The forward march of the W Mids Left. Selection of Foster as PCC candidate is bell tolling for Labour right.

Last week, political history was made in the West Midlands. Simon Foster, a relative political novice from Labour’s radical Left defeated Mike O’Brien, the candidate backed by the traditional Blairite Right, to be Labour’s candidate for West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC).

O’Brien had the backing of nearly all of the region’s Labour MPs – largely hostile to Corbyn and the Left. On top of this he enjoyed the support of the incumbent David Jamieson – a former Blair front-bencher- right-wing councillors a-plenty and the GMB, who reportedly bankrolled much of his campaign.

O’Brien took on paid staff (including a pro-Coyne, pro-Cooper, anti-Corbyn councillor) and hired a PR firm. His costs must have dwarfed those of his opponents on the left – Yvonne Mosquito and Simon Foster.

Yet O’Brien lost. Decisively.

As expected, turnout was low and with two left candidates as his opponents many tipped O’Brien to win on the first round, especially as he made a play for Mosquito’s second preferences.

The results show that even with only one candidate the right still failed to come top, in spite of a first preference system that worked in their favour.

Foster on the other hand is a self-proclaimed political novice. He had considerably less establishment backing than O’Brien. Not a single MP supported him; he had no PR team or paid staff – but he did have the members and a grassroots campaign financed largely by small donations.

In spite of the disappointment of many Labour members at the survival of Tom Watson through Labour’s ‘trigger’ process, all of this indicates a seismic shift in the balance of Labour politics in the West Midlands.

Liam Byrne, a quiet supporter of O’Brien, will be very concerned with this result. It shows that a credible left candidate – even without resources – can defeat a candidate of the old right, whether the old-right Labour Establishment tries to prevent it or not.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.


  1. ”O’Brien took on paid staff (including a pro-Coyne, pro-Cooper, anti-Corbyn councillor) and hired a PR firm. His costs must have dwarfed those of his opponents on the left – Yvonne Mosquito and Simon Foster.

    Yet O’Brien lost. Decisively.”

    Yeah…but…but…but…70% of labour members want to remain. Therefore we DEMAND the party campaigns to remain.

    Like frogs down wells the imbeciles who think their precious 70% applies to the nation, cannot – or refuse to – see the parallels, pitfalls and caveats demonstrated in the West Midlands, here.

  2. It just goes to show what can be achieved when members get themselves organised. It’s a shame those in Watson’s constituency didn’t think to shift themselves and oust Watson.

      1. Christopher fox…its amazing how many right wing …has beens..are still floating around looking for a steady job on the backs of the membership they despise…regards comrade!

    1. Have you ever read so much disingenuous shite? I thought I’dred it all t’other day buy steve h is having another ‘episiode’

      Come back down to Earth and tell us who’s policy you support over brexit?

      Corbyn’s or watson? I notice you (Along with the usual beauts) didn’t answer that the other day. No prizes for telling us why, mind.

      Truth is you’re eternally indebted to watson for getting you your remain option and you’re still to tell us you condemn him for his whinging about making remain policy without even THAT going to a vote.

      1. Resorting to playground insults in a desperate attempt to maintain some feeling of self worth only goes to reaffirm your childish inability to think things through.

      2. Yep. That’s right.

        STILL no criticism of watson. How many more opportunities must you be given?

        On second thoughts, we all know WHY you won’t EVER criticise nor condemn watson. Or starmer. Or the rest of the careerists.

        You’re about as Corbynist as I am Martian. Fraud.

  3. Sticky can you please fuck off back to UKIP or the uk communist party or whatever rock you crawled out from.
    You psychiatrist bills must be weighing you down given you seem to be arguing positions from the far left and far right at the same time, given this and your posting history I suspect you are close to a complete breakdown.
    Seriously I cannot tell if you need to start self medicating or stop.
    Of course you could just be a tory troll account or even a bot given some of the tangents you go on.

    I support Corbyn and even I can see he is actually starting to flip flop nearly as much as he is accused of. The party had a position which they now seem to have flipped on which is strange given the conference is coming back around and will likely be a repeat of last year.

    1. *Sighs*

      The frog down the well only sees a portion of the sky. Obviously seeing much more of the sky from here makes me a ‘ukipping communist’ or what have ya.

      Ask yourself: WHY is Corbyn flip-flopping? Nothing to do with appeasing watson in order to get some semblance of party unity (At least in the hierarchy) that’s NEVER gonna happen while watson breathes?

      Ask yourself: Is 350k (70% of their precious membership) added to the 16m gonna take the remainers past the 17m – especially when people the length and breadth of the nation are thoroughly pissed off and want the matter done and dusted with a predilection to leave to make certain?

      You cannot dictate policy or coerce people with thinly veiled threats like watson does. You cannot go off on your own version of a policy like starmer & thornberry (Allegedly jeremy’s ‘mate’) and further confuse the general public, then expect them to vote for you when they’ll have no fucking idea it is what they’ll be voting for.

      And you sure as fuck cannot call yourself a Corbynist when you find your more in tune with watson than Corbyn.

      There isn’t one of them answered who’s method they support; after being asked an multiple occasions they still refuse to commit. – Tells me all I need know.

      And that makes ME the ‘ukipping communist’. Yeah, aright.

      steve h and co might as well go the whole hog and demand article 50 gets revoked…That’s what they want.

      But instead they’ll whinny & whine for another concession then whine for another concession, ad nauseam. And when they don’t get it there’s always watson’s shithouse tricks…

      And those frogs will remain at the bottom of the well…

    2. “Sticky can you please fuck off back to UKIP”

      Don’t get too wound up by the Toff, Will.

      His ‘working class’ trolling meme is a standing joke – equating ‘working class’ with using a lot of swear words, inability to make a coherent argument, and using such terms as ‘ale house’ for the normal ‘pub’.

      … which is the sort of caricature you mind find at the bar of the Conservative Club.

      ‘Working class!’ – my Aunt Fanny! Or, actually, any of my large working class family going back generations who would quite happily put him/her right with a swift clip round the ear at the insult.

      1. Says the self-appointed ‘authority’ on class with the OCD that nobody, but NOBODY is allowed to mention their working class roots or their interpretation of socialism without YOU pontificating and looking down that fucking huge pinocchio hooter of yours at people who do.

        Where are you originally from this week, knobhead?

  4. Will C… get back to policy and not personal attacks always strengthens the argument Corbyn is a brilliant tactician and you must be confusing flip flopping with the libdems party conference.He’s decided to listen to the people on the brexit debate and once again trys to hold the party together whilst being attacked from all sides and especially those who seek to destroy the influence of socialism amongst the membership.Overwhelmingly the best leader we’ve ever had in living memory…remember that and lets start thinking elections.! my brother was a communist and my grandfather.this is the UK not USA and trashing communism shows the same ignorance to the influence on democratic socialism that many communists had on the formation of the Labour party.

  5. Left wing websites and social media accounts attract trolls and bots in droves and The SKWAWKBOX is a prime target.
    Look on the bright side – all that money the Tories get in donations they piss away on trolls – when we win big and their donations dry up, it’ll be Bye Bye Doris and bye bye trolls.
    Back where they belong – insignificant fly-specks watching porn in dirty bedsits.

  6. Left wing websites and social media accounts attract trolls and bots in droves

    …and unfortunately they usually succeed in ruining the comments. And it’s not just Tories sponsoring the trolls. There’s the Koch-heads representing American interests, too…

Leave a Reply