Archive for the 'Labour' Category


LAB MP in ultra-marginal seat charged with perverting the course of justice

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018


While the Tories tear themselves apart on Brexit LAB’s new antisemitism policy threatens a divide between the NEC and the party at Westminster

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

There’s a new poll from YouGov out this morning which has Labour’s lead down to just 1% if BoJo was CON leader.

This coincides with the renewed row within Corbyn’s Labour over anti-semitism following the decision of the party’s national executive committee to trim down the widely regarded definition of what anti-semitism is.

This was brought to a head a couple of days ago in the Commons in a widely reported spat between the long-standing Labour MP, Margaret Hodge, and the leader in which four letter words were said to have been used. Mrs Hodge has been threatened with disciplinary action as a result.

Now this has taken on a new dimension according to reports in this mornings Observer which suggest that Labour MPs and Labour peers are planning to change the rules of their bodies at Westminster to specifically incorporate the wider definition of anti-Semitism.

If this went through it would mean a very formal and public split between the official party and the parliamentary parties which would very much be one in the eye for Mr Corbyn.

    It is hard to see how the NEC could stand by and allow such an act of public defiance from the party’s MPs and peers.

All this means is that this row is going to rumble on and the longer it is making the headlines the more it is going to hurt the party. As has been widely observed over the years voters do not like parties that are split.

At least the Conservative splits appear to have an end date – March 29 next year when the article 50 process terminates and Britain should officially be out of the EU.

While all of this is going on the Sunday Times is reporting this morning that the reason Lib Dem leader Vince Cable missed a crucial vote earlier in the week was because he was attending a meeting about setting up another centre party.

Watch this space.

Mike Smithson


At GE2017 six times as many CON voters said Brexit was the deciding issue than LAB ones

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Lord Ashcroft GE2017 on the day poll

Why LAB should worry less about supporters who backed leave

On general election day last year the Conservative peer, Lord Ashcroft, carried out a huge 14,000 sample poll to find out amongst other things why people had voted as they did and to tryto understand better what had happened. The survey was similar to US exit polls where much more than voting data is collected. The BBC/Sky/ITV UK exit poll is solely about predicting seats numbers and the election outcome.

One question to respondents was askingthem to state what was the main reason they had voted as they did. A summary of the key CON and LAB voter responses is in the graphic above.

    As can be seen the most striking feature is the huge gap between Conservative voters’ views of the importance of Brexit and those of Labour voters

A total of 48% of those who had voted CON said Brexit compared with just 8% of LAB ones. We also cannot assume that the 8% were pro-Brexiteers. LAB picked up 30% of the GE2015 LD vote the vast majority of whom were opposed to Brexit

    Perhaps it was the fact that Brexit was much less of a priority for LAB supporters that the majority of party’s gains from the Tories were in constituencies that had voted Leave a year beforehand at the referendum.

The poll asked people had voted and this was very close to the actual general election result which underlines the robustness of the findings.

Mike Smithson


A sign of LAB confidence in Lewisham East: Local party chief gets sacked days before the postals go out

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

Given that the outgoing MP, Heidi Alexander, secured 69% of the vote at GE2017 it has been very hard to predict anything other than a Labour hold. That was why, in the eyes of many, the party’s selection battle was the real fight.

That was completed on Saturday when the local party chose Lewisham’s, deputy mayor ahead of the Momentum backed candidate as well as the one supported by Unite – an outcome that’s been seen as a bit of a slap in the face for the Labour leader.

A key part in that outcome was played by Ian McKenzie, chairman of the Lewisham East constituency party, who, it turned out, had made a couple of sexist Tweets about Emily Thornberry two years ago.

McKenzie’s supporters say the Tweets had been dug out in a move to discredit him. He’s now been suspended.

Whatever the truth this is not the sort of publicity a party wants to attract at a crucial stage in a by-election. The LDs are throwing everything at getting a good result here and anything they can use to discredit Labour will be seen as helpful.

Ladbrokes make LAB a 1/50 favourite with the LDs t 20/1 and 100/1 on the Tories – betting odds, know doubt, that will be used by the yellows to make the case that only they can best Labour in he seat.

The Lib Dem effort has been focused on the LAB stance on Brexit suggesting that Team Corbyn is ignoring Remainers.

Mike Smithson


Hard to see how insulting key groups of voters helps LAB’s cause – but hey, the Gammon insulters don’t seem to care

Monday, May 14th, 2018

Mike Smithson


Motivating Labour’s huge volunteer army can be at odds with managing election expectations

Friday, May 4th, 2018

How losing seats can be presented as a victory

I have just got off the phone from someone who was working for the Conservative campaign yesterday in a key ward in Wandsworth which was eventually held by the party by margin of 36 votes.

One of his observations was that Labour had dozens of activists on the ground with apparently very little to do. He said that they seemed to be without direction and they would go mob handed from one street to another in a manner which in many ways did not help their cause – rather the reverse. Seeing large groups of apparently hard-left activists outside your front door might just have helped turnout in a tightly contested ward.

One of the big challenges for party organisers on election days is managing the influx of volunteers and finding things for them to do. Normally they are deployed “knocking up” which means going round to those who are identified as not having voted yet to encourage them to cast their ballots. My friend observed that perhaps you need maybe 8 people on the ground in a ward the size of the one in Wandsworth. Labour simply had too many people willing to help who wanted to be doing something who could not be deployed effectively.

it struck me this that this raises a bigger question about the huge number of people who are ready to support Labour at elections. A key strategy of the party under Corbyn has been to generate enthusiasm amongst the half million party members who have mostly been attracted to the party because of the leader. Generating that level of interest requires getting over the message that seats and councils are winnable when in fact that many of them are at the very least extreme marginal hopes.

There is little doubt that the expectation game ahead of these elections has been won by the Conservatives who’ve managed to create a narrative that they were in for a hiding so that anything less than that appears like a victory.

The Tories lost eight seats yesterday in Wandsworth yet they are able to present it as a victory.

Mike Smithson


Corbyn’s Ipsos MORI satisfaction ratings drop to lowest point since GE2017

Monday, April 30th, 2018

Just three out of five LAB voters give him positive rating

Meanwhile there’s some voting intention cheer for the LDs

The big story from the April Ipsos MORI poll in the Standard is a further deterioration in Mr corbyn’s satisfaction ratings. These, from the pollster, have been asking the same format for well over 40 years and is the longest UK leader rating series in the UK.

The numbers are the first to come from the pollster since emergence of the mural that sparked off Labour’s latest antantisemitism row and moved it into new territory.

The voting figures, seen above, see little change except for the Lib Dems who jumped a whopping 4 points 10% which is the highest figure recorded in any poll since the last general election.

This is probably the last national public poll that will see before Thursdays local elections and it will be interesting to see if the trends here are seen in the results as they come in on Thursday evening and Friday.

Mike Smithson


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