With the window for taking part in Labour leadership election closing and ballot papers going out there were several polls over the weekend asking about the leadership candidates, though no fresh polling of people voting in the actual contest. ComRes, Opinium and Survation all had polls asking about the general public’s perception of the candidates. While the polls weren’t presented that way, I’ve seen various people writing about them as evidence of which candidate would actually do better as leader. In particular the Survation poll had Jeremy Corbyn ahead among the public after they were shown video clips, so was taken as a sign that he may not be as damaging electorally as the commentariat widely assume.

Questions about how well different leadership candidates would do in a general election are always popular and sought after, but extremely difficult if not impossible to make meaningful. Asking the general public who they think would do better or worse is perfectly reasonable, but is a different question. Who people think would do better is not the same as who would do better, it’s just asking the public to answer the question for you and a poll is not a Magic 8 Ball. Asking the general public who they prefer doesn’t answer the question either, it contains the views of lots of committed Labour and Conservative voters who aren’t going to change their vote anyway, and preferring is not necessarily the same as changing your vote.

If you ask how people would vote with x, y or z as leader, or if people would be more or less likely to vote Labour with each candidate as leader then you are getting a little closer, but the problem is still that people are expected to answer a question about how they would vote with the candidates as leader when the general public know hardly anything about them. A fair old chunk won’t even know the candidates names or what they look like, the majority will have little real idea what policies they will put forward. None of us really know how they will work out as leader, what the public, press and political reaction will be, how they will really operate. How can respondents really judge how they would vote in a hypothetical situation with so little information? They can’t.

Some polls try to get round that by giving respondents a little more information about each candidate: a run down of their main policy positions perhaps, or in the case of the Survation poll a little video clip of each respondent so people could see what they looked and sounded like. This is better, but it’s still a long way from reality. It’s like the famous market research failure of New Coke – in market research tests people liked the taste, but release it out into the real world and people wanted their old Coke back. A video clip or a list of policies won’t factor in the way the media react, the way the new leader is reported, how they actually handle leading, the way their party and their opponents react. There is no really good way of answering the question because you’re asking respondents something they don’t actually know yet.

Is there anything polls can really tell us about how the leadership contenders would do? Well, firstly I think we can be reasonably confident in saying the polls don’t suggest any of the four candidates is any sort of electoral panacea, the most positive net rating in the ComRes poll is Andy Burnham and just 19% think he would improve Labour’s chances, 14% that he’d damage them (Corbyn gets more people saying he’d have a positive effect (21%) but much more saying he’d have a negative effect (31%). None of them have obvious election-winning magic like, say, Blair did in 1994.

They can also tell us some things about people’s first impressions of the candidates, something that shouldn’t be underestimated (people probably made their minds up pretty quickly that Ed Miliband didn’t look Prime Ministerial, for example, or that there was “something of the night” about Michael Howard. Those early impressions are hard to shift.). On that front the Survation poll is pretty positive about Jeremy Corbyn with people saying he came across as more trustworthy and in touch than his rivals (though such polls are always a bit tricky because of the choice of clips – Survation tried to iron out any potential biasing effect by having clips from each candidate being interviewed on the Marr show, so they were all interviews, all the same setting and same interviewer… but even then you ended up with two candidates defending their position on the welfare bill, one talking about the EU referendum and one talking about rail nationalisation. It’s almost impossible to do such things and have a truly level ground).

The argument against Corbyn isn’t about his personal image and manner though, it’s that he’d put the Labour party in a ideological and policy position that wouldn’t win votes, that the Labour party itself would risk ripping itself apart under a leader with little support among the Parliamentary party and a long history of rebellion. On individual policies I’ve seen Corbyn supporters taking succour from polls showing, for example, that a majority of the public support rail nationalisation or much higher taxes on the rich and drawing the conclusion that there is a public appetite for much more left wing policies. Be careful – look at this YouGov poll which shows a majority of people would support renationalisation of the utilities, increasing the minimum wage to £10 and the top rate of tax to 60%… but also a total ban on immigration and benefits for anyone who turns down a job, making life mean life with no parole in prison sentences and stopping all international aid. There are some policies to the left of mainstream public debate that are popular and some to the right that are popular, it no more means that the public are aching for a far-left political party than for a far-right one. Essentially you can pick a list of appealing sounding policies from almost any ideological stance, from far-left to far-right, and find the public agree with them. In reality though policies require trade-offs, they need to be paid for, they are attacked by opponents and the press. They are judged as a package. In terms of how well the Labour party would hang together under Jeremy Corbyn, polling of the public can’t really tell us – a poll of Labour MPs perhaps!

