Jeremy Corbyn wins

Jeremy Corbyn has, as expected, won the Labour leadership election. I say as expected but the reality is we didn’t actually have that much evidence to go on during the campaign – noise on Twitter and size of crowds at campaign meetings are bunk, the reports of what the campaigns canvassing operations found were very erratic and while we had concrete figures for local party nominations we didn’t know how good a guide that would be to how local members actually voted. The expectation that Jeremy Corbyn was going to win was based upon the polls, or more specifically, two YouGov polls, both conducted for the Times.

We only have to go back a few months to another election when there was a wide expectation of a particular result, based on what the polling evidence was telling us and it didn’t work out so well. Polling an internal party election is a very different challenge to polling a general election, in many ways a more difficult one – you have to track down respondents from a very small pool. The huge influx of new members and registered supporters made this election particularly tricky – YouGov had more demographic data about Labour party members than they did when they polled the 2010 leadership election, but that was only about half the electorate. The rest were an unknown quantity. Rationally I was confident in the polling showing Corbyn was ahead, not least because it showed Corbyn winning amongst every demographic group, but that didn’t stop the nagging fear that come Saturday Jeremy Corbyn would have trailled in last place and the whole of the media would have been following the wrong story based on wrong polls.

In the event, the YouGov poll actually seems to have matched up well against the final result, though there was a month between fieldwork and the end of the contest. The last poll was conducted back in August, and had figures of Corbyn 53%, Burnham 21%, Cooper 18%, Kendall 8%. This was before registration to take place in the election closed and a couple of days later when Labour released the final figures for the number of members, supporters and affiliates YouGov reweighted the figures to reflect the proper balance of the electorate. That took Corbyn’s share up to 57%. In the event Corbyn won with 59.5%

With the contest over, now we wait to see what the impact will be. I wrote at greater length here about what the polls could tell us about how well or badly Jeremy Corbyn will do (long and the short of it, as far as direct evidence is concerned they can’t tell us much). Personally I wouldn’t expect some immediate crisis in Labour support unless the party completely rips itself apart (most people simply don’t pay enough attention to what the opposition party is up to!), there could even be a short term boost from a new leader. We shall see.


282 Responses to “Jeremy Corbyn wins”

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  1. Corbyn shadow cabinet says a lot to be honest. Several gaffes already, perhaps unsurprisingly from somebody with no experience of running anything.

    The whole gender balance thing is a terrible own goal. Even if the eventual shadow cabinet is 50%+ women not having any in the top posts is a recipe for losing any remaining good will among a lot of Labour moderates. Lots of people, especially the young, are attracted to Labour rather than the Tories essentially because they think that they are more in touch with 21st century thinking on this type of thing. It is also so far a typical gender stereotyped shadow team with women getting health, education and international development. Everybody thought the Labour Party was past that stage. I suppose they may at least appoint the first female Shadow Defence Secretary today, though I wouldn’t bet on it.

    I can understand why he wants a true believer as Shadow Chancellor. That relationship is crucial and it would have been tough to go forward alongside anybody other than McDonnell for that reason. But his past gives the Tories even more gifts than Corbyn himself does.

    In a few other places he also seems to have messed up. In keeping with the Blairite tradition he’s sacked people without talking to them first (Ivan Lewis) and moved people who like and do well in a post (Chris Bryant) for seemingly no reason whatsoever. I also don’t get the attraction of Lord Falconer – surely it is better to have the Shadow Secretary of State in the Commons to take on his/her opposite number.

  2. The “all-male top team” headlines are quite irritating to be honest. It’s not like Jeremy Corbyn has made the appointments purely dependent on what set of reproductive organs his colleagues have.

    A lot of people disagree with John McDonnell’s appointment but Jeremy is not going to let the newspapers choose his front bench for him – none of them would wanted him as leader anyway.

  3. @Polltroll

    If all-female top teams were commonplace it wouldn’t matter. But they’re not, and it does. Gender equality has become a very important political goal, especially for young people. This sends out entirely the wrong message to a demographic that normally vote Labour. Harriet Harman will be seething.

  4. JOHN PILGRIM

    Thanks

    Yes-I read Peston on pQE. He highlights the two key points-Corbyn’s Infrastructure Bonds are not Debt( 1) -so Fiscal Budgetary constraint on Government disappears-and the dismantling of the Independent Central Bank Monetary policy.

