Just six per cent of Labour voters backed the party primarily because of their local candidate or MP, a new study of the party’s supporters has found.
YouGov found that more people voted Labour because of the party’s socialist manifesto, because of its leader Jeremy Corbyn, or because they wanted to stop the Tories than any other reasons.
28 per cent of people said they backed the party because of its manifesto, 15 per cent because they were anti-Tory, and 13 per cent because of Mr Corbyn, the pollster says.
Other reasons included 12 per cent who said the party offered fairness or hope for the many, and 8 per cent specifically because of the party’s approach to the NHS.
Local loyalty to an MP or good candidate was picked by just six per cent, roughly the same number as those who specifically cited the policy to scrap tuition fees (four per cent) or who said they had simply always voted Labour (five per cent).
During the early stages of the general election campaign many Labour MPs reported de-emphasising the national party and Mr Corbyn from their campaign literature in the hope that their own personal votes would help them keep their seats. In one of the most extreme examples, MP John Woodcock, in Barrow-and-Furness, said he would not vote for his party leader to become Prime Minister should the opportunity arise.
The findings come amid an internal debate in Labour about whether local party members should have more power over selecting who the party’s candidate in their seat is.
Opponents say sitting MPs have a personal mandate from the electorate and should not have to face additional selection measures to backed by Labour resources and activists.
Those who want to change the rules say the parliamentary party should more reflect the views of the leaders and the membership – after years of criticism and briefing by MPs against Mr Corbyn peaking at a no-confidence vote last year.
Under the Labour rulebook MPs currently have to face a “trigger ballot” by party members, though this rule was suspended by the paty’s national executive at the most recent election. The Campaign for Labour Party Democracy has proposed an amendment to this rule to make members’ powers stronger, though it says the proposal stops short of “mandatory reselection” of MPs at every election.
A concurrent poll of Tory voters showed that their main reasons for backing the party were Brexit (21 per cent), that they were anti-Labour (16 per cent) or anti-Corbyn (14 per cent).
Other concerns were agreement with Tory policies (10 per cent) or that they were the “best of a bad bunch” (8 per cent).
Labour slaps down PM’s humiliating plea for help from rival parties
EMPICS Entertainment Deputy leader Tom Watson, leader Jeremy Corbyn, Ian Lavery and Andrew Gwynne out on the campaign trail
JEREMY CORBYN slapped down Theresa May’s cynical request for parties to “work together” on policy yesterday, slamming a “narrow and hopeless” administration that has “run out of steam.”
Following the Prime Minister’s plea for Labour to “contribute ideas” on Brexit, the leader of the opposition offered to supply her with a copy of his party’s manifesto.
But if her government was stuck for ideas it would be “better still” to hold another election so “the people of this country can decide.”
Ms May tried to pitch her bid for cross-party collaboration as a “grown-up” way of doing politics, but Mr Corbyn said this was a “pivotal moment in our country and the world” and Britain couldn’t afford a rudderless and discredited government.
“Amid uncertainty over Brexit, conflict in the Gulf states, nuclear sabre-rattling over North Korea, refugees continuing to flee war and destruction, ongoing pandemics, cross-border terrorism, poverty and inequality, and the impact of climate change,” a new vision was needed, the Labour leader said.
Ms May’s closest minister, First Secretary of State Damian Green, said the public would welcome her attempt to move away from the type of politics in which parties “just sit in the trenches and shell each other.”
But shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne said that Ms May’s plea shows she “has finally come clean and accepted the government has completely run out of ideas. As a result they’re having to beg for policy proposals from Labour.”
Mr Gwynne also accused the unimaginative Tories of “brazenly borrowing” Labour’s slogan as Ms May will vow to lead a “one nation” government that works for all and not just the “privileged few.”
“But no-one will be fooled — the Tories are the party of the privileged few. This is further evidence that this government can no longer run the country,” Mr Gwynne said.
Ms May’s new-found readiness to “debate and discuss” ideas with others emerges ahead of the Repeal Bill being published this week.
The Bill will ensure that EU law no longer applies in Britain.