Bottom line? There is no way of doing a simple poll that will give you a ready packaged answer as to how well or badly a potential party leader will do, and the things that Jeremy Corbyn’s detractors worry about are not things that are easily tested in a poll anyway. My own guess is that those who think Jeremy Corbyn would struggle electorally are correct, though it does depend on whether the Conservatives also pull themselves to shreds after the EU referendum. I am a little wary about arguments about parties not winning because they are too left or too right. While putting yourself broadly where most voters are is sensible enough, those voters themselves don’t necessarily see things as ideologically left and right and specific policies aren’t really that important in driving votes. However, broad perceptions of a party, its perceived competence and the public’s views on how suitable its leader is to be Prime Minister are incredibly important. It will be an extremely hard task for Labour to succeed if it is seem as taking up a risky and radical route, if it’s trying to rebuild a lack of public confidence by selling an approach that is radically different from what a normally risk-averse public are used to, if it is seen as being riven by internal dissent and splits, if their leadership patently doesn’t have the support of its own MPs. Maybe he’ll surprise us, but I wouldn’t count on it.

On other matters, the ComRes poll also had voting intention, their first online VI figures since the election (rather to my surprise. Their online polls for the Independent on Sunday dried up during the election campaign itself and I’d wrongly assumed they’d come to halt as part of ComRes moving their phone contract from the Independent to the Daily Mail. I’m pleased to see I was wrong, and the ComRes/Indy on Sunday relationship continues!). Topline figures are CON 40%, LAB 29%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 4%, and ComRes have adopted the same socio-economic based turnout model for their online polls that they have started using in their telephone polls.


922 Responses to “Can polls tell us how well Corbyn would do in a general election?”

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  1. @ OldNat

    I meant to write under the bridges … I really would like an edit button… Well, my comment just remains silly, and your response funny and apt.

  2. I really wish people read Roger amexico’s comments carefully … Then go from there.

  3. “The fact that Jeremy Corbyn, a man who was regarded as faintly anachronistic in 1980s Islington[1] should be able to outflank them so easily is pretty damning. Especially as it’s not just in the traditional virtues of campaigning but the up to date world of the online media.”

    ———

    The online stuff is supposedly part of how Obama beat Hilary. And Obama was a refreshing change….

  4. @ Alec

    Railways and energy supplier privatisation makes sense because people want it (or many, as the polls show). It is about perception. They think that it’s not right for anyone to make profit on their habits of travelling and heating.

    There are two objections, of course. One is that in public ownership the Treasury would expropriate all the profits (as they did with Royal Mail), and then decide how much they wanted to put in investment (in the case of Royal Mail, barely any). The other is about pension funds.

    As to the second, we could learn from the Norwegians. As to the first one, involvement of people (basically deciding on the level of investment and alike. I know that they are not qualified, but neither are the Treasury guys – well they are, but they hide it) would sort it out, but don’t expect it from a social democrat.

    It is still a pretty good vote winner and a certain TB used it quite extensively.

  5. Lazlo

    I knew what you meant – but the opportunity to joke was irresistible!

  6. @ OldNat

    It’s fine. Right after reading your response I groaned, the. laughed out loud (and then I groaned again:-)).

  7. @RM: Thanks for the potted analysis (and entertaining footnotes). I presume the video you are referring to is Liz Kendall’s substance-free ‘An open letter….’.

