Over the New Year the Times had an end of year YouGov poll, conducted in mid-December. The tables went up on the YouGov website today here. Topline figures were CON 39%, LAB 29%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 17%, GRN 3%. The rest of the poll, covering a lot of the trackers that YouGov used to ask on the regular daily polls, illustrate some of the real problems facing Labour as well as a couple of opportunities.

The net doing well/doing badly figures for the party leaders are minus 6 for David Cameron, minus 13 for Tim Farron, minus 18 for Nigel Farage and minus 32 for Jeremy Corbyn. Not long into the job Corbyn already has pretty dire figures (to be fair, they are up since YouGov last asked when it was minus 41 – albeit at the time of the Syria vote). On who would make the best Prime Minister David Cameron has a solid twenty-six point lead over Corbyn, on 49% to Corbyn’s 23%.

However, on any “best PM” questions we need to keep in mind that Cameron probably won’t be there. Corbyn still trails behind the likely replacements for Cameron, but not by quite as much, head-to-head against Boris he would be fourteen points behind (Boris 43%, Corbyn 29%), head-to-head against Osborne he would be twelve points behind (Osborne 39%, Corbyn 27%).

Asked about which party they’d trust to handle the big issues of the day Labour are ahead on their reliable banker of the NHS (though by only seven points) and on housing (by five points). The two parties are essentially neck-and-neck on education (Con 28%, Lab 27%) and on immigration UKIP lead (29%, to the Tories on 24% and Labour on 15%). On law and order and on economic issues the Tories lead – on tax by 13 points, the economy in general by 23 points, on unemployment by 12 points.

Unemployment is an interesting one here. As I’ve written many times before “best party on issues” questions tend to move in tandem, if the Conservatives improve on education, they also improve on tax, on housing, on transport and so on. Each party has strong and weak issues (so Labour will always do better on the NHS, the Conservatives will always do better on crime) but a lot of the change in figures seems to actually reflect underlying perceptions of a party’s general competence, rather than their specific statements or policies on that subject. What is really interesting on these questions therefore is when a measure moves relative to other ones – over time unemployment appears to have done so. If you go back to old Gallup or MORI questions from the 1980s and 90s, under Thatcher and Major unemployment became an issued “owned” by the Labour party, up there with the NHS. Whatever their other failings, people trusted Labour with the issue of unemployment. A decade ago YouGov were giving the Labour party a lead of 13 points on the NHS, and 25 points on unemployment. Now it’s switched over, the NHS is still a safe issue for Labour, but unemployment is an issue where people trust the Conservatives.

The other economic questions in the survey were also relatively optimistic (or in the case of personal economic expectations, not as pessimistic as in the past). By 35% to 26% people now think the economy is in a good state, and 21% of people expect to be financially better off in the coming year, compared to 25% who expect to be worse off.

Improving economic expectations are a two edged sword for the government of course. At one level, George Osborne still has a lot of cuts to make to hit his targets, and if people think the economic problems of the country are solved it will be harder for him to sell them to the public. Equally, as perceptions of the economy improve people stop worrying about it. On the question of which issues are most important to the country the economy was practically nailed on to the top spot for years after the financial crisis began in 2007-2008. For a while seventy to eighty percent of people regularly named it as a major issue facing the country. Then, as the economy improved, it started to fall. By 2014 it began to dip below immigration, now it’s down in third place behind health, with just a third naming it as an important issue. Despite the Conservative party’s current strong position in voting intention, UKIP and Labour are the parties people trust the most on what they see as the two big issues facing the country, immigration and health. Then again, perhaps that just illustrates that it’s not really issues that drive voting intentions.

Finally YouGov are still finding a very close EU referendum race – 41% would vote to stay, 42% would vote to leave.

271 Responses to “YouGov end of year poll”

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  1. Not a very happy poll for Labour, but probably it doesn’t matter for the time being.

    As to unemployment – as employment figures improved, Labour has reframed the question to poverty and inequality. While it may not work politically (especially poverty), it may (partially) explain the polling changes.

