Guardian hammered for Corbyn Brexit fake news – then moves it to front page

The Guardian – along with other liberal ‘MSM’ outlets – was strongly criticised on Wednesday for misrepresenting a YouGov poll in an article that claimed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was under pressure from party members to change his Brexit strategy.

The poll, as the SKWAWKBOX showed on Wednesday evening, showed that fewer than a third of Labour members disagreed at all with Corbyn’s strategy – and only eight percent felt strongly about it.

But the Guardian has followed the criticism by publishing essentially the same claim on its front page:

The Guardian claims that Corbyn is “

Under increasing pressure from party members and MPs to reconsider his approach

The Guardian, 4 Jan 2019

The paper then goes on to claim that a:

planned intervention follows the publication of a study revealing that a majority of party members want the Labour leader to back a sec­ond referendum, though most remain loyal to Corbyn’s leadership.

The Guardian, 4 Jan 2019

But the poll does not merely find that ‘most remain loyal to Corbyn’s leadership‘. It finds that most – fully 71% – either specifically support his Brexit approach, or don’t care enough about it to have an opinion, with a large majority of those supportive:

Labour writer and commentator Aaron Bastani gave a succinct assessment of the Guardian’s representation – or misrepresentation – of the information:

SKWAWKBOX comment:

The Guardian is merely the most brazen example of mainstream fake news about Labour’s position on Brexit, the opinion of the party’s members and Jeremy Corbyn’s approach to the issue – which has consistently outmanoeuvred Theresa May to such an extent that quiet preparations are now being made for a new snap general election.

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  1. The priority is a GE not a second referendum simple as that , it’s clear what was agreed by our party at Conf and that puts a GE first and failing that all other options INC a second referendum are on the table for negotiation .So before the usual commentators start up then some perspective and unity might be in order

  2. I was reading the Metro on my way into work and I thought I was having deja vu they had the practically the same article as yesterday about the “72%” survey result. Only this time they said JC was disrespecting to vote at conference about supporting a second referendum. Followed by a quote from Jeremy basically restating that the policy is first we vote the deal down, then we press for no confidence/GE, after those options have failed then we can look at what our next option is. As the vote hasn’t happened he’s still on step 1!

  3. Bring it on, I say. The Guardian is the real hidden enemy of Labour with a couple of exceptions. The more they expose themselves the fewer people will read their propaganda. As for the 8%, a few of them are stalking this blog.

    1. We know who you mean, but I’m just amazed at how much time they seem to have on their hands. They’re on pretty much every thread!

  4. The Guardian states :-

    The study of Labour members found that 72% believed their leader should back a second referendum. The research, part of the Party Members Project led by Prof Tim Bale of Queen Mary University of London, found that while Labour members still strongly supported their leader overall, they appeared to be sceptical about his reasons for refusing to support a referendum.

    However, the study also found a majority of Labour members said they supported the party’s current position, with 47% in favour versus 29% who opposed it.

    What ? Both ‘ findings ‘ can’t be correct !!!

    1. See my comment below re the fuller analysis. Views are slippery things and depend upon the question asked.

  5. It would be interesting to conduct a survey in order to discover what percentage of Labour Party members considered the Guardian to be a an unreliable new source.

    I bet it would be greater than 75%.

      1. I of course I meant “… an unreliable NEWS source….”
        (Just following the Garundiad’s great typo tradition there.)

    1. The Guardian is the Grauniad. Best not get too exercised about it. Even though the bending of the news in certain areas has become disgracefully chronic under Viner’s editorship, it still has aspects of proper journalism. It just needs to be read with critical faculties intact – like the Sqwawkbox.

      By all means diss the Guardian when it’s partisan knickers show, but I reckon more energy needs to be devoted to excoriating the expat/foreign bum-fodder press that actually backed Brexit with Johnsonian fabrications on behalf of the plutocrat class of the hedge fund scammers. These 100% abysmal rags seem to get a free pass.

  6. Please clarify this Squawk. Today’s date is 3rd January 2019. How can you seriously be commenting on a 4th Jan Front Page?

  7. I would like a survey with the question: Given that anyone can join YouGov and claim to be a Labour member and remain backers rely on YouGov polling for most of their claims. How likely is it that interested parties have joined YouGov in order to exploit this obvious weakness? A) Very likely B) Fairly likely C) Unlikely, or D) Bleeding obvious.
    Answers on a postcard to G Soros/T Blair @TheGuardianRemainCentral.