    I think the ‘normal’ question in the candidates characteristics survey is a bit odd. I’m not really sure what ‘normal’ is or how most people would distinguish it from ‘in touch with ordinary people’ – but evidently it did mean something to most of the repsondents as they have scored the candidates differently between the two questions. I suppose a respondent who didn’t necessarily think of themselves as an ‘ordinary person’ would be judging them based on how well they perceived the candidates were connecting with those who they felt were ‘ordinary people’. Whilst perhaps they would judge them on the ‘normal’ question without reference to their perceived performance, but simply by asking themselves converse – are they notably ‘not normal’ (which has more negative connotations than merely not being ‘in touch’).

  8. I’ve seen some fairly bitter selection contests in my time – but participants are normally wise enough to keep most of it behind closed doors.

    I don’t remember one like this GB Labour leadership one, where so much is being conducted by people like MPs on social media and in the press.

    For example, Murray is quoted as saying that he probably wouldn’t continue as Shadow SoS for S under Corbyn [1]

    Regardless of who wins, how can Lab possibly pretend to be a united party after exposing such deep and bitter differences.?

    [1] While SoS for S post is a non-job, it would be embarrassing for Lab not to have an MP from Scotland in the Shadow role.

  9. Lurkinggherkin

    Having a “normal” person as PM rules out all politicians.

  10. Couper2802

    My anecdotal evidence is: as far as Scottish independence supporters on Social Media are concerned, the Corbyn. bubble has burst. They had been broadly supportive but since his visit North they have turned against.

    Corbyn is a difficult but not untypical problem for such people because they are faced with the dilemma ‘Enemy or ally?’ with the inevitable answer “Both”. There’s also a certain amount of fellow-feeling because he is suffering the same sort of vicious and bizarre attacks that the SNP has had and continues to have thrown at them[1]. Usually from exactly the same people and media outlets (ie nearly all of them).

    But now there is a real fear that he might take back votes from the SNP (Couper as usual was one of the first picking this sort of thing up) and the enthusiasm with which his four meetings in Scotland was greeted has obviously worried a lot of people. Hence the rather muddled reactions.

    There’s also the indirect fear that if Corbyn is successful in gaining power, a less neo-liberal UK might undermine the case for Scottish independence. Even him winning the Labour leadership might give some hope and have an effect they feel.

    [1] I refer your worships to today’s SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s chandelier ‘was looted by Nazis during Second World War’ and similarly headed stories in the Express and Mail (though the latter got retitled after being ripped to shreds in the comments).

  11. LurkingGherkin – “what I’m seeing in BTL land all over the internet at the moment – I do a lot of lurking – is Greens and even Kippers declaring that they’ll go back to Labour if Corbyn wins.”

    Careful. Prior to the 2010 election, the Guardian was swamped with LibDems. If you took it at face value it seemed like a great event was happening (and the Guardian did take it at face value – see their editorial endorsing the LibDems which made reference to all the BTL comments).

    It turned out to be activists making a lot of noise. The general public wasn’t nearly as engaged. The LibDems didn’t over take Labour in that election and they lost seats overall.

    Most of the public hasn’t got time to post, some don’t even read more than a page or two of comments.

    Sometimes a small group of people can give the impression they are bigger than they are. According to wiki only 3,127 ballot papers were returned in the Green leadership election that elected Natalie Bennett for example.

    Also – I think the shy anti-Corbyn vote is real. Who amongst the general public wants to get abused online for saying they would stick pins in their eyes before they would vote for him in a general election? They’ll just silently vote against him instead, thanking the heavens for the secret ballot.

  12. @CANDY:

    Rest assured I’m suitably cautious, and I’m certain the shy anti-Corbyn vote is there, just uncertain as to its relative magnitude – the online commentary has become quite vitriolic and it will put many people off from commenting. I think the real turning point was Blair’s ‘get a heart transplant’ remark. Things got ugly from then on.

  13. Thing is… If you look at his ten points, Corbyn’s prospectus is fairly anodyne, by comparison with old Labour’s heyday.

