Owen Smith outsmarts himself hilariously to create #IAmNotJamesMills

Failed Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith has already created a few unwitting trends on social media, as anyone who remembers that ice-cream van during Smith’s attempt to win support in Liverpool will be aware.

But Mr Smith outsmarted himself on Twitter yesterday when he thought he’d executed a ‘gotcha‘ on an aide to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.

The @James4Labour Twitter account shot down a centrist attempt to sow division in the Labour Party over Brexit by pointing out that Owen Smith had campaigned for the Labour leadership on a promise to offer a second EU referendum – and had been resoundingly rejected:


Of course, Labour members also sent their delegates to last year’s annual conference and they also resoundingly rejected the opportunity to debate Brexit, which the Observer was complaining should be offered at this year’s conference. But centrists being slow to get the message is hardly new.

Cue Owen Smith. Smith thought he had reliable information that @James4Labour is the account of one James Mills, an aide to John McDonnell – and he attempted to embarrass the supposed Mr Mills:

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The problem with attempted smugness is that you have to be very sure your facts are solid – and Smith’s were definitely not, since @James4Labour has nothing to do with James Mills, who has his own Twitter account  – as former Corbyn aide Matt Zarb-Cousin was quick to point out:

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@James4Labour was highly amused, too:


The Twitter concept of ‘the ratio’ suggests that any tweet that has more comments than retweets has been a failure. But a ratio of 227:5 is a level of failure only rarely attained:

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Cue much hilarity and ownage mixed with a sprinkling of outright put-downs, of which the following are just a small selection:

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Ice creams, of course, made frequent appearances:

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Lots of social media users called on Smith to apologise for his crassness, but so far he has failed to recognise the virtues of discretion and has, in fact, attempted to brazen out his blunder:

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So blatant was Smith’s error that it even triggered a kind of ‘reverse Spartacus’ movement of Twitter users claiming not to be James Mills under the obvious hashtag:


Although one enterprising account turned an existential crisis into a very funny barb:

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On a serious note, though, Smith’s behaviour has served to remind Labour members and observers of the reality of centrist Labour – and to shine a handy spotlight on the motivations of the right of the party in making noise about things that have already been decided democratically by the members.

Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of the thorny issue of Brexit continues to be intelligent – and is allowing the Tories to face the consequences of their own idiocy. The ‘moderates’, on the other hand, would press ahead with something guaranteed to cost Labour the next general election when the people of this country desperately need a Labour government and Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street.



  1. Speaking as a Welshman we have always been embarrassed by Owen Smith in Pontypridd and people would rather vote for the Plaid Cymru leader if she ever stood for Parliament. “Fake” Blairite!

    1. Funny but Ive heard the same from friends in Wales you confirm precisely what they too have been saying. Smith …. a laughable but stupidly dangerous tool … costing Labour votes and credability. CLP Ponty you know what to do .

    2. Can a right-winger be a socialist? Actually, how did Labour end up with right-wingers (whew!…and a good number of them in the PLP!) in its midst? Was it because Thatcher appeared to have settled the argument back then that the party thought the only way to government was to be Tory-lite? Was it because after the fall of the Berlin Wall, most people thought socialism was doomed and therefore the only way was Right? Hence the recruitment of these Tory-lites as the Left was deemed irrelevant.

      1. It started with propaganda about Michael Foot “being too left wing” (even though he was soft left and the electorate were more concerned about the civil war in Labour, the Falklands, and Foot’s stance on / obsession with unilateral disarmament than with what “wing” he was on.) Then Neil Kinnock turned up to betray the miners and start the whole “Labour as a bad imitation of the Tories” thing off. Blair, who was largely an apolitical money-obsessed careerist, successfully exploited the situation, creamed off the cash and hired a load of public school educated apparatchiks who received the same historical indoctrination: “Labour were too left-wing. Must triangulate. Must triangulate.” The major existential problem they’re having is that their “history” has turned out to be a big pile of steaming bullshit.

  2. Stupid childish nonsense the whole thing, everyone involved, Skwawkbox included. Haven’t you got anything better to report?

      1. I think Timgo is guilty of a


    1. What a miserable, centrist world this would be if we were not allowed to have fun with our politics, don’t you agree?


  3. Why is he now trying to be some sort of pathetic rebel. Corbyn very kindly let him back in the fold with a vital job as shadow NI Secretary but he just wasted the opportunity. Why?

  4. Always struck me as the kind of dork who’ll roll up his shirt sleeves to fit in with the lads but draws the line at wearing jeans without neatly-pressed creases.

  5. “I can be your champion. I am just as rrradical as Jeremy Corbyn.”
    “Angela is a star in the Labour firmament. She will be at my right hand throughout this contest and if I am successful, Angela will be alongside me as my rrright hand woom-man.”

    Worst kind of dork is a sheepdork.

    And another thing… isn’t using a phrase like ‘at my right hand’ just a bit self-deifying?
    Can we consider excommunication as well as deselection? 🙂

    1. “And another thing… isn’t using a phrase like ‘at my right hand’ just a bit self-deifying?”

      It is when you’re not me.

      Yours sincerely,


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