    He makes one mistake-to conflate BoE reinvestment of Gilt redemptions with ” non-repayment”. The Treasury continually has to meet Gilt repayment terms under QE-and is exposed to market sentiment in order to fund it;s rollover. It is this which pQE escapes. (1)

    Yes-I watched Gove on Marr. He was typically courteous & thoughtful. I hope his general approach to a Corbynite opposition will be followed by Cons-though I begin to perceive an approach to Parliament ( & the Press) which will be such a fundamental departure in Corbyn’s Party, that it will take some real getting used to.

    I will be interested to see how OPs plot attitudes to a leader of the opposition who does not consider himself as head of the PLP, but merely a channel for the opinions of his members.

    (1) At the Sky hustings EC ( no doubt briefed by her husband) asked JC if the Infrastructure Bonds would be repayable-that was the key question. He didn’t answer

  5. Colin

    I don’t get the “lack of bank independence” criticism. The bank only gained monetary independence in 1997. It was not independent under Thatcher or Major.

  6. Corbyn is a fanatic, not a salesman. He is picking (who he perceives as) the best team rather than the team that would look best. The problem for critics of this approach is precisely that Corbyn is so clearly honest. If the female candidate pool were actually as capable as the male candidate pool, in that case the numbers would have been about equal. The numbers aren’t equal because the female candidates were weaker, but the argument for equality rests on the assumption that the two pools must be equally good.

  7. HAWTHORN

    Indeed.

    It was generally acknowleged that removing political interference in Monetary Policy setting by the Central Bank was a good thing.

    Why does it suddenly become a bad thing?

  8. PETE B
    ” I have heard that some of those living on benefits are finding things a bit tighter, but they are quite a small part of the electorate.”

    By Jove, I think you’ve solved the problems of poverty and inequality.!

    COLIN
    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. But as to “merely a channel for the opinions of his members” I’ll believe it when I see it; there’s such a thing as leading from behind.

  9. Mico,

    I’d be fascinated by the reaction of those in the Labour party to corporations that make the same arguments.

  10. “If Corbyn is dumped before the election, with a new candidate taking Labour leftwards compared to 2015, but more moderate compared to Corbyn, Tories might have a problem”

    The Tories did a very similar thing in 2001-2005. It didn’t work out well for them.

  11. Comparatively it did. They achieved a big swing from Labour with the C2DEs, gained 33 seats and Howard certainly did better than IDS would have. Labour would take that right now.

  12. Oldnat,

    Some less awful news for the Tories in Scotland. I do think that Corbyn presents some opportunities for both the Tories and the Lib Dems in Scotland, by potentially undermining the unionist tactical voting that has helped Labour in so many areas. Of course, it also helps the SNP, insofar as they can hold onto of their Labour4Indy vote against a more left-wing Labour party.

    You mention that the Tories and the Lib Dems have about as much support combined as Labour now. It won’t happen, but if the two parties merged into a new independent party (they could call it the “Unionist Party” but they may want an indyproof name; perhaps the “Progressive Party”?) they could be quite a force in Scottish politics, at least for as long as Labour are in their current direction.

  13. MrNameless,

    Replacing IDS with Michael Howard was a good idea. Electing IDS as leader in the first place was not.

  14. JOHN PILGRIM

    I think Corbyn will be good for Cons.

    Labour had come to accept much Conservative policy, and I think the other three candidates had nothing to say in the hustings.

    Corbyn says things clearly & with conviction. So Labour will now represent a real alternative.

    Cons should not, though , assume that their preferred policies on the economic front will simply trump Corbynomics. GO will have many telling put downs for sure-but the incessant inequality drumbeat from Corbyn will be a test. Cons will need to address it-and that will be good for them & the country.

  15. The Tories did remarkably well in 2005 (better than expected). That was with an economy that appeared strong and Labour having a 160 majority. Indeed, I consider that the first electoral sign of what happened in 2015.

    It is also not as though Hague nor IDS were flushed down the memory hole either.

    Colin:

    BoE independence may be generally considered a good thing, in the same way that it was generally considered that Brown (and the BoE) had abolished boom and bust.

