Archive for the 'Corbyn' Category


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.

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


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


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


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


The party whose leader has the worst LOTO ratings on record refuses to accept an anti-Brexit petition

Monday, February 11th, 2019

The Corbyn/Milne ambivalence with be remembered

A hour or so ago the anti-Brexit People’s Vote campaign sought to hand in a petition about the leadership’s stance at the LAB party HQ. What happened and filmed by the media might not, with the passage of time, look smart.

Simply to refuse it doesn’t look good especially on a day when it has been revealed that Corbyn’s letter to TMay on the party’s approach forgot. to threaten a referendum.

    This is a super sensitive issue and optics don’t look good.

All this follows a weekend when the biggest polling news was the collapse in Corbyn’s personal Ipsos-MORI ratings which, historically have been a better guide to general election outcomes than the voting intention polls.

Labour’s massive problem is that the leadership is out of step with the vast majority of those who vote for the party.

Mike Smithson


A Labour Twitter thread with a sting in the tail from Michael Crick

Friday, February 8th, 2019


In terms of influence on major policy developments Corbyn today is surely the most powerful opposition leader in decades

Thursday, February 7th, 2019

It’s possible the UK could end up with a Labour Brexit

To me the biggest development of the day was the response by Donald Tusk to the Labour proposal for Brexit. The details envisage a softer brexit then Theresa May’s plan but because of the numbers in the Commons there’s a good chance that this is what could actually be agreed.

If so that will be remarkable and something and it’s almost without precedent. Labour could claim that this was their plan and seek to get the political kudos from it.

Because this appears to be a viable alternative then surely it is going to make the hardliners of Moggsy’s ERG more reluctant to go on opposing Theresa May. They are not going to get their hard brexit and the deal that the Prime Minister has on the table could be seen as the best that’s available in the circumstances.

The question for Labour, which has had to deal with huge demands within the party for a second referendum, is whether what’s in their proposal will be enough to satisfy the party’s largely remainer voters, party members and MPs.

My sense is that it is becoming more likely that the UK will leave on March 29th making the odds of 27% on Betfair good value.

Mike Smithson


“Being seen to back Brexit worse for LAB than invading Iraq”

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

Tonight ITV News is carrying a report that a private poll that has been seen by Momentum suggests that LAB seen to be backing Brexit would be worse for the party than the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

It is reported that it was commissioned by the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) trade union. An analysis based on the polling has been shown to Momentum and the conclusions are worrying for red team. The ITV News report notes:

“A briefing paper based on the polling has been shared with leading members of the shadow cabinet, including John McDonnell, to increase pressure on Labour’s leader Corbyn to come out in favour of a referendum.

The most powerful conclusion of the research is: “There can be no disguising the sense of disappointment and disillusionment with Labour if it fails to oppose Brexit and there is every indication that it will be far more damaging to the party’s electoral fortunes than the Iraq war.

“Labour would especially lose the support of people below the age of 35, which could make this issue comparable to to impact the tuition fees and involvement in coalition had on Lib Dem support.”

The polling itself was carried out by YouGov.

That the party should be coming under pressure from the trade union movement is no real surprise and this could have been expected earlier.

It is hard to see the circumstances, though, where Corbyn changes his mind.

Mike Smithson