    It’s sorting out the trains, protecting the NHS, people’s everyday concerns, rather than the 95% income tax rates and capital controls of yore. Having a pop at Corbyn on here was either an attempt to claim it’ll be like the Seventies all over again, when clearly in fact there are quite some differences or, if actually engaging with the policy, a geeky examination of helicoptering.

    Where does Corbyn stand on things like Mansion and Inheritance taxes? Is he planning to jack those up?

  14. In other words, any differences with old Lab may be of salience…

  15. OLDNAT

    “However, doubtless you have been persuaded by the London based commentariat that Scots are anti-English, so I can only pity your willingness to be so gullible.”

    Thats just your opinion of course. In reality I suspect some Scots are anti English, some are pro English and some have no great opinion on the matter, having better things to do. Probably very similar to the way the English feel about the Scots.

  16. ADRIAN B

    You picked out the key factors which determined the election. You should have had more faith.

  17. @Roger Mexico

    Correct.

    Although, what Corbyn brings is uncertainty. It could prove a benefit to the independence movement it is hard to tell. I suppose we are going to find out just how left wing Scotland is.

    I would fear a charismatic figure such as David Miliband or Dan Jarvis or even Umanna more, because they could potentially unite the UK against the Tories and be very credible as a PM, in the way Blair was, and they might garner support both for Labour and unionism in Scotland.

    The SNP will have to be on the ball in terms of tactics when dealing with a Corbyn Labour, but they are pretty good tacticians.

    So in summary it is hard to tell if Corbyn will advance or hold back the independence cause.

    On a related topic, the vitriol against Blair and Brown online is ridiculous, some of it coming from Labour MPs, for goodness sake Labour get a grip, you have to talk up your achievements not disown them and join in with anti-Labour memes.

  18. Annnnnnd the award for “Worst Idea of the 2015 Labour Leadership Contest” goes to… PETER MANDELSON!

    Honourable mentions to Jon Ashworth for “We need a long contest to debate the future direction of the party”, Frank Field for “Let’s put someone from the SCG on the ballot to prove the Hard Left is a tiny, impotent minority”, Tony Blair for “Let me win over some Corbyn supporters by telling them they need a heart transplant”, Liz Kendall for her inspiring video “Woman Typing”, and last but not least Jeremy Corbyn for “Reopen the coal mines”.

    But in the end none of them could compete with the sheer, simple elegance of “Let’s stop Jeremy Corbyn from winning the election by having everyone else withdraw so that he will be appointed leader unopposed”.

  19. Spearmint the real winners are frank field,margaret beckett,gareth thomas ,david lammy and the others who nominated corbyn and the naivities who thought the registered members scheme would attract in labour voters in their thousands by setting it at £3 when ordinary members pay £46.

  20. Spearmint

    That Mandelson story puts the Blairite claim that they ‘know how to win elections’ into perspective I think.

  21. CARFREW

    Unless there are other uses?

    Bugger the Logic?

  22. “Careful. Prior to the 2010 election, the Guardian was swamped with LibDems. If you took it at face value it seemed like a great event was happening (and the Guardian did take it at face value – see their editorial endorsing the LibDems which made reference to all the BTL comments).

    “It turned out to be activists making a lot of noise. The general public wasn’t nearly as engaged. The LibDems didn’t over take Labour in that election and they lost seats overall.”

    The Lib Dems’ strong performance was quite real. They polled 23% of the vote, only 6 points less than Labour. They lost seats because of the electoral system, but this would not affect Labour in the same way.

    I do not think the question is whether Corbyn would win voters from the SNP, Greens, and NOTA (he probably would), but rather whether he would win more such voters than he would lose Blairites, ‘dont know’s, and Tories who would have considered switching for someone more moderate (which he very likely would not).

  23. Good morning all from a sunny Mount Florida.

    I said a few months back people were writing off Labour far too soon and they would bounce back in time for the next GE. Looking at the party now and the way this leadership contest is going there is no way that lot will be in government in 2020.

    There are a few areas where I agree with JC such as Trident NATO and some welfare areas but the nationalization agenda he wants to roll out is extremely problematic for many people and will see us return to big bloated unaccountable corrupt local and central government departments which I categorically despise.

