Archive for the 'Labour' Category

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A reminder of the last July’s YouGov LAB members’ polling on the leadership

Saturday, December 28th, 2019

We have not had a poll of LAB members since last July so the YouGov chart above is based on the latest data available. Since then, of course, three of those senior party figures tested by the firm are no longer possible runners. Tom Watson has quit being an MP, Laura Pidcock lost her seat at on December 12th while John McDonnell has made his intentions clear.

Note that in the polling each potential leader was tested separately but it does give a feel for the left-right split that is likely to exist.  If it comes down to Starmer versus Long-Bailey then you would assume that the former would get the backing of Watson and Thornberry with Pidcock and McDonnell supporters going to Long-Bailey.

We also don’t know what impact the campaign will have with the big unions most likely putting their weight behind Long-Bailey.

Another finding from the July poll that might be a pointer is that when the sample was asked “Do you think that Jeremy Corbyn is doing well or badly as leader of the Labour Party?”  56% said Well and 43% said badly.

To another question “How likely or unlikely do you think it is that Labour would win the next General Election if the party leaders were Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson?”  56% responded likely and 32% unlikely.

That was six months ago and since then the party has experienced its worst general election outcome since 1935. Maybe the experience of that terrible defeat will make perceived electability the key quality members will be looking for?

I’m hoping that we will see some new YouGov LAB members’ polling in the near future.

I am refraining from betting on this election until after January 6th when the party’s NEC will decide on the rules for the election. This could rule out Starmer.

  • Note. PB’s server has been updated overnight thanks again to my son Robert who keeps PB going.

Mike Smithson




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Labour’s GE2019 post mortem

Thursday, December 19th, 2019

Proverbial wisdom tells us that success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan. It’s a saying that appears to have by-passed the Labour party at least, since their general response to the election has been to hurl fistfuls of paternity tests at each other in a way that would send Jeremy Kyle off for a cold shower and a lie down.

It’s been an analytically productive grand bun fight at least. While the pollsters are still nursing their hangovers, tidying away champagne corks, and finishing off their victory lap of single-finger salutes to anyone who doubted them, various factions of the Labour party have already answered all the major questions about the election.

We now know that this election was a testament to Corbyn’s unpopularity, extreme policies, and his refusal to get the EU stars tattooed across his knuckles. Supporting Brexit would have but resulted in a Lib Dem resurgence and mass losses in more remain-heavy seats.  We’ve also learned that Jeremy Corbyn was an amazing leader with popular policies (they won the argument!) backed up by an incredible party organization spearheaded by Momentum. Which makes you wonder what they think would’ve happened if Labour hadn’t been quite so brilliant. This was the Brexit election so you can’t blame the Labour party’s policies for failure, but the low Lib Dem result proves centrism is failed.

No doubt the researchers over at the British Election Study will feel a bit embarrassed that it was all solved within 48 hours and be hunting for something to do to pass the time. Since all the serious analysis has been done, I will wade in with some purely number-less opinions. But just before I do so I would like to drop in one bit of analysis from an expert number cruncher. Working class support of Labour has been sliding for decades.

If Labour are relying on winning through reviving class-based voting, then they are going to have to reverse many years of change.

Now on to some wild, baseless speculation and a little theorizing. 

Labour need to find their joy and their discipline again.

The Conservative party that nailed itself to one clear Brexit message and repeated it to absurdity, then kept going beyond parody. In the face of this the Labour party presented prevarication, and division over Brexit.

It took a couple of Corbyn’s great strengths, his aura sincerity and principle, and minimised them. After moving from backing a ‘Labour Brexit’ to a second referendum, and then a month or so out from the election declared that on the crucial issue of the election he would remain neutral. It took his campaigning weaknesses, a tendency to respond to short challenging questions with long irritated answers, and highlighted it.

The left of the Labour party has made much of Corbyn’s policies polling well, and policies form the foundation and backbone of a campaign. But few people find inspiration in a concrete footing or attraction in a picture of a spine. They need to be used to tell a story.

The policy of free broadband could have been used to tell a story of social justice and regional empowerment. Taking super-fast broadband to the shires as a way of connecting the country, a new nationalized network that could bring opportunities for employment or entrepreneurship to deprived areas. To stop a brain-drain to London and reduce emissions through telecommuting. But released as it was in the run-up to the election it became one more election freebie thrown at increasingly cynical voters. It was a slogan instead of a story.

