Archive for the 'Corbyn' Category


LAB plan to give free bus travel to those of 25 and younger

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

But is it more about municipalising buses than helping the young?

It is being reported that Corbyn’s Labour is planning a big measure to help those under 25 if it should win the next election with transport costs. The plan is to offer a free bus pass to those in that age group which can be used on those services which are wholly or partly provided by public bodies.

But there’s a catch. The objective appears to be more about encouraging local authorities to run their own services and the pass won’t apply to private services where there is no public financial support.

    So you can see a lot of confusion as it is not a direct parallel to the existing oldie bus scheme. Most people don’t know whether particular bus gets public support or not.

As an oldie who has been benefiting from the senior travel scheme since I was 60 I think there’s be a lot of merit in this if it was for all buses.

It might be recalled that in the run-up to the general election that never was in October 2007 Gordon Brown introduced a national, England, bus pass scheme for the elderly. There is a standard identification card and a standard set of rules that allow olders to travel on bus services anywhere within England.

Until getting my senior bus pass I hardly ever got on one but now I use them an enormous amount simply because it is so convenient and so much easier because you don’t have to be fiddling into your pockets to find the change to buy a ticket.

It was interesting that the Conservatives have never moved against the very costly Gordon Brown bus pass scheme although the age requirement has been aged up to the mid 60s.

One of the arguments for that scheme was that it provided a revenue stream that helped support many bus services that would otherwise not have existed. Clearly the more traffic there is the more buses there are likely to be.

The YouGov polling featured in the chart above from January shows that those sampled thought doing something about bus fares could be the best way of helping the least well off.

The Tories themselves have recognised how important travel costs are and made a move last year to extend the age range of the young person’s rail pass which knocks 1/3 off ticket costs subject to certain conditions.

I’m in Sussex writing this while riding on a Stagecoach with my bus pass.

Mike Smithson


For the first time since GE2017 Corbyn has slipped behind TMay in the leader ratings – can he recover?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

How YouGov’s party leader favourability tracker has changed since TMay called GE2017

The chart shows the trend in TMay’s net favourability lead over Corbyn since she called the election jut over a year ago. The figures are calculated by taking the PM’s net rating and subtracting Mr. Corbyn’s net figure.

As can be seen this really tells the story of British politics over the past year – from a position where Mrs. May was totally dominant to the turnaround at the general election on June 8th and now the small recovery for the Prime Minister.

The reason why this is important is, as I have argued strongly, that leader ratings are historically a better guide to electoral outcomes than standard voting intention polls.

There are several types of leader ratings. Whether the name person is doing well or badly: Ipsos MORI asks how people are satisfied with the individuals; and Opinium has led the way with approval ratings. The new DeltaPoll goes with well/badly

My favourite is favuorability which YouGov run alongside their well/badly ratings.

We also have “Best PM” ratings which I believe are less important because there is a huge incumbency advantage to the PM.

After spending almost all the period since the general election with a net lead over Mrs. May the PM is now ahead. The big question for Labour is whether their man can recover.

Mike Smithson


Why one ex-LAB member has decided to rejoin the party

Saturday, April 7th, 2018

The UK will never get a credible, electable opposition unless the centre-left commits to the Labour party, argues Joff Wild

Has there been a more depressing time to be on the centre-left of British politics than now? The Labour party’s descent into institutionalised anti-Semitism is no huge surprise to those of us who have been watching the far-left for years, but the speed with which it has happened, the extent to which has occurred and the willingness of so many to ignore it have been shocking.

As Saturday’s Guardian makes clear, loyalty to Jeremy Corbyn will buy anti-Semites a free pass from many in leadership positions and elsewhere in Labour today. For a party that was built on anti-racism and solidarity, it does not get more shameful than that.

Of course, one of the main reasons why so many of us on the centre-left have always had a major problem with Corbyn and others on the far-left is their total failure to challenge or condemn the anti-Semitism of people they have shared platforms with for decades. It is not opportunism now that drives us, it is principle – just as it always has been.