  2. YouGov seem to be posting the biggest Tory leads at present. This one showing a 10% Tory lead is in line with the last two showing 11% and 10% leads. So, from a YouGov point of view, nothing much to report here.

    Interesting to see that the three other pollsters posting polls in December, ICM, Ipsos/Mori and Opinium all showed much smaller Tory leads (5%, 8% and 7% respectively). Even Comres, previously showing a 11% Tory lead then came in with a 4% in their most recent poll! They had the Tories 15% ahead in November!!

    YouGov in step and everyone else out of step??

  3. “Left/right” labelling is a fairly arid area for discussion [1], but I found one aspect of the questions on this interesting.

    As, perhaps one would expect, the mean response from almost all of the crossbreaks was for people to place themselves firmly in the centre – apart from the Scots, whose average response (-20) placed their perceptions of themselves as “slightly left of centre”.

    I agree with Alec, and others on here, who have argued against the suggestion that Scots are much different on many issues from those in other parts of the British Isles, or Western Europe for that matter.

    So, why the difference?

    It can’t be on the basis of the expressed VI of this particular sample [2], so a likelier explanation lies within the political narrative in Scotland, as opposed to the GB narrative.

    Only the Scots place the LDs on the “right” side of the centre. Every other area places them to the “left”.

    As with so many “differences”, this may be yet another semantic one. The terms are simply used differently in different political systems (c/f “left” and “right” in the USA).

    Since no question was asked about the leader or party with the 3rd largest group of MPs, we don’t know the perceptions of where on that single political dimension, the SNP are seen to be.

    Were this the only (or even a dominant) strand in Scottish politics, then Labour (at -26) would appear to have good positioning, as opposed to the views of Corbyn.

    As it is …..

    [1] Which is, presumably, why Anthony used to kill discussion of it on here.

    [2] With the Tories marginally ahead of Lab on Westminster VI, this group don’t seem obviously more “left-wing” in GB terms.

  4. What happened to the tables of the You Gov poll for The Times and the Opinium poll for The Observer both taken at the end of December and showing better figures for Corbyn and Labour?

  5. I would have thought trident, bombing/not bombing syria, and the monarchy would be appearing in polls more regularly by now. I know a few people for whom corbyns republicanism is a deal breaker (and vice versa).

  6. Thanks AW, a good review of the figures as usual. Very littl here for the Tories to be unhappy about. The 10% Tory lead is in line with my own current views on the state of the parties.

  7. Given the state of the parties currently this looks right.

    But there are big events on the horizon.

    A bit of a honeymoon period for Cons at present-reality will appear though.

  8. posted yesterday but could see neither my post nor those of others which appear to have been added later. So this is just testing.

  9. Interesting that there are 6% extra “don’t knows” when Osborne is Tory leader than when Cameron or Johnson are.

    However much those of us interested in politics talk about George Osborne, we should note that his public profile is still being formed and relatively low.

  10. Dugher gone-Tom Watson said “”Labour’s loss in the shadow cabinet will be compensated by Michael’s free thought on the backbenches. “

  11. Shocking for Labour – at this time in the last election cycle they were overtaking and there was hardly a poll suggesting a tory lead. No polls are showing this at the moment. Although this is probably a little optimistic for the tories, it is generally bad news for labour. As the issue polling shows, they lack competence in many key areas which needs to be recovered if they can even hope to win the election.

    As Colin says though, big events on the horizon – Europe could be a big problem for the tories…

  12. Good afternoon all and a Happy New Year from Westminster North.

    Good poll for the Tories and a disaster for the Lib/Dems.

    Although just a sub sample but it is another one showing the Tories ahead of Labour in Scotland.


    “Finally YouGov are still finding a very close EU referendum race – 41% would vote to stay, 42% would vote to leave”

    And just to add to the mix Cameron has now said he will allow cabinet minsters to campaign for or against EU membership.


    “Thanks AW, a good review of the figures as usual. Very little here for the Tories to be unhappy about. The 10% Tory lead is in line with my own current views on the state of the parties”

    Yes I agree good review of the figures. Also I agree the 10% Tory lead is also in line with my own current views on the state of the parties as is the 33% SNP lead the SNP have in Scotland.