Before it had time to breathe there were more promises coming along as both sides piled them high and fast beyond public belief. Two fantasy bidders at a monopoly auction meant it all felt a little too easy to be real. It meant they both felt very similar.

John McDonnell made much of his grey book outlining the fiscal rectitude of a Labour manifesto that was fully costed down to the last penny, then promptly threw out an extra 58 billion for the WASPI campaign group.

Labour clearly knew what they didn’t want to talk about (Brexit), but seemed to have very little idea what it did want to talk about. It was the NHS, and the police, and the Green New Deal, and a dozen other things until it began to feel like lucky dip socialism. If everything is important then nothing is.

Mid-campaign the Labour party leaked to the press that it was going to change campaign strategy de-emphasise the leading Remain figures and push Leave figures like Ian Lavery to the forefront. It took party disunity and for some bizarre reason, publicised it.

No UK Prime Minister has ever lost their seat at an election, they’re usually in safe seats and benefit from the recognition, and prestige that comes with the job. That the Labour party went through this election talking up the chance of taking Johnson’s seat and left it with its lowest number of seats since 1935. speaks to either a complete ignorance of the facts on the ground, or a complete refusal to accept them. It seems impossible that the Labour high command didn’t have plenty of data from public and internal sources. It seems impossible they wouldn’t understand the data.

It suggests a problem which is not unknown in politics, the mixing of ideology and strategy. If you believe in the ideology strongly enough you believe in its ability to succeed. The only way to prove the project can succeed is for it to succeed. So, to prove you believe in the project you must believe that the project not just can succeed but is succeeding.

It is impossible to separate Corbyn’s leadership from the issue of Brexit, because his tenure was defined by it. Few politicians get the luxury of picking their battlegrounds, Brexit finished off David Cameron, crushed Theresa May, and ultimately Corbyn could not escape it. He faced a mostly hostile media, but so have other Labour leaders and his ratings were worse than any of them in the last forty years.

He lacked nimbleness to defend against attacks on him, from Salisbury to Tunis. He lacked the ruthlessness to take the fight to Boris Johnson. He couldn’t provide the kind of leadership his party needed. He was set an incredibly difficult test and maybe one he was uniquely unsuited to face, but ultimately, he failed it.

Corbyn’s failure was symptomatic of deeper problems within the Labour party. Whomever the next leader is, they are likely to face similar challenges. A party that’s not just divided but openly so. A generally hostile media. An EHRC report that will bring anti-semitism back around on the agenda. A need to establish a new Brexit position. A crucial need to re-connect with a single, coherent, story of Labour that stretches out across the country and connects Stroud to Sedgefield and Kirkcaldy to Kensington. But most of all a need to tell that story in a way that inspires joy and hope.

The next leader of the Labour party is likely to have a blanker slate and much less baggage than Corbyn. They’re likely to have an easier set of circumstances but also some nettles that need to be grasped (an uncomfortable conversation on immigration is looming). Great crops grow from fertile ground and destruction breeds creation. There is great opportunity there, if someone is able to take it.

Tomas Forsey

Tomas Forsey is a longstanding PBer who posts on PB as Corporeal and tweets as PBcorporeal




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Long-Bailey back as next LAB leader favourite in very edgy betting market

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019

There’s been a lot more movement on the Corbyn’s successor betting market on Betfair as the betdata.io chart with Starmer now losing his lead and Long-Bailey moving again into the top slot in the betting.

What’s going to shake this up is new polling both of LAB members and votes generally. It will be recalled that back in June Johnson’s leadership chances soared following polling that indicted that we would do better against LAB.

Of course it is members of the party’s selectorate who will decide and my reading is that after a fourth successive defeat finding a leader with the potential to win back power might be paramount. That I use the term “might” here speaks volumes.

Mike Smithson




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Labour’s Delusions

Sunday, December 15th, 2019

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.” Buffet’s saying has been one which many in finance have had cause to ponder in recent years. Turned round, it applies to political parties: “a toxic reputation takes 5 minutes to develop, 20 years to shake off.” Consider how long it’s taken the Tories to get past (if they have) the “nasty party” tag. From its development in the 1980s, it was 18 years before the Tories won a majority. Labour’s infiltration by Militant started in the mid-1970s. 1985: Kinnock’s Conference speech; 1997: Blair’s New Dawn.

