Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Not the Messiah

Alex Massie writing in The Spectator makes a convincing argument that the Corbyn effect in Scotland has been hugely overblown.

"The revolution may be around the corner but it’s hard to argue Scotland is thirsting for a great leap forwards after an election in which Labour was beaten by the Conservatives for the first time since 1959 and finished in third place for the first time since – wait for it – 1910." 

As Alex points out, the “Corbyn Surge” north of the border added less than 10,000 extra votes - Labour won 707,147 Scottish votes in 2015 and 717,007 in 2017. 

But read the full piece via the link below and decide for yourself whether Jezza is the real deal or just another here today gone tomorrow politician.



Did Jeremy Corbyn really save the Labour party in Scotland?
By Alex Massie -The Spectator

If a line is repeated often enough it becomes true. Or true enough, anyway. This, at any rate, is one of the axiomatic rules of modern politics. He who controls the ballyhooed “narrative” owns the truth. Which is why the interpretation of any given event swiftly becomes almost as important as the actual event itself.

So up-pops Matt Zarb-Cousin, formerly Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesman and now one of his more charming outriders on social media, to claim that it was Jezzah what has saved the Labour party in Scotland. As he puts it, “Corbyn’s supporters have long argued that returning Labour to its socialist roots would be necessary if the party was to ever regain support in Scotland.”

Well, up to a point Lord Spart.

The revolution may be around the corner but it’s hard to argue Scotland is thirsting for a great leap forwards after an election in which Labour was beaten by the Conservatives for the first time since 1959 and finished in third place for the first time since – wait for it – 1910.

The best that might be said for Corbyn is that without him Labour’s election result in Scotland might have been even worse than it was. That’s a tenable line, though a modest one. Labour won 27 per cent of the vote in Scotland on polling day, an improvement of just 2.8 per cent on the 2015 Ajockalypse Now election in which the party lost 41 of the 42 seats it had hitherto held. The Tory share of the vote, meanwhile, doubled.

Granted, Labour’s election result performance was half a dozen points better than had seemed plausible at the outset of the campaign. This proved the difference between modest respectability – as measured by the party’s share of the vote – and irrevocable meltdown. A difference not to be sneered at, then.

But, still, the “Corbyn Surge” in Scotland was worth precisely 66 votes per constituency. Labour won 707,147 Scottish votes in 2015 and 717,007 in 2017.

And even that demands we apportion all these new Labour voters to Corbyn, not to the leader of the Scottish party Kezia Dugdale. It is not obvious that is a reasonable or fair interpretation of the result. It was Jez not Kez, you understand, and Labour would have done even better if only Kez were more like Jez.

The difference between 2015 and 2017, of course, was that Labour’s vote was more efficiently distributed. Even so, the average swing towards Labour in the six seats they took from the SNP was just 5.8 per cent and in two – Rutherglen and Kirkcaldy – the victorious Labour candidate in 2017 actually won fewer votes than the defeated Labour candidate did in 2015.

If Corbyn helped Labour do better than expected before the election, he still didn’t lead any substantial Labour revival in Scotland if we measure these things by share of the vote or the number of votes actually cast.

Not the Messiah (02/07/17)


The Times cartoonist Peter Brookes has some fun with Jeremy Corbyn's policy on Brexit because, if truth be told, the Labour leader is a left-wing 'ideologue' who has vehemently opposed the UK's membership of the European Union for many years, on the bogus grounds that the EU is a 'bosses club'. 

So while Chuka Umanna (in the background) tells the faithful that Jeremy Corbyn really isn't the 'Messiah', the Labour leader continues to pretend that the UK can leave the EU while at the same time preserving all benefits of remaining in the EU which is completely crazy, of course.

Freedom of movement within the EU is a great benefit to many UK citizens, younger and older alike, yet that is one of the reasons for Jeremy Corbyn setting his face against continued membership of the Single Market. 


Impossible Things (30/06/17)

Image result for having your cake and eating it

My understanding of Labour party policy on Brexit is that its leader firmly support the UK leaving the European Union (EU), so long as the country continues to enjoy all the benefits of being a member of the EU.

Which sounds like the political equivalent of being a little bit pregnant, if you ask me - it's the same as having your slice of cake and eating it at the same time.

In the first test of his leadership since the general election, Jeremy Corbyn yesterday ordered Labour MPs to abstain over a vote in the House of Commons to stay within the Single Market and the Customs Union, both of which have major implications for jobs and future growth in the UK economy.

Three shadow ministers (Ruth Cadbury, Andy Slaughter and Catherine West), were sacked for defying their leader's order and and a fourth (Daniel Zeichner) resigned before he could be shown the door.

UK politics has an 'Alice in Wonderland' feel to it these days with arch-rebel Jeremy Corbyn demanding loyalty from his troops and believing that 'six impossible things before breakfast' is perfectly realistic.

Which is complete nonsense, of course, as the UK's mad march towards Brexit will show us all in the weeks and months ahead. 

A Question of Leadership (29/06/17)

The big political news on Twitter right now is that Jeremy Corbyn is to whip Labour MPs into 'abstaining' on an amendment which would commit to membership of the EU's single market.

Now given that the majority of Labour supporters voted to remain in the Europe, along with the majority of Scots and a majority of young voters, you would think Jezza would set aside his personal hostility towards the EU and support this amendment from one of his own backbenchers, Labour MP Chuka Umanna.

Because an awful lot of water has flowed under the bridge since the EU referendum in June 2016 which never specifically asked voters for their views on the pros and cons of leaving the Single Market and/or the Customs Union.