‘Centrist’ response to Survation Labour/Brexit poll: distraction and a LOT of denial

Centrists and their media allies spent most of last week telling us all – in most cases loudly and stridently – that Labour needed to ‘lead’ by siding with a so-called “people’s vote” and even that the party would ride into power on a wave of public support if it did.

The fallacy of those claims – which the SKWAWKBOX and others have long warned about – was exposed by a poll released on Friday night by Survation, the most accurate polling company during the 2017 general election. That poll showed not only that Labour currently lead and would lose vote-share if it called for a new referendum, but that Brexit sentiment in the population persists – ‘remain’ is not ahead even against Theresa May’s abysmal excuse for a deal.

The ensuing silence of the centrist Establishment was predictably deafening, but rather than try to divert attention away from inconvenient truths by an escalation of smears it seems to have been paralysed into a fragmented response in which the common thread is “look over there instead!” – but in without a unified stance on where ‘there’ is.

Mistaken identity?

There were laughable attempts to portray David Miliband – not even an MP – as the people’s choice of a new Labour leader. Of course, the detail shows no such thing. Only six percent of those polled (ten percent of those who expressed a preference) plumped for Miliband.

Seventy-four percent said they had heard of him – but of course there’s no guarantee they weren’t mixing him up with his brother Ed, who as a former leader of the party during a general election campaign would be expected to have that kind of name recognition. Other centrist figures fared even worse.

Let’s attack a Labour employee!

MP Angela Smith launched a shameful attack on Labour’s general secretary Jennie Formby for sharing an excellent article on why leading remainers have no resonance with leavers:

Ms Smith’s views, of course, don’t even resonate with members of her local Labour Party, who recently voted overwhelmingly for a motion of no confidence in her. But for an MP to attack a party employee who can’t defend herself publicly is disgraceful.

When Labour members – who have every right to express an opinion on the general secretary’s performance, unlike MPs – criticised Formby’s predecessor, centrist MPs decried such ‘attacks’ on an employee, but apparently the rules for right-wingers are different when it’s a left-wing employee.

Ms Smith’s intervention was spectacularly unsuccessful, leading to a cascade of hundreds condemnatory replies from Labour members:

A few of the hundreds of reactions to Smith’s tweet

Not just a river…

The social media feeds of many leading ‘PV’-campaigners went mysteriously silent in the 24 hours after the poll was released.

Some simply stuck their heads in the sand and didn’t say anything at all, about the poll or otherwise and are still quiet. Others seemed to be taking the time to regather their defiance of the inconvenient facts, before emerging this morning, not only to ignore the poll’s existence but to plough on with an unchanged narrative regardless:

The ever-reliable Lib Dem leader Vince Cable went further, appearing on the Marr show to keep whistling the same tune in complete denial of the new data, claiming that Corbyn backing a “people’s vote” would be a ‘game-changer’:

Any change to the game, of course, would not work in favour of the millions in this country desperate for a Labour government.

The denial of the poll’s existence and certainly of any significance covered the PV-movement almost as thoroughly as a blanket, with just a few peeping out from under its edges to cherry-pick a single statistic from the poll and claim that meant the whole thing supported their narrative:

The ‘fourth line down’ showed a single scenario showing Labour losing votes if someone else called a referendum and Labour didn’t support it. This makes sense, but can only apply to the Tory government calling one, because almost all the minor parties are already ‘calling for’ a referendum – and Labour leads by three points.

That point was addressed in the SKWAWKBOX article to which Akehurst – and others even more in denial – responded. It seems – surprise – that they had not bothered to read what they were responding to, or else did and chose to ignore it.

The response by centrists to the inconvenient existence of the poll by the most accurate of pollsters was surprisingly weak. They couldn’t even muster a decent smear to try to swamp people’s attention – and if 6% of respondents thinking David Miliband might be a viable Labour leader when he’s not even in Parliament is the best the Establishment could come up with, it is in a parlous state.

But such desperation may be explained by the fact that:

  • the PV campaign is calling for something there’s no time to do
  • that there is absolutely no chance of a Tory prime minister ever putting a referendum to the public that includes a ‘remain’ option
  • if such a fantasy ever became reality and May or another Tory called a further referendum – which the poll also shows would be political suicide for them – then the public is likely to prefer even May’s woeful excuse for a deal to remaining:

Not only that, but support for remain has fallen over the last five weeks.

By contrast, Jeremy Corbyn has been shown to be still on the right track – by the most accurate pollster and in spite of a constant media and centrist narrative to the contrary.

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  1. I don’t have much faith in opinion polls (just because Survation got it right one doesn’t mean they will ever do that again).
    But I do love the way that people who loathe the current Labour party, and all it stands for, still feel entitled to tell it what do, and who to select as leader.
    Where do they find these idiots?