  14. An average of the last six polls before Christmas gives the Tories a 7.5% lead – marginally up on May 2015 – though the data is already nearly three weeks old and takes no account of any effects related to the flooding etc.

  15. Graham

    I don’t actually take much notice of the headline numbers in the polls, what I actually do is look at answers to the detailed questions on the economy etc and access the parties relative positions on that basis. As it happens recently the YouGov headline figures have matched my own view of the current situation. I used this method from 2010 onwards, enabling me to accurately forecast the last election result. If there were to be a GE tomorrow I would expect the Tories to have a substantial majority. Of course there will not be an election tomorrow, and in terms of the next election, we are so far out that there is all to play for still.

    I think averaging polls is meaningless.

  16. Terrible polling continues- especially the leader of opposition/ potential PM data.

    I fully expect this to continue this year “and yea unto the next election”. It won’t make the slightest bit of difference to Milne, Fisher, Livingstone, Abbott et al in their comfortable London bubble: there will be no change to move towards a more moderate pragmatic stance.

    As I suspected back in early July (when it was already obvious the far left had successfully gamed the leadership system) a Corbyn leadership will be a excruciatingly long drawn out slow motion car crash.

    He’s going to be leader at least until 2019 and will only stop the through either ill health or because all/ one of the three ‘top TU leaders’ finally get the willies about upcoming election.

  17. @Rob Sheffield

    “when it was already obvious the far left had successfully gamed the leadership system”

    Yes, it’s just so unfair when people you don’t like play by the same rules as the people you do and win isn’t it?

  18. TOH

    Averaging does help to iron out the effect of outliers in both directions.

  19. Allan Christie

    “And just to add to the mix Cameron has now said he will allow cabinet minsters to campaign for or against EU membership.”

    Thanks for telling us that. Cameron sensibly taking the same position as Wilson at the last Referendum on Europe.

  20. @Colin – I don’t think Cons will have too much to worry about.

    Again today we are witnessing the unerring ability of Corbyn (someone I rather like) to completely foul up the politics of party management. Carry on like this, and Labour will have no chance whatsoever, even if their leader was popular and they had policies everyone supported.

    I am no longer incredulous at Labour’s complete inability to managed the news agenda when it comes to their own internal dynamics. This is the new normal. As with Syria, once again we have a shambolic bit of management, where there is no effort made to squash rumours that were either untrue or undeliverable, leading to endless reporting of splits and gaffs, with still no end in sight for what was apparently meant to be a minor and limited reshuffle.

    Corbyn genuinely seems to be a decent bloke, something his political enemies (Tories, I mean) seem happy to admit, but he couldn’t organise his way out of a wet paper bag.

    It’s terminal for Labour, unless Corbyn recognises his failings and either steps aside or gets a team around him that can manage.

  21. @Graham

    So long as there are ‘outliers in both directions’
    If a fair proportion of the polls are subject to systematic errors in the same direction, then the average will be shifted in that direction.
    [Re: telephone polls with too many Labour supporters?]

  22. @Alec

    I didn’t understand Dugher’s comments about Corbynites unsettling non-Corbynite Shadow Ministers by allegedly briefing the Press about a “revenge reshuffle”. It seemed to me that those using that reference were non-Corbynites who were seeking to protect their friends by raising the stakes to ensure none of them could be moved.

    The total lack of self-awareness by the endlessly sniping non-Corbynites within the PLP is mind-boggling. Corbyn has many faults on the organisational/presentation side of things, some of which you highlight above, but the current PLP is and will remain ungovernable until dissenters begin to accept the writ of the leader.

  23. ALEC

    There are always “events” ( dear boy)-and the Tories won’t escape them.

    It certainly looks bad for Labour just now-all their Press is about navel gazing stuff . I mean a Shadow Cabinet cancelled today, presumably because of it-when the SC should be taking Cons apart on policy failures.

    How much longer can this go on? Either he is in control of his Parliamentary Party or he isn’t. At present there just seems to be an uneasy truce.