    On the shadow cabinet. It is probably not surprising that Corbyn wants a loyalist shadow chancellor after Balls and Brown. At the end of the day, the Labour MPs agreed to abolish shadow cabinet elections so the leader would not be undermined.

    Looking through the Blair cabinets through the years, I have looked at the “big five” where Corbyn has appointed only men.

    The only woman Blair ever put in as DPM, CoE, Foreign Sec or Home Sec was Margaret Beckett as Foreign Secretary and that was only in May 2006. It is not as though he didn’t do enough reshuffles either.

  16. The Tory vote in 2005 was their third worst ever, and barely an advance on their result in 2001 in terms of the popular vote. It was a third disaster in a row for them.

  17. And expectations were beaten only because they were so low due to the disaster that was IDS’s leadership, and before that Hague’s.

  18. I cannot see how labour can win from here their party is going to split three ways working class could well end up with ukip due to the pro immigration stance, moderate left could end up with the lib dems and the floating voter could well find a home with the conservatives.

    Just looking at Facebook today the amount of people who are moderately left wing disgusted at the appointment of john McDonnell is amazing

  19. Well, so much for the pollsters getting things wrong. They got the Corbyn steamroller right, just as they did the SNP one in May.

    I would tend to agree with @Colin about Corbyn being good for the Cons. More than that, McDonnell is a gift that should have been avoided. I think Corbyn will start to concentrate on ‘low pay’, which resonates, rather than ‘inequality’, which doesn’t outside the true believers.

    For the first time in my adult life, I found a Labour Party that doesn’t speak to me or for me. I don’t blame Corbyn – once nominated he had the same right as the others to campaign for votes. I blame the numpties who nominated him to ‘widen the debate’, and then Burnham, Cooper and Kendall for running such anodyne, forgettable campaigns. But the resulting Corbyn/McDonnell double act feels like adults who never grew out of student politics.

    As for some kind of SLab/SNP rapprochement, forget it. The last thing the SNP wants is a SLab that can steal its clothes and voters (back).

    Time for more tea.

  20. To be fair to JC with regard to gender selection for his shadow cabinet, a lot of the prominent women in the PLP have already ruled themselves out of working with him in the cabinet.

    His one big mistake I feel is appointing John McDonnell as Shadow Chancellor. He is not even very popular amongst the left wing of the party! And he thinks more money should be given to homeopathy FFS!

  21. Some more details on the Scottish polling-

    “The survey also finds that just 16 per cent of Scots say that Labour is effective at holding the SNP Government to account. This is lower than the Tories on 19 per cent…”

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/snp-on-course-for-holyrood-landslide-1-3885848

  22. Lord Falconer??

    Someone who has never stood for election.
    Another elderly London-based man.
    And someone who has been on the wrong side of every argument in living memory – the latest being his pro-assisted suicide stance.

    Grant Shapps to cross the floor as Culture Secretary?

  23. For what it is worth, I agree that Angela Eagle would have been a much better appointment as shadow CoE.

    “The last thing the SNP wants is a SLab that can steal its clothes and voters (back).”

    Why would Labour want to assist them if they could avoid it? The objective for Labour is to smash the SNP.

    Bill Patrick

    I agree that 2001 was a poor result for the Tories. What happened was a major collapse in the Labour vote (which was in any case flattered in 2001 by a very low turnout). The Tories cannot afford to lose ANY vote share.

  24. Looking at the Yougov site, I see that Corbynmania is not a unique phenomenon: Bernie Sanders is now ahead of Clinton on Yougov.

  25. Hawthorn,

    Yes. After all, it’s not that long ago that many sensible people (and me) thought that UKIP’s rise would do in the Tories.

  26. Considering the pressure on JC to appoint anyone but McDonnell, probably sealed the appointment. Making Angela Eagle first secretary of the state is a smart move though.

    But, as I wrote yesterday, I think JC perceives the cabinet as implementer and not a policy former. They will have a lot of consultations not only within the party, but also with affiliates (not only unions) and perhaps external bodies.

    One may think it’s wrong, but I’m convinced that this is how they will try it.

  27. Bill Patrick

    If the economy turns down, then UKIP may well do in Cameron. If the referendum results in leaving the EU (which I suspect may well end up being the case), then UKIP will have done in Cameron.

    I think British business may come to regret backing Cameron over Miliband.