The simple fact is that implacable, uncompromising opponents of racism do not stay silent in the face of those who speak of Jewish blood libels, conspiracies and driving Jews into the sea; they do not talk of them as friends or invite them for tea in Parliament. Instead, they say loudly and unequivocally: “Your views are disgusting, you are wrong, and I want nothing to do with you.” Jeremy and the rest of the far-left have never done this.

It is this silence, as well as a proclivity to back any cause or regime, no matter how tyrannical, murderous or cruel – just so long as it is anti-UK, anti-US and/or anti-Israel – that has meant so many on the centre-left have been opposed to the far-left for years – not just since Corbyn became Labour leader. The far-left’s world view is not the world view we have. This is not a life or death struggle about renationalising the railways or tax and spend; it is a deep-seated, long-running philosophical difference firmly rooted in principle.

So what are we to do? I left the Labour party last year as the anti-Semitism I saw and heard became too much to live with. How could I stick with a party that tolerated it? But over the last week or so, I have been thinking again.

The fact is that under the current electoral system, the only alternative to the Conservative party is the Labour party. If this miserable, half-cocked, desperately mediocre, clueless government is to be replaced, it can only be replaced by a Labour one. The problem, though, is that the British electorate is smart enough never to put into power a party led by the far-left. This means a stark choice: either accept permanent Tory rule or try to change the Labour Party. After a lot of soul-searching, I have decided in favour of the latter.

That’s why I have rejoined Labour. I am sickened by its institutional anti-Semitism, I disagree vehemently with the leadership on foreign policy and have major reservations about its economic policies; but, having benefited from it, I also believe passionately in wealth redistribution to deliver equality of opportunity, am convinced the state is a force for good and put great store by solidarity and internationalism. If I want to see a government that shares these values, I need to see Labour become electable again. And that will not happen if I sit on the side lines.

By rejoining Labour I get a vote. The next general election may be four years away, but the next NEC election is in June. When the time comes, I will have a say in who becomes the next Labour leader. I can influence who chairs my constituency party and who fills other local roles. I can help to choose candidates, I can take part in debates. If enough others with similar views to my own do the same, in time we might have an impact. The price is just over £5 a month. For me, the opportunity that gives to join with others in groups like Progress to make a difference somewhere down the line makes it money well spent.
Don’t get me wrong, I am under no illusions here. The far left has a vice-like grip on the Labour party from the top down and is not going to release it any time soon. For as long as Jeremy Corbyn remains leader, it will hold sway. I go into this knowing I will be on the losing side more often than not, perhaps almost always at the start.

As far as I can see, though, the alternative is to do nothing except to howl into the void on Twitter. A new party is a non-starter for as long as we have first-past-the-post. Some will say that by joining I am helping to push Jeremy Corbyn closer to becoming Prime Minister. My response to that is that I am signing up because I do not believe a Labour party controlled by the far-left can ever win power – and I want a Labour government.

The UK needs a strong, credible, electable opposition just as much as it needs a competent, united government. We have neither at the moment. I will leave it to those on the centre-right to drag the Conservative party back to some semblance of sense, but I invite all patriots on the centre-left to join me in trying to build a Labour party that is fit to take office once more. For £5 a month it’s not a vast amount and the obligation is not huge. Out in the real world, there are more of us than there are of them. Together we can – eventually – prevail.

Joff Wild posts on Political Betting as SouthamObserver. You can follow him on Twitter at @SpaJW


Don’t be tempted by the Corbyn exit in 2018 bets – he’s as strong as ever within the party

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

Normally when a leader starts to get into a bit of trouble the enterprising bookmakers begin issuing prices on how long they will survive. We saw that a lot in October after Mrs Mays rather disastrous conference speech. What happened? she sailed through riding the storm and is still there looking even more secure than ever.