  24. @Colin & Alec

    Where the Tories may get tripped up is that their dissent and angry internal fighting is yet to come – over Europe and the leadership. Despite winning the election Cameron is also in a difficult position; hence why he’s had to offer the free vote on Europe.

    If there’s one virtue to Labour’s travails is that their period of angry disunity is coming early, rather than late, whereas the Conservatives will come late rather than early (assuming the Labour one doesn’t just fester and carry on through the whole thing)

  25. Not sure I believe any poll that weights so that there are only 2.4 times as many 65+ as there are 18-24…

  26. @Anarchists U – I was of the view that Cameron’s EU travails were likely to be very damaging to his party, but events are making me slightly alter my mind.

    Cameron has been a singularly lucky PM. At every turn, things that lie way beyond his control have conspired to either directly help him, or at least remove difficult obstacles. For example, he was greatly helped in 2015 by a globally deflationary oil price war, that gave the UK deflation and helped real consumer incomes grow at just the right time. We could have had a bog standard ‘flu epidemic this year that shattered the NHS, or a cold winter that strained the national grid – but good luck all round.

    On the EU, when he called for a referendum, no one had the remotest inkling that Europe would have combined crises of mass uncontrolled migration and outrageous terror attacks. When Sweden reinstates border controls and starts deporting migrants, you know something has changed.

    Rightly or wrongly, the fundamental issue many have with the EU isn’t related to the bend angle of cucumbers, but simply migration and welfare benefits. Even a year ago, the chances of Cameron securing any kind of deal on this were non existant, but now, British warnings of the dangers of open borders and unrestricted movement are being listened to in many other capitals.

    I now suspect that some form of deal will be made which was not possible a few months ago, and that Cameron will see off his internal foes and pretty much bury the Tories European problem for a generation, through nothing more straightforward than luck.

    The only thing for Tories to worry about is that luck always runs out at some point.


    I tend to your view on the potential for Tory problems , in the EU Referendum result.

    Whilst all the Tory “Outs” are praising DC’s decision on campaigning, if the lose to an “IN” majority, I’m not too sanguine about returning to sweetness & light across the Party in Parliament. Indeed, if DC’s “deal” is perceived by the hardliners as inadequate , then his own attempt to argue for “IN” will be attacked mercilessly as hypocrisy & betrayal.

    Allan Christie

    “Thanks for telling us that. Cameron sensibly taking the same position as Wilson at the last Referendum on Europe”

    I think it’s a sensible approach and one that might save the Tories from imploding after the EU vote regardless of the outcome…However my only fear is that someone such as IDS may potentially put people off voting NO if his mug is seen to be heading the No campaign.

    He’s not a popular politician in any shape or form.

  29. @Alec

    Oh there’s no doubt that he’s very lucky, but I’m not so sure that’ll be enough. The Euro troubles might now mean that substantial reforms are expected and Cameron has a history of being a poor negotiator and in playing good hands badly (e. g. the Juncker presidency mess after the European elections). It’s entirely possible he could muck it up and then things will kick off.


    It’s hard to say. If it’s close for either side then there could be a real ruckus that kicks off – particularly if Corbyns still in place, in which case the losing side might, wrongly, believe it safe to do so.

    However, given the way the independence referendum and Labour leadership election went, it seems even healthy majority victories don’t quiet opponents anymore!

  30. @Colin

    “I’m not sure one should exclude issues like capital punishment as being “simple issues” though. This contains layers which touch on religious belief, social conscience & even the vexed business of morality. If ever there was an issue where personal judgement is called for-that is surely one ?”


    Well, the simple, no-brainier rebuttal to the capital pumishment idea is the problem of miscarriages of justice.

    At least if someone is sent to prison, if it comes to light later they were innocent you can release them.

    There is rather less succour available for those who instead have been more permanently demised.

    Since there are many, many ways a wrong verdict may be returned – faulty evidence, poor legal representation, nobbled juries, wrong police procedures, complex and confusing cases, mistaken expert analyses, mistaken witnesses! critical evidence (or new forensic techniques) that only comes to light later etc. etc. – you cannot 100% discount miscarriages of justice.