    The other 3 also-ran’s (they ain’t going to win)…..well what do they stand for? The 3 spend more time telling people what the think of JC than what they have to offer.

    It’s no joke…the infighting and attacks within Labour makes PRESSMAN’S attacks on EM look like a punch up in Sesame Street. David Cameron must be giving his tea lady a high five every time Labour appear on the news and just one last thing…I personally find all of the Labour leadership contenders highly boring and dull and it’s probably the same impression many others have of them.
    ……..
    “people’s first impressions of the candidates, something that shouldn’t be underestimated (people probably made their minds up pretty quickly that Ed Miliband didn’t look Prime Ministerial, for example, or that there was “something of the night” about Michael Howard. Those early impressions are hard to shift”
    __

    …………….ouch!!

  24. ROGER MEXICO
    Good analysis. On ‘ a less neo-liberal UK might undermine the case for Scottish independence”, perhaps too little account is being taken of his proposal to not renew Trident – and the several decades he, and many in the Labour Party and SNP have spent campaigning for a general nuclear disarmament.
    This is among a number of issues on which he scores on a salience which goes beyond the electoral or electable, to core values – at the heart of a disaffection with politics and politicians which is both heartfelt and based on the historical record.

  25. Gordon has certainly perfected the “walking while you talk” approach. It made me dizzy watching him.

    I suppose he feels that his massive global authority & place within the Party will make people listen. After all he saved the world’s economy & the Union with Scotland.

    Surely a little local difficulty like Corbyn can be sorted with a few choice Brownian phrases?

    At least he has voiced his view. His successor is notable by his deafening silence-and he is the one bloke who should understand why Labour lost, and what it now needs to win.

  26. The argument in favour of rail nationalisation is the same as the argument against PFI.

    As (passenger) railways are a natural monopoly, market forces will not deliver adequate services, particularity on commuter lines. Railway privatisation has evolved so that the government has a large degree of control over railway investment and services, with highly prescriptive franchise agreements. The original alternative approach of allowing franchise a large degree of latitude resulting in disasters like Connex and Silverlink (although to be fair Connex greatly increased off peak service frequencies so was not all bad).

    The current situation is that there are a myriad of companies all taking a cut of the profit (the often quoted Train Operating Company profits are only one cut). There are also cuts taken by Rolling Stock Leasing Companies often leasing fully depreciated assets (particularity in the North of England).

    So the argument is not services would get miraculously better overnight, nor really about whether the government should control the passenger railway. It is just about cutting out lots of financial waste and reducing public subsidy without cutting service levels.

  27. COLIN
    “Gordon has certainly perfected the “walking while you talk” approach. It made me dizzy watching him”
    _____

    Same here… After watching his performance it felt like I had been on the Waltzer’s for 5 hours. Some reports suggest GB walked 42 miles when delivering his speech. Puts a whole new meaning on ..going off on a strop!

  28. We will not get a clear picture of how Corbyn will perform in polls for the general election until he is actually leading the labour party.

    There are a lot of people who understandibly hate labour who are telling every pollster that Corbyn is the best thing since sliced bread.

    If he wins the leadership, only then will those false Corbyn supporters relax and tell the pollsters the truth.

  29. Particularity should read particularly in the above post (damn auto-correct).

  30. @Allan Christie:

    “Looking at the party now and the way this leadership contest is going there is no way that lot will be in government in 2020.”

    It’s true that at present we have a lot of this sort of thing from various senior Labour figures:

    ‘Corbyn and his supporters are tearing the party apart! I swear I won’t serve under him; I may even quit the party if he’s elected. Damn those fools who are tearing us apart!’

    But how much of that is just empty threats and how much of it is actually translated into action is another matter.

    They say a week is a long time in politics. 4-and-a-half years even more so. We’ll have a referendum on the EU and a Conservative leadership contest going in in that period of time.

    I wouldn’t want to place a large bet on anything at the moment.