Those bad reputations are used by opponents long past their sell-by date: the Tories made 18 glorious summers of Labour’s Winter of Discontent. 29 years after she resigned, Thatcher is still Labour’s convenient bogey-woman. After defeat, the longer a party postpones the hard thinking about why it lost and what needs to change, the longer and harder it will be to regain power. 8 years, 3 leaders for the Tories before they finally understood that they could no longer blame the voters for falling for Blair. He was not a Pied Piper; the voters were not stupid children. They looked at the Tories; they disliked what they saw.

With the election barely over, Labour is already embracing comforting delusions rather than taking a long cool hard look at itself, warts and all.

Change the leader and all will be well

Leadership is critical, yes, but a leader is not simply the person taking the centre spot in group photos. They set the tone, values and direction of the party. A party and its leader are always, whether explicitly or implicitly, telling voters the following:

  • This is who we are (who we seek to represent).
  • This is what we do (how we fight for you).
  • This is how we do it (our values).
  • This is where we are going (the sort of country we want).
  • This is how we’re going to get there (the practical steps we’ll take).

Changing the leader but keeping the rest unchanged/unchallenged is not enough. Labour voters rejected Corbyn and what he stood for because the latter was an essential part of his leadership and why it was rejected. Putting a pretty blonde in his place – without more – will not address voters’ concerns. For a party fond of ideology, Labour has in recent times seemed obsessed to the point of madness with personalities: any criticism seen as a personal attack on the leader, who must be protected at all costs, even if that meant closing one’s eyes and ears to what was happening.

Striking that in his speech after winning his constituency, Corbyn first launched into an attack on those journalists who tried to speak to him outside his home. His inconvenience was apparently of more importance than MPs losing their jobs or apologising for what had happened on his watch.

Wannabe leaders might usefully think how they would answer the above questions. Heretical as this may seem, the answers are not simply going to be found in their past, their jobs or their genetic inheritance.

The policies were popular

Would it be bad taste to say that after the worst defeat in 84 years, a defeat in which it went backwards in 98% of seats contested, it takes industrial quantities of chutzpah to claim this as evidence of popularity? Yes, it would. But it is entirely accurate.

Yes – individual policies are popular; that does not make the entire package so. Nor is popularity the only measure. Credibility as to execution and cost and whether these are the voters’ most important priorities matter too. Did the manifesto consist of (somewhat nostalgic) policies which mattered to the party (and its union backers) – nationalisation / reversing trade union legislation – rather than the voters it was seeking to attract?

Is a lack of free broadband what has been keeping voters up at night? When asking questions, the single most important thing to do is to really listen to the answers. Has Labour stopped listening because it has taken voters for granted? Or has it only been listening to those saying what it wants to hear?

It was all about Brexit

No it wasn’t. Not least because Labour was quite successful in talking about other issues, the NHS, for instance, which became by the end of the campaign as important as Brexit. An end to austerity was promised: but there was no analysis of where austerity had happened, how it was going to be addressed and paid for.  The money was apparently going to come from a few wicked tax-avoiding billionaires and other rich people. In reality, many of the cuts have been to local government budgets affecting areas like social care, topics Labour spoke little about.

It also finally admitted that pretty much everyone would have to pay more tax but got no credit for this admission, dragged out of it as from a recalcitrant witness. It then managed to find £58 billion from thin air to give to a small group of voters. (“For the few, paid for by the many“, as the manifesto did not say.) Curious that a party claiming to care about the poor thinks that those who have to watch every penny don’t care how governments finance their promises.

All the fault of the press

A well-worn delusion this. Politicians whining about the media are like sailors complaining about the sea, as someone once said. Yes – much of the MSM is not enamoured of Labour. Yes – newspaper owners tend to be very rich. So what? This is the age of social media, when newspaper circulation and readership is on the decline, when there are myriad ways of communicating ideas and plans. Self-pitying moans about smears, being attacked, being asked questions and challenged are the reactions of narcissistic cry-babies.

Being able to explain clearly and crisply what you are about; being able and willing to debate and argue and persuade (not simply assert) is basic political tradecraft. (The sheer inability of many quite experienced politicians to answer even a vaguely difficult question is astonishing. They would not survive even one mealtime in our household. What do they do all day?)