  8. I really wouldn’t get too excited about what is a complex and contradictory picture.

    Two things exist in conjunction :

    (1) Labour members are essentially loyal, and are willing to support Corbyn and give him time to get ducks in a row.

    (2) Labour members also strongly support Remain and also the possibility of a new referendum.

    The full balanced analysis of the most recent data can be found in the ESRC Party Members Project (not the Grauniad), the summary of which is as follows :

    “In sum, our survey suggests Labour’s membership is overwhelmingly in favour of the UK remaining in the EU and badly wants a referendum to achieve that end. It also suggests that Labour voters, while not as keen as the party’s members on either count, are in the same camp. Labour’s grassroots clearly hate Brexit, and although many of them still love Corbyn, he might not be able rely for much longer on their support for him trumping their opposition to leaving the EU. As a result, our research is bound to increase the pressure on Labour’s leader to get off the fence”

    A fuller report can be found at :


    1. The commentary in the summary dishonestly ascribes motives and attitudes to people that are not remotely justified by the findings.

      Take me as an example. I personally voted remain, and still hope that Brexit will be cancelled.

      I also think it would be political suicide for Corbyn to come out publicly in support of a second referendum at this point in time, and very strongly support his strategy on Brexit. I am not remotely pressuring him to change his stance to the ultimate outcome that I want, as I believe I have a much greater chance of achieving that outcome if he carries on doing exactly what he is doing.

      1. What you *think* is fair enough – it’s an opinion. To describe other takes on the facts as ‘dishonest’ is fiction.

        The data is pretty clear, and fits other observations of what is happening :

        Corbyn is still popular, and the membership is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt in terms of tactics.

        But, the membership is overwhelmingly pro-Remain, and also in favour of a new referendum if it is a way out of the current mess at some point.

        Were it to occur, the agreed preference for a general election will force a choice on the desired outcome re.the EU.

        None of that is rocket science or conspiratorial. It’s just the way things are, and is hardly surprising given known voting patterns over Brexit and party allegiances.

        The preference for Remain in Labour has been constant since the referendum, and won’t go away because Kevin shouts and slams doors.

  9. Like most polls I’d not put too much faith in the honesty or lack of bias on this one by the ESRC . Just checking the background to ESRC who are running this project , the backers of it have links directly to the Govt , Home office Dept , the Founding Director is also the MD of Metro Dynamics and it’s client base includes the LSE who’s Director was previously the Deputy Director of the IMF .
    This to me paints a picture of not exactly unbiased impartiality to say the least , it looks like ,walks like & smells like “ the Establishment” not really going to be a friend of JC Socialist Labour party for sure !

    The sample size was just over 1068 , so what is the demographic spread over the geographical regions of the UK , viz a large proportion of young Labour members in the South will possibly have a different view to those in the North . Cannot find any info regarding this .

    To me the Labour party has already had its poll , that was the members input via our Conf in Sept and at that Conf the policy and stance was decided as democratically as possible . I put more store in that than any of the polls .

    1. When all else fails, adopt reality denial and cast everything that you don’t like as a conspiracy.

      I think the ESRC-funded research is somewhat more reliable than a cadre of blindfolded faux-revolutionaries swapping fictions in an echo chamber.

      1. Oh dear me just listen to yourself .
        It’s nothing to do with what I don’t like or like , it is called researching the truth and dealing with the honesty of the source , by attacking the person and not the subject then you loose the argument , and unfortunately for you comrade, that’s what you’ve been doing most of the time .
        I think I posted some time ago a comment on the lines of ” you do yourself no favours behaving this way to fellow Lefties” and that still is the case .It is an assumption that you are on the Left and that you want , as I do, a JC Socialist lead Govt …. yes ?
        Pity really, as in the past you’ve made some decent contributions to debates.
        It may come as some surprise to you but I voted remain and now I am of the same mind and take the same nuanced stance as elucidated by Ultraviolts comment above .
        I would quite happily be party to a EU that was truly Socialist in nature and actions BUT this EU is decidedly not , and I doubt it will ever be so.
        Not until we have a co-ordinated and sustained push from the International Left within Europe for the vital change to make it responsive to the people and not just the Corp Bankers and big bus.

      2. Sounds like a response from the EU-dean People’s Front –

        “I’d not put too much faith in the honesty or lack of bias on this one by the ESRC .”

        … but impressionistic warbling is less so??

        I think my reference to actual data is a bit more credible than wishing on a star and hypothesizing on a nothing.

        ..; further confirmed by desperate illogicality in trying to cast pragmatic decisions made at a particular time, and in a particular context, as definitive pronouncements.

