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UK GE2017 campaign: This wasn’t meant to happen… May 30, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Labour now in some polls four or more points ahead of its 2015 level. Jeremy Corbyn performing so well that some think he was markedly better than May in the interviews and public Q&As last night. Of course for all that the Tories remain further ahead and have inbuilt structural advantages (no Scotland to worry about, a phenomenon where increased LP vote share piles up in constituencies where there is no contest etc), hence the fact that even significant upticks in the LP vote does not transfer into seat gains. But even so. What was meant to be a coronation for May has turned into something quite quite different.

How different? Look at Andrew Rawnsley’s column titles from the last month. The last month, which started with a Labour ‘catastrophe’ at the local elections and has proceeded to ‘The Supreme Leaders doesn’t seem so invincible now’. That in the space of precisely four weeks.

Perhaps that is because as he notes criticisms of Corbyn are ‘baked in’, and as people see him, or rather more people see him, his calmness and articulacy outweighs the negative aspects.

As Rawnsley noted at the weekend (and I think he’s useful as a sort of mainstream benchmark, as it were):

What such a very presidential Tory campaign, which has boiled down to saying that Mrs May is simply entitled to be prime minister, has invited people to do is make a closer inspection of her character. Many voters began the campaign saying that they liked what they saw, but they were working on the basis of not having seen all that much of a woman who rarely looks at ease under scrutiny. A few of us have said for some time that she is not the most awesome political genius ever to walk the planet. She is a mixed bag of strengths and weaknesses who has been greatly flattered by the absence of competition from within her own party and among her rival leaders.

I have long anticipated a downward correction in how she is regarded. Where I was wrong was in thinking this re-evaluation would begin after the election rather than during it.


The campaign has made some of her deficiencies more apparent to her fellow Tories, the media and the electorate. The dreadful mess she got herself into over social care was a defining moment. A highly contentious policy on a very combustible issue was conceived with virtually no consultation of ministers, not even those relevant to its implementation. When it provoked ferocious hostility, other Tories were very happy for it to be “her manifesto” and therefore not one they felt they had any responsibility to defend. Only a few May loyalists – the work and pensions secretary, Damian Green, prominent among them – were prepared to do battle for her. So were some commentators who commended Mrs May for her audacity. They were left to feel like fools when their support was rewarded with a screeching U-turn by Mrs Strong and Stable. She became the first party leader to ditch a central manifesto policy in the middle of a campaign. She then took everyone else for fools by trying to pretend that “nothing has changed” when it so palpably had. It was the first time in her 10 months as prime minister that I have seen journalists respond to her with open mockery.

Last night she encountered similar open mockery from her audience. Never a good look for a Prime Minister and absolutely poison in the context of an election campaign.

Of course it is essential to keep in mind that this does not mean that the LP is cruising towards victory. Anything but. But it does mean that far from being a busted flush the LP is very much a going concern, that Corbyn’s leadership is – one would expect – somewhat more certain than it was even a month ago and that his gentle efforts to push it in a mildly leftward direction can continue into the next parliament. If the LD threat can be seen off that too will be a considerable gain. At the start of this election campaign my greatest concern and fear and expectation was that this would be a matter of simple survival (or at least rescuing as much as possible from the ruins). That it has turned into something quite different, that it has weakened May and strengthened the LP, was beyond expectation or hope. It is great to see. A week to go. Every day counts in clawing back space for the left.


1. carouselclub2017 - May 30, 2017

Corbyn’s energy and passion have hit a chord but the end result is not in doubt. He will never resign as Labour leader regardless of the outcome & Gordon Brown may be the last ever Labour PM.


Dermot O Connor - May 30, 2017

Many of us wouldn’t regard Brown as a Labour PM, or Blair for that matter.


carouselclub2017 - May 30, 2017

But history will probably record them as the last Labour PM regardless.


carouselclub2017 - May 30, 2017

In an Irish context the failure of any left wing party to govern alone since 1922 is remarkable.


carouselclub2017 - May 30, 2017

Frank Cluskey was the last Irish Labour Party leader who was a genuine Socialist. He left us far too soon.