    So although Corbyn has had a less than optimal month, with his response to the Salisbury incident and of course the latest antisemitism issues, I’m not rushing to put money on him going early.

We know, of course, that those who are leaving the party are hostile to Corbyn which means that the bulk of the remaining membership will be even more in his favour. While that remains he will evenutally go of his own accord at a time he wants.

His team have been pretty cack-handed on some aspects particularly on the deletion of his Facebook account which sounded just too contrived and almost an admission that there was something more serious, that hasn’t been discovered, tucked away somewhere.

Ladbrokes have it at 3/1 that he will be out this year though the latest at Betfair is about 9/2 of him not surviving.

I have no idea when he will eventually move on though given how he is perceived to have done so well at the last election in the party his loyalists will very much hope that he’s still around at the next election.

Mike Smithson


Based on last night Corbyn doesn’t look as though he’s treating LAB’s antisemitism crisis seriously

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

And David Herdson’s right – one of the attendees has leaked this

Mike Smithson


The one way for LAB to close down its antisemitism crisis is for Corbyn to go but that is not going to happen

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

This continues to dominate the headlines

The ongoing narrative over anti-semitism within the Labour Party has now gone beyond the point when the former spin doctor, Alastair Campbell, said that a bad news story should have been closed down. Tony Blair’s spin doctor used to observe that if one was running more than a week after it started then it was serious.

By that judgement this is really starting to look very problematical for Labour and Mr Corbyn and it’s hard to see what is going to close it down. There are so many cases to be dealt with in the pipeline that we are going to get continual reminders of this running sore and you can be sure that Labour’s opponents are going to do their best to keep on bringing it up.

    Mischievously the government is making time available in the Commons for a debate and the overnight news about Corbyn’s Facebook account being deleted is only going to add to the media hunger.

Today’s Times is reporting that 17k members have been lost this year and only last week 3k of them did not renew their direct debits.

Ironically this will only make the party’s membership base even more pro-Corbyn because you would assume that those who have gone were not part of his fan-base.

The real worry for the party must be that this is so associated with their leader that this will continue as an ongoing irritation while he remains in the job. Given his huge support amongst the membership seen in the recent YouGov members’ poll then it is hard to see him stepping aside.

The political point is that voters don’t like split parties and that is what this row highlights.

Mike Smithson


What LAB needs is a Burnley fan once again running the leader’s PR

Sunday, April 1st, 2018

Mike Smithson


After long periods heading the “next PM” betting punters are moving away from Corbyn

Sunday, April 1st, 2018

The last nine months on the TMay successor Betfair market

In the aftermath of what was seen as a shock general election result last June the Labour leader, Corbyn, edged up to become favourite in the Theresa May successor betting as PM. Now that has changed and the trend seems to be edging away from him.

I’ve long argued that Corbyn as next PM favourite was crazy simply because the chances are that it will be another Conservative who takes over from Mrs May if she goes before the next general election.

Currently the favourite position on Betfair is occupied by Jacob Rees-Mogg but since the election both David Davis and Boris Johnson have had their terms heading the betting.

If there had been a CON leader change within a few months of the election then that would have been the best chance for David Davis but now he has slipped a long way behind because it is far from certain whether he would even go for the job.

My guess is that if there is a leadership contest while there is some time to go until the next general election, due in 2022, then Boris would compete with Moggsy for the Leaver slot and perhaps the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd would fly the flag for those who backed Remain.

To my mind the thing that has really impeded Corbyn was his initial response to the Salisbury incident. The most significant event in The Commons since Christmas was the response to the statement by the Prime Minister in early March and it will be recalled that one prominent Labour figure after another stood up in the Commons to distance themselves from the elected leader of the party.

Interestingly the leader ratings to be carried out since Salisbury have seen Corbyn slipping behind Theresa May almost for the first time since the last election.

Mike Smithson