    Unless you have miraculously discovered some new way to 100% obviate all these sources of error in verdicts, the irreversible nature of capital punishment is therefore rather problematic, and usually puts an end to the debate when one points it out.

    Happy New Year all.

  31. Has there been polling on how many Labour supporters care if Labour are elected? As opposed to getting a Tory-lite version elected instead?

    E.g. How many Labourites would prefer to simply try and pull the centre of gravity leftwards, even if that means Labour not being elected?

  32. @Carfrew

    It is also widely held, although not always accepted, that capital punishment costs more than life imprisonment.

    But the possibility of miscarriage of justice remains the strongest objection.

  33. Carfew/Millie,

    Colin’s paragraph was part of a discussion about the Burkian view of MPs and how much one should listen to apparent public opinion (or more narrowly the apparent opinion of your main voter base).

  34. @JimJam

    And my point is that this idea of politicians nobly balancing these delicate issues is often rather wide of the mark, as Catman also indicates.

    To make matters even clearer and save time, which is one of my New Year’s resolutions, here’s a clip of various peeps on Question Time trying to get the issue across to a politician who didn’t seem able to grasp the simple point that getting 100% certainty is problematic.



    Yes, you’re right, there are indeed other arguments agin Capital Punishment. I was just pointing out that there’s no need for politicians to consider the matter so vexed.

  35. @Rob Sheffield
    “He’s going to be leader at least until 2019 and will only stop the through either ill health or because all/ one of the three ‘top TU leaders’ finally get the willies about upcoming election.”

    There are plenty of party members who voted for Corbyn because they wanted a move away from rather than back towards the direction of New Labour, yet who shared relatively little of the hard left agenda. They thought, wrongly, that Corbyn would be if not an election winner at least not an election loser.

    At the moment, Corbyn is still in a relatively strong position in terms of the party because the Oldham by-election has created an illusion in the wider party that his agenda could yet prove popular with the wider electorate. Yet a significant part of the member support that the hard left seem to take for granted could well dissipate after Corbyn has proved himself to be a serial election loser in seat after seat the 2016 English local elections/Scottish elections/Welsh elections (even if Khan manages as expected to take what is now Labour’s stronghold of London). That view will be confirmed by the 2017 English local elections and the 2017 Euro elections.

    So the penny will have dropped well before 2019 and I would expect that even if Corbyn defeats a challenge in late 2017 it would be by the skin of his teeth. His chances of surviving into 2018 I would put at no more than 50:50.

  36. @JimJam

    “……..and how much one should listen to apparent public opinion (or more narrowly the apparent opinion of your main voter base).”

    Good to see you back and, like you, I took a fairly long sabbatical from UKPR in the wake of the last election. I thought it best to indulge some of my other interests instead and explored my hinterland beyond politics. It did much to assuage my disappointment and soothe my general disillusionment, although I’m not sure I’ve entirely recovered. Partially healed may be the best description! Travelling and sport are my escapes and some time in Vietnam and a lot of cricket provided some welcome balm during the summer and autumn. Now is the winter of our discontent, though.

    Your point about listening to public opinion as opposed to the opinions of your main voter base is a salutary one for Labour at the moment, although I’d put another twist on the same morality tale. It’s not a binary choice or zero sum equation, because any political party interested in gaining power has to do both, but the real difficulty is when the majority of the party membership wanders too far from the mainstream and forces the party leadership to pander to a very narrow set of opinions, far removed from those held by the majority of the electorate, let alone the main party voter base. The Tories did this for most of the 90s and 00’s and paid a heavy political price. Hague, Duncan Smith and Howard’s respective ascendancies to the party leadership were a sign of how far removed the membership and parliamentary party was from the electorate at large and they became a virtual irrelevance for nigh on 20 years.

    What’s interesting about Labour’s current predicament is that while the burgeoning membership is sharply left of where it was in the New Labour hegemonic days, the current parliamentary party seems pretty well balanced politically to me, with a good broad range of views espoused by some quite interesting and lively newly elected MPs. This, ironically is Corbyn’s main problem. He has a skewed extra-parliamentary political base but is leading a very broadly based parliamentary party that seems quite representative of mainstream Labour voters. This wasn’t true of the Tories in their wilderness years nor was it true of Labour in theirs during the 80s. Then many of the MPs were as far removed from reality as the members.