        Bottom line : the Labour Party is decisively a ‘Remain’ party.

      3. RH , noted you have failed to answer the simple question I posed and your insults continued unabated .Nevertheless my statement ” the backers of it have links directly to the Govt , Home office Dept , the Founding Director is also the MD of Metro Dynamics and it’s client base includes the LSE who’s Director was previously the Deputy Director of the IMF ”

        This is not ,as you disparagingly put it , ” wishing on a star and hypothesizing on a nothing ” , they are FACTS .
        If you can’t counter them with facts rather than , and here I use your own derisory language “impressionistic warbling ” which is very much the content of your reply then , I can only conclude that you have nothing to offer other than an obsessive preoccupation with the PV at all costs , excluding the many other positive facets Labour has to offer the many .

        Further to your statement ” I think my reference to actual data is a bit more credible than wishing on a star and hypothesizing on a nothing ” , this is the very point I am making, it maybe data however , it must always be questioned and the validity and unbiased nature of that so called data you unquestioningly believe in really should be established , rubbish in rubbish out Biased input = biased output . That applies in my book to ANY poll.

        Perhaps on reflection maybe others reading your statements so far might just ask , is this the actions of a comrade who demands respect and understanding of their Brexit position but denies the same to those with a counter view , or is it just one who wishes to split the Left and not see a Socialist Govt, because it looks very like it to me . Yes we have differing views but that does not mean it’s open season for insulting denigrating behaviour .

        I for one understand and accept your position RH , it is clear , not open to factual respectful debate , as one of your ripostes stated ” Life is too short ” well I agree and on this topic we are at opposite ends of the debate .
        But I would hope that you accept my position and those who have differing positions to you over Brexit.
        Neither of us are in power or in a position of leadership within Labour and all the hot air and vitriol that flies over Brexit is just that ,, hot air , meaningless . Like it or not JC is the leader and his leadership team and our Conference has decided what the stance is on a 2nd referendum.
        However ,being a Labour member which I assume you are to , I will try to ,where possible unite in fighting the real enemy that is the Tories and where possible fight for a GE and a Labour Govt lead by JC .
        The $64 million question is will you do the same ?

    1. Yes, I know, Snowy.

      Age, and hours spent in Party meetings over the years should have made me more tolerant of pointless bullshit and fantasy.

      But life’s too short, and the Tories really don’t need so much help. So why flatter Kevin when he throws a predictable strop when the world doesn’t fit the script?

      LOL indeed.

  10. From someone from a working class background who voted remain and doesn’t get all the nuances of the argument- does the majority of Labour Party member votes in favour of remain translate to the vast majority of dissilushioned labour supporting non party members in the event of a second referendum vote.

  11. The mainstream media in this country are a disgrace.

    I do not know anyone who has ever been asked to contribute or has contributed to such polls or analysis. Even the local press have been swallowed up by the big millionaires and are full of nonsense stories, advertorials and ridiculous weather predictions. The locals can predict the weather much more accurately. There is no such thing as local news anymore as there are very few reporters who actually talk to the real people or investigate real issues on the ground. Without actually communicating with the labour membership and voters (there are more voters than members) no newspaper or their reporters can predict the mood of the people on the ground.

    If you pay many newspapers will print whatever you want.

    I live in one of the Labour heartlands and there is no appetite for any second referendum. Any political party that has another referendum in is policies for any general election would be committing political suicide.

    Many people have are really struggling through the relentless austerity policies imposed on them by this and the former liberal/conservative alliance. They have nothing left to take and just want rid of this government.

  12. How these statistics are presented in the press/MSM and what is omitted and misrepresented is, of course, hugely important … but much more significant is the ‘why’.

    Why were these the questions surveyed; why were they used in this way by the media; and why now when May’s Withdrawal Agreement is likely going to be passed by Parliament…. and if it does, then any dispute about a second referendum is redundant.

  13. “I do not know anyone who has ever been asked to contribute or has contributed to such polls or analysis.”

    Nor do I. So? What is the probability that any particular individual would?

    “The locals can predict the weather much more accurately.”

    Actually – they can’t.

    All this sort of stuff is reminiscent of Michael Gove spouting bullshit and dissing ‘experts’ – because, of course, what he was spouting was insupportable. It was intended as a get-out-of-gaol-free card when argument had failed.

    I remember coming across the fallacy of folk ‘wisdom’ (aka mythology) when looking at parish records from the 18th/19th centuries. It was clear from the various monies paid out for killing ‘pests’ that an agricultural-based society hadn’t much idea about rural ecology.

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