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British Labour and polling August 31, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Seeing as we were looking at UK polling report it has to be said that current polling for the BLP isn’t great. Talking to a friend the other day they were saying that some they talked to seemed to think the LP could recover its position. Frankly I’ve doubted ever since the loss of Scotland to the SNP whether the BLP is in any position to mount a successful return in one election campaign.

Or to put it another way the likelihood of a Corbyn government has from day one been very low.

But, repositioning the BLP on traditional social democratic terrain is a project that would take some time too. And that, as noted here previously, is a project well beyond Corbyn. That said there’s some utopian stuff making the round about the BLP and just what it might become. I fear that some of that is due to a simple lack of knowledge of that party and its members. The idea it could tip towards proto-revolutionary stances is frankly incredible to many of us who’ve been members in the past. That’s just not going to happen, under Corbyn or not. The best that might happen is a position some way to the right of its early 1980s incarnation. That is a push to some renationalisations, some amelioration of labour and other legislation. But beyond that?

Labour is the single largest oppositional force in British politics. That gifts it some momentum, but also inertia. A mass split is neither desirable nor feasible. It’s telling how voices have softened on the right. I’ve noted too the point that deselections of sitting MPs sound great – from a distance. But once on the ground… it’s a different matter. Electoral politics, and I’ve seen this numerous times, has a dynamic and a logic all its own. I’d be willing that short of a split the BLP in 2023 will have most of the same MPs, and membership, as 2016.

In any case, polls do matter. I’m of the opinion that given the turmoil in LP ranks the LP ratings are actually healthier than might be expected. But, and this has to be said, they’re not great. They’re certainly not those of a party that is likely to see massive influxes of support any time soon. And that’s neither a cause of despair or rejoicing.


1. Ed - August 31, 2016

This was a decent article the other day from Stephen Bush, one of the only journos writing about the Labour Party at the moment who has, you know, tried to find out stuff about the Labour Party. Think it’s behind a paywall but here are some of the main points:

“Preoccupied with affairs across the wrong stretch of sea, the UK political class suffered two shocks that were, in the context of the US, unforeseen and unprecedented. But viewed from across the English Channel, they were simply part of the European routine since the financial crisis: the centre-right flustered but not inconvenienced by the populist right, the junior coalition partner killed and eaten by its bigger sibling and the social democratic party becalmed and polling at less than a third of the vote …

“Throughout Europe, the continent’s social democrats have not just been defeated by the centre-right; they have also been brought low by the populist left. In Britain, that has manifested itself in an attempt to take over the structures of an old party, while in much of Europe, the populist left has set up its own … when Mr Corbyn’s eventual successor surveys the wreckage of the European left, he or she may find cause to be grateful to him that the Labour party is, unlike its European cousins, alive and in one piece.”


Liked by 2 people

WorldbyStorm - August 31, 2016

Absolutely, just to be clear, I’m not getting at Corbyn above. He is the properly elected leader, it’s looking good that he’ll increase his mandate. It’s more a post seeking to work through some of the overly inflated expectations.


Ed - August 31, 2016

Oh no, didn’t think you were. Just thought that article was worth sharing as a bit of useful common sense about what’s going on in European politics at the moment, and he’s right that all the stuff happening on the Continent has been completely ignored by the Westminster commentariat. Couple of things I’d disagree with there from Bush—I think he exaggerates how middle-of-the-road Sanders was/is, and it’s premature to say the neo-left parties in Europe have peaked, we won’t know what the story is there for a few years yet—but overall it’s sensible stuff, and head and shoulders above most of what you’d read. The FT’s chief writer on UK politics, who has never said anything remotely interesting to my knowledge, treated us to the precious insight that most of Corbyn’s supporters were ‘thick as pigshit’ the other week. That’s about the level of the debate.


WorldbyStorm - August 31, 2016

Yeah, I think the idea they’ve peaked is way too premature.

Have you been reading Phll on the Gaping Silence? I think a lot of his thoughts on the Corbyn issue are spot on.


Ed - August 31, 2016

I think I’ve dipped into his Twitter feed but haven’t seen the blog lately, will check it out. So much to keep up with at the mo …


2. Roger Cole - August 31, 2016

The latest poll shows that Corbyn will win by a bigger margin than he did last time.


WorldbyStorm - August 31, 2016

That’s a given – and proper order too – Smith is abysmal, the anti-Corbyn crew likewise – but that doesn’t necessarily translate to the wider British electorate.


FergusD - August 31, 2016

No, there isn’t any evidence that there is a vast untapped demand for leftish social democracy (in modern terms), but Corbyns re-election can be a start. A start on actually trying fo engage the electorate with some left wing alternatives to neo-liberalism and actually maybe a meaningful debate in the BLP. Just that would be a big step forward. Who is saying Labour could be proto-revolutionary? Mad stuff but my expectations are much lower, not the beginning but the beginning of the beginning, perhaps?


WorldbyStorm - August 31, 2016

Completely agree FergusD. This is the start. And it’s going to take a good long time I suspect. But if it isn’t done…

the stuff about proto-revolutionary has been quoted back at me by others who heard it said. They and I were a bit surprised. I get enthusiasm but it’s no harm to root stuff in the feasible. Then we may all perhaps be pleasantly surprised further down the line!


3. Mick Hall - September 1, 2016

What should not be overlooked is there has been a massive sea change in the attitude of the membership, this time it’s far from only those who are comparatively new members who are voting for him.
Take my own local CLP, last year they voted solidly for Yvette Cooper which give an idea about where their politics were. This year the constituency party voted overwhelmingly for Jeremy, with only 8 votes for Smith. You could have cut the air with the feeling of hatred for those MP’s and apparatchiks who forced through this year’s leadership election.

The policies which Corbyn labour is advocating are not that radical, they were the common sense of the age until around 1976. As to the wider electorate, if Corbyn can get bedded down, no easy task admittedly, then as far as the wider electorate are concerned, all will be to play for.

I always say to comrades if not Corbyn, then who? In my opinion, for what it is worth, all socialist whether in the UK or Ireland should give Corbyn their support in whatever way they can.

I will say one thing about Jeremy he never shirked his responsibility to the Irish people when they needed international solidarity the most. I can tell you for an English socialist that was at times not an easy road to travel, but he remained solid throughout the long war in the north.


4. roddy - September 1, 2016

Totally agree Mick.


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