Closely allied to this is the belief that voters have been misled, whether by the press or by other parties, as if voters are too stupid to think for themselves. It does not take a degree to know when someone is sneering at or patronising you. For all the talk about wanting to help “their” voters, some Labour politicians give the impression that they do not much like the actual people they want to represent, that they are simply there to be the object of the politician’s virtue. (Those taking practical steps to help – Stella Creasy, for instance, over loan sharks – have been sidelined.)

A new leader won’t have Corbyn’s baggage

Well, that’s a low bar. But this won’t be enough, now. First, there is the EHRC report to get past. Second, there will need to be good answers as to why blind eyes were turned. Most important, getting rid of the mindset, the fertile swamp in which the Manichaean, conspiracist, “virtuous us” vs “wicked them“, anti-Semitic virus grew and flourished will need lots of hard work, not just speeches. It will need disciplinaries and expulsions. It will need the leader to reset the party’s moral compass, to teach its membership what is right – and wrong – and demonstrate it in all they do. It will need to be visible, focused, determined and prolonged. It will take a lot of the leader’s energy. It will be painful. And oh so necessary.

The one thing which all good leaders have is courage. Thatcher had it; so did Kinnock. Blair – at times. Cameron, too – over gay marriage. The courage to think the unthinkable; to apologise when necessary; to listen with humility when being given a difficult message; to ask tough questions; to speak hard truths – to oneself, to the party (Kinnock: “I’m telling you and you’ll listen” is all too pertinent today), to voters. It is not the same as rage and protest, however eloquently done.

Rather than tell itself comforting stories, Labour needs to have the courage to look at itself honestly if it wants to choose its next leader wisely.

CycleFree




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Labour’s Brexit Divisions

Monday, December 2nd, 2019

Political parties have always been coalitions in themselves. They are big tents and broad churches that try to keep everyone singing from more or less the same hymn sheet, or at least not fighting in the aisles. But sometimes you can see the stretch and the strain in the canvas as it tries to hold it all together. As James Maxton quipped during Labour party splits in the 1930s, “if you can’t ride two horses at once then you’ve no business being in the circus”.

Since becoming Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn has certainly undergone a crash course in dual equestrianism as longstanding fault-lines within the party were re-opened by the prospect of Brexit, and they all looked very familiar.

Harold Wilson had long been a pro-European in private, and during his first spell as Prime Minister Labour applied for the UK membership of the then-EC, but after his fall from office it was Edward Heath’s Conservatives who took charge of the negotiations for the UK’s entry. Wilson was against British membership under those terms and set the Labour party squarely in opposition to EC-entry. The Roy Jenkins-led revolts on the issue helped squeeze the bill through parliament, and culminated in Jenkins, Harold Lever, and George Thomson resigning from the cabinet (Jenkins and Thomson both went on to become Lib Dem MPs).

Faced with a divided party Wilson tried to bridge the rift by calling a referendum and outsourcing the decision to the people. The Labour manifestos of 1974 promised a referendum on re-negotiated terms but carefully avoided committing the party to one side or the other (for the sake of completeness Labour won a plurality of seats in February and a small majority in October). The party declared no official position for the referendum with the leading figures of the party splitting heavily in favour of staying in while the Trade Unions and wider membership supported leaving.

Wilson also decided that if democracy was good for the nation it might also be good for Labour. At the Labour Party conference of 1975 a vote was to be held with a condition attached. If either side won the vote with a 2:1 majority then it would become the official party stance. In the event the ‘leave’ side won only ~65% of the vote and neutrality was outcome by a whisker. Wilson held on to official impartiality for the start of the campaign before coming out in support of remaining within the EC.

Wilson used that vote to release the divisive pressure building within the party, while weighting things heavily towards the outcome of an officially neutral party that was split on the issue but not divided against itself. The leadership moved the decision out of its hands but kept a thumb on the scale.

Corbyn has followed many of Wilson’s decisions on neutrality but veered away when it comes to internal democracy. The party’s position of supporting a referendum and combining freedom to campaign with official neutrality was laid down by the leadership. It was a stance they’d taken such a hammering at the European Elections that holding on to a Labour Brexit was no longer possible and the leadership had to bow to the pressure from the remain wing of the party.