  31. AW

    “There are some policies to the left of mainstream public debate that are popular and some to the right that are popular, it no more means that the public are aching for a far-left political party than for a far-right one.”

    Enough of them are for the party political system to start fracturing. An analysis which is based (however tacitly) on the General Will is not really appropriate for the current political situation. The UK is a highly divided country.

  32. I would also question whether railway nationalisation, or public infrastructure banks are left wing policies. They are sufficiently right wing policies to be acceptable for the Christian Democrats in Germany.

    I have severe doubts whether Corbyn could become Prime Minster, but I don’t think Labour can win (or indeed the UK as a whole to truly recover) until the smug, complacent and fossilised policy consensus in Westminster is broken.

    At least Corbyn could cut out the deadwood and the hacks and lay a foundation for Labour to win on a fresh platform and vision.

  33. Colin

    Gordon has certainly perfected the “walking while you talk” approach. It made me dizzy watching him.

    It’s all a cunning plan to hypnotise you. Next time you go into the polling booth you will be unable to stop your hand inexorably moving towards the box marked “Labour”.

    The Telegraph claims that he walked three miles in the course of that speech, though that may yet another Tory plot to undermine the achievements of New Labour and Allan’s 42 might be correct. Even though that would mean he was travelling at 50mph.

  34. “Gordon has certainly perfected the “walking while you talk” approach…
    …with a few choice Brownian phrases?”

    ————

    “Brownian Motion”

  35. Just another internal musing on Corbyn’s policy of nuclear disarmament, its obviously a risky tactic since while there are many who would love it many would hate it and the Tories would capitalise on it, remember with Milliband they used it against him and he was actually committed to retaining it so someone who outright endorses disarmament how do you defend against that?

    My belief is he should offer a referendum. That way Labour can retaliate with the same line the Tories used on the EU referendum, “we trust the British people and will give them a choice” what’s more Corbyn could essentially guarantee a small victory if he offered a three answer question.
    A=Disarm
    B=Maintain
    C=Reduce
    In that scenario I think answer C would almost certainly win, its hard to argue against a reasoned middle of the road answer on an issue like that.

  36. Well, if they put in option D = increase…

  37. Is anyone else getting fed up with the “Labour figure has a go at Jeremy Corbyn” headlines?

    What is more interesting is the Conservatives’ reaction to all this. I don’t think they share the same confidence in Jeremy’s unelectability that Burnham, Cooper & Kendall do.

  38. @ Carfrew

    Yes, “maintain” might then look like the sensible, middle-of-the-road option. How would one swing it politically though? It would look odd to include an option that no-one was seriously calling for. It would presumably require another party to campaign for ramping up the spend on our nuclear deterrent. That might have the effect of achieving a “status quo” vote in such a theoretical nuclear weapon referendum, but seems like it would have the potential downside of tarring the party calling for increased nuclear spending with both the “fiscally irresponsible” and “vicious warmonger” brushes of public opinion!

  39. Currently Labour reminds me Tuckman’s Group Development,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuckman%27s_stages_of_group_development

    This model follows the stages of:

    -Forming
    -Storming
    -Norming
    -Performing

    Forming
    Labour are already formed

    Storming

    To move forward they need to move beyond a superficial calm to see what they really stand for, and how to accomodate everyone within their team. This can be fractious, and given the differences that exist between the JC camp and the LK camp, needs to happen.

    I think Ed M never got to this stage. Labour were apparently calm and united, but maybe they needed a bit of bun fight, following Labour’s defeat in 2010. As this never occured, they never had a full, honest appraisal of why they lost and how to win again.

    Norming

    Once Labour have worked out a direction they can all go together in, and accomodate the differences that exist, the team will become more stable.

    Performing

    They have the team, they have the unified direction and know how to work together to win, they will then start performing well.

    I fully endorse @Hawthorn and think that the party is not in a good place. It needs to get everything off it’s chest. The party will never get anywhere until this happens. It might prove to be rough, some people might leave the party, but in the end they need a catalyst for this process to commence.

