Archive for the 'Corbyn' Category

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Corbyn’s no longer the “Next PM” betting favourite as punters evaluate the week’s big developments

Thursday, February 21st, 2019


Betdata.io chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

Gove now in the number one slot

With LAB so far losing more of its MPs to TIG than CON then the ability of Corbyn to force an election though mounting a confidence vote has declined a notch. More exits mean fewer MPs who take the Labour whip puts the LAB leader in Commons arithmetic terms in a worse position.

I’ve never really seen why Corbyn should be favourite here because if things follow their predicted course then the next PM will be a Tory.

Gove, whose recent big Commons speech, had fellow MPs talking about him once again in leadership terms, has edged up a bit more.

Sajid Javid now at 9% has got a small boost from him stripping Shamima Begum of her UK citizenship. I’m not so sure on this. It made him look like a crowd pleaser – he appeared just too willing to follow the headlines.

Mike Smithson




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Corbyn harking back to LAB’s GE2017 vote share is no solution to the party’s current challenges

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

For many he is seen as the problem

Little noticed in this week’s political turmoil was some new polling from YouGov that had Corbyn dropping to a new low in its well/badly ratings. The trend was in line with all the other leader ratings that we’ve seen the last few weeks that whatever the pollster and whatever the question format Corbyn’s position is on the decline.

The historical record shows that for an opposition party to re-take power the leader has to have a clear ratings margin over the incumbent PM.

The 54% negative number from YouGov was not as bad as the 72% who told Ipsos MORI that they were dissatisfied but it is still the worst it has been with this particular question in this polling series

This coincided with the 8 MPs announcing their departure with their reasons all pointing to the leadership of Corbyn particularly on Brexit and his failure to address the ongoing anti-semitism within the party.

Looking back since the 2017 General Election the factors that seemed to have triggered a decline in Corbyn’s personal position have related to anti-semitism and his ambivalence on Brexit. It was the events in March last year that lead to MPs demonstrating against him outside Parliament that ended his comparative ratings honeymoon.

That Corbyn’s position is secure because of the membership base should give lots of hope to those opposed to LAB.

Labour’s fundamental problem is that it has a leader who is not popular even amongst many of those who voted for the party in 2017 but is almost totally secure in his position.

Mike Smithson




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Independents’ day. The implications for Jeremy Corbyn

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

Let us now praise obscure women. With the launch of the Independent Group, much attention has been given to the more visible members of the seven MPs. Chuka Umunna briefly stood to be leader of the Labour party. Chris Leslie was shadow Chancellor. Luciana Berger has had the most public of battles with anti-Semitic opponents. I suggest, however, that the most significant of the defecting MPs is the least commented-upon: Ann Coffey.

I hope that Ms Coffey will not be upset if I suggest that she is not particularly well-known. She has been in Parliament for over quarter of a century, rising no higher than Parliamentary Private Secretary in all that time. I expect that she will look back at her extensive efforts made towards the protection of children as her political work that she is proudest of.

What she is not, however, is a rentagob. Media outlets have not found it difficult to find Labour MPs who have been willing to say exactly what they think of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Ms Coffey is not one of those. With Margaret Hodge, she jointly tabled the motion of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn in the wake of the original Brexit vote in 2016. Otherwise, she has largely kept her own counsel.

Until Monday, when she jumped ship.  Ms Coffey is 72. She will no doubt be standing down at the next election. She could easily have served out her time quietly, slipping away without fuss. She chose not to. Yes, in a sense it was cost-free. In another sense, however, in a party which still regards Ramsay MacDonald as its greatest villain, the price was enormous.

    She explained her decision to the Manchester Evening News in simple clear words. Of course antisemitism is an issue, of course the leadership is an issue and the line on Brexit. We are seeing a party that used to be a broad church in which there was a possibility to have discussions turned into a party in which any criticism of the leader or any different voice is responded to by being called a traitor. There comes a time when I have got to do something about it.

These words should terrify the Labour leadership. Instinctively paranoid, they will now be wondering how many other MPs are quietly weighing similar calculations. Some, such as Ian Murray, have not been quiet on the subject.

