Archive for the 'Corbyn' Category


The more a challenge to May’s leadership looks likely the less the chances of Corbyn becoming next PM

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

TMay needs to remain until next election if the LAB leader is to become next PM

For some time now the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has been the favourite in the betting markets on who will succeed Theresa May as prime minister.

The trend is featured in the chart above and I think that punters have got this totally wrong.

The most likely situation in which Mr Corbyn becomes the next occupant of number 10 Downing Street is if Labour wins a general election. It is hard to envisage the circumstances under which he becomes next Prime Minister prior to that.

The blunt fact is that that Labour is 66 seats short of the Tories in the House of Commons and the numbers simply aren’t there for him to get the call from the Palace.

    Having called an election once before and having got it disastrously wrong it is hard to see Theresa May doing the same again in this Parliament. If she’s allowed to remain leader she’ll stay put till 2022.

The essential requirement of Corbyn succeeding May at Number 10 is for her to remain.

One thing that the past few days have scotched, though surely, is the idea that Theresa May will be able to do this. She’s going the main question being when.

Given Labour’s polling position Corbyn still has a good chance of becoming PM but not the next one. There almost certainly needs to be another CON leader in between and the danger for the red team is that the political environment could change.

Mike Smithson


A move against TMay needs to happen in next few days if a successor is in place by Christmas

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Lots of talk going on in Tory circles tonight over whether TMay should continue in post or whether she should be replaced.

The first senior figure to go on the record was the former cabinet minister under Cameron, Ed Vaizey. He said:-

“..“I think there will be quite a few people who will now be pretty firmly of the view that she should resign,” the former culture minister, who was sacked when May took over in 2016 after six years in government, told the BBC.

“The Tory party conference was a great opportunity to reboot the party and therefore reboot the country to give a clear sense of direction and that did not happen, and so, yes, I am concerned.”

The big issue is the timescale. If there is to be a new leader by Christmas then the process of trying to oust TMay needs to start now.

    The overwhelming driver of this is not that the PM had a bit of cough yesterday or some letters fell off a sign but that the polling suggests that Labour under Corbyn appears to be getting some traction.

As I pointed out last night there are two possible processes which happen sequentially. First Mrs. May needs to quit or be ousted. Then a leadership contest can start. This is not like it was in the final days of the Thatcher era when the process of initiating a leadership challenge was the trigger.

If Mrs. May is aware that she might be facing a confidence motion then you could envisage her standing aside on health grounds. If she wants to fight a confidence motion then that is her right.

I am hearing that moves are afoot to get the necessary 47 CON MPs to send a letter to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee requesting such a vote. This could be tight.

One of the great arguments being used by the PM’s defenders is that forcing TMay out would result in BJohnson becoming leader and PM.

My own view for what it is worth is that there will be a TMay resignation or confidence move and that the Foreign Secretary will NOT succeed Mrs. May.

Mike Smithson


Labour joy and Tory gloom

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

Don Brind reflects on the conference season

A few weeks ago I was helping a front bencher prepare for a TV appearance and we guessed that one of the questions might be “Do you agree with Laura Pidcock?” She is the newbie MP who declared she wouldn’t hang out with Tory women because she regards them as “enemy”.

The more emollient reply we came up with was: “There are some Tories I like. I just don’t want them running the country.”

For me a perfect example of this approach is former MP and whip, Michael Brown who I lunched with recently. He is great company but the Tory government he was part of – John Major’s – made a bit of a hash of ruling Britain.

With the help of some great talent spotting by veteran lobby correspondent Colin Brown, the ex-MP reinvented himself as the Independent’s parliamentary sketch writer. He still dines in Tory circles – with among others David Davis and Patrick McLoughlin– but he sounds like a journalist.

“I told the party chairman, the longer Theresa May hangs on in Downing Street the bigger Jeremy Corbyn’s majority will be.”

“Jeremy Corbyn will save the Tory party. Young people need to find out that Labour governments always make a mess of things.”

