Just 16% tell ComRes that LAB-led JC likely to win GE compared with 65% saying TMay-led CON will

September 24th, 2016

Round-up of findings from latest ComRes online poll for Indy/S Mirror




The chart from the highly accurate YouGov poll that shows how totally split LAB is

September 24th, 2016

It was the newcomers into the party wot did it


Well done to Corbyn on his victory and to YouGov for getting another leadership election spot on

September 24th, 2016



Now lets see if his party’s fortunes can improve


Anticipating Corbyn’s second mandate

September 24th, 2016


History repeats itself: the first time as farce, the second as – who knows?

Albert Einstein said that time travel into the past is impossible. He was, however, only talking physically. Politics does not necessarily obey the same laws; a fact he recognised when he turned down the presidency of Israel due people needing to be treated differently from ‘objective matters’.

Later today Labour will attempt to prove that those universal physical laws don’t apply by trying to turn the clock back to May or earlier. Resignation letters will be unwritten, votes of no confidence unheld and the leadership election wished away. One big family will come together in a sense of unity and attempt to put their past divisions behind them. It won’t work.

It won’t work for three reasons. Firstly, while MPs, shadow cabinet ministers and even Corbyn for the time being might like to conveniently forget the internal war for control of Labour, the other parties and the media will not. Any former shadow cabinet minister who unresigns is certain to have their resignation letters quoted back at them. While a few might get away with the line that they erred in believing that Corbyn’s position was untenable (which was indeed an error, if an understandable one), most made specific and personal criticisms of the leader. They will have a hard job of explaining why those criticisms no longer apply.

Secondly, and relatedly, Corbyn has gone out of his way to emphasise that those criticisms will still apply. In a BBC interview this week, when asked what would be different under his leadership mark two, he said: “sadly for everyone I’ll be the same Jeremy Corbyn.” And so he will: his is not a career marked by tacking to enable consensus.

    All the reasons why his first year failed so badly will be revisited in the second. It is a triumph of hope over experience to think otherwise.

And thirdly, the battle for control of Labour goes on. That battle is currently in something of a stalemate, as I wrote elsewhere. Corbyn’s allies control the leadership (but cannot pass it on), and have majorities in the membership and among affiliated unions, particularly Unite. His opponents hold a majority in the PLP sufficient to block a far-left candidate. The NEC remains finely balanced.

For the moment, the mainstream can adopt a drawbridge strategy: the Corbynites aren’t yet strong enough to purge the central staff (and Iain McNicol in particular) or reform the rules to their liking, and the centrists/pragmatists can believe that they will prevail if only they can endure the left’s storm until it blows itself out. Unlike in the 1980s, it is they who have the tenacity and the left which has the numbers. But both sides will be watching for opportunities to tip the balance their way.

Another Einstein observation was that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. But for lack of options, it’s anyone’s guess as to why Labour would want to repeat their last year but it seems close to inevitable that they will, all the same.

David Herdson


Punters continue to make Clinton a 60%+ chance even though the polling remains very tight

September 23rd, 2016

Just three days to go before the first WH2016 debate

This is, of course, all about the outcomes in the key swing states but the national surveys gives us a good overview of the election that takes place in just 46 days time.

The betting remains remarkably static and Hillary’s 9/11 incident seems to have worked its way out of the system.

Trump is dominant amongst white working class men while Clinton has the edge with women, non-white and those who went to college. The demographic splits have a BREXIT look about them.

Its a cliche to say it’ll all be about turnout which is what happened in the UK on June 23rd. The segments with a history of low participation voted in greater numbers than many forecast.

My betting remains on Trump because I think there is more potential for his price to tighten. Whether I stick with that I don’t know.

Mike Smithson


Dreadful set of local election results overnight sees CON lose 4 – their worst performance since TMay became leader

September 23rd, 2016

LAB gain 3 and the LDs 2


Corbyn has clearly won – the big question is the size of his victory

September 22nd, 2016

If its tighter than last year then it’ll encourage future challenges

According to punters at least there is absolutely no doubt about who will be announced as winner of the LAB leadership contest on Saturday. The controversial incumbent looks set for victory and clearly his supporters will be hoping that his vote share is above or equal to the 59% of 2015.

Clearly some of those MPs who’ve never been reconciled to his leadership are never going to come round to support someone they see as a sure fire general election loser. But quite a few of the 80% of MPs who voted against him in the confidence motion will be ready to join a unification move.

If the only poll of the campaign is correct Corbyn is expected to ride home with 60% plus of the votes which will surely act as a discouragement to PLP members thinking of launching another challenge next year. If it is a few points lower than that then Corbyn will appear damaged and we might have to get used to annual contests.

    Yesterday the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg asked him “What will be different about Jeremy Corbyn Mark2?”. He responded “Sadly for everyone its the same Jeremy Corbyn”. That doesn’t sound promising.

If Labour is to have any future then both sides have to reflect on the past year and there need to be changes of some sort.

The real problem is that his mandate is not the vote that will be announced on Saturday but the perception of whether he can lead his party to a successful, however you judge it, general election result.

Mike Smithson


Remember: The only successful CON government by-election defence since 1988 is still subject to an Electoral Commission investigation

September 22nd, 2016

All parties are going to be a lot more careful in Witney

Partly because far fewer of their MPs have died in office the Tories have not faced many by-elections since returning to power in 2010. They lost to UKIP in Clacton and Rochester but held on in June 2014 in Newark.

The latter, quite amazingly, was the first time that the Tories had successfully defended a Westminster by-election while in office since 1988. After their humiliating third place in the May 2014 Euros the Tories threw everything into the defence of Newark the following month. The last thing they wanted was an outcome that would do anything other than impede UKIP’s momentum. Farage’s party had to be stopped.

As was reported on by Michael Crick in a series of C4 News reports earlier in the year there were serious questions as to whether the Tories had kept within the £100k by-election expenses limit in the seat. I understand that his points about Newark are still being looked into by the Electoral Commission.

So Witney on October 22nd is the first CON defence since the EC investigation into this and other alleged expenditure irregularities. What it means, I’d suggest is that this is going to be harder to defend. They certainly can’t ship activists to the constituency and put them up in hotels. Also things they’ll have to be careful over things like paying for delivery or hiring professional phone canvassers.

Will it have an impact? My guess is that all parties will feel constrained. On the face of it Cameron majority from GE2015 is so large that shouldn’t impact on the outcome – but who knows?

Mike Smithson