    Could this be Labour’s salvation, I wonder? If Corbyn was more of a savvy politician, he’d be cottoning on to this dynamic. He should slowly sell his £3 members down the river, now they’ve got him to where he wants to be, with guile and stealth, and start to work with his MPs. He’s got a potentially good bunch sitting alongside and behind him and I suspect, having won their seats only 8 months ago, in very difficult political circumstances, they might just have more of a clue about what voters want than the young, starry eyed three-quidders who crowded out the village halls when Corbyn was on the stump last summer.

    He needs more Maria Eagles bending his ear and less Diane Abbotts.

  37. @ Crossbat11

    I think JC has a better team (but still with all the sticks) than before.

    For the elections the only question is framing it – so far there has been very little (following EM), mainly because of the PLP.

    For this he needed a purge, but he cannot really have one.

    While I think it would be silly to listen to DA (and I don’t think JC does), Maria Eagle’s position (on foreign policy, and some of the domestic ones) has been shown to be a failure by the electorate (although who knows what the situation will be in 2020j.

    I start to think (very vague, and don’t forget my political stance) that if Labour believes that some significant economic change would happen, JC’s stance is fine and a winning one. If they think that it will be much of the same, then Labour will have to reframe the whole debate, and I think JC is the best for this, as long as the PLP thinks that it can win the elections.

  38. @LASZLO

    Tony Benn observed that the difference between New Labour and the LP Left was the difference between ‘Weathervanes and Signposts’. It was particularly noticeable in the leadership campaign because Jeremy Corbyn’s team issued reams of policy proposals (i.e. signposts) whereas the other three contenders were almost policy-free (presumably because they come from the New Labour ‘weathervane’ tradition).

    For the most part, it seems that New Labour decided policy after testing focus group responses for ‘electability’. In other words, policy is/was decided by the ‘wisdom of the market’ as represented by the focus group. Hence, Harriet Harman’s decision to back the Conservatives in removing Child Benefit from 3rd and more children. (She explained that there were a large number of women, that she had met in the pink campaign bus, who were angry that they couldn’t afford more than one child so why should they fund an unemployed family having more than two i.e. it was a weathervane)

    I assume that you mean that the PLP could fall in step with JC if the weathervane were to point in the same direction as the signpost… and that, that is quite possible if the debate is reframed appropriately in their terms.

  39. SYZYGY
    Ignoring the way the wind is blowing and following signposts that lead you to the edge of a cliff is probably not the shortest route to power.

  40. @David Colby

    The wind is blowing in many different directions simultaneously. We need to await calmer weather to determine the outlook.

  41. Some very interesting posts on the future of the Labour Party under a Corbyn leadership. For me , this issue , together with the fate of the Conservative Party after the Referendum & after Cameron are the two big party political topics of this Parliament.

    Re Corbyn’s Labour , Finkelstein has some interesting thoughts in today’s Times. He suggests that concentrating on a PLP which doesn’t believe in Corbyn is looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Corbyn, he argues, doesn’t believe in the PLP-actually that he doesn’t believe in Parliament.
    The Bennite Left, of which Corbyn is a fully subscribed member, take Ralph Milibandd’s view ( in ” Parliamentary Socialism” & ” The State in a Capitalist Society” ) DF gives these quotes :-
    ” Of the political parties claiming socialism to be their aim, the Labour Party has always been the most dogmatic-not about socialism, but about the parliamentary system”.
    “Socialism will be a partnership between a socialist government on the one hand and a variety of grass roots agencies on the other. In no way would activists be mere servants of the government;on the contrary they would have an organised life of their own”
    ” In its ( the Part) own present structures , in its own present modes of behaviour , attitudes and habits, it must prefigure the society to which it aspires”.

    So-DF opines ” Labour is to be reorganised as a grassroots organisation setting policy by plebeiscites and overriding parliament, not just because this helps Mr Corbyn, and his allies to win control but because this is how they see society”..