Ed - May 30, 2017

That’s a pretty drastic prediction to make about the future stretching as far as the eye can see when predictions made less than two months ago have proved to be pretty shaky …


carouselclub2017 - May 30, 2017

It looks like that on the ground but the media seek the myth of an actual auld firm contest. But the days of Red v Blue are history since Labour’s collapse in Scotland. For Labour the future looks bleak & in my lifetime I have never seen such a political landscape.


2. carouselclub2017 - May 30, 2017

The “left” needs to define itself and old mantras no longer cut ice. It is far too easy to claim to be “socialist” or indeed “progressive” in 2017.


3. GW - May 30, 2017

Disappointing to see Corbyn give in on the immigration front when pressed – but otherwise he seems to have done well.

Labour might be in with a chance if it were not for Brexit.

These documents about Brexit are worth a look – the EU negotiating position is open and available for all citizens to see unlike that of the Brits.

As someone who paid a fair amount into British public and company pension funds in the 80s and 90s the following is interesting:

The Withdrawal Agreement should protect the rights of EU27 citizens, UK nationals and their family members who, at the date of entry into force of the Withdrawal Agreement, have enjoyed rights relating to free movement under Union law, as well as rights which are in the process of being obtained and the rights the enjoyment of which will intervene at a later date [for example pension rights].

I have very little hope that the Brits under the Tories will honour any ‘rights of enjoyment which will intervene at a later date’ in terms of my pension entitlements. Many Irish nationals will be in that position, I suspect.


GW - May 30, 2017

Actually unfair – he was studiedly vague on the immigration numbers question.


4. sonofstan - May 30, 2017

Nick Robinson tweets: ‘last night confirmed what we already knew – Corbyn vulnerable on his past, May vulnerable on her future plans’

Anon response: ‘so now we just need to establish whether time is moving forwards or backwards before we decide how to vote’

Liked by 1 person

5. roddy - May 30, 2017

That would be the Frank Cluskey who represented Ireland at the Jerusalem conference on”international terrorism” which proposed some very nasty medicine for the Palestinians among others.I read through this groups members and attendees and “socialist” would’nt be the first thing that springs to mind.


carouselclub2017 - June 3, 2017

Frank is gone a longtime but his death opened the way for Dick Spring’s blandness & rural client driven policies. Given that his father Dan Spring built his career on Charlie Kerins death it was ironic that a Sinn Fein TD took Dick’s seat in N Kerry. The defection of Michael O’ Leary to Fine Gael was an expression of disillusion & yet was an honest decision. In terms of Frank Cluskey he was & may well be the last genuine Dub to lead Labour. Irish Labour are now in the same boat as the Lib Dems overhere. A tiny party whose annual conference could be held in a telephone box. If Cluskey or O’ Leary returned they would be equally amazed at Labour’s decline. Almost everything James Connolly predicted about an independent Irish state has come to pass. Green postboxes & a green flag over Dublin Castle etc.


6. Dermot O Connor - May 30, 2017

BTW, Corbyn should thank the MSM for the raft of “Labour will be reduced to 100 seats catastrophe OMG” headlines, because it reduced expectations to such an extent that merely losing 10 or 15 seats (if not actually winning a few) will make a result in the low 200s look like a Labour victory.

“Resign? Moi?”


7. Dermot O Connor - May 31, 2017

Times / Yougov poll predicts tories to Lose seats. If this transpires, expect a NuLab heave against JC for something something something.



Logan - May 31, 2017

Hi Dermot,

A warning that clicking that link would put us face to face with an invitation to add something more to Murdoch’s cash mountain before we could read it would have been nice…


Logan - May 31, 2017

Here is a link to a Reuters story covering the same news:


GW - May 31, 2017

Good on you Logan.


carouselclub2017 - June 3, 2017

In real terms a Tory majority of 50 seats looks like the end result. This is despite a poor campaign as well as being in office since May 2010. This possible result will see the Lib Dems face oblivion & the probable end of UKIP. But in real terms it will mark the end of Liberalism & Socialism as we knew them since post World War One.


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