So far, however, the tone of the inner circle has been woefully misjudged. Jeremy Corbyn’s response, given above, was not far off “don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out”. His outriders on social media have been predictably less restrained, demanding loyalty pledges from those perceived to be unreliable, branding the group the Blair Rich Project and posting the lyrics from the Red Flag about cowards flinching and traitors sneering. The pièce de resistance was the news emerging the same day that Derek Hatton had been readmitted to the Labour party. Quite how any of this is supposed to reassure the doubters is wholly unclear.

The move has demonstrated the depth of the party divide. Tom Watson, the deputy leader, was notably much more sympathetic to those leaving, setting out his views in a soul-searching video. Yvette Cooper approvingly quoted his message in a tweet.

In a sense, it does not matter now whether other MPs also head for the exit. Whether dissident MPs remain onboard or jump into a lifeboat, they have to decide whether they can back Jeremy Corbyn as next Prime Minister. There now seems to be ample evidence that considerably more than these seven feel that they cannot.

This has two consequences, one for this Parliament and one for the next.  The consequence for this Parliament is that it looks extraordinarily hard for Jeremy Corbyn to become Prime Minister in any circumstances without a general election. Even if the DUP were to abandon the Conservatives for Labour, these new independents would presumably not back him in a vote of confidence (and it must now be very doubtful whether all of the MPs who remain in the Labour party would do so if it came to the crunch). And that assumes that the Lib Dems, the SNP, Plaid Cymru etc could all be corralled into supporting him: given that they have already said that they will not support another vote of no confidence in the government, that looks a brave assumption.

Theresa May has already indicated that she intends to step down before the next election. So his chances of becoming the next Prime Minister look slim.

Let’s assume, however, that somehow the next general election is fought between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn again. Stranger things have happened. Nothing in the polling currently suggests that Labour are going to get an overall majority. The single best chance Labour have at present to take power is in a hung Parliament.

With Labour’s leader so widely distrusted, he is going to struggle to put together a minority government with himself as Prime Minister, especially when he can place no reliance on his own Parliamentary party’s support of him. The price of Labour taking power might well be someone different as leader, just as the Lib Dems’ price for talking about a coalition with Labour in 2010 was Gordon Brown’s head. Many Labour MPs would be privately delighted.

All this points one way. It is much much harder than currently appreciated for Jeremy Corbyn to become next Prime Minister. Yet you can still lay him on Betfair at 7. (This looks like a clearcut bet to me if your market position is such that placing this bet would not be tying up money, and given Theresa May’s job security is arguably a clearcut bet anyway.) These seven MPs may well crash and burn as independents, but they may well have put the nail in the coffin of the ambitions that Jeremy Corbyn has to be Prime Minister.

Alastair Meeks




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On the Betfair exchange LAB’s chances of winning most seats next time drop to a 41% chance

Monday, February 18th, 2019


Betdata.io chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

On what is quite a momentous day in British politics it is quite hard to single out a specific market that has seen change. The one I’ve chosen is the next general election where punters who only last month rated LAB as a 50-50 chance to win most seats now put it at 41%.

A lot depends on reaction to the move and whether the development gets traction in the media. For the individuals concerned these are massive personal decisions but they have made their choices.

For Corbyn’s LAB this isn’t good news and, as David Herdson was pointing out on Twitter, means that with other MP losses this parliament we have seen the equivalent of getting on for half the LAB gains from GE2017 are now wiped out. The smaller LAB is at Westminster the less powerful it is to influence events.

In many way this was always on the cards. In 2016 Corbyn, as I pointed out on the previous thread, only managed to win support of 20% of the parliamentary party in a confidence vote.

Clearly there’ll be lots of speculation about where the group of seven end up. Could we see an enhanced centre party emerging taking in the independents, the LDs and Caroline Lucas? Clearly there will be closer working together.

I also wonder whether Corbyn’s tenure might not be as long as is widely perceived. How will the unions view the weakened party? How will John McDonnell react.