    Given this model, Momentum becomes not a contradiction to Corbyn’s version of “democracy” , but essential to it.

    DF ‘s view of the future mirror’s that of Phil Haines above-that Momentum will in the end fail, riven by creeping dissolution & factionalism as the People’s Front of Judea falls out with the Judean People’s Front..

    Its is all fascinating stuff-but if DF is anywhere near the truth over the months ahead, then what interests me particularly is how such a Labour Party , set on running society as a ” sort of out of control demonstration” ( DF) plans to gain power . For this it needs to get more MPs elected than the Conservatives.

    The attitude of the new Masters of the Labour Universe-the £3 Members- to the Polls & Election results of 2016 will be key, as Phil Haines implies. If he is right, Corbyn’s leadership could be short. But I am minded to repeat the anecdote of one of my own grandaughters( Undergrad. London Uni. £1 first time member) view of UK’s GE voters-they don’t think enough about their vote & many waste it. Presumably the answer to that problem is not to change the Leader, but change the Electorate.

  42. @Crossbat

    I’m not sure Corbyn is seeking to become Prime Minister, and is as surprised as everyone else to find himself Labour Leader.

    I suspect he is simply intending to promote the values he has consistently held for 40 years. That is his core position, and I think everything flows from that.

    In a way, that is part of his appeal.

    In the end he will most likely come up against the brick wall of the British electorate, and he will crash and burn. But he won’t especially care.

    He just doesn’t conform to standard models of party leadership.

  43. @Colin

    An interesting analysis from DF.

    I happen to disagree. I don’t think Corbyn is as much of a hardcore socialist as many others believe. What he is trying to engineer is a shift from Blairism to the centre left. His problems is that the PLP is not only overwhelmingly Blairite but that many of his MPs do not accept his authority as leader.

    The question he has to address is how (if at all) he can gain that authority. Kenneth Clarke had some interesting thoughts on this yesterday. He said when Mrs T took over the leadership of the Tories in the mid-70s she encountered the same issues Corbyn is now facing. She addresses them by appointing younger MPs who while they may not have agrees with her on policy, did accept her authority; she then gradually eased out the troublemakers one by one.

    Corbyn’s issues are at their root to do with authority not policy.

  44. RAF

    Clearly no Party Leader can last without demonstrating authority over his team & policy.

    Whether Corbyn is doing this is a puzzle to me. This is the reshuffle :-


    Does this demonstrate his “authority”?

    I tend to agree with Stephen Kinnock, that Mr Corbyn starts with something of a disadvantage when it comes to exerting authority :-

    “Labour MP Stephen Kinnock said the party was “going into uncharted territory primarily because we have a leader who over his 30 odd years on the backbenchers voted against the whip 550 times”.
    “He is now trying to push through a loyalty-driven reshuffle and that is a big challenge for him,” Mr Kinnock said.”

    But as Corbyn keeps on telling everyone, his “mandate” lies outside the PLP-with the Membership. It is they who will decide whether he is imposing the authority & policy which they put him in place to impose.


    Happy New Year to you.

    We are at least consistent, as you might expect I totally disagree with you about capital punishment, but it’s not an argument for here. For me the very occasional error would be a price worth paying.

  46. @RAF
    ‘ His problems is that the PLP is not only overwhelmingly Blairite but that many of his MPs do not accept his authority as leader. ‘
    Whilst it is true that Corbyn lacks support in the PLP , it is surely a serious exaggeration to describe it as ‘overwhelmingly Blairite’ nowadays. True Blairites within the PLP are probably as few and far between as Corbynites – most Labour MPs are likely to fall under the headings of Brownite or soft left.

  47. TOH
    ” For me the very occasional error would be a price worth paying.’

    I wonder if you would take the same view if a member of your family fell victim to such an error.

  48. For the sake of balance, Corbyn is not the only leader having difficulty in maintaining a united policy front today.

  49. GRAHAM

    Yes but I would be heartbroken. Not going to happen though, my children all have a very strong sense of right and wrong as does my wife.

  50. @The Other Howard

    would that price be worth paying if you or yours were the one who had to pay it?

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