Archive for the 'Labour' Category

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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




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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




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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




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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




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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




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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




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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



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The continuing strength of the SNP makes it is harder for Corbyn to become PM

Saturday, March 31st, 2018

Scottish turbulence not good for the red team

Today’s YouGov LAB members has one finding that shows the extraordinary optimism of those who backed Corbyn in the last leadership election. 80% of them told the poster that they believed that Mr Corbyn would at sometime become Prime Minister.

Given his age and the current parliamentary situation that essentially means waiting till the next general election and requires two things to happen – Corbyn to retain the leadership and LAB to win most seats or be in position for form coalition. The latter is made much more difficult because of what happened in 2015 when the huge SNP surge in Scotland swept almost all before it and Labour’s seat total drop from 41, north of the border to a single MP.

For decades LAB had been top party north of the border one of the reasons why, alongside the collapse of the LDS, the electoral system appeared to favour them. Their Scottish dominance came was swept away in the general election which took place nine months after the IndyRef

Things changed a bit at the June 2017 election when LAB made a smallish recovery but still found themselves in 3rd place with 7 seats which was well behind the Conservatives in second and of course the SNP still there with 36 of the 59. The red team’s current Scottish total look paltry compared with the heady days of 2010

The most recent Scottish polls have double digit leads for the SNP with LAB still languishing in the 20s.

What sould encourage Labour, though, is that many of the SNP seats are held with very small majorities and a small recovery could bring bigger than expected rewards.

Without a substantial contingent Scottish MPs LAB will need to win more seats in England and Wales if it is to get near to power.

Mike Smithson