    JC is precisely that catalyst. He would have a huge mountain to climb to win in 2020 (as all the candidates would equally in my view), but the honest spade work needed now can’t be avoided for the long term good.

  40. “My belief is he should offer a referendum. That way Labour can retaliate with the same line the Tories used on the EU referendum, “we trust the British people and will give them a choice” what’s more Corbyn could essentially guarantee a small victory if he offered a three answer question.
    A=Disarm
    B=Maintain
    C=Reduce
    In that scenario I think answer C would almost certainly win, its hard to argue against a reasoned middle of the road answer on an issue like that.”

    The system is already as small as it can go, so he would just look stupid having to reject the outcome of his own referendum on advice from the civil service and the military. The Lib Dems already forced this debate within the coalition last term and the outcome was that any alternative other than unilateral disarmament and like-for-like renewal would be both more expensive and dramatically more dangerous.

    If he offered a referendum of disarm vs maintain then he would likely be defeated outright. Even in Scotland this is actually not a popular policy.

  41. CARFREW

    “Well, if they put in option D = increase…

    and option E = use it….

  42. @CatmanJef

    The stages of grief is a far more appropriate analogy. In sympathy with my grieving Labour friends, what you are feeling is entirely normal and well documented.

    1. Denial

    In this phase our heart rather than our head rules our belief system as we try to adjust to the idea of life with a Tory government. Even though we know Labour lost, we really don’t believe it. Against the better judgment of everyone around us, we entertain fantasies of the voters waking up and accepting a left-wing prospectus. We see hidden glimmers of hope buried in unreliable polling, we look to the happy times of the past, and Yes, this is the phase where we are most susceptible to late night inappropriate social media postings.

    2. Anger

    Anger can manifest in many different ways – anger at the voters (“How could they be so selfish?”), anger at people or situations associated with the loss (“it’s the SNP’s fault”, “it’s all Blair’s fault”) and anger at anyone that doesn’t agree with whatever self-destructive path we have chosen. This is the phase where we think it’s a great idea to tell anyone and everyone that the Labour leadership are a bunch of Red Tory sell outs.

    3. Bargaining

    Bargaining will come when Corbyn is elected, hand in hand with denial Labour will promise anything and everything to persuade voters to return.

    4. Depression

    With the polls stuck stubbornly in the sub-thirties and a constant stream of Tory and MSM ridicule, Loses in Scotland and Wales and even the London Mayor election. Labour will slip into depression and hopelessness, the energy will go.

    5. Acceptance

    Finally Labour makes peace with the GE loss, realises it can’t take comfort in the past and must offer a modern social democratic alternative to the Tories that the public will rally behind. But how much damage will have been done by then?

    Sadly, if Labour hadn’t chosen the self-destructive path they are clearly on, with the right leader Labour could have deprived the Tories of a majority in 2020.

  43. Here is a modest thought without reams of back up data to substantiate my musings and what might well be just a shallow observation that a right wing / left wing agenda can best be sold to the majority if packaged by a figure who at the very least appears to have a distinct contrast to his core party members i.e.Blair : a social democrat /moderniser or Cameron: a social liberal/moderate as oppose to leaders who seem to be more in tune to the needs of their core membership i.e.Hague ,I.D,S ,Milliband ..I would suggest that Corbyn would be a hard sell to the country who thou might well be persuaded of the merits of a general shift to the left might find a life long Marxist with strong anti American sentiments and a rigid pacifist agenda a bit to much to swallow. .