Her speech today will be at the publication of the Taylor Report for the government review of the so-called “gig economy,” in which many workers of app-based companies are declared “self-employed” so bosses can avoid paying holiday and sick pay.
It follows manoeuvres by pro-Remain MPs who have vowed to stop a “hard Brexit” — with Labour backbencher Chuka Umunna and Tory ally Anna Soubry keen to lead MPs from both parties as well as the Scottish National Party, Greens and Liberal Democrats in seeking to undermine last year’s referendum result and keep Britain in the single market.
Mr Green confirmed that the Prime Minister’s plea was not just about Brexit, and that the Tories are stuck on what to do in general without help from the opposition parties.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’re saying that politicians of all parties, it’s not just addressed to Jeremy Corbyn, but that there are big issues facing this country, obviously Brexit is the overwhelming one, but there’s counter-terrorism, there’s workers’ rights — the thing that’s very much in the news today with the Matthew Taylor report — issues like the industrial strategy.”
Ms May’s speech also comes after reports of a plot to oust her by allies of Brexit Secretary David Davis, who is ranked favourite to succeed her — according to results of a poll published last week of Tory members by website ConservativeHome.
Former chief whip Andrew Mitchell, who ran Mr Davis’s unsuccessful 2005 leadership bid, played down claims he told a private dinner that the PM was “dead in the water,” saying the report was “overheated.”
Jeremy Corbyn urged Theresa May to end the Conservative “nightmare” and call a snap general election as he addressed record crowds at a Durham Miners’ Gala hailed as a “celebration of Corbynism”.
To the now-familiar chants of “Oh Jer-emy Cor-byn”, the Labour leader demanded an end to the public sector pay cap and a public inquiry into the “national catastrophe” of the Grenfell fire.
His speech to the 133rd Durham Miners’ gala was interrupted when a woman invaded the stage and briefly refused to leave, having fought her way through the crowds.
Corbyn told the huge rally of trade unionists and mineworkers that the general election campaign was “not just the excitement of youth, not just the concerns of older people, it was a fundamental unease”.
He added: “Unease, that a society can go on in this direction with poverty and inequality alongside very rapidly rising huge individual wealth for a small number of people.”
To boisterous cheers, Corbyn went on: “I’ve got good news for the Tories: I know they’re living through a nightmare at the moment. I’m somebody, as you’re very well aware, that doesn’t get involved in personal abuse and would never exploit somebody else’s misfortune – so I want to help these Tories out of their nightmare.
“Feel free, at any time, to resign and we’ll have another general election.”
More than 200,000 people were expected on the streets of Durham for the 133rd so-called “Big Meeting”, a record turnout for the biggest trade union gala in Europe.
The march appeared as much a celebration of the north-east’s mining heritage as a mark of the surge in “Corbynism” in Labour’s heartlands, with scores of people wearing Corbyn-branded T-shirts and chanting the 68-year-old MP’s name.
Len McCluskey, the Unite chief, described the Labour leader as “the prime minister in waiting” and attacked Corbyn’s critics – singling out one-time leadership candidate Chuka Umunna – in a speech at the sun-dappled racecourse.
The union leader marvelled at the size of crowd and said: “I’ve been to many miners’ galas over the years but this has been the biggest, loudest and proudest one I’ve ever seen. Just like I’ve never seen rallies like those for Jeremy during the election campaign, it’s extraordinary this enthusiasm for our movement that has built for Jeremy’s vision.”
Corbyn left the stage to cheers and rapturous applause from the tens of thousands at the racecourse, and a standing ovation from the trade unionists and Labour colleagues on the stage.
Ken Loach, the filmmaker behind I, Daniel Blake and a prominent Corbyn supporter, addressed the crowds alongside a host of trade union leaders and the shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner.
The record turnout “shows that we stand at a moment of great hope,” he told the crowd. “Why is it a moment of hope? Because we have a Labour leadership that for the first time in my memory stands with the people,” he said, to applause.
“The wind is in our sails. We nearly won a great victory and we will do next time. This wind is with us.”
There were pantomime boos as a succession of union leaders attacked the Conservative government’s £1bn deal with the Democratic Unionist party, described by McCluskey as symbolising May’s “bung parliament”.
