Rubbishing McCluskey’s #BBCQT s ‘Labour neck/neck pre-coup’? See this.

Len McCluskey – clearly the only real Labour representative on BBC Question Time tonight – attacked Labour’s right-wing plotters and placed the blame for Labour’s current polling squarely on their shoulders.


Typically, the right-wing panel – including nominally Labour Lisa Nandy – rubbished the claim, as have some on social media. They’ll find this table – by Tory-owned polling company YouGov – a bit inconvenient:

vote intention

The table clearly shows that in three consecutive Yougov polls leading up to the notorious ‘chicken coup‘ that kicked off in the aftermath of the EU referendum, Labour was ahead of the Tories – and YouGov are no friend to the Labour Party.

It also makes unmissably clear when Labour’s polling downturn began – Labour’s July numbers tumbled, and the Tories’ rose, to around current levels immediately after the blairite resignations and the start of their nonsensical and doomed leadership challenge.

If Corbyn’s leadership or image had been the issue, Labour would have been behind before the coup. There can be no honest, serious doubt about the real cause.

And nothing has changed in blairite behaviour – except to get worse. Of course, that in no way prevents them insisting otherwise, with the collusion of Tory-owned or -co-opted media.

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  1. Hooray for Len!
    The only true labour panellist on QT saying it as it is!
    I’m listening now, to This Week, a Party Political Broadcast on Behalf of the Tory Party.
    Two so-called Labour supporters, as usual talking pure bollocks!
    Alistair Campbell sticking his blue nose into his politics, telling us after 2 failed elections by the labour right that we should go back and spout the same rubbish.
    Just heard A Neil, say to him your on the “LEFT”!
    OF WHAT?

  2. McCluskey is right. And the table is fascinating. Anyway here’s my two-penneth on why Labour are doing so badly, based on my own feelings.

    Even as a Labour diehard, I would only vote for an anti-Corbyn candidate standing for the Labour party in a local election through gritted teeth. Surely that’s got to be a MASSIVE reason why Labour are doing so badly – no Labour voter can even work out whether they’re voting for Corbyn’s policies or against them! The solution is so simple that it’s frustrating Labour aren’t doing it – Labour need to field candidates who don’t hate their elected leader!

    Some advice on how to get them to do this would be much appreciated. I know very little about the nuts and bolts of the Labour party, and my own CLP in Pendle consistently ignore my emails and phone calls. Getting involved or even getting to know when meetings are being held seems to be a real uphill struggle.

    Finally, thanks again for your hard work.

    1. The best advice I can give you is to contact your local Momentum group. They should be able to give further information on local Labour Party activities, even if the party itself won’t.

      Momentum will also be able to give information on May’s council elections and where sympathetic candidates will be standing.

    2. Graham Jones, the MP for Pendle is a well-known anti Corbyn MP. I suppose that infection runs through the local party, and they are deliberately trying to prevent people from becoming involved. That may explain your difficulty in contacting them. I live in Wigan constituency, and am not thrilled with my MP’s behaviour over the past 18 months.

  3. You have cherry picked the three polls – and literally the only three polls – that put Labour ahead. Moreover, you cannot write articles, as you do, about how totally unrrliable Yougov is and then, when it suits you, reverse that position totally.

    1. Although the accuracy of polling can be disputed, I think this is where one is invited to comment on the general trend.

      The report refers to the suspicions about Yougov – the obvious point being that, despite these suspicions of Yougov emphasising negative results for Labour, the party was still leading their opinions surveys in Spring 2016.

      This is not “reversing that position totally”. You have misrepresented what the report states, when it is clearly refers to the previous suspicions about “Tory owned Yougov” and “despite Yougov being no friend of The Labour Party”.

      Have you misrepresented the report in this way in error ?

      Is it a deliberate misdirection? And if so why would you think you will gain from this when the original text is directly above your inaccurate summarising?

      Or are you arguing that Yougov’s polling is so inaccurate to be discounted in any event?

      But whatever your motivation, why was there such a significant reversal in polling fortunes of Labour after June 2016?

      1. Logically, yes, it is “reversing the position totally”. You cannot say “Such-and-such a body is an unreliable reporter” and then say, “except that in this case such-and-such is correct”. It’s a logical contradiction. Arguments based on logical contradiction cannot hold water.