    Labour losing the next election and the Tories winning are two very different things.

  28. Apparently McDonnell got sacked by Ken Livingstone from the GLC in the early ’80’s for being too left wing!

    Too left wing in the early ’80’s but shadow chancellor now?!

    I don’t see how the Labour brand recovers from this. They either split now, or the whole lot get badly tainted.

  29. In a reversal of Burnham’s policy, can the SDLP start standing candidates on the mainland?

  30. Candy

    It is difficult to argue overall that the shadow cabinet is not balanced politically as Hilary Benn is firmly New Labour.

    Would you like to condemn Blair for not appointing a women to a top five position for 9 years?

    If moderates want to regain control, they need to stop throwing self-destructive tantrums just because they didn’t get their own way.

  31. Mr Nameless,

    Although that’s a joke (and a good one), Corbyn may have reasonably decided that centrist Labour voters have nowhere else to go, and will just have to eat what they are given.

  32. Well he’s right if that is what he’s decided. Centre-left they may be but they still hate the Tories and the Lib Dems have eight seats and are led by a man who aimed to outflank Labour on the left and who will now have to wear shoes that don’t fit him. That’s before you even get into his religion issue.

  33. @MICO

    If people were judged on merit then 50% of the top jobs would go to women. Someone mentioned that Corbyn wanted to have his close associates who he trusted around him – that says it all – ‘Old Boys Club’ as per usual.

  34. As a Labour moderate I would still prefer Corbyn to a Conservative party putting forward policies that even a right-winger like David Davis has called Francoist.

  35. The only people to blame are the idiotic MPs who “lent” Corbyn their vote to get him on the ballot paper.

    As soon as he got on it was obvious he was going to win, I really can’t believe they were so stupid

    £10 at 80/1 comforts the blow somewhat for me but it’s going to be a painful few years for the Labour Party and one that we might not recover from

  36. MrNameless – “Centre-left they may be but they still hate the Tories”

    Careful. You are projecting your own activist beliefs onto the voters.

    Voters are becoming less tribal by the year. Remember that Labour lost in 2015 because some of these centre-left voters decided that Cameron was better than Miliband in crucial marginal seats.

    If the Conservatives were better than Miliband, they are most certainly better than Corbyn and McDonnell.

    I know your instinct is to defend your team come what may, but some things are indefensible (look up McDonnell and his enthusiasm for saying things like “I wish I could have assassinated Thatcher” and worse). Defending the indefensible will just get a bucket of crap all over you and your party possibly damaged beyond repair.

  37. Shelts

    The only people to blame are those moderates who were so utterly useless that the only way they could hope to win was by stitching up the vote.

    After Frank Dobson and Alun Michael they should have known better, but they just will not learn.

  38. Candy,

    I intend to defend my beliefs and the beliefs of those who within a reasonable range share them. Almost all of those people are still in the Labour Party. I see no way to get the kind of policies I want to see outside that party. So I stay. The 170,000 who didn’t vote for Corbyn will mostly feel the same way.

  39. “All I have noticed is that there are a few more potholes in the roads. Petrol and food are very cheap, wages and pensions are going up in real terms. I have heard that some of those living on benefits are finding things a bit tighter, but they are quite a small part of the electorate.”

    I think this paragraph from @Pete B is a salutary warning for the Labour party. For the majority, austerity has been an inconvenience, but little more. Postpone the extension, keep the old car a bit longer, only have one main holiday, etc. It’s not life or death.

    For a (relatively speaking) tiny number, it’s been very tough indeed. We can argue whether society should care deeply about this and act accordingly, but not here. Here, the point is only what move votes and in what quantities.

    One of Milliband’s failings seems to be that he spoke too little about the majority that are not seeing huge lifestyle changes due to austerity, and that are expecting life to become more normal in due course – ‘aspiration’ seems to be the code for this very large category of voters.

    I remain open minded on Labour’s chances, as I believe we are in a period where fundamental change is possible, but if Corbyn maintains his long held position across the board, I suspect Labour will simply be slaughtered.

    The only real chance I think he has is to draw on his huge bank of left wing credibility to carry those excited supporters, while trimming towards the centre in key areas to avoid the loss of centrist support. He has no chance of picking up new middle and RoC voters I suspect, but damage limitation is going to be essential if he is to avoid losing more support than he gains. I’m not sure he is prepared to do this.