Corbyn was joined on stage by about 20 fellow Labour MPs but many others from the north-east were blacklisted from appearing on the Durham Miners’ Association platform for the second year running over their perceived hostility towards the party leader.
The blanket “dis-invitation” was introduced last year by Davey Hopper, the association’s general secretary who died a week after last year’s march, which came at the height of a leadership challenge against Corbyn and after a vote of no confidence by his parliamentary colleagues.
Addressing the crowds, Joe Whitworth, the miners’ association chairman, said politics had eventually come back to his late colleague’s viewpoint after the Blair years. “It’s a bit like Back to the Future,” he said. “Socialism has returned. This is what socialism looks like at Durham Miners’ Gala in 2017.”
Watching from the crowd, Linda Serrechia, 35, said of Corbyn: “His speech was excellent but if he’d done that at the start of the election he could’ve been prime minister now. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see him as PM but if he came out with all this at the start it might have been a different story.”
The chants of “Oh Jer-emy Cor-byn” had a musical accompaniment as brass bands went played along to the White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army as the procession snaked through Durham city centre.
Watching the procession from a grass bank across the River Wear from Durham Cathedral, Carol Stanley, 60, described the gala as a “celebration surrounded by like-minded people”. “It’s a special year with Corbyn and the way things are going,” she said.
She added: “I think we’re returning to the proper Labour party. I remember coming to this when Blair was in and the atmosphere was quite angry because people didn’t feel they were represented by him. He didn’t even bother to come here – that’s what he thought of these people.
“The chant that year, about 15 years ago, was: take back our party. There was very bad feeling about New Labour here and you did feel a lot of it at the gala.”
Her friend, Lynn Readman, 58, said she was not convinced about Corbyn – “I didn’t know whether he had the charm” – but said he had improved and that his anti-austerity message resonated where she lives in Brandon, a former mining village.
“When the miners’ strike was on we didn’t have a food bank or a clothes bank and now we’ve got both in Brandon. We’ve got a lot of families who are really deprived.”
Watching the procession near the Swan & Three Cygnets pub on Elvet Bridge, Rosemary Coleran, 34, pointed proudly to her Corbyn T-shirt and beamed: “I’ve been coming here for years but it was definitely the Corbyn factor that brought everyone out today.
“I thought we must come this year because he’s inspirational. When he gave that speech at the Sage [weeks before the election] it was electric, it was like watching a rock star, trying to get a glimpse of him.”
Her twin sister, Hannah Marshall, said his popularity was down to his straight-talking attitude. “He just speaks sense,” she said. “For people in the north-east he’s the only politician who we can relate to what they’re saying. It’s more than just turning up to do speeches, he comes and talks about issues that matter to working people.
“He’s always sided with working people his whole career and he’s been coming to the Big Meeting for years.”
Handing out copies of the Socialist Worker, Carl Richardson, a Labour councillor on Hartlepool borough council, said the mass of Corbyn T-shirts and chants had transformed the gala into a “celebration of looking forward as a united movement”.
“We’re ready for the election now,” he said as the bands and marched across Elvet bridge. “We were caught a bit off guard but now we’re fully united and even the rightwing elements within the party have kept quiet. It’s looking very good. Bring on the election – we’re ready for it.”
The Jeremy Corbyn surge is continuing at the local Labour Party grassroots level with pro-Corbyn candidates winning democratic internal Labour Party elections all over the place, causing right-wingers from inside and outside the Labour Party to absolutely lose their minds over it.
“The Labour Party In Liverpool Wavertree is a vibrant, democratic organisation with around 1,800 members. Quite rightly, the members elect officers of the party to oversee its work. We are united in wanting to secure a new General Election and the return of a Labour government under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn as soon as possible. We had a great local result on June 8, with the Labour majority [in Wavertree] going up for the third election in a row and almost four in five people voting for Luciana Berger as the Labour candidate. That is thanks to the hard work of local members and a revitalised national party under Jeremy Corbyn. It is a fantastic foundation for the next General Election, whenever it comes.”