      2. It’s a fairly standard tactic of right-wing Labour when facts are inconvenient for the preferred narrative.

    2. Funny but I don’t read it like that , the author has reported factually what those polls have shown , not made it up or lied about it , like the MSM do so often . So what you appear to allude to is that you seem to believe that the coup had no ill effects whatsoever on Labours standing with the public . The fact and these are facts Brendan , that numerous MPs have continuously attacked JC and JMcD some quite disrespectfully ( Wes Streeting Mandleson etc ) and that has somehow not adversely affected Labours standing , I find that quite remarkable . Sorry but Len is absolutely right and the poor standing for Labour lies with those in the PLP who do all of us a disservice by consistently and so publicly destroying Labours chances of re-election. This is born out by the comments I get on the door step canvassing support to re-elect my Labour Councillor in the May elections.
      It would be interesting to know who you think would do better and have as much positive effect as JC galvanising people to join the Labour Party you know the 350,000 or so new members that JC brought in because of his policies .

      1. I agree that the writer has reported accurately and factually what those three opinion polls said. I didn’t say he hadn’t. The point is that he has cherry-picked three polls. You need to look at the TREND of opinion polls. individual polls are not reliable. The trend of all opinion polls – and there were many, many more than three – does not support what is being claimed here.

      2. Three polls in a row, Brendan. That’s not cherry-picking. It’s three polls in a row – then a sudden drop-off ‘coincidentally’ immediately after the chicken-coup. The article’s not claiming to be about every poll – and averaging every poll is also misleading, as explained in my response to your other comment.

      3. Sorry, but three polls in a row, all from the same polling company, and ignoring the dozens of other polls IS cherry picking. Why don’t you tell our readers about all the other polls too?

    3. The fact of the matter is this: Labour were doing OK in the polls before the coup. I think it’s fine, given the purpose of the article, to interpret the data in such a way that emphasises that central point.

      If you want an in-depth statistical analysis of all the polling data, I suggest you look elsewhere.

      1. But Labour were not doing fine. The trend showed that Labour was behind the Tories and were doing much worse than under Ed Miliband at the same point in the cycle. The cherry picking approach in the article has given a false impression.

      2. The false impression is given by the average/smoothing technique. For example, it drowned Labour’s strong position after the Panama leaks and the Budget fiasco under their drop after the concocted antisemitism smear nonsense. It’s misleading and probably deliberately so.

      3. I don’t think you would find any statistician, phsephologist or pollster who would concur with you that averaging out polls over time gives a more misleading impression than using a sequence of three, all from the same polling company. The only thing that it obscures is unrepresentative spikes.

      4. It depends what you’re trying to portray, Brendan – and how you use it. The way you (and Britainelects) are using it is misleading.

    4. You have a logic problem, Brendan. Showing that even a Tory-owned organisation that has a record of nonsensical polls to bash Labour in no way invalidates the fact that they showed Labour in front 3 times in a row. It strengthens the significance of that fact.

      1. No. (1) You haven’t established that it is a company with a desire to bash Labour. Yougov isn’t going to get a lot of commercial projects from other companies if it is always wrong about political polls. It has no motivation deliberately to get their results wrong. (2) Three polls are not significant in comparison with the average of dozens of polls. There is literally not a single pollster who would assert that three polls from one company, in comparison with the average of a lot of polls from several companies, is the more significant piece of information. Can you tell me a respected pollster (I don’t mean a Left or Right blogger) who takes the view that you want us all to go along with here?

      2. Ha, nice try. Pollsters will naturally ‘circle the wagons’ to defend their industry. I pointed you to a post showing a ‘poll’ and YouGov’s use of the data that cannot support an assessment of them as ‘neutral’. As I said, sadly it’s obvious you’re determined to ‘but’ anything that gainsays your viewpoint. Fair enough, but take it else where.

  4. Useful information which blows a hole in the Blairite/MSM myth that Labour is unelectable under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

    The poll leads indicated by YouGov were actually reflected in the results of last May’s local elections. Analysis by the House of Commons Library showed Labour leading the Tories in both seats and votes in England and Wales.

    In addition, a poll taken by Survation in the immediate aftermath of last June’s referendum – and at the behest of the Mail Group, not renowned for pro-Corbyn sympathies – showed Labour and the Tories level at 32 per cent.

    But the psychotic rage which afflicted certain elements of the PLP in the wake of the referendum result prompted them to launch an ill-fated – and monumentally ill-judged – coup attempt.

    If the party is continuing to suffer credibility issues in the wake of those events it is the PLP plotters, rather than Corbyn, who should take responsibility.

    1. “The poll leads indicated by YouGov were actually reflected in the results of last May’s local elections”. That is correct. In the 2016 local elections, Labour’s popular vote was 1% pt higher than the Tories’, which would be exactly in line with the series of 3 Yougov opinion polls that this article has cherry-picked. Moreover, the Tories lost more seats in local councils than Labour did.