This familiar Tory belief that they are better than Labour at running the economy doesn’t square with the facts — as the public finance expert Professor Richard Murphy of City University, has shown.

Labour government’s are more prudent than Tory governments — Tories have been the biggest borrowers since the war  and that picture holds good if you run the numbers from 1979.

The Big Lie in British politics is the one peddled by George Osborne, with support from Nick Clegg, that the Labour government – rather than American banks — caused the crash of 2007/8. Equally mendacious is the Tory claim to have created a “strong and stable” economy. The claim rests solely only on the jobs numbers, which were subjected to a searching analysis  by Alastair Meeks of this parish a couple of weeks ago.

A genuinely strong economy would be producing rising livings standards and be capable of properly funding vital public services including health and education. That is manifestly not true after seven years under a Tory Chancellor.

The economy is shaky because there are fundamental weaknesses which the Conservatives have neglected including the productivity gap of around 30% with key competitors, a failure to invest enough in infrastructure and skills where the jobs of the future come from, a persistent deficit of around £100 billion a year in trade with the rest of the world and dangerously high household debt.

The question of how a Labour government will deal with the dismal inheritance from the Tories lurked behind the rapture of fans of Jeremy Corbyn in Brighton. They understandably took the chance to celebrate after standing by their man against sceptics like me.

The mood was extraordinary. I’ve seen nothing quite like it before and I’ve been conference-going since 1972.

Despite the buzz my judgement is that Corbyn’s “government in waiting” is not ready yet. I am, however, more sanguine than some other Corbyn sceptics inside and outside the party. I offer three bits of evidence for believing the party is moving in the right direction.
Firstly, I believe that Labour is developing an industrial strategy that will deal with both the opportunities and threats created by the digital revolution. An interesting meeting organised by Labour Business and Fujitsu was addressed by two of the smartest people on Corbyn’s front bench, Chi Onwurah and Liam Byrne. They are people to watch.

Digital is already pervasive across most industries and services and the impact on the future employment market will be huge. I was, therefore, encouraged that Corbyn and his Shadow Health Education Secretary cast their “cradle to the grave” national education service as a part of economic policy – vital to reskilling workers as new jobs are developed.

My third reason for optimism was a line in John McDonnell’s speech.

“And, yes, in 1997, after 18 years of Thatcherism, when whole industries and communities across our country had been destroyed by the Tories and our public services were on their knees, it was the Blair/Brown Government that recognised and delivered the scale of public investment that a 21st century society needed.

“We should never forget that we are part of that great Labour tradition and we should be so proud of it.”

Wow. Praise for New Labour from a Corbynista.

What I take from this is that McDonnell is rightly desperate to become Chancellor and to realise that ambition he’s willing to take lessons from wherever they come.

Don Brind


ICM finds Corbyn making ground against TMay across a range of key policy areas

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017


Team CON should be most worried about the economy numbers and pensioners

During the election campaign in May ICM asked voters to rate May and Corbyn on a range of nine key policy areas as shown in the table above.

At the time, of course, all appeared to be going well for the incumbent PM who looked set for a huge victory. In its latest Guardian poll ICM has revisited the questioning and finds that the position is nothing like as good for the Tory leader as it was.

    The biggest change has been on “making Britain a fairer country” where in May the PM enjoyed a 19% lead. That’s now moved to a 15% deficit a turnaround of 34 points. So much for the aspirations she made in Downing Street after becoming PM in July last year.

For me the change in the managing the economy rating is the most significant and here TMay has moved from enjoying a 28% lead over JC to a 14% one. That’s starting to look worrying and isn’t helped by the apparent division between the PM and her Chancellor seen again following Hammond’s TV interviews on Sunday.

The May polling took place after the CON manifesto launch and I suppose it was surprising then that TMay still had a lead, albeit a small one, on protecting the interest of pensioners. That’s now gone into negative territory and exposes a vulnerability. The lower turnout level amongst the 65+ group was one of the reasons why TMay failed to retain her majority. It appears that pensioners are still solidly for the Tories but can they be relied on to turnout in the same way that helped give Cameron his majority at GE2015?

