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After the by-elections 3: That Tory popularity February 28, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I dislike almost everything Rafael Behr writes about the by-elections here. I think he’s disingenuous in the following, for example even in attempting a cosmetic ‘fairness’ he is anything but:

It is true that a divided party whose MPs have bellowed out loud their lack of confidence in the leader will struggle to make electoral headway. It is also true that some British newspapers write about politicians of the left with vindictive aggression. There is ample responsibility for Labour’s problems to go around – it needn’t all collect in a puddle at Corbyn’s feet.

Yet still he blames Corbyn.

But he does make one point that is not unimportant and speaks to a broader conversation.

And Theresa May can take some credit for her own relative popularity, too. She must be doing some things right for Copeland to swing into Tory arms.

This, in a way, is most troubling because if she can exert that pull on former BLP voters where does that end? It’s not even a case of voters not voting for the Tories, but actually being attracted to them.

That this runs contrary to all the predictions we were offered hardly much more than half a year ago as to how matters would proceed in the context of Brexit – supposed divisions that would tear the Tories apart, that would see a newly freed and untrammelled BLP and Corbyn achieving remarkable heights of popularity, hardly needs saying. None of that. Literally none of that has come to pass.

And worse, the Tories are not simply sitting on double digit leads but are winning by-election seats. Now absent a Brexit referendum win for Leave from all this and what would one have seen? A continuing civil war in Toryism, UKIP still fighting the bad fight. And a J. Corbyn who would have the happy situation of leading a party that could point to a win.

Compare and contrast with the present situation and which would have been the more positive environment for the left?

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Comments»

1. simonjkyte - February 28, 2017

Did anyone actually believe that divisions on Europe would pull the tories apart? They have so much more discipline

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Aengus Millen - February 28, 2017

I have to agree they had and continue to have some divisions but the fact that they are likely to be in government for the next decade has healed all wounds. It’s hard to see where labour goes from here. Corbyn clings on and fair enough he has a huge mandate from the party but it’s hard to see how there can be much improvement under his leadership or under Clive Lewis or Rebecca Long-Bailey. As the editor of the new statesmen wrote recently the party is to strong to die but too weak to win. The best hope for Labour seems to be a conservative party tainted by a horribly failed brexit this is obviously not an ideal situation by any stretch because it would mean a lot of suffering on the ground.

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simonjkyte - February 28, 2017

The Tories have always been much better at sorting out messy situations – ever since the night of the long knives

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GW - February 28, 2017

I think it’s a general rule that it’s far easier to split a party that’s out of power than one that’s in power and in it for the long haul.

To think otherwise was a massive self-deception on the part of the Lexiteers.

As for ‘being tainted by a horribly failed brexit’ – it’s our job now to ensure that they are – and don’t succeed in portraying themselves as victims of a vindictive EU and starting some kind of war as a distraction.

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WorldbyStorm - February 28, 2017

Some yes, simonj. Got to agree Aengus, no joy in seeing the situation for British and Welsh and Scottish workers disimprove ..

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2. irishelectionliterature - February 28, 2017

I do get the feeling that The Tories popularity may wane in light of whatever ‘deal’ they get after Article 50 is triggered.
John Major put it nicely here about the current UK Government attitude https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/27/john-major-attacks-government-over-approach-to-brexit
“Obstacles are brushed aside as of no consequence, whilst opportunities are inflated beyond any reasonable expectation of delivery.”

Talking to some people that work in Brussels at the weekend and there is still genuine incredulity at how the British Government are behaving. They can’t see anything other than a Hard Brexit happening the way May and co are carrying on at the minute.

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Michael Carley - February 28, 2017

And a friend of mine who works in Brussels says Scotland is being given the green light to enter the EU almost automatically upon independence.

May will stand on the smoking ruins of an impoverished England say `we’ve won’.

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3. dublinstreams - February 28, 2017

wasn’t Copeland win mostly to do with the nuclear industry.

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4. Dermot O Connor - February 28, 2017

According to this on-the-ground piece, in Stoke, JC was a drag on older working class support, and has enthusiastic middle class supporters.

http://averypublicsociologist.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/on-labours-victorious-campaign-in-stoke.html

QUOTE: …(A working class supporter) didn’t think Jeremy was any good. And nothing, not the NHS, not Nuttall’s lies were going to dissuade him. Having asked around quite a few comrades who worked intensively on the campaign, they found similar sentiments among too many older, white working class voters. These Jez sceptics were either voting for the kippers or abstaining. And yet this was balanced out by the very enthusiastic response he got in other quarters. In Penkhull and bits of Hartshill where there are more middle class and professional residents, and down in Shelton with its large student and Asian populations, Jeremy was a real motivator. When out with Gareth Snell around Shelton, one comrade tells me of how cars would suddenly stop to speak with him and have obligatory selfies taken. 2,500 new electors registered for the by-election, mostly in the student areas, and I would wager that an increased turn out here made up for the decline in the traditional support.

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