    Like @Colin, I am alarmed at talk of removing the BoE role in rate setting. Big, big mistake for a left wing government. It’s your key buttress against a loss of market credibility, which always starts at a far lower ebb with leftist administrations.

    For all the excitement, I think Labour are in deep, deep trouble. Never say never, but given what has happened in Scotland and the pressure from UKIP, Labour may well be on the way out as a party of government. All it needs now is a Lib Dem revival.

  40. Alec

    This is a necessary part of the rebuilding process for Labour. The moderates had atrophied and become flabby and complacent, so they need to be swept clean before rebuilding.

    They had their chance to renew the nice way and they flunked it.

    If your predictions of power blackouts are correct, then renationalising the utilities may become popular. When Railtrack let key infrastructure fall in disrepair the Blairites did away with the company with extreme prejudice.

  41. The right wingers will just have to get over it. The left wing of the LP had to put up or leave all these years and now the table has reversed. C’est la vie!

  42. Remember Steve Hilton, Cameron’s former Director of Strategy. This is what he had to say:

    “The establishment scratches its head: “How could …?” Well, let’s just check what the “serious” people have done for us lately: economic disaster with rewards for those who caused it and barely a gain for anyone else; foreign policy disaster with cack-handed interventions bringing instability and chaos; social disaster with poverty festering, family life foundering and inequality growing. If that’s what being “serious” gets you, no wonder people prefer the joker.

    Jeremy Corbyn’s answers may be wrong, but many of his questions are right. Instead of patronising his supporters, the insular ruling elite and their allies in big business and big finance should realise they are the cause of Corbyn. I doubt that Corbyn-led Labour will introduce the more human world I want to see: markets made more competitive; democracy made more local; families boosted as the bedrock of society. But you never know …

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/commentisfree/2015/sep/12/where-will-jeremy-corbyn-want-to-lead-britain

  43. On another note, there is a major inconsistency with opposing reopening coal mines and being in favour of national security.

    Whilst it is undoubtedly more cost effective to import soft coal from Eastern Europe than to use British anthracite, potentially losing 40% of our power generation in a situation where imports got cut off is not a good place to be from a security/defence point of view.

  44. @MrNameless

    Of course you feel like that – you are a Labour party member.

    Just remember that members and activists think very differently from voters.

    Miliband tried the 35% strategy which was based on the belief that “centre-left voters have nowhere to go”. On paper it looked sound what with the LibDems having gone into Coalition. What actually happened in reality is that some centre-left voters shed their tribalism and voted Conservative. Just because they don’t shout about it and do it quietly, doesn’t mean they’re not switching.

    Now think about how far out the Corbyn-McDonnell pairing is. McDonnell is on the record as wishing to assassinate Thatcher (a democratically elected PM), while simultaneously Corbyn calls the killing of Bin Laden (a terrorist) “a tragic assassination”.

    You are nuts if you think anyone but a handful of hard-left voters will endorse this stuff.

    The longer you leave confronting this, the worse your party will be hurt.

  45. Alec
    “Here, the point is only what move votes and in what quantities. ”

    Thanks for understanding the point I was trying to make. All this talk of anti-austerity policies and alliances may motivate party activists and a few non-voters but it doesn’t resonate with the majority of voters.

  46. Pete B

    It may do if there is another recession.

  47. Hawthorn
    Yes, and then that would be the time to talk about it.

  48. Candy

    “Corbyn calls the killing of Bin Laden (a terrorist) “a tragic assassination”.

    And this, of course, will be one of the main obstacles to overcome. The continual misquoting of what Jeremy Corbyn has said. Hopefully, the press’s influence will continue to decline. After all we have Tom Watson as deputy leader now….

  49. Pete B

    No, you have to get in there first before another narrative takes hold.

  50. Just think if there was another recession (even one with an immediate cause elsewhere). Even if the economy only follows a pre-crisis trend, that will probably happen.

    You have another recession, with all the misery that causes and Labour will be there saying that all the measures the Tories took were all completely pointless. If the Blairites had won…well what would they say if they had supported austerity?

    It may not be enough for Labour to win an election, but it would be devastating for the Tory narrative.

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