The party manifestos of 1974 and 2019 share many similarities, the support for a renegotiation of a Conservative deal and a referendum on the result alongside the calls for reform if remaining inside the European project. Modern manifestos have all extended greatly in recent years, the 2019 Brexit section at over 1200 words is significantly longer than both 1974 manifestos put together (about 650 and 250 words respectively) and in those extra words there’s a wealth of tension. It is clear and comfortable in what it is against, but when it comes to what it supports it reads like it was created during a Mexican standoff, with each side taking their turn to write a paragraph.

The Labour party conference in September passed a motion committing to the support of freedom of movement, in a significant shift from its pre-existing policy of ending it. In the 2019 manifesto there is a paragraph waxing lyrical about the benefits of immigration and freedom of movement to the country, and a very pointed omission of any commitment to retaining it in a Labour Brexit deal. It’s tempting to imagine Len McCluskey and Ian Lavery diving over the table to prevent it going any further.

The Labour party is now going out of its way to trumpet how it’s changing tack and going after leave voters. Its existing strategy of trying to focus on issues other than Brexit had delivered mixed results. Their focus on the NHS has coincided and probably helped it rise to being the most important issue of the election, but they still trailed heavily in overall voting intention polls. 

This new tactic suggests a powershift at the top of the party, but also sets it up for later conflict if it manages to surge in the coming weeks. Leavers will take it as evidence that the party should be pursuing a harder Brexit, while Remainers will point to the shifts that had already happened and claim it as a continuing trend. It’d be a problem Jeremy Corbyn would be delighted to have to deal with (as opposed to spending more time with the damsons on the allotment) but is something to keep an eye on.

Beyond the factional struggle for control is the question of whether the tactic is a good one for the campaign. It’s ostensibly aimed at winning back Labour leave voters who had defected to the Conservatives after it underestimated ‘the willingness of Leave voters to switch from Labour to the Conservatives.  They may have internal polling to recommend this view, but it would represent a shift from earlier in the year when BES data was showing anti-Tory tribalism outweighing leave voting preferences. For it to work it’s more likely that they’ll have to hope that the remnants of Brexit party support (sitting at a stubborn 3-5%) includes some voters they can pull back. It’s a hope that seems possible but doubtful, the hardcore last few percentage points of any party tend to be particularly difficult to shift.

They may be targeting undecided voters, and Ipsos-Mori’s November political monitor found that Labour supporters were far less likely to say they had ‘definitely decided’ (71% to 54%). But most of the undecided Labour voters are leaning Liberal Democrat as their second choice (and vice versa, while very few undecided Conservatives are considering Labour). One of the justifications for changing strategy was that the Lib Dems had not proved to be as big a polling threat as had been expected, when that could also be evidence of the previous strategy actually working.

It’s unlikely to make the campaign trail questions on Brexit any easier for Corbyn, especially when it becomes such an obvious target for any journalist looking to find an awkward spot to dig into (and Corbyn’s tendency to get riled up by such questions). When there’s such division within the party not just on remain vs leave but also on what a Labour Brexit would look like it makes pushing any clear message very difficult. Boris Johnson has taken an old political lesson, one mastered by the Labour party during the Blair years, and applied it relentlessly. The public like political parties to appear united in the ranks and clear in their messaging, the moment the politerati are utterly sick of a slogan is the moment the public starts to hear about it.

The Labour party are unlikely to be troubled by unity or clarity on Brexit, either before or after this coming election (and in victory or defeat). This new strategy probably won’t improve relations between each side. Corbyn needs to either find a way to get the horses going in the same direction, or he’s likely to fall through the gap between them.

Tomas Forsey

Tomas Forsey is a longstanding PBer who posts on PB as Corporeal and tweets as PBcorporeal




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It is possible Jeremy Corbyn really hates political bettors

Sunday, November 10th, 2019

If the polls are broadly correct we are potentially only a few weeks from the start of the next Labour leadership contest, for some of us we’ve been betting on the identity of Jeremy Corbyn’s successor for around fifty months so these are exciting times, however there is a potential spanner in the works.

As per the tweet above we could see two people replacing Jeremy Corbyn, the Huffington Post says

‘Jeremy Corbyn Could Be Succeeded By Co-Leaders If Labour Loses. Joint ticket would balance male-female, Leave-Remain, town-city base of the party. “The Greens make it work”…..Among those who could represent northern Leave areas are Rebecca Long-Bailey (Salford), Angela Rayner (Ashton-under-Lyne), Laura Pidcock (Durham) Lisa Nandy (Wigan).