It’s absolutely clear that the local Labour Party and Luciana Berger have both expressed a desire to work together, and Berger was very clear about her respect for the democratic result, but right-wingers who hate internal Labour Party democracy and would rather the party be run as an ideologically pure neoliberal dictatorship are desperately trying to spin this resounding election result as some kind of evil plot by leftie bullies to take over the Labour Party.
The lengths that right-wingers will go to to defend their hatred of democracy are quite extraordinary.
Another right-winger to jump onto the concern trolling bandwagon was the Tory-loving slob Paul Staines (AKA Guido Fawkes), who invented a fictional threat from the Wavertree Executive Committee to “deselect” Luciana Berger, then cried crocodile tears about it as if he actually cares about the good of the Labour Party, rather than being the ridiculously biased pro-Tory muck-slinger that he actually is.
The comments beneath the Guido Fawkes article from his loyal hard-right hate mob are quite extraordinary, with one Tory fanatic claiming that the Tory spin machine failed during Theresa May’s vanity election because they didn’t smear Corbyn as a “left wing terrorist loving extremist” hard enough, rather than because of the appalling lack of Tory manifesto policies aimed at helping anyone apart from corporations and the mega-rich.
The right-wing of the Labour Party joined the Daily Mail and the most notorious right-wing blog in Britain in howling at the democratic result in Wavertree, and smearing the left of the party as “thugs“ and “bullies“ as if they’d taken over the executive committee of the local Wavertree party by force rather than by the ballot box.
The absurd thing of course is that right-wing Labour leaders like Neil Kinnock, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown spent years ideologically purging the Labour Party and parachuting loyal right-wingers (like Luciana Berger) into safe Labour seats, but the Progress mob had no complaints about thuggery or bullying then because they believed so strongly in the ideological purification of the Labour Party to make it a centre-right orthodox neoliberal party in line with their own agendas.
But suddenly when the left of the party is making a resurgence, not by force but by the ballot box, they’re all suddenly shrieking and wailing about the nasty bullying lefties!
The hypocrisy of these Labour Party right-wingers isn’t even the worst thing, it’s the fact that they’re queuing up to stand alongside the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph and the extreme-right Guido Fawkes blog to attack the democratic workings of their own party, and bitterly smear their fellow Labour Party members.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn gave a rousing speech before introducing Run the Jewel’s set earlier today at Glastonbury. “Creativity together can be a tool for getting our message across,” he told the crowd. “We’re at Glastonbury and doing things differently, doing things better.”
Corbyn also sent a message to US President Donald Trump: “Build bridges, not walls.”
As May forms an unholy alliance with the DUP, there is a sense that a movement has been born, writes Jamie Kelsey-Fry.
Britain General Election of 2017 saw the biggest vote share increase for Labour since under Clement Attlee’s leadership in 1945. It was greater even than Tony Blair’s landslide victory.
Unlike Tony Blair though, Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign faced two obstacles: an unprecedented media onslaught that targeted him and his allies with unrelenting, personal attacks; and a large faction of his own MPs hanging on to Blair’s vision and actively working against their leader.
Corbyn’s movement spectacularly defeated both obstacles by winning 35 new seats, turning the ‘landslide victory’ predicted by Conservatives, Labour’s Corbyn objectors, and all the corporate media commentariat – into a hung parliament.
One can only speculate how different the results would have been if all his party had been behind him, or if he had enjoyed the kind of cosy relationship that Tony Blair had with the hitherto ‘kingmaker’ media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
Theresa May now prepares to establish a new coalition with the Democratic Unionists Party (DUP). We are now looking at a government that will be even more right-wing than May. The DUP are anti-abortion, anti-LGBT rights and some are even climate change deniers.
In spite of all of this, this is a genuine grassroots victory. A movement has been born: whatever the corporate media and the machinations of Westminster, ordinary people from across Britain have started to see through the destructive ideology of neoliberalism and its three key tactics of deregulation, privatization and punitive austerity. All coupled with increasingly generous corporate welfare, turning a blind eye to tax avoidance schemes and the kind of casino banking practices that led to the 2008 financial crash.
