


Unite’s election could be a game changer for Corbyn

Thursday, January 5th, 2017


Don Brind on the big LAB movement battle

If Len McCluskey had had his way, Jeremy Corbyn would never have become Labour leader. The general secretary of Unite opposed the Miliband reforms to Labour’s election system that gave the serial rebel a path to the job he’d never dreamt of doing.

After his second landslide in 2016 Corbyn looked unassailable. The official line from the Team Corbyn, as well as senior figures like deputy leader Tom Watson, is that the leadership issue is “settled”.

McCluskey’s decision to trigger an early election for his job as Unite General Secretary by resigning and standing again has left things looking very unsettled.

Those Labour MPs – a large majority – who hope for a new leader to take them into the 2020 General Election are delighted as the development. One veteran Left winger and Unite member said McCluskey’s defeat by Midlands regional secretary Gerard Coyne would be a “game changer” for the party. But he has warned MPs not to get too closely involved in the contest because it would undermine Coyne’s key charge against McCluskey that he is too involved in Labour politics.

Central to Coyne’s campaign is pushing up turnout from the 15% in 2013 when McCluskey easily saw off a challenge from the Left winger Jerry Hicks by 144,570 votes to 79,819. This time the Left challenge comes from Fujitsu worker Ian Allison  He accuses McCluskey of “backsliding” on the issue of immigration and is clearly pitching for the votes of Corbyn supporters.

Can McCluskey be beaten? Yes, according to a Coyne strategy paper reported by the Independent.  It says that if turnout is low like in 2013, “Len wins again (probably). If we make it 20 per cent, it’s too close to call, if we make it 25 per cent or more we win.”

But even if McCluskey is re-elected it seems the clock is ticking on Corbyn’s leadership. His remarks in an interview with the Mirror was reported by Labour List as a signal that Corbyn could be gone in time for a 2020 General Election. McCluskey told the Mirror:

“Let’s suppose we are not having a snap election. It buys into this question of what happens if we get to 2019 and opinion polls are still awful.The truth is everybody would examine that situation, including Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell …. These two are not egomaniacs, they are not desperate to cling on to power for power’s sake.”

Although McCluskey denounced “media spin” and insisted “as well as my full support Jeremy Corbyn has support of our elected executive who actually make decisions for Unite”, he is not alone among Corbyn supporters in recognising that dire poll rating could lead to his demise. Before Christmas,  Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said that the ratings needed to improve “within the coming 12 months,”. She was quickly followed by former London mayor Ken Livingstone who said: “If in a year’s time it’s still as bad as this, I think we would all be worried.”

If McCluskey, Abbott and Livingstone are worried Corbyn should be too.

Don Brind


When LAB eventually gets over its Corbyn-madness Keir Starmer would be an effective replacement

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017



Nobody knows when Corbyn is finally going to step down but that surely is bound to happen in the not-too distant future. At some point the party will get over its temporary madness and decide that winning elections is once again a priority.

How and when that will happen is hard to predict. His uber-loyalists won’t have anything said against their man and woe betide anyone, as I’ve discovered in the past 24 hours, who raises doubts about JC’s electability.

I was one of the guests on Newsnight’s first programme of 2017 and made comments about the current leader’s electability that have sparked off attacks on me. Sobeit.

Looking round the one LAB figure who appears like a leader and is now clear favourite in the betting is Keir Starmer – the shadow BREXIT secretary – a position that should ensure that he gets a lot of coverage in the coming months. The problem with betting at this stage is that there is simply too much uncertainty.

Some bookies now have him down as tight as 11/2.

Mike Smithson


Britain remains totally split on BREXIT: 44% think it was right and 44% think it was wrong

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017


More wretched leader ratings for Corbyn. LAB voters now rate TMay over him


I’m off to London this evening to take part in a live discussion on BBC2’s Newsnight. We’ll be looking forward to what’s going to happen in 2017.

Mike Smithson


2017 opens for Corbyn with top union boss raising doubts about his performance and future

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

Latest betting on whether JC will survive until General Election


How Team Corbyn screwed up JC’s big day and reduced even further LAB’s General Election chances

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

What close aides did in previous jobs does matter – just ask Andy Coulson

Yesterday Corbyn was having a great day. The big issue was the government’s struggle on care services and the LAB leader had probably his most effective PMQs.

Then came the announcement of the hire of the senior aide with a Sinn Fein background raising once again Corbyn’s ambivalence, to put it very lightly, on the biggest home terrorist experience in modern times.

Many people have died in not so recent history because of the armed struggle over Northern Ireland and memories are deep. This is one of those areas where Corbyn is at his most vulnerable leaving it open to be used by his party’s opponents in a general election campaign.

Remember how the Tories were able to take Ed Miliband’s awkwardness over eating a bacon sandwich and raise big questions over his fitness for the job.

Imagine how the Tories are going to use the SF link. The appointment is foolish in the extreme.

Mike Smithson


Ladbrokes make Sir Keir Starmer favourite for Corbyn’s successor

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

So much is dependent on Len Len McCluskey’s chances at UNITE

Ladbrokes have moved Keir Starmer, the shadow BREXIT minister and former DPP, to 8/1 favourite as next LAB leader.

On the basis of his performances in his shadow role then there’s clear logic in this but so much is dependent on whether Len McCluskey wins re-election as boss of UNITE. He’s been a hugely influential player in Labour movement politics and has had a key role in Mr. Corbyn’s continuation as party leader.

If Len McCluskey fails to keep his job then chances are that a pathway would be open for a more mainstream figure to leader LAB. If not then Corbyn gets big boost.

Mike Smithson