Possible contenders for the Remain-supporting big city half of the duo would include Keir Starmer, David Lammy, John McDonnell, Jonathan Ashworth, Dawn Butler and Emily Thornberry.’

Crucially this isn’t a fantasy but a real possibility as the Huffington Post says ‘No party rule change would be needed for the job-share.’

With Labour using the brilliant alternative vote system to elect their leaders, a system that is being widely adopted across the world by large margins, appealing to a large sections of the Labour electorate to finish in the top two makes the two leaders possible as well as equitable.

So if we have joint leaders then I can see the dead heat rules applying with the traditional bookies, I can also see the traditional bookies and the main Betfair market voiding the next Labour leader markets which will ruin the betting positions of so many if the co-leaders ideas becomes reality. Bet (or don’t bet) accordingly.

TSE

PS – Being Spartans is all the rage these days in British politics, the ERG famously christened themselves Spartans after they ensured the UK wouldn’t leave the EU in March, whilst Sparta was governed by co-rulers. All political parties most be hoping that in December’s election they don’t play the role of Sparta in the Battle of the Hot Gates.

 



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LAB’s GE17 performance is misleading as a tactical voting guide because since then its reputation has been tainted by antisemitism

Friday, November 8th, 2019

There weren’t front pages like this before GE2017

So far the LAB GE19 campaign has been dominated by furious attacks like the one above from the Jewish Chronicle and nearly half a dozen candidates having to stand aside because they are on record as stated things that can be seen as anti semitic.

For the Labour party that is going into this election continues to be afflicted by impact of it and its leader’s actions on this form of racism. One thing’s for sure this isn’t going to go away before December 12th.

An area critical to the campaign where this looks set to impact is on tactical voting which Corbyn’s party is hoping to benefit from as it did last time as being the best option to impede Brexit. Then it ended with a GB vote share of 41%. The latest YouGov has that at 25% a whopping 16 points short of two and half years ago.

If you look over the polling in this parliament all was going well for Labour from June 2017 till February 2018. In that period it enjoyed leads in all or the majority of polls each month. Then came the Corbyn mural row which triggered off a raft of negative coverage on antisemitism which has continued.

This impacted on both the voting intention polls and the leader ratings for Corbyn which are now at a record low. Every single voting intention poll bar one since Johnson became PM has had CON leads

There’s a big fight currently going on between different sites on tactical voting – which party you should support in each constituency to give you best chance of defeating Johnson’s pro-Brexit Tories. One faction is keen to focus almost entirely on what happened at GE2017 when LAB was at its peak. The other factions focus on other more up to data which is less helpful to the red team.

The problem with the GE2017 baseline approach is that this wants to take you back two and a half years before the antisemitism issue emerged. The fact is that this has had a profound impact and it is harder to argue what happened in a particular seat on June 8th 2017 is relevant. Before the last general election the Jewish Chronicle wasn’t running front pages like the one above.

Mike Smithson




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If the latest YouGov is on the right lines the Tories are set to make gains from LAB in London

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

And terrible ratings for the LAB leader in his home city

London has for so long been such a stronghold for Labour that it can be hard to come to terms with the fact that on December 12th it might lose seats in the capital.

Certainly all the simple analysis ahead of the election being called was that the Tories would have to make gains in Labour’s northern heartlands in order to offset the likely losses in Scotland to the SNP and of course in London to the LDs. The idea that there was potential for Johnson’s party in the London itself wasn’t really discussed.

For just two and a half years ago at the last general election LAB chalked up a whopping 54.5% of the overall vote in London. According to today’s YouGov London poll that is now down to 39% leaving the red team vulnerable to seat losses to the Tories and the Lib Dems. The latter has moved according to the poll from 8.8% at the general election to 19% today which gives plenty of potential for LD gains from both the Tories and Labour.

But, of course, we are just starting the campaign which formally kicks off at midnight and during the following 5 weeks there could be a lot of movement as we saw in Theresa May’s General Election. But we cannot expect that will happen as a matter of course. Sometimes there’s very little movement during the campaign itself.

A lot for LAB rests on voters’ perceptions of Corbyn whose ratings are standing at record lows for any opposition leader since modern polling started. Could more media exposure to him with the broadcasting neutrality rules clicking in cause that to change? A lot could depend on it.

Mike Smithson