      So this proves the Yougov polls a the time rect ones, right? Sorry, but no. Firstly, there aren’t any “correct” opinion polls or “incorrect” ones. All opinion polls are individually best efforts to identify a snapshot. No pollsters, however, ever recommend that their individual poll, or even a series of their own lls, be taken as “the correct version of the truth”.

      Returning to the 2016 local elections, bear in mind that we are talking about two different questions. The opinion poll question being asked is , “How would you vote in a GE tomorrow?” – different to the question on a local elections ballot paper.

      But still, these are actual votes, and Labour was 1% pt ahead. I can’t argue against that, can I? Well, I’m sorry again, but I can argue against it. At a mere 1 %age point, it was historically a very poor lead in the popular vote for local elections 1 year into a parliament. It was much worse than Ed Miliband was achieving. Based on that performance, the omens for Labour in a GE are very, very disturbing.

      Now I know it is tempting sometimes to think that casting doubt on what Sqwawkbox has told us might be right wing or inspired by some kind of reactionary and anti-Labour malevolence. Well, we don’t know each other but I can assure you that my intention is simply to challenge your assertions, which you are good enough to put into writing, with alternative perspectives that, I maintain, are much better supported by experts in polling and psephology than yours are.

      1. Brendan, there’s little point engaging with you as you’ll always have a ‘but’, no matter what evidence you’re presented with.

      2. Likewise, Mr Skwawkbox. (Do you have a name?). Till next time, anyway.

  5. Reblogged this on Sid's Blog and commented:
    Imagine fighting:-
    Media Barons (The Non Dom tax-evaders)
    Conservative Party
    AND Chicken Coupers i.e. Most of PLP

    CORBYN still THE ONLY CHOICE for me

  6. yougovs polling leads only one way the questions are fixed to give the answers they want oh dear

    1. There is absolutely no evidence that Yougov is biased in the way that you keep claiming. None at all.

      1. Hmm, not so sure about that Brendan. I signed up to complete polls for YouGov a couple of years ago because I wanted my opinions to be counted. Upon registering you are asked lots of questions relating to your political beliefs, purportedly so they can offer you surveys of interest to you. But despite my obvious interest in politics, and my unashamedly Labour/Left views I have only ever been invited to complete surveys about TV programmes and my shopping habits. Strange that……

      2. But, groovemistress, with respect, that’s not evidence. That’s an anecdote.

      3. When you hear as many people signed up to YouGov etc saying the exact same thing as this blog does, it starts to become more than anecdotal.

      4. I am in exactly the same position. I indicated to Yougove my political interests – same as yours, same party. I think, over 2 months, I have been asked one political question. But I still don’t see anything other than an anecdote here. Do you know what the split is of Yougov’s business, i.e. commercial polling versus political polling? Do you know, based on that, the statistical averaged out probability of any individual being asked a political question?

      5. *You* are an anecdote. Many people saying the same cease to be anecdotal. They may not be definitive proof, but they are *evidence*. And I take it you missed the example of identical test registrations being made, except for political affiliation.

      6. I gave you my story as another example of a meaningless anecdote. I’m certainly not claiming that my anecdotes are less meaningless than yours. They’re as meaningless from me as they are from you. I did miss the test case you refer to. How rigorous was its methodology?

      7. Identical sets of ‘individuals’ registered with YouGov, apart from political affiliation. Right-wing ‘versions’ – frequent political surveys; left-wing – consumer surveys etc

  7. Well it’s a 10 for Len from me.
    What I admire about Len is that he gives direct answers. He doesn’t court popularity by political spin. Evidence points to him as a man of principle who will challenge something he sees as in true or unfair whome ever they may be.

  8. The coup, resignations and attacks have had a damaging effect on the image of the party. The core Labour voters will drift away because although attracted by Corbyn/McDonnell, they see the same old Blairite Labour party. And the left of centre majority see a divided party and that the resignations give the impression that there is something wrong with Corbyn, which gets repeated in the media day in, day out.

    Corbyn will stay until the Labour party becomes a party of the people again. To win the next election needs one of two things.

    A Tory economic car crash (which is quite possible) or Labour to mobilise its membership and Labour to set up its own media with a massive political education campaign.

    1. “Political education”? I think that sounds a little patronising, if you don’t mind my saying. It sounds as if the voters are intellectually immature and in need of instruction from wiser heads.

      1. ‘Political education’ is a fairly common term among union officials, Brendan. Surprised you didn’t know that.

      2. I’ve never been a union active member. But does that fact mean that it can’t be considered patronising in this day and age. Discuss.

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