Likewise, the behavior of corporate media, including the BBC, have engendered a sense of disgust and betrayal that has driven even more people to seek alternative sources of media and commentary – some that are not controlled by the small cabal of usual media owners.
This grew in horrendous relevance over the next weeks as Britain experienced two despicable terrorist attacks, and the public began to make the connections between our government’s support of despotic regimes that can be linked to the funding, training and arming of terrorist organizations. The public has begun to realize how they are misled by corporate media, which, although appearing independent and rich with views and opinions, actually seems to operate under a very controlled narrative.
Corbyn’s key slogan ‘for the many not the few’ echoes the ‘we are the 99 per cent’ rhetoric of the Occupy movement of 2011, and the movement that has built around Corbyn has shown many close parallels.
It has been easy for masses of the public – particularly the young, who have come out to vote in record numbers – to see Corbyn’s Labour as a movement that belongs to them.
His choice to use his first Prime Minister’s Question Time as a way to ask questions sent to him from ordinary members of the public – a choice that was ridiculed at the time – has become symbolic of a form of politics that genuinely listens to the public instead of dictating to them.
Likewise, Occupy was a movement that created a forum for ordinary people to be heard and come together to share their views of what they saw to be a major crisis that was not going to be fixed by the representatives and institutions that had caused it.
Occupy specifically saw that a movement needed to be created outside of the established political and corporate realities that they saw as having failed them so spectacularly.
Everywhere that Corbyn has campaigned, he has received crowds greeting him, and this has been due to his ability to tap into that much deeper notion that establishment politics is dead – it ceased to represent the people, and instead represents the demands of the corporate bodies and financial institutions.
In contrast, Theresa May, backed among others by hedge funders and dirty oil, could hardly fill a room when she made her last campaign appearances. In a very real sense, the public has awoken to the fact that the election was not about Tory versus Labour, it was more about a rare chance to challenge the rule of the 1 per cent.
As our April 2017 Populism issue highlighted, the word ‘populism’ does not need to be a dirty word associated with the rise of far right, xenophobic demagogues. It can also be a movement of the people, for the people, and a stark challenge to business as usual.
As May forms an unholy alliance with the DUP, there is the sense that British politics is about to transform, and that transformation will not be marked by corporate media, and will not be forged in the corridors of parliament: it will be found in the streets instead.
It will be found amidst the rallies and gatherings, that are only bound to grow from what Jeremy Corbyn has started by touching people, and by delivering to the 99 per cent of us that rarest of notions again: hope.
A sleepless night and day of drama over, I should congratulate Jeremy Corbyn and his team on a fantastic job done. This really was a watershed election. I suspect that what happened is that the mainstream media realised it is losing influence, and tried to compensate by becoming so shrill and biased it simply lost all respect. This election may be the one where social media finally routed the press barons. They may in turn start to wonder if it is worth sinking millions into a newspaper if it can’t buy an election
New media beat old media, the insurgents routed the establishment, the young insisted the old also consider their opinion, hope beat fear, altruism wrestled with selfishness, and I would personally go so far as to say good stood up to evil. The result against the combined power of state and media was fantastic. We have nonetheless still got Theresa May as PM propped up by climate change denying, misogynist, creationist, homophobe, anti-abortion terrorist-linked knuckle-draggers from the DUP. But cheer up, it won’t last long.
Tomorrow I will publish an article on the SNP. It is on the stocks, but I want to look at it again when my anger dies down. But for now, let me think about the Blairites.
The Blairites hate Labour’s good result, even though it saved their own jobs. They had put so much work into preparing the ground for their next coup attempt against Corbyn. There was a fascinating campaign to demoralise Labour chances undertaken by Blairite MPs and the Blairite Westminster commentariat.
Here for example was Michael Savage, political editor of the Observer.
Here was my response.
His Guardian colleague Polly Toynbee was on the BBC on Thursday morning explaining coming defeat would be Corbyn’s fault, and her colleague Anne Perkins, the Guardian leader writer whose soul is but a shrivelled husk of right wing hate, wrote the most horrible diatribe in the Guardian on Tuesday advising “Corbyn supporters” not to hope.