Mike Smithson




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Today could be the day that Corbyn’s Labour Party finally splits

Monday, February 18th, 2019

Judging by activity on social media overnight there appears to be a reasonable chance that today could be the day that the Labour Party finally splinters. The Tweet above from Corbyn loyalist Rebecca Long-Bailey reflects one of the ways that the mainstream party is responding to the threat.

This was supposed to happen last Thursday with a widely briefed story that at 8 p.m. that evening a big development would take place. Some leading names were associated with those reports. It didn’t happen partly, because this was such a big night in the Commons anyway and my guess is that the prospective rebels wanted to maximise the impact of their actions.

    The big questions, if this does happen, are how many are taking the plunge and who they are. It really needs some big hitters like those who have been seen as leadership prospects in the past to be amongst them.

Corbyn is no stranger to rebellions against his leadership and in 2016 80% of LAB MPs voted that the had no confidence in him. Because of the Labour party structure that was not enough to oust Mr Corbyn who went on to win a second leadership contest by a big majority.

One of the big deterrents to potential rebels is the memory within the movement about what happened during the last splinter within LAB in the early 1980s. This was, of course, the formation of the breakaway SDP. Its creation and the massive challenge of the first past the post voting system enabled the Tories to increase their majority by a huge amount at the ensuing 1983 general election.


Politicalresources.net

But it appears Corbyn’s actions on anti-semitism and, of course, his equivocal approach to the main political issue of the day, Brexit, have just been too much for a number of MPs.

Interestingly there’s a by-election in prospect following the death of Newport MP Paul Flynn who retained his seat at GE2017 with 52.3% of the vote.

Mike Smithson




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Long standing Brexiteer, Corbyn, needs more than just threats if he’s to budge on a referendum

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

I find this extremely hard to call but there’s a little doubt that Corbyn’s approach to Brexit, which has been very much out of line with his party voters and his MPs is stretching loyalty to the limits. Something could give in this critical period when the United Kingdom could be changed forever.

The problem, of course, is the memory of the last split within LAB when the SDP was formed in 1981. For me that’s a fairy key political memory but for most people it is just history.

It really did in those heady days in the 1979 to 1983 Parliament look as though that British politics was a changing forever. It did for a while and Labour remained out of power until Tony Blair became leader and went on to win the 1997, 2001 and 2005 general elections.

    I have had direct information on possible breakaways but I will only believe it when I see it. The party machines in the UK are so strong and powerful that getting a new grouping together and make it into an effective political force is very challenging indeed.

Correct me if I am wrong but I cannot see a current betting market on whether there’ll be a split.

These next six weeks are going by any standards to be high octane ones in British politics with both main parties split on the big issue of the day. What this will all lead to is hard to say.

Mike Smithson




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TMay’s problem with the Tory polling resurgence is that it takes the edge off threats of PM Corbyn

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

The backdrop to the current super-charged UK political environment as we get close to the March 29th deadline is that in terms of its position in relation to LAB the Tories are doing better than at any time since the 2017 General Election.

The big polling story overnight was the huge YouGov 48k sample survey which allows detailed analysis of every seat and the ability to project gains and losses. It was this model, of course, at the last election that did so well in forecasting that the Conservatives would lose their majority and naming the seats which would switch.

On top of that in recent days we’ve had the Ipsos MORI poll with its terrible leader ratings for Jeremy Corbyn, as well as 7% CON leads reported from Opinium and a standard YouGov poll.

This might not be as good as it sounds for the Prime Minister as she seeks to get a bit of party discipline ahead of the final phase of the commons voting on the EU exit deal.

The repeated message to dissident MPs is “if you’re not careful you will be letting Corbyn become Prime Minister” has less potency. Clearly it is much harder to argue given the latest surveys particularly this YouGov mega poll and a detailed analysis which proved to be so successful 2 years ago.

Of course at a general election things are very different and people are thinking about how their vote in the final days before ballots are cast. At the moment, with no election in prospect, this is much more of a theoretical exercise. That doesn’t take away the way polling impact on perceptions within the Westminster village.

Mike Smithson




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Whilst TMay is said to be contemplating a no deal Brexit LAB’s once again embroiled in an anti semitism row

Monday, February 11th, 2019

Mike Smithson