With the impending Labour leadership election and the possible rise of Jeremy Corbyn to that position, the usual suspects have been gradually appearing in order to undermine him.
Unsurprisingly, Tory Bliar (sic) weighed-in on the matter, but after his not entirely subtle undermining of Ed Miliband in the run-up to GE2015 (which became anything but afterwards), he was far from subtle in his warning of Labour members about voting for Corbyn, by stating that they should get a heart transplant.
Corbyn merely had to accept the possibility that Blair could be tried for war crimes to put Blair’s attack in its place.
This attack on Corbyn by Tory Bliar (sic) ended-up being far more counter-productive to the ‘Get Corbyn’ narrative. Aside from giving Corbyn added status, Tony’s weighing in before other Blairite minions made it easier to deal with subsequent attacks, such as from the disgraced Jack Straw (Home Secretary during the war in Iraq and poster boy for sleazy ‘cash for access‘ deals at Westminster), and John McTernan, the election ‘expert’ who was Jim Murphy’s Chief of Staff in the run-up to Scottish Labour’s near election wipe-out (and was put into this role despite some years earlier sending an email labelling Scots as racist and more recently, but still before the appointment, tweeted a whine about Scottish railway stations), who went as far as calling Corbyn supporters “morons” and even suggested what would essentially be a coup within the Labour Party, to remove Corbyn if elected as Leader. Who cares about the grass roots, eh?
And now, most recently, Blair’s ‘spin-doctor’, Alastair Campbell has joined in.
Somewhere in between these attacks, a poll from YouGov, was reported on by Labour’s Jon Cruddas, a poll commissioned in the wake of Labour’s general election failure.
I have to say that Cruddas took the poll’s responses to a question about people’s attitude to the deficit and kind of ran a mile with it.
The question, which was more of a statement, read, “We must live within our means so cutting the deficit is the top priority”, rather unsurprisingly had a lot of people agreeing with it.
Cruddas however reads into this what he wants. He reads this as meaning that Labour were seen as light on austerity by the respondents and therefore Labour needs to be more attune to this view. This in turn is being used by Blairites and Tories alike to put people off voting for Corbyn, by arguing that his policies are too left wing – “hard left wing”.
This is something of a leap from a statement that pretty much everyone should agree with.
There are further concerns about this poll. YouGov was hardly covered in glory with its election campaign polling, which even had the ranting Daily Fail on its back.
YouGov’s owners have strong Tory party links and some of the replies that have been quoted by Cruddas, in further support of his conclusions, could well be from Tory supporters stirring the pot. And as someone has spent some time on YouGov in the past, I noted that it does seem to have a disproportionately high number of Tory supporters on it – so I would very much question the wisdom behind Labour choosing YouGov to perform the poll.
I would also argue that having any such poll is unnecessary.
Why? Because we have the best poll of all to go by – the actual General Election results.
With Labour’s pro-union and anti-independence “No” stance seeing them share a platform with The Tories, during the Scottish Independence referendum, many Scottish Labour voters felt that this was the last straw with regard to their support for the Labour Party, something which had been slowly declining for some time, (with the SNP taking power at Holyrood, from Labour, firstly with a minority Government, then with a majority), and despite the “No” vote, many happily voted SNP come May 2015.
Despite many ex-Scottish Labour voters attesting to not leaving Labour, but Labour leaving them, and pointing to the anti-austerity stance taken up by the SNP, The Tories (and Tory press) still chose to paint all Scottish SNP voters as nationalists, when clearly the make-up of the SNP vote was far more complex than that, and I would submit would have been no where near as large had the SNP not had an anti-austerity stance for former Labour (and probably some Lib Dem) supporters to defect to.
Going back to Blair’s comments, as well as attacking Corbyn, he also called the SNP vote “nationalist” and compared the SNP’s politics to the “politics of the first caveman”, thereby earning him even more ire than he already has from lots of Scots, especially those who had only just switched. Hardly helpful to the cause of resurrecting Scottish Labour.
Blair essentially followed the Tory election propaganda line, choosing to comment on the nationalist element of the SNP vote, whilst ignoring the anti-austerity stance that made it so easy for voters to switch to the SNP. No mention of it means no press report of it, which means those none-the-wiser, whose knowledge of Scottish politics is reliant on the occasional tit-bit from English based news media, remain none-the-wiser.
What the nationalist argument does not and cannot account for is the sheer volume of SNP support. A 50% share of the electorate means that at least some “No” voters at Indyref must have voted SNP – yet Tories and Blairites still choose to lump all the SNP support as nationalist, and continue to neglect to mention the anti-austerity stance as if it never existed, despite the members of the Scottish electorate who did switch to the SNP, standing-up and saying otherwise.
Mind you, a few other people have mentioned it, too.
This one was before the result, but predicted it pretty accurately, based on the mood of what had been staunch Labour supporters: How Labour Lost Scotland to the SNP.
The SNP has aimed its election pitch squarely at Labour supporters. Nicola Sturgeon has promised an end to austerity and a greater rise in the minimum wage than Labour. At the SNP manifesto launch in Edinburgh last Monday, the Scottish First Minister Sturgeon pledged that nationalist MPs would “lock out” the Conservatives from government and “help Labour be bolder”. That message chimes with many Scottish voters.
Alastair Campbell’s blog post, that pronounced “Labour could be finished if he (Corbyn) wins”, has succeeded about as much as Tory Bliar’s (sic), in increasing and hardening support for Corbyn. People have seen what happened in Scotland and are starting to understand why and are not falling for this anymore.
It also seems lost on these Blairites that the manner in which they have attacked a member of their own party can be seen as unseemly by more neutral observers, and even many less neutral ones.
And so on to what is last night now, as I write this, and Corbyn supporter, Owen Jones, was on C4 News with Tory supporter, Toby Young, discussing Jeremy Corbyn.
All the above was brought into focus at 4:03 in.
As could be predicted beforehand, Young claims that Scotland voted SNP due to nationalism, even quoting the Jon Cruddas comments and YouGov poll as he did so, and drawing exactly the same conclusion.
Jones however was prepared and points out that ex-Labour party members have said why they voted SNP and that pollster, John Curtice (that Jones also points out was one of few who had credibility following the polling fiasco at GE2015 – unlike YouGov), also found this to be the case.
So let me ask you this; who do you believe on why Scots voted SNP? Do you believe Tories like Toby Young, Blairites including Tory Bliar (sic) himself, pollsters like YouGov – or the Scots who actually voted SNP in Scotland at GE2015?
Silly question, really, isn’t it.
But there hangs the lie that the Tories and Blairites are both peddling about why Scots voted SNP and about there being no votes for Jeremy Corbyn or for Labour with an anti-austerity message.