  44. As I understand it the original use of the word “reactionary” to describe the right wing of politics arose from the philosophy of conservatism as expounded by Fox i.e. that the tree of state should be pruned as necessary and that radical change should be avoided.
    It is curious, therefore, that it would appear that the soubriquet reactionary (used in that sense) could be applied to many Labour M.P.s and certainly to the three “establishment” candidates for the election. The policies of radicalism (a campaign for great societal change) were generally seen as the hallmarks of the Labour Party (even under Blair this could be seen in aspects of social revolution such as the move towards civil partnerships).
    I have long complained (sometimes at length on this site) about the absence of an underlying conviction in modern politicians of the left and the right. However, concentrating on the Labour Party for now, this lack of conviction has been shown up clearly by the arrival of a conviction politician. The response of the other three to JC has been an astonishing mix of incredulity and ineptitude. The incredulity that anyone other than the establishment figures should have any prospect winning is perhaps unsurprising in a group that approaches the matter as a managerial promotion race. More worryingly the inept reliance on the repetition of the phrase “he’s unelectable”. Is the truth that when it comes to trading policies they have nothing to say? Can it be that they are reactionary and have no policies to put forward.
    When Healey beat Benn in 1981 there was vitriol in their words, but it was an argument about genuine differences in policy; there was an argument to be had which each believed in passionately. The arguments advanced on policy are simply JC’s policies won’t win the 2020 election.
    (It is curious to note that Healey’s own position in 1981 was far to the left of JC’s today.)
    The attraction of JC to supporters of all parties is the obvious one: he believes in what he seeks to introduce as policy, those policies are radical, he does not seek to disguise his position and finally he is not reactionary but is espousing a vision: such an approach is so rare in modern politics that people are attracted to its energy.
    Maybe the lesson the Labour Party ought to learn from JC is that conservatives are meant to be reactionary, those on the left are meant to have and believe in change for the better.

  45. @Popeye

    “But seems like it would have the potential downside of tarring the party calling for increased nuclear spending with both the “fiscally irresponsible” and “vicious warmonger” brushes of public opinion!”

    ———–

    Well, in peace terms, it’s supposed to be a deterrent!! But yeah, I wasn’t seriously arguing they should offer the option…

  46. @COUPER2802

    “The stages of grief is a far more appropriate analogy. In sympathy with my grieving Labour friends, what you are feeling is entirely normal and well documented.”

    ———-

    So how did that play out for Indy peeps after the Referendum, Coups?

  47. Good afternoon all from an extraordinary hot and sunny southside here in Glasgow. It’s days like this I wish I had a job in the public sector so I could use up one of my many entitled duvet days and be sitting on the beach at Troon.

    LURKINGGHERKIN

    I see your point. Maybe all the nasty stuff that’s happening within Labour is little more than hot air and when eventually JC or whoever is elected as leader then all will be fine and dandy and the ole dust will settle and the pundits will be asking..”What was all the fuss about”?

    I’m not so sure it will be that easy. There is a deep-rooted split in Labour. The old and current leadership appear to be pulling away from what the core vote want and want to be like the Tories then there is JC who appeals to the core vote and wants a return of old Labour. It’s a tricky one and they need to find a balance.
    …..
    “They say a week is a long time in politics. 4-and-a-half years even more so. We’ll have a referendum on the EU and a Conservative leadership contest going in in that period of time”
    ______

    At the moment all the attention is on the Labour self destruct button and I assume it will soon focus on the Tory self destruct button when that party inevitably goes bonkers over whatever the outcome of the EU vote is. We live in interesting times.

  48. @John P

    Option F
    Pretend you might have them, might not, leaving everyone unsure, but careful just in case…

  49. @Hawthorn

    “I would also question whether railway nationalisation, or public infrastructure banks are left wing policies. They are sufficiently right wing policies to be acceptable for the Christian Democrats in Germany.”

    They certainly shouldn’t be to anyone who values pragmatic solutions over free market ideology. And bear in mind that a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Bundesbahn already runs most of the rail services in one country within the UK. That shouldn’t really be cause for celebration from a left wing perspective either. The idea of the UK taxpayer paying significant sums to a German state company rather than to a UK state company to run its rail services doesn’t seem that appealing to me. Why a right wing UK government likes the idea is beyond me.

  50. “I would suggest that Corbyn would be a hard sell to the country who thou might well be persuaded of the merits of a general shift to the left might find a life long Marxist with strong anti American sentiments and a rigid pacifist agenda a bit to much to swallow. .”

    ———–

    Does Corbs have any Scottie roots? That seems to help in electability re: leadership roles…

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