At the moment TMay continues to be ahead of Corbyn on Brexit but that is declining.

Mike Smithson


Labour’s Brighton exuberance over Corbyn isn’t supported by his leader ratings

Monday, September 25th, 2017

Things have barely moved since June 8th

Opinium – Leader Approval ratings

Ipsos-MORI – Leader Satisfaction Ratings

The former BBC Political Research chief, David Cowling, has produced the above tables so we can track how leader ratings have moved over the past six months. These are important because historically they have a good record on pointing to electoral outcomes. The GE2015 outcome would have been less of a shock if we’d tracked EdM’s personal numbers rather than the voting intention polls.

The mainstays of leader ratings, the pollsters that do it at least once a month are Opinium and Ipsos-MORI. The two ask a different question but the broad picture is the same on Corbyn. He’s slipped back from his post-general election high.

Meanwhile Mrs. May is making something of a recovery though her position is miles away from the 20% plus net positives that she enjoyed in the weeks after declaring her intention of holding an election.

It used to be that parties got polling boosts in the surveys immediately after their conferences. Whether that will hold good this tie we’ll have to see.

Mike Smithson


Nearly of third of current LAB voters not sure that Corbyn would make the best PM

Monday, September 25th, 2017

The soft under-belly of LAB support

Labour’s leader might seem to have conquered all before him following the party’s unexpected performance at GE17 but quite a number current LAB supporters appears to have doubts about the man is now into his third year as party leader.

In the GE17 campaign the Tories believed that some of the decisions and associations from Corbyn’s past would have had a negative effect on the performance of the main opposition party but the blue attacks didn’t appear to resonate with the target audience.

The issue with last time, of course, is that the main narrative was that TMay’s Tories were going to win big and red team backers with qualms about the leader could vote with the apparent assurance that JC was not going to do it. Now that has changed and Corbyn is the betting favourite to be next PM.

This latest polling should flag up a worry for Labour though I doubt whether it will. JC is totally in command and can shape the party as he wants.

It should be noted that the alternative in the YouGov question is Theresa May who in some polls has leader ratings which are inferior to Corbyn.

Mike Smithson


Every day Mrs May remains PM she’s buying the Tories at least one week in opposition.

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

If Mrs May loved her country and party she’d go now, by staying she’s making Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister inevitable. The last time I saw a Prime Minister’s rating collapse like this was with Gordon Brown, Labour haven’t been in power since.

Things can only get better for Labour whilst Mrs May remains Prime Minister, to paraphrase the only Tory to win a majority in the last quarter of a century, for heaven’s sake woman, go!



Two years ago some Tories voted for Corbyn to become Labour leader to destroy the Labour party, you’ll never guess what happened next

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

Happy second anniversary as Labour leader Mr Corbyn, a man who continues to defy expectations.

Today is the second anniversary of Jeremy Corbyn becoming Labour leader, very few people could have imagined how things have turned out. Back in 2015 many observers, including myself, thought if Jeremy Corbyn led the Labour party at a general election, Labour would play the role of Alderaan to the Tory party’s Death Star. But at 10pm on June 8th 2017 all those perceptions changed.

Some of the people who voted for Corbyn as leader back in 2015 were Tories whose sole motivation was to see the destruction of the Labour party and saw Mr Corbyn as the best vehicle for that aim, I wonder how they feel this morning?

Under Corbyn’s leadership Labour increased their share of the vote to around 40% and a net increase in seats which many see as a plausible platform for Labour to take power at the next general election, which would see the most left wing government of my lifetime, if not in the history of this country.

My own hunch is that Corbyn would have still won without the Tories4Corbyn but they helped to contribute the size of his majority that emboldened both Mr Corbyn and the true believers amongst Mr Corbyn’s supporters, but the whole saga about the Tories4Corbyn is indicative of politics over the past few years, nothing has quite panned out the way many people expected it would. It should also be a salutary lesson that, to quote an old proverb, ‘you shouldn’t stir your spoon in someone else’s porridge.’