These Blairite journalists and the Blairite politicians all live in the same bubble where everybody hates Jeremy Corbyn, and nobody will vote for left wing policies.
Labour Uncut, aka Corbyn Hate Central, had a wonderfully delusional piece by the ludicrous Atul Hatwal, who went and visited a lot of Blairites all over the place and published his firm conclusion that everybody hates Jeremy Corbyn.
Just over two weeks ago I posted a projection of huge losses for Labour – over 90 seats – based on dozens of conversations with activists, candidates and officials who cumulatively had sight of tens of thousands of canvass returns.
Since then, I’ve continued those conversations as Labour has apparently surged in the polls.
In every seat, canvassers are encountering lifelong Labour supporters who still identify with the party but not Jeremy Corbyn. This group tends to have voted for Ed Miliband reluctantly and are now either sitting out this contest or ready to vote Tory for the first time to prevent a Corbyn premiership.
These switchers represent a new generation of shy Tories, located deep inside Labour’s core vote. They are embarrassed at voting Tory, sufficiently so to deny their intent to friends, families and pollsters. Some of the older Labour officials and campaigners have reported familiar doorstep cadences from 1992 – “It’s in the eyes,” one said to me.
But Hatwul is not alone in his drooling imbecility. If anything he is out-drooled by Jason Cowley, the editor who has dragged the New Statesman to the right of the Economist. Both Cowley and Perkins quote Hatwul’s “research” and Cowley on Tuesday expected a “catastrophic” loss of 90 seats. It is a shame that a magazine with a great history has come to be edited by a bigot so blinkered he has lost the faculties of perception. This is funny from Cowley’s anti Corbyn hate fest – written just three days ago:
In recent days, I have been speaking to Labour candidates, including those defending small majorities in marginal seats, as well as to activists. The picture emerging is bleaker than the polls would suggest and the mood is one of foreboding: candidates expect to lose scores of seats on Thursday. There’s a sense, too, that two campaigns have been conducted simultaneously: candidates with majorities under 10,000 are trying to hold back the Tory tide, while Corbyn is, as some perceive it, already contesting the next leadership contest – one in which, at present, he is the sole candidate.
What a stupid arse Cowley is. Do read the whole thing, he is hilariously wrong on all counts. Anybody can make a mistake. But Cowley is making a dishonest mistake. Blinded by Blairite affections, consumed by a passionate rejection of the idea that socialism might be popular, the Labour candidates he has spoken too share his Blairite outlook and they were all engaged in a circle of delusion. A circle which includes Laura Kuenssberg, who at the start of the BBC election night coverage assured us that senior Labour figures she knew had been telling her from the doorstep that the anti-Corbyn reaction would belie the opinion polls.
This was all of course intended to be self-fulfilling prophecy. The Blairites and their media fellow travellers were engaged in a deliberate attempt to reinforce the Corbyn bogeyman narrative to the public in the last few days before the election. They were deliberately trying to make the party they ostensibly supported lose, so they could take back control of it again. The Manchester Evening News claimed “Labour insiders” as the course (sic) of its nonsense story that Labour stood to lose seats in Manchester owing to its stance on anti-Semitism.
The BBC were quick today to suggest that Corbyn should use his success to broaden his cabinet and his policy platform, to bring the Blairites back onboard. They meant that if he squeezes himself inside the Overton window he may win power eventually. I remain confident Corbyn will ignore any such blandishments and go on to further develop a radical alternative to neo-liberal policies. The Blairites need to be stamped out, not encouraged.
The parliamentary boundary review will now be a top legislative priority for May as it is reckoned to be a net advantage to the Tories of 18 seats at the next election, which may be soon. That will be an interesting negotiation with the DUP as it will cost them a seat. But the boundary review provides the perfect opportunity for Corbyn to force through compulsory re-submission of candidates to members. Jeremy also needs to concentrate on seizing the institutional control of the party that he lacks to date. His enhanced prestige at the moment needs to be ruthlessly exploited.
I rather hope we will hear a good deal more bleating by the Blairites in the near future, as they are hurtled towards political oblivion.