  2. To get to be leader of the Labour Party David Miliband just has to be selected for a safe Labour seat, get elected to Parliament, hope for a leadership election in which he will be nominated as a candidate and win a ballot of the entire party membership – its simple.
    I can just imagine how many of the more ambitious centrist Labour MPs who have stayed with the Party while Miliband has been soaking up the good life in the States for the past two or three years will be happy to scotch their own careers and step aside for the chap. Not that I am aware that Miliband himself has expressed any recent desire to return to the UK to re-attempt a feat that he has previously failed to achieve.
    The idea of David Miliband becoming the leader of the Labour Party in anything like the near future is the sort of thing that dear old Captain Mainwaring used to describe as being in the “realms of fantasy”.

  3. I wouldn’t speak too soon. RH will be along shortly with his latest narrative from the Guardian comments bubble.

    1. Hi, lundiel. Just waving to please the children & keep in touch from the wider Labour Party.

  4. Just a thought , if and it’s a big if DM gets selected by a pliant CLP then hits the leadership trail , there is the small matter of 500K members to win over , of them there are about 48K socialist Momentum members whom I suspect won’t be exactly positive about “our Dave” .

    1. “the PV bandwagon”

      That’s not a very loyal way to describe one of the aspects of Party policy failing a general election.

      1. A further referendum is one aspect of party policy agreed at conference. The co-called People’s Vote is a whizz dreamed up by Best for Britain and has Alastair Campbell’s sticky fingerprints all over it: after Soros pitched in with £400,000 even Gina Miller resigned from the organisation she founded, saying the public has a “right to know” who is backing the organisation as she criticised its “undemocratic” tactics. A role call of Best for Britain brings up right-wing Blairites from the Labour Party, Lib Dems, Greens and anti-Brexit Tories. These people have one basic aim in common; to prevent a Corbyn-led government. If people stepped back for a minute, they would realise that these same bastards that supported Iraq, PFI, university fees, austerity, benefit cuts etc.won’t go quitely into that good night. Party policy indeed!


      2. “A possible second referendum” is certainly a part of Labour policy; “people’s Vote” is no more than a PV bandwagon”. the fact you confuse the two suggests you are certainly not a supporter of the current Labour party even if (as you’ll doubtless claim), “I’ve always been a Labour voter, but this time …”

      3. If time spent navel gazing in an echoing room whilst consructing paranoid fictions were votes, Labour would have no problem.

        Unfortunately, there’s more to it. Certainly more than parotting stuff out of the ERG playbook whilst pretending to radicalism.

      4. I suspect you came to the wrong yougr by mistake.
        The UKIP discussion is way off to your right.
        If you hurry you’ll get there before they split up.

    2. Yes indeed, Labrebisgalloise. Spot on. For a look at the sheer , middle class privilege, media lovvie arrogance of that fake “left corbynista” ,Paul Mason, have a look at a recent interview he did for the equally middle class privilege-infested Novara Media team ! I particularly liked his cynical advice for the Remainers to wait a while until the “moral power of the 2016 Referendum Leave victory had dissipated” before the political elite could simply use heir dominance of Parliament to ignore that democratic vote. The high profile Mason was apparently in a Left Trot grouplet for 20 years (though how a ex Trot music teacher got to be economics editor of that establishment propaganda outlet, Newsnight, is a mystery). He obviously never found the time to attend any of the group’s Marxist economics or theory workshops ! Mason not only has no idea how globalised capitalism works (as a read of his crap “Why is it kicking off ?” book will testify) but he has a liberal naïve view of the EU equal in stupidity to our man from the UK deep state , Kier Starmer . They both (with sections of the middle class -dominated Far Left) seriously think capitalist globalism is the same thing as worker’s internationalism ! tragic

  5. Talking about something ‘…there is no time to do’, do we at least have time SB, of deselecting the likes of Angela Smith should there be a call for a snap GE?

    Some of us are anxious that despite their CLPs expressing no-confidence in them, because of the limited time, we might end up with them as candidates like the last time around despite the rule change made at the last conference.

    Do we even have credible left-wing democratic socialist candidates ready to contest? It might be worthwhile for the Left in the meantime to run a parallel and independent process of identifying suitable candidates for seats like Angela Smith’s so that we hit the ground running when the time comes for deselections. I honestly wish we have an opportunity this time around to deselect these wreckers.

  6. The trouble will be, if we do get to have a General Election many will have to vote for these Tory enablers, the Blairites! I’m not sure I could vote for the likes of Watson, Mann, Cooper,Eagles etc,if I were in their constituency. So what would happen then? We may lose because of them again like the last time! They wouldn’t do anything to help the marginal seats, Outright refused! They didn’t want to win it because they don’t like Corbyn or democracy, sod the poor buggers who are suffering terribly, the tens of thousands of disabled who have died within 6 weeks of losing their money, homeless, the NHS etc , that’s when they should have been deselected!

    1. Watson,Mann,Cooper,Eagles bad enough,but I am stuck with having to vote for the odious Hodge with a CLP firmly in her pocket.

  7. David Miliband’s supposed brilliance is simply a media creation as he represents what the establishment want Labour to be – an economically free market, socially liberal, globalist party in the model of Bill Clinton’s Democrats. It works though – a lad I work with was a UKIP voter but said he could consider Labour if David Miliband lead it. I pointed out he would absolutely hate David Miliband’s policy positions on the EU, migration, globalisation, foreign wars and market liberalism if he supported UKIP and he said “well they kept that quiet about him!”

    They tried the same trick with Dan Jarvis – promoting him as a potential leader. However once Dan failed to impress the Progress mandarins with his speeches (being rather more economically left wing than they thought) and started speaking strongly in support of unions and bus renationalisation, he quickly fell from favour – and as a consequence I actually ended up quite liking the “real” Dan Jarvis.

  8. But it’s Labour policies we are voting for and a JC led Govt.
    It has always been my concern that the Centrists and Right in Labour will prevent a transformation and those suffering now will be cast adrift because of them!
    This is why I said 6 months ago the Party needs emergency plans in place to put selections in place so there are no more appointees by obscure committees.
    We need to democratically pick genuine socialists to support JC!

    1. Yes, it is unfortunate, to put it mildly, that my Union along with some others scuppered the adoption of automatic re-selection using OMOV. I may be wrong but as I understand it at the moment the dog’s breakfast of a policy we have been left with requires the permission of the NEC before it can even be started.

  9. Can someone please explain what PV and ERG are? I do not know what these abbreviations mean. Please excuse my ignorance.

    1. PV is simply People’s Vote, the purported saviour of us all.
      Rees-Mogg is the chair of the ERG, a vocal alliance of pro-Brexit Tory MPs: European Research Group.

  10. Theresa May confirms that No Brexit is a likely outcome

    -quote from her speech today
    “While no deal remains a serious risk, having observed events at Westminster over the last seven days, it is now my judgement that the more likely outcome [if MPs reject her deal] is a paralysis in parliament that risks there being no Brexit.”

    1. Clarification from Thornberry, too, that if May fails and refuses to call a general election, then a referendum is very much on the Labour agenda.That’ of course, also implies a withdrawal of Article 50 if another referendum is to escape the nonsenses of the last.

      1. Richard Hayward 14/01/2019 at 3:10 pm

        According to what I hear on the news, the EU has already offered a few months extension of our leaving date to July

      2. Yes – clocked that, too.

        It is obvious that the only way out of this incredible mess is to press the reset button and give the country a chance to sort itself out, whether through a general election, or a credible referendum, or both (obviously either course implies a hold on Article 50, the rush to which must stand up as one of the all-time crass parliamentary misjudgments).

      3. RH 14/01/2019 at 3:46 pm

        I’ve never understood why Labour made a rod for its own back with this. It would have been so easy to abstain on the back of expressing doubts about the Tory’s inadequate preparations

      4. Agreed. I guess it was inexperience, coupled a desire to shy away from sticking the neck out. Unfortunately, Corbyn had tremendous difficulty in getting together a team with sufficient nous. Given the behaviour of the PLP (and the damage done by the Blair years), that’s not surprising – but this may now be the opportunity to redress things.

        I know it upsets a lot of punters here, but conversations over the weekend again underline the perception problem that the polls show – the need for Corbyn to convince a lot of the Labour vote in terms of leadership over Brexit.

      5. I don’t think it was inexperience, or an error. It was simply bowing to democracy. Since the day of the result, Labour’s policy has been principled, consistent, and has only changed in detail as events have dictated.
        As someone else has said, hindsight is a wonderful thing, but who’d have thought the ref was rigged (very un British!), and who’d have thought the tories would be in quite the mess they’ve dug themselves into?
        Any Labour member (except, perhaps, Chuka Umunna) would be proud of the way Corbyn’s team have handled things.
        Strange the way the anti-Corbyn faction criticise him as he were the prime minister, rather than leader of the opposition. About time he was.
        The ‘perception problem’ isn’t Labour’s fault; it’s the result of continuous misrepresentation of labour’s position – constant cries of ‘stop sitting on the fence’, ‘Labour’s divided’ and ‘Labour keep changing their policy’ – all lies, aided and abetted by a tiny minority of Labour MPs, and and even tinier proportion of Labour’s membership.
        Shame on you.
        And lest there be doubt, I’m a remainer.

  11. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Did